Chapter Ten: Count Dahl and Alex
When the veil of darkness covered the brightness of the day, Nolan and others came back.
Olivia and I went to the entrance to welcome them in high spirits. However, they came up with the same number of people they went out with, tragically destroying my expectations that they might come with the boy’s mother in tow.
Ricardo spoke in a depressing manner when he saw me.
“We couldn’t find any woman that might seems like the kid’s mother.”
“I see… Thank you for your hard work.”
Nolan glanced at the living room and looked at me.
“Peter already went to sleep. I used the room on the corner of the 2nd floor.”
I was also dead tired after accompanying the boy, playing with him for almost half a day. However, I just couldn’t go to sleep yet.
It’s because we were in a sticky situation revolving around a single kid.
We all moved to the sofa in the drawing room in low spirits and began to discuss the steps we must take.
When Olivia brewed some tea, and Marco, seemingly thirsty, drank all that was in his cup in one gulp. It looked like a tiny toy cup from a playhouse set as Marco was holding it.
“I will visit my uncle with Marco tomorrow morning.”
Unable to understand the meaning behind Nolan’s words, I couldn’t say anything in reply.
“It was my maternal uncle who had been managing the Dahl County, that is, until two years ago. He inherited another marquisate then and relinquished his right to this County, which was compromised of only this island. I’m guessing that the Alex woman doesn’t know the owner of this island had been changed.”
Now that he explained it, there was nothing but the address of a count in the letter. So, it might not even be meant for Nolan.
Which meant that Peter’s father was most likely to be Nolan’s predecessor. I was secretly relieved that the huge stone pressed on my heart finally let down.
But Ricardo muttered in a grimace.
“It would be nice if Scylla didn’t give me any headaches.”
“That’s most likely to happen.”
Peter was here. I wondered if it was possible to bring his uncle or whoever he was to this place. Maybe, he might have second thoughts after meeting with the boy face to face.
When I tried proposing this to Nolan, he plainly shook his head.
“It would be more effective to meet him head-on so that he doesn’t run away first.”
“That’s the obvious reaction of many if you suddenly bring out a child in front of them and say it’s their child.”
Thereupon, Ricardo exaggeratedly moved his neck up and down, affirming Nolan’s claim.
“I got it. Well, let’s do as you have planned.”
I wondered if they had experienced something similar in the past. I couldn’t help but glance at Ricardo and others with a dispassionate gaze.
“I see~ So that’s how it usually goes…”
Maybe because my voice was a bit cold, none of them opened their mouths to speak for a brief period.
I decided to check on the boy before sleeping.
I quietly entered the room so as not to wake him up. I saw that he had kicked away the quilt to his feet, and even his head had almost completely fallen from the pillow as he slept.
Seeing that he was calmly sleeping, I was also relieved. Although I knew he would kick away the quilt anyway, I once again covered him with it and left the room.
I looked around for Nolan afterward and found him in the storeroom on the first floor.
He was taking out some documents and books from a box covered in dust in one corner of the store room, looking at them individually.
A plethora of books and documents were scattered above the table and floor. Noticing me, he strode over the papers on the floor, only stopping in front of me. He had a daring smile on his face for some reason.
He thrust a page right to my face. The distance was so close that I couldn’t read what it was about, so I moved my head backward and received the document in my hand to read it. In it was a written list of people’s names in black ink; although it looked a bit blurry, the name of Alex Gason was one among many of them.
Alex Gason. No way. Wasn’t that the name of that boy’s mother?
“It’s the list of people working in the Dahl Count family in the reign of my uncle. Alex was a maid in this mansion. More than five years ago… It seems she quit her job just a bit before giving birth to Peter.”
That… Wasn’t that solid proof of Alex and the previous Dahl Count’s connection? Nolan still wasn’t the count at that time.
So, it was all the pot of the predecessor… And Peter was indeed his child…
Nolan crossed his arms and looked at me with a smirk.
“I wonder if this is enough to prove my innocence. What do you say?”
“Eh? Ahhh… Yes…”
I was shaking so severely that the page slipped out of my hand and fell. Flustered, as I quickly knelt on one knee to pick it up, Nolan had also done the same action.
He put his hand on the hand I had on the paper and, for some reason, put all his weight on it. My hand was caught between the paper and Nolan’s hand. I couldn’t even move.
I felt pain as Nolan pressed on my hand tightly, causing panic.
Our foreheads were so close that we could touch each other with just a slight movement.
“Nolan-sama, your hand…”
“Did you see me as a reckless man who has his illegitimate children hidden here and there?”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“But you doubted me.”
I felt him intently staring at me. However, my heart was beating so loudly that I didn’t dare look at him back.
I just continued to try somehow and let him release my hand.
“Because… Nolan-sama is a handsome person. From a woman’s perspective, you’re so good-looking that anyone would surely want to be with you.”
I tried to speak the truth, though it was embarrassing. I felt like my cheeks were on fire.
Nolan’s forehead touched mine, causing shock to suddenly run through me as if my heart had been gripped tightly.
“Do you like my looks?”
His nose grazed past my nose slightly, and right before our lips were just on the verge of overlapping, he finally let go of my hand.
I even forgot to pick up the page as I hurriedly took it back and stood up.
Nolan picked it up instead of me and put it on the table, slightly apart from the other documents. I assumed he’s planning to bring it together as an essential piece of evidence when visiting the previous count tomorrow.
I quickly made myself scarce from the room and slipped into the bedding, but even then, my heart was still beating like a frightened deer’s. I shoved my face on the soft pillow, recalling the scene of Nolan’s forehead touching mine, making me wallow in shame.
Perhaps that boy’s mother was currently worried to death about leaving her child here. Peter himself might inevitably be anxious about being surrounded by people he had met for the first time in a stranger’s mansion.
And yet here I was with my chest beating so boldly, just from coming into contact with Nolan. I tried various methods to calm myself down, but all proved futile.
Nolan entered the bedroom as I was rolling on the bed many times over. I just couldn’t remove the embarrassing scene earlier and even almost rolled to the edge of the bed in excitement.
“You still haven’t slept yet?” Said Nolan as he got on the bed. When I opened my eyes to look at him, he looked at me with an exasperated expression.
“You’re going to fall if you continue doing that.”
I slightly moved to the center of the bed. Thereupon, Nolan also shifted to the center of the bed and silently pushed his arms beneath my body. I was so surprised I almost screamed then and there.
Just like that, Nolan pulled my body to the middle of the bed, and our position from the side would appear as though Nolan’s upper half body was pressing on top of mine.
I was already freaking out crazily in my head. My body stiffened from the extreme nervousness.
Nolan’s hand touched my shoulder and smoothly glided from my arm to my elbow and then to my hand that was clenched into a fist from being too nervous.
His hand covered my tightly clenched fist and gently stroked it.
“Do you dislike my touch?”
He asked from such a close range that I felt his breath and hurriedly shook my head. It was the only part of me I could move with my petrified body.
“Why are you trembling so much?”
I didn’t even notice I was trembling. I could see why my reaction might have struck him as me hating his touch.
I squeezed out my voice to ease up the misunderstanding. “… I’m just afraid a bit.”
“I am not going to scare you.”
“That’s not it. It’s different.”
“Because… I haven’t seen any man more beautiful than Nolan-sama… So, it’s scary.”
Nolan chuckled slightly as he heard my answer. He looked at me from the front.
I was so embarrassed from being stared at by his handsome face so close that I wondered, what should I do?
“What a strange thing to say. Don’t you see my face every day?”
Saying so, Nolan lightly pecked his lips on my cheek. He slowly moved away from me, laid down, and turned off the light beside the bed.
“I am leaving the island early tomorrow morning. Although I do not wish to push any troublesome matter to you, it’s only you I could ask to take care of Peter.”
“You don’t need to worry. I will handle it.”
“…Sorry to make you go through so much.”
“You don’t have to apologize.”
I turned my head towards Nolan and stared at his faintly visible visage in the darkness.
“I should be the one to say I’m sorry… I’m sorry for doubting you.”
“…I hope I don’t find myself saying the same thing to my uncle tomorrow.”