< — Love, Understanding and Family — > (5)
TN: (๑ơ ₃ ơ)♥
Lucia entered the central tower and checked behind her. Damian who said he would be following her shortly was nowhere to be found.
She asked a maid to fetch him and went into the receiving room. She sat down, placed her head on the sofa and closed her eyes. Her head was hurting.
‘I was too complacent. To think it would be a party-break.’
She thought too lightly of the women’s stubborn pride that wouldn’t break even if their neck was snapped. She let her guard down at the fact that the atmosphere here was distinctly different from the one in the capital’s social circles.
She also might have been conceited about the fact that she was a Duchess without even realizing it. Even though she knew that in the high society, one’s reputation and personal connections accumulated over the years was much more important than status, she had foolishly overlooked it.
‘From the first time I saw that woman, I didn’t really like her.’
Lucia was deeply impressed by the character of Countess Corzan, the godmother of the northern high society so she had high expectations before meeting the Countess of Wales, whose influence was much greater. However, her expectations quickly turned into disappointment.
In her eyes, the Countess of Wales, who was invited to her tea party a couple of times, was like a snake in human skin. It was mistake to just smile in the past because she wanted to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Because now, the Countess took her to be a joke and led this kind of thing.
‘Although I knew it wouldn’t be easy.’
Which is why she had asked Kate to definitely bring the Countess of Corzan if possible. She wanted to have a safety shield. There was no way the Countess wouldn’t know how to make a frontal confrontation when faced with a party break. Her result of her mistake of not being careful was painful.
‘Is the Countess of Wales angered because of her extramarital issues?’
It would be too shallow to simply see this incident as a crafty high society greeting. If the Countess wanted to humiliate Lucia using the party-break, she had a lot more to lose than to gain from it.
Even if status was not absolute in the high society, status could never be ignored. Moreover, the Duke of Taran’s absolute influence in the north was not inferior to that of the King’s in the capital.
The Countess of Wales wouldn’t have thought to do such a thing if she hadn’t assumed what was in Lucia’s mind and calculated off of that.
One villain recognizes another. No matter how much Lucia observed the behavior of people in the high society, she did not have a mind twisted enough to grasp the psychology of the people who were capable of scheming and conspiring.
‘A person’s actions can’t only be judged with rationality.’
It was unprecedented that an illegitimate child entered into the family was selected as a candidate. Lucia began to mull over the problem a bit more seriously.
‘If the northern atmosphere is like this then the capital’s must be formidable as well.’
She wondered if Hugo would have any idea on how to resolve this issue. Seeing as he didn’t think bringing Damian to party was a big deal, he may not have any ideas.
‘Damian inheriting the title may the beginning of a different era in the future. That’s probably why people are resistant.’
She was too hasty. She didn’t want to miss this chance since Damian might be going back to the Academy soon. She introduced Damian to the women at the horse riding field and took it lightly because the garden party could not considered be Damian’s formal social debut.
She opened her eyes and checked around but Damian was still nowhere to be found.
‘Hasn’t it been a while since I asked the maid to get him?’
The headache was making her irritated. She called for another maid.
“Why is it taking so long to fetch the young lord?”
The maid immediately left in haste and returned after a while.
“Milady, the young master did not answer when he was asked to come in. The one who receive Milady’s first order is at the young master’s side not knowing what to do.”
“What is Damian doing outside?”
“Nothing…just looking at people.”
What could the child be thinking as he watched those people? She had to ask him when he came in.
Lucia closed her eyes again.
At some point, Kate had entered and was sitting next to Lucia, holding her hand. Lucia opened her eyes and seeing Kate, she gave her a smile.
“Thank you for today, Kate.”
“No, I was of no help at all. Don’t be too upset. By all means, just think of it as a rite of passage.”
Kate was worried that Lucia would be overcome with shame because of broken pride. However, Lucia did not care about things like an organizer’s pride. Even though it was in her dream, she had worked as a nursing maid for a noblewoman. This type of thing wasn’t enough for her pride to feel humiliated.
“It’s okay. And I’m sorry Kate, but do you mind going back for today? I have a lot to think about.”
Kate replied that she understood, spoke a few more words of comfort then left. Lucia called Jerome who was continuously lingering around.
“Is he in the office?”
“No. An urgent message arrived and Master had to head out. He did not give a definitive reply as to whether he would return today.”
Lucia felt a little sad and relieved at the same time.
“I will inform him of today’s matter so don’t tell him directly.”
“Also, will you call Anna for me?”
The headache was getting worse so she thought to have some medicine. After Jerome went out, Lucia sent all the maids away.
She looked at Damian who had come in some moments ago and beckoned him over.
“Damian, come here.”
Damian approached and went on his knees before Lucia. Lucia sprang up in surprise.
“I’m sorry. Because of me…” (Damian)
The boy did not care how others looked at him. No matter how intense the unfriendly gazes were, they did not cause him any direct harm. But he didn’t want them to send such gazes to Lucia.
Damian didn’t know the high society very well, nor did he know what a party-break was but he knew that the earlier situation had humiliated Lucia.
Anger. He felt anger at his weakness. The situation would have turned out completely different if his father was there.
“No, Damian. Why do you have to apologize?”
Lucia felt her tears threaten to fall and reach out to lift Damian, taking him into her arms. Damian said he didn’t like it from the beginning and she was the one that persuaded him. In the end, things turned out this way.
‘I should have gone about it a different way. It would have been fine to just introduce him when the party was almost finishing but I was too greedy.’
“I’m sorry, Damian. I didn’t think of you. I didn’t think that you could be hurt and only thought of myself.”
Because he liked the nice fragrance and soft feeling of her embrace, Damian was holding his breath and doing his best to stay still. He thought if he moved even a little bit, Lucia would be surprised and move away.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” (Lucia)
“I…It’s all right.”
Damian was really fine. He had completely forgotten about the meaningless gazes of those women that didn’t know anything from the moment Lucia said, ‘my son,’ earlier. The words were still replaying in the boy’s head and touched his heart.
“It’s not your fault, Damian. What people do is not your fault. Adults are not all wise.”
Lucia’s voice grew shaky at the end. At the sound of small sobbing, Damian stiffened.
‘Don’t cry because of me,’ the words were stuck in his throat, refusing to come out. Little by little, he carefully inched forward, placing his forehead on Lucia’s shoulders.
It was the first time someone cried for the sake of the boy. His throat felt as if it was hot and constricted, and his eyes felt flushed.
It was just a little. But the boy’s eyes were wet.
*extramarital= out-of-wedlock. Think concubine’s child except not a concubine. Most of you guys know this but still.