Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
El brought Leticia to the Achilles mansion, of all places. Leticia was so surprised that she let go of her hand and stood still.
“Why are we here…?”
“Why? I told you that you can come and play anytime.”
El walked into the mansion as if it was a matter of fact.
Leticia hesitated in front of the gate.
‘Can I really come in?’
Then Ian beckoned.
“Come on in.”
After a moment of hesitation, Leticia entered and mumbled to herself.
It was lonely. No, empty was the right word to describe it.
It was a huge mansion but somehow it was strangely quiet and empty. It was as if she had walked into a big empty shell.
Was it because she didn’t see people around?
Come to think of it, she didn’t see a single servant passing by.
Leticia thought it was strange, but El took her into the kitchen. Then she put a chair beside her and naturally made Leticia sit there.
“Now, sit here and watch me make it.”
“Are you sure you want to make it yourself?”
“I said I would make it for you.”
After telling Leticia to trust her, El began to prepare the ingredients. But Ian’s expression was somehow uneasy.
“I want to make tart too.”
“Don’t interrupt me.”
El pushed Ian toward Leticia as she was annoyed with Ian hovering around and bothering her.
Finally, Ian sighed and stood beside Leticia. Leticia smiled and said,
“El really wants to make tarts.”
“I know. She’s so stubborn when she’s hooked on something.” Ian said.
Sometimes Leticia was confused by the way Ian talked. She couldn’t make out if he was an older brother or a younger one.
Ian, who answered casually, glanced at Leticia. Leticia, who didn’t notice his gaze, smiled as she watched El prepare to make the tart.
“If you find her uncomfortable, I can talk to El for you.” Ian spoke.
“What?” Leticia said.
“My sister is a bit rough, but she likes people.”
Ian seemed to be worried that Leticia was uncomfortable because El had forced her to come. At once, Leticia looked at the two alternately.
Unlike the prideful and dour impression, El seemed to be very sociable and friendly. Maybe that’s why Leticia didn’t dislike El.
‘I actually thought it was burdensome to come here, but not uncomfortable.’
No, rather she felt happy.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you very much.”
They’ve only known each other for a short time. How could they be so nice to her?
How could she hate it when they showed her great hospitality?
Come to think of it, it had been a long time since someone did something like this for her.
After a moment of searching her memory, Leticia heard a sigh beside her. As soon as she turned her head, Ian was smiling softly with a look of relief.
“I’m glad to hear that. I was worried when you didn’t look happy.”
“It’s nothing, I’m fine.”
Leticia gave a slight wave, but for some reason Ian just looked at her with an odd expression. It wasn’t nothing, he thought.
“Ian, come here for a minute.”
At El’s call, Ian couldn’t help but frown and approached El.
“What is it?”
“Just a plain tart is too boring.”
“I figured as much, so I got some apples. Let’s make an apple tart.”
“That’s my brother!”
When El was patting Ian on the head, Leticia approached and said,
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to join you. It’s boring just sitting there……….”
“Oh, but I can’t ask you, you’re a guest.”
El tried to get Leticia to sit back in the chair. But Leticia shook her head and took an apple from the basket.
“Actually, I know how to make tarts.”
“Oh…… Shall we make them together?”
Eventually, they began to make the apple tart together.
While El kneaded the flour, Leticia washed and shaved the apples, then cut them into appropriate sizes and put them in a pan. She poured in enough water to submerge the apples, added a glass of wine, and then simmered until it thickened, and before she knew it, the apple compote was ready.
“You’re a skilled baker, aren’t you?”
“I used to make it for my siblings.”
“I am jealous of your brothers and sisters. They can eat delicious desserts anytime.”
Leticia fell silent at El’s words.
But she smiled again and began to peel the apples again.
“They liked it.”
Not now, though.
Bitterly, Leticia concentrated on making the apple tart again. She placed the dough into a mold and poured in the cooled pot of apple compote. Finally, she put some sliced apples on top and baked them in the oven. And the final product was a delicious golden apple tart baked to perfection.
As soon as he saw it, Ian said out loud.
“Sister Leroy, you made this?”
“El made the dough.”
“I only made the crust, and sister Leroy made the rest of it.”
It was then.
“What are you doing here?”
A low voice made all three of them turn around at the same time, only to find Enoch standing there with his eyes wide open.
The moment their gazes met, Leticia greeted him with a faint smile.
“Did you come to visit today? I’ve been waiting for you to come.”
Enoch did not hide his happiness and smiled gently.
“I wanted to see you again.”
Leticia’s voice rose at the unexpected words.
But Enoch said all the while with an unconcerned expression.
“I’m glad you came. I have something to return to you. Please wait here for a moment.”
‘What kind of thing does he have to return?’
Leticia was about to ask, but Enoch was already gone.
She stood there with an embarrassed look on my face, but Enoch’s voice kept echoing in her ears.
She couldn’t believe Enoch had been waiting for her and wanted to see her again.
His words might have been meaningless, but strangely they lingered in her heart, tickling her somehow.
Just then, she heard a jostling voice behind her.
“It was the first one I made, and it turned out very tasty!” El said.
“It’s because Sister Leroy helped you.” Ian said.
Leticia smiled at the sight of the two fighting with each other again and cut the apple tart into quarters.
‘Should I give it to him to try?’
She came out of the kitchen quickly, leaving behind El and Ian who were still bickering about how great Leticia was. Enoch’s room was not far away.
Leticia tapped lightly on the door.
“It’s Leticia………. May I come in?”
“Please come in.”
Leticia opened the door quietly at the sound of the low voice and stepped inside. Enoch was unbuttoning his sleeves.
“I’m sorry. I’ll come back later.”
“No, it’s alright.”
Leticia held out a plate of apple tart in her hand to the staring eyes that wondered why she had come.
“It’s the apple tart I made with Young Lady Achilles and the Young Master.”
Just as she was about to ask Enoch to try it, an annoying voice echoed in her head.
[I don’t even like tarts. I don’t like figs either.]
For a moment, Leticia hesitated, thinking that Enoch might not like the tart just like Irene. However, unexpectedly, Enoch smiled and said,
“Thank you. Can I eat it now?”
“Yes, of course.”
‘Please like it, it’s delicious, it’s delicious.’
On her face, Leticia appeared to be smiling serenely, but she was anxious inside. She cautiously stole a glance at Enoch.
Enoch looked at the apple tart with a nonchalant expression and quickly took a bite. Leticia was somehow even more nervous and felt suffocated.
“How is it?”
Leticia asked cautiously, hoping it wouldn’t taste too bad.
As soon as Enoch answered, he took another bite of the apple tart. The moment she saw him, Leticia felt emotional.
A tart that Irene refused to eat. A tart that Xavier didn’t even touch. A tart that went to the servants’ mouths. And a tart that was thrown away at the end and was eaten by birds.
“It’s delicious, please join me……Lady Leroy?”
Enoch called out to Leticia with a worried expression, as she looked somewhat unusual. But instead of replying, Leticia shed tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m trying not to cry.”
Leticia couldn’t help but cry. She tried to wipe it with the back of her hand to control it, however, she could not stop crying.
“I’ve never had such a delicious tart before. Let’s go eat together.”
Enoch tried to soothe Leticia by repeating the word “delicious.
But if anything, his words made Leticia cry even more.
It was then.
“Brother, are you here? Can I come in?”
“Hey, wait a minute………!”
Before Enoch had time to stop the inconvenient visitors, who were about to come in, the door swung open. El and Ian came in with cheerful expressions on their faces, but when they saw Leticia crying, their complexions immediately hardened.
They looked at each other and then at Enoch.
“Did brother make sister Leroy cry?”
“It’s not like that.”
Enoch tried to explain the situation, but El already only stared at him as if to say, “Are you human?”
At that moment, Leticia spoke.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to cry.”
Letisha said in a choked-up voice as she finally calmed down. However, El was still glaring at Enoch.
“What did brother say to make sister Leroy cry?”
“I just said it was delicious, that’s all.”
Enoch looked at El with pleading eyes. As soon as she saw his look, El turned to Leticia as if asking if it was true.
“Master Achilles didn’t do anything wrong. I just cried by myself…”
“Why? What’s going on?”
“Can you tell us?”
Leticia hesitated as she squeezed her hands together tightly.
She didn’t know them that well, she wondered if it was okay to tell them about her situation.
But the moment the three of them looked at her warmly as if to say it was okay, her worries quickly disappeared.
“My family….doesn’t like me.”
Leticia immediately lowered her head. She was suddenly worried that she had caused even more trouble with her unnecessary words.
The heavy silence filled the room. At that moment, Leticia cautiously raised her head, but to her surprise, Enoch, standing in front of her, was bending slightly and looking at her.
“Please come and visit us again. I’ll make you something delicious to eat.”
As soon as their gazes intertwined, her gray eyes softened.
At that moment, Leticia wanted to cry again.
“She’s a nice person.”
El said as she looked out at the mansion window. Outside the window, Leticia was getting in her carriage, returning home.
“I think so too.”
Enoch nodded in agreement. In his eyes, Leticia seemed so helpless and pitiful. She was someone who needed to be protected and cared for.
The memory of that day they met was still vivid.
The gorgeous pink hair swaying in the wind, and the clear, shining light blue eyes. And the small, white hand that held out a handkerchief.
At that moment he thought he would like to see her again if he had the chance.
And yet, he couldn’t believe he met her in his own home.
“Oh, by the way, didn’t brother say you had something to return to her?” El asked.
At El’s words, Enoch looked out the window again. But Leticia was already gone.
“I can give it to her next time.”
Somehow he had a feeling that they would meet again.