66. Reunion (6)
Ever so small, Amelia shook her head to prevent Lionel from saying anything more. ‘Don’t say anymore,’ her quiet smile conveyed so. Then, Amelia started scribbling something in her notebook again. Then, her hands stopped—written there was;
Lionel again widened his eyes in surprise. He blinked several times, as if he couldn’t believe it—as if it were too crazy…
“…That’s no good. It’s too dangerous to let this child stay by your side. If anything like this happens again… if anything were to happen to you…”
This time, Lionel couldn’t control his emotions and grabbed Amelia’s shoulders fiercely. From his mouth, her name leaked out—however…
“…Amelia, why? Why would you do something as risky as that?”
Amelia never averted her gaze from Lionel. Those clear, unwavering, eyes; those blue pupils locked straight with his eyes. They reflect only him alone. There was no trace of the pitiful girl from before, who was pale and on the verge of dying.
Lionel’s face distorted. To leave Amelia with the boy and pretend that he saw nothing… Amelia would then keep the boy at her side and take care of him… such an unacceptable action…
…Was it because of his sense of duty as a member of the Order of the Knights? Or was it because of those two days he spent alongside Amelia in which they became friends? Or was there something more, something inside him that made the entire situation unacceptable to him? He no longer knew anymore…
But there was no doubt, inside, he strongly denied what Amelia had in mind.
“Too bad, it’s useless. I can’t grant your wish…”
Lionel also stared back at Amelia seriously. He seemed unwilling to step back. Amelia surely was aware of such. She lowered her gaze for a moment and turned away from Lionel in disappointment. But it was only for a fleeting moment.
Amelia exhaled a little and looked up at Lionel again. Her expression, it transformed into something that resembled pity, something that cared for Lionel…
“I got it. I’m sorry for not being considerate about your position. But, can’t I at least ask this one thing out of you?”
“…what is it?”
“Don’t tell anyone about what the man has done to me. I don’t want to worry William.”
Towards Amelia’s words, Lionel’s eyes almost flew out of their sockets.
It flashed in his mind—William’s profile when they were about to part that day. It seemed like a very unpleasant smile for Lionel, but apparently, it didn’t appear so for Amelia.
For Amelia, William was an important lover, a fiancé, and a life partner who would complete her future. Lionel realized that he had again let his emotions overtake him. He quickly lowered his face so Amelia wouldn’t notice.
“…I understand. At the very least, that I can promise you.”
He at last managed to squeeze those words out. Amelia finally smiled—
—it was a smile just like from that girl Lionel had seen before he discovered said girl bore the responsibility of a Countess. He was relieved by her genuine smile.
“…uhm, other than that… first, please fix your dress? I, to ease your breathing…”
Lionel’s gaze shifted to Amelia’s shoulder. Following his gaze, Amelia noticed that her dress had almost revealed her chest—she blushed, as if she was an entirely different person.
At Amelia’s appearance, Lionel averted his gaze.
“S-sorry! I should’ve turned away! Ah, I, I also loosened your corset, what do I do…”
In response to Lionel’s panicked voice, Amelia smiled softly, her cheeks still dyed in red. She slowly turned around, with her back facing at Lionel. Then, with her right hand, she took her long hair from the base of her neck and lowered it forward.
Amelia’s white nape was exposed in front of Lionel. From Amelia’s point of view, she just did what needed to be done in order to let him tighten her corset, and of course, Lionel too, was aware of that—but he still swallowed involuntarily upon the mesmerizing sight of Amelia.
Immediately, he shooed away such thought and reached for the corset string.
“—ready? I’ll tighten it. Please tell me if it’s too tight.”
Towards Lionel’s words, Amelia leaned her body and put both of her hands on the wall—then, Lionel pulled the left and right strings with both hands. Unsurprisingly, he had never touched a female corset before. In other words, today was the first time in his life he tightened someone’s corset.
“…t, tight enough?”
Amelia shook her head. Lionel put his strength on his arms again.
“…then, how about this?”
Amelia still didn’t nod.
Then, he had no choice but to also exert legs strength.
Lionel, who was neither the husband of Amelia nor her friend of the same sex, had to use leg strength. It didn’t take long for him to realize that tightening a corset was such a difficult activity.
“Let’s return. It seems that my subordinates aren’t coming, after all. I’ll carry this boy on my back.”
After confirming that Amelia had finished fixing her dress, Lionel said so and carried the unconscious Nick on his back. Then, as they left the back alley to return to the Central Street, the sight of two people rushing towards them came into view.
Lionel almost said ‘Lewis’, but managed to stop himself. He noticed how fast Amelia’s expression had changed as she stood beside him. Amelia’s profile as she gazed upon William was adorable.
William shouted Amelia’s name in a heartbreaking tone. It was a voice that resonated with the heart, unlike from two months ago. At the same time, Amelia began rushing towards him.
Distance gradually spread between them as Amelia moved away from him. It was only natural for her to do so—but for some reason, Lionel felt very ill at ease watching it.
—what a strange feeling.
Amelia jumped into William’s arms. Her beautiful, long, golden hair swayed in the wind, as her delicate body was embraced by William. When he gazed upon that scene, a strange sensation rose to the back of his throat.
“I’m glad you’re safe! Are you injured?”
William stared down at Amelia, his expression was a mixture of relief and anxiety. While Amelia smiled as best as she could to reassure him, as if nothing was wrong—and yet, why…
He felt something truly incomprehensible and unfathomable—Lewis frowned unconsciously—
—it was precisely at that moment.
Suddenly called, Lionel returned back to reality. In front of him, Lewis bowed in utter gratitude.
“When I heard the name ‘McLean’, I thought it merely a coincidence, but it turns out to be you, after all. Not once but twice, you have taken care of Amelia in my stead—“
“No, it’s fine, this time, I’m just doing my job.”
As he cut off Lewis’ words, Lionel saluted William, who held Amelia’s shoulders. William responded by nodding a little.
“Sir Lionel, you have my gratitude. I had just taken my eyes off Amelia when she disappeared… I’ll make sure to never let her escape my sight again… It’s really great that you managed to find her.”
William said so while glancing at Amelia with love, taking hold her left arm with his own. In response, Amelia returned a pretty smile—however…
He took his eyes off her?
Contrary to the snuggling couple, William’s words didn’t bode well with Lionel. Amelia wasn’t safe. He wasn’t in time.
However, if it was as William said—if William hadn’t lost sight of Amelia, then such a terrible fate wouldn’t had befallen her. Lionel knew he was just grasping—that the true evil one was the man who strangled her—still…
…Lionel’s eyes grew dark.
***T/N: My god, the Author can write fluff if she actually wants to! Only that it didn’t include the femmc and the ACTUAL SUPPOSED male lead.
Oooh… what if Lionel is the true male lead? Other than that route, according to my experience, author would often try to reduce this second male lead likeability point with the reader by turning him batshit yandere psycho. Let’s hope Lionel doesn’t go down that path.
Other than that, yuck. Amelia and William’s “””love””” is so superficial. And nice way for setting up the tone for their relationship so instead of it sounding like an actual relationship build on love, it sounds like a relationship with domestic abuse going on in the background, Author.
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