< — Realization — > (5)
When Lucia was very young, she used to constantly ask her mother why she didn’t have a father. And when she saw her mother crying, she would say sorry, hug her mother and cry along with her. When she apologized and said she was wrong, her mother said:
[I am crying because I want to see my father too. My child, I’m not crying because you made me sad.]
It was likely that her mother felt guilty for leaving her house in her immature days and giving birth to an illegitimate child so she couldn’t bear to contact her family. And because she knew the difficult circumstances of her home, she decided it would be better to send Lucia to the royal family.
Most of all, the real reason why her mother didn’t contact her family till the end was because she didn’t want her family to know of the tragedy of their youngest daughter who gave birth to a child, raised her child alone and then died; that was how Lucia understood her mother.
“You don’t want to meet him?” (Hugo)
“I was going to, but now I don’t know. How did he find out about me?” (Lucia)
“If he is your grandfather, then he knows your mother. You must look a lot like your mother.”
“No. My mother was much more beautiful than I am.”
“No way. You’re prettier.”
Lucia lifted her head that was buried in his chest.
“How do you know? You’ve never seen my mother.”
“I know without seeing.”
Lucia smiled faintly at his unreasonableness then she buried her face back in his bosom.
“Take your time and think it over. I’ll look into a way to get in touch with him. Whenever you make up your mind, tell me. If you don’t want to meet him, I’ll take steps to make sure he doesn’t approach you again and if you want to meet with him, I will arrange a meeting.” (Hugo)
Lucia lifted her head to look at him. As she stared at him silently, he brought his eyes to meet hers.
A caring husband. She was so glad to have him by her side. The fact that were someone to lean on when she was having a hard time made her feel overwhelmed and her eyes felt sore. His red eyes were warm and her heart felt tingly. She was happy.
‘I love you, Hugh. I love you.’
She wondered if his eyes would cool the moment those words left her mouth. She was too scared that one word would ruin everything. In the past, she was only afraid but as time passed, her fear worsened. (1)
‘I can’t live without him.’
She would dry up. Like a potted plant abandoned in a dark warehouse with dried up leaves and stems.
She wanted to confess to him several times a day. She wanted to know how he felt.
-He might love me too.
-That is not true.
Two conflicting opinions battled in her head.
But she could not gamble. She could not follow Norman’s advice and scream it out loud. Because she knew that if that gamble failed, she would hit her chest in regret.
Lucia was startled when he suddenly frowned. She wondered if he had read her thoughts and her heart pounded fiercely.
“Vivian. Did I do something wrong again?”
When he wiped her eyes, Lucia realized that she was crying.
“…I thought of my mother. I think I’m feeling a little emotional.”
Hugo felt uncomfortable as he watched Lucia wipe her tears. Looking at her crying made his stomach churn. He wondered if motion sickness felt like this; he had never experienced it in his life.
“Will you be able to go to the party?” (Hugo)
“I’m fine. Don’t worry. I won’t make a mistake.” (Lucia)
“I’m not worried about you making a mistake. You don’t have to struggle if it’s difficult. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. I will take care of the rest.”
“Don’t indulge me so much. Do you want to make me a child that can’t do anything without you?”
That’s a really good idea. Hugo thought to himself.
Lucia took a deep breath because she felt like she was suffocating. Her lips moved slightly then she swallowed, taking back the words that were about to leave her mouth. I love you. Those words almost came out.
Hugo who was looking at her felt like he had just missed something important.
The knocking on the door dispersed the ambiguous air of something that hovered around them. Seeing her eyes move towards the door with a start, Hugo was very annoyed.
“What is it!”
He raised his voice at the door. The servant that came before hesitantly entered and looked on warily. The servant’s body shrunk under the Duke of Taran’s fierce gaze.
“His Majesty asked this one to find out when the two of you will be coming out.”
“Now!” Hugo suddenly snapped then he took a breath and spoke through clenched teeth.
“…Go and tell them that we are coming.”
Lucia fixed her makeup that was ruined from crying then they left the break room. She carefully checked the corridor on the way back to the party venue but she didn’t see anyone who looked like an elderly nobleman.
To the people around, Lucia was smiling with them but her mind was entirely elsewhere. Sometimes, she lost focus and spaced-out, and several times, he gently hugged her waist or placed his hand on her back to wake her up.
She felt sorry and looked at him with an embarrassed smile. He didn’t criticize her. Rather he asked with a concerned expression, “Are you okay? Do you want to go back?” and Lucia firmly replied, “I’m okay.”
Lucia went to rest in the break room for a while again and on her way back, she met eyes with a certain old man. The old man quickly turned away and disappeared among the crowd. For some reason, the strange old man felt familiar to her.
‘That’s him, isn’t it?’
It was strange. She thought that her grandfather wouldn’t have any special meaning to her, just like her father whom even when she heard he was dead, she felt nothing. But she felt stifled to pit of her stomach and her heart crashed against her chest. She felt choked up and her throat felt dry. Lucia took a deep breath and straightened her back. If not for her experience in the dream, she probably wouldn’t be able to stop herself from crying.
Lucia smiled at the noblewoman approaching her. She had to portray her image as the Duchess. She pressed down her agitated and complex heart.
- I love you is [one word] in korean.
*Say it already!