< — Truth & Falsehood — > (3)
TN: Ended up settling for falsehood because it makes you think ‘lie’ than simple ‘false’ and also cuz I realized the title is in singular form so truths & lies wouldn’t work.
If Hugo said he didn’t remember, Lucia would have simply accepted it. But saying that he had never seen the woman was strange. A chilling sensation ran up her spine.
How does one make a child with a woman one has never seen?
As her silence grew longer, he grew anxious. His slip of the tongue could not be reversed. He’d already shown her a troubled expression and the pause was too long to fix it. If he were to make up an excuse now, she would pretend to believe but remain suspicious.
After calling her name, he didn’t say anything for a long while. He didn’t know how to start the discussion and couldn’t get a sense for how much he could tell her and how much she would be able to accept. The thoughts in his head were getting jumbled up.
“Is it difficult to explain?” (Lucia)
“…Let’s go to sleep.”
In Lucia’s mind, no matter what relationship he had with Damian’s birth mother, she had no right to interfere. She knew he had a son before she married him and also knew that his relationship with Damian’s birth mother was an past thing before their marriage, also Damian’s birth mother was already dead so there was no need for her to question the subject any closer.
Hugo felt like a dreary wind swept over his chest and gazed vacantly into the dark. His heart ached at her clear attitude of drawing a line. When he realized his slip of tongue, he knew should explain something to her but in that moment, his feeling of bewilderment was rather huge.
‘Act like you didn’t hear anything’ Lucia made her mind up like that and tried to fall asleep but she just couldn’t. No matter how hard she thought about his words, she couldn’t guess anything. There was no way that Damian who looked so much like him could not be his son.
Was it his way of saying that he didn’t remember anything because it was just one night of passion? After all, it wasn’t like a child could only be born from an intimate relationship so it was possible. But still, it was the woman that gave birth to his child so not even knowing her face was too much.
Her thoughts simmering deep inside her mind spilled out.
“I guess…you’ll forget my face later too.”
She projected herself onto Damian’s biological mother. His words seemed to say that even if the woman in his past gave birth to his child, she wasn’t worth remembering. If so, the worth of Lucia who couldn’t bear a child would be worse.
Hugo who had been unable to gather his senses because his mind was unsettled felt his heart jump out of his chest at this sudden bombshell. He had to think it over several times to understand what she was talking about.
“…How did you come to that conclusion?” (Hugo)
“You can’t even remember the woman that gave birth to your child.”
“It’s not like that.”
Lucia always told herself over and over, ‘You must not be impatient’. The road to loving him would be very long and sometimes, difficult. If she didn’t want to tire out, she had to look ahead and take one step at a time.
Any else was fine but when she chanced upon his heartless and cold side, the thought that his heart was still freezing cold would come to mind and her strong will would falter little by little. It was also like this when he behaved indifferently to Damian.
She knew now that he simply didn’t express his feelings but before she knew this, she had thought maybe he didn’t know about feelings of affection for someone.
And so she felt confusion at his attitude towards her. She knew he didn’t hate her. Perhaps he might even like her quite a bit. But he behaved excessively affectionate and gentle, like a man that had completely fallen in love. From time to time, Lucia would suspect if he was testing her.
“Then, what do you mean by you’ve never seen her? Can a woman you’ve never seen give birth to your child?” (Lucia)
She felt her indignation rise as she spoke and sat up. Hugo then sat up too.
“Vivian, I think you’re a little heated…”
“I’m sorry. I dare to get heated up when it’s not my place.”
Hugo felt his head ache. He had seen her like this before, not too long ago. She was usually mild and gentle but once she became upset, her words became sarcastic and prickly. It was like taking someone off guard and suddenly biting their hand. The surprise was bigger than the agony so rather than feeling upset, he felt absurd.
For the time being, he held her shoulders to calm her down. She spun, shaking of his hands off and turning her back to him. The moment she turned her back to him, sparks flew in his eyes. Lucia suddenly felt a strong grip on her shoulder and scowled at the pressure. The strong force pulled her back and in one swift motion pressed her down on the bed. It happened so quickly and when she came to her senses, he was above her and holding her down.
She flinched at the sight of him looking at her with a piercing gaze.
“Don’t…turn around that way.”
“Don’t turn your back to me.”
His voice was level and he spoke in a rather low tone but Lucia could somehow grasp his emotional state.
When she thought about it, she had never seen him get angry. When he got angry, he seemed to become calm and get rather chilly. Why did he get angry?
‘Because I shook him off and turned away? Could he have been betrayed by someone in the past?’
“I won’t do it again.”
Lucia replied calmly so as not to stimulate his anger even more.
“Let me go. You surprised me.” (Lucia)
His rising anger was quickly subsided in a moment. The strength in his arms grabbing her shoulders also lessened and as he withdrew, Lucia sat up slowly. The atmosphere had suddenly come to a lull. In this odd atmosphere, the two of them sat facing each other, not saying anything.
Lucia composed her mind and thought about herself acting up on him out of nowhere.
‘I should apologize for being impolite…and go to sleep already. I don’t need to put him on edge with pointless psychological warfare.’
“The boy…he’s not my biological son.”
Hearing his colossal and blunt words, Lucia suddenly felt dizzy.
“Do you mean…Damian? That child…is not your son?”
She couldn’t help but try to confirm if the words she heard were correct. Hugo let out a deep sigh and ran a hand through his hair. He didn’t her feelings to be hurt over this issue. He didn’t want her to greatly misunderstand him over Damian’s issue and picture him even worse in her head.
“I heard you asked Jerome about the west tower incident. Did you hear that I had a brother?”
“Damian is my brother’s son. In more accurate terms, he’s my nephew.”
In front of the tremendous truth, Lucia’s heart was pounding loudly and her mouth went dry. Suddenly, dozens of questions came to her mind but she couldn’t organize any to formulate a question.
“He doesn’t know. Me. And now you too. Other than that, nobody else knows.”
To be more accurate, one more person, Philip, knew but Hugo had no intention of mentioning him.
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