PDM Chapter 41
Kyle ignored the Viscount and looked at me. He seemed to ask me if I really wanted to eat with the person who strangled me.
I didn’t want to face Father, much more eat with him, but I couldn’t refuse. I needed to prove to Kyle that I had come to visit because I was worried.
I nodded my head, trying to raise my stiff lips. “As long as Father doesn’t overdo it, it’s fine.”
The Viscount bowed down to Kyle, his greedy eyes glimmering, but Kyle’s gaze remained on me.
“Then I’ll have dinner prepared right away.”
He approached the butler, whispered something, and led us to the drawing room. Passing through the hall and entering the steeply curved hallway, the Viscount opened a door he seemed to be quite familiar with.
Kyle walked into the room with a sullen look on his face, pulling my hand.
“Then please rest here,” Father said and left. I watched until the door was completely closed, trying to get a glimpse outside the door or through the gap.
The drawing room was as luxurious as the Duke’s residence, contrary to my expectations. Velvet sofas that could seat multiple people and a chess set lay right in the middle of the room, and a deer head adorned the fireplace.
I didn’t want to look at the tightly-packed furniture, so I focused on the ceiling.
Then I suddenly realized that Kyle and I were still holding hands. When I tried to pull away, he let it go, unlike before.
“Are you alright?”
The uncharacteristically soft tone drew my attention. I lowered my head and looked around the room once more. “Yes. The drawing-room is especially nice.”
“When did I ask about your opinion on the mansion?”
Before I knew it, Kyle turned completely toward me, his arms folded. I chose to ignore his persistent gaze, and soon, he sighed deeply.
I tried to let it pass, but finally, I gave in. “Don’t do this.”
“Whatever it is that made Viscount Carena so subservient and servile.”
His eyebrows soared, and his arms remained crossed. “You’re the Duchess. Don’t you know what’s obvious?”
“It just makes me miserable.”
It reminded him that I was related to such a person. I nodded my head as if to admit it, remembering my past mistakes. “I know very well that you helped Father financially.”
“I was arrogant to say I’d repay your donation if you wanted it. I can’t do that.”
“You don’t have to feel guilty anymore. I don’t–”
At that moment, someone suddenly opened the living room door. There was only one great man in this mansion who could open the door without knocking.
“I’ll take you to the dining room, Your Grace!” Viscount Carena said, his face full of greed. His insidious intention to get a business investment from Kyle was obvious.
Kyle grabbed my wrist with a brief sigh, but as he stepped into the door, he turned back.
His eyes, which met mine once more, were trembling with confusion.
“You don’t?” His deep voice demanded an answer. I hesitated for a moment and then closed my mouth.
I don’t love you anymore. I swallowed my words and just stared at him. He frowned, seemingly frustrated, either because he didn’t hear an answer or something else entirely.
Just because he truly knew how I felt didn’t change the fact that I was leaving anyway. When I felt his grip on my wrist loosen, I shook it off completely and turned around. It was probably the first and last time I turned my back on him.
The atmosphere was too heavy to enjoy the meal, so I concentrated on eating. I felt like a cow mindlessly chewing on tasteless grass.
I glanced at the front every once in a while. Kyle, who sat across from me, stared at me, his chin resting on his interlaced fingers. He kept his eyes on me as if the Viscount wasn’t there.
I put down the tableware and patted my lips with a napkin when I was done. Kyle glanced at my plate and stood as soon as he confirmed I had finished eating. He looked like he didn’t want to be in this boring place for a moment.
“Your Grace!” The Viscount jumped up from his seat and approached Kyle in a hurry. “D-did you not like the food?”
The Viscount’s eyes turned to Kyle’s plate that remained unmoved. He then raised his hand to summon the butler waiting by the door. It was rude, the way he called the butler as if calling a dog.
“Hey! Call the chef right away!”
“Stop.” Kyle has had enough of his temper. He frowned and rubbed his fingertips against his forehead.
The Viscount anxiously looked around to see if he had gone against his will.
Kyle looked ready to leave the mansion right away.
I couldn’t have that. So I stood and placed my napkin on the table. The embers of the candle fluttered. “The two of you should chat. I’ll go for a walk in the garden.”
There was a twinkle in the Viscount’s eyes. He had a bright smile as if he had found the jackpot.
“Let’s do it. While Madam looks around the mansion, we can move to the drawing–”
“Where are you going?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, looking around and trying my best to look bored. “I haven’t looked closely inside the mansion. I wonder how Father lives.”
“Let’s go together.”
“No. I want to go alone.” I shook my head vigorously and met his eyes.
His face hardened, and his eyes narrowed suspiciously. I tried my best not to break eye contact.
My heart was pounding in my ears as I waited for him to react.
“Do whatever you want.”
Thank goodness. I let out a weak sigh and bowed my head.
I felt a chill run down my back as I felt his gaze on me. He seemed to watch me with interest as if he was observing a small animal caught in a mousetrap struggling to survive.
I turned away and hurried on. The butler, waiting by the dining room door, approached me and said, “Let me guide you.”
“Okay.” I followed the butler but waved him off after leaving the mansion through the dining room and hall.
I walked to the fountain in the garden and turned around to the back. It was difficult because it was my first time coming here, but I got to the incinerator faster than I thought because I memorized it firmly the previous day.
“Here!” There, a boy was waving his hand, a beret over his head. The clothes he had in his arms stood out.
I pulled up the hem of my dress and narrowed the distance. The boy with red hair and dark freckles was a society newsletter delivery man and an errand boy for a local store.
Before visiting the Carena residence, I sent a letter to the Madame at the salon through Laura along with some money. It was an invitation to the Duke’s house to ask for a new dress, but the contents were a request to send a delivery boy to bring menswear to the Viscount’s house.
I got a map with the location of the incinerator and the back gate from a boy who was acquainted with some of the Viscount’s employees. He had terrible handwriting and poor drawing skills, but it worked.
“Here you are.” The boy handed me the clothes with both hands.
The boy smiled softly, his curious eyes twinkling. “But why do you need men’s clothes? Where are you going by the back gate?”
Without answering him, I took the reward money out of my pocket and handed it to the boy. A twinkle flashed in the boy’s eyes, and he coughed heavily and stuffed it into his pocket. The smart boy didn’t ask any questions after that.
“It’s over there,” The boy pointed his finger to the right side of the incinerator, where a tent was set up like a temporary shelter.
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