✧ Spring Has Come and Flowers Have Bloomed✧
*Click For Audio Drama*
When the mailman had stopped by earlier, Bill thought it was just another batch of his mail. And yet, right in front of him was a very confusing letter.
There was nothing else on the envelope except his name. There was no sender to trace it back to—just his name.
He glanced at it in confusion, turning it over in his palm as he set aside the other mail. He frowned the more he looked at it, apprehensive about what it could contain. Deciding it was best to get this over quickly, he plopped on a chair by the porch and finally opened the envelope just as the spring breeze from the forest gently brushed past his dishevelled, graying hair.
What started out as simple curiosity soon turned into a boiling rage as he read, and re-read, and read the letter for any logic to its words again. His grip on it soon tightened, crumpling up the page in both hands as his lips were pursed into a thin line, and a frown burrowed its way on his face.
“Such crude accusations!” He all but hissed until the words were dancing in front of him with rage!
[I was uncertain how you would take this news, but I write it anyway because you have the right to know about your foster daughter’s hidden affairs, Mr Remmer. To bring light on Leyla Lewellin’s darkest secrets, secrets she’d been keeping from everyone and you.
She is currently in a relationship with an engaged man.
Yes, you read that correctly. I understand it would be difficult for you to believe this, and I wouldn’t blame you, but it is my truth. You may think of me terribly; after all, in your eyes, Leyla is all but an innocent child to you, but she isn’t. Ask her yourself, if you dare. It just pains me to know she’s been keeping this secret for a long time, especially from you. You, who loved and cared for her since she came into your care.
So I took it upon myself to finally reveal her secret to you.
What you do with the information I parted with you is not my business anymore. However, I would advise you that if you really care for your foster daughter, don’t let this continue. Of course, I cannot dictate your feelings on the matter, so choose wisely your next steps, Mr Remmer.
It’s genuinely revolting news to receive, but there was no lie in this. I swear on it in my life and the lives of those I love.
I genuinely hope you make the right choice here, Mr Remmer. It’s not too late to rectify Leyla’s indiscretions.]
Such elegant penmanship, yet such revolting words it contained, making Bill’s stomach twist and turn in protest at this information presented in front of him!
And what a coward this person was! To hide in anonymity as they imparted such deliberate accusations!
“Lies! All of this!” Bill hissed quietly to himself. Upon closer inspection, he inferred that the sender was most probably a woman. But who could do such a thing against his sweet and perfect little girl?!
Bill fisted the letter into a crumpled roll in his anger and threw it in complete rage across the room!
Such an insult to Leyla’s reputation! She was nothing but honourable and wouldn’t dare do anything as horrendous as being with an engaged man! What malevolent creature could even think about such horrible things to his girl!?
He caught sight of the letter and felt the urge to tear it into pieces once more. Just as he was about to pick it up, he found himself in front of the kitchen sink…
With a window looking over to the forest.
Memories of him seeing Leyla walking through the forest came rushing in the back of his mind. She walked back quietly to their cabin with her nightgown and white pallor, with messed up hair.
Bill’s hands shook before he clenched them up into a fist and quickly grabbed the letter off the floor, shaking the memory out of his head.
It wasn’t true. This was all baseless accusations, and not an ounce true in it!
Why would she even entertain an engaged man!? It was wrong and completely against the values she had!
These were only words of a coward who’s been jealous of his Leyla. Yes, that’s it. After all, if it was the truth, why hadn’t they signed a name? Yes. What cowardice had been displayed here.
The more he denied the letter, the more his rage built up until he felt angry blood rushing to his face as he clenched his fists hard around the letter! The wooden floorboards creaked beneath him with every shift of his weight as he paced back and forth around the cabin.
Everything after it became a blur until Bill found himself tossing the letter into the flames, watching as the flimsy paper eventually turned into ashes.
His eyes focused solely on the last line he could see.
‘She is currently in a relationship with an engaged man.’
“No, that’s not my Leyla,” He whispered into the flames, watching as the fire eventually ate the last of the letter until it all turned to dust.
But the rage and ache were still in his chest, making him gather up the ashes left by the fire before digging a hole in the back to bury it in manure and dung. Once he was done and cleaned himself off the dirt and grime, Bill found himself sitting on the chair, staring out into nothing with a blank face.
He can’t get that image of Leyla walking back home in the middle of the night. It kept flashing across his mind every time she appeared to be more and more like a girl, lost and stuck in the forest.
“There’s no way,” Bill whispered persistently to himself, “No way….”
The words flowed out like a mantra from his lips, berating himself over and over again for even doubting Leyla’s credibility and reputation over a coward’s words.
So stuck in his head, he failed to see how his body shook in the confines of their cabin.
“Miss Lewellin, why are you doing this again?!” Exclaimed the headmistress in surprise when Leyla had once again put forth a letter of resignation. “You’re even resigning now instead of requesting to be transferred!”
She narrowed her eyes in disappointment over to Leyla through the top of her spectacles before taking a sip of her tea. She swallowed the warm liquid, revelling in its feel going down her throat, before letting out a sigh and putting it down on the saucer.
“Is this another one of your fantasies to leave your hometown and go to a new city?” she asked her critically, “If so, then forgive me, but I shall put your resignation on hold lest you change your mind, again.” She told the younger woman pointedly.
Leyla could only smile sheepishly at her superior, grabbing her other arm by the elbow as she tried to reason herself out.
“N-no.” She stuttered, shaking her head in response. “Th-that’s not why I put in my resignation.” She added softly. The headmistress then clasped her hands before her as she scrutinized Leyla some more.
“Are you getting married, then?” She bluntly asked, and Leyla’s eyes shot up, a blush forming on her face before shaking her head profusely!
“No!” She exclaimed, albeit a little too quickly, before quickly looking back down to fidget with her fingers. When no further explanation was presented from Leyla, the headmistress began to feel impatient with her silence.
“Miss Lewellin, I’d like for you to at least shed some light over this sudden decision of yours!” She demanded, “Because as far as I’ve known and seen from you, you’ve been doing very well so I have no idea why you’d quit this school.”
She knew Leyla had to have a good reason to hand in her resignation. Despite her chiding, Leyla wasn’t an impulsive woman. She was very observant of all her teachers, especially the new ones. She’d seen the way Leyla handled and prepared her lesson plans.
This was not someone who could just leave behind her students. And so she waited patiently for Miss Lewellin to finally explain her reasoning.
“I,” Leyla paused, unsure of how to start. “I’m going to prepare for college entrance again.” She finally said while her hands fisted on her skirt.
She needed to sell this lie. After all, she practised so hard in the mirror, trying to be as convincing as possible. It helped that she had lots of practice in front of the Duke.
At her words, the headmistress blinked before re-reading the contents of her resignation letter.
“You’re going to college?” She asked in surprise, “You hadn’t mentioned it in your letter. Though, from what I recall, you wanted to go to a university in the capital, didn’t you?” She surmised, trying to hide her dislike for the idea.
As much as she wanted to hold on to her teachers, who was she to question them for trying to further their knowledge? Certainly not her, a headmistress of a learning school.
Still, the headmistress had ample time to find a replacement for her.
“Well, if that’s really your reason, then who am I to deny you of resigning?” She finally relented, granting Leyla to fully resign from her duties as this school’s teacher.
Leyla looked up at her and beamed a bright smile upon her acceptance before bowing in gratitude to her.
But even that happy face of hers was a rehearsed ruse, and she kept it up even after she left the principal’s office until it eventually faded away with every echo of her heels clicking at her step through the empty halls.
There was a knocking loneliness banging against her chest; hearing the fading laughter of the children outside as one by one left the school for their homes.
The day for her to leave was also drawing near as Leyla looked outside of the window, seeing the springtime begin to blossom over the vast fields. Flowers were beginning to sprout in the apple tree next to the window.
Now, she’ll just need to continue to cultivate her plan. Everything was going according to her plan, after all. She just needed more of the Duke. More of his obsession, more of his desire.
Sometimes, she would almost mistake it for the love he was showing her. But that couldn’t be. She wasn’t naive; she knew better that no monster could ever learn to love.
Every benevolent action he’d given her, they were all illusion to keep her subservient to him. And yet he failed to see how it was all a trap.
And he, a willing victim.
What foolishness the Duke portrayed, naively believing all the promises she intended to break. She found herself excited at every smile, laughter, and grin he’d given her freely. Truly, she was becoming everything he wished her to be…
Now all that’s left is for her to break it down and stab him with the shards of her betrayal.
Leyla climbed on her bicycle, all the more determined to see the entire thing through. Whatever nervousness was springing deep down in her mind, she firmly buried it down with the feelings of elation and excitement upon her birthday.
He called her that relentlessly. His sweet whispers echoed enticingly in her mind, but she knew they were all just poison nectar. Anymore and she would ruin herself.
Tender blue eyes flashed right in front of her, making her still in her movements.
Even if she thought about it…
Even if she believed some of this could be true… could really happen…
How further would this thing between them go?
‘What am I thinking!?’ Leyla scolded herself, hiking up the bike’s stand and got ready to pedal back home. There was no logic to this. Why was she even thinking about things going beyond what they already were!?
In her frustration, she pedalled furiously down the empty streets, mind running miles away from him as she passed by the wildflowers on the way towards his property.
Spring signalled the beginning of the flowers blooming once again. It was an obvious fact that Matthias always observed unceasingly.
He took his horse out for a ride earlier and found himself stopping beneath the shade of a willow tree, firmly planted beside the flowing stream across from him. The scent of fresh flowers wafted over him, bringing a cherished memory to mind.
His stallion had no qualms in taking a rest and enjoying the spring with him. And so Matthias swung himself over the back of his horse and got down. He patted it for a well-done job before leaning against the willow tree, still in deep thought.
Right across the stream was a meadow of budding flowers, yet to fully bloom.
This must be what Leyla meant. This must be where she watched the full bloom of spring come and go every year, without fail.
A smile came unbidden in his mind, a buzzing thrum beneath his veins when he recalled the way she told him before how she longed for them to enjoy this springtime together.
As much as he enjoyed riding on horseback and running through the glen, Leyla knew Arvis better than he did. After all, this was the first time he’s been to this section of his estate. Was it right to bring her to Ratz?
She might have loved Arvis more than he did.
But no matter, bringing her to Ratz was for the best. He would marry Claudine and keep Leyla to himself in Ratz, and there he could do what he wanted into the light. Sponsoring Leyla to her dream college was inconsequential.
He could still have her every night when she’s finished with her studies—a win-win situation for everyone.
Content, he leaned his head against the bark and watched the cloudless sky. He laughed, feeling himself light in the past few days. He’d never felt as listless as he did today, and it was because of Leyla.
And he doesn’t want it to stop. Leyla was everything for him.
Eventually, he managed to drift off, dreaming of golden locks and emerald eyes. She danced in a field of sunshine and flowers, hands reaching out, beckoning him to take her for himself. And their bodies molded together, limbs tangled up in one another as their breaths and sounds intermingled as one…
He could still feel the ghost of her warm body against his, even as he woke up.
The once blue sky was now basked in orange and red hues. Sunset had arrived.
He dusted off his hands and clothes with a sigh, before hoisting himself upon the stirrups and throwing his leg over the back of his noble steed. Despite having stayed longer than anticipated, Matthias’ relaxed gait remained, even as he galloped across the fields to return to his mansion.
Spring would inevitably come soon.
For now, he missed his canary dearly.
Bill had all but drowned his thoughts in alcohol, only stopping when he realized it was almost time for school to be over. Which meant it was nearly time for Leyla to return home.
And so he cleaned up his mess, and then himself, and poured himself some hot tea to sober up a little bit more before she figured something had happened in the moments she was gone.
As soon as she arrived, brightly beaming at him and kissing his cheek sweetly, any thought of confronting her about the letter flew off his head.
This wasn’t a person who would commit an affair with an engaged man.
And so he asked her about her day, and they chatted amicably until Bill all but forgot the anonymous letter when Leyla had dropped some unexpected news upon him.
“What?” He asked in disbelief, looking at her with wide eyes, “Is that true, Leyla? But why?” he asked incredulously, “Isn’t the Duke sponsoring you for your college?”
It was like Bill’s feet had been pulled under him all of a sudden. This was disturbing news! What happened? Did the Duke change his mind out of the blue?!
He had thought Leyla would be most affected by this, but she hardly seemed upset by it. Instead, she had a serene look on her face, despite the dismayed tone in her voice.
“Yes, uncle.” She said softly, looking down on her hands that were folded in front of her. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.”
“But my dear…” Bill’s words trailed off as he stared longer on his beloved niece. The words were stuck in the back of his throat, and he suspected that later on, he would be seeing the end of the alcohol bottle once more.
He had thought that she would accept it in the end. After all, she asked for some time to think about her decision. Instead, she did the exact opposite, and opted not to take the golden opportunity the Duke was presenting them!
It was unfathomable for him that Leyla could just let that chance for her to pass by!
“How about it, uncle?” She hummed with bright eyes and an eager smile as she looked at him. “After spring, let’s go somewhere else other than Ratz.” She suggested to him, “Somewhere far away! To a place that has nothing to do with the Herhardt family!” She exclaimed excitedly, waving her hands to emphasize just how far she wanted their vacation to be.
Bill chuckled half-heartedly, finding his chest a little lighter with how easygoing Leyla was. Still, he couldn’t shake the undercurrent of worry upon her decision not to accept the Herhardt’s sponsorship.
“I don’t care where we go, my dear,” he told her gently with a smile, “We’ll go wherever you want.” He reassured her but kept drumming his hands nervously on the tabletop.
“But Leyla, I need you to think about this carefully again. You being sponsored is different. It’s a one in a million opportunity,” he emphasized. “This just doesn’t happen to anyone. Think about your future.” He finished.
Leyla’s eyes softened as she looked at him before giving him a despondent smile.
“I know, uncle,” she reassured him, “But that’s why I decided not to take it.” She finished, beaming at her uncle brightly. No matter how much Bill wanted her to change her mind, he knew how stubborn Leyla really was.
“Oh that reminds me, uncle,” She beamed brightly at him, which he found to be a little more genuine than before, “Monica got a perfect score on her arithmetic test today! You know Monica, right? She was the youngest student you met on an autumn picnic.” She reminded him excitedly.
Bill felt himself a little apprehensive at the sudden change in topic, but understood it for what it was. She won’t be changing her mind anytime soon, or ever. And so, he resolved himself to sit back, and listen to her stories for the rest of their evening.
But the nagging question in the back of his mind remained. What was happening right in front of him?
He has felt so unlike himself ever since this morning. Almost as though he wasn’t even in control of his actions as he’d gone through the rest of his household chores earlier. The letter might have rattled him a lot more than he thought.
Should he ask her instead?
“Leyla,” He called out softly, the name slipping out of his lips before he even registered the need to call her attention. She was currently cleaning out the table from their dinner, having finished rattling off about the different adventures her students had at school.
Dwelling over speculations would do nothing to ease his mind and misgivings about the unpleasant letter he’d received. It was best to ask now, and avoid further trouble later.
But how could he even begin to ask it?
Not a single word slipped out of his mouth after that, even though Leyla acknowledged his call, despite being busy putting away some leftovers. Bill eventually cleared his throat, the aching pit in his chest burning persistently inside him.
“I think…” he began, before quickly filling in the silence, “I should be getting to bed now, my dear.” He informed her, and she smiled at him and nodded encouragingly, urging him to rest as much as he could before tomorrow’s work.
How dare he have such doubts about his niece’s integrity? He knew her better than any accuser, anonymous or not. He mentally apologized to Leyla for doubting her and believing, even for a small moment, those lies held by a coward’s paper.
Wordlessly, Bill hurriedly left the kitchen, and headed straight into his room. He was far from ready to go to bed from the harrowing news he’d received, but he found himself so exhausted from today.
It didn’t help that Leyla was acting a little strange from his point of view. But that could have been conjured up by the doubts brought on by this morning’s letter.
He loathed to admit that his paranoia that something had gone wrong started long before the letter arrived. The letter’s arrival only served to cement more of his worries to be true. No…It didn’t even start after he’d gone and left for that trip last winter.
Now that he thought about it, the feeling of wrongness began long before that. Though he was certain when the winter season began, everything had been fine then.
Leyla was still acting like the Leyla she once was.
And so he lied firmly on his bed, trying to erase the letter in his mind. In the end, it proved counterproductive when its words were all that ran through his mind in the end, and the feeling of anger in himself surged up in him once more.
Leyla isn’t like that. She wouldn’t, not in her life and dignity would she ever entertain a married man.
‘But what if… NO!’
He firmly scolded himself once more. Even if it were true, which guy in Arvis would even dare touch his Leyla, when it was clear they already had a woman to pledge their life to?!
“No, there’s no way…” Bill muttered softly into the silence, hands shaking with rage as he imagined a faceless figure of a man looming in front of him. It made him freeze in surprise, but he hadn’t loathed the idea of strangling him until this imagined man breathed no more.
‘This was only the alcohol talking, it must be.’ Bill deluded himself into thinking. After all, he drank a lot, before Leyla’s return home.
He suddenly regretted getting rid of the terrible letter. If he kept it a secret, he could have checked the handwriting, matched it up to the documents he could get his hands on, and found out the mystery sender’s identity.
Maybe then, he could face a feasible person in his mind, and throttle them in real life instead of even sullying his niece’s name with horrendous lies!
As he gritted his teeth in anger, there was a sudden sound of a door creaking open. He didn’t know how long he lay in bed, but a quick glance outside told him it was far too late for anyone to be awake.
Perhaps Leyla was getting some water to drink. She must be staying up late. It wasn’t unusual.
And so he lay still, listening to their floorboards creak until he heard the sound of the front door creaking open before being firmly shut quietly. And Bill found himself moving unnaturally quiet as he got up from bed and took a peek outside their cabin.
And there she was, with a flimsy shawl wrapped around her shoulders, walking through the forest in her thin nightgown, looking as pale as a ghost-like when he’d seen her before.
But instead of coming back, she was now headed into a forest, and Bill could only stand dumbly in the middle of his room, staring after his Leyla’s disappearing form into the woods.
Note: The update will take a break for 2 weeks, due to final exams. After the 19th May, I will do a fast release ^^
*For the meantime, maybe u can help to leave comment and review on novelupdate.* ^^