Chapter 16 – Eugene’s Previous Life (2)
The Howard family ruled over the Gould family territory. The Gould family’s daughter often came to visit her father. When Eugene first met the young lady by the front gate, she treated Eugene as a servant due to his conduct. But when she found out that he was the son of the head of the Howard family, she changed her attitude and approached him.
What…is with this woman…
That was all Eugene thought. The butler would praise the young lady at any circumstance. Eugene did not know how to react nor respond to her since he isn’t even treated as a servant in the household. The only thing that’s beautiful about her was the dress she’s wearing. What’s on the inside is completely different, it does not compare to the kind yet gentle Cecil.
One day, the young lady suddenly exploded, she was trying to be calm, but her pride was hurt. She threw the ring on her finger towards him, with a red face she shouted, “I don’t need such a thing! Don’t think that you could avert my attention just because of this. You gave the ring to the butler just to give it back to me.”
Eugene was confused. The ring she threw looked similar to the one he’s supposed to give Cecil, the only difference was that the ring was gold with a darker blue stone in it.
“I don’t think you need it,it; I also don’t need it.” Eugene handed the ring to the butler.
“Thank you…” the butler responded. It was the first time he saw the butler holding a complicated expression on his face.
He exchanged a few letters with Cecil during his stay, but when he asked her to see him, a letter of refusal came stating that she also wanted to see him, but she’s busy since her grandmother’s niece had given birth to twin babies, they needed her help taking care of them. Cecil is the type of person who couldn’t say ‘no’ nor decline their request, she’d try to help those who ask. It was one of her good yet worrying traits.
“I can’t help but worry…” Eugene thought.
“I want to give Cecil the ring, so I’ll be going home at once.” When he informed the butler, the butler gave him a letter from Cecil saying that she was too busy to see him now. Eugene felt that something was wrong, he ignored the contents of the letter and hurriedly packed his things. Suddenly, another letter arrived, what shocked him was the statement, “I’m going to marry someone else.” Eugene thought that the world had turned upside down. He read the letter over and over again thinking that it was all just a joke, but he knew Cecil and her character. So, Eugene left with his luggage. When he arrived, the room where Cecil stayed was empty. Her luggage, personal things, everything was gone, and of course, even Cecil was gone.
“What…, what happened?” His head was pounding.
He searched for Cecil anyway, he wanted to directly talk to her. The old landlady living below Cecil was away and the impatient Eugene knocked on each door but most of the answers were, “I think she married another man and left.” He even tried asking residents who he have never been acquainted with, but everyone averted any eye contact and immediately shut their doors close.
What is it? What is it?
He then ran to Cecil’s workplace without any reason. It was a subcontractor’s workshop for tailors for noble purveyors. Their response was the same.
“I heard that she married and moved.” said one of them. Some ran away and even got angry at him when he tried asking for more information. He then went to the local bakery; it was where Cecil met one of her friends.
“I think she moved in a hurry, she didn’t know where to go though, she said she would leave the capital.” the baker said. Of course, the baker nor the workers wouldn’t know. Cecil did not have any family or relatives around her. Eugene’s now at loss, he was helpless. He couldn’t believe that she would betray him and marry another man, he knows that Cecil isn’t that type of woman nor was she even that heartless. But still, wouldn’t it be true since everyone altogether claims it to be? Dark thoughts slowly crept into his mind; Eugene hurriedly shook his head driving out those negative thoughts. He didn’t want to acknowledge it.
He dragged himself back to the room, his heart felt like it was on rock bottom and his body was exhausted. Then, he saw the old landlady and thought that she’s his last hope to find Cecil. Eugene rushed over to her and asked, but the landlady’s answer was cruel, “Cecil is gone. She married another and left.”
“Who were they!? Please, I want to meet and talk to her at least once. Tell me where they went!” Eugene begged.
“I don’t know.” she replied. “She told me that she’d be the one to tell you—but that’s all right. You’ll soon be the heir of a noble. It has nothing to do with the commoners, like Cecil.”
Was it true?
The ring fell down from Eugene’s hand, he knelt down on the floor to pick it up. The landlady saw the ring, the color of the stone was the color of Cecil’s eyes, she guessed that it must be for Cecil.
“You…Did you have no intention of being a noble? You were meant to marry Cecil…” The landlady said dumbfounded, she was at a loss for words. She became emotional, her body shook, and she couldn’t say a word. She moved a step back and covered her face as if running away from Eugene.
With a trembling hand she gave him a letter that Cecil asked her to give him. “Cecil is gone. Please, Eugene. She has a new life…! Forget about Cecil. Give up!”
It was a familiar letter; it had her familiar writing. It was his usual letter from Cecil. Eugene opened the letter with a prayer. In the letter it said, ‘If you care about yourself, don’t look for me. I’m sorry Eugene, but I found new happiness. Please don’t stop me. If you think of yourself in the least, please give up.’
It must be a lie. Cecil…
Eugene clutched the letter to his body, he rolled up and sobbed.
When Eugene returned to the Howard family, his clothes were worn out like a ragged rag. His father, who was lying on the bed, told him that the adoption process with the distant relative’s child, Theo was not going well, and unfortunately, Eugene has been officially approved as his successor.
It doesn’t matter………
Eugene could hear what has been said, but his mind does not seem to have processed it. Perhaps having foreseen Eugene’s state, the butler who was behind him smiled, “I wonder. Why don’t you just live as the Howard family’s successor and marry the daughter of the Gould family to heal your wounds. Since you were betrayed by your lover, Cecil.” the butler sneakily said. Eugene was worn out, he looked ragged. The butler probably thought he could roll something up since Eugene was heartbroken and tired.
“I have no intention of marrying anyone other than Cecil” returned Eugene, who, for the first time, showed resolution on his face.
The butler was not at all surprised at what Eugene said. “…Did Cecil betray Eugene?” the butler asked pretending to show a shocked look on his face, as if he had been struck by lightning for the first time.
“Yes.” Eugene replied. Even though his heart was tattered, or could he properly think, his heart was still firm and unshaken. The butler’s face twisted and bitterly laughed to himself, he felt that Eugene’s decision was beyond his control. On the side, Eugene’s father showed a faint flicker of remorse.
Many times, after, they would advise him to get married, but Eugene stubbornly kept on refusing, he did not bow down to their offers. Eugene adopted Theo, until Theo is old enough to become the family head, he gave the condition to succeed the Howard family as Theo’s guardian.
He tried searching for Cecil again. He couldn’t stand it and went to his hometown by the monastery where he had been born and raised secretly, but there was not even a clue. Eugene tried to forget Cecil, he remembered her saying not to look for her and to forget about her. Eugene felt guilty since he left her to go to the Howard’s, which probably made Cecil nervous— So at the very least, he wanted her request to come true, he thought that was the best thing he could do.
Three years later, his father died. Eugene became the family head for two years before Theo took over. Soon, the servants who were loyal to his father quit and left the mansion. The old landlady, residents, and the workers in the workshop where Cecil used to work had moved away—as if when Eugene had become the family head, they feared for being suspected that they lied about Cecil’s case.
Theo was an honest and gentle child. He was more like a younger brother than a child to him. They did not have a parent-child relationship, but they got along really well. He became curious about the ring that Eugene cherished. It was very interesting.
Eugene died in his mid-thirties ten years later. At his bedside was Theo who wept and the old butler who kept his head down, bowing—.