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Let’s get married, he said to her.
The two of them departed to a foreign land so that they could quietly hold their wedding.
“May I ask what you’re thoughts are, Earl Ashenbert? My daughter is completely head-over-heals with a popularized novel like this, and seems to be planning to elope and from all the men she could have chosen, she wants to go with that low life.”
In a small palace salon that was furnished with plush furniture and marvelous collection pieces, the Earl took the book from Browser’s hand and flipped his eyes through the pages. Eventually, he ran his fingers through his picturesque blond hair and said:
The young man before Browser possessed a polished way he held himself with a tender smile on his lips and the physical attractiveness that could charm any man or woman. And because of that, he had his share of female relationships and Browser heard of the rumors that erupted here and there, but he wasn’t going to be bothered with that right now and so paid a visit to the Earl’s estate.
“I hear that there are an increasing number of scam-artists that approach upper cla.s.s women with the aim to marry them. Even if it was an elopement, if the marriage was legalized, there is nothing a parent can do. There is no mistake that this man is targeting my daughter because he is after our money.”
Naturally, they had the expectation that their daughter’s marriage partner was going to be an educated gentleman from a good household.
The Earl lifted up the corner of his mouth as he spoke, which made Browser curious as to what part of his story could have interested the man, but he switched his focus as he wanted to hurry up and spill out the truth while the earl still seemed interested with his daughter’s case.
“So are you saying that you’ll allow me to court for your daughter’s affections?”
“Why, yes of course, she may not be of any good looks, but if you take a liking to her, we can provide a handsome dowry….”
He didn’t want to give the impression that he was trying to push for a marriage arrangement by pretending to come for help.
Browser looked up to see if he could tell what the earl was thinking.
But the earl only had a faint smile on his lips and Browser couldn’t determine if he was interested in his daughter or not.
“Lydia, what are you reading?”
She hadn’t realized that someone had entered the room; the man who was standing by her side was the lord of this estate, Edgar Ashenbert.
It had only been a few months since she had come out of the countryside in Scotland, and was now hired to help Edgar, who was completely clueless when it came to fairies, by racking her brain on how the fairies who lived on his lands could coexist with humans in peace.
“It’s nothing,” she said.
“A romance novel? Oh, so you read these kinds of books.”
It was thought, nowadays, that it was improper for unmarried young women to be interested in the opposite s.e.x. Lydia was aware that adults who had good common sense would frown at such things like this currently popular romance novel.
Although she heard about it, because she spent more time with fairies than with people, she never had an opportunity to read the book.
“Is it interesting?”
Lydia got it back from Edgar and tried to leave the room.
She stopped in her tracks.
She was so engrossed in the story that she didn’t even notice that Edgar had entered the room.
“Isn’t eloping dramatic? Even if they’re opposed by everyone around them, don’t you think it means that they lived up to their love? It proves how strong their bond was to each other.”
If an aristocratic with a handsome face like that smiled in front of a woman, even Lydia couldn’t help but for her heartbeat to beat rapidly.
“Huh, what happens?”
Edgar had his hands on her shoulders before she had realized it but Lydia snapped back to her senses.
“If only you would become a little bit more curious about love; I thought you might understand how wounded my feelings would were.”
“But do try to read the rest of it. Once you know how such a pa.s.sionate love ends, then you might want to try and elope with me.”
It was normal for Edgar to always treat her like he was playing with her.
It was in his nature to make advances towards women who he met, regardless of who it was. It wasn’t as if he seriously thought Lydia as special.
Like h.e.l.l he would feel wounded.
Lydia yelled out at him to stop joking around with her and pushed him away.
Anyways, today is Sunday. I don’t need to commute to work to the earl house, which means it’s my day-off, so that I don’t have to see Edgar’s face.
Lydia stood up to try to shake away the sight his face that filled her head.
Nico was a fairy who had the form of a cat. He jumped down onto the floor and stood up on his hind feet, putting his paw on his hip and looked up at Lydia.
Nico, who was her friend, pointed with his fluffy gray tail instead of gesturing with his hand.
But that wasn’t what Nico meant as strange. It was the one who was by the man, that figure had long, flowing hair and wore clothing that dragged along the ground; it was a white-colored woman whose body appeared to be transparent and floating in the air.
She leaned over the windowsill to try to get a better look, but the fairy vanished like a cloud.
It was a young man who was crouched down, looking sick in the face with cold sweat pouring out of him.
"Ah, I'm fine. I just felt dizzy all of a sudden," said the man under a groan with his eyes opening just slightly.
"This house here happens to be my family’s, so you could come in to take a rest. Staying here on the stones is awfully cold, isn't it? It won't make you any better."
The man's name was Lloyd.
"Even if it wasn't me, it would be normal to help others in need."
Being reminded that, she realized that she might have been too careless. It was Sunday but her father, who is a scholar in Gemology, was out of the house on his rounds to gather gem stones.
"Haven't you been feeling sick like this for a while now?"
"Yes, actually I did. How could you guess that?"
For now, there was a hobgoblin in this house so no other new fairy could come in.
But if she were to suddenly tell him that he was possessed by a fairy, he would be sure to think she was crazy.
19thcentury, and there were no longer any people who believed in their existence.
“Your life source is being sucked away by a fairy.” It wasn’t Lydia, but Nico who suddenly spoke out, as he lay on the sofa pretending to be a cat.
Just like a human, Nico smartly crossed his hind legs and proudly leaned back against the backrest and after fixing his necktie with his front paws, he grinned up at Lloyd.
“I’m not a cat.”
“If you were able to figure out that I was the one talking so quickly, that’s because you’re possessed by the fairy and that puts you halfway into the land of the dead. It means you’re also tied to the fairy realm.”
“The fairy is a beautiful woman. Mr. Lloyd, does that sound familiar to you?”
“Now that I think about it…, but that was a dream….. I always see the same dream. There’s a beautiful woman with me, and she would say she loves me....”
“Then what’s going to happen to me?”
Leanan sídhes were said to grant the human who became their lover a G.o.dly and inspirational talent in the arts. There could have been a number of renowned artists who had Leanan sídhes as their lovers and even though they met an early death, they left behind many marvelous pieces of art.
“Human, didn’t you accept the Leanan sídhe as your lover?” If you didn’t then the fairy should have moved on and wouldn’t appear before you,” said Nico again.
It seemed like he had accepted the proposal of love from theLeanan sídhe. Although one could say it was very difficult for a normal human being to be able to refuse a fairy’s charm.
All the blood drained from the man’s face, and he slumped down with an even more sick face than when they first saw him.
She may be an amateur, but as long as she called herself a fairy doctor, she must do something about this.
“Hey, Lydia, don’t say anything so reckless,” said Nico in a panic, pulling on Lydia’s sleeve, but that didn’t hinder her.
“Can you really help me?”
Most likely he must have wanted any kind of help he could get, no matter how absurd it sounded.
The man suddenly clutched her hands, which was a surprise to Lydia.
“Ahh, you’re like an angel from heaven.”
“If you would please wait, my lord,” came the panicked voice of the housekeeper. “Uh, if you have business with Miss Carlton, I will notify her, so if you would just wait….”
It’s Edgar. Why in the world is he here?
Edgar was keeping his eyes out for other bachelors around Lydia, like he had some sort of childish jealousy when they came near her.
Brushing off Lloyd’s hands, Lydia jumped out of the drawing room.
“h.e.l.lo Lydia, I just happened to be in the area, and I wanted to see your face so I paid a visit.” He took off his hate, and just like always he pulled her to him and kissed her hand.
“Oh. But don’t I have permission to freely come and go?”
“Your father. When I asked a question about gemology, he gave me permission to use the study here anytime. So I came to see you and while I was at it, borrow one of his books.”
Even as he warned Lydia
“You’re also being careless to let a stranger into the house.” He took a glance at the door that Lydia had just closed.
“Mr. Lloyd just happened to be sick and was in sitting in front of the house.”
Eh? You saw that too?
“….So he really did hold your hand? Well, now I really have to greet him.”
But he didn’t listen to Lydia’s protests, and took the liberty of opening the door to the drawing room and entered.
Lloyd was shocked at such an obliging visitor, but managed to standup somehow and awkwardly took a bow.
“Please stay comfortable as you were. I hear that you weren’t feeling well.” Edgar was smiling harmlessly but Lydia could only think about how his eyes weren’t smiling at all.
“It’s alright, Mr. Lloyd. The Earl hadn’t made any promise to come,” jumped in Lydia, pitying the panicking Lloyd.
And then, he approached Lloyd.
Deep behind the perfect smile, the depth of his eyes sharply observed Lloyd.
Could he be, a little thickheaded? It was apparent that Edgar was irritated.
Subliminally telling him to leave, Edgar didn’t wait for Lloyd’s answer and called for his servant.
“I will drive you home.”
“I will drive you home.”
Being possessed by the Leanan sídhe, Lloyd was also under the influence of fairy magic, so he could have possibly sensed the silent malice from the young male servant.
Lloyd was insensitive to Edgar’s sarcasm, but as he shivered when Raven touched his shoulder he looked like he was threatened as he taken away so
Lately Raven was beginning to understand that he can’t be reckless and hurt others at his will, but Lydia was still worried.
On the other hand, Edgar saw Lloyd being escorted away, and seemed refreshed as he smiled satisfyingly.
“Mr. Lloyd is an employee of the cigarette shop on Kings Way. There is no mistake that he is the man that is approaching the lady Norma of the Browser family.”
At Lydia’s house, when he heard the name Lloyd and remembered the story that Browser told him the other day, he had a bad feeling.
Lydia’s family, the Carltons, were not particular wealthy, but looking from society in general they would appear to live in comfortable well-to-do circ.u.mstances. For this man who was aiming to marry with a daughter from a wealthy family, there was a possibility that she would become the next target in case he failed with the Browser daughter.
It means that compared to the possibly sick Lloyd, Edgar, who came when the man of the house was absent, was actually the more dangerous visitor.
“Raven, did you make sure and tell Lloyd that Lydia already has a man like me?”
“Just to be safe, Lydia needs to be told to not get involved with Lloyd.”
“If I said it, then it’ll only sound like I’m jealous.”
Although his emotions were still underdeveloped, he was sharp sometimes.
He, who humbled himself earnestly, wasn’t able to distinguish that which was his master’s sophistry.
The next day, Lydia came to work to the Earl house, and hearing that Edgar was no present, thought she would be able to spend the morning calmly.
Of course Lydia wasn’t aware that it wasn’t that Edgar happened to have nothing in his schedule but he was opening his schedule to spend time with her.
Lydia looked over to Raven who was bringing her tea.
She was worried about Lloyd who was still possessed by the Leanan sídhe.
“I cannot tell you,” responded Raven in a rigid tone.
“Why is that? He is someone I am helping.”
He did have the looks and aura that could make women warm up to him; but.
“Lord Edgar only wishes that Miss Carlton doesn’t get hurt out of his deep love for you.”
And because she could guess that, Lydia became furious.
It must have been the truth, as Raven was silent for a few seconds, and quickly said “He was busy,” and played ignorant.
“Why does he not like that I’m around other men so much? I am not his possession!”
The young man whisked out of the room, he must be taking precaution so that he wouldn’t widen the tear in his story any further.
Lydia became even more enraged.
Lydia’s zeal must have worked, because Lloyd unexpectedly came to pay a visit to Lydia’s house.
“Uh, please calm down. Let’s talk inside, please come in,”said Lydia trying to calm him down and invited him into the drawing room. He had more strength in the way of his walk but still had a white tired expression on his face.
But he didn’t seem to be scared at all, and as if he had forgotten about such a thing as he tilted his head.
Humor? She was sure that half of it was serious.
His tone didn’t sound sarcastic, so he was either bold, or insensitive.
But whatever anybody said, Lydia was the only one Lloyd could rely on after he became aware that he was possessed by a fairy.
“More importantly Miss Carlton, the fairy! I was trying not to sleep yesterday but she appeared again. Even if I hid in the closet, she’d pa.s.s right through the door. What should I do?!”
Lydia decided that they wouldn’t have time for gossip so she also replied.
“Yes, but…marriage?” There was confusion swirling in Lloyd’s pleading eyes.
“So there isn’t any other way?”
Slumping down, he pondered over that in his head.
“Actually there is a woman I’m in love with. But her family won’t approve of our marriage…”
“Because, we’re from different cla.s.ses. She’s from a family of n.o.ble birth, and I can’t compare to that….” As he spoke, he lifted his head up and continued to defend himself. “But she really is a wonderful person. She returned my feelings from the beginning without caring about my cla.s.s, and even said that she would elope with me if her parent’s disapproved.”
Of course she couldn’t irresponsibly recommend it just because it was romantic, but his life depended on it.
“Of course, most definitely. Even if it was to save myself, I couldn’t imagine anybody else.”
Edgar made Raven say that Lloyd was a man who was bad about women but she only was disgusted at what a careless lie he made.
Lloyd chewed that over in his head, but took a deep breath.
Ride in a carriage for 300 miles?
It couldn’t be helped that a daughter, who grew up in the tender care of a good family, thought of Lloyd’s idea of eloping as the last resort, as something of a romantic journey, but there was one thing that was still incomprehensible to her.
“Eh? Oh, it’s in Scotland. A small town near the border of Scotland and England.”
“Is it your hometown?”
“Eh, then why go somewhere so far? If you had your wedding secretly in a town nearby, then there’s nothing that could bring the two of you apart.”
to live with a man without marriage or to getting an annulment was more of a dishonor.
But Lloyd lowered his head as if he was troubled by Lydia’s remark.
“Yes actually. I have been living in Scotland all my life.”
“In England, only those who had carried the proper ceremony in a Christian church are approved as husband and wife. But the laws differ in Scotland, so even if it isn’t a church wedding, as long as the couple has two witnesses then their marriage is legalized. It means that if you don’t have the time to carry out all the proper procedures and you don’t want anyone to interfere and become an official husband and wife then the only place for the ceremony is in Scotland.”
Even though Englandand Scotland were under Great Britain rule, they were originally separate countries and had their own laws.
“Gretna Green is a place where you can get married as soon as you cross the border, so for the British it’s a runaway wedding paradise.”
“In her favorite book they go by carriage. Anyways she seems to want to do it according to the book, and if we were to go through with it, then I want to make her dream come true.”
“If you have discussed with her in so much detail, then all you have to do is deciding to do it. Even if she is dreams about a story, if she has the will to elope then I believe that she’s serious.”
“At any rate, why don’t you try and talk with her one more time?”
“You’re right….. It’s no use to mull over it. I’ll go and talk to her.”
Lloyd nervously looked around the room.
“Thank you so much. You truly are a kind person. I don’t how I can thank you.”
Lydia had a clear good impression with him.
“Of course, what is it?”
Of course that was fairly easy for Lydia.
He was encouraged by Lydia who agreed to his request without hesitation, and after mounding up his new resolve, Lloyd went home looking like he got back his strength.
Mr. Browser watched satisfyingly as his daughter Norma was invited by the Earl Ashenbert and was leaving to go out happily.
With Lloyd, he was sure he never even rode a horse.
“I wonder what the Earl thinks of Norma. Have you heard of anything?”
“He spoke of her as an honest and pure young lady.”
“She is a lady that I educated. There is no gentleman that wouldn’t be pleased with her,” she replied proudly. Of course that’s true, thought Browser.
“All of them are just playmates. It doesn’t look like there is one to make him consider marriage.” Once she cuts off her train of speech, the governess meaningfully lowered her voice. “Although, there is one, I hear that he is courting a young woman the same age as my lady.”
“It’s only a rumor, but it’s the daughter of a professor that the Earl deeply admires, and she was even written in the gossip papers as his true love. But she isn’t from the high society, so I don’t think he’s serious.”
The Earl Ashenbert had only recently arrived aback in England, and as he lived overseas for a long period, he didn’t seem to priority the family background to his marriage partner. And, if it was a daughter from a family who had ties with the Earl, then it isn’t a terrible difference in their social cla.s.s to make it hard for marriage.
“I think it was Miss Carlton.”
All the letters addressed to Normal were first sent to him, her father. Of course that was because he planned to slip out the letters that were from Lloyd.
Once again he picked up that letter.
He didn’t hesitate to cut open the seal. In it, there was a letter from Lloyd asking Normal to meet him.
Did Lloyd have some kind of ulterior motive by approaching this girl who was acquainted with the Earl?
Maybe this could be useful. I’ll go to the meeting place of the letter and see Lloyd, thought Browser.
It wasn’t long for Lloyd to come to Lydia’s residence, who completely believed that his letter arrived safely to the hands of Miss Norma, to report that she agreed to his plan to elope.
Hearing that their departure was tomorrow night, Lydia breathed a deep sigh of relief for now. All that was left was to watch over and hope that the elopement of the two were successful. Of course she did want to answer to Lloyd’s hope as he thought that Lydia’s a.s.sistance was absolutely necessary.
She was relieved as she gripped the cover to pull it out from the shelf, but as soon as she yanked it out all the books that were on the same shelf came falling out like an avalanche.
Lydia jumped back in surprise and at the spot where her feet were, a small pile of books came crashing down. Lydia stood in shock and disbelief but then came the number one voice that she didn’t want to hear.
It was Edgar, who was supposed to be gone and not in the house.
“Uh, I’m so sorry, I…., I had just barely touched it. Umm, I couldn’t help it, the door was open a crack...”
As he had approached her, he must have noticed the book that was in Lydia’s hands. He smiled with a grin like he found something signifying.
“In the case you become interested in eloping, I thought that you would naturally be curious as to what happens in the rest of the story.”
“So, if I heard a loud commotion, I could arrive at the scene of the crime immediately and catch you.”
Lydia felt like he compared her to some wild bird caught in a trap. He walked right up to her and she tried to back away but he only cornered her into the bookcase.
He spoke in a deep, melting voice to her, as he played with Lydia’s reddish-brown hair, twirling around with his finger.
“I have no interest in eloping. A friend, yes, my friend is thinking about eloping, so I thought I should know the process so that I could think of anyway I could do to help.”
“You didn’t happen to meet Lloyd again did you?”
“It doesn’t matter to you. I decided I’m going to celebrate his marriage. That’s right, Mr. Lloyd loves a woman who he is seriously considering to marry. You surely did talk bad of him, but he isn’t that bad of a person.”
“Tha-that’s something only someone like you would think up!”
There is no more of a bad man than you.
“I’m not tricking anybody.”
Saying her fill, Lydia slipped past him. But he rushed to grab Lydia’s arm with a worried expression.
“The maids here were rumoring about it. An impressive gentleman came here directly with a gracious dowry, asking you to take his daughter’s hand in marriage, didn’t he? And so that’s why you’ve been seeing that daughter every day now.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you had someone like that.”
He looked unusually troubled which made Lydia feel victorious.
For Lydia who was always being talked down, she thought she was successfully able to counter-argue with him.
He really is such a womanizer.
It wouldn’t be any surprise for Edgar, who was now an Earl, to have however many marriage arrangements lined up before him. No matter what kind of sweet talk he threw at her, Lydia didn’t think that she had a special attraction that could win against an aristocrat’s daughter.
More importantly, she needed to learn a bit more about eloping. Lydiasoftly opened the book.
The carriage pulled by four horses galloped across the town streets.
By engrossing herself in the story, Lydia tried to take her mind away from her depressed feelings.
It’s unbelievable how soft-hearted Lydia is to want to help out on an elopement, mumbled Nico, as he slipped through the fence. Getting down on all
He made sure no one saw him as he climbed up on to a windowsill of the mansion where Lloyd’s lover apparently lives. “Nevertheless, making the departure tonight is just too sudden.” He wanted to wait until the moon came out to departure and promised to meet up with her in a place in the outskirts of Londonto escape being noticed.
When it came to the Lady Norma, he was apparently being watched, and so if he got on a hack to get out of London by himself, there was the possibility that their elopement plan would be figured out immediately.
And how Nico came in all of this, was that he was supposed to make sure that the daughter of this house was safely able to sneak out of the house without being seen by anyone.
All he could do was wish that the daughter didn’t screw up anything.
Peeking into the room where light was spilling out, there must have been some sort of banquet starting as there were crowds of people making conversation with each other.
She was a girl who gave a plain impression, and listened and responded with a shy expression. She was dressed extravagantly, but appearedlike she didn’t fit in with the lavish people and place.
For a girl who was completely used to that sort of treatment, maybe Lloyd was different.
“Huh?” Just then Nico noticed the blond young man that walked up to the girl and pressed himself up to the window.
With the soft composure and perfect smile, he lowered his face to girl and whispered something to her. There was no mistake, it was that rake.
However, if he was interested in Lady Norma and was following her, then she wouldn’t be able to slip out of the house.
Nico circled over to the terrace, and from an open window slipped inside.
“My lord, so did Mr. Lloyd promise to never appear in front of the young miss ever again?”
The one that was called lord must be the lord of this house, Browser. The woman was not a servant, more like at a position of the daughter’s governess.
“I told him that Norma showed me the letter. And that she has a brilliant proposal and is deeply in love with her suitor the Earl Ashenbert and that she has long forgotten about Lloyd.”
“I let him see Norma from afar. That was just when the Earl invited Norma to horseback riding in Rotten Row. Seeing the two of them having fun, he must have realized that he has her no longer.”
“That is a relief to hear. Besides he was a man who approached the young miss aiming for her fortune. He wouldn’t linger on one target once he’s figured that he has no chance.”
“Good G.o.d, I heard that there were con-artists for ages who tricked young rich daughters into eloping to live lavishly off their money or fortune, but I never imagined my own daughter would become a target.”
“That is a different matter, it was nothing to do with me who that man runs off with.”
That, oh no, could that be Lydia?
Lloyd said to Lydia that the Lady Norma had agreed to his elopement. Then why did he lie.
That means, he plans to take Lydia with him in place of Norma
Lydia didn’t have a fortune compared to the Browser family but for Lloyd right now, his life was more important than inheriting a fortune.
It was just when he was about to turn to dash out from the door’s shadow. Someone suddenly grabbed a hold of the ruff on Nico’s neck. He was dangled up off his feet.
The woman looked like one of the kitchen maids, and she started to walk off with the Nico dangling by his neck.
“I’m not a cat! Hey let me go! You’ve ruffling my fur!”
“Good lord, I should throw you into the washing pot.”
And then his eyes stopped on Edgar who was in the landing of the stairs. Being alone together with Norma who he must have lead away from the hall, he seemed to be in full flirting mode. He whispered something into the young girl’s ears who was flushed red in her cheeks as her hands were held by his.
Edgar just moved his eyes toward Nico and the maid’s direction. But, simply ignoring the cat, he turned back to the girl. He even put his hand on her shoulders casually.
“Excuse me, miss.” Just then he heard Edgar’s voice stopping the maid.
Being called a pet, Nico felt humiliated and sick, but seeing the maid who immediately dropped him and left after meekly excused herself which made the chagrin lift off his chest a little.
But then he was only picked right back up by Edgar at the scruff of his neck.
“Lloyd told Lydia that he made a promise to elope with the daughter of this house tonight and asked for her help. That man, he’s possessed by a fae, and he’ll die unless scares away the fairy by marrying someone, and so Lydia’s being soft on him. Right now the two of them should be heading to the spot that he was going to meet up with the Lady Norma in the outskirts of London.”
“That’s why that Lloyd is hoodwinking Lydia. Because he figured he couldn’t marry that girl, he must be planning to take Lydia with him and force her to consent to marrying him…”
Edgar half-forcefully asked his pardon from the dumbfounded Lady Norma and swiftly headed to the entrance hall.
The hackney carriage that was carrying Lydia and Lloyd, left the London town buildings and was going along a wooded dirt road.
Lydia looked up at it with the strange feeling that this reminded her of the eloping scene that was in the romance novel.
“I hope that she snuck out safely.”
She was told that further along this road, there was a noticeable spot that had two high trees standing together. Apparently, that was the meeting place that had also came out in the novel.
“Mr. Lloyd, are you feeling all right?”
“She doesn’t look like she’s come inside the hackney…”whispered Lydia.“If she heard about the elopement, she might try to interfere, so even if you meet with Miss Norma, you mustn’t talk about it.”
Just then, Lloyd’s expression suddenly turned grief-stricken and mournful.
Surprised, Lydia bent herself forward. “I don’t understand, what happened?”
“But, then you wouldn’t be able to fend off the Leanan sídhe.”
But, if he thought so, then why did he talk to me like he was going through with this runaway.
Just as she was sensing something suspicious, Lloyd reached over and grabbed Lydia’s arm.
“Eh, what, what are you…”
Oh my G.o.d, was the woman that Edgar had been seeing lately, Miss Browser?
“I-I’m not, there’s nothing between me and Edgar”
you that much. Anyway, as long as the Earl loses his interest in you, then there’s a chance that the arrangement with Norma would work out well, wouldn’t it?”
She had a feeling like she wanted to think he had the intention of just playing around and flirting with her, but Lydia just took in a deep breath to
“What are you planning to do wit