Chapter 3 - So You’ve Returned
Dylan quietly watched Anna struggle with the closet door and the heap of clothes she held, until eventually he closed his book and walked toward her. He clasped his hand over Anna’s own on the handle of the closet and pulled together with Anna. Suddenly, the doors, which hadn’t budged an inch under Anna’s grip, flew open like magic.
Anna forgot for a moment that she was holding a bundle of folded clothes in her left arm and turned to look behind her. Since Dylan was standing right there, his arm bumped into Anna’s, making all the clothes fall to the floor.
“I-I’m sorry,” Anna stuttered. She immediately bent down over the ground to pick the clothes up from off the floor. However, Dylan moved to bend over along with her, helping her out.
Samantha observed Anna and clicked her tongue in annoyance. Anna was someone that couldn’t go a single day without causing a problem. If a different employee had made that same kind of mistake, they would’ve been punished by Samantha right away, but it was a different story with Anna. Samantha pretended she didn’t see Anna’s mistake and continued watering the potted plants. Her actions seemed to indicate that no matter what kind of problem Anna caused, Samantha had no intention of scolding her.
Dylan’s expression looked indifferent. “Fold these again and before putting them in,” he told Anna, then he left the room.
Anna stared at the door Dylan left through for a moment before she felt the pressure of Samantha focus on her once more, so she immediately moved to refold the clothes as she was told.
‘Did he forget?’ she wondered. Dylan definitely saw her clearly, looking upon her with his own two eyes, yet it seemed like he didn’t recognize her at all. ‘I hadn’t forgotten about him for even a moment the entire time he was gone. Did he seriously forget all about me?’
Anna timidly grasped Dylan’s clothes as a disappointed expression overtook her face, holding them tight as if grabbing him by the collar.
Only when in the afternoon when the sun was crossing its zenith did Dylan have his first meal of the day. It was rather late. Since he couldn’t decline his friends’ invitation to a welcome party last night, he ended up drinking way too much. His hangover was stabbing him in the head with every step he took up the stairs.
At the height of the spiral staircase came a woman’s rough voice, somewhat aged in manner. “Would you like me to bring you some snacks?” it asked.
“It’s fine,” came someone’s response, clear but tired. Upon hearing it, Dylan recognized it as the voice of his sister-in-law. “It just seems like I don’t have much of an appetite today.”
“It’s because you have a habit of eating like that every day. How about trying to make your meal portions a little bigger starting today? Even if you don’t have the appetite for it, you must eat to live your life to its fullest.”
“I’ll try, then.”
“How about some dried figs?”
The aged woman’s quick thinking seemed to make Carol feel amused, since a faint sound of laughter came from above the spiral staircase. Dylan was glad that she was able to laugh like that, at least. He felt himself smile along with her.
“All right,” she acquiesced.
“Please go to your room first. I’ll bring it up to you right away.”
With the conclusion of that statement, rapid footsteps began resounding down the stairs. They startled Dylan’s smile into disappearing, and a flustered look adorned his face. He looked around himself to see if there were any good hiding places, but the woman descending was a little bit faster than him. She saw Dylan and flinched in surprise.
The woman herself, however, didn’t seem to cast any suspicion upon Dylan as she simply nodded her head in greeting and continued on by. Thinking it over again, he didn’t really have any reason to hide. He wasn’t a suspicious figure. Dylan smirked in self-ridicule and began to walk up the stairs once more.
On the second floor of the house was a room belonging to Sir Crane and his wife, and David, Carol, and Dylan’s rooms were on the third floor. The floors of the mansion were connected by spiral staircases, with one at the center and another on each end of the hallway. Because of this, it was safe to say that although Dylan lived on the same floor as David and Carol, running into Carol while walking through the house would be an unlikely occurrence.
However, today was different. Dylan had his meal at the underground level and intentionally avoided the rightmost staircase leading to his room to make sure he could keep from encountering his mother, placing him in Carol’s path.
Carol stepped into the third-floor hallway with drooping shoulders. She was ignorant of Dylan following behind her.