Chapter 27 - I’m Sorry, and Thank You
When looking at the mansion from the outside, a small window could be spotted on top of its two pointed rooftops. That window indicated the location of the fifth floor loft. Anna traveled up the stairs leading there, but it was a place she had never set foot in throughout all three years of her employment.
One of the maids said that when she went up to the fifth floor, she saw a white fog. Another claimed she heard a strange creaking sound despite no one else being near. However, Anna couldn’t shake the feeling that this was where Dylan would be, so she didn’t turn around to leave.
At the end of the stairs, blocking the way to the rest of the floor, was a door made of wood. When she grabbed the handle and turned, the door opened more smoothly than she assumed it would.
“Master?” Anna called quietly.
She couldn’t sense anyone’s presence, yet she still summoned her courage and stepped through the threshold. The small room she found within, albeit the source of countless rumors, didn’t turn out to be particularly unique or interesting. It had an old bookshelf that didn’t have a single book on it, a table, and a sofa that still looked to be in good condition right below a small window. On the sofa lay Dylan, sleeping with his arms acting as pillows.
“Master Dylan,” Anna called once more. When her voice escaped her, however, it did so quietly enough that waking him seemed doubtful. She came closer to him, observing him. His left cheek was a swollen purple bruise, still recovering from the hit he had received from the drunk.
The sight wrapped Anna in guilt. As she dealt with her feelings, Dylan, sensing her presence, opened his eyes. As soon as he did, he caught sight of her and quickly rose in surprise.
“H-How did you know about this place?” he asked.
Anna handed him the ointment she was carrying. “The madam had told me to give this to you, so…”
“Leave it here and go,” he said bluntly, avoiding eye contact.
“She said that I should at least make sure you put it on your skin. I’ll leave after I see you do so.”
“It’s fine. Just go. There’s no mirror here anyways, and—”
“Then I’ll apply it for you.”
Anna, filled with a sense of duty, kneeled in front of the sofa Dylan was sitting on, determined to get the medicine onto his face no matter what. He was still telling her about how unnecessary it was to do so when she scooped a dollop of ointment onto her fingers, making him fall silent. She was serious about this, he knew then, and there was no use in trying to chase her out now that she had already seen his face.
He gave up on trying to fight against her, but when she came right up to him, saying, “Please excuse me,” he started growing even more conscious of her, his primal instincts surging into place. He could feel her breath upon his left, falling upon his cheek and ear, so he turned his face away, trying his best to direct his thoughts elsewhere.
As a result, he didn’t notice the look of guilt and pity Anna directed toward his bruise. Seeing such a precious and noble person’s face so injured and ruined tore her heart apart. She couldn’t understand why Dylan would do such a foolish thing. When she sighed, he turned back toward her.
“Why did you do it?” she asked, putting down the ointment. He looked at her questioningly, still sitting on the sofa with her kneeling before him. “Why did you involve yourself at that moment and allow yourself to end up this way?” she clarified.
Upon hearing her, Dylan smirked coldly. “How laughable.”
“No, I’m serious. I didn’t say that to make you laugh.”
“And if I had chosen not to involve myself?” he asked.
“Then I would’ve been hit instead,” she said. “That would’ve been better. That way, you wouldn’t have ended up in such a terrible state, Young Master.”
Her words irritated Dylan because they implied that he should’ve just watched her get beaten. She was reprimanding him for not behaving cowardly and staying with the crowd, for forgoing the choice that would’ve left her at the mercy of the drunken man.
“Do you even realize how stupid and foolish the things you’re telling me sound right now?” he shouted in anger. “If that’s all you wanted to say then just lea—”
Anna interrupted him with a kiss. He fell silent, her mouth sealing his. Her thick, red lips lightly pressed closer before parting to allow them to speak once more.
“I’m sorry. And thank you,” she said, but Dylan only narrowed his eyes. “Are you still angry because of what happened that one day?”
He crossed his arms and leaned back deeply into the sofa. ‘Looks like he’s still angry,’ Anna thought.