Home Post 1614-chapter-187


“Tommy? What are you doing here?”

It had been ten days since the children had entered the Duchy. More applicants than expected had shown up, and all were accepted as employees of the Duchy.


Young Tommy was quite mature and clever for his age. He had been treating me with great respect ever since he found out that the person he met at the beach was the Duke and Duchess.

“Have you lost your way?”

“…That’s not it.”

“Then, why are you here in this unusual part of the garden, near the path that leads to the back hills?”

Tommy hesitated, seeming flustered by my question, before he admitted the truth.

“Actually, I am lost.”

“Is that so? Come here. I’ll take you back.”

“No! I can find my way back myself!”



While Tommy was smart and mature, he had one flaw. He always tried to do everything by himself. His situation had inevitably fostered him to have a strong sense of independence, though from my perspective, it was also deeply concerning.

“Alright then, I’ll go ahead.”

Instead, I walked slowly to help him memorize the path. The crunching gravel under my feet confirmed that he was following.

As we entered the mansion, Amber asked with curiosity as she passed by.

“Weren’t you just out for a walk? Why are you back already?”

“Uh, I got thirsty.”

I casually dismissed it, and Amber hurried off.

“Just a moment!”

“No rush, take your time.”

“I’ll bring it right away!”

After Amber left, two young girls came down the stairs, chattering.

“I was faster today.”

“Well, I cleaned better, so I did better.”

“You’re too slow. Miss Amber said we should be quick and accurate.”

“Being thorough is best, even if it’s slow.”

I watched the children as they were just cute. The presence of children really seemed to change the atmosphere of the mansion.

All of a sudden, Tommy, who had been quietly standing behind me, shouted at the girls engaged in their conversation.

“What are you doing? You should greet the Duchess first!”

It all happened before I could say it was all right, although Tommy wasn’t wrong.


“Hello, Duchess!”

The children hurried down the remaining stairs and gathered in front of me like little chicks.

“Duchess! Where are you heading?”

“Shall I show you around?”

“Dummy, this is the Duchess’s home. Why would you show her around?”

“Tommy, that’s mean.”

“Greedy Tommy.”

“What are you talking about?!”

Their chirping conversation quickly turned into a squabble. Even their bickering seemed adorable to me—am I the weird one for thinking that?

As I watched the children with amusement, a deep voice called from above,


Lucian, apparently displeased that I had left, was coming down the stairs.


As I called him by his nickname, his expression tightened slightly. He seemed dissatisfied that I didn’t use a more affectionate term like ‘darling.’ Still, I wasn’t ready for that yet; it was too embarrassing.

As Lucian came down, the children stepped back from me.

“Hello, Duke.”


The children were notably wary of Lucian. It seemed natural since he was the master of the house.

However, one child wasn’t intimidated by Lucian. Tommy looked up at him with eyes full of admiration. The adoring gaze seemed to draw even the onlooker’s attention with its positive energy.

“Hello, Duke!”

Tommy greeted him with a robust voice, and Lucian slowly returned his gaze.

“Tommy, you have a strong voice.”

Although it sounded like a compliment, it was somewhat lacking. Nevertheless, Tommy seemed pleased.

“I’ve always had a loud voice! My dad used to scold me for it when I was little! But later, he said he liked it.”

Tommy’s chatter became more lively than when he was with me, which made me feel a bit sad.

His biological father likely was his parent in his early years. The father who came later must be one of Tommy’s ancestors, but I hoped the boy would never know his true father wasn’t his biological one.

His love for Tommy was genuine, after all.

“That’s good. A robust voice is nice to hear.”

Lucian seemed to take a liking to Tommy as well. While he didn’t dislike the other children, he didn’t usually respond so warmly.


The child’s laughter brought the two timid girls closer.

“Duke, I have a loud voice too!”

“Me too!”

Seeing the children trying so hard to please despite their nervous expressions brought back memories. While I wouldn’t dwell on the past any longer, it seemed inevitable that it would keep resurfacing through them.

I sighed softly, and immediately, Lucian’s gaze snapped to me.

“Why the sigh? Feeling tired?”

“Why do I feel so drained all of a sudden?”

“Then, let’s go up to the room and rest.”

Lucian looked at me with concern.

“It’s not that serious. A walk outside might actually do me good.”

Thinking about it, I have been extremely busy lately. We had to train the new staff for the children, and I had been involved in refurbishing a guesthouse for them to stay in. Perhaps I had indeed overextended myself.

“A walk? Let’s just go up to the room.”

Feeling slightly chilly, I decided to give up on the walk and headed to our room. In the meanwhile, Lucian spoke to Amber, who had come with some water.

“The wife seems unwell, so we’ll both have dinner in our room tonight. Make sure her meal is easy to digest.”

“Yes, Duke.”

Amber adjusted the bed so I could rest comfortably and placed a glass of water on the bedside table before leaving.

“Want some water?”

Lucian sat beside me on the bed, holding the water glass up to me as he leaned against the head of the bed. His overly caring demeanor made me laugh, like a nurse taking care of a patient.

“I’m not that sick, just a bit low on energy. Give it here. I’ll drink it myself.”

Despite my words, he continued holding the glass.

“Always so stubborn…”

I grumbled but opened my mouth to take a sip from the glass he held. After I had finished drinking, he finally spoke.

“Sometimes, I wonder.”


“What if you couldn’t manage anything without me around…”


He set the empty glass down on the nightstand and leaned his hand against the bed, making it sway noticeably under his weight.

“Sometimes I felt uneasy about how free you are. It seemed like you could leave me at any moment.”

“Luci, even if you told me to leave, I wouldn’t.”

“I would never say that.”

“Then, why say something like that?”

At my question, Lucian smiled deeply. Instead of answering, he brought his face closer. He spoke in a whisper, just a breath away.

“I just wanted to be sure… I always feel the need to reassure myself about you.”

As he finished speaking, our lips met, and his soft lips enveloped mine. He gently nibbled on my lower lip and caressed my neck as if massaging it, slipping his tongue between my lips.

I naturally opened my mouth to the familiar sensation. The kiss was slow but powerful, making me feel utterly drained. I wrapped my arms around his neck and responded eagerly, eliciting a moan from him.

The wet sound filled the room.

Lost in the moment, we clung to each other and deepened the kiss.

Naturally, he dominated the embrace. My head tilted back, but he supported it firmly, preventing any discomfort. His hands, which had been caressing my neck and hair, slowly moved down. They brushed lightly over my shoulders, then slid down to grip my waist.

I shivered. My body reacted instinctively to his familiar touch.


As our connected lips finally parted, a thread of saliva stretched and then broke as we kissed again.


His long arms wrapped around me tightly. I could feel the harsh beats of our hearts where our chests touched. Suddenly, his hand reached my lower back. I, too, ran my hands over his chest, tangling with his tongue.

As we were engrossed in each other, a sudden knock echoed through the room.

“Madam! I’ve brought your meal.”

At Amber’s voice, I quickly pushed away from Lucian’s chest.


He backed off with a deep sigh as the long strand of saliva snapped.

“Wait, wait a moment!”

I hurriedly fixed my face before Amber entered, wiping my lips with a handkerchief and arranging my hair.

Watching me tidy up, Lucian slightly raised the corner of his lips. His red lips were glossy with saliva and looked provocatively shiny.


I whispered softly, dabbing his lips with a handkerchief.

“Couldn’t you just leave it?”

“But still!”

“It’s not like Amber doesn’t know.”


After fixing his hair, I called for Amber.

“Amber, come in!”

She quickly entered, pushing a trolley.

“I’ve brought soup and soft milk bread for the lady, and steak for the lord.”

“…I think I could eat steak, too?”

“Better safe than sorry. I’ll set it on the table.”


As Amber finished speaking, she lifted the covers off the plates. The moment the steak hit the table, my stomach strangely churned.


Why was that? As the thought crossed my mind, a sudden discomfort overwhelmed me.