A mild warmth wrapped itself around me just as I was.
I don’t feel like getting up yet, so I snuggled closer into that warmth. I brushed up against something solid when I did, but it still feels good, so I didn’t think about it much.
*Hehehe* but then I heard someone laughing right above my head, so I forced open my eyes.
And there was El, brushing his hand against my head while hugging me close to him.
My still half asleep head frantically spun around trying to find some clue as to why I’m currently lying down in the same bed as El. I tried jumping out of bed at the same time, but El’s hold on me was so strong I couldn’t get away.
[Rose]: “Fue!? E-El!?”
[El]: “Morning Rose. Are you feeling okay? Are you hurt or sore anywhere?”
[Rose]: “M-Morning? …..no that’s not, why is El….. Hm? I thought….. I was kidnapped….. Hah!! Where’s Anna!? Is Anna safe!?”
[El]: “Calm down Rose. Your maid is safe and sound and sleeping right now just like you were. I need to let everyone know that you woke up. I should call the doctor too while I’m at it. For now, just lie down and rest.”
Giving my head one final pat, El crawled out of bed and left the room.
(Hah~ That was so nerve-wracking! What was up with that!? First thing I see when I wake up and it’s a handsome guy. My heart…..)
[Rose]: “I’m, really home….. Good, really, thank god…….”
Taking a second look around my room, I let the knowledge that I had really come back home safely slowly sink in.
My door was suddenly and vigorously thrown open with Mother, Father, and everyone else stumbling inside like an avalanche.
[Father]: “Rose! You’re awake.”
[Mother]: “Ah, I’m so, so happy you’re safe.”
Tears pooled around the edges of Mother and Father’s eyes as they rushed over to hug me.
[Rickert]: “Rose-chan, thank goodness.”
Rickert-oniisama stood off to the side having already started crying.
[Grandpa]: “Rose, are you sure you’re not hurt anywhere?”
[Grandma]: “Is it painful to move?”
My always lively grandpa was choked up with worry while Grandma’s face was strained and warped.
[Rose]: “…..S-Sorry to worry everyone. But I’m okay now. And no there’s nothing that hurts or feels broken.”
It might be wrong of me, but to be honest, seeing everyone worry like this warms my heart just a bit.
After losing my previous life saving a cat, was there anyone out there who had have mourned me? It’s hard to imagine. I can’t even say for sure if Erika, the only person I ever considered a friend back then, would have cried for me.
There are a few people I used to go to school with who might miss me, and there were a couple of people at work I got along with well enough. I think. But, if you’re asking me if there was anyone who would worry about me to the point where they’d start crying about it, I’d have to say no.
It’s why I’m so happy I’m allowed to live another life here.
[Rose]: “……Thank you, very much……”
[Mother]: “Rose-chan, I’m so happy you came back to us safe. I’ve been so busy with Ribel recently that I……I’m sorry. I’m such a terrible mother for letting this happen. Rose-chan…..thank you for coming back to us.”
With no sign of her tears stopping, Mother hugged me even tighter than she had before. I was scared. Scared that this was all a dream. Scared that I would wake up soon and find out I would never be able to go home. But there was something about the pain in my mother’s voice and the warmth from her arms that let me know everything really is going to be okay.
So I started crying too.
[Rose]: “Mother……Mother is a great mom. Ribel was just born, so of course you have to always be with her. I, have always known how much you love me. Thank you.”
My tears have probably already made a mess of my face, but I still did my best to fight through them and give my mom the biggest smile I could.
After a long while, Mother and everyone else were finally able to calm down. That was when El brought in a doctor who gave me a quick physical examination.
I was diagnosed with mild malnutrition and lack of sleep, so Allen left to have the chef cook me up a nutritious meal. Everyone else left the room shortly afterwards in an attempt to let me rest some more until the food is finished.
Everyone besides El, who continued to stand awkwardly by the door even after everyone else had disappeared.
[El]: “It feels like you’re going to disappear again if I take my eyes off you……so, can I stay here?”
With his ears and tail drooping low, there was no way I could turn him down when he asks with those upturned eyes of his. But when I let him know that it was okay, he suddenly started crawling back into my bed.
[Rose]: “Eh? …..E-El? That’s what you meant by here?”
[El]: “Yes. I have to hold onto you to stop you from disappearing again. That’s why I’m going to hold you. So please sleep well knowing that I’ll protect you.”
(…..N-No. How am I supposed to sleep at all like this….. But, if I try to turn him down he’ll just give me that same puppy-dog look like I’m tossing him out…..I wouldn’t be able to stand that. …..so it can’t be helped……?)
My thoughts were running a mile a minute at first, but I must have been more tired than I thought. The warmth of El’s body served to quickly cool my head, and I almost immediately drifted off.