The Marquis’ Amnesia 15
Chapter Fifteen: Secret Thoughts
The candle flickered as the door opened.
Looking back, my husband had returned. He was donning a knightly attire. Elsa, who had been waiting beside the door, went to welcome him.
“Welcome back, my Lord.”
When I was about to stand up, my husband shook his head and approached me.
He pulled out his sword, propped it against the sideboard, and sat down next to me on the bed. After taking Cedric and me home, my husband was picked up by his men. However, because he was worried about us, he was reluctant. Thus, I reminded him of his position as the knight captain. Albeit hesitant, he left with his men, who were apparently relieved.
“Did something happen?”
The outside of the window was already pitch black. Moonlight shone through the window. Concerned about Cedric, I didn’t notice the passage of time. Surely, my husband had been off to work for a long time.
“Rest assured, for everything has been settled. How is he doing?”
“I believe his fever has gone down a bit.”
My husband gently stroked Cedric’s small head as he slept.
Upon arriving at the marquis’ family, Dr. Morgan was already waiting for us. He was called by Frederick. Afterwards, he immediately examined Cedric.
“The wounds on his back are from the whip. The abuser purposefully avoided the vital areas. As for the large bruises, they are from beatings…”
When the bandages were removed, Cedric’s small back was covered with wounds. His skin was ripped and bloodied. There was a large bruise from his side that appeared to be from a beating.
As I clasped Cedric’s hand, I didn’t know what to say. In the next moment, my husband put his hand on top of mine.
“Before I came here, I met Dr. Morgan. Apparently, Cedric’s fever is psychological. However, by staying with you, the person he cherished the most, he should be alright.”
I hesitated a little before nodding to my husband’s words
While sleeping on my bed, Cedric’s thin chest was rising and falling painfully. There were beads of sweat on his forehead, while his white cheeks flushed due to the heat. I could only bit my lip at his pained expression. If I could have taken his place, how happy I’d be.
But all I could do was hold his hand like this…
Just what kind of treatment was Cedric subjected to in that house? As a matter of course, Cedric never mentioned it in any of his letters. As such, there was no saying it happened regularly, or if it was for the first time.
—Regardless, I didn’t want to see my beloved little brother suffer through that again.
Under my husband’s hand, I tightened my grasp on Cedric’s hand.
I raised my face and looked up at my husband.
“My husband… please, can you find it in you to let Cedric stay here until his fever goes down…?”
“Then, after Cedric’s fever has gone down, I shall go to the monastery with him. I absolutely can’t let him return to that house. Therefore, I’d like you to let him stay for the time being. Afterwards, I’ll find a way to repay you for the treatment and the medicine. Oh, and also for the 30 million rills, so please…”
Suddenly, my husband pulled my hand, before enveloping me into a tight embrace.
As always, his embrace was warm, powerful, but also gentle. It made me feel safe.
However, I mustn’t be spoiled.
I had to protect Cedric.
As I struggled to free myself, my husband hugged me even tighter.
“Calm down, Liliana.”
My husband spoke a little impatiently in my ear.
“You don’t have to go to the monastery. I’ve become Cedric’s guardian. He’ll be taken care of by the Lutherford family.”
Due to the unexpected words, I ceased my struggle and looked up at him.
“I thought that I’d keep silent until everything has settled down some more. But apparently, you’re already planning on leaving me to go to the monastery. We need to talk. I don’t want to tell Cedric yet, so can we discuss this in your room?”
I looked back at Cedric, before nodding to my husband with an unprecedentedly serious expression. I followed my husband while being held by him.
“Milady, I’ll let you know if anything happens.”
When I went to my room, which was next door, Elsa opted to watch after Cedric. I’d be relieved if Elsa was by his side.
My husband sat down on the couch. But when I tried to do the same, he grabbed my arm and put me on his lap.
“M, my husband?”
“A wife who spoke of going to the monastery has to be caught like this.”
My husband, who said that aloofly, held me firmly in his arms and showed no sign of letting go. I was aware of how tired he was and also how heavy I was. As such, what I was doing was uncouth. But he didn’t relax his arms at all. I felt a little concerned, but decided to sit there obediently.
After I had calmed down, I turned to my husband.
He began to speak.
“…Did you notice anything strange about your father when you met him today?”
I blinked several times and tilted my head. Since my husband didn’t seem to be joking, I remembered the father I had met for the first time in a year.
“…His complexion didn’t seem very good, I think? As such, I wasn’t as scared.”
“You didn’t feel scared because you’re a stranger.”
He didn’t know how happy that made me. I involuntarily smiled. In response, my husband gently smiled at me. However, his expression soon became serious.
“Actually, the Count Eighton we met today was a fake.”
“Yes, in truth, it was an assassin. By masquerading as your father, he tried to aim for my life.”
I gasped. Nevertheless, I knew that if I were to lose my strength and fall, my husband would be there to support me. Perhaps, my husband held me in his lap in anticipation of this.
“I don’t remember much, but he was an easy opponent. He managed to catch me off-guard, but he wasn’t that formidable. As such, I was able to overpower him with ease.”
“T, then, what of my sister? I can’t bear the thought of her fawning over a murderer as if he was her own father.”
“She’s the real one, don’t worry. Although, that might not sound very reassuring.”
I thought the same, too. After all, that was how my sister usually behaved.
“Your father is safe and sound. Both his wife and your sister are in the custody of the knights. But, as equal in the sanctity of life, those people aren’t of good character.”
Unable to deny it, I kept silent. My husband laughed.
“Can you believe it? He hasn’t gotten rid of his spending habits. I had hoped that my marriage with you hadn’t only eliminated his debt, but also made him a little profitable. But in reality, he was about to incur more debt.”
I felt ashamed beyond words. In the end, I could only cover my face with both hands.
Even I, who was cooped up in my room, had pride as an aristocrat, no matter how tiny it was. Between the ages of five and seven, a tutor was assigned to me. She taught me in a very detailed manner what an aristocrat should be, what it meant to be an aristocrat, what the income from the territory was, and what the graceful life of the aristocrat was based upon.
Therefore, I was painfully aware of how shameful the actions of my father and stepmother were.
“…Hence, I’ve taken it upon myself to detain them in their territory. Punishing the nobility tends to be exaggerated, and this kind of ugly news is the favorite of the social circles.”
“Are they being kept in the territory?”
“Yes, as punishment for wasting the hard work of the people and neglecting the management of the estate. But ostensibly, they’re going on a retreat to recover both mentally and physically from the incident. In any case, I doubt that by merely detaining him, he’d feel sorry. Due to that, I decided to pull my own tricks to make him work diligently. As soon as Cedric is of age, I’m going to have the count give up his title and retire.”
“B, but, even though it has nothing to do with you—I’m truly sorry… I mean, you even take care of Cedric…”
“Don’t feel sorry, Liliana. You’re my wife, while Cedric is an important family member for my cute wife. Because of that, I’d like to take good care of him, as well.”
My husband caressed my cheek.
Such warmth… It tempted me to be selfish.
I shook my head and killed the selfish wish in my heart that hoped for my husband to protect me forever.
“…I’m truly ashamed of the Alwin family, and I say this as an aristocrat. By letting Cedric take over such a tainted title, it’d be like burdening him with my father’s debts. Moreover, I can’t cause any further inconvenience to my husband. I’ll go. While working in the monastery, I’ll definitely repay you little by little.”
“You have to be by my side, as I won’t have it any other way.”
I was surprised and looked up at my husband. Seemingly a little angry, my husband’s blue eyes swayed with anxiety.
“The Alwin family is no longer in debt.”
“Regardless, I owe you 30 million rills.”
“But you didn’t borrow the money. After everything they’ve done so far, those three have to pay. Therefore, the debt has nothing to do with you, let alone Cedric.”
“…I’m not worth 30 million rills.”
I couldn’t afford to meet his eyes, so I looked down.
Unconsciously, my hand went to my left abdomen.
…After all, isn’t it strange?
Someone like me, who bore such a loathsome and horrifying scar, didn’t deserve to stand beside him. A perfect lady who was more beautiful and better at socializing would be suitable for him.
Above all, he should be with someone who he could desire.
“…I can’t possibly burden my husband.”
“You have value that no money can buy. Stop selling yourself short.”
Due to his slightly frustrated voice, I raised my face once again. Contrary to his face, my husband seemed about to cry.
“If you say that you’re a burden, then I’m more burdensome. After all, I lost my memory. Besides, I’m not as kind as you think.”
“That’s not true at all. My husband is very kind.”
I immediately denied it, to the joy of my husband, who narrowed his eyes and laughed.
“There’s no need for you to worry about anything. Rest assured, for I’ll protect you and Cedric.”
He gently cupped my cheeks.
“If you’re by my side, I’ll be able to overcome anything? With Cedric by your side, you’ll show me more of your smiles, won’t you? Because I-… I love your smile, Liliana.”
With a gentle smile, he spoke in a fleeting voice. His words were so full with tenderness that before I knew it, tears had flowed down my cheeks. My husband’s large palms softly erased my tears.
By just a single word of love from him, my heart was about to burst. At the same time, there was a sweet tinge of pain in my chest. In the end, I couldn’t help but sob.
As soon as I tugged on his shirt, my gentle husband locked me within his embrace. His warm hands lovingly stroked my hair.
When I put my ear against his chest, I could hear his heartbeats. They were slightly faster than usual. The sound felt nostalgic, as if I had been listening to it for a long time.
“Liliana, it’ll be alright. I’ll protect the two of you.”
Perhaps because I was listening closely to his chest, my husband’s voice echoed into the depths of my mind. I couldn’t stop crying.
—…Will you hug me like this even if your memory returns?
I forcibly swallowed the words that were stuck in my throat.
Upon noticing that I had tensed up, my husband beckoned to me. I shook my head and leaned further in. Then, my husband sweetly spoke of my name, before imprisoning me in a delicate embrace.
While listening to my husband’s heartbeat, I buried my tears in the warmth.
When the time comes, I shall leave with Cedric.
After my husband had regained his memory, there was no way he’d accept me. In the past, due to his lack of interest towards me, my husband didn’t return. Although I felt sorry for myself, I wasn’t hurt. Rather, I was even relieved to be alone in such a peaceful mansion.
After all, back then, I didn’t know of this warmth.
As of the present, upon knowing that the time would come when my husband would call my name no longer, embrace me no longer, stare at me with his bright blue eyes no more—
—I couldn’t bear it.
Just by imagining that his smile would vanish after witnessing my ugliness, it was as if my chest was being stabbed by a knife, and the blood that spilled from the wound made me ache even more.
It had become increasingly obvious to me—
—I had fallen in love with my husband, William.
I had fallen in love with someone I shouldn’t.
***T/N: Even if she‘s unaware of it, Liliana is hella good at playing push and pull…
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