‘No. I can’t.’
Akkard unconsciously lifted his sleeve and tried hiding the traces on the tablecloth. It was a kind of defense mechanism to erase his weakness.
But the drops of water falling on the table kept increasing one by one. Even while knowing it was a futile effort, Akkard strained his eyes, desperately trying to rub away the traces.
He didn’t want to reveal any more of his unsightliness to Damia. Perhaps his earnest wish worked, for the wet traces on the table had finally ceased.
However, he did not dare to raise his head and check her expression. Akkard stubbornly clenched his teeth and stared at the pitiful table.
Then, after a while, a delicate pale hand held out a soft handkerchief.
“… … .”
Damia was silent. She didn’t say a word. So Akkard became anxious.
‘Do you think I’m a pathetic guy?’
Being a person that had been so ostentatious, conceited, arrogant, sarcastic, and had tried to wield her while disregarding her— there was no way she would look kindly on him if he were protesting with tears.
His shoulders, which had always been strong and proud, were now slack and lifeless. Damia’s hand pushed the handkerchief closer as if telling him to take it quickly.
Although he could have rejected her offer, he dared not. Akkard hesitated with bloodshot eyes and picked up the handkerchief from her outstretched hand.
With the sound of fabrics and her dress grazing, Damia got up. And her shadow, cast in the afternoon sun, enveloped him.
The reason why even that dark silhouette felt terribly beautiful, is it because his eyes are decidedly insane?
Akkard’s head was cast down, and he watched it with painful eyes. Then her shadow touched his lips.
“… … I’m sorry. If you knew how to change the past, maybe things would have been different. But you can’t.”
That was the end. Damia, who said everything she had to say, left.
* * *
‘Certainly, he was crying,’
Damia thought. She always thought Akkard was a man of aggressive beauty.
His appearance was not as comfortable as simply admiring beautiful flowers or an elegant statue. Instead, it was overwhelming enough to make one’s eyes ache and tingle and make an onlooker gasp, unable to breathe fully.
Once his intense gaze held yours, it was like being sucked in. The moment women experienced this, they fell in love with Akkard.
So it was only natural that he could have any woman he desired with that beauty. However… … .
‘I think his crying face is prettier.’
Damia thought blankly. Several months had passed since she first met Akkard, with whom she first assumed she would have only a one-night-long relationship.
She saw Akkard angry, smiling charmingly, and even groaning lewdly on the bed. But yesterday was the first time she saw his crying face properly.
His thick, sharp eyebrows frowned, and his eyelids were unexpectedly dyed in a light pink color. His tightly closed lips were too erotic, and the water drops falling from the distorted purple eyes glistened and sparkled like jewels in the sunlight.
But above all, his crying countenance was so special because he was a man who seemingly never cried. The vulnerable, weak appearance of such a man was a memory that Damia would never forget.
“Dami… … .”
Damia came to her senses at a voice calling her.
It seemed that she was more immersed in her thoughts than she had expected. Otherwise, how could she think of something else in this situation?
“… … stepmother.”
Damia called out to the woman sitting before her in an emotionless voice. Then she saw her slender shoulders visibly twitched.
Seeing this, Damia unwaveringly asked,
“Are you uncomfortable with my address? If so… … Should I call you Miss Nora?”
At the end of those words, tears flowed from Noela— no, Nora’s eyes. She was initially a former slave who would have never even dreamed of making eye contact with Lady Damia, let alone sitting face-to-face with her.