Isley, who woke up early in the morning, did not go out to the gymnasium as usual. He put up a rose-shaped sign announcing that there was no one outside the door, and then lay back on his bed. And with his face buried in the pillow, he waited for nine in the morning.
When the time came, the sound of the door opening was heard. Isley quickly got up from his seat and turned his gaze to the door. A girl with light blonde hair was putting her feet into his room with her cleaning tools.
With the bucket full of water on the floor, the maid opened her mouth in amazement when she saw Isley.
“Ah…! You are here? There was a sign hanging on it, so I thought you weren’t there. Do I interfere with your sleep? Shall I go?”
“… No, come in.”
Isley smiled bitterly and sat down on the edge of the bed.
‘What are you expecting? There’s no way Layla can’t come in. Because the child has already left…’
He blankly watched the newly appointed maid do the cleaning. Isley watched her room being cleaned, recalling his memories of the first time Layla entered the room.
At that time, Layla entered the room and looked around, perhaps thinking that the lack of a sign meant that the room was empty. She looked at the furniture and ornaments up and down with a little admiration. Upon seeing her, Isley decided to surprise her with his playfulness. As she approached the bed, I quickly pulled the duvet off…
Layla was startled and slapped her butt.
Isley laughed, and Layla pouted her mouth with a prickly face. Employers usually do not display negative emotions. It is also rude and causes inconvenience to employers. But it wasn’t enough for Layla to show her irritation on her face, she shouted boldly at him, saying her heart was about to fall because of him. At first, Isley had no idea of such a Layla.
Just for a moment, I thought it was unusual and the reaction was funny.
However, over time, that thought has gradually changed. The unusual child became the funny child, and the funny child became the favorite child. And the child I liked became the child I love.
Isley liked Layla.
There are so many pleasant things in the world. The girl who often smiled with a smile had good attachment and didn’t think of him as an aristocrat.
She was honest with her feelings and used to get angry when he joked around. When she was cleaning and babbling about the funny things that happened throughout the day, she burst into laughter.
The story of a girl who has a bad relationship, the story of her older sister, the story of her favorite food, and the story of wanting to buy new clothes.
It was fun. Isley fell in love with the time he spent with Layla.
There were times when I went to eat to hear Layla’s story, or deliberately stayed in the room without practicing swordsmanship. I had the thought that someday I would like to stroke her cheek, which has always been painted red. Even though the color red is just disgusting.
Worst. Isley sighed and wiped his face with one hand. It was painful to be here because I kept thinking of Layla. His mood sags and my eyes heat up. I felt like crying, but my tears did not come out. Eventually I got up and left the room.
It was past nine o’clock when I left the room. It was breakfast time.
I felt a tight hunger in my stomach and headed to the dining room. The servant who saw Isley’s figure quickly opened the door to the dining room. Isley stepped inside. Two people were sitting at a large table. One was Arthur Emers, and the other was Osses Emers. The chair was empty. Even today, the duke did not participate in the meal.
‘I didn’t even expect it.’
Because she is a woman who thinks it is more efficient to eat alone in her room or office than to go to a dining room needlessly and eat. Isley smirked and sat down next to Arthur. Then he cut the omelette that a maid had placed in front of him and put it in his mouth.
‘It tastes awful…’
Isley spit on the napkin. He usually likes to eat omelettes. He liked not only that, but all dishes made with eggs. He really liked… Oddly enough, it felt tasteless now. Isley has been like this since Layla left. Feeling his taste drop, he put down his fork and knife and rinsed his mouth with water. Seeing this, Arthur frowned in concern.
“Why don’t you eat more?”
“I have no appetite.”
“Why are you doing this now? Is it because of that maid again?”
That maid… He’s talking about Layla. Hearing the departed comments from his mouth, Isley felt his breath choke.
“Stop it and forget it.”
Osses swallowed the food behind Arthur’s words and added a few more words.
“Yeah, forget it. Isn’t she the maid you haven’t seen in a while anyway? She has been working here not long. But it’s kind of weird to pretend that there was some kind of close emotional exchange. As Arthur said, stop forgetting. Don’t act like a scumbag.”
“… Am I weird?”
Isley burst out laughing as if the words were funny, then glared at Osses with bitter eyes. Isley, who most resembled the Duke of Emers among his brothers, had the same sharp eyes as his mother. For that reason, when he erased his smiling face, he would spit out a ferocious energy that would startle the viewer. However, Osses, who fully receive the gaze, only eat food calmly like a person who has no feelings.
“It’s not me that’s weird, it’s the two of you. Didn’t both of you have a crush on Layla? But why when she’s gone you’re not sad? Why are you acting like it’s nothing? Watching the two of you act… It’s like you didn’t care at all about Layla.”
At first, Isley thought the two of them were just pretending to be okay.
But after some time I realized that wasn’t the case. Arthur and Osses aren’t pretending to be okay, they’re really okay.
“You suddenly change your attitude, don’t you think it’s strange?”
At Isley’s words, Arthur shut his mouth like a troubled man, and Osses didn’t respond. Then, at Isley’s urging to answer, Osses wiped his mouth with a napkin and said:
“Yes, that is correct. I was interested. By the way… When Layla left the mansion, I didn’t feel much. I guess my feelings for her were just passing attention.”
You framed her and locked her in a dungeon? Why did you do that! There were words that filled his throat, but Isley couldn’t get them out and bit his mouth. Because he felt he should not have mentioned the incident the duke had buried.
So he spit out swear words and got up from his seat.
The place Isley headed out of the dining room was to the study. He didn’t have a specific destination in mind. To calm his emotions, he just walked as far as he could, and he had arrived.
Arriving at the library, Isli knew why she had come here. This was the place where I had memories with Layla.
I missed her, so I came to the study room by myself.
After a moment’s hesitation, he stepped into the room that smelled of old books. Isley moved forward, gently sweeping the book with his hands.
‘Come to think of it, I did something stupid the first time I came to the library with Layla.’
At that moment, Isley noticed at a glance that Layla liked the study room. He wanted to take her and tour her all over the study room. But he was shy to bring up the word that he was going to show her in person, so he decided to play tag for nothing. Because it seemed like that would allow her to look around the study room as she finds a place to hide. Come to think of it, he wouldn’t have acted so foolishly.
‘Then do you want to watch it together? How could that single word be so difficult? If I could go back to the past, but, I would never do that.’
The more I thought of Layla, the more I felt an unbearable longing. Isley wanted to cry, but he couldn’t.
I just stood there and looked down at my hands.
There is nothing in the hand with calluses nailed to it.
‘I didn’t want to let Layla’s hand go….’
Isley didn’t want to let go of that hand for as long as he could. I wanted to beg her not to go on his knees.
It doesn’t matter if she hates me, so I hoped that she would stay with me. But she was scared and couldn’t help but tell me to stop.
‘Since when did Layla become afraid of me? In what way did she see the figure of Count Nigor? If I had shown a more careful side, would she not have left me? I… Would you have thought of me a little better?’
If I had been a little weaker towards Layla, if I hadn’t understood what she was saying, I might have been selfish. Isley clenched his fists and lifted his head.
A red sunset was shining outside the window.
Isli hated the sunset.
Because the whole world is painted in a cold, bitter red that resembles a Duke’s eye.
But now I don’t think so negatively.
The warm red color resembling Layla’s red cheeks was more lovely than anything else, and I felt that I missed her so much that my heart was numb.
Isley reaches out to the window, hoping to reach that light. The red light only touches the palm of the hand for a moment, but it is never caught. It’s always been like that. Everything he hoped for didn’t happen in the end.
As darkness fell in the study room, Isley returned to his room through the hallway near the garden. It was the place Layla used to clean frequently. Seeing the empty hallway, Isley was reminded once again that she had left. When he reached the room, he fell on the bed.
Isley knew there was only one way to see Layla again. She left without saying where she was going, but if he inquired through the information guild, he would be able to meet her again. Because he had enough money and time. But if he did so, he met and he feared that Layla might look at him with cold eyes again and again.
But, but… There was something else that was really scary. Isley feared most of all that in order to meet Layla, he would have to leave the mansion where he had lived for a long time. It’s just getting out of a place that doesn’t have such good memories, and that’s all, I don’t know what’s so terrifying.
‘When did you become such a coward?’
As a child, Isley was many times more courageous than this. He did anything to win love.
He wasn’t afraid to get down on his knees and beg for his partner, to force her to love him, or to lose his pride and lose himself. There was a time.
‘… I didn’t want to be like this.’
Isley, pitying himself for having changed, buried his face in the pillow.
That day Isley had a dream.
It was a childhood dream.