In the end, I decided to accept the old man’s request. The conditions he posed were too attractive to refuse.
All I had to do was be the old man’s conversation partner from time to time to brighten his mood, and I would be paid a considerable amount. If I did it for just a few months, I could buy one of the houses in the richest neighborhood in the East.
“Thank you, Yuri! Thank you so much!”
When I went to the mansion and conveyed my intention, the old man’s eyes grew wet and he looked greatly moved. But maybe he soon felt embarrassed about being excited in front of me because he called the middle-aged butler and asked him to give me a tour around the mansion for today.
After that, I was escorted out of the room.
“Please follow me. I will show you around.”
The butler whom the old man called Sebastian last time was the very same butler I had seen a few times in front of the clinic. As it turns out, there were a total of 5 butlers in this mansion. As expected, the scale of things were different in a grand mansion.
As I was walking down the hallway following the butler, I heard Anne-Marie’s voice from behind me.
She seemed to have just arrived at the mansion for work.
“Grandpa asked me to go with you since you might be uncomfortable alone.”
Anne-Marie said with a smile.
Perhaps I should say he was more sensitive than I expected but the old man was being very considerate of me. Even when we were deciding the times I would come to this mansion, the old man was the first to offer having Anne-Marie come around if it would make me less uncomfortable.
For a moment, I wondered if he hired Anne-Marie with this plan in mind from the start, but I soon folded that thought and put it away.
“This is so nice. Ms. Yuri and I work at the same place now. So are you going to be coming once a week from now on?”
“Yes. I should be coming at this time every week.”
For now, I decided to come here on my day off from the coffee house.
Honestly, with the payment from the old man’s employment contract, I could quit working at coffeehouse right away. But maybe I like the job there more than I thought because I didn’t even consider quitting as soon as possible.
So for now, I planned to keep things the way they were.
“Now, I will show you around the greenhouse. Bastian-nim comes here often so when you visit, you may spend some time here, Yuri-nim.”
After getting a rough look around the inside of the mansion, we then followed the butler out of the mansion.
Right then, a sound similar to a puppy’s cry rang out from the side. I turned my head in the direction the sound came from. Then I was greeted with the sight of some dogs running around the green lawn in front of the mansion.
“I guess it’s the time to walk them.”
Anne-Marie said softly; it seemed like this was a sight she saw often.
The butler who was walking ahead of us turned to look at me and asked:
“The dogs are let out around this time every day, is that alright?”
The nuance behind his words was that they would change the time they walked the dogs if I said I was not okay.
“The dogs we let out have quite the gentle personality, so they don’t bark furiously or growl at you even if they’re seeing you for the first time…”
He was being very careful, almost as if he was dealing with a guest. I took it to mean that the old man must see his meetings with me as that important.
“It doesn’t matter. I like puppies.”
“Is that so? I’m glad to hear that.”
Honestly, it was probably better to call the ones running on the lawn dogs than puppies. They were quite big and one of them even looked like a hunting dog, so it was definitely enough to make someone avoid them if they had a fear of dogs.
Thankfully, Anne-Marie didn’t seem afraid of dogs and as for myself, who knows how I felt in my past life but in this one, I had no fear, so those big dogs looked like cute puppies to me.
“If you want, you can get closer and look at them.”
When I heard what the butler said, I pondered it for a moment then I turned to head to the lawn.
“You liked dogs, Ms. Yuri?”
Anne-Marie also followed me.
Her eyes were slightly wide, and it seemed her interest was piqued after learning this new fact.
“Yes. I had a pet dog a very long time ago.”
“Oh, I see. I also had a pet dog when my father was around some time ago.”
Anne-Marie’s gaze turned slightly sentimental; she seemed to be remembering the past. Then she looked at me again and soon gave a bright smile.
“We have something in common. What kind of puppy did you have, Ms. Yuri? The dog in my house was…”
And so, Anne-Marie and I walked to the lawn, talking about the puppies we’d raised in the past.
Perhaps proving what the butler said about their gentle personality, the dogs wagged their tail as soon as they saw me and Anne-Marie then they approached us.
From the looks of things, the dogs here were not being raised to protect the house.
Then again, it’s not like there was a lack of manpower in a mansion as big as this so why would they need to get dogs for protection…
I lowered myself to a squat and held out my hand so the dogs could smell it. Anne-Marie and I were quickly surrounded by dogs sniffing us.
“These dogs are really gentle. Is it Grandpa that’s raising them?”
“The dogs here are under the direct care of our young master. The dogs raised by our current head and Master are reared as hunting dogs, so they are take care of elsewhere.”
Currently, there were two people who could be called ‘young master’ in the Crawford family. One of them was Kalian, the eldest son, and the other was the second son who was only mentioned in passing in the novel.
The second son of the Crawford family had a weak body, so he was in the south for recuperation and he had never made a direct appearance in a novel.
So it was obvious that Kalian was the one who was personally looking after these dogs.
And then a voice rang out from the side, making my thought a certainty. When I turned my head, I found Kalian standing on the grassy lawn.
The dog whose chin Anne-Marie was stroking and all the other dogs around us, swiftly wagged their tail and dashed to Kalian at once.
Kalian stroked them in a familiar manner as they ran up to him. Today, he was not in his uniform which was what I had been seeing him in, instead he was wearing something comfortable. With a light shirt and shorts, Kalian certainly looked less stiff than usual.
He even looked like he was in sync with the peaceful scenery around him.
“I see we have guests.”
Kalian’s gaze turned to Anne-Marie and me.
“I heard about it some minutes ago.”
He then spoke to me, giving me a light bow.
“Thank you for listening to my grandfather’s request.”
It seemed Bastian had told him about it just before he came outside.
Hearing his word of thanks, I titled my head and replied.
“There’s no reason to thank me. It’s not a one-sided request but an employment relationship, after all.”
It might sound somewhat harsh, but I was only hired by the old man for a decent compensation. If the old man didn’t give me an employment contract that day, I would have definitely refused no matter how pitiful his story was. So there was no reason for Kalian to thank me.
I thought he might find my words heartless, but Kalian gave a light chuckle instead.
“Okay, I look forward to working with you.”
I looked away from Kalian and my gaze fell on the dogs clinging to him. It was too bad. If Kalian didn’t come, I could have touched the dogs a little more.
“You came early today.”(Kalian)
“Yes, I have something to do later this evening, so I came earlier.”(Anne-Marie)
Anne-Marie and Kalian were not super friendly, but their conversation was still a lot more natural than before.
“Is there anything inconveniencing your work?”
“No, you’ve given it a lot of attention so it’s quite comfortable.”
Listening to their gentle conversation made me feel odd. The atmosphere around them was like they were flirting but not flirting. Still, it was softer than the atmosphere they had when they first met.
That said, maybe it was because Anne-Marie was working here as a caretaker, so they saw each other more often. Afterall, Kalian’s tone was still rigid and polite, but his eyes seemed softer than before when he looked at Anne-Marie.
As for Anne-Marie, she treated Kalian in a more friendly…it was not there yet, but she was at least more comfortable than before.
“I heard Sebastian was showing you around the mansion.”
After he was done making small talk, Kalian glanced at the butler who was standing quietly by the side.
Then the butler took a step forward and began to speak.
“Yes, I was following Bastian-nim’s order to show Yuri-nim around the mansion and we happened to come across the dogs who had just come out for a walk, so we stopped by.”
At that, Kalian glanced at the dogs who were flocking around him and wagging their tail, then he turned to look at me and Anne-Marie.
“These dogs are quite big so there are some who are reluctant to work around them, even among our employees. Are the both of you alright with them?”
“Yes. Ms. Yuri and I have had dogs before so we’re good.”
I nodded to agree with what Anne-Marie said.
Hearing that, Kalian went quiet, seemingly thinking about something for a moment and after a while, he spoke again.
“If you like dogs, you can come see them when they are taking a walk in the future. I’ll let my grandfather know.”
“I can do that?”
Anne-Marie was delighted at the unexpected offer. I was also a little tempted when I heard that.
“Yes, it’s fine. You can also give them some snacks while they’re taking a walk, so I’ll just tell the trainer beforehand.”
He could have been reluctant to allow anyone else to handle his precious dogs which he took care of himself, but Kalian nodded willingly.
They do say that someone who likes animals isn’t a bad person…
Kalian’s evaluation which had been razed to the ground after the black market incident went up slightly.
“Then, would you like to spend some more time with the dogs until their walk ends?”
The butler who was watching us with a warm smile at the side asked. But I shook my head and rose to my feet.
“No. My purpose today is to look around the mansion so let’s go to the greenhouse for now.”
After saying that, I turned to Anne-Marie.
“You can stay here a little longer, Ms. Anne-Marie.”
“Is that okay?”
“Yes. See you later then.”
Anne-Marie was looking at the dogs with a regretful look in her eyes, so I spoke first and her cheeks reddened as if she was embarrassed that her mind was read.
I nodded to show her that it was okay of course, then I walked away first.
The dogs playing carefreely on the green lawn with the gentleman and lady in between made for a beautiful painting.
I followed the butler to the greenhouse, not seeing any reason to disturb the pretty good atmosphere swirling around the two of them.
 If I had to give Bastian-nim or Yuri-nim a translation, it would be Master Bastian or Mistress Yuri. And honestly, I’d rather not. Master has its own word and it’s used frequently in this novel.
 Trainer: The translation for this is actually zookeeper but I think he’s referring to someone who cares for the dogs, so I went with trainer/dog trainer.
T/N: See, I’m most likely in the minority here but I have a fear of dogs. I can work with the fluffballs though. Those guys look like cheerleader pompoms so I’m good until they bark.
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