PDM Chapter 24
“Have a safe trip, Kyle.”
I put down the tableware and talked to him in the hope he would come back safely. At that moment, the gray eyes that had been wandering in the air met mine.
“I’ll be waiting.”
As I smiled, his eyes darkened like the moon covered by clouds. He stared at me for a moment before turning away. Like a person who saw something they shouldn’t have.
The sound of footsteps echoed in the gray hallway. One was relaxed while the other was impatient.
Takan followed Kyle as he entered the office.
As soon as the office door closed, Takan asked, “Kyle, have you developed feelings for her?”
Kyle slowly turned around and raised his red eyes.
“I should ask you the same.”
Takan was struck speechless by the stern voice. When he didn’t answer, Kyle turned away with a sigh.
When Kyle looked back at Takan again, there was a ferocious glint in his eyes.
“You should know that it’s none of your business.”
“I know, I know…!” Takan stopped and took a deep breath. He lowered his gaze to his feet, sighing once more as he ran his hand through his hair.
He suddenly remembered Aelle’s hopeful face he saw in the dining room. It was the first time he had seen that look.
As he played his role as a butler and watched them like canvas in a museum, Aelle’s heart was visible like vivid paint. He couldn’t help but smile in vain. It was funny that he once thought she was plotting something.
Takan sighed again and shook his head. Then, after a while, he turned around.
“If you don’t have feelings for her, don’t give her unreasonable expectations.”
Kyle’s voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Stop getting involved. It’s between her and me.”
Takan stiffened. He rubbed his eyebrow in frustration before leaving the office.
As he went out, he muttered, “I don’t want to either.”
The whispered words were scattered in the air.
Kyle moved to the corner and turned his eyes to the desk. In the middle of the desk was an empty glass bottle of friendship with an old friend.
“I need to double-check the quantity.”
“M-Madam.” Laura reluctantly followed me around.
I walked around the warehouse carrying the books to check the number of school supplies and the grains we’re donating to the orphanage today.
At first, I wanted to help load the goods into the carriage, but I couldn’t because Laura stopped me from doing it because I was pregnant.
It’s been about two weeks since Kyle left.
I couldn’t waste time after watching him leave, so I focused on sponsoring an orphanage; in the end, I became fully invested.
It made me feel proud that I was helpful to him by doing a job appropriate to my position. And to add to that, it was amazing that I seemed to be adapting well to the mansion.
Takan gave a hand, but Laura did most of the groundwork to identify and select the items to donate. Thanks to them, I was relieved because nothing was beyond my reach.
I handed the books to Laura and spun around the warehouse.
“Madam, you should leave the rest to us…”
“Laura, let’s load them up now.”
Laura stepped back and called the employees. I smiled contentedly as the coachman, and the other employees entered the warehouse to take the goods.
Laura looked around the air and handed me a handkerchief.
“There’s a lot of dust, Madam.”
Instead of thanking her with a smile, I took the handkerchief and covered my nose and mouth.
“Madam, the preparations are complete,” one of the employees said when they finished loading the goods.
I put down the handkerchief and checked my dress. As expected, it’s a good thing I changed into a simple outfit in advance.
“Then, let’s go.”
I smiled brightly and nodded as I moved, but Laura suddenly caught up with me.
“Madam, please don’t tell me you’re going there yourself…” Laura trailed off, looking at me in disbelief.
“Laura, it wouldn’t make sense if I don’t visit an orphanage that I sponsored.” I shook my head hard in case Laura thought of dissuading me.
Laura withdrew with a sigh. She knew I could be quite stubborn.
“Madam, if that’s the case, how about an escort–”
“I’ll go.” A familiar voice interrupted Laura.
When I turned to the voice, I saw Takan by the entrance of the warehouse, wearing comfortable clothes. He wasn’t wearing his monocle, his hair wasn’t slicked back, and he looked relaxed, unlike usual.
Unlike me, who was surprised, Takan glanced out of the warehouse indifferently.
“I’ve given the orders regarding the work at the mansion, so half a day is enough.”
“Trust me; I’m pretty good.” Takan frowned at me, perhaps because he didn’t like that I was staring at him.
I met Laura’s eyes. She refrained from speaking because she couldn’t go against my will, but she seemed opposed to it.
Even if we called an escort knight, it would take quite a while to reach the main gate. Besides, Takan chose the orphanage, so it was a good idea to go with him.
I looked at Laura and Takan and soon nodded.
Laura could do nothing but sigh.
The orphanage was located in a remote area, its building old and worn down.
I handed over the supplies and tried to tour the area quietly. However, the head of the orphanage rushed to the entrance and bowed several times, thanking me for the thoughtful support.
Even though he had been called to the mansion for an investigation and meeting, he thanked me as if he’d never seen me before.
In the end, I gave up looking around the orphanage and tried to turn around, but the director said that he would guide me inside the building.
It was something I wanted. I wanted to see the children, too, so I followed the director. However, the experience was uncomfortable because he grabbed the passing children one by one and made them say hello.
I was flustered, worried it might put too much pressure on the children, so I was relieved when Laura suggested we get some fresh air because it’s been a while since we went out. Thanks to her, I was able to get out of the building and see the children running around.
“Madam, the sun is hot.”
Frowning at the intense glare of the sun, Laura opened her parasol and cast a shade on me. I smiled in gratitude and looked away.
“The children are so cute.”
I looked at the children huddling in the yard and playing with paper balls. It brought me joy to see children as young as ten years old sitting around in a circle.
“They are,” Takan’s soft voice echoed behind me. I turned my head to sneak a glance at him, then looked at the children again.
“Takan, may I ask why you chose this place?”
At the long silence, I figured I wouldn’t hear an answer. As I watched the children kick the paper ball and run, I heard a sigh.
“I spent some time here when I was young.”
When his voice broke, I turned to face Takan. Was he crying? Takan was looking at the sky, a storm raging in his calm eyes.
I wondered what he was thinking and what he was seeing, but I didn’t ask further, thinking it would be rude to ask anymore. So instead, I went back to looking at the children.
A girl tried to run in my direction but suddenly stopped and took a step back. I lowered my gaze to see something hit my feet.
It was the paper ball the children were playing with. When I looked up again, I saw the girl and the children looking at the ball.
“It’s okay, so stay back.”
I cut off Laura’s words, bent down, and picked up the paper ball. Then, when I was at eye level with the girl, I held out the paper ball and shook it slightly, waiting for her to take it.
The girl looked at Takan and at me, then ran quickly and took the ball.
I stroked the child’s head and wiped the sweat from her forehead.
“Go and play.”
The child looked up at me, her cheeks flushed pink. She bowed deeply before turning around and returning to the other children. I straightened and waved at them.
I felt a gaze that was warmer than the sun and unintentionally turned my head.
I made eye contact with Takan, who was looking at me. His pupils trembled slightly, and he looked visibly confused. Then, after a while, he looked away and turned to the children again.
His eyes wandered through the air as if searching for something lost.
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