< — Father and Son — > (2)
It was the first dinner together for the three people that had become family. Damian was the first to arrive at the dining room and sat waiting. When Lucia arrived, he got up and helped her into her seat as usual.
“Damian, have you seen your father?”
“I have not yet sent my greetings. His Grace was continuously occupied.”
“You’re right. He seems very busy today.”
Lucia pouted slightly as she replied.
‘No matter how busy he is, calling the boy in for a short greeting wouldn’t be too hard. Now look, this meal ends up being the first time they meet.’
Really, he was so inconsiderate. It was really admirable that Damian managed to grow so big without having a twisted mind.
Lucia had also been busy today and the fact that she was unable to have lunch with Damian as usual was constantly on her mind.
“What did you do for lunch? You didn’t skip it, did you? I had a lot of work today so I couldn’t pay attention.”
“I ate and I know that you’re busy preparing for your party.”
After a while, Hugo arrived. His gaze fell on Damian, pausing on the boy for a little while then he sat down.
Without a simple word of greeting, the first family meal began. In the suffocatingly quiet dining room, Lucia proceeded to alternate glances between father and son.
‘Both of them are quite extreme.’
She didn’t expect an amicable, friendly relationship and Lucia didn’t know that ever since Damian went to boarding school, they hadn’t seen each other but even so it was obvious that this identical pair of father and son had not seen each other in a long time yet their eyes didn’t even meet.
‘Damian said he admires his father and…he wouldn’t have made Damian his successor if he hated him…’
The dreary atmosphere between the two was as cold as the weather but Lucia had no idea what to do so she decided to not worry about it.
The atmosphere between them wasn’t murderous or threatening and Lucia didn’t have any problems with either of them so the thought that it was serious didn’t occur to her.
‘It will probably be better if I am in the middle.’
Lucia didn’t think that a relationship like this could be changed overnight. If one tries to forcefully improve a relationship, the side effects could be huge.
When Damian returns to boarding school, the memory of his time here would remain a good one and if Hugo became more conscious of his son than before, that would be good too. For now, she would consider that as the first step.
‘Although…it’s really nice to see them side by side.’
It felt as though there was a big Hugo and a small Hugo together. Just looking at the two of them made her feel content. Meanwhile, the servants felt that the Lady of the House was incredible to eat calmly in such a suffocating atmosphere.
“Is the preparation for the garden party going well?”
Hugo asked a few moments after they had finished dining.
“Yes, it’s going smoothly. And about that, I have something to tell you. I was thinking about having Damian attend, what do you think?”
Damian who was drinking water made a small choking sound. Hugo glanced at Damian then moved his gaze to Lucia.
“Isn’t it a party for women?”
“But Damian isn’t a man, he’s just 8 years old.”
For a moment, there was silence then Hugo let out a small laugh while Damian’s ears flushed red.
“As you say, Damian is not a man. Do as you please.”
“Damian, what do you think?”
Damian suddenly opened his mouth but when Hugo’s calm gaze moved to him, he shut his mouth and lowered his head.
“…Yes. I will do so.”
Lucia could feel the absolute power difference between father and son. Sometimes, Damian was so mature it was hard to believe he was just eight years old.
With his huge, sturdy build, his stiff but polite manner of speaking and his vocabulary that was on the level of an adult, one could barely see the signs that he was a child.
Lucia tried to remember herself as an eight year old child but found that she could barely even remember. Perhaps she had spent her time playing with the other children in the neighborhood.
But beside Hugo, Damian became a cub lion. In comparison, Hugo was the lion king, seated on the highest throne and looking down below. It seemed as though even if Hugo’s giant paw pressed down on him, Damian wouldn’t even make a sound.
‘It’s a good thing for a son to admire his father but they could also have difficulties to some extent.’
Lucia’s mood improved when she began to think that there was some possibility for improvement in their relationship.
‘The great lion king and his cub lion…now that I think about it, the banner for the Taran family is a black lion. How fitting.’
“Did you have something planned after the meal?” (Hugo)
“Nothing special, I wanted to go to the study and read a book.” (Lucia)
“Is it a book you have to read today?”
“Not really. Are we having guests?”
“At this time? There’s no need to attend to such rude guests.”
“Take a light stroll to digest your meal and take a bath.”
“I’m saying if you want to wake up early tomorrow, you have to retire to bed early.”
As Lucia looked her Hugo, her face gradually became red.
‘So someone’s face can get this red.’
Damian thought with an expressionless face.
“… What the hell are you saying in front of the child?”
Lucia’s face was crimson and she spoke in hushed tones. Seeing Lucia this way, Hugo couldn’t help but chuckle.
“What did I say?” (Hugo)
Lucia glared at him then stood up. Hugo called after her as she walked away.
“Where are you going?”
“Going for a walk!”
Her footsteps thudded as she rushed out of the hall with huge strides.
Damian stared blankly at her departing back. The boy could not understand the situation itself.
What part of that conversation caused Lucia to have such an excessive reaction? The smart boy couldn’t figure it out at all.
As the boy was mulling over it in his head, he heard the sound of a small laugh and turned his head in that direction, only to see the Duke laughing quite pleasantly.
The boy had seen the Duke’s cold smile or his ridiculing smile but it was his first time seeing the Duke laughing like this.
It was fascinating to see and at the same time, shocking. His father that was as fierce as a sword suddenly seemed human.
After a while, Lucia came back into the dining room.
“Damian, let’s go together.”
Damian glanced at the Duke then stood up and followed after Lucia. The suddenly alone Hugo’s expression didn’t look so good.
The word she’d said the previous night.
He began to worry over that word. He recalled her appearance as she called for Damian without any inhibitions or hesitation and it seemed like the two of them had grown pretty friendly while he was gone.
It wasn’t as though he wanted them to have a terrible relationship but for some reason, he didn’t quite like it.
*I didn’t realize how much I wanted to see Damian and Hugo interact till this chapter (cries).