“However, the mistress was against the idea.
She had immense hope that Master Kieran would be healthy again and capable of inheriting the estate,” continued Betty, “Besides, when Master Kieran recovered then things would turn nasty if someone else was adopted.
They would demand their share.
That was why she looked for you.”
“Because I was convenient,” said Lia, “And she can always dispose of me later.” The Marchioness had made it clear that Lia would be allowed to go back to her previous life when everything was over.
She had been very happy a few years back, thinking she would be reunited with her mother.
But now she felt sad thinking about the kind of life in poverty that awaited her.
She felt helpless at her own position.
“How can you say such a thing!” exclaimed Betty, her hands clenched.
“Thats the truth, Betty,” said Lia, “Whether it sounds good to you or not.
My brother is well, he has recovered.
He will be back soon then I will have to leave.”
Lia didnt know what to feel.
Joy Confusion Sadness She looked down at her cup.
“Hopefully I can find my mother again and be happy.”
Lias voice shook but her words were sharp and clear as she walked out of the room.
Betty stood still for a long time.
Lia had no words to comfort her with lies.
Lia ran to the river next to the manor and jumped up on the hammock.
She looked up at the sky, and at the bugs in the willow where the hammock was tied.
Lia felt her eyes well up.
Could she really not find happiness here She wanted to take her words back but that was impossible.
Let Betty think whatever she wants.
Lia closed her eyes with the image of the sky at the back of her mind.
Her uniform arrived, which meant that her admission to the academy was near.
The servants were busy moving the luggage for three days.
The most interesting thing was that they had more things than Canillia did.
She had kept her needs to the minimal in the realization that one day she would have to leave.
She didnt want to make it harder for herself.
She took care so that her traces could be removed easily, so that no one would remember her.
“An invitation from the capital has arrived, young Master,” said Pepe.
Lia gulped as she saw the name of the person who had invited her.
“Marilyn Shelby… the Marquis” While she didnt really mind the invitation, and she was glad that Marilyn was well after the horrid attack on her personage, Lia didnt want to leave the manor on that day because Kieran might arrive any minute from Geore.
“Please politely decline and send a reply,” Lia instructed.
“My brother is coming back.
Its on the same day.
I cant leave.”
“I will send your reply.” Pepe hurried out of the room.
Lia looked around her room.
The space was the same as it had been four years ago when she had arrived here for the first time.
She went to the window and climbed down the trees outside.
The servants screamed at her to get down, but she raised a finger to her lips and skilfully climbed down.
She took off her belt and her shoes.
Her blond hair rustled in the wind, as Betty ran to her full of surprise.
“Young Master!” cried Betty.
Lia ignored her and she jumped into the river.
The cool water was comforting in the heat of the summer.
She dived in joyfully.
This was another reason that made her sad to think about leaving.
Lia lifted her head out of the water and floated there.
She heard a light laugh from behind.
She recognized the laugh; it was both familiar and dreadful at the same time.
“You are interesting, Canillian,” said Claude.
Lia turned around to see Claude sitting on a chair near the riverside.
He stifled his laugh and sat crossed leg.
Betty, pale in the face, stood near with a towel draped across her hand.
“Is swimming your hobby” asked Claude.
“I… why are you here” asked Lia.
Lia couldnt very well get out of the water now.
She wanted to send Betty away, but she knew the maid far too well.
She would refuse.
“I heard Kieran was coming back, but I guess it was the wrong day,” he said.
“He will be coming tomorrow or the day after.”
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If you know, then what are you doing here still Lia thought.
Lia desperately wanted to get out of the water, but she couldnt, not now when he was there.
“I think I will join you in swimming.
Its been a while.”
Claude took off his jacket and his shirt.
Betty looked away.
His shoulder was wide, and his chest muscled.
His skin was a bit tan from being out in the sun.
His black hair glistened in the sunlight.
She floated a little back in surprise when he took off his belt and dived in the water, splashing it all over her.
Claude dived down and swam till he was at the back of Lia.
Lia felt a hand on her shoulder.
Lia turned around to see him shaking his head to get the water out of his hair.
He pulled at her arms.
“Lets dive, Canillian.”