54. Red Eye (6)
“I never thought that you would actually write to me. As such, when the letter arrived, I literally did a double take. This is your first letter for me, isn’t it?”
Henry laughed as he waved a white envelope in front of me—the letter from me.
Right after the birthday party, I wrote to Henry. I wondered if he knew something about the boy clad in black—that one who possessed such unique black hair.
Since the time I had saw the mysterious boy, a week had passed. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the boy.
—who is he? Would something bad truly happen?
After that day, I hadn’t heard from him. Well, sometimes he didn’t bother to come out for one to two months. But, after everything that had happened, it was strange that he didn’t have anything to say.
Henry sat down on the sofa in my room. When he looked at me, he took a small breath.
“If you’re looking for someone, you should ask an adult. Why me, instead?”
What he asked was reasonable. I thought so, too. But I didn’t want to reveal too much—I wanted to avoid unnecessary incidents.
“Hahaha! I’m merely joking. I’m more than happy to oblige! It’s the first time you’ve requested anything of me! Besides, I know everybody has those things they don’t want other people to know.”
Henry smiled, but his face was slightly mean. I felt relieved and sat next to him.
“—so, who’s that black-eyed, black-haired, boy? You said he appeared to be the same age as me.”
“Yes. He was there at the party last week. Henry, you didn’t notice him?”
“Huh? So, this entire time, you’ve been talking about Lewis?”
Henry’s tone was nothing out of ordinary—that was how casual he was.
Lewis, he said…?
I was also shocked because it seemed that Henry was familiar with Lewis.
“Do you know of Marquis Winchester?”
Henry didn’t take notice of my stupefied expression. He asked with his usual bright smile.
“—Marquis Winchester? Certainly, I do. That house founded the School of Winchester.”
“Indeed, that’s an old story. More importantly, the Marquis of Winchester has a son of the same age as you. I’ve never told you about William before, right? The boy you’re inquiring about is Lewis; an associate of William’s. Did you not exchange a greeting with William at the party?”
I honestly don’t remember.
Henry shrugged at my silence.
“Well, what can you do? The party was crowded, after all. It’s no wonder you forget. However, as I stated previously, William is of the same age as you. It’s likely you guys will be a classmate when you enroll later.”
It turned out my concerns were for nothing. I never expected to uncover the boy’s identity that fast. Moreover, why did Henry know the boy named Lewis?
When I thought so and stared at Henry, he continued as if he had read my mind.
“Christopher is the eldest son of Marquis Spencer—he and I live in the same dormitory. Chris’ mother and Marquis Winchester are related, as such, he was William’s cousin. One day, I heard about William from Chris. After all, Chris loves comparing his brothers with William. ‘I wonder if they’ll learn a little from William’—as he always says. We’re quite open with each other, as such, news got exchanged.”
Henry laughed. To call that person by the nickname, ‘Chris’, Henry must have been quite close with him. He asked me again, maintaining his smile.
“—then, why are you so concerned about Lewis?”
“No, no, it’s nothing. Our gazes just met during the party. I just felt a little uneasy, is all.”
“—Haaa? What kind of reason is that…?”
In response, Henry frowned.
I hurried to correct myself.
“I mean, it’s his black hair and eyes, they just intrigued me.”
“…ah, right. According to Chris, Lewis is an orphan. He might have foreign blood in him.”
He was an orphan? Then how did he managed to work under the Marquis?
I was very curious, but I didn’t want to make Henry suspicious. Besides, I didn’t want to poke the bear, since the consequences might be bad.
Staring at my appearance, Henry then uttered.
“What a relief, I thought you would be depressed.”
As I lifted my face, my gaze met with Henry’s serious expression. His eyes wavered—his thoughts appeared to be somewhere else. I wondered what happened—what was I involving myself into?
“…it was inevitable. After all, she’s but a maid.”
Henry said that and distorted his mouth.
However, I couldn’t comprehend what he had just said.
By maid, does he mean Violet? Then, what could’ve happened to her?
I stared at Henry in amazement.
Then, Henry opened his eyes wide. He stared at me for a while, before turning away.
“—what, could it be… you haven’t heard anything?”
Henry put his elbows on his knees and crossed his fingers, seemingly in deep thought. The eyes peeking from his profile seemed to be in deep turmoil.
“…Did something happen to Violet?”
I had a bad feeling. Did his premonition come true? No, they were probably unrelated, but…
Henry closed his eyes in pain and told me.
“Violet is getting married. It’s very likely she’s going to quit her job as a palace servant soon.”
I was at lost for words.
—Violet? Was about to get married?
That’s a lie—!! That’s impossible—!!
She told me nothing of it—!!
“So, you apparently didn’t know, huh…”
Henry nodded in understanding. No lie could be seen on his face, but I still couldn’t believe what I had heard.
“I’m going to hear about it directly from Violet.”
I got up from sofa and tried to run—but Henry grabbed my right arm.
“—listen to me!”
However, I wasn’t going to listen to Henry. Henry put more power into his grip.
“—let go of me!”
His voice was low and heavy, unlike his usual bright self.
But, as if I was going to worry about that—I tried to shake his hand off, to no avail.
Henry was strong—very strong. Even after some years later, I still wasn’t a match for his power.
“I said, let go of me—!”
I kept screaming. After all, it was utterly inconceivable—Violet, married—!? As if I would forgive such a thing—!
“Stop it! Think of her feelings!”
Henry said in a low voice which made me want to cry.
Why did Henry make such a voice? Why did he make such a face?
I disdained it.
I also disdained the fact that Violet was going to marry another man who wasn’t me—I absolutely hated it!
Tears overflowed from my eyes. How many years had it been, since I last spilt my tears? That was right, that day, in the backyard, was the last time I had cried up until that point.
Why, such a thing, why…!?
Why… why are none of you are on my side…!?
From the bottom of my heart, I uttered such a cry. No one, nobody stayed with me. Everyone would leave me someday. Violet, then surely, Henry…
“I, I truly loved her. I loved Violet!”
Henry slowly lifted his face. His eyes was full of sadness. He was in pain.
I looked straight at Henry and continued.
“However, I didn’t, and won’t tell her. Because I don’t want to burden her. Henry, for the last time, I want to see her off, with a smile…”
Henry’s eyes wavered. For some reason, he looked regretful.
Henry, why do you make such a face?
Didn’t I promise to laugh? Didn’t I promise to smile?
Violet and Henry, I loved them both. At the very least, I wanted them to always be happy. I didn’t want to see either of them looking sad.
I really loved Violet. Of course, I didn’t want to move on, nor to let go of her. However, if these were her true feelings, then I could at least accept them.
Henry looked like he was about to cry. Then, he suddenly pulled my arm—
“—Arthur, it’s okay, you know! At time like this, you should cry—it’s perfectly alright for you to cry!”
“It must’ve been hard on you, I know, it must’ve been! You don’t have to hold it in, you can cry as much as you want—!”
Henry’s arm hugged me strongly. How very warm…
Again, my tears spilled.
Aah, Violet, Violet… don’t go. Stay with me. Stay beside me forever…
I like you, I truly like you, I love you very much! I truly only ever wanted you…!
I kept crying in Henry’s arms. The feelings that had been bottled up for a very long time, that I had almost forgotten, finally broke. Then, after the dam was broken, like a raging storm, my tears flowed endlessly.
***T/N: HENRY YOU EXPOSITIONAL TOOL, YOU OVERDRAMATIC PIECE OF–I thought violet was about to be sold to a whorehouse! Ok so Violet is hoeing around with the Prince even tho she’s married already. Mmmmmmkay.