PDM Chapter 12
“All done.” I pulled the needle out, tied the thread, and ripped it off by hand. “Hmm, as expected.”
I shook my head and grinned. If I practiced more embroidery, my skills would improve. I showed him the sleeve.
“What do you think?”
He was looking at my fingertips and didn’t look away. What was he looking at?
I knew that the scene of the Duchess sewing wasn’t strange. He had a faraway look in his eyes, looking lost in thought.
With a smirk, Takan shifted his gaze from her hand.
As I held out his clothes, Takan took them and draped them over his arm. Standing like that made him look like a butler.
He stared intently at the handkerchief on the table. I was embarrassed to show it to others because of my poor skills, so I tucked the cloth into the corner of the tool basket to hide it.
“Are you going to throw it away?”
“Yes. I was practicing. I’m going to throw it away because the embroidery is a mess.”
“Then give it to me.”
I stared at Takan in disbelief. Was he really asking for a poorly embroidered handkerchief?
Takan shook his head. “It looks like something I’ve lost.”
It’s the most subdued I’d seen him. I didn’t know if what he’d lost was a thing or a person.
I scratched my cheek. What should I do? It’s too embarrassing to give it to someone else. I stared at Takan and the handkerchief alternately.
“It must have been precious.”
Hearing Takan’s trembling voice made me feel weak. I rubbed the fabric with my thumb and nodded. Yes, it’s better to give it to someone who needed it than throw it away.
I folded it neatly and handed it to Takan. After hesitating, he took it with both hands, handling it with much care.
I kept my mouth shut because the way he reacted made it clear that it wasn’t the handkerchief that moved him.
At that moment, I heard familiar footsteps.
When Takan clenched his fist, his hand engulfed the handkerchief, hiding it from sight.
It was none other than Laura who showed up after passing the main gate of the garden.
“Madam.” She quickened her pace when she spotted me.
As Laura came nearer, she finally saw Takan, who was obscured by a tree. Laura stopped in her tracks, startled, before continuing to make her way to us.
Laura stared at Takan and whispered, “Madam, His Grace has returned.”
When Laura finished speaking, Takan stepped back. “I’ll clean. Go.”
“Escort Madam, Laura.”
Laura wanted to argue, but Takan was firm. It would be ideal for the butler, Takan, to greet Kyle with me, but Takan left his duties to Laura.
“But…” Laura tried once more to stop Takan but thought against it, probably thinking she didn’t want to cause trouble. “Then, we’ll be on our way.”
“I’ll leave you to it, Takan,” I said, and he bowed without answering.
Takan only straightened after Aelle had completely left the garden. He turned his gaze to the handkerchief Aelle had given him.
D*mn it. Aelle’s handkerchief reminded him of the moment his little sister died on the battlefield.
He recalled the image of his sister, now blurry in his mind–a scene of his kind little sister opening the door, greeting him with a bright and kind smile.
As Takan clenched his teeth, his jaw muscles stood out.
He had already forgotten his sister’s face, but why was the moment she was cut by a sword still so vivid in his head? He even recalled the moment the blood started to soak her dress.
“Sh*t,” he hissed.
Aelle Carena. What a weird woman.
Even before he confronted Aelle, Takan was displeased with her. He’s never had a good impression of nobles in the first place.*
But she was different from any aristocrat he’d imagined. He thought she would be arrogant and extravagant, abusing the power she’d gained so easily after raising her status. He thought the maids serving her would suffer.
However, the lady missed Takan’s expectations. She always used honorifics to her maids and was always careful when she asked for something she needed.
At first, Takan thought she was acting. He sneered at her because he felt she pretended to be a virtuous and compassionate woman. He also considered that her mercy towards Lil and Mas was a way to cover up her snobbish side.
He had no doubt that she was hiding her insidious innermost thoughts and was scheming something evil.
But no matter how much he stupidly watched Aelle, she didn’t do anything.
And that wasn’t the end of it. Laura’s statement was ridiculous. She said that the only thing Aelle had bought since she entered the household were cheap handkerchiefs.
She was too quiet and calm to be considered a spy*. Kyle did once mention that before they’d gotten married, she’d only ever go to the florist, the boutique, and at home.
After spending that one night with Kyle, she was unexpectedly quiet, contrary to Takan’s expectations that she’d usurp his authority.
These days, Aelle has been spending all day idly reading a book or embroidering. Her words and actions didn’t make sense to Takan.
Takan draped his shirt over the armchair and unfolded the handkerchief. At the bottom of the cloth, the name ‘Aelle’ was embroidered with yellow thread.
“Why would you sew all of a sudden?”
Takan hated seeing her sewing all over the house. It reminded him so much of his sister, who had sewed for a living.
She had a gentle voice that made him think of his younger sister, and Takan couldn’t help but feel sad whenever he looked at her. Even the way she looked out the window and waited for someone reminded him of his sister.
Of course, it wasn’t his sister who was waiting.
He grazed the embroidered name.
He thought money was the main purpose, but if that wasn’t the case, why did she really marry Kyle? Takan frowned and tried to ignore the situation.
“There’s no need to know the story of a good aristocrat.”
For a long time after that, Takan didn’t leave the garden.
The servants stood in a row, bowing when Kyle arrived. I stood on the side and greeted him, still conflicted whether I should greet him as a servant or an equal.
Hearing my soft voice, his gaze briefly rested on me. Kyle took off his gloves and handed them to the servant. His eyes, resembling the dawn sky, swept around.
“He’s in the garden. He said he’d see you once he’s done cleaning up,” Laura said.
Takan was taking longer than expected. He didn’t even have much to sort out. As I thought that, I heard Kyle speak.
“If you haven’t had dinner yet, let’s have one together.”
Who was he asking? I could feel an intense gaze on me, the feeling hotter than the sun in the garden a while ago.
I looked around and could see Laura’s puzzled look. The employees also avoided my gaze.
Slowly, I turned to Kyle and saw him looking at me with his arms crossed.
Ah, was there someone behind me?
“There’s no need to look behind you. I’m talking to you,” Kyle chuckled as if he found my reaction absurd.
I closed my eyes and straightened. It was the first time he spoke to me, so I didn’t know what to do.
As time passed and I still hadn’t answered, Kyle turned around, probably taking my silence as rejection.
“I-I’d like that!” I was worried that Kyle might not be able to hear me, so I hurriedly raised my voice.
When was the last time I’d done that? It’s been so long I couldn’t even remember.
The employees still bowing stole glances at me, and Laura stared at me with wide eyes, but I didn’t mind it. It was an opportunity that might not come again.
I anxiously gripped my hands, wondering if he’d changed his mind. Kyle’s eyes shifted to my hands. As the sunset shone through the window into Kyle’s eyes, his gray took on a pale red hue.
“Then let’s go together,” he said.