It’s been a month since Kyle left.
During the time he was away, I wrote a diary to soothe my mind.
Even though I wasn’t the type to do that, I was able to calm my desire to see him by writing letters.
I didn’t know why I was so anxious.
I didn’t know when he’d return, so I didn’t leave the window, much to Laura’s concern.
It wasn’t the same as when I was comforted just by being in the same space with him or when I stood on the balcony and waited for a carriage carrying him to arrive at the end of the garden.
As his body moved away, Kyle felt farther away.
I finished writing the last letter.
There was nothing more to write about, but I didn’t want to close the diary.
I set my quill down and stared at the bedside table.
There was a vase with a single sunflower.
Laura said there were only a few sunflowers left in the greenhouse.
“It’s so pretty.”
The bright yellow petals that framed the dark center were beautiful.
I’ve been changing the water in the vase myself since the day I received it.
I hope he’d come back before the flower dries up.
With that in mind, I religiously changed the water.
Every day, I would lean against the balcony railing and stare at the main gate.
I would hum a lullaby or read a storybook to the baby in my womb.
At night, I’d gaze at the moonlight, tracing the shape of the moon with my fingertips.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend a long time on the balcony because Laura tended to nag that I might get a cold.
So instead, I’d wrap a blanket tightly around my shoulders as I stayed outside for a while.
As I finished my letter, I couldn’t fight the drowsiness overpowering me, so I leaned my body on the console, using my arms as a pillow.
“Come back, Kyle.”
I miss you.
“Takan, you’re here?”
Late in the afternoon, Takan came to the study.
I’d only noticed later that Laura had left the room.
I put down the book I was reading and welcomed him, but for some reason, Takan’s expression remained stiff.
His dark, scarred eyebrows were furrowed harshly, making him look ferocious.
He told me he was delivering the items to the orphanage today.
Did something go wrong? I couldn’t hold back my curiosity, so I tilted my head and asked, “Takan, were the items delivered safely?”
“Yes, it was delivered without any damage.”
“That’s a relief.
I was worried because it’s winter,” I smiled and lowered my gaze.
Then, I heard Takan sigh.
What was he worried about?
“Are you okay?”
“Are you alright?”
Takan and I spoke at the same time, and so I asked again, “What?”
“Who should be worrying about whom?”
Our voices overlapped once more.
It was so absurd that I couldn’t help but chuckle, but Takan’s eyebrows furrowed even more.
Was I in trouble? I scratched my cheeks and blinked up at him.
Takan sighed and said, “You haven’t eaten properly for a while, have you?”
“The doctor said you have to be careful.
Please eat, even if you have to force yourself.”
“I’m fine, Takan.”
“Who on earth would be okay…!” He clenched his fists as he raised his voice but abruptly stopped just as when his intense emotions were fully exposed.
Somehow, I felt like I had seen a glimpse of the real Takan.
It warmed my heart to feel his concern.
“Thank you, Takan.”
For a moment, his eyes looking at me trembled before looking away.
“His Grace’s return is past due.”
“I will ask the vassal in charge.”
“Don’t do that,” I shook my head.
I tucked my hair behind my ear, picked up the book then put it back down.
I didn’t know what to do with my hands, and I looked down and stared at my stomach.
He’ll be back soon.
Takan didn’t hide his frustration at seeing my groundless faith.
He’ll be back soon.
He will, my baby.
I rubbed my stomach with both hands, trying to calm my anxiety.
It was winter, and snowflakes fell outside the window, the world stained white.
The snow bore heavily on the thin branches that endured the seasons.
The branches, which could not withstand the weight, fell around the tree’s root and died.
“Madam, would you like to eat a meal?”
I shook my head and said, “I’m sorry.
Just smelling the food makes me nauseous, so I can’t…”
Laura bit her lip and lowered her eyes worriedly.
I would eat soup if I could, but I couldn’t even stomach that.
Of course, there were days when I wanted to eat something, but it was usually difficult to find food.
By the time Takan found it, my craving had already ended, and I couldn’t swallow it.
“Then, please rest.”
Noticing that I wanted to be alone, Laura bowed her head and left the bedroom.
I lay down on my bed, staring blankly into the air.
I curled into myself and wrapped my arms around my stomach.
He didn’t come back even though the date he said he’d return had long since passed.
Did the baby sense my anxiety? I couldn’t eat anything and stayed in bed all day.
On days when I forced myself to eat, I threw it all up, unable to control my body.
I looked up and stared at the sunflower on the vase.
There was no news of trouble.
Although I was worried about him, who would have to endure the harsh winter wind, I thought he would come back without any trouble since he was Kyle, who survived it even on the battlefield.
But why hasn’t he come back? Did he go to Hari? No, no.
If that were the case, the employees surely would have talked about it by now.
Moreover, Kyle hated rumors about her more than anyone else.
He stayed with me to protect her.
There’s no way he’d do anything to harm her.
As I continued to ponder on it, I became despondent and had to bite my lips.
Surely, there were other reasons.
He said he’d return.
But anxiety filled my mind.
I clenched my eyes shut and stroked my stomach.
Then, as I thought about him, I fell asleep.
When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know what time it was, but the room was dark.
I grumbled and raised my upper body.
I was engulfed by loneliness and frustration as if I had suddenly fallen into an abyss.
“Come in,” I croaked, my voice still hoarse with sleep.
I rubbed the back of my neck and stared at those who entered the bedroom.
It was Lil and Mas.
When Mas hesitated before crossing the threshold, Lil grabbed her sleeve and came into the bedroom.
They stopped only when they reached the bedside.
Lil calmly bowed, and Mas followed suit.
After staring at them for a moment, I lowered my hand and coughed.
“We’re sorry to have disturbed your sleep, Madam.”
“I woke up a little while ago.”
Seeing that Laura did not follow them, it was obvious that they had come here without Laura’s permission.
If that was the case, it meant that they had something to tell me in secret, or it was urgent.
I lowered my legs and sat on the bed, looking up at them.
No one broke the silence even after some time had passed.
“What’s going on?”
I was tired, and I wanted to send them back as soon as possible.
Lil nudged Mas, and Mas stuttered to her, “Y-you tell her.”
Her black eyes that had been examining me fell to her feet.
“I heard a strange story…”
Lil hesitated and wrung her hands.
I felt a flutter in the pit of my stomach to see her looking so apprehensive.
“Tell me, Lil.”
“… there’s a maid who often delivers flowers to the house of Countess Harden.”
Mas rushed, “O-of course not now! At all! It’s been a long time since flowers were delivered there!”
“Mas,” Lil hissed, glaring at Mas.
‘Yesterday I talked to Yuri, who delivered flowers to the Countess of Harden, and she just laughed.’
Then I remembered their conversation from before when I overheard them speaking behind the stairs.
Even I was surprised to hear the tremble in my voice.
It’s been a while since I heard the name ‘Harden,’ and it felt like my throat was closing up.
Lil bit her lips, her shoulders shaking.
Aelle said “괜찮아요?” while Takan said “괜찮으십니까?”.
Aelle’s tone is casual, while Takan’s is more formal/respectful.
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