Angela was the first person to receive urgent mail.
The envelope had only a plain white background and ‘Baron Burke.’ As if the sender was more important than the receiver the mail was addressed to.
I was about to open it with my letter knife when I hesitated. If it was in front of the Baroness, it was useless even if I confirmed it. I was tense wondering if it was a bill.
After pondering for a moment, I came to conclude that it couldn’t be a bill. No signs were indicating its topic, and after checking the content, I could feign ignorance and leave it on father’s desk.
Having concluded roughly, I quickly opened the contents before I could second guess myself again.
When I carefully opened the folded letter and looked over it, I immediately doubted my eyes. It was a neat font, as if polite.
It wasn’t as playful as expected. That was the problem.
—Dear Baron Burke
The repayment date of the loan amount issued by Baron Burke is due by the following month. Unfortunately, if repayment is not possible by the scheduled date, we will dispose of the house held as collateral.
From the Bank of Orlando―
Overcome by the sinking feeling of shame, I couldn’t take my eyes off the letter. I slowly blinked and wondered if my eyes were mistaken.
Apart from the cacophony of feelings swirling around me, I noted even the seal at the end looked accurate. I had to make sure this was true right away.
In a rush, I kicked my seat, grabbed my coat and made my way to the bank.
Even though the wind was still cold, the sun was warm. I ran out of breath with my urgent steps that bordered on a run.
In front of the bank door, I paused, checking my face and dress. I wanted to look as calm as possible.
Despite the few bank clerks, I was relieved because the front line was short, but it was difficult to act composed due to tension coiled up internally.
When it came to my turn, I tried to release my stiff shoulders by exhaling once before going to the bank teller.
“I… … I received a letter. Could you please check it and see if it was sent from the bank?”
I wanted an answer saying that it was sent as a joke from somewhere else.
I was full of words I wanted to pour out right away, but I tried to swallow it. I hated the urge ask questions that operated on the premise this was all real.
Unlike my noisy feelings, the counselor took a look at the letter and calmly checked it step by step and ordered someone to bring more documents. Impatiently, I looked at the clerk’s quiet mouth.
“Here are our records. The letter was sent a week ago, and the content and seal are all the same.”
The documents the bank teller showed me displayed a copy of the letter with a date on it.
My face felt tight. Trembling, I looked at the bank teller and asked a question.
“No way… … . Is this—How is this possible? It’s something I’ve never heard of!”
“Even if you say so…” The bank clerk blunt expression faultered as if he was embarrassed. It was an uncomfortable look.
“Please check again. There must be something wrong.”
“It’s confirmed by the recipient—”
I cut the words of the troubled banker and begged.
“Then can you tell me when did this happen? When was this money borrowed and how much?”
“Are you a family member?”
“Yes, here! You can verify my family with this.”
From my coat, I handed out the identification card and showed it to the bank teller. Politely, the bank clerk asked me to wait a moment.
I nodded and clasped my trembling hands.
Time slowly passed and another employee brought in thicker pile of papers than before.
Urgently, I stood up and inspected at the documents with a piercing glare.
My legs collapsed.
I couldn’t believe it.
I burst into a screaming sigh.