From Now On
After crying for a few minutes, Laurier eventually tired herself out and fell asleep in my arms. So, as gently as I could, I picked her up and carried her to her room.
(Hurting such a young child like this… That damned hag.)
I almost lost my cool… Just thinking about how useless Callis used to be was making me mad as well, but I managed to bite it back down.
But just looking at that sleeping face of hers made me think… Yeah, my daughter sure is cute! As I felt myself turn into a sloppy mess of a doting parent, I wondered just how much of a fool Callis must have been to have neglected his lovely wife and daughter.
I suppose I can’t completely condemn the old Callis since I don’t have any memories of him cheating, but… the way I see it, him not paying any attention to his family like he did doesn’t make any sense.
Whilst that was on my mind, there was suddenly a light knocking on the door and a person entered… Looking up, I saw it was my wife, Sasha.
When I saw the worried look on her face, I gently raised a finger to my lips as I motioned my eyes towards the sleeping Laurier. As she quietly approached, her faced twisted in anguish as she looked down at her daughter.
“All these bruises and sores… It’s all because I didn’t pay enough attention to this child…”
“It’s not your fault alone, Sasha. The one most at fault here is me.”
“…No. It was all because I was so childish about not being worthy enough in your eyes, my Lord, that eventually I began to neglect this child as well… I…”
Seeing Sasha gently brush a lock of the sleeping Laurier’s hair of her face with tears in her eyes… I wrapped my hands around her waist from behind in a hug.
“It’s not good to dwell on what happened in the past… From now on, the two of us will love this child with all that we have.”
“…That’s… right. I’m sorry, my Lord…”
“No… I too have a cross to bear for neglecting such an adorable wife and daughter for so long. That’s why… from now on, I swear I will love the both of you to the utmost.”
“That’s… as a family…?”
There was something slightly uneasy in her tone… so, I responded as gently as I could.
“As a family, yes, but… Sasha, you’ll be the only one who receives my love as a man.”
“By that, you mean…”
“I mean, as my lover.”
Sasha could barely speak as her voice was choked with tears.
“I too… With my lord… Always loved you…”
I wanted to say something fitting, but… being the idiot that I am, I couldn’t think of anything good on the spot, so it was all I could do to gently turn Sasha towards me.
Sasha’s happy tears dripped down my front as she buried herself in my chest… she was so cute, I wondered just who the hell I was before now. How could there be a man in the world that would neglect such a lovely woman?
In other words… After I woke up anew, I fell in love with her at first sight.
“Please pardon my intrusion… Oh?”
After I held Sasha in my embrace for a time, Zeke quietly entered the room and stared at us, dumbfounded.
Suddenly noticing Zeke had entered the room, Sasha quickly separated herself from me… hmm. It did feel a little lonely all of a sudden, but being able to get a better view of how lovely she was wasn’t a bad consolation prize.
“Zeke, was there something you needed?”
“Yes. I had something to discuss with you, Callis-sama, however… Am I interrupting?”
“Well, somewhat. In any case, let’s hear what you have to say for now.”
Having said that, I gave Laurier’s head one last stroke and told Sasha I would be back before leaving the room.
“Now then… what was it?”
“Yes… I wanted to discuss the matter of the governess charged with the young miss’ etiquette training that you just dismissed, however…”
“…Did you know about just how violent her ‘education’ of Laurier was?”
“…Only to a certain extent. However, there wasn’t much we could do, since it was the young miss’ request.”
When I looked at him dubiously, Zeke sighed slightly before he spoke.
“The young miss didn’t want to be a burden the two of you, so she hid her tears and asked us not to tell… there wasn’t much we could do, especially considering how…”
“Is that so… Laurier…”
I felt something in my eyes thinking about my gentle daughter… Managing to swallow it back, I asked the question on my mind.
“The other instructors, are they the same?”
“No… To the best of my knowledge, only the governess in charge of etiquette instruction was this way.”
“I see… At any rate, from now on, if you find out there are any similar pieces of garbage working in my household, you shall report it directly to me. As for the replacement instructor… don’t bother yourself, I will see to employing one myself.”
Callis was a Duke, after all. So long as I pulled the strings of my personal connections, such a thing should be easy.
When he saw that serious look on my face, Zeke seemed relieved as he nodded firmly.
“I understand completely… Also, in regards to tomorrow’s work, if it pleases you, Master, I shall see to it myself, so please feel free to spend your time at ease with the Madame and the young miss today.”
“…That’s a huge help.”
“Callis-sama seems to have finally opened his eyes. Therefore, it’s only natural that I, Zeke, do my utmost in order to serve you the best I can.”
As Zeke said that with a smile, I thanked him earnestly as I returned to those two.