< — Father and Son — > (3)
TN: Nothing to see here, move along~
As they walked through the garden, Damian continuously stole glances at Lucia.
“Is there something you want to say?”
“It’s kind of…amazing. You aren’t afraid of his Grace…”
“Is there any wife that’s afraid of her husband? Damian, when you grow up and get married, would you like for your wife to be afraid of you?”
Damian shook his head. However, the young Damian was yet to fully grasp her meaning.
It was a huge shock to Damian that Lucia could treat the Duke whom he saw as someone on the peak of a distant mountain, very comfortably.
In Damian’s eyes, Lucia was a small, gentle herbivore. On the other hand, the Duke was a large, ferocious carnivore.
The boy was confused at the fact that the two beings, who in normal circumstances could not match each other, were seemingly a perfect fit.
“And here. Repeat after me. Father.” (Lucia)
Lucia subconsciously reached out to stroke the boy’s head. Damian was surprised and reflexively moved away and Lucia was also surprised and withdrew her hand.
They stopped walking and awkwardness filled the air.
“…Sorry, my body moved on its own…did I upset you?”
“Ah…no. I was just a little surprised.”
Damian had never had such close contact with anyone else before.
“I’m not upset or anything…” (Damian)
“When a child does something praiseworthy, one can compliment and also pet them. I won’t do it if you don’t like it.”
Damian hesitated a bit then spoke in a tiny voice.
“I don’t…hate it.”
“Really? Then, is it okay if I pet you right now?”
Damian nodded. Lucia slowly stretched her hand towards the boy as though saying, ‘I’m not your enemy’ and stroked the top of his black hair. Maybe because he was very young, his hair was much softer than she’d imagined.
She stroked his head a few times before withdrawing her hand. She felt excitement as though she was given a present because she had finally accomplished what she’d been wanting to do ever since she laid eyes on the boy.
‘When will I get to pinch his cheeks?’
Lucia began to walk with a joyful heart and Damian quickly followed, walking beside her.
“Earlier, in the dining, why did you get angry?”
“Huh? That…I wasn’t angry…that was…umm that is to say…”
Lucia didn’t want to explain it nor did she know how to explain it so she began to rack her brain on how to naturally shift the topic. Just at the moment, she finally recalled something she’d been forgetting.
“Ah! Damian, you don’t have a tail-coat to wear to the party. I didn’t think of that. Do you happen to have anything?”
“I do not.”
“Right. There’s no way you would, you were at school all the time.”
“Lucia, I don’t have to attend…”
Damian wanted to use this chance to one way or the other, remove himself from this occasion. He’d already had his fill of the women’s gazes in the horse-riding field.
He didn’t care how they saw him but he was unhappy when Lucia became the target of those strange gazes. He didn’t want Lucia to sent those gazes because of him.
“No, you have to attend. Mmm…who can I ask about this?”
Lucia did not want to go against Damian’s intentions as much as possible but this time, she wanted to make sure Damian attended the garden party. She’d taken him to the horse-riding field and had them greet him but that was not an official occasion.
The garden party would be a formal social gathering. The scale of the party this time was big and all the renowned noble women in the northern social circle were invited.
If she were to formally introduce Damian in that gathering, Damian’s position would change.
Of course, Damian was still young and as it was a women-only garden party, it could not be his official social debut.
However, oftentimes children would appear in social circles in advance as it would be helpful to them later if they were put in people’s memories beforehand.
There was a reason noble ladies threw parties even though it was a hassle and cost a lot.
“You can purchase ready-made tail-coats for children.”
Lucia and Damian stopped walking at the sound of this voice and looked backwards. It seemed like at some time, Hugo had begun walking behind them. Seeing them stop, Hugo closed the distance between them.
For the first time since he came to Roam, Damian stood beside his father so he was stunned and stared at his strong father. He couldn’t remember how long it was since he’d seen his father so close.
“Since it’s a garden party, there’s not need to think of it so complicatedly.” (Hugo)
“What a relief, thanks for letting me know. If it’s ready-made garments then… for Damian, we have to get garments for children around twelve years old.”
“Damian is much bigger than usual eight year olds. Compared to his peers, he’s a giant.”
Hugo’s gaze moved and fell on Damian. ‘This little guy?’ was what his gaze was saying.
“You never know, someday he could be bigger that you.”
His tone of his mumble was somewhat odd however, Lucia didn’t catch it, rather it was Damian that noticed it.
‘There’s no way I’m growing bigger than father.’
While thinking this, Damian began to worry whether Lucia might have annoyed his father.
“I think you were much bigger that he is when you were his age, right?”
“…I don’t know.”
Hugo wasn’t fated with a good life where he compared heights with his peers. When he was around Damian’s age, most of the slave children around him did not know his age and for him, he also didn’t know his exact age until he was kidnapped and brought to Roam by the now dead Duke.
“Didn’t you have a lot of work? I thought you would return to the office right away.” (Lucia)
“Am I interrupting?”
Hugo replied sullenly.
“Usually when you leave for a while and return, you get busier. Actually, you came at the right time. I don’t think Damian has greeted you officially. Damian, go ahead.”
Damian hesitantly looked at Lucia then bowed his head.
“I extend my greetings, it has been a long time, have you been well…?”
He lifted his lowered head and stealthily glanced at Lucia only to see her mouthing the words, ‘father’.
Damian squeezed out his courage.
Hugo’s eyebrows jumped. The title didn’t exactly make him uncomfortable or displeased but he wasn’t used to it.
Perhaps because of Hugo’s hatred and disgust towards the existence of a father, it was a word that had never come out of his mouth. Even when he lived under the previous Duke, he had never officially called the man father.
As his silence grew longer, Lucia secretly pulled his sleeve. He met her eyes and she was smiling so excessively that it gave some kind of unspoken pressure.Although he was indifferent, he wasn’t dense. He opened his mouth and gave a soft reply.
The boy’s neck flushed red and seeing that, Lucia felt pleased.
‘I wish he’d quickly learn how cute Damian is.’
But for today, it was fine. There was still a lot more time so she would take it slowly.
“So you’re taking a walk? Aren’t you busy?”
“I’m out for a walk.”
Hugo replied sourly, feeling as though she was trying to get rid of him again. On the other hand, Lucia was thinking that maybe he was tired since he was having meetings all day long so she gave in and put it off her mind.
“Then the three of us can walk together. This would be the first time for the three of us.”
Hugo glanced down at Damian. When his father’s eyes landed on him, the boy flinched. Damian didn’t know why but he felt as though it wouldn’t be good to keep staying there.
The rare species of herbivore, Lucia didn’t sense anything wrong however, the carnivore cub, Damian was able to sense the subtle snarl of the great lion.
“I’ll be going back inside. There’s a book I have to read so…” (Damian)
“Damian, if you go to your desk right after eating, it’s not good for you. Your food needs to digest.” (Lucia)
“I’m done digesting. I must read this book today.”
Damian bowed his head then quickly disappeared like he was running away. Lucia wistfully watched Damian’s departing back meanwhile Hugo had an expression full of satisfaction.
‘This boy, he’s not useless at all.’
The recognition the boy wanted to receive from his father was very easily obtained.
*Herbivore and carnivores 😂😂😂