Chapter 10 Historian’s birthday party
Jeffrey Asher was at his parents’ house getting ready to attend his uncle’s birthday party. His uncle is his mother’s brother and a historian.
His brother Edward spoke to him in the living room.
“It seems that he hired an assistant who is capable of everything, and Eva praised them very highly. Besides being fluent in languages, they seem to be excellent at housework in general. She even openly claimed that she had to hold herself back from hiring them for her own home.”
“Is that so.”
Jeffrey doesn’t like his uncle.
His cousin Eva visits frequently, but he only shows up a few times a year. His uncle has an ignorant and arrogant personality that tends to be found in scholars who have devoted themselves to learning. He took it for granted that he would have no servants.
That was before.
Now, his uncle, who he hadn’t seen in a long time, seemed to have softened. The inside of his house was beautifully arranged and warm as it was when his aunt was still alive.
Neatly folded napkins were placed on the table, and cutleries were arranged orderly. The flowers on the table were also tastefully decorated like a restaurant.
Eva, her husband Michael, and the brothers all sat down.
And at perfect timing, the assistant brought the soup out and Jeffrey’s jaw dropped. Victoria Sellers appeared in a white maid’s apron.
“Well, Commander. It’s been a while. I was just thinking that I should send the report soon.”
Noticing his brother watching their interaction,
“For now, let’s start the birthday party.”
Jeffrey suggested and made a toast before taking a spoonful of the soup and was amazed once again.
“Jeff, it’s delicious.”
His brother took the credit for saying it first, but the mushroom potage had a superb flavor and was beautifully patterned with fresh cream. It tasted and looked as though it could pass off as a dish served at a restaurant.
The appetizer of a small piece of crispy bread with trout marinade and pickled onions made him want to continue eating just that dish. He felt hungrier than before he ate. The dill and capers, added in small amounts, skillfully erased the fishiness of the trout and enhanced its richness.
The main dish was a crown roast of lamb.
A dish with bone-in lamb served in the shape of a crown. The inside of the lamb crown was stuffed with shallots and garnished with round slices of carrots and roasted. A bite into the mutton would cause the meat to melt softly and release overflowing juices into the mouth. The seasoning made use of the aroma of herbs, the slight amount of chili peppers accentuated the taste, and the finely chopped nuts applied to the sides added to the fragrance and made for a pleasant texture.
“Victoria, isn’t this different from the last time?”
“Yes, Mr. Bernard. I used nuts.”
“This is also really delicious. You and Nonna should eat it too.”
“No, we …”
Eva, who was listening to the conversation between the two, intervened.
“Victoria, you should definitely join us. You’re the distinguished person who brought uncle back to a decent human way of life. Please.”
Smiling, Victoria was called out from the kitchen and brought Nonna. Nonna, who came with her book in hand, looked healthier and cuter than she had been two months ago. Others might even believe she is the daughter of a noble if they are told that.
Speaking of which, Victoria had also become a little fuller and had a feminine figure. She has a nice complexion too.
“You’ve been working in a place like this?”
“That’s a cruel way of putting it, Jeffrey.”
“I can’t believe you’re my uncle’s assistant.”
“Victoria is fluent in four languages. And her housekeeping is excellent.”
His brother, who was watching the exchange between his uncle and his brother with amusement, interjected.
“Pray tell how are you acquainted with her?”
When Jeffrey explained how the two met, Edward’s face turned into a smirk. He realized that Victoria was the one with whom his younger brother, in a rare fashion, had gone out with a while back.
Victoria noticed that Jeffrey’s explanation completely omitted the guarantor part, but she listened without saying anything.
Eva was dumbfounded.
“Huh? You tripped a person while you were carrying a child on your back? I don’t know if I see that as fearless or reckless.”
“It was certainly reckless when I think about it now. But because of that chance of the moment, I am now renting a place from the one who had their bag snatched. At an exceptionally cheap rental for the East Ward.”
Jeffrey entered the conversation.
“Which noble’s mansion in the East Ward are you living in?”
“Yorana Haynes’ mansion.”
“The house of the widow to the late Count Haynes? Now that’s also …”
“Isn’t she a grumpy person?”
“No, not at all. She’s kind and treats Nonna lovingly too. She’s a very nice landlord.”
The Asher brothers and the Eva couple looked at each other.
“That lady is notorious for being difficult. But if you’re the kind of person who can tame uncle this much, it’s possible.”
“Rude. Edward, what do you mean by taming?”
Everyone laughed while Nonna looked puzzled. Victoria was more or less aware. But Mr. Bernard and Mrs. Yorana’s dispositions were fairly tame. In addition, the more difficult a person is, the kinder they are to those they hold dear.
“Ever since I came to this country, I have been blessed with the people around me.
Before long, the fun-filled birthday party ended, and Eva and Michael went home, and Edward said to Jeffrey, “It’s time for us to go too.”
“Brother, I’ll talk to her for a while before returning home. Please go home first.”
“Hoh. I see. Then I’ll be off first.”
Count Edward Asher gave him a meaningful look but got in his carriage and left without saying a word. Victoria saw him off, stopped cleaning up, and told Nonna, “Could you please play and wait for me inside?”. Mr. Bernard was asleep comfortably on the sofa, perhaps from the midday alcohol.
The two of them were outside the front door.
“You wished to say something?”
“Ah, the last time the three of us had dinner together was so much fun. I would like to have dinner again.”
Victoria felt a rush of warmth.
There were a few times she feinted falling in love with someone to get information, but it was nothing more than a job. She had never really fallen in love with a man before.
“Am I too persistent?”
“No, you’re not. However, I’m not the kind of person who can be close to nobles.”
“I’m the second son. I’m not going to inherit the house, so I don’t need to think too hard about my status.”
“……Is that so.”
Before she knew it, Nonna had slowly opened the door and was looking at her worriedly. Victoria smiled at her and she nodded to tell her ‘It’s okay’.
“My number one goal right now is to raise Nonna safely…”
Nonna rushed over and hugged Victoria. Victoria gently stroked her head.
“…I understand. Then why don’t the three of us go on a picnic next time?”
“Vicky, what is picnic?”
Nonna asked with shining eyes.
“Hmph, now you have Nonna’s hopes up.”
Victoria looked at Jeffrey lightly accusingly, but Jeffrey was also looking at herself with the same expectant look as Nonna. When she saw his face, she acceded with a laugh.
“Okay. I’ll prepare the lunch boxes so let’s have a picnic. Also, wouldn’t it be bad if your brother found out that you became my guarantor?”
“No, it won’t. If my uncle or Eva find out, they’ll probably take over my role as guarantor. Then I’ll let you know the date and time of the picnic later. I’ll try to match it with my off day.”
With that said, Jeffrey walked home.