< — Truth & Lies — > (5)
The weather grew cold so it became hard to take a walk in the garden after dinner. Lucia didn’t have to worry about what to do with her spare time though, rather, every time she was free, she fell in love with knitting.
It was a scarf wanted to send to Damian as a year-end gift as well the for New Year’s. She worked diligently so she could send it at approximately the right time.
Since she couldn’t care for the garden or take a walk, she poured all her remaining time into the completion of the scarf.
After taking a bath, Lucia waited for Hugo in the bedroom but even after more time than usual passed, he did not come. As the end of the year approached, he grew remarkably busier.
He either came into the bedroom late or sometimes sent word through the maid for her to sleep first.
Then he would try to stubbornly demand for the one-in-five rest day to be replaced with the missed day but Lucia did not listen to that demand.
This was because she knew that once she listened, there would be no end.
She asked the maid to bring her knitting basket because it seemed like he would be coming in late. She sat on the bed and began to weave the wool into the shape of a scarf.
At some point, Hugo came in and was attentively watching the knitting in her hands. She had been completely engrossed in knitting and did not notice him when he came in.
She quickly clean up and arranged the materials into the basket.
“Knitting. I’m knitting a scarf. I want to send it to Damian.”
A wool-knitted scarf. It was an item that was never necessary for Hugo. He wasn’t sensitive to cold so even in the winter, he didn’t wear special winter clothing, much less a scarf for children. Perhaps even the gift recipient Damian would have to make conscious effort to wear that around.
Her choice of white pattern on a red background showed how much she treated Damian like a little child. He felt a little sorry but he had no choice but to have Damian wear it throughout the winter.
He’ll have to check through the escort planted at the boy’s side to make sure the boy really wear it. Hugo entertained villainous thoughts in his mind.
Although Hugo didn’t want a scarf, he couldn’t move his gaze from where she moved to place the basket of knitting wool under the bed. He sent off Damian, got rid of the baby fox as a free bonus but she did not return to being entirely his like he thought.
He didn’t know why there was so many places for her to devote her attention to. When she got a letter from the boy, she was full of obvious excitement for a few days.
‘She’s my woman before she is the boy’s mother.’
He was dissatisfied with the attention she poured on Damian. He couldn’t exactly put it in words so he grumbled inwardly. Moreover, she still had not told him her childhood name.
‘But I told you my secret. Although not all of it.’
It wasn’t like there had to be a trade-off but…
‘Why does that boy, Damian know but I don’t?’
He could never understand where that kid was better than himself.
“Did you learn knitting at a young age?”
Lately, Hugo used any opportunity he had to ask about her childhood. He was stubbornly determined to hear her childhood name directly from her mouth. He didn’t want to ask upfront as he felt like if she told him personally, it was evidence that she’d opened her heart to him to some extent.
“Yes. Which is why my skill isn’t that great. I learnt from casually observing my mother at the side.”
“You said you lived alone with your mother when you were young, right?”
“Yes. Until I entered the palace.”
“Then your mother…what did she…”
Hugo hesitated slightly then threw out a thinly-veiled question.
“Usually…what were you called? By your mother…”
This wasn’t cheating. He didn’t directly ask what her childhood name was.
“As a child, rather than call my name, she called me, my baby, cutie or daughter.”
Since he didn’t grow up feeling his mother’s affections, he was probably curious of normal mother-child relationships. This was how Lucia thought of it. As she recalled memories with mother, a smile rose onto her face.
Today again, his leading questions failed. Hugo sighed inwardly, disappointed.
“Ah, there’s something I want to confirm with you. You didn’t forget your promise with me, right? The promise that you won’t interfere with the matters of the garden party.” (Lucia)
“I didn’t forget.”
Hugo answered confidently. There wasn’t a single thing on his conscience. Summoning his vassals and telling them to put more effort into supervising their household was well enough within his capability as a superior giving advice.
There was no hesitation in his replies so Lucia believed him. Her husband was more trustworthy to her than the Countess of Wales.
“I heard something weird but it guess it was just a groundless rumor.”
“It says you struck a blow to the Count of Wales’ high-end businesses because of the garden party. Well, something like that. But there’s no way that’s the case. You’re someone who thoroughly distinguishes between private and public matters, after all.”
Hugo really had nothing on his conscience. Even though the upper-end was thoroughly investigated two-fold and three-fold because of the problem caused by the poisoning case, it was an official matter. The fact that the principal owner was the Count of Wales was just an added bonus. Despite that, he couldn’t answer without any hesitation. Lucia was unable to catch the sour look that flitted across his face.
Not long after this, the upper-end businesses of the Count of wales’ family were acquitted after a persistent investigation.
The originally imposed levy was as before however, simply being able to resume activities in the upper-level before the New Year came around was something to be thankful for.
The rumor that the Taran Duke stood behind the Duchess was now solidifying into an established theory in the northern social circles.