— Aunt Grace.
— Hmm? — I responded when my sweet niece called me.
— What are you thinking about now?
I looked at the beautiful girl in front of me, who couldn't read my thoughts from the thoughtful expression on her face.
Ruby invited me to have tea in the gazebo this afternoon, but I couldn't concentrate because I kept thinking about the upcoming coming-of-age ceremony.
«Nothing like that,» I smiled, «just thinking about how much you've grown.»
Her delicate brows furrowed.
— Are you talking about it again? — the main villain asked, — Do you still consider me a child?
I fell into a stupor.
— Well, what are you! Of course not,» she immediately hurried to correct herself, «How can I think like that when you're about to turn eighteen.
Ruby calmed down a little, but continued to stare at me intently. Lately, she's been looking at me very strangely.
Or maybe I noticed it just now…?
Anyway, it wasn't that important. I was in a joyful excitement from the realization that very soon, my main goal of being in this world will be fulfilled.
Rubiella Weinstein will cease to be just my sweet niece, and will be released. Next month, after the coming-of-age ceremony, she will inherit the title of duchess and we will part ways with her.
After eight years of working as a nanny, I planned to go on a well—deserved vacation — a trip across the empire and complete freedom of action. While Ruby will have to take care of family affairs, because for such a young age, a heavy burden will fall on her shoulders.
I thought that I had made every effort to raise a decent person from the main villain in recent years.
The only thing I regretted was that I couldn't find a good uncle for Ruby. I wanted the girl to have before her eyes an example of a full-fledged family, on which she could rely in the future. However, for some reason, nothing has grown together.
All worthy men who showed interest in me disappeared immediately after a few days of acquaintance. And when they reappeared, they avoided and were even afraid to greet me.
I couldn't figure out what was going on. Are these aristocrats really so much afraid of a woman with a child…?
I hope Ruby didn't blame me too much for looking after her alone, despite her high birth. In the end, I tried to give her the best to give her a happy childhood. It's possible that I even spoiled her a little.
«Auntie, is there something that's bothering you?»
Noticing my drooping appearance, Ruby touched my cheek. I have long been accustomed to such tactility, and did not pay attention to it. Besides, I used to squeeze her quite often when Ruby was little.
Meanwhile, I was touched that this child is so worried about me.
— Just a little bit. I imagined what I would do when you left this house.
Perhaps I expressed myself somewhat incorrectly, because the expression on the girl's face immediately darkened.
But even with a shadow of sadness, she remained an irresistible beauty. After all, it was the most attractive character of the novel, not inferior even to the main character. I stared into her amethyst eyes.
— Aunt, do you want me to leave as soon as possible? There was an unbearable sadness in her voice.
— It's not like that! — I hastened to declare, — It's simple… That day was bound to come sometime anyway, right? You are already an adult, and you should start an independent life.
«But I don't want to leave this place.
My words obviously upset her.
But what could I do? Ruby was supposed to return to the family estate after the day of the ceremony to inherit the title of duchess. It is from this moment that the main stage of the game begins.
Even if I wanted to, I couldn't afford to leave her here. Although it was hard for me to break up, too. After all, I raised Ruby for so many years after her parents abandoned her.
During this time, we became a real family, and I hoped that I could only leave her with good memories.
My little niece will be coming out into the adult world very soon!
I couldn't help but cry with pride, realizing this moment.
However, Ruby was still depressed, and I decided to cheer her up.
I needed to change the subject to something more positive.
«Since this is your last birthday in this manor, I will definitely prepare the best gift for you!» — I announced with a smile, — What would you like?
Her face cleared instantly.
— A gift?
I grinned. After all, no matter how old she was, Ruby was still a child at heart. She was so happy when I started talking about the gift.
— yes. I'll give you anything.
— Really? Everything?
I nodded and let out a laugh, raising a cup of tea to my lips.
— of course.
Rubiella was my favorite niece, and I'm really ready to do a lot for her. Even if she wants a star from the sky, I will definitely get it for her.
But the answer wasn't exactly what I expected.
Ruby was silent for a while, thinking about my offer for a few seconds. Suddenly, her expression became like that of a hungry predator.
— …Then I want you, Aunt Grace.
The cup in my hands trembled.
At what point did I make such a mistake…?!