I was still lacking. I felt like I could do everything, but there were subtle regrets, and it was my grandfather who filled that part, not me. I felt very sorry for my grandfather. But my grandfather hugged me quietly.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to shoulder that burden yet. If you have any difficulties, lean on your grandfather. I will always be your strength.”
After my grandfather passed away, for 10 years, I really thought nothing of it and lived only for my family. There were many times when I couldn’t stand it and wanted to sit down, but no one comforted me. There was no support. Just stand tall and face the storm. But not now. I did not have to abandon the approaching storm alone. A fact that was forgotten at some point. A sense of relief that I had forgotten that my grandfather was still alive rose up.
So quietly in my grandfather’s arms, I smelled the fragrant apple pie. Then Ian’s voice came to my ears.
“I want this, it’s not my turn to step out.”
His murmurings somehow made me smile.
* * *
When the situation was settled, my grandfather left, saying he had some work for a while. I wanted to have a little more conversation, but I licked my lips as I saw him leave without saying anything. Only then did Ian start talking as if he was sad.
“It’s fine. I don’t have to worry so much because we have plenty of time.”
I didn’t think much of it, but I stared blankly at Ian’s face as he spoke first. And I took out a question that came to my mind and spit it out.
“But what have you been doing here since morning?”
Ian met my eyes full of doubt and blinked. He opened his eyes wide as if he hadn’t thought of it, sat down on the chair, leaned back, crossed his legs, and corrected his posture. For a moment, I wondered if I was in Ian’s mansion, not the castle office, so I looked around and opened my mouth.
“Do you want some tea too?”
“Tea? Oh, okay. I didn’t come here to drink tea.”
Aristocrats evaluated people with insignificant things such as courtesy and aristocratic culture. Because of that, there were more than 30 types of tea leaves for serving guests.
“It’s very different from anyone else.”
I murmured, thinking of the man who was talking nonsense while making excuses for tea. I felt deep regret that he should have killed that human, but I couldn’t help it. I later decided to get revenge.
“Who? Oh, that guy who lives a terminal life?”
“Is it time-limited?”
What was the time limit all of a sudden? As I stared at him, he shrugged his shoulders. It’s obvious when you see people going in and out of this place, not even knowing how precious their life was. Weren’t you anxious to die?”
“Is that so?”
“Sure. Next time you come, tell me, I’ll kill you.”
Snorting and raising his chin was somehow funny and cute. This man’s mental world was so free-spirited that I wondered if it had stopped when he was still a boy. He seemed to be serious and pretending to be serious outside, but everyone would be surprised to know that this kind of man was the head of the Duke of Berdian family.
“Anyway, you must have been through a lot lately. Your face is very damaged.”
“My face? It can’t be.”
I turned my head to check my reflection in the standing mirror. I didn’t think it’s that bad… I had been taking care of my skin from time to time. First of all, the fact that I regained my old skin was already a profitable business. By the time I was twenty-eight, the lack of sleep, plus the stress, had made my skin flaky and lost its youthful vitality. There were times when I was thrilled with the moisture I could feel when I touched my current skin. I thought I’d never get it again! I vowed to keep it and managed it every day.
“Oh, to be precise, it’s about losing weight.”
“Have I lost weight?”
“Ugh. A little.”
I tapped my chin. Did I? I didn’t know. I was so busy that I didn’t even know I had gained or lost weight. I had been skipping a lot of meals lately, so I nodded, thinking I might have missed one, and Ian shrugged.
“Are you eating well? I asked the young butler earlier, and he said that you eat lunch late, let alone breakfast, so how about something to eat? Losing weight isn’t bad, but I want you to look a little healthier.”
“Just because I gain weight doesn’t mean I would look healthy.”
“It’s not like that, but you are too skinny. I think you are about to collapse.”
“Ah, no. There are many people who are much thinner than this.”
Anorexia was a common disease among women. When I picked up sugary tea, snacks, and food that looked like I was gaining a lot of weight at a party, I naturally had no choice but to pay attention to my body.
While worrying about the food they put into their mouths, the ladies insisted that attending banquets, parties, and tea parties that unfolded every day was cultured. They meant stupidly. And after the party, they put their fingers in their throat and vomited it all up. I heard that such things have decreased a bit these days, but since it was impossible to wear de Bes, which is currently in vogue, without being very thin, it was only natural that men’s clothes were the same. All of them were tight for men to wear. Because of this, it seemed that some kind of wooden stick was moving when the young people who did not think of themselves as skinny people came out to the party and walked around. In my eyes from the future, it seemed stupid and I wanted to be like that, but now this is the trend. Once upon a time I followed the trend,
“It has nothing to do with them. I’m talking about you, Lawrence.”
“It’s okay. Well, if it’s a little thin, I’ll be fine. It’s because I don’t have to try hard to live.”
He shook his head. Ian lowered his eyes slightly as if I was uncomfortable with my words and spoke quietly.
“I feel like you’re about to collapse.”
“I won’t fall down.”
“Then let’s go…”
“I know, I’m worried. I think I’m overdoing it.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I closed my mouth. I tucked my hair behind my ear and looked at his red eyes. The young ladies praised Ian’s eyes, saying that they looked like they had beautiful rubies embedded in them. I also thought so at first, but Ian’s eyes were never ruby. It wasn’t bright or beautifully shiny. If I had to describe them, it looked like it was stained with blood. The red color was so deep that at times it felt dark, and the color was very dense. So sometimes I had a hard time guessing what this man was thinking. Since I dealt with people a lot, I was accustomed to responding skillfully to changes in the mood or expression. But it was very difficult to figure out Ian. still the same now, He looks at me mischievously and sometimes smiles to the point of being rude. Even then, he changed the atmosphere in an instant and seemed to look inside me. like right now.
“What do you mean? I’m not overdoing it.”
“I feel like you’re being chased.”
“Are you kicked out…?”
“It seems like you’re just running forward aimlessly without a destination like a deer running away from a wild beast. Super union is smeared on your face.”
“It can’t be.”
I denied it and smiled. How did he know that just by looking at a person’s face? He grabbed my hand, which I denied while shaking it. I looked at my hand, which was buried in a large hand, then moved my gaze to examine Ian. He opened his eyes slightly and opened his mouth.
“Aren’t you overdoing it?”
“No. What am I doing?”
“You’re trying to shoulder it all by yourself.”
My body trembled. I was used to restraining my emotions and pushing them inside. However, I was not very immune to being stabbed deep inside.
“What is that…”
“Viscount Ajstain said that earlier. His granddaughter seems to be having a hard time these days. I don’t know why, but you are moving as if someone is chasing you from behind, but you complained that you wouldn’t reach out your hand at all.”
“…Are you a grandfather?”
“The Ajstain family says they learn from a young age to take responsibility for their own actions. I’m sure that’s the same, right?”
It wasn’t really our family’s culture. That’s the attitude of an adult. Only then would you become a person who could have a conversation with an adult. Ever since I was little, I wanted to get to that point. From the moment I was appointed as the next head of the Ajstain family.
“Well, that’s not a bad thing. It’s very proud of me to think that sometimes even after growing old, there are scumbags who don’t deserve their age and go wild. But, Lawrence.”
He released my hand from his grasp and placed his palm lightly over it. I lowered my eyes and then raised them to look at Ian. He said softly.
“You’re not alone. It’s not the time to be independent yet.”
“But the coming-of-age ceremony…”
“Just because you’ve had a coming-of-age ceremony doesn’t mean you’ll have the strength to stand on your own right away…”
I looked up at his smile.
“You don’t have to shoulder everything. Why are you so willing to take responsibility all by yourself? Recently, Viscount Ajstain took over all the business he was doing, and he suddenly said he had no idea what was going on.”
Did he know that too? I bit my lip.
“…I’m preparing in advance.”
“What are you getting ready for?”
What was she getting ready for? I felt my breath suffocate at his question. The memories of that day, which I didn’t want to think about, and I didn’t want to think about again, stir in my head again. I was so sad at the time that I couldn’t even cry. All I could do was stand in despair and let out a deep sigh as he looked at the body that had cooled down. The image of the family, the younger sister, and the people who turned coldly in an instant. I had to deal with all of that. It was a fate that the 18-year-old young woman passed on to the Lord. So prepared. I needed a foundation on which I could stand firm without being ignored, even when I was alone, running without rest. I had to lay the groundwork. However, even if I ran every day, the time was running out.
“You look exhausted, Lawrence.”
I looked exhausted. How could that be right? In the last few months, I’ve been running only looking ahead. I put my heart and soul into it because I wanted to be freer in the future that would unfold someday. Then, there were many times when I looked back and felt alone. I never thought of wanting to lean on someone. because I’m used to doing it alone.
10 years since the day my grandfather passed away, I had to endure everything alone without relying on anyone. Even though I was exhausted and tired, I had to move again the next day. Because that’s how I was able to protect my family. In the meantime, Beralt was cruel to me, who thought he was my support. His betrayal made me lose my mind completely, thinking life was exhausted. The mind was also exhausted. The more I did, the more I had to push myself. I was the only one who could take care of everything in the family, and it went back only when I was there. But looking back, it wasn’t now. There were so many things I forgot. And I had to admit it.
“You can lean on me. If it’s hard, you can leave it to me, you’re not alone.”
Next week there won’t be any release of this story because I will take a vacation. See you soon!
Hello there! This is RJR. Thank you very much for reading.
Next post will be released on May, 1.
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