“Is that an attic?”
“Yes. The madam called Beth and asked if there was an unused room in the attic, and then asked Beth to lead her to the attic room.”
“Did she really say she wants to live there?”
“Yes. Her luggage and a bathtub cannot be placed in the attic, so the next room to the attic, a storage room, seems to be used for that. The only problem is that you sometimes go there, Master. So you may cross each other.”
“So that’s it…”
Unintentionally, Hubert nodded and ordered Romit to go down.
Because he said she couldn’t meet Stella, he decided that it would be best to not go near that place from now on, so as to not give the chance of Stella encountering accidentally Opal, while looking for him.
Hubert, who was currently working in the study, shook his nose and tried to concentrate on the documents in front of him.
However, the hand that held the pen stopped and his thoughts constantly switched to Opal.
In the morning, when he heard Mrs. Northam’s cry and request, he entered Opal’s room in a fit of anger and thinking about it calmly now, he remembers how disrespectful he was.
He entered the woman’s room without knocking, yelling, and not returning any answer if she spoke to him.
There was certainly a reason for that, but it was still not allowed.
Moreover, everything she told was true.
Regardless of how she had lived, she had repaid his debts with her dowry and has repaired the mansion, and with the congratulatory gift from her father, he now doesn’t have to worry about expenses for the time being…
Now he can pay Stella’s expensive medical expenses without worry.
Hubert remembered dancing with Opal once three years ago.
At that time, there was something, a very new and pretty unknown emotion that appeared in him for the first time, that secretly fascinated him.
However, since then Hubert has had to borrow money for Stella’s medical expenses, so his life didn’t have any place for romance or looking for a bride.
-I remember being disappointed every time I heard her rumors. –
-While she enjoyed her life to the fullest, Stella was constantly being tied up to a bed and suffering from sickness. He was angry at her unreasonableness and irresponsible life.
And when he was deep in debt and had no way out, Opal’s father, Earl Holloway, called out to him from who knows where, offering his daughter hand in marriage in exchange for clearing his debt.
He thought that it was complot. From where would the Earl know the debt that had been supposed to be unknown to everyone? Perhaps because Opal asked her father to marry him, and Hubert was angry again. He suddenly stood up from anger.
But at the end, Hubert is doubting if that’s really the truth.
The anger he has towards Opal is mostly from rumors he heard and the timing of her father’s offer.
However, even if all is false, Hubert is fixed on protecting Stella from Opal.
Her remaining life is very little, and Hubert wanted to make it all glorious.
Stella is his weak spot.
Hubert’s parents died when he was only 12 years old.
When the three families were heading from the territory to the capital, the wheel of the carriage came off and the carriage fell unluckily from the cliff. Only Hubert survived.
And for two days until he was discovered, Hubert unable to move, had to support being in the same place with his dead parents, maids, the other families, and the body of a horse.
That horror is still unforgettable and sometimes struck him back.
Stella always helped him with that.
Hubert, who inherited the duke status at the age of 12 when his parents had just died and had to sleep in his parents bedroom, was struck every night with the images of those two days.
Then, one day Stella woke up at his crying sound and came into the room and calmed him down.
Stella was still six years old, but from that night on. Every day when she wanted to sleep, Stella rubbed her sleepy eyes and came to Hubert’s bedroom and sang him a lullaby while falling asleep in the place.
Mr. and Mrs. Northam immediately became aware of them sleeping together, but they knew Hubert’s current situation and they were still young, so they forgave them.
In addition, Stella from that time came to sleep every night in the room he was using.
Mr. and Mrs. Northam have wished for their marriage from that moment.
Hubert doesn’t know it, but if they had requested it of him, he would have gotten married even if he could only think of her as a sister.
But when Stella became ten years old, her disease was found.
At first, she was without energy and constantly fell asleep, so everyone thought it was just a cold.
It had no other symptoms, just recurred fever. Everyone felt guilty of leaving her like that after some time passed and the cold didn’t end and so, she was diagnosed by a well reputed doctor, and declared incurable.
Fever is a so-called rescue signal for the body, and in Stella’s body, the pathogen and the cells that protect Stella are fighting.
Unfortunately, the pathogen is so strong that no drugs have yet been found to combat it.
Perhaps over time, Stella will not be able to walk, and someday, her heart will stop from it.
The Northams and Hubert, who heard so, mourned.
But they can’t make Stella realize it.
Therefore, Hubert and her parents tried to protect her, including the servants, by taking deeply care of Stella.
Nevertheless, fate is harsh and Sir Northam died before Stella.
Sir Northam, who had managed the territory and property on behalf of the young Hubert, died of a heart attack.
For Hubert, the mansion and the territory had a lot of memories of his parents, and since that time they couldn’t return, those became detestable places for him.
However, he wanted to return to the territory for Stella. The air is pure and a good help for health recovery.
But there’s no good doctor, and she needs constant medicine, which can only be acquired in the capital.
Currently, there is no financial capacity to station doctors in the territory nor to buy a big stock of medicine.
The crops in the territory were severely damaged by the flood that occurred four years ago.
Since then, there have been many disasters such as droughts and insects, and he had to borrow money.
Better yet, let go of that land, it was detestable for him anyway, but he did not so.
As bitter as it was the plan, Hubert decided to ride the complot of Count Holloway.
(In any case, she will soon come out of the attic. At that time, we can discuss it again …)
Hubert, who woke up from his memories, thought so arrogantly.
It was certainly a failure that he did not explain anything about Stella.
-It would be nice to explain it to her. –
But Hubert’s thoughts were also void, because even after a week, Opal did not leave the attic.