Adele’s face remained expressionless—her eyes filled with numbness stared far away towards a place she did not know.
As they arrived in his reception room which was located on the second floor of the castle, Noah gently placed his dead brother’s wife on the sofa. The maids had followed them to help but they were hesitant to go in and stayed at the door. With a cold and loud grunt, he waved the maids away at once, closing the door behind them. When he could hear no one around the reception area, he went to his knees and looked up at Adele.
Adele was in such trauma that she did not hear what Noah had just said. Furrowing his eyes, he called out for her again. When no reply was casted, he called her out using her name.
Realization struck as soon as she heard her name being said and tears rolled down her cheeks. She remembered Enon’s promises and the things he had said.
“He said he’ll come back…
“Bringing things that I liked.”
Noah did not reply to Adele’s trembling voice. He listened to her speaking quietly.
“He gave me a bouquet once a month saying he loves me.” She continued remembering the smile on his face and his hand wrapped around the flowers. “I pretended to be happy, but I felt burdened. So, is that why I’m receiving this punishment?” The nails of her fingers bit through the fabric of the sofa.
“This is a punishment for me…” Her voice trailed off. Instead of giving a reply, Noah hugged her gently. The crying Adele was surprised and her body stiffened as a response. She tried to push him away with the strength that was left in her body.
“He would’ve hugged you like this if he were here.” Noah stoked her head slowly. Adele closed her eyes, it had been a long time that someone had embraced her with such love. She fell silent, letting the moment move without thinking much. The thick scent of wood in his warm hug, the sound of his heart beating against her head. Everything about him gave her a sense of security. Instead of opening her eyes, Adele buried her face inside his chest.
“Enon, I’m sorry…” Her voice barely made it out of her throat. ‘I was wrong, please come back.’ Adele kept on mumbling as tears fell out her eyes. Noah kept on wiping her tears and held her until she fell asleep.
“Master, Lady has woken up.” A voice distracted Noah from his work, and he put down his pen upon hearing from the butler, James. He took off his glasses and placed them on the table. He looked tired with the sudden burden of all the work and being worried about his sister-in-law. He stood up while massaging his forehead with his fingers slowly.
“Her condition?” Noah asked with concern.
“…For now, she is well.”
He sighed and nodded.
James could not say anything about her mental health. Noah stood up and went outside the study room. He stopped right in front of Adele’s chamber.
The voices of Adele and her maid, Lina could be heard outside. He listened to them quietly.
“Alright, are you saying that I slept for two days?”
“Yes, Lady. You had a fever for two days straight!”
“What about the funeral?”
“It was held yesterday. But the rain was heavy yesterday and so the ceremony will be held tonight. Are you feeling fine, my lady?”
“I’m okay.” Her voice trailed off.
Noah opened the door when their conversation paused. Sitting on the bed, she looked at him with wide eyes. The maids who were putting away the wet towels became conscious of the sudden appearance of the new master. Lina, who was holding the basin, quickly turned to Adele to inform,
“The new master has visited you many times while you were sick.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Adele offered Noah a chair to sit in with an awkward smile. “Please take a seat.”
The maids were startled that their lady was still in her night dress, but they just followed the orders and moved out. Noah accepted the seat and sat near her bed on the chair. He looked at her red eyes and frowned.
Adele opened her mouth with an awkward expression.
Noah frowned, not understanding what Adele meant but she smiled bitterly and added, “I heard that you held the funeral by yourself.”
“It is something that I should do.” His expressions calmed down and the lines on his forehead disappeared.
“You organized the general sales and trade schedules of merchants? It was supposed to be my job, but I’m sorry to bother you. And…” She smiled faintly. “For that day… thank you.” She had always thought of him as a cold person but he had a humane, kind side to him.
Adele was sincerely grateful to unravel that side.
Noah did not expect this from Adele, he looked at her with a surprised expression. His eyes met her and melted into the light brown eyes of hers. Carefully, he grabbed the back of her hand and placed a soft kiss on top of it.
“You are welcome.” Was all he could reply.
Adele’s hand felt warm against his lips. With his golden eyes looking straight up at her, her heartbeat rammed faster against her chest. She quickly motioned herself to take her hand away.
The awkward silence filled the space between them.