As Her Little Bro
Graziano kept silent and continued to glare at Leonardo. Lightly shrugging his shoulders, Leonardo stood up.
“Now that Francesca is awake, it’s about time I take my leave. My apologies for being a hindrance to the [visitor].”
Francesca tilted her head in confusion, while Graziano simply replied in a low voice.
“The head didn’t change his plans because of you.——-he does it all for the young miss’ sake.”
“Haha! Thanks for the polite reminder.”
Before leaving, Leonardo looked down towards Francesca on the bed one last time.
“Let’s go on a date again, Francesca. Next time, we’ll make sure to avoid the things you can’t handle though.”
Of course it wasn’t actually a date, and was just a promise to hang out together as friends, but because of the way he put it, she still felt a little bit embarrassed.
But, Leonardo was lying for Francesca’s sake so she couldn’t leave him hanging, and properly gave her affirmation with a nod.
“Bye bye. See you tomorrow, Leonardo.”
When she said that, Leonardo looked a bit surprised, but then quickly showed a very genuine smile of happiness.
Once the door was closed behind him, Francesca muttered to herself.
“Maybe I should have at least seen him off to the door?”
“Young miss, you still can’t stand properly can you? Your face is still red.”
“is, is it really?”
Hearing that from Graziano as he sat down back on his chair with a thump, she quickly touched her cheeks to check.
He was right, her face still felt warm. She may be comically weak to alcohol but, the fact that the effect just makes her really sleepy and nothing more is probably another setting from the game itself to keep things simple.
“Simone-san was waiting in the corridor so I’m sure she can drive him out all the way properly. Young miss, you can sleep again if you like. Do you need some water?”
“I’m fine. Right now my body’s just a bit warm that’s all.”
When she said that, Graziano made a face as if he wasn’t satisfied. She understood that this was only because he was worried for her health, so Francesca couldn’t help but smile.
“Thank you, Graziano.”
When she did, Graziano frowned and sighed again.
“………you should drink some water after all. Young miss, you’ve been acting all lightheaded for a while now.”
“Hmm, well, I can’t say I’m not but………”
Just then, she noticed the single black rose placed on her bedside.
It was probably the very same one that was adorned on to her hair by Leonardo. Francesca picked up the black rose, and sniffed to feel the sweet scent of the rose once again.
Recalling all his acts of consideration, she felt very happy.
Gently enveloping the black rose in her hands like a precious item, she played with the petals delicately with the tip of her fingers. The black petals were exactly the same colour as Leonardo’s hair.
“Before it dries up, I should put it safely in a nice vase. Hey Graziano……..”
“——-The meaning of a black rose in the language of flowers..”
His tone was low, and somewhat sulky.
“..Do you know? There’s many to be fair but, there’s one most commonly used one.”
“Eh? I-I don’t know……..”
Suddenly being inquired like that by Graziano, Francesca was perplexed.
(if I recall correctly, flower language can be different depending on the person or the book you read it from apparently. I remember reading that Carnations meant [Love towards your mother] I think but, I have only ever bought white ones so I’m not really sure………in the first place, is the flower language of this world even same as my past world?)
While she was in deep thought, Graziano silently muttered.
” It’s [Hatred].”
Francesca blinked in shock.
“There’s other meanings to a black rose as well. Like [Resentment], or [Not forgiving someone until their death] etc as well.”
Hearing that, she felt a lump arise in her throat. Graziano showed a cynical smile, and spoke with a tone that didn’t hide his disdain.
“The flowers attached to each family as their insignia were all granted to them by the royal family. [Aldini family’s black rose is a mark of irony as they are a family that have crushed everything in their way with brute strength], or so some rumours say.”
“………Something like that.”
“Since that man is the head of the family, I highly doubt he doesn’t know the implications behind his own insignia…………and yet, he gifted that flower to you young miss. He might as well be declaring war on you.”
Francesca quietly looked down on the flower in her hands.
“………..Bring me a vase filled with water, Graziano.”
“but young miss……….”
In that moment, she stretched her hand towards Graziano who was still frowning.
And then ruffled his light brown hair and patted his head.
Graziano screamed with shock. But she didn’t let that stop her and continued to make a mess out of his hair until Graziano fell into complete panic and fell down backwards from his chair while attempting to escape.
“Waaah! Graziano, are you okay!?”
“Wha, what are you doing…….!?”
He raised his upper body back up and leaned on the bed for support as, perhaps embarrassed by his silly fall, Graziano’s face was red to his ears.
It had been a while since she had seen him make an expression like that so Francesca couldn’t help but chuckle.
“I’m happy that you’re always so worried for me but, I’ll be fine.”
“……….And how are you so sure?”
“Leonardo is certainly hard to see through, and you can never truly tell what he’s thinking, plus there’s a lot of disturbing rumours around him. Most people would obviously be afraid to even be near him……….but still.”
Softly touching the black rose with the tip of her nose, she closed her eyes.
Back at the graveyard, when Leonardo talked about his brother and father, she felt like his expression was that of someone who had nowhere else to go, and no one to depend on.
“I think Leonardo is a lot more of a normal boy than people seem to believe.”
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Born in the underworld, he grew up acting exactly as the world he lived in demanded him to be as, but that was it.
“Even if he is approaching me with some sort of motive, I can tell he’s not that bad of a person at heart. That’s why, I’ll be fine.”
“……….You are really………”
Graziano couldn’t help but grimace, but then sighed as he stood back up.
“You’re always like this, with everyone. Even when facing the most vulgar kind of scum, you always try to look for the good in them. Even with complete villains you’re like this.”
(I don’t think that’s really what I intentionally try to do but………)
But, it just so happens that all the people around her can technically qualify as [villains] in her eyes.
And that’s been continuing from even her past life, so it’s better to say that she’s just too used to people like them.
Graziano was still sulking and pouting, but his expression looked a lot more stern as he warned her yet again.
“That’s a really bad habit of yours……….you should be more self-aware about it.”
“Yup. Thanks for telling me.”
She thanked him once again, only to make him sigh deeply once more.
“Speaking of, Graziano, what was that about a [visitor] from before……….”
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