✧The Color of My Sadness✧
By a mere chance, Matthias saw Leyla through the other side of the car window.
Leyla was running across the road with a beaming smile on her face that he had never seen before. She let her long, loose blonde hair whip around by the wind following her springing footsteps.
Matthias clenched his hand slightly. He was about to tell the driver to slow down the car, but eventually, he changed his mind and merely scoped a glance at her running towards a middle-aged man who was none other than Bill Remmer.
Leyla leapt with light steps into the gardener’s arms like a winged bird, and the gardener caught her in a bear hug. She appeared like a little girl in his big arms and smiled so widely as if it were the brightest smile in the world and seeing that the gardener burst into laughter.
At that moment, the car whizzed past them. Matthias left his gaze from the window and peered down onto his hands. From that slightly raised hand, he still could feel her touch and the lingering smell of her body on that day.
The engagement was soon, around the corner.
By the time Matthias felt alleviated by that verity, the car had passed through the gate of the Arvis mansion.
Leyla’s wish came true.
Everything was back to being fine after Uncle Bill’s return.
Her adolescent sadness, the unpleasant memories of her horrible first kiss, all of her bewilderment and despair wound down as she was no longer alone.
In the meantime, the morning and evening weather grew chillier. The days wore down, and the Arvis manor began to have a more stately jubilant atmosphere than it ever had in the past.
“Oh, don’t even mention it, I’ll serve all the greatest cuisine in the world.” Madam Mona, who had barely made it to the forest, kicked up a rumpus with a straight face. She leaned leisurely on a chair next to Bill Remmer and began to bleat in earnest. “I’m already scared to think how grand their wedding would be if their engagement ceremony is so ritzy like this.”
Leyla had just returned from milking the goats and greeted her with a cheerful smile.
“Wait a little longer, Leyla. Tomorrow I will make your mouth water until you’re sick of it. Regardless of how many guests are invited, they won’t be able to finish half of the food I will cook.”
Leyla unconsciously clutched the tip of her blouse at Madam Mona’s hearty laugh. The hickeys sowed by the duke on her neck were still painfully obvious even after a few days. The red marks which showed in the mirror every time she looked in it made her feel ashamed and disgusted.
“Is the engagement ceremony already tomorrow?”
“Please, don’t use the word ‘already’ Leyla. I hope that…..no, I’m simply hoping for a quick ending to this engagement ceremony.”
“It’s tomorrow…” Leyla muttered quietly, then smiled again. “Yes, auntie. I will wait for it.”
She sought to grin more brightly as if to erase her nightmare-like memory. Ever since that day, the duke had never once set his foot in the forest. Pleased to state, it was a glee for Leyla to know that.
“I like chocolate cookies. And raspberry cake too!”
“I’ll bring you a bulk of chocolate or raspberries.”
“How can I repay you?” asked Leyla.
“Repay? Just eat a lot and grow up well.”
“Do I have to grow up to be as big as Uncle Bill?”
“Oh my God, Leyla. You’ll be single for life if you grow up to his size.”
Madam Mona giggled as she rose from her seat and waved goodbye. Bill Remmer furrowed his brows, but later he tardily joined in the mirth.
Not long after she left, the usual night dawned at the cottage.
After having supper with her uncle, Leyla tidied the house and reopened the textbook she had overlooked till now. She opted to sleep for a little while as drowsiness engulfed her. But by the time she awoke, the sunup had already begun to appear; and the Duke’s engagement day was already here.
Leyla put on her glasses from the desk and rubbed her sleepy eyes before strolling up to the window. She flung the window wide, letting the cold morning air flood in.
The wee hours of the morning drew near and the sky was dyed with a clear, transparent tint of blue. Leyla reared up her eyes-the hue of the azure sky today reminded her of the colour of her last piece of candy.
The duke’s eyes were also blue, similar to the shade of that candy’s.
Claudine picked a pastel pink dress for her red-letter day. Donned in a gown garlanded with chiffon on top of the silk, her figure was so graceful and stunning as the event’s protagonist.
“You’re so gorgeous, Claudine!” Countess Brandt cheered in jollies as she watched her daughter. Her face was etched with awed looks, akin to those of the Brandt’s maid, who stood in the rear of the room.
Claudine smiled sweetly to show her gratitude for the honeyed flattery that had been bestowed upon her. Even at this moment, the spark of pride and satisfaction in her eyes didn’t wear off after seeing her reflection in the mirror.
It was Claudine’s idea, holding the engagement ceremony at the Arvis manor. Aside from wanting to show respect for the Herhardt family, Claudine wanted to assure through dint of her presence that she was gonna be the Arvis’s next duchess.
“Marie, is she still not here?” Claudine turned slightly and asked the maid as she wondered.
“She should have arrived by this time… Oh, look over there! She’s coming from the garden!”
The maid hurriedly exclaimed and Countess Brandt creased her brows as she looked out of the window.
Leyla Lewellin was seen ascending the marble staircase bridging the rose garden to the mansion, carrying a basket of flowers in her hands.
“Goodness me, Claudine! Did you bring her in again?”
“It’s okay, Mom.” Claudine calmly lulled her mother. “I merely need flower ornaments in my hair to make them look nice.”
“Is there a reason why it had to be her?”
“Well, there is no specific reason.”
Claudine shrugged her shoulders, then stepped in front of the mirror once again. Her face reflected in the mirror was no longer smiling.
“It’s a good thing to get flowers and congrats from an old friend.”
The Arvis house was wrapped up in a festive excitement as the Duke Herhardt’s residence readied to greet the guests who would be in attendance for the engagement party later in the afternoon.
Leyla plodded the passageway behind the mansion designed for servants to enter. Her feet shook nervously numerous times as she was treading on a floor that sparkled like a clear mirror.
Claudine had sent a maid to the cottage to call her in. Leyla immediately knew the moment she was told to pick roses to decorate her hair.
It wasn’t a matter of flowers that Lady Brandt wanted to meet her for.
Leyla began to slow her pace down as she neared the east side of the fourth floor. It was a guest bedroom where Claudine was staying in. Her hand, which was holding the basket, stood out pallid. Her heart felt as if it would pound out of her chest and her lips were feeling parched.
Leyla mumbled, convincing herself.
‘It’s merely an unfortunate accident. The duke would also think the same. So it’s fine. There’s nothing to be scared of.’
While she was hesitating, trying to make up her mind, Leyla had already set her foot in front of Claudine’s bedroom. She knocked on the door and it began to slide open slowly.
“Hello, miss. I’ve brought you the roses you had asked for.”
Leyla greeted her with politeness like she usually did. She had brought Claudine a bouquet of roses in the colour pink, which matched the shade of the dress she was attiring for today’s occasion.
Claudine approached Leyla with a wide smile. “How do I look? Do I look good?”
“Yes, miss. You look beautiful.”
Leyla answered wholeheartedly. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t. Claudine’s beauty today was undeniably as beautiful as a blooming rose.
“Before, I was very anxious, but now that you have said so, I feel relieved. Do you think Duke Herhardt will think the same too ?”
The duke’s name that came out suddenly from Claudine’s mouth made her flinch..
“I’m sure, he will.”
A faint tremor was noticeable in her voice.
Leyla felt woefully pathetic, as if she were a child who had done something wrong. Their kiss was an unpleasant incident, but she couldn’t rule out her feeling of guilt as if she had become a shameless thief who stole Claudine’s fiance.
Leyla he could see that her pride she had puffed up and toiled for in front of Claudine for so many years had been shattered, making her look shabby at this given time.
Claudine gave a sideways glimpse at a maid to accept the rose basket. And, as if it were a natural thing, she gave out a handful of gold coins to Leyla. The amount of money she gifted to her today was more than usual. Unknowing it just served to wound Leyla’s heart even more gravely.
“What are you doing? Why aren’t you showing your gratitude?”
The frowning maid rebuked her.
Leyla quickly bowed her head while tightly gripping the money in her hand. She didn’t feel insulted bowing down to Claudine as she had repeated this stance countless times since she was a child and had been used to it.
“Thank you, miss.”
Thankfully, Leyla was able to convey her thanks calmly. Claudine, who had been staring at her with a deadpan face, soon regained her bright smile. “No problem. Instead, I should be the one to say thanks, Leyla. Thanks to you, this engagement ceremony will turn out to be perfect.”
Claudine turned around as she was done with the talk.
Leyla gasped a big sigh and rushed out of the room in a headlong dash. What was buzzing around inside her head right now was the urge to get out of this uncomfortable and unfamiliar place as quickly as possible but she couldn’t act in a reckless manner inside the mansion.
She neatened her clothes and organized her flower basket first before walking down the corridor meant for workers at the quickest possible speed.
She was about to walk through the passageway’s entry door when a surprise caught her. Just as she was about to turn the corner, she crossed the path with the duke who had come up the stairs.
“It looks like you’ve been doing Lady Brandt’s errands, Leyla.”
Butler Hessen, who stood behind the duke, spoke with a gracious smile.
Leyla greeted him back politely and scurried back to the side of the corridor. She only wanted to go ahead, but the duke stopped still and lowered his gaze on her.
Her cheek blushed. She bent her head even deeper as she dared not to make eye contact with him. It was just eye contact, but her heart was erratically pounding. While the duke looked fine, as if he couldn’t care any less. It seemed he had forgotten everything that had happened between them.
‘How foolish of me. How could my heart throb in snatches of a man like him?’
The duke walked past her just as she wanted to run away unmannerly. Only after she could no longer hear the stomping of his shoe-steps did Leyla dare to move her feet and leave the mansion.
After completing her errands, Leyla returned to her daily routine.
As the evening drew near, the guests invited to the engagement party began to flock to manor. In contrast with the rollicking mansion, the little cottage loomed peacefully deep in the forest as if it had been sojourned in another world.
There, Leyla lived her life diligently.
She weeded the garden and cleaned the goat pen. Continued by cooking a stew for dinner and folded up the sun-dried laundry stocked in the hamper.
After all of her house chores were finished, Leyla took a leisurely walk in the forest to get a thrill of nature. She was enjoying her stroll before long she realized she had arrived at the riverside.
Leyla clambered her favourite beautiful tree to watch the evening scenery laid bare on a windless summer day. The awe-inspiring view surrounded her; birds were soaring above the sky, the red-tinged Schulter river drenched in light by the setting sun, and a white swan-like annex floating on it, all of which led to greater beauty of the scene.
It was a millions worth sight to see. Her eyes were drawn to all of those beautiful things.
As the sun set, a few thin strips of the cloud on the horizon turned shimmering gold. The clear darkness of early nightfall settled over the sky like the blue candy she remembered from her childhood.
The thought came to her.
The Duke’s eyes were likewise the same as those colours.
“Your blue eyes are the same as the color of my sadness.”
Leyla laughed a little as she somehow was feeling dejected. Then suddenly, she sensed someone’s presence approaching her.
Leyla shouted with delight when a familiar face standing underneath the tree.
“How did you know I was here?”
“You like taking a stroll on a summer evening, when you go out for evening walks you always go to this river.”
Kyle’s playfulness had disappeared, and his eyes were deeper and gentler than they had ever been. Leyla observed him quietly, his gaze towards her felt a little strange.
The wind was sighing through the river. The sound of the leaves rustling in the treetops and the boughs moaning breached the silence that had been created between them.
Kyle opened his lips after a while.
Leyla replied by tilting her head a little as she waited for him to speak.
“Let’s get married.”
Those overly unrealistic words were torn asunder on a gentle evening breeze. Leyla was dreamingly dazed in disbelief, but now Kyle said it once again. This time with a more serious tone.
“Let’s get married, Leyla.”
Translation : Moonvielle
Editor : Sasha_00