"Isn't it amazing that they still have green trees and flowers here at this time of the year?" Elise nudged Loriel's arm and moved the man from his reverie. "It feels like magic!"
Well... it IS magic, Loriel wanted to tell her.
He could make it summer all year round if she wanted it. He didn't care what other people would think. They would probably blame it on global warming... hehehe.
"Yes, it is amazing," Loriel replied.
He looked up to the air and observed the falling petals. This thing was enough to make her brim with happiness.
Ahh.. It was so easy to make her happy. Loriel remembered, on her birthday, he gave her a kitten and she was so damn happy people would think he gave her a castle made of gold.
Ahem.. the kitten was not even a real gift.
Sigh. Loriel was so embarrassed every time he remembered that day.
He actually found the kitten stranded in the garden, looking for its mother. He picked it up because the meowing noise was annoying him. So, he tried to find the mother.
However, after searching around his palace, he could never find it. When he wanted to give the kitten to his butler, so he would bring it outside, Elise came to his residence.
When the woman saw Loriel carrying the small animal in his arms, she immediately thought it was a gift for her.
"Ahh... you remember..." she gushed. Her hands pressed her lips in awe and excitement.
She looked oh so adorable, like a little girl who was given a candied apple. Her expression was a mix of surprise and excitement.
Loriel didn't know what she was talking about. So, he pointed at the kitten in his arms and tilted his chin at her. "This?"
"Yes... I told you I would like to have a pet for my birthday..." Elise smiled like an angel, looking grateful and happy. "I love the kitten. Thank you so much!"
Loriel didn't have the heart to tell her that the kitten was lost and was probably looking for its mother. Elise innocently thought Loriel cared enough to remember something she said in passing, months ago.
Wait.. was today really her birthday? Why didn't anybody tell him?
Dammit. He must scold his butler for his failure to remind him of his wife's birthday.
"What will you name him?" Finally, Loriel handed over the kitten to Elise.
She took it with glee and kissed the kitten's head lovingly. It was not even a pretty kitten. It was black, ugly, and thin. However, she treated it like it was made of gold.
Loriel really couldn't understand this woman.
"Uhmm... I don't know yet," Elise looked embarrassed that she had not prepared any names for the kitten. She must not expect her husband would remember her wish and gave her a pet.
"Hmm.." Loriel crossed his arms on his chest and narrowed his eyes to observe the kitten more closely.
It looked very ordinary. He was not sure he could let her keep it. If the high nobility in Summeria saw how ugly the queen's pet was, they might think the Ashborns didn't have good taste.
He had to find an excuse not to let her keep the cat.
"I'm disappointed that you asked me for a pet, yet you don't prepare the name for it," he looked at her, pretending to be disappointed. "I think I cannot let you keep it."
"Please, don't..." Elise pursed her lips and her eyes became teary. "I have a name for it..."
"You do?" Loriel raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, yes..." Elise looked around her frantically, trying to find inspiration quickly. And suddenly, she blurted, "His name is Brick."
Loriel followed her gaze and realized she was looking at the brick wall behind him.
This woman was not too creative, he thought.
"Didn't you say you didn't know his name yet?" Loriel raised another eyebrow. He wanted to know how she could get away with this.
Elise licked her lips, as she always did whenever she was nervous.
Dammit. She didn't know the effect it had on Loriel every time she did that.
He would immediately think about how it was like to kiss her. Those luscious lips looked so alluring and inviting.
Elise shook her head shyly, but her eyes looked determined. She was a bad liar, but she tried nonetheless.
"I have some names for it already, I just couldn't decide which one I like better, between Brick... Pot... or..." She licked her lips again and looked behind Loriel. Finally, her eyes glint with excitement. "Or Pebble."
Loriel chuckled. Brick must be from the brick wall behind him, Pot was from the potted plants to his right, and Pebble.. was probably from the pebbles they were stepping on.
Normally, he would roll his eyes at her simplicity and lack of creativity, but this time, he found it too funny that he thought it would be fun to play pretend.
So, Loriel nodded in approval. "Okay. So, out of those three candidates, you finally decided on.... Brick?"
Elise nodded vigorously. "Yes."
She held the meowing kitten lovingly like she would a baby. Somehow, seeing her holding the small kitten in her arms, Loriel's mind wander. He thought she would look good with a baby in her arms.
Elise seemed like she would be a good and loving mother.
Gosh.. what was I thinking? Loriel scolded himself. He didn't love this woman! Whatever it was that he was feeling for her.. it must be pure lust. He was better than that.
He must not raise her hopes up.
"Okay, you can have it." He cleared his throat. "So, the name is... Brick?"
Elise nodded with a beautiful smile. "Yes."
"Are you sure?" Loriel looked at her deeply. "We can still find another, better name for it before this one gets stuck."
Elise shook her head. "It's Brick."
Loriel sighed. This woman could be stubborn if she wanted to. Finally, he gave up and let her have her way.
And that's how they got Brick.
The kitten grew up to be an ugly cat, like Loriel had predicted, but Elise loved him to bits. And Brick loved her as much as she loved him.
Loriel knew that darn cat hated everyone but his wife.
Well.. who could hate sweet Elise?
She was too good for this world.