Chapter 384: Side Story (Satiana and Jack) (4) (unedited)
Satiana's birthday and coming of age ceremony is tomorrow. All the preparations are in full swing now and Satiana herself is quite busy moving around in the palace. As her personal knight, I was always behind her every step of the way.
"Have the tables and chairs arrived? How about the linen and curtains?" Satiana was talking to the head maid and butler.
"Yes, your grace." The butler replied. "The tables and chairs have just arrived and are now being stored at the west wing."
"The curtains and linens are all ready as well." The head maid replied. "I have instructed the maids to change everything before the day ends."
"That is good." Satiana said in relief. "I think I need to double check with the caterer for the food and the band that will play at the ceremony. Oh, and the flowers. Have you checked with the florist on what time they will deliver the fresh flowers tomorrow?"
I cannot help but smile seeing how busy Satiana is right now. I have been by her side for so many years now. We both have experienced many ups and downs together and I was happy to see her grow from a child into a hard working adult now. I cannot but help see how she had blossomed into a beautiful flower.
"The flowers will be here in time Sati." Leticia came walking along the hall towards us. "The flowers are the ones you carefully grown yourself. The only thing the florist will do is to arrange them beautifully. Now, let me handle all of this. What you need to do is rest. You have a big day ahead tomorrow."
"B-But Aunt Leticia…" Satiana was about to protest.
"Now, now…" Leticia scolded. "This is my job. You go and have some cup of tea or something. Jack, take my niece and make sure to let her REST." She emphasized strongly.
"Of course, madam." I replied curtly with a smile. "Now let us go your grace. It is the duchess' orders."
"Really? Is it okay to take a break?" Satiana said while I pulled her from working on the preparations.
"Of course, it is okay. You deserve a break before your big day." I replied.
"Then I guess it is okay." Satiana smiled sweetly at me and my heart started to thump hard inside my chest.
'How odd…" I thought to myself. 'Why did I suddenly feel my heart thump like that?'
We were walking towards the green house where she always goes to relax and drink tea when an attendant came in front of us and bowed.
"Your grace, young Lord Alfred want to have an audience with you." The attendant said. Hearing that name put a frown on my face.
Alfred was Duke Matias' son that helped us with the uprising against the late Queen Patricia. As expected of a duke's son, he was well mannered and an honest person. He has no faults or whatsoever, but I just do not like him one bit and I do not know what ticks me off.
'Maybe it is because of how he has eyes for Sati.' I thought to myself.
Alfred has been open with his affection for Satiana. I am sure Satiana is not dense and knows of the young lord's feelings for her, but she has always evaded the topic for the past years saying that she is still a minor.
"Alfred is here?" Satiana asked. "Then please lead him to the green house. I will meet him there. Please tell the maids to bring refreshments for two."
"Yes, your grace." The attendant bowed and was on his way while Satiana and I continued walking towards the green house.
"When have you been in first name basis with the young lord of the Matias family?" I had one of my eyebrows arched up.
"Oh, he asked me the last time I met to call him by his name." Satiana replied nonchalantly. "He requested it saying that we have known each other for many years, and I still address him with his title. I thought it was alright because we have grown close to be friends."
"Grown closer?" I looked at her curiously. I was always by her side and she always had an aloof relationship with Alfred.
"Well, I have known him for so many years and I think we have grown closer to be friends." Satiana replied.
For some reason I feel irritated with the word 'grown closer' come out of Satiana's mouth. I felt my mood drop the entire walk towards the green house.
Once we arrived, Alfred was already there waiting inside. He was looking around, surely admiring the plants.
"Your grace." Alfred greeted with a bow. He was holding a bouquet of red roses. "This is for you."
Alfred handed the bouquet and Satiana received it with a smile.
"Thank you, Alfred." Satiana replied. "They look beautiful."
"Not as beautiful as you, your grace." Alfred said in a cheesy way that I grimaced.
"T-Thank you for the compliment." Satiana replied awkwardly.
"But the flowers are nothing compared to the ones you grow here in your green house." Alfred said. "This is the first time I have been here. I am sure you only invite precious people to come here. I am honored." He extended his hand to escort Satiana.
"I am glad you like it." Satiana took Alfred's hand, and she was escorted to her seat before Alfred took a seat as well. "We are friends and I thought I would like you to see one of my hobbies since I was small. This green house is the most precious to me because father had built it for me."
"I see." Alfred smiled. "I am happy that had the privilege to be invited here."
I can see how Alfred was flirting with Satiana and it irritates me even more. My mood has been down since the time I heard he was here.
The maids arrive with refreshments and snacks. The two of them started to chat while drinking tea.
"Then what brings you here, Alfred." Satiana asked at last.
"Well, it is rather personal, your grace." Alfred them looked at me that made me raise an eyebrow. "Can we talk privately?"
"Sir Jack is my personal knight as you know Alfred." Satiana replied. "He cannot just leave my side. I am sure that whatever you will say here will stay between us." She assured.
'Heh, tough luck kicking me out.' I thought smirking internally.
"If that is what you wish, your grace." Alfred then knelt in one knee in front of Satiana. In turn, she was surprised with the sudden action of Alfred. "Your grace Grand Duchess Satiana, I have fell in love with you since the first time I saw you and I have shown you my heart since then. I have been very sincere with my affection and courtship for you. And before your birthday tomorrow, I want to ask your hand in marriage. Will you marry me, your grace?"
Satiana was in complete and utter shock with Alfred's confession. Yes, it is true that Alfred has been open with his affection for Satiana for a long time now. No one in the aristocratic world does not know of this. But Satiana had always shown disinterest with his courtship. I cannot believe how brave Alfred is to ask for marriage after all of Satiana's polite rejection of him.
"A-Alfred…" Satiana replied awkwardly. "T-This is a bit… sudden."
"It is not sudden because I know you have known my feelings for you since before." Alfred replied.
"I know but… I mean… marriage is a bit… sudden." Satiana's eyes was darting all over the place.
"I promise to you that I will be a good consort." Alfred said in a solemn way. "I will help you govern Jennovia. I will give you a proper heir because I am quite confident with our genes."
'What the f*ck are you saying!' I screamed internally. I can see how flustered Satiana is right now.
"Young lord, I believe you are giving her grace a hard time." I quickly interjected.
"Marquis, it is not nice for you to interject with other people's business." Alfred stood up and confronted me. We are now standing face to face, staring with each other coldly.
"It is not just other people but her grace's business." I replied back. "I am her personal knight and I have a right to get in the way of her grace's business if I can see that she is being burdened."
"Burdened? I think her grace just said that my asking her hand in marriage was sudden and not a burden." Alfred replied back.
"If someone that you only think of as a 'friend' suddenly asks for your hand in marriage, then that will become a burden." I threw back the words at him. Both of us were staring down at each other, not wanting to back down.
"N-Now, now you two." Satiana was getting flustered with the standoff between Alfred and me. She does not know what to do.
"What is happening here?" I heard a familiar voice coming inside the green house.
Gladiolus was walking tall and looking at us with an intense gaze.
"B-Brother…" Satiana had a pleading face towards her brother.
"I think that my sister will need her rest for the big day tomorrow." Gladiolus said when he arrived where we are. "Sir Jack, why don't you escort my sister back to her room to rest."
"Yes, your grace." I bowed and extended my hand to Satiana and she took it without any questions.
"Umm, before I leave…" Satiana turned to Alfred. "Let me think about your proposal first." Alfred beamed a smile after hearing her words.
"Of course, your grace." Alfred replied. "There is no pressure."
"You know that any suitors of my sister will have to go through me first." Gladiolus looked at Alfred with chilling eyes.
"Pfft…" I cannot prevent a chuckle from coming out of my mouth when I saw how frozen Alfred was with Gladiolus' stare on him.
I quickly led Satiana out of the green house before her brother would lecture Alfred even more.