Step. Step. Step.
The first one to speak was Zenith.
After an uncomfortably long silence, where the only sounds that came were Zenith's steps. She walks back to her seat, before giving Paul one last look, and saying, "go to the living room. I don't want to look at you."
"But dea-'' He cuts himself off as he looks up to see his wife's face. He walks away.
Shut up you fool, and get lost. Her eyes aren't joking.
"Rudy," she turns to me. "...can you give mommy a moment alone with Lilia?"
"...sure," I walk to the edge of the living room. Out of the room, but still close enough to hear.
Zenith is too troubled to care that I'm only outside the doorway. So I lean against the wall and listen in.
After an unpleasantly long silence, Zenith finally starts her interrogation. "Well, what are you going to do now?" After slapping Paul in tears, she is unusually composed… but, her eyes… her eyes are screaming bloody murder. She is doing well holding herself back.
"Please allow me to quit this job after helping Madam give birth," Lilia responds with equal composure. As for her eyes. I don't know… I can't look at them…
"What about the child?" Zenith questions.
"I plan to raise him in my hometown after I give birth in Fedora."
"...Your hometown is in the south right?"
"You will be exhausted after giving birth, and you probably can't take the long journey right?"
"...Perhaps, but I don't have anywhere else to go to."
Fedora is in the northern part of the Asuran continent. From what I could tell, from what Lilia told me, it is between one to two months travel, from here to her hometown. It heavily depends on the weather.
During these times without locomotives, carts are the only way to go, but even they can only go so fast. A horse is no replacement for a car.
There are also other troubles, like weather; winter… is not a safe time to be traveling. No one told me explicitly, but I can read between the lines.
Traveling during winter is not a good idea, as people usually hold up because of it, so the only people that travel during this time are the strong; people that don't worry about such things, and the desperate. People that are hungry for the next meal, in essence robbers and slavers.
And Lilia would go out in this weather…
She would be pounced upon immediately.
"But honey, that's really…" Paul tries to intrude.
"Shut up!" Zenith slams her palm down.
There's a time and a place, and there is no place for garbage here.
…calm down, need to stay calm…
The garbage aside, he's not wrong.
Traveling experience aside, winter has started, and stress is not good for a pregnant woman. No matter how you look at it, this is too dangerous for her, even if she survives, or is lucky enough to escape hardship, the ordeal could still complicate the baby inside her stomach.
A child born of infidelity.
Why isn't anyone talking?
I take a peek at the inside of the room.
Zenith is biting her fingernails with a troubled face, and Lilia is just waiting on her declaration now.
If things remain as they are then Lilia would be…
I struggle to do what I need to do. This is my scene. This is supposed to be where I bring our family together, isn't it. I'm supposed to…
If she leaves this house, it's a death sentence for either her or her to be born daughter.
Lilia… why… just why, why him?
I take a peek to the garbage slumped in the corner, before turning back to the room.
Zenith is troubled, Lilia is troubled, and Paul is useless. If I let things follow the flow, then… no, best not to think about it.
As much as Lilia hurt Zenith, it doesn't change the fact that she has been Zenith's closest friend for seven years. Even if she hurt her, I don't think she wants her dead. She probably wouldn't kick her out… but a woman scorned…
I can't take the chance.
I enter the room.
Just to be safe, I'll be the angel on your shoulder today. I don't feel she would kick her out, but I'm not one to gamble with someone's life on the line. Two lives on the line.
I don't know what I'm doing.
But I have to do something, because if I don't… no one will.
Sound really travels really easily in this household.
Such useless thoughts go through my head as I stand before Zenith who hasn't made a move since I got here. She sat there unmoving, her face hidden behind her hands, as she looked down.
Well, she has other things on her mind.
I remember this scene simple enough. It's been years, so I don't remember the exact words the original used to save this situation, but I do remember the general Idea.
Play up your innocence, and use it in your favor.
I take a peek at Lilia, she looks at me for a moment, our eyes meet…
That's impossible. I look away from her, back to Zenith. My chest hurts. I can barely stand here… let alone act.
Just focus on what you need to do.
"It's fine isn't it," I whisper.
"Nine months. You have nine months to come up with a decision. You don't have to come up with anything right now."
After a moment where she processes what I just said, she blinks her eyes in realization before responding, "Rudy… even so… she and your father… I can't… they did something unforgivable. I can't-we can't just let them be for nine months."
"Do you hate Lilia, mom,"
"I… I ha-"
"Do you wish Lilia dead," I interjected.
"I…" she shoots up.
She doesn't answer. She throws down her hands on the table looking down on it once more.
She really is amazing in her own way. If you had answered yes, I really couldn't hold it against you, and I would have struggled redirecting this conversation. Thank you for being kind.
"I don't want Lilia to die," I say.
"Rudy…" Zenith mutters. "I- I can't just do nothing, she… him," she looks at the wall she knows the scum is hiding against, "she hurt me, I-I can't forgive her, backstabbers! Traitors!"
"Zenith, I know they hurt you, but you're kind hearted, I know-"
Clap. She slams her hands on the table.
"Maybe I don't want to be kind! Maybe I want them to PAY!" She says through tears.
"..." she catches me off guard. In the end, she's only human.
I walk around the table, and stand next to Lilia. It hurts to look at her, but I can at least do this much.
I place my hand on her stomach.
"Heal," I cast. It isn't necessary, but it helps get my meaning across. "There's a baby in this stomach. This is my sibling, I want them to have a fulfilling life when they come into this world," I walk around the table, back to Zenith's side, and place my hand on her stomach, "just like this one."
This might itself be a form of manipulation as well, but it isn't based on lies, but rather the kindness that is in their own hearts, in Zenith's heart.
"Rudy…" Zenith looks at me troubled.
"I'm not asking you to forgive them, you can punish them later how you see fit, but don't let it out on my sibling." I look at her, my eyes teary meeting hers.
This isn't an act; I am in pain, just in a different sense.
"Lilia's punishment can wait, but she will have to be here for it, as for Paul," I look at the wall I know he's leaning against. "There's no baby in his stomach… throw him out."
"..." she's speechless with me for a moment, before-
"Wha- Rudy, what are you saying…"
"You shut the hell-" Zenith exclaims.
"Wind Blast," I threw a fist, blasting my father out of the room, as he bounces against the wall.
Garbage doesn't get to speak. This room is only for sentient human beings, not dogs that should be neutered.
Calm… Breathe in… breathe out… Just the sound of his voice is infuriating. I knew you could do this, and yet I ignored it.
No, I was too hopeful.
"Rudy?!" Zenith exclaims.
Before she can stop me, I reinforce my legs, and break the distance between myself and my… father. Standing over Paul, I muttered low enough so that Zenith can't hear. "Shut. Up. You. Idiot. I am saving your unborn child, and your marriage." I hear footsteps from behind me. "You just sit there, and let me," I finish as the footsteps stop behind me. Looking away, I notice Zenith and Lilia are standing at the doorway.
Turning away from them, I look back to the pile of waste lying before me, struggling with my emotions, I mutter, "You don't deserve them."
Before striking him.
"You deserved that," I struggled to say. My throat feels parched. My rage makes it hard for me to speak. And my breathing is ragged.
He looks at me with wide open eyes, before they flare up in anger, and he makes a fist. The air becomes heavy, and it's hard to tell if it's the mana, his toki, or just the anger, but everything becomes blurry.
Do it! If you do… then I can too.
"Rudy, stop!" arms drape over me, pleading with me to halt.
I turn to look at its source, and look Zenith in the eyes, her teary eyes matching my own.
I turn back to Paul, with still clouded eyes. A droplet of blood slides down the corner of Paul's lip as we have a staring contest, wondering what the other would do. Before he turns his head away, unclenching his fist, and remaining silent.
In a low voice while looking at the ground. "Sigh, I'm sorry… I'm a little angry too…" I apologize as I made my way back to the kitchen, as Zenith's arms held me.
"Momma…" I look up, "the only one who knows what's going on in your heart the best is you. Lilia's punishment can wait. If she is worth hating, then whether it's two days or two months you can come up with a punishment for her later. As for Pa-father…"
I grunt in disgust calling him father.
"You should throw him out."
She looks pained at the suggestion.
"...but I know mama's a kind person, so If you want to invite him back later, that's fine too. He can just sleep outside. He's an S-class adventurer, he can easily survive this type of weather."
I know her well. I know her too well, and I know she doesn't want to, so I have to settle for a middle ground approach.
As much as I would love to get him out of my life. For the same reason I didn't do anything to him, I don't. He makes Zenith happy, and… unfortunately… is going to be the father of Norn and Aisha. He is… necessary, for Zenith's happy life. After he gets better that is.
The sins of the father will not be passed to the daughter.
That's the problem with meta knowledge, I know, not think, but KNOW, that despite being scum, he does have potential to get better. It isn't like back on earth, when a criminal gets released, and you wonder if he will get better, or if he could get better.
I literally know he could.
I read his life, I read his thoughts, I know his future. Things have changed, but he is still at his core, the person I've read, infuriatingly so at times, but that also means he has the potential to improve. So I will let him be.
He is still trash after all, and trash has to be thrown out. Until he can 'recycle,' himself. He'll just have to sleep in the snow.
He has to. I'm not Zenith. There's a limit to my patience.
…I say that, but I still haven't beaten him in a spar…
I need to get stronger.
Struggling with my heart, I raise my voice regardless, so Paul can definitely hear, "If father is at all serious, then staying outside in this kind of weather is the least he can do!"
"...yes, you're right," Zenith whispers.
"Dear?" Paul meekly asks from behind me.
Earning him a glare.
"Go upstairs, and pick out your adventuring gear. You're camping outside."
"...but it's snowing,"
"Are you going to pick it up, or do I have to throw it out in the snow!"
He makes a dash for the bedroom. I can soon hear some rummaging going on upstairs. It seems he's taking her seriously.
Finally, a smart move. First one he's made today.
We all sat back on the table.
As the silence returned. We all sit there unknowing of what to do.
When it came down to it, we have basically decided on; we'll decide it later, and so the elephant in the room had to be addressed.
"...what happens now?" Zenith asked no one in particular.
I look at Lilia. "I don't know… but we'll find out together… all of us."
A moment later Paul comes down, having picked up his gear. Having come from a round of patrol, he already had quite a bit of gear at the ready. All he did was pick up a few necessities, to survive the coming winter.
I hope you freeze your balls off.
He stops by the room, opening his mouth a moment, before Zenith shoots him a glare, and he exits quietly out the house.
"...I think we've had enough, for one day, I'm going to bed," Zenith goes up the stairs.
Zenith goes to bed, and calls it quits for the day. Can't blame her, today was one giant clusterfuck, and I would love to follow her example as well.
Step. Step. Step…
As her steps recede, I'm left alone with Lilia.
I almost miss the yelling.
I can't look at her. I get off my chair. I have to get out of here.
"No… just no…" still looking at the ground, I utter those words.
The shifting of a chair is heard, and I know she's walking towards me.
"Rudy, I-" she places her hand on my shoulder.
Before I slap it away.
"Don't touch me," I say through cloudy eyes, my vision blurry, as I turn around. We made eye contact.
Dammit. She saw me.
It's getting hard to talk. It's getting hard to hold back my tears. I can't look at her. I turn my head away once more. I can't let her see how much she's hurting me. I turned away completely, not wanting to show her my pitiful state.
You don't get the right.
"You've betrayed-" I start, wanting to say me, but no… she was never mine.
Damn it all.
I hate this. Hate everything, but… I need to ask.
"Why did you do it?"
I can't see her face as I am looking away from her, but I can still hear her answer. "I was confused… I made a mistake."
'I was confused. She made a mistake,' she says! How stereotypical…
It doesn't matter. Nothing matters. At the end of the day, any excuse she makes would probably hurt me all the same.
I prepare to exit the room, "...I'm tired. Spent all day playing with Sylphy. I need a good night's rest," I start walking to the exit. But still more than even that, there is one question that halts me, "Why… Why did you kiss me?"
From behind me, "Because I… I… I!" she screams at the last one. "I…" but ultimately she can't finish the sentence.
It doesn't matter.
"It's been a long night… I'm going to bed…" I go towards the stairs. "...good night… Lilia."
How did I become like this?
There is no answer.
I.. I am… I can't say it.
After listening to their heavy pants every single night, cleaning after their room that has the scent of the night's aftermath, I would've built up desires. At first, I dealt with them myself, but that could only stave them off for so long.
Paul would continue his daily training, as well as continuing his flirtatious behavior, from time to time, and my defenses would weaken. But they never broke… not unless I'd let them break.
The Paul that I have not seen since back then, was much manlier now. The youthful boy had disappeared, and he had become an intense, and rugged man.
Luckily I was able to find a distraction. In the form of the young master.
At times like this Rudy-Rudeus's appearance was a blessing, I was able to stave off some of my desire, and refocus it into training, into healing, and it looked like a bright future was on the horizon. Although I can't get much use out of the training, the added level of exhaustion helps push the urges away, or so I thought.
Then I realized that leaning on Rudeus during this time was probably the worst possible decision.
I let my guard down… and Rudy became… someone inseparable to me.
Zenith's pregnancy was announced shortly after that realization, and Paul's urges were left unquenched, so were mine. During a time when I needed a distraction and Paul needed gratification, we betrayed Zenith.
It's amazing I lasted this long.
I deserved to be punished. I am… impure…
I seduced Paul.
The first time we betrayed Zenith I was washing my body, and left my door open as an invitation, he came in as expected, and shamelessly flirted, before awkwardly moving to the main event. He was surprised by my invitation, but didn't halt him for long. Part of me wished he would have refused my invitation, the part of me that won was glad he hadn't.
I needed a release, but more importantly… I needed a distraction.
A distraction I didn't quite know what from back then, not really, but I know I needed it. We had an affair.
We performed the act two more times after that, always when the young master, and the young mistress were away from the house. After working under them for so many years, I know Rudy's and Zenith's schedule like the back of my hand, as such sneaking around them was a simple enough matter.
After so many years of incessant lovemaking echoing across these walls, my desires have reached the heavens, as well as my envy. I wanted a little of what Madame Zenith had, a loving family, a fulfilling sex life, a happy marriage, a… gifted son.
My desires went unbridled.
I did not know the meaning of my own thoughts until our final tryst.
That was my first betrayal, the second was… the second came to light on our final night.
We were having a rigorous love making session. On a day, when lady Zenith got called in for the fever of a young kid in the village, and Rudeus was mingling with the young Laws girl.
The house was empty, and it was the middle of the day, and we knew there was no chance of interruptions, so I was free to be louder than usual.
Years of repressed sexual energy able to let loose, truly. And on that day I…
"Haa… Ah… Nnn! Nyah!" I was screaming, like a whore with her first customer.
"That's it, show your master how much you want him,"
"Ha… ah… ha…Harder!" I was free to let out all my desires.
As such, he reciprocated in both words, and action "I live to please. Such a naughty maid deserves to be punished. Longing for your master's cock. Such shamelessness…" he rammed me against the wall.
I tightened on hearing his words…
"Haha, or perhaps I'm rewarding you," he continued, while occasionally letting off a slap, before switching positions. He then threw me on the bed, and rammed his rod into me from behind. "AH!" We continued mating like animals, and then he grabbed my bouquet… and used it as a makeshift blindfold, as we continued.
"It would be bad… if you were caught now wouldn't it," he slowed down to whisper the words into my ear. "Can you imagine it, going at it only to be seen by-"
"P-P-Paul, please don't tease me."
Smack! "Hauh!!" I got spanked.
"It's Master, right now."
"Yes… yes… master," and so continued our final sex romp, completely at his mercy. Blindfolded by my own bonnet, and pressed between the mattress and his body.
"Auohh! Master!" he kept stirring my insides. "Oooh, M-master don't lick my ears…"
"But it looks like you're enjoying it… as well as this…"
"So tight… say it, call out for your master,"
I was losing my mind. I was free. No Zenith in the house, no Rudy. No one could hear me right now.
I was lost in pleasure. Several years of repressed urges, finally let loose.
"Put some heart into it!" he yelled.
"Maaaster More!" I yelled.
Bliss. This is what I wanted, what I needed after so long. With this seccion, I could repress my urges easily for a few more years, and then move on.
"Hnn," Our bodies pressed against each other, he lifted my upper half to him, his chest against my back. His hand squeezing my breast, never once stopping his thrusting, "Nnh!" He bit my ear. "AH!"
"I'm about to cum, come now. Let it out. let it all out…" He slowed his pace. His other hand tilted my neck to the ceiling, and a thumb soon fell on my lips, as he neared.
Whatever he was going to say was left unfinished, as in that moment, I let everything loose.
"Rudy…" I whispered.
At that moment I realized that I shouldn't be in this bed with him.
I'm thankful for my bonnet as I could not look at him right now.
If it weren't for the blindfold, I'm sure his eyes would have reflected the same kind of shock my own had.
"AHHH!" I orgasmed.
"…" I stayed silent. Not daring to remove my blindfold, hoping it could somehow cover my shame.
I am a horrible woman.
"...what did you say?" Paul questioned.
The following days were uncomfortable.
There was no pretending we didn't hear what came out of my mouth, there was no one else there.
I had no idea why I said such words. I didn't want to know why I said those words. As such I decided to make the choice to distance myself from the young master.
Although, such thoughts were unneeded, as Master Paul had decided to make sure there was a distance from Rudeus and myself. He started training him more closely, and kept pushing him onto Sylphy, like I did a year ago.
The young master has a busy schedule, but somehow he always found some time for me. Whether it was including me in sword training, or helping me out with the dishes or laundry. Only later did we really start making some distance, and even then, it wasn't much. No matter what divide there was, we truly weren't separated, not truly. He was always there.
Even in the awkward times, we could still smile and talk to each other.
Such actions were now discouraged.
I was 'asked,' not to be around his training sessions. Rudeus was 'asked,' to leave the woman's work to the woman, and he was even given some extra nightly training sessions, as an added measure so that he would have no time for me.
If it had continued like this I would surely be able to ignore these feelings. Those were my thoughts at the time.
Then the morning sickness began…
And I knew my time here was at an end.
One night, I woke up feeling a little nauseous, and went downstairs to wash the vile from my mouth. Fortunately, everyone was asleep, so no one heard me, and could ask me if I was sick.
Or so I thought.
As I made my way up the stairs, and started making my way down the hallway, I found my breathing becoming heavier, and my vision becoming blurry. It felt like I was going to faint.
Was this my punishment?
I remember panicking at the moment. Thinking that something was going wrong.
That was when a sudden gust of fresh air suddenly filled the room. "Hah… ah… hah… ah," I gathered my breath.
"Lilia?" a voice questioned.
It was Rudy.
"...Rudy… I'm sorry… I… am having trouble breathing…" I fell into his arms.
"I'm sorry, here Lilia," he hands me a cup of water.
I almost fainted a moment ago, it would have not been good for a woman in my condition, but losing my energy I fell into Rudeus's arms.
Although it was his fault I fainted.
As I drink the cup of water, I find peace in this moment. Trying to go down the stairs quietly, to avoid making any noise. I opened the door to my room, only to be suddenly ensnared by Rudy's antics.
"I see master Rudeus is up to his usual eccentricities," I quenched my thirst.
"Ah, yeah, something like that. I'm seriously sorry about that, you know, the breathing thing."
"May I inquire what exactly Rudy is doing, casting suspicious magic at night?"
"My magic is not…" he pauses in contemplation. "Oook… so maybe it's a little suspicious, but I'm not doing anything nefarious, just careless. I'm sorry about that by the way."
"You're forgiven already master Rudeus."
"Thank you. Anyways, nothing big, I was just going to sneak out, and was checking if everyone was asleep."
Why did I call that boy's name?
I shouldn't have come here. I should stay away from him as much as possible from now on. Then there's the matter of the other child… Yes, it's decided, tonight, I'll do it tonight, I'll say my farewells, and-
I felt a hand on my forehead.
"Heal," Rudeus enchanted.
"What's that look for, did you forget who's your personal doctor?" He lowered his hand, and smiled his boyish smile. "Just to be safe. A little extra healing never hurt anyone… well, except that one time, but let's forget about that, ha ha," he rubs his head.
Drip. Drip. It-It's too much. I can't.
Tears escaped my eyes.
"...I'm sorry…" I muttered
"I'm sorryI'm sorryI'm sorry, I'm sorry… I! I'm just so sorry,"
I felt his arms embrace me, as he pulled me into a hug, "...it's alright. It's alright…"
It's warm. Why did he have to be so warm?
"Waaaah!" I cried into his chest, and let the darkness take me, as I cried myself to sleep.
"Hmm…" I struggled to gather my bearings. As I awaken.
With a small case of delirium I looked around wondering where I am, only to realize: This is not my room.
That was my first thought.
Taking a look around, I notice the young master laying in the bed next to me, looking at me with a sheepish expression. It appears we've slept together.
Wait a minute! What?!
That was my second.
I jerked up, and looked at my body. I was still wearing my sleep wear, and everything looked in place. I placed a hand over my body, protecting my modesty, as I checked it. It didn't feel different. It didn't seem like anything happened to it last night. In fact, I felt better than before, as if I've just had the best sleep I've had in years.
"Ahhh… what are you doing? You're just wearing your sleepwear. It's perfectly modest… and I already saw it last night," Rudy tells me.
Noticing I still had my arm over my chest, I let it down, before courteously exiting this room. "I seem to have fallen asleep in Master's bed, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I'll take my leave,"
"Are you seriously pulling the maid card to get out of this?" He questioned.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You've been avoiding me," he said. It wasn't a question.
"Young master is mistaken. I am simply moving to the side, and giving Master Paul and young master more familial bonding time," I made my way towards the door, and was about to politely ask him to leave, when he caught one of my arms as the other was reaching for the door.
"Did I do something?"
He was worried at the time that I was upset with him in some way. If anything I was upset with myself.
"Young master has nothing to worry about, I am not perturbed with you at all,"
"Then what's wrong?"
"I am not-"
"I've known you for years Lilia. I know when you're lying to me. Not to mention the crying…"
"...It isn't anything the young master should worry about…"
"...Is that so… fine, but you know, I'm right here for you, if you need me right?"
I shamelessly admit, my heart skipped a beat there.
This is no good. I am too aware of the young master at this time. I couldn't help but think.
"Thank you, Rudy. I will take note of that."
With that, the young master solemnly walks solemnly back to his bed…
This is fine, this is how it should be.
Before he comes to a halt..
"Screw it…" he uttered.
Turning around, he strides right back towards me at a fast brisk pace, surprising me, before… picking me up, in a bridal carry.
"Shh. Mother and father are sleeping right now, let's not wake them."
Some dangerous words were said. I was no in the right mind to respond to him.
"Lilia, do you trust me?" he asked.
I did not trust myself, but…
"Yes, I trust you."
"Good, hang on," he ordered as he walked to the window. I hung my hands over his neck, surprised at his strength, before he wrapped us in a sheet, before jumping out the window.
I closed my eyes for a moment, anticipating a fall. It didn't come. We floated across the field for a moment, like a dandelion on the wind. We gently stopped a moment later, at what seemed to be a tree several yards away from our home.
"Woo. I guess carrying someone else is more difficult than I thought," he said to himself. A habit he's had since birth. "I was trying to make an impression, but guess we'll have to walk the rest of the way,"
"Where are we going?"
"Our training spot," he answered. It's been a lifetime since I've been to that spot.
Why should we go there?
I didn't have to wait long. Soon, we quietly made our way to the pond. "Alright, here goes, Trace on," he began his casting, and suddenly the temperature dropped, and the wind started moving, and then the winds started picking up.
Whoosh. He dashed through the landscape, the world becoming a blur as I held onto Rudy, as he took me across the world. Until, finally it came to an end, and we're back at the ever so familiar pond.
The cold winds bother my eyes for a moment before a sudden light hits my eyes. It's the sunrise, and it's reflecting off…
A ten foot statue made of water floats on the pond.
"Beautiful isn't it? I-I don't know what to do, at times like these. You are supposed to give someone a gift to help them along, but sadly I don't really know much about Lilia. I know you're kind, tolerant, loving, dutiful, beautiful, slightly superstitious, incredibly stubborn… hmm, now that I think about it, I know quite a bit. But… at the end of the day, I can only do so much if you're pushing me away."
He showed me a statue of myself.
"So, ah… this is embarrassing," he whispered at the tail end, before finding the resolve to continue. "So, um, please don't push me to the side too much. I'd still like to get to know Lilia more. I can only do that by your side… even… even if it's not the way I would like, please don't kick me out of your life" he said to me, looking me in the eye, as a statue of me lay forgotten in the background.
I knelt down, a few tears escaping my eyes once more.
"Um, ah… please tell me everything's ok?" he puts his hand on my cheek, wiping tears away with his thumb.
"Everything is fine I just, I just… Rudy… can you turn around for a second."
"...sure," he turns, showing me his back.
I get up, and hug him from behind. "Thank you,"
He grabbed one of my hands, stroking the top gently. No words were said.
We stood in a silent embrace, as the morning dawn came.
It is absurd. It is wrong, but it is the truth, I…
I placed one hand on the side of his face, before gently raising it up to his eyes, covering them. Tilting his head ever so gently, so that it pointed towards the heavens. He was then facing me as I looked down on him.
His eyes covered, his lips pointed up, I…
I am a horrible woman.
I kissed him.
It is undeniable now. I…
I am in love with Rudeus.
I love him.
I suppose it was inevitable. I fell for Rudy. How could I not? When someone showers me with affection, and care. Again, and again. When someone gets angry for your sake, how could you not love such a man. If it were any man, I would have fallen for them Immediately, but because it was a boy, I could only wallow in denial.
Funny enough, It wasn't even the big acts that won me over. If it were I would have noticed my feelings long ago.
No, it wast the little things. It was his hold on me when I'm weak. It's how he gets angry for my sake. It's how he embraces me, and I can feel his genuine care behind it. It was how he looked me in the eye, and I felt as if he's staring into the depths of my soul. It was his sincerity.
So I kissed him.
It was supposed to be a kiss goodbye, but I needed to know. I needed to know how 'it,' feels like. I needed to know how it feels to kiss someone you love. It was… wonderful.
With my banishment being all, but guaranteed, I just… I just wanted to feel loved just once, before everything ends.
It was clumsy. It was simple. It was…fulfilling. I was happy.
I just felt completed. I struggled to separate. I don't know how long I held it.
If I never kissed anyone ever again, I wouldn't mind.
But it doesn't matter. It was too late… everything was.
"...I'm pregnant," I stated.
I had to pay for my transgressions.
In a couple months it would be impossible to hide what I've done. I have betrayed the Madame, and for that I must receive whatever punishment she would impart on me. This was supposed to be the ending. I would confess, I would be judged, and I would get what I rightly deserve.
At least that was what was supposed to happen.
"It's fine isn't it," Rudy pushed through the confusion.
Per usual no one can predict Rudy once he gets going.
There was screaming, there was crying, there was slapping… and there was even a little bit of magic, but my retribution never arrived.
Rudy, despite how much I've probably hurt him, he pleaded on my behalf. I, who had betrayed the pregnant madame and seduced the master, was defended.
No matter how ashamed I was, at that moment, despite the despondent atmosphere, I was grateful.
"...I think we've had enough, for one day, I'm going to bed," Zenith said.
She walked up the stairs, and it would just be I and Rudy, sitting in silence.
"I," what should I say? I don't know, but first I should thank him for doing something he didn't want to do.
"No… just no…" he stops me. He still isn't looking at me.
It hurts to see him like this
He's been by my side for all these years. I've wanted to push him away, but… not like this. I stand from my chair and walk to him.
"Rudy, I-" I place a hand on his shoulder.
Before he slaps it away.
"Don't touch me," he mutters, looking at me with tears in his eyes.
I've never seen Rudy cry.
He turns away from me. "You've betrayed-" he starts, before the words get stuck in his throat.
The silence is stifling, and through it all, what hurts the most is that Rudy can't look at me.
"Why did you do it?" He breaks the silence.
Why did I do it?
Because I was confused. Because I have needs, because I… I almost did something abhorrent to you. My body longed for some release, so I used Paul to fulfill that desire, but my heart… my heart is what needed a release.
I just didn't understand 'till everything was over.
What should I say? That I used him. That Paul was supposed to fulfill his purpose, and I would be over it. That I was using him so I could regain my sanity. That I was trying to end my passions, with a tryst, and go back to being your maid.
Of course I didn't say that. What kind of woman could say that to her… to my… my…
…I just couldn't say it…
Not that it worked.
In the end Paul couldn't fulfill the desire, as it wasn't my body that was longing for something, it was my heart.
When Paul and I had sex, it was rough, it was passionate, it was… familiar. Though he is better at the act than the fat nobles I had the displeasure of bedding. At the end of the day Paul was doing the same thing, he was simply satisfying his needs. It was hollow.
When the dead was done. It was done. It was lacking.
I did not feel the same warmth I feel in Rudy's arms.
Something was missing.
I remember Rudy's hold on me last night. It was warm, it was comforting. I could feel Rudy's love for me. I remember his boyish smile, his smirk, the way he rubs his head in embarrassment, the way he holds you after a healing, his embarrassed face when caught doing something embarrassing.
Overall, in Rudy's arms, I just felt at peace.
With Paul… It lacked warmth.
"I was confused… I made a mistake."
I still am.
He prepares to exit the room, "...I'm tired. Spent all day playing with Sylphy. I need a good night's rest," he starts walking to the exit, before halting, "why… Why did you kiss me?"
Ah… he asked it.
"Because I…" I want to say it, "I need to say it. I want to let it out. Be free, and say it. Say the words that squeeze at my heart.
My chest hurts.
"I…" I want to let it loose. Tell him how much he means to me.
I can't breathe.
"I!" I want to scream.
I want to tell you how I missed your touch. How I missed our talks. How I missed our squabbles, missed our healing sessions, missed the sound of your voice, but more importantly… how I just missed having you at my side. That is all I ever needed.
I should have never longed for more.
My throat is tight… my hands reach to my throat, as if unconsciously wanting to force the words out.
Because I love you!
But I can't. I can't.
Nothing would ever change that I slept with Paul, and to confess now, would only hurt him more.
I was saved by the young master, and the madame, because of that I can't say it. To confess now, would only be spitting on their faces.
No… It would hurt everyone more. Madame Zenith can forgive one betrayal. I can't ask her to forgive another.
So I won't. I stay silent. I can't betray Zenith once more. To do so…
I put a hand on my belly. Would hurt everyone.
"I…" my vision is blurry with tears.
No matter how much I want to…
I don't want to hurt this family anymore.
These feelings, will never be told.
Rudy, without turning around, said, "It's been a long night… I'm going to bed…" he goes towards the stairs. "...good night… Lilia," before walking away.
Then like a river, I lose control, and cry in this open room. The one person who would wipe my tears, has walked away.
So this is the difference between passion, and love.
I can't help, but think, what if things went differently? What if I had been able to find out earlier my feelings? What if I listened to my heart, and figured out what I wanted? Would I have done something else, would I have waited, or would I have broken this family even further.
'I can wait. 'Till the day you can say those words, until then…'
Why couldn't I just listen?
I control my sobbing, as I take out a handkerchief to wipe my tears.
It's done. Nothing to do about it now. I held a hand to my stomach.
This is my punishment.
I fell in love with someone I shouldn't have, and bore the child of someone I shouldn't. All the while hurting everyone in this household.
I can never tell him my feelings. I don't deserve them.
Goodbye, my first love.
I raise my hand to my eyes, noting it's discolored appearance.
"Mana rebound; a condition in which a caster's build up of mana is interrupted, leading towards internal damage…" I analyze my hand. It's still slightly red. It's funny the useless thing you can remember at the most inopportune times. Roxy would be proud of my ability to recall her lessons during distress.
Lowering my hand to my chest, I place it over my heart.
After everything was said and done, I made my way upstairs, but I couldn't make it to my room. Stopping at the base of my door, I leaned my head against it, before finally letting myself collapse, and letting the tears drop, as well as my body.
I've been sitting here uselessly for a while now. Luckily Lilia hasn't come up the stairs.
Damn it, damn it all.
This day is the worst.
I stand up. I am not grasping at breath anymore, but my eyes are irritated, my throat feel parched, and my hand is numb. I must look like a mess. I couldn't stay down there another moment, before she would have noticed. I had to come up here.
I'm going to bed.
I should have done more. I-
This thinking isn't going anywhere… all it leads to is me-
My thought process is interrupted as I hear quiet sniffling.
Getting relative control over myself, I move down the hallway. Following the noise, before stopping at its source. It's behind my parent's bedroom. Considering one of them is out in the snow, there's only one person it could be.
All it leads to is tears.
That's right… There's one other person that's in even more pain than I am.
Ah… what am I doing…
I reach for her door.
I don't know what to do… but obviously I never have…
"Snff, snff, snn.." I hear some quiet wailing coming from outside my parents door.
"That's right… I'm not the only one in pain, right now…" I whisper outside Zenith's door.
The crying stops, and I hear some rummaging, before the door opens, "...Paul, is that you?" Zenith says as she opens the door.
Sorry, but no I'm not. You just kicked him out, remember?
"Oh, Rudy…" she says downheartedly.
I'm not the person you wanted, but I'm the best you get right now, sorry…
Without a word, I let myself in, and grabbed her by the hand, as I silently walked in pulling her back to her bed, all the way silent. She follows my lead and allows me to direct her to the bed, and sit on it with me. There we simply sat, shoulder to shoulder, all the while I was still holding her hand.
I'm sorry Zenith, but let me take advantage of this privilege. For once I rather act my age.
We sit silently for a minute.
"...Rudy?" she questions, confused at my actions.
"I… I'm not good with this, talking feelings thing, but I…" I can feel my shoulder trembling, "I-I am willing to listen if you're willing to speak… or If you don't want to talk at all that's fine too…" I laid my head on her shoulder. "So… you can lean on me," I said as I leaned on her.
I simply want some warmth right now.
"Snff… wa… Waaaa!" She cries, turning quickly and hugging me. Our bodies collapse and they fall onto the bed.
Just for today, let me be a child.
I hug her tightly, as my tears fall once more.
…don't know how long it lasted this time. We were lost in our own little world. But it was nice. My heart feels a little better.
As we cried the night away, we embraced oblivion.
The best bed one can sleep on, is peace.
Embracing the peaceful night, both I and Zenith hugged each other into a deep sleep.
Hopefully now, we can say goodbye to this long day. It was quite an ordeal we all went through, but we've done all we can do for now. All we can do now is heal.
"Good night, Zenith."