Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
It was a coincidence that he’d run into her that day.
Enoch followed the sound of heart-breaking sobs as if he were possessed, and came upon Leticia running towards him with a tear-stained face.
She looked pitiful, as if she had been abandoned by the world.
Unable to leave her alone, Enoch brought Leticia home.
He would be lying if he said he didn’t feel sorry for her, but the first thing that struck him was how glad he was that she had found him that night when no one else was around.
Thankfully the twins welcomed Leticia without any signs of discomfort and took care of her more carefully than he could.
“No, not like that. You have to grab it like this.”
“No. Let’s give the damaged strawberries to my brother.”
Leticia and Elle had become closer and decided to go pick strawberries together. Enoch said it was not necessary, but Letisha shook her head and said it was fun. She then focused on picking strawberries.
“She looks better than yesterday.”
Ian said as he approached Enoch, who was watching the two silently. Enoch nodded, as if he had the same idea.
“Yes, I’m glad.”
“What happened, Brother?”
Ian, who had kept silent yesterday because he wasn’t in the mood, finally asked. Enoch gave a complicated sigh.
“She was excommunicated.”
Enoch ignored the startled Ian and kept his eyes on Leticia. He recalled last night, her teary voice whispering to him.
[I was chased out. There is nowhere for me to return to, Lord Achilles…]
She looked desolate, as if she would cry at any moment while talking.
It had only been a day, but news of Leticia’s excommunication had already spread. The reason for her expulsion wasn’t clear, but people were whispering that she didn’t have an ability.
‘Is that so important?’
If she has an ability, it’s good that she has one. If she doesn’t have an ability, shouldn’t you take care of her?
Enoch was incapable of understanding how the Leroy family could so easily kick a family member out because of their lack of ability.
“Pretend you don’t know.”
“That’s what I’m going to do.”
“Ok, thank you.”
Enoch lightly patted Ian on the head for his matter of fact statement, and returned to his room. As soon as he closed his door, he let out a big sigh.
The Achilles family wasn’t as well off as the Leroy family, so it wouldn’t be as pleasant a place to live. Enoch desperately hoped that Leticia’s would at least be at ease here.
Enoch soon found out that Leticia’s heart was not at ease, even here.
“I baked cookies. Would you like some?”
One day, Letisha visited his room with a lot of cookies. She smelled of sweets, and Enoch couldn’t help but smile.
“The twins would like them more.”
It was a gentle refusal.
Leticia let out a quiet sigh and carefully asked.
“Ah… Do you not like sweets?”
“I don’t like sweets, but the cookies that you make are delicious.”
“What do you like then?”
“Um… I don’t know.”
He’d never really thought about it, so he didn’t have an answer right away. Leticia didn’t seem to be leaving until she got an answer from Enoch.
“I’ll definitely tell you when I think of it.”
Leticia left with a disappointed look on her face.
The day continued on, but there was still a nagging feeling in the corner of his mind.
One afternoon, a few days later, the uncomfortable feeling began to slowly reveal itself.
“What are you doing?”
Enoch asked when he found Leticia watering the flowers one day. Leticia smiled softly and replied that she was watering flowers because she liked them.
He believed her words to be true.
But when Enoch saw her sweeping the hallway, he felt a chill pierce through his heart.
“What are you doing?”
“What? I’m cleaning?”
He couldn’t hold his words in any longer as he looked at a wide-eyed Leticia. A cold voice popped out of Enoch’s mouth.
“Why are you cleaning?”
“Yes, you’re doing something you’re not supposed to.”
Hoping to ease her anxiety, Enoch had repeatedly told Letisha that she can stay as long as she wants in the mansion. He thought that would make her feel a little more secure.
As soon as he realized that she had been misunderstanding something, he couldn’t hide his mixed feelings.
“I just want you to be comfortable here.”
“You don’t have to do this.”
He thought she understood a little, but Letisha’s next words knocked Enoch for a loop.
“I thought it was necessary to stay here.”
“What do you mean?”
“You took me in when my family threw me away, and allowed me to stay for a little while. I just wanted to find a way to be useful.”
Enoch clenched his fist when he heard her calmly state that she was just trying to be useful.
‘What the hell…’
He didn’t know what kind of things had been said to her in the past.
‘Did they say things like that to her?’
He didn’t know how Leticia had been treated by the Leroy family, but he felt like he had an idea.
Maybe that’s why.
He put more and more strength into his clenched fist to hold back his anger.
“I’m not going to kick you out or throw you away. Don’t say throw away ever again, you’re not an object.”
Enoch said in a more calmer voice, hoping that this time his sincerity would reach her.
“You asked me what I liked last time, but I’ll tell you what I hate instead.”
As soon as he approached, Leticia looked up at Enoch with a slightly anxious expression. Enoch slowly began to speak the moment their eyes met.
“I hate subservient relationships.”
“Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“So what should we do now?”
Leticia glanced at Enoch and tightened her grip on the mop.
Enoch smiled thinly because she still didn’t seem to understand, so he explained it all again.
“Put away the mop, don’t clean, don’t water the flowers. Just take it easy, do you understand?”
“Oh! Yes, I understand. But…”
As soon as Leticia blurted out the last part of her sentence, Enoch’s eyebrows rose sharply. Leticia pushed through and cautiously said.
“Can I at least water the flowers? I like flowers.”
“Ha… All right, go ahead.”
“Cleaning! I think it’s okay to clean the room I’m staying in.”
“Okay, but that’s it.”
In reality, he wanted to say not even that. Enoch decided to back off because he thought it would make Leticia feel more secure.
There was one thing he wanted to clarify.
“There’s only one thing I want from you.”
Enoch pushed through before Leticia could interject.
“I want you to be comfortable here.”
He smiled softly, hoping his words would reach her heart.
Leticia, who had been touching her hands in an embarrassed manner, slowly looked up at his words.
The moment their eyes met, a bright smile spread across her face.
“Thank you for taking care of me, Lord Achilles.”
Refreshing sky-blue eyes looked up at him, and he felt a smile tug at his lips.
The smile that appeared on her pale face reminded him of the day he first met Leticia.
It was a normal day that became a little more special because of her smile.
‘I’m feeling the same way as back then.’
Enoch tried hard to control his confused mind and looked over to the kitchen.
“Elle wants to bake tarts, would you like to join us?”
A sunny smile spread across Leticia’s face and she gave a happy laugh.
Enoch was relieved by Leticia’s more relaxed smile.
A friendly atmosphere surrounded Leticia and Enoch, while they had a casual conversation on their way to the kitchen.
The moment they entered the kitchen, they were stopped in their tracks by the serious look on Elle and Ian’s faces.
Leticia looked at Elle and Ian alternately with worry in her eyes.
What if something happened in the short time she had been here, and she couldn’t seem to calm her heart.
Enoch asked after sensing the unusual atmosphere, Elle crossed over to him without saying a word. In her hands was a letter with the Imperial seal.
A heavy groan escaped Enoch’s mouth as he nervously scanned the letter. Leticia began to feel uneasy.
“Is it something bad…”
Ian and Elle rushed to Enoch to ask what the letter said. Surprised by its content, Enoch dropped the letter, which landed in front of Letisha.
‘The test to join the Order of the Imperial Knights. Passed…?’
Leticia, who was hungrily reading the contents of the letter, covered her mouth with her hands. Ian and Elle were already busy hugging Enoch and congratulating him.
“What’s wrong with you two? Get off.”
“Oh, my God! You were having such a difficult time, and now you’ve finally been accepted.”
“You’re choking me, get off.”
“You worked hard, Brother.”
Enoch complained pitifully to his siblings, who clung to him and would not let go, but a smile tugged at his lips. Even his attempts to push them away were weak, so you couldn’t feel the sincerity in his words.
A smile spread across Letisha’s face as she watched the three of them getting along.
“Congratulations, Lord Achilles.”
Letisha said to Enoch, who had barely managed to pull his siblings off.
“Thank you, my lady.”
As they looked at each other and smiled, they heard the sound of a carriage coming from somewhere.
As the sound got closer, Elle jumped up.
“I think someone’s here?”
“Come with me, Elle.”
Ian said as he ran outside, followed quickly by Elle.
‘Is there a visitor?’
Leticia was looking at Enoch with her head cocked, then she heard footsteps quickly running towards them from the hallway.
Elle and Ian soon returned with troubled expressions.
“Brother… we have a visitor.”
“Who’s the guest?”
Elle had a hard time replying, instead she glanced behind her. There stood a man who looked familiar to Leticia.
It was none other than Levion, who was looking at her with cold eyes.
Levion rudely entered the room without saying anything. Enoch left the room to give them privacy, and didn’t show any signs of offence. Thanks to his consideration, Leticia was able to feel more comfortable talking with Levion.
However, neither of them wanted to be the first to speak.
After a few minutes of heavy silence, Levion spoke first in an annoyed tone.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Do you know how long I’ve been looking for you?”
Leticia had not expected the first words out of his mouth to be a slap to the face.
Leticia, who had expected him to say that he had been worried, let out a small sigh.
“Is that what you’re going to say after all this time?”
At these words, Levion realized that he had criticized Leticia before worrying about her well-being.
“Ha… Let’s go home. We can go home and talk…”
“Which home am I going to? Do I have a home to go to?”
Leticia had already been officially expelled from the Leroy family. Levion was well aware of that fact, so there wasn’t anything he could say to her words.
But that didn’t mean he could overlook her staying here.
“So you’re going to stay here?”
“I’d prefer it if you lived with me. Come stay at my mansion.”
Levion reached out to Leticia as soon as he finished speaking. He wanted to depart this place quickly.
Leticia silently looked down at his big hand and slowly reached for it. The corners of Levi’s mouth crept up in a smile.
But Leticia, who he thought was going to take his hand, pushed it away firmly.
“What are you doing?”
Levion couldn’t believe what she’d done and questioned her action. Leticia replied with an expressionless face.
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m staying here.”
Livion tried to urge her again, but Leticia simply shut down.
The wounds inflicted by her family were as vivid as ever. They still tormented her in her dreams.
Recalling that day, Leticia clenched her hands.
[I hate subservient relationships.]
Enoch’s voice had penetrated deep into her heart and lingered there.
‘What did he mean by subservient relationships?’
She was becoming increasingly curious about Enoch, and wanted to continue developing their relationship. She felt confident that as she learned about him, she would be able to forget some of the scars of her past.
[I want you to be comfortable here.]
His heartfelt plea lingered in her ears.
She felt warm remembering his thoughtfulness in the face of her attempts to not be a burden.
Maybe that’s why it didn’t feel so hard, or overwhelming, facing Livion head on.
“Once again, I’m staying here”
“You don’t belong here.”
“That is not for Levi to decide.”
Despite his cold voice, Leticia answered candidly without shying away.
“I’ll decide where I belong.”