< — Love, Understanding and Family — > (2)
It was afternoon and Hugo was busy working on documents in his office when the scent of tea drifted into his nose. He knew someone had come in but he was focusing on something else so he didn’t pay much attention.
After a while, he looked up, glancing at the cup of tea that Jerome had placed quietly before leaving then he put his pen down on the table and leaned back in his chair. He picked up the cup of tea and walked into the balcony, deciding to take a short break.
Because of the incoming party, the garden was filled with a lot of people busying around. He looked around the garden, searching for his wife. He found her soon enough at a corner of the garden but she was not alone. She was with a black-haired child, Damian.
‘They’re really friendly with each other.’
He muttered to himself, frowning slightly. Looking at it objectively, their relationship was one where they could never get too close to each other. He was a little worried about her taking Damian to the garden party because a considerable amount of people would be suspicious about her intentions.
He considered telling her about his thoughts but shoved that idea away. She would know at least that much, she wasn’t a foolish woman.
Although, it was interesting that Damian was getting along with her quite well. The child wasn’t a very sociable boy but within a few weeks, he was made into an obedient puppy.
Even his butler Jerome was the same. ‘Milady’, ‘Milady’, was all he could say.
She seemed to have the amazing ability to turn people to her side. Even though many people liking her was definitely much better than them being her enemy, for some reason, he felt displeased inside.
‘What are they doing?’
For a while now, the two of them had been crouched low and their heads were facing each other. He couldn’t see what they were doing nor could he see their faces properly because he was too far away.
‘What the heck are those two doing?’
He grumbled inwardly.
Those last words were what was truly in his heart but because he was so childish, he couldn’t even bear to say it to himself.
* * *
Lucia and Damian were so engrossed in watching the amusing baby fox that they weren’t paying much attention to anything else. The big-eared yellow fox had awkward steps, toddling as it walked.
Whenever it tried to escape from between the two of them, it was gently blocked with one hand. It didn’t take long for it to give up on escaping, sit down and begin chasing its tail.
[He’s a rare mild and gentle guy for a fox. He’ll be easy to tame]
This was the common remark that the experienced breeders, which Kate sent to help, made after looking at the fox.
“Did you decide on a name, Damian?”
“Lucia, is…is it really okay for me to name it?”
“Of course. I’ll be happy if you name it.”
After Lucia asked him to give the fox a name a few days ago, Damian had worried about it for a while and rummaged through all sorts of dictionaries while his studying took a back seat.
“Asha? Does it have a meaning?” (Lucia)
“Just like the name… I want it to be very healthy and live long.”
“Asha. That’s a good name.”
Lucia lifted the fox and held it out to Damian.
“Since you’ve given it a name, hold it. Don’t just look at it.”
“Hurry up. I’ll drop it.”
As the time it was held up in the air grew longer, the baby fox began to struggle and wriggle around in her hands. Once he heard her say she’d drop it, Damian quickly reached out and carefully took the fox into his arms.
Asha lifted its long snout, looking at the boy for a moment, then it relaxed in his arms. The body temperature and the sound of fast-paced heartbeat of the small animal in his arms shocked Damian. It was a new sensation to him.
His emotions felt complicated and his body trembled. He felt like he hadn’t know what it meant to be alive until this moment.
“Just…it’s not like I hate it but I feel weird. My chest feels a little tingly….”
Looking at Damian who didn’t know how much strength to put in his arms as he held the little fox, Lucia smiled.
“Damian, that feeling means you think it’s loveable.”
“Yes. It’s the feeling your mother must have felt when she held you after you were born. You feel something is so loveable, your heart hurts.”
Damian stared silently at the fox with for a while, his expression unknown. The fox squirmed in his arms, adjusting itself to a more comfortable position then it placed its chin on the boy’s arms, blinking its eyes.
Damian lifted his head to look at Lucia, smiling brightly. It was the clear smile of a child, no darkness hidden within. The first carefree smile of the boy who was always stiff and brusque sent a burst of emotions through Lucia, deeply touching her.
Her gaze met Damian’s and she smiled at him.
A little distance away, Hugo’s red eyes trembled strongly as he gazed at them. Unable to curb his curiosity, he had finally left his office. He walked towards the corner of the garden where they stayed crouched and at some distance, he was able to see why they weren’t paying attention to anything else.
‘What is that?’
The sight of the little beast wriggling around and the two of them concentrating on it like a never-seen-before treasure in the world came into view. As he drew a little closer, he was able to hear their conversation.
‘Giving a beast a name? a useless act.’
The white horse he’d ridden for so many years still had no name.
Hugo furrowed his brow.
When he heard the name in the evening when they were taking a walk, he thought he had heard wrong but he was still somewhat sensitive to the name. This time, he had definitely heard it, and clearly too.
Why would Damian call her by that name?
It wasn’t Duchess, it wasn’t Mother and it wasn’t even her name. He stopped walking, standing still to think about it but couldn’t reach a conclusion so he resumed his journey.
However in a couple of steps, his footsteps paused again.
Looking at the boy’s smile that was as bright as sunshine, his heart clenched, filling his chest with biting pain.
He sighed mournfully.
He smiled powerlessly. The child’s smile was very similar to the one his brother had given him on the day they’d met.
He just hadn’t realized it but it seemed the brother that he’d been missing had always been by his side.
*There’s so much cuteness and fluff that I’m getting worried.
*Also, is Hugo developing eavesdropping tendencies? hur hur.