When Ravia found him, Tidwell was sitting on the window sill of his room.
The room was thick with a magnolia scent that melted like snow.
Devoid of life, the room had an unique coolness akin to those of a background on a stage, which strangely went well with Tidwell.
A man whose attention was constantly focused on Ravia during this comedy-tragic stage show.
Looking at him, Ravia inadvertently recalled his portrayal in〈His and Her Spring〉.
[Tidwell in the dark always seemed to wear the stormy night like an adornment. His melancholy face was reminiscent of a dark night that could not be shrouded by dark clouds, and his silver hair was like a thunderbolt cutting through the dark. But there is another reason why he reminded us of the storm on that specific day.
Because he looks especially sad when he turns his back against the darkness.
Whether he smiles or shows no emotion, he is the embodiment of silence in the dark.
That deadly silence is what makes him look sinisterly abnormal.]
There was a degree of subjectivity in this portrayal which made it hard to say that her past memory was distorted.
After hearing from Rette, Ravia realized the identity of the author of this portrayal that crossed her mind often.
That was Ravia’s personal admiration.
‘I can’t think of anything else for a while.’
She wondered whether the thought simply came to her because she got swept in a moment.
But she was certain that she completely agreed with the novel’s portrayal.
The human body often made an unforeseen contradiction.
For instance, a peculiar tranquility during an extremely nervous state or silence during an angry outburst. Ravia often had that contradiction when she faced Tidwell.
Of course, the man who should be angry at her for being late…
…would call her in such a gentle way that no one would have anticipated from him.
She had prepared plenty of excuses for her late return, yet she couldn’t think of anything.
Ravia had been thinking of excuses to calm Tidwell all the way home.
Tidwell had been vocal about his anxiety whenever Ravia disappeared. She then assumed that when she reached him, he would either be angry or unable to calm his anxiety.
She came to the mansion thinking about how to reason with him, soothe him, and even subdue him.
“You didn’t come for me, so I thought you forgot.”
All that assumption ran through her mind, but none of them expected Tidwell smiling sweetly at her.
Ravia entered the room in a bewildered state. She walked toward Tidwell totteringly like a broken doll.
“I didn’t forget..I was late because something came up.”
“Didn’t you go out this morning without seeing me?”
“It’s because you were sleeping.”
“I guess you didn’t like how I looked?”
As Ravia stood in front of him, Tidwell pulled her lightly and made her climb on his toes.
The touch encircling Ravia’s waist had become very familiar in the past few days.
“You’re sweet when I’m looking at you, but the second I look away, you turn cold as if you never do that.”
How do you expect me to cope with anxiety…..?
A whisper close to whining, yet it sounded so sensual. The subtle whimper seemed to tickle her ears.
But it didn’t feel threatening anymore as if it became a sign that she had gotten used to him.
Or it became a proof that she tamed him completely.
‘I think I would be worried instead if he didn’t express his anxiety.’
It would be strange if someone who was afraid to lose Ravia every day changed his attitude.
No, more than that, she was worried about having regrets. She surely would feel a tinge of regret if he ever lost his desire for her.
‘Even my father’s affection is so strange to me.’
It would be harder for her to cope with Tidwell’s change.
Tidwell leaned his face against Ravia’s palm as she delicately stroked his cheek. It was the same attitude as usual, and the same expression of a man who loved her wholeheartedly.
The anxiety that had boiled inside gradually subsided.
All the signs of Ravia’s death suddenly vanished in front of him.
She felt a strange disparity, but Ravia quickly shook it off.
It was something that she intended by coming here, so such feelings weren’t strange at all.
Ravia’s sunken gaze skimmed Tidwell’s face like a kiss before returning to his glacier-like eyes.
“…For someone who is anxious, you don’t even ask me where I’ve been.”
“I know how to distinguish between personal curiosity and rational judgment. I was told that Leontine’s belief lies in rational thinking.”
“That’s the first rule a Leontine must learn.”
“If so, do you and the Duke make rational decisions all the time?”
Your question is too coincidental. Or is it just my own emotions?
She had been trying to escape from her father’s irrational behavior.
As if he knew…
“I’m doing my best to do that. People can’t always be rational, after all.”
“That’s true. However, I tend to rely more on my emotions than on reason, so that might be a bit much for me.”
The conversation flowed in a strange direction. She could feel it, but unable to stop, Ravia asked back like someone who was swept away by the current.
“There’s been something that gets on my nerves lately.”
That one sentence sent a shiver down her spine.
But Tidwell didn’t stop talking. His tone was direct, as if he were reading from a playscript.
“No, in fact, it has always been the case…because I am surrounded by rivals everywhere I go. I would be too greedy to want myself to be happy all the time.”
He didn’t seem to expect an answer.
Ravia tried to open her mouth, but only her heart beat louder when she was unable to move her lips at all.
Even if she wanted to pull back, she was already in his arms.
He took hold of her waist and wrist. It successfully changed what had been pleasant into something uncomfortable.
It felt like she was thrown into a frozen river.
Unable to handle the chilly anxiety that was rising throughout her body, Ravia made a clumsy attempt to break free of his hold.
Nevertheless, Tidwell didn’t budge a bit. As if he knew it would happen.
Instead, he said with a bitter expression.
“There are times when I realize that I have no one. Whether it be business partners or family members, they are just strangers in the end. How I wish I had no expectations at all, but humans are not always able to act as they wish.”
There are many things that I expect, only for myself to get disappointed.
Tidwell was no longer looking at Ravia. His cold gaze was looking outside the window.
His figure shaded by the moonlight, the man continued.
“I found out a few days ago that there was a mole digging into me.”
It was a contemplative tone as if he was talking about someone else’s business.
“It turned out that there were quite a few people involved with him. I’ve been thinking about what to do with them for the past few days. I’ve come up with many solutions, but first and foremost, I am a Leontine. I tried to do as Leontine taught me.”
In other words, he tried to make a rational decision just as Leontine taught him.
But the word ‘tried’ was often used by those who failed to do that.
Ravia could no longer deny Tidwell’s words.
He was talking in circles, but his point was clear.
There was a mole.
A lot of people were involved with him.
Business partners and family members were nothing but strangers in the end.
There was one thing that came to her mind.
Ravia took a step back without realizing it,
This shouldn’t be it. This can’t be.
Why did I come all the way here? Why did that even cross my mind? Just why would I? Why did I choose to sacrifice my life for……
“At some point, I had this thought. Is there a need to complicate the situation? If only one person disappeared, everything would be peaceful.”
As Tidwell said that, the sound of someone rushing upstairs rang loudly through the hallway.
Someone knocked on the door vigorously before he burst into it.
“M-My Lady, you are here? Ah, Young Master, too….!”
The noise akin to a north storm burst the silence in the room.
“There was a carriage accident on the boulevard! But the carriage belongs to Leontine…!”