Chapter 21 - Lift Your Head and Look at Me
“Wait!” she suddenly cried, pushing at his chest and removing her leg from the table.
Anger descended upon Dylan’s features, but after having seen his intimidating package, Anna could only think of all the dreams she had woken up with this morning. At the same time, the face of her sobbing sibling, frightened by her dream-induced sleep talking, crossed through her mind. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” she said.
She started to pull her clothes back on, a guilty look on her face. Confusion and disappointment washed through Dylan. He smiled bitterly. He was still incredibly turned on and hadn’t been given the chance to calm down or satisfy his arousal.
Anna pulled up her dress’s back zipper and glanced up at Dylan, whose clothes were similarly disheveled. His eyes and his raging hard-on looked as if they would burn her alive with the combined force of their scorching passion.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated, looking away.
“You’re the only one who’s enjoyed it so far, but now you’re telling me no?”
She would’ve apologized again, but she didn’t have the strength to. Even just telling him she was sorry made her feel guiltier.
“Get away from me,” he said. “From now on, never show yourself around me.”
He was furious at her. Anna couldn’t say anything in response, nor could she retaliate. Wordlessly, she exited the library and left him behind.
Madam Jane took a thick, white slice of fish steak and guided it to her mouth with a fork, chewing it. “Is the food not to your taste, Dylan?” she asked, looking to her youngest son. It seemed as if he hadn’t heard her in the slightest, cutting his fish steak into smaller and smaller pieces. “Dylan,” she said, this time with a more stern and determined tone.
He finally raised his head to meet his mother’s eyes.
“It looks like you haven’t been eating at all these days. Are you worried about something?”
Dylan shook his head. “Not at all,” he said. “I simply don’t have the appetite.”
“I’ll make sure that tonight’s dinner will have that meat dish you really like, then.”
He nodded. Then, he put his fork down onto the table. “I’ll be taking my leave first.”
He slid his chair back and left the dining room. Sir Crane and Madam Jane, left behind, exchanged glances with each other.
“He’s acting like he used to back then, isn’t he?”
“That’s right. Just like he used to three years ago,” Madam Jane sighed, propping her head up with her hand.
At the time, he announced that he wanted to leave the household and go on a trip out of the blue, looking like half his soul had left him. Although his parents asked him what was wrong, he simply kept his mouth shut tight, as if he had forgotten how to speak. He confined himself to his room to stew amongst his own thoughts and ate so little that he lost a considerable amount of weight.
Dylan was showing similar signs now, bearing something akin to the disconsolate expression he used to wear in the past.
“He’s not going to tell us he’s planning on leaving again, is he? If he does, then I’m going with him. I can’t just let him stray so far away from us again!” Madam Jane cried loudly.
Sir Crane frowned and shook his head. “Dylan is an adult. That means he has the right to choose his own future. And, on top of that, it’s not like we’re the ones sending him away. It would be his own conscious decision to do so,” he said, lifting a glass of water. Although his words sounded cold, his face echoed the worry etched on Madam Jane’s face.
“That’s why we let him go back then,” she argued, “but it hasn’t even been that long since he came back! He might’ve disappeared for only three years the first time, but there’s no guarantee he’ll take as long the second time. He might not come back until thirty years have passed!”
After Dylan left, Madam Jane hadn’t gone a single night without worrying. She was unable to sleep restfully, burdened by the thought that he might not have been eating well or that he might’ve been going through hardships. Her worries beget more worries, and her imagination began to supply her with an endless array of worst-case scenarios.
Madam Jane started to sob. Sir Crane slid a handkerchief across the table to settle in front of her. “It’s not like we don’t have a means of keeping Dylan here,” he told her.
“You’re saying you have an idea?” she asked, doubtful.
“What is it, then?”
“We just hasten the process of getting Dylan married. Once he obtains a family of his own that he needs to take responsibility for, and fathers a child, he would never even dream of leaving on his lonesome ever again. He’s not heartless, after all. And he’s of marriageable age, as well.”
Madam Jane completely agreed with Sir Crane’s plan and nodded strongly in support of it. “You’re right,” she said. “We should look for an eligible girl to join our Kilner family right away.” Motivated, she shot up from her seat, looking as if she could somehow get Dylan married the very next day.
“Let’s finish our meal first.”
“How can you sit there and eat when you’re a parent? We can’t waste a single precious second!”
“No, but wait—”
Madam Jane lifted her heavy frill dress by the sides and fled the dining room. Sir Crane watched her go and, smiling bitterly, set his fork down despite the hunger he felt. All the employees looked upon him with pity.
Anna was dutifully following Dylan’s command of never showing herself in his presence. Whenever Samantha gave her a job related to him, she would make an excuse like her stomach suddenly felt bad or she had a headache. If Samantha still insisted upon giving the job to her, she’d pass it onto someone else, presenting it to them as if they were Samantha’s direct orders. She never took any paths that might’ve led to him and avoided the stairs by his room.
※ IP licensed to WordExcerpt. The rights of this work belong to the copyright holders. No portion of this work may be reproduced, transmitted, copied, duplicated, or modified in any form without written permission from the copyright holders.