The four days Leyla spent alone were daunting and somewhat bizarre.
Listening to uncle Bill’s word of advice, which she initially ditched as a joke, Leyla locked the window and put the hunting gun hanging in her uncle’s room next to her bed.
Even after getting ready for her slumber, Leyla stayed awake and had trouble sleeping. She jolted by the owls hooting and suffered from the suddenly-flashing nightmares. The duke’s countenance often dawned between dreams of her being beaten or thrown away. The memory of their kiss littered along tirelessly, and deepened in her dreams like a glutinous swamp.
The first blush of the morning rose and each passing day seemed so long and eternally lasting. Leyla occupied herself and kept moving without taking a single break.
She took care of the livestock, tended to the lawn, and swept and polished everywhere in the already spotless cottage. She washed all the curtains and bedding and even organized the warehouse. Reading a book or studying was the only chore she gave something a miss: as her eyes, strangely, couldn’t draw a bead on the book’s prose.
Leyla had spent the whole day alone, pacing until the nightfall brought upon her another nightmare.
On the morning of the fourth day, she went out to take care of the backyard, tightly knotting the apron’s string behind her.
Everything was so mind-numbing.
Bill Remmer regularly spent most of his day at work. Apart from helping him with his job, Leyla went through her everyday chores and studies.
Living together didn’t mean that everything could be done together. They just sat at the same table, returned to the same warm house in the evening, shared stories from their days, and so on…
“This is the first time.”
Leyla murmured pensively at the flash of realization.
Ever since she was driven to Berg, she hadn’t led a single day apart from Uncle Bill. He had always been by her side, and there was never a day that she was alone. Bill Remmer was always there with her, at both day-peep and eventide, like a clockwork.
But now, she was on her own.
The realization that Leyla Lewellin had realized over the span of four days brought her another realization. It enlightened her: how lonely, sad, and afraid she was when she wandered in this world, all alone.
Leyla plodded a step back after momentarily standing idly. While feeding the chickens and milking the goats, she kept taking a glance across the yard.
Her fondest wish for Uncle Bill’s return had grown into a sincere prayer. She was pretty sure much of her perplexity and frustration would wither away once he returned. Her loneliness, her teen sadness, the loathsome memory of her first kiss could be forgotten with someone to keep her company.
Everything was going to be okay, and things would go back to the way they were before.
Kyle looked back, startled after someone suddenly hailed his name from behind. His father had already loomed behind his chair.
Kyle hurried to his feet. A book remained open on the same page for several days on his desk. The page hadn’t been flipped since the evening when he announced he would marry Leyla to his father.
“You’re home early.”
Kyle alternated between staring out the still-bright window and at his father’s face. Dr. Etman’s lips bent into a gentle smile when he saw his son’s darting eyes. “It’s a weekend, Kyle.”
“What? Oh, already?”
“I won’t ask what you’re thinking. I think I know even if you don’t tell me.”
Dr. Etman mumbled a laugh and leaned in the chair where Kyle was flumping a while ago. It was his quirk whenever his father had something to tell. Kyle pulled a chair in front of the table and sat facing his father, a little nervous.
His father hadn’t answered and was silent on that very day. After giving Kyle a long stare, all he said was to give him a few days to think about it.. Kyle was mindful that there was no use of daring to talk when his father had expressed himself in such a manner and tone.
Hence, he did nothing but wait. Though his desire tempted him to sprint towards her in that split second. So Kyle endured it and wasted his days living in a slow-moving damn clock. Because he didn’t want to hurt Leyla by giving her ambiguous promises.
“I completely understand how you feel. I know how much you love Leyla. But Kyle, you and her are still too young to talk about marriage.”
“But father, you married mother when you entered medical school, didn’t you?”
“That was already 20 years ago.”
“Lady Brandt is only a year older than Leyla, and she’s getting engaged next week.”
“Lady Arundt, who was introduced by mother, is also the same age as Leyla.”
Seeing Kyle refute every single one of his words with a stiff face, Dr. Etman’s laughter eventually burst out, “It seems, you’re more serious than I thought.”
“Father, I know I’m still young. I also understand what worries you.”
“Do you love Leyla so much that you’re willing to sacrifice anything for her?”
“Yes.” Kyle answered with no hesitation. For him, loving her was as natural as breathing. And so, it wasn’t even necessary to take it for granted.
“I can help Leyla go to college by becoming her sponsor.”
With a stern yet loving gaze, Dr. Etman looked at his beloved son dearly,
“Leyla is a good child. She’s good-minded and smart. I know her well, Kyle, and I’m willing to sponsor her to go to college if she wants to.”
“Of course I’m really hoping Leyla can continue in her favorite field of study. But father, what I want the most is to marry her.”
“It takes more than two people to make a marriage happen.”
“Household, dignity and prestige. I’m not saying that those things are unimportant.”
“So, how come you’re so obstinate?”
“No matter how important those things are, Father, there can’t be something more important than the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.”
“I want to be a great doctor, as well as a good husband and father. As much as you. But, Father, everything starts with Leyla for me.” Kyle said. His heart started to pound, almost as if it wanted to ball out of his chest. But he suppressed it and began to broach about all the things he had kept under his hat for years.
“I want to live with Leyla, by her side, as Leyla’s good person, her good husband, the good father of her child.”
His heart now felt like it would burst open, but Kyle went on to say.
“If I have Leyla by my side, I firmly believe that I can make all of that happen, but father, without her, those things are just a pie in the sky.”
He spelled back to his father in a firm, unwavering tone.
“Without her, I don’t have the confidence to live as such a person.”
Kyle raised his head to see his father; his hands clamped together on his lap.
“I believe Leyla is a woman who meets both her father’s and mother’s expectations. She’s perhaps the most wonderful thing I’ve ever had.”
Dr. Etman gave the eye to his son with a solemn face.
“I don’t want to lose her.”
Kyle’s eyes glistened with a determined light.
“Please help me protect Leyla, father.”
( ED: I don’t love him but good luck Kyle! At least you’re better than that a**hole Mathias.)
The night was getting longer, but Bill Remmer hadn’t returned yet.
Leyla sat drowsily on a porch chair, waiting for him since she couldn’t think of any more domestic chores to focus on. Uncle Bill’s vacant chair felt so big today in a strange kind of way.
Was there a mishap of any sort?
The alarming notion that passed Leyla’s mind made her spring to her feet. One day, she recalled reading an article in the newspaper about a rail accident. Trains, in addition to carriages and cars, often engaged in a variety of incidents.
Which train was it?
Leyla circled around the yard and plucked up her courage to head towards the mansion’s gate by the time the sun plummeted. It had become a path she couldn’t cross in the last few days due to her fear of encountering the Duke.
For every step she took, Leyla kept thinking of Uncle Bill. She did have a propensity of assuming the worst since she was a little girl. The unhappiness of a like-a-clay-pigeon person was harrowing. So she believed, if she had just the barest of preparations, at least, she would be able to accept the ill-fortune without becoming too overwhelmed.
Leyla braced herself for the unhappiness that would follow after her relatives stared at her with displeasure in their eyes.
Don’t cry even if you get hit.
You’ll hear harsh words, but don’t get hurt.
I should be polite and brave even when I’m getting kicked out.
I’ll try to smile brighter on my way to another house next time.
Her efforts had been fruitful. Leyla was less hurt and able to smile a little better. The misfortunes seemed to follow her like straw in the wind, but she was able to bear them with ease, because she had steeled herself, ready for everything.
But, she was having qualms when it came to Uncle Bill.
Calling his name, she passed the entrance to the mansion.
Uncle Bill was not the type of person to leave her behind. Undoubtedly, he would return.
But if he didn’t, then…
“Please come back….”
Leyla put her hands together like she was praying.
“Don’t leave me alone…”
The picture of her from yesterday, which had calmly soothed the man who had been frightened about leaving her for four days, now had dissipated, replaced by her own worry.
‘Mom, where are you going?’
Leyla innocently inquired of her mother when she gave her candy in a pretty glass jar for the first time in her life. That day, her mother was as lovely as the sweets she was holding.
Her mother had been looking at her for quite some time, as she replied in a word.
‘Then, are you coming home late?’
Leyla asked again, impatiently, since she was eager to taste the candy.
‘You’re coming home before I finish eating this, right?’
Leyla shook the glass jar full of colorful candies and her mother languidly nodded
Again, she gave a short reply.
“You shouldn’t have left me such an answer if you’re going to forsake me.”
Her mother was reputed to be too beautiful to exist as the wife of a poor man. She had eventually fled, leaving behind her husband and daughter as if she were discarding her ill-fitting clothes.
In keeping with the grapevines, she had become a high nobility’s mistress or married a silk-stocking merchant, and emigrated to another country.
People enjoyed overblown and twisted rumors like these which often soon withered. The only thing left was a man abandoned by his beautiful wife and a neglected young daughter, let alone such a cruel reality.
Thenceforth, her loving father became an alcoholic and bedrinked every day. He didn’t want to see Leyla’s face any longer, because it was hard for him to look at someone who reminded him of his truant-wife.
Leyla cherished her candies as she awaited her mother’s homecoming. By the time the bottom of the pretty glass bottle was exposed, she realized that her mother would never return. But she didn’t want to accept that painful truth. That’s why she couldn’t eat the last piece of her candy.
She ate that last candy for dinner only after she was left all alone in the world.
Her father, whose health was ruined by alcohol, at a later time passed away due to sickness.
‘Was it a foreshadowing of his departure and last farewell? ‘
Her father, who had ignored his daughter for years, smiled at her on the day he died.
‘Let’s go to the park together when the flowers bloom, Leyla.’
Her father whispered in a lifeless voice. But, after he departed that evening, his words only became a vain will.
“Don’t leave any promises if you’re leaving.”
Leyla was orphaned in an empty house. Her relatives couldn’t figure out what to do with the troublesome child, so they deserted her for a time. It seemed as if they were gawking at her. There was nothing left for her save the empty words of a worthless promise and a solitary piece of candy that provided little comfort.
Even after all these years, Leyla still remembered the color of that candy. A glossy blue luster of confectionery that glistened much like crystal.
A few days later, on the day when there was nothing else left to eat, Leyla ended up eating the last candy. When she nibbled on it hard, some of the shattered candy shards scraped her fragile gum and the tender skin of her taste buds.
Her mouth was bleeding, but Leyla went on munching on the crunchy candy. Tears streamed down her eyes as she ate it. Her sadness tasted so sweet, like biting into a luscious candy but with a fishy aftertaste.
There was a shower of blooms outside the window, ornamenting the scene with spots of dappled sunlight. It was an afternoon in early spring when the wafting pale pink flower petals in the breeze looked like falling flakes of snow on a fresh layer of grass.
Leyla’s eyes went wide with surprise on her walk along Platanus Road.
A dazzling smile flourished over her face.
“Uncle! Uncle Bill!”
Leyla ran toward Bill Remmer, who was crossing the road from the opposite side.
At the same time when a black limousine transporting the duke entered the Platanus roadway.
Translation : Moonvielle
Editor : Sasha_00