Chapter 28 – Familiar Warmth
A comforting energy settled in the living room after Tiana and Lucius left. Such vibrancy warmed Edwin’s heart as he gazed upon the door from which the two had stepped out.
“I must say, your daughter has changed a lot. It’s as if, losing her memory turned her into a completely different character, so much unlike her old self.” Marquis Calvino, who was equally mesmerized while looking at the door, broke both their reveries.
“I can only account it to the accident that happened. I’m just grateful that she didn’t become worse because of it.”
“Worse? Oh…” Marquis Calvino understood the undertone in Edwin’s words.
“No. On the contrary, she looks better now than she did before. In the past, she used to be very…”
Edwin could see as Marquis Calvino grappled to find words to best describe his daughter. He could not blame him though. To describe Tiana before the accident is quite difficult for him to do so as well.
“I can’t think of anything good to say about her personality.” The marquis gave up regrettably.
“I understand. My apology. She had so much to bear in the past and it did not help that I failed in my duty to take good care of her too.”
“No, your apology is unfounded. Your daughter is in an age where she worries her parents and make things complicated for everybody. I understand that something happened to the duchess around that time too?”
“Yes.” Edwin’s expression twisted when he heard the marquis’ last remark about his wife. It is as if a sharp knife stabbed his heart and settled there to dig deeper into his wound. He shifted his attention back to the thoughts of his daughter. Yes, being quite young and of prime age, Tiana was very sensitive and quite strange back then.
She preferred to be with herself and became extremely wary of having people around, even her own relatives and closest family. She was anxious and melancholic that to make her smile is a tumultuous task, even to the best jester in the palace.
The longer time she spent home in isolation stifled any remaining desire she had to participate in outdoor social activities. Although she tried putting in effort to open her heart somehow, attempts made by Edwin and others to have a conversation with her were received and acknowledged coldly, prompting him to surrender, leaving Tiana to her own thoughts and company. He wanted to say Diana was the cause, but…
Edwin, who couldn’t see his wife in her final moments, understood the grudge and bitterness that Tiana might have in losing her mother who was very dear to her.
Diana passed away two years ago from a disease, while her own daughter sat beside her deathbed. Tiana endured alone and in agony as she watched her mother suffer silently until the disease consumed her slowly. Such an ordeal should not have been passed on to the burden of such a child, as delicate and sensitive as Tiana.
Edwin knew his own transgressions and will never put it upon his daughter to take the blame that is all his to carry in his heart forever. Of course, Tiana has every right to hold resentment against him; he accepted this defeatedly.
“It’s already been two years since the duchess has passed away.”
Marquis Calvino broke the long silence when Edwin, who was deep in thoughts, grew very quiet. Sensing the darkening mood in the air, he stopped tapping his fingers on the armrest of his chair and made himself sound encouraging.
“Looking at it now… it’s a relief that she was able to walk away from the capsizing carriage, unharmed and with no permanent injuries, considering that it happened not long after the duchess’ death.”
“It sure is.” Edwin is comforted somehow.
“With everything that happened, her mother’s death and the accident that you, yourself had witnessed. It is quite understandable why she had too much emotions hiding in the fibers of her heart, unacknowledged and unexpressed. She must have wanted to deny what happened to her mother, with whom she took so much after for.”
Marquis Calvino remembered the uncanny resemblance of the inseparable mother and daughter who were very close companions of each other.
“Maybe that’s how the accident affected and changed her heart for the better. Didn’t she initially try to deny everything and insisted that someone else’s died?”
The marquis looked at Edwin, who was again out of words and seemed to be content with the consolation he has been hearing. Suddenly, having an epiphany, the marquis, opened his hand, that was tucked under his chin, and made a sound. Edwin glanced at him strangely, curious as to what he has in mind, so he continued slowly.
“Now that I have contemplated it, your daughter, who I just saw leaving today, wasn’t the same as before.”