Chapter 18 - Don't Forget
‘Was my brother right? Am I hopelessly possessed by the word, ‘contract’?’
But that didn’t seem quite right. He was certain that the anger that had been built up in him because of Nevira Bedelium had led him to behave impulsively, but that wasn’t the only problem right now. No, the more absurd issue was that…
“I just didn’t want to reject this contractual relationship.”
Even though he was the one who said it, Venio thought it sounded ridiculous. He shook his head again. Suddenly, he remembered what she had said to him last night when he appeared before her.
“The moon must be playing tricks on me.”
Perhaps he had really been possessed by the moon. The memory of her gray eyes widening when she saw him gave him a strange feeling. He shook his head and chuckled.
“I can’t help it.”
After a while, he finally was able to calm down himself from all the confusing thoughts. He had been surprised by his own unusual decision, but if he wasn’t going to reject the proposal, there was no point in being surprised or thinking about it any further.
Venio collected his thoughts and his dark purple eyes slowly regained their brightness. Then, he frowned again at a realization.
“The more I think about it, she must be receiving very poor treatment.”
One glance was enough for anyone to see how small and lean Laila Estevan was. It was rare to see a person being treated the way she was, even if she was an illegitimate child.
“The place where she lives is very secluded too.”
That was what made it convenient for him to sneak in.
“Since I’m in it already, I should look deeper into this.”
He raised his hand to call Theodore, but his hand stopped in mid-air. After some thought, he exited his abode.
* * *
It was morning. The night before, Laila returned to her dwelling after the duke left as it was late. She wasn’t brave enough earlier, but she wasn’t afraid anymore because of the other thoughts that now filled her head. Without even looking at her bed, she went to one corner of the house with a huge blanket around her and tried to fall asleep with her body curled up. She was in a better condition than she thought.
Laila blinked her eyes absently and looked at the paper bag containing the painkillers the doctor left for her. The effects of this new painkiller seemed to last for a longer period of time.
Soon, the memory of someone’s face came to mind, making her hunch up and close her eyes even though there was no one around her. She put her legs together and sat down on a wooden chair, and resumed thinking about the thoughts she spent all night thinking about without sleeping.
She recalled the black hair that was waving in the wind with the black sky in the background. Surprisingly, he was smiling at her. It wasn’t a mocking smile, but a genuine, child-like smile.
‘It was dazzling.’
Laila pursed her lips, embarrassed by her own thoughts. She didn’t know what to do. Then, she continued thinking, but with eyes that looked as if she lost something.
‘Perhaps this is what it feels like to be loved.’
It was dazzling enough to make one lose one’s mind. She was feeling something close to unease, but at the same time, something was completely filling up her heart. It felt as if the warm wind was being absorbed into her heart. It was hard to describe it, but she was anxious that the feeling would disappear like a dream.
‘Even though it’s not real, I still feel this way.’
Laila closed her eyes slowly, then opened them again. Last night, when he said they should proceed with the contract, she was determined to not forget that he was pretending to be in love. The thought brought forth a peculiar pain, but in spite of that, she didn’t regret it.
For the first time in her life, she thought she accomplished something good. It did feel to her that she did a good job offering him the contract. After a while, Laila got up silently. She stood rooted to the spot, at a loss as to what to do.
“What should I do?”
She was no longer going to do the things she used to do for her family. All the things she had done out of love were meaningless.
Laila stared absently into space, then remembered something.
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