WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (2)
“What’s going on?”
As soon Hugo stepped inside, he sensed the unusual atmosphere in the house. And he found his daughter crying, with the rims of her eyes and nose red. Her amber eyes that were like her mother’s were filled with tears and when she met his eyes, her shoulders shook even more.
It was both loveable and pitiful. With a faint smile on his face, Hugo bent down and stretched out his arms to his daughter. Evangeline glanced at her brother and mother once, then she slowly walked to her father. As she wiped her flowing tears with the back of her hand, her steps towards her father gradually grew faster. Evangeline ran into her father’s arms and threw her arms around his neck.
Hugo gently patted his daughter’s back as she sobbed on his shoulders. He hugged Evangeline and stood up before turning to look at his wife. He nodded at her, telling her to leave this to him then he headed to the receiving room.
Who knew how such a small body was pouring out so much tears, but Hugo’s neck was quickly soaked as his daughter buried her face in it. He sat down on the receiving room couch with his daughter in his arms and simply patted her back, not saying anything and just letting her cry as much as she wanted.
When the child’s cries turned to snivels, Hugo asked his daughter.
“Do you want water?”
Evangeline nodded her head. Hugo got up, still carrying her, walked to the table, poured out some water and brought it to her lips. Evangeline quickly gulped down the water while hiccuping from the aftermath of crying.
Hugo returned to the couch, sat down, then he spoke to his daughter who was sulkily sitting on his lap.
“You don’t want to tell me what’s going on?”
Evangeline shook her head.
“…Elder brother…stopped Jude from coming.”
“Damian drove Jude away?”
“Jude didn’t come. But I heard elder brother made him not to come.”
Hugo was able to grasp the entire situation with her brief explanation. He had gotten increasing skilled in doing this as he raised his young daughter who wished to express many things with her limited but sufficient vocabulary.
He remembered telling his wife not to allow the boys into the ducal residence anymore. And when he said that, his wife had told him:
[You can’t just stop the children from playing together all of a sudden. If you forcibly take Eve’s friend away from her, she’ll be hurt. Let me try to make Eve understand even if it takes some time.]
He felt his wife had a point, so he told her to do as she saw fit. There was no way his wife would unilaterally stop Jude from coming to visit without talking to Evangeline. And even if Jude was truly restricted from visiting, it had no relation to Damian. Hugo thought Eve had misunderstood something.
“Eve, did you ask your mother why Jude didn’t come to see you?”
“Your brother didn’t do it.”
“Elder brother said he did it.”
“Then Damian is also mistaken. Damian can’t stop Jude from coming to visit. Only your mother and I can. I have never stopped Jude from coming here, and your mother had never done so as well.”
“Did you cry because you were upset Jude didn’t come?”
“…I…yelled at elder brother…and…mother got angry…”
Seeing Evangeline slurring the end of her sentence and hesitating, Hugo sensed that there was something more to it than just crying because she was scolded by her mother.
“…I talked back to mother.”
Oh dear. Hugo chuckled. He might have to placate his wife next after his daughter.
“Eve. You have to apologize to your mother for acting rude to her, and you also have to tell your brother you’re sorry for misunderstanding him. Okay?”
* * *
When her husband carried her daughter to the receiving room and the cries slowly petered out, Lucia heaved a sigh of relief. She realized her daughter who she only fought to raise up well, had now reached the age to confront her and express her own opinions. It was an admirable but lonely feeling.
“It’s my fault, mother. It seems she’s angry because she can’t play with Jude.”
“Jude? What about Jude?”
“Didn’t you take measures to stop Jude from coming here anymore?”
“No. If you suddenly separate two children who’ve always played together, it will hurt them both, so I was going to give it some time and make them both understand. Today, Jude didn’t come but I was not notified about it and this had never before. I was about to send someone to the Marquis residence to see if anything has happened. I guess Eve heard something strange somewhere.”
Displeasure flashed in Lucia’s eyes. For a young child to get such news, it was very obvious where the source came from. It was the close servants waiting on her. Lucia had always instructed them to be careful with what they say around the child. It seems she couldn’t just let this incident pass. She had to imbue caution into the servants once again and severely scold whoever was responsible for spreading this rumor.
“Even though you’re innocent, you became the target for Eve’s anger.”(Lucia)
“No. Eve is right. I don’t have the right to stop Eve’s friend from coming to our house.”(Damian)
“If you don’t have the right, then who does? You did it because you’re worried for Eve. Go up and get some rest. I will sent Eve to apologize to you later.”
“I don’t think you need…”
“Wrong is wrong, Damian. You cannot just accept everything Eve does. Both you and your father, you only know how to say she’s pretty. I’m worried she’ll grow spoiled at this rate.”
Damian didn’t agree with his mother’s worries. He believed Eve would grow into a lady more thoughtful, lovely and beautiful than anyone else.
‘Afterall, she is mother’s daughter.’
* * *
Damian lifted his head at the sound of someone knocking on his door. It was obvious who it was, so Damian told them to come in with a smile on his lips.
The door opened and Evangeline poked her head in through the crack of the door. It seems she planned to carefully look around the room but found herself staring straight at Damian who was looking at the open door.
Evangeline flinched in surprise, then she hesitantly entered the room with a bashful smile. The rims of her eyes were still reddish due to her crying earlier. Damian’s chest squeezed with pain as he was once again reminded of the sight of his sister crying before.
Evangeline was startled to hear Damian’s apology since she had come here to apologize to him. Evangeline stared at Damian, her eyes asking why he was apologizing to her.
“I’m sorry for telling our parents that Jude shouldn’t come anymore, Eve.”
“…But it wasn’t your fault that Jude didn’t come today.”
“I know. But I still insisted on what I thought without even talking to you. Next time, I will definitely talk to you first.”
“…Nn. I’m sorry too, for yelling at you. I was wrong.”
The two of them reconciled pretty quickly.
Evangeline skipped down the stairs in a happy mood. Her mother was tough sometimes, but Evangeline really loved her mother a lot. She held a book in her hand, wanting her mother to read it to her.
It seemed like Evangeline was going to jump into the receiving room, but she quickly stopped when she looked inside the open door. Her parents sat side by side on the sofa. She couldn’t hear what the both of them were talking about. Her mother’s face was filled with smiles, and her father was looking at her mother with very affectionate eyes.
Her mother said something, and her father smiled then kissed her mother’s lips. This was a sight Evangeline had seen several times already, so after seeing the familiar affectionate sight of her parents, she turned around.
* Wow. Gentle Hugo is so…wow.