✧Like A Wing✧
*Click For Audio Drama*
“That hairstyle doesn’t suit you.”
Matthias suddenly commented as soon as their eyes collided with each other. His choice of words left Leyla befuddled when she grasped his gybe after a moment of startlement.
‘This man! Is he trying to pick a fight again?’
“I know. My hair’s a little…. blowsy.”
Leyla’s tone sharpened at his unforeseen criticism.
Scoffingly, Matthias asked while his scrutinizing eyes traced her top to bottom.
Under his watchful gaze, Leyla squeezed the bike’s handles, battling to suppress her urge to run away. Her incapability of restraining the weird emotions stirring in her body has already made her upset as stood opposite to him. She doesn’t want to look like an easy target by blushing at the very sight of a man.
“Why don’t you just untie your hair?”
“I’d like to, but they said I won’t look like a proper teacher.”
“Who?” He asked, the lines on his fair forehead creasing together in suspicion.
Leyla replied and quickly averted her gaze when she felt her cheeks getting warmer as his eyes lingered on her.
“She said that if I look too young, I won’t seem like a teacher with authority.” She hesitantly continued to speak, fearing that the profound silence between them would make things even more awkward. “So the headmistress advised me not to have a ‘student-like’ hairstyle.”
As soon as she concluded, his faint laughter that resembled a soothing breeze flew out, quickly turning her earlobes into a deep shade of burning red.
She felt like a fool and dreaded looking at him, once again.
With a scoff adorning his face, Matthias peered down at the petite woman before him. “So, that blowy, tied-up hair is the symbol of a teacher’s authority…” His eyes still brimmed with sarcasm as he witnessed the look of hurt pride on her face- coyer but cute.
“I’m practising a lot, so I’ll get better at styling my hair soon.” She retaliated in the same tone, leaving him spellbound for a moment.
‘This woman never wants to give in, even if it kills her, doesn’t she?’
Her persistence caused Matthias to smirk once again.
“Well, Let’s see then.”
“I’m damn sure that I can do it. In case my skill doesn’t get any better…I’ll just cut it short.”
At her casual reply, the beaming smile on Matthias face faded all at once and the very next instant, when he saw Leyla nodding thoughtfully, his eyes narrowed as if he witnessed something terrible.
“Yes. Then I’d look a lot more mature and….”
“Don’t cut it.”
Even though his command sounded oddly soft and calm, Leyla couldn’t help but look at him in puzzlement. “Don’t tell me I need your permission to grow or cut my hair?” She retorted in a surprisingly annoyed tone.
“It’s beautiful…, your hair.”
Her irate question was answered with a stupefying reply that was nearly impossible to believe.
Above all…. that sounded ridiculous.
Doubting her ears, Leyla frowned at him, but unlike her agitated self, Mathias remained calm as he beheld her state passively.
“It’s like a wing.”
His wintry voice echoed the same as he insulted and hurt her with a single statement.
Leyla recalled how his voice remained unchanged and calm, even though he kept throwing her terrible slurs.
As she stood fuming in anger, her memory took a walk to that old summer day of their first meeting. That day, when she first saw the Duke Herhardt from the treetop, his cold voice remained tranquil and serene, even when he came perilously close to shooting a child. His soothing voice imprinted itself in her mind ever since.
Leyla clearly remembered jumping down from the tree and running towards Uncle Bill’s cottage, exclaiming at the existence of such a human being.
‘The- There’s a man in the forest! A tall man!’
She poured out a bunch of random words doused in admiration as she struggled to catch her breathing.
‘He has black hair, and his eyes were blue. And his voice was light as a feather.’
At that moment, only the feathers of the water birds came into her mind as she struggled to explain the texture of the voice that left her smitten. Little Leyla, who regarded those soft feathers as her precious possession, couldn’t compare his voice with anything else but to the feathers that she gathered while ambling along the banks of the Schulter River.
Flustered by his blatant words, Leyla hurriedly avoided his gaze. The Duke’s cruel words would rather hurt her so he could remain as the person she disliked and the most feared one in her heart. After all, it was the Duke Herhardt whom she knew of.
However, no matter how long she waited Matthias spoke no word nor a familiar insult escaped from his lips.
As the leaves from the autumn trees fell one at a time, he simply walked away from a confused Leyla who was fretting whether his odd compliment was her own hallucination or not.
Snapping out of her thoughts, Leyla neatened her hair that cascaded down her shoulders, only to flutter by the autumn wind. The sudden gush of cold wind shook her a little, prompting her hand holding the steering handle to slip. Leyla, who made a vague effort to grab the handle, crashed to the ground along with her bicycle.
The thud of the bicycle colliding with the pavement echoed over the quiet road, as well as her scream.
Matthias spectated the comedy scene unfolding before his eyes with a faint grimace. He unknowingly let out a sneer when he watched the hilarious sight of Leyla’s struggle to stop her own bicycle from crushing her to the dusty road.
“You always seem to trip and fall.”
Leyla bit her lip in shame as he laughed. However, she felt relieved.
‘Just laugh, harass me, and leave.’
She hopefully waited for him to do so. But Matthias quietly pulled up her bike, picked up her bag that had bounced off far away, came back to her, and knelt.
“Nnn..no-no, It’s mine!” Leyla panickingly snatched the bag from Matthias when he was about to pick her scattered belongings, “I-I’ll do it myself.”
Her blatant hostility made Matthias’s brows scrunched.
“I..I’ll do it,” Leyla mumbled as she lowered her eyes and began to collect her stuff with trembling hands, even though Matthias had done nothing to frighten her.
Though her actions and shaky voice agitated him, Matthias decided to watch her patiently. When his eyes caught her flushed cheeks and neck, his ire toned down when he figured out that Leyla was just too embarrassed and shy to stay next to him.
Matthias stood up in front of her, watching her scramble to gather her dropped items under the shadow of his looming figure. She seemed very distraught, as she even stuffed the roadside leaves and stones into her bag. Her quirkiness somehow had quelled Matthias’ annoyance.
After she finished packing her bag, Leyla quickly got up to her feet. She looked at him, oblivious to the dust that was all over her clothes and hands.
“I know it’s rude, but Duke….”
Her perplexed eyes drifted between Matthias and the mansion entrance on the opposite side of the road, wondering what to do next.
“If it’s rude of me to go ahead of you, I’ll wait until you leave first.”
She spoke so boldly as she no longer wanted to walk together with him. Yet, Matthias could see the anxiety in her eyes. Her attitude was very invasive, but he tolerated it, for now, knowing that he also couldn’t walk alongside her after passing the entrance.
His permission surprised her.
“Me first?” She confusingly asked to confirm,
Matthias clicked his chin instead of answering. Leyla’s face eventually lit up, and quickly lowered her head,
“Thank you, Duke.”
Matthias seemed to take offence with her excessive politeness; it was rather like an affront to him.
Leyla made her way to the entrance first, but she halted in her tracks to look back before getting onto her bike. It was evident that Matthias was oddly kind towards her, but Leyla’s eyes remained wide with mistrust as she frowned at the man.
After a quick glance, she tilted her head and rode off on her back.
‘Should I have made her cry instead?’
Matthias’ regret belatedly came, but he kept on walking with an expression that didn’t seem to look unpleasant until the shiny pen on the ground suddenly caught his attention.
Agilely, Matthias picked up the pen of a woman who easily fell and lost her things.
His blue eyes followed the girl while his grip on the pen turned tighter as he took a moment to contemplate whether to stop her or not.
Leyla was near enough that she could hear him if he called, but Matthias kept mum.
He strolled the road while spinning the pen with his long fingers. While Leyla, who diligently cycled her bike, soon disappeared beyond the Arvis gate.
“That bird came again.”
Mark Evers smilingly informed the man who sat facing away from the window. Even without much explanation, Matthias understood his words and didn’t bother to take a look at the window as it has become a part of his daily routine.
It was the time for the visit of ‘Phoebe’, the pigeon much gentler and smarter than its owner.
Leaning against a chair by the fireplace, Matthias had finished today’s work by signing the last document. After his aide took the paper and retreated he was left to his own devices in the living room.
Matthias shut the lid of his fountain pen and glanced out of the window. Phoebe, as always, was sitting on the railing, preoccupied with gulping down its food.
He turned his gaze away from the bird to the thin pen in his hand and began to examine it carefully. The pen owner’s name was engraved in gold on the cap.
It seemed to be a brand-new pen and didn’t look like she bought it with her own money, so it was likely a gift from the gardener.
Matthias hoped so. He was sure that Leyla would do everything to get it back if it was Bill Remmer’s gift.
‘Would she have noticed by now?’
Matthias stared at the pen with a crooked grin and re-opened the pen cap. Acting like a gentleman towards a woman who had praised him didn’t seem like a bad idea. Besides, it was time for the pigeon to pay for its own meal.
Matthias paced up to the balcony, folding a letter with a single short sentence. He chuckled at the thought of the bird’s owner fleeing on her bicycle while tying the letter to the bird’s ankle, which dociely leaned its body towards him.
After tying the note, Matthias flew Phoebe into the sky.
And the carrier pigeon began to wing towards the gardener’s cottage eagerly.
Once the coppery sun settled behind the horizon, Phoebe returned along with the night.
Leyla was sitting and staring mindlessly at the empty desk when the pecking sound from the window startled her. She turned her head and called the bird in a chiding tone
Leyla hurriedly wrapped the shawl over her shoulders as she stood from her chair. The chilly wind blew into the room when she threw open the window.
“Are you hungry? Wait a minute… uh?”
The letter tied to Phoebe’s leg made her pupils widen in astonishment. She even rubbed her eyes because she thought she was mistaken, but a letter was tied there.
She unconsciously called his name, even though she knew it wasn’t him.
‘No, Kyle already left. There’s no way anyone would tie a letter to Phoebe’s feet.’
Leyla stared blankly at Phoebe before tremblingly opening the letter. As she skimmed through the brief sentence written in the letter, her countenance quickly changed from curiosity to dismay.
She gasped and unwittingly stepped back while the letter slipped from her fingers. It gently fluttered onto the floor beneath the window.
Leyla took a step back, then another. She stared at the letter, blinking her eyes repeatedly. Her mind had snapped back into reality when her back slammed against the closet.
“I-It can’t be!”
Mumbling in a quivering voice, Leyla hurriedly rummaged through her bag, but the pen she was searching for was nowhere to be found. She was even more baffled by the stones and leaves coming out of her bag since she had no idea how those things had gotten into her bag.
Leyla frowned and staggered back to the window. Her letter-holding hand had lost its colour and was now as pale as the ring of moonlight.
‘[Where’s your pen, Leyla?]’
Once again, she read the note Phoebe had brought in and wrapped her arms around her head.
Leyla muttered the words a few more times, but she knew nothing would change.
Guu… Guuu… Guu….
In the white moonlight of an autumn night, Phoebe, the pigeon that the Duke fattened, calmly cried.
Translator : Moonvielle
Editor/PR : Lili ( Lioness ) & April_NEET
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