Hugo tried hard but failed to hide his relief at this revelation. He must have thought I would ditch him for his brother. God knows why. His brother seems loathsome. He was a drunkard too. I hated drunkards. Besides, his looks weren’t going to last long if he kept this up.
“What can I say about Ethan, he’s always been handsome and popular with girls,” said Hugo. “He is popular with his friends too. He is always the centre of attention wherever he goes. I think maybe the princess was charmed by him too.”
If he likes being the centre of attention, then he should have been peeved with Aaron coming into the picture. Why is he suddenly so accepting of Aaron? It seemed really suspicious. Were those two plotting something against Aaron?
“Until now Ethan always has been a bit absent-minded, but ever since he’s met the Princess, he’s been a lot more reserved. I suppose Lord Warwick will also be a help in many ways to the Princess.”
I nodded. “Reserved? How so?” I still remembered Ethan Duplo yelling and harassing me in the royal gardens. He was trying hard to please the princess.
“He’s a lot better than before,” said Hugo proudly. “I think Her Highness has been a very good influence on him. For that, I am very grateful to her.
I observed the Princess and that idiot quietly. If he continues drinking at that speed, he’ll get drunk in no time. His face was already red and his voice rose. And the dinner wasn’t even half-way done.
The Princess seemed indifferent to Ethan Duplo’s behaviour, and was only focused on Aaron as they talked about something. Moments before when we had arrived in the dining hall, Aaron had glanced at us, hesitated and then went off to sit with the princess. He had occasionally glanced at us while having dinner. But now, he didn’t have eyes for anyone else but the princess. He sometimes nodded and talked a little, but for the most part he was very attentive to whatever the princess talked about.
I had been alert since the time we stepped in the dining hall. I hadn’t seen her slip anything in his food. And she obviously couldn’t do magic. I really couldn’t understand what was happening.
Hugo seemed to have overcome his trepidation about the possibility of me being interested in his brother. He started telling me stories about him and Ethan Duplo when they were younger: first horse-riding lesson, sneaking off into the forest, etc.
It was a typical story about two brothers which sounded quite normal on the surface. But Hugo failed to realize things. I could notice that he had been the beloved heir while Ethan Duplo was jealous of the attention that his elder brother got.
The heirs were always preferred. Noble families spent a lot more money to educate the heir than other children in the family. I understood why Alex was so serious even at such a young age. The heir had many responsibilities on their shoulders. If an heir could be as carefree and happy as Hugo after all that, then a family is considered successful in raising children.
But it would still be difficult for the second or the younger children. They would feel left out. The resentment could build up to damage family relationships.
Should I tell you what my Grand Duke would have to say about this in his past life? ‘There are people who lead normal lives in the same conditions. Why is that a privilege for going off track?’
I frowned as I chewed on the meat. ‘My Grand Duke’? He is not mine! I don’t even know him well. I don’t even know why he is so obsessed with me. Not only just affection but marriage? I don’t want to marry anyone, least of all, him. He has already been divorced once so why does he want to marry again? Does everyone dream of marriage?
I asked Hugo who was still rambling about his memories of the past. “Do you ever want to get married, Lord?”
Hugo stopped with his mouth open. He opened and closed his mouth twice and looked at me with a red face. “Pardon?”
I felt a jab on my side. It was Alex. He is still doing this after he suffered from my hands just a few hours before. The fact he even sat with me was surprising. Perhaps he thought if he didn’t then I would think he was scared of me.