“Oh, I thought you were sending Margaret off?”
“Well… Buddy came to pick her up.”
Apparently, my assistant was defeated by a dog.
When I nodded with a strained look on my face, he bent his head down and said that I could laugh without holding back.
Mark sighed lightly and organized the charts of today’s patients in the seat next to me as I laughed unreservedly.
… I didn’t think he would change as much as he did.
He had the eyes of that wounded beast, a child that kept his distance from everything, including himself.
I found him on the back roads of the capital by sheer accident, but I had no particular reason to keep him here… No.
Maybe it was because I felt like I was looking at my old self.
For some reason, he overlapped with myself at the time when I had no position, power, or money to resist, and could only clench my fists and send that person off.
Was it regret or atonement? I knew I couldn’t change the past, and I knew she didn’t want that.
My eyes fell on the magnificent envelope that had arrived today on the side of the examination table.
It was a letter informing Margaret of a visitor from the capital.
The same thing would have been sent to Addy.
She seemed to accept it.
I knew it was meddlesome of me, but I took the liberty of interjecting myself, and now I was going to have to deal with the consequences.
I wondered what Addy would have thought.
“… Today was a good day.”
My assistant’s voice brought me back to attention.
He meant Margaret.
“Yes, it was a far cry from babysitting.
It was as if she had been studying to be a kindergarten teacher.
Lunch was wonderful, too.”
“Just leave her alone to babysit….
and a kindergarten teacher? She wasn’t a saleswoman?”
“No, she studied education in school before she started working.
She said that the school she was supposed to go to as a teacher suddenly disappeared, and it was just a matter of chance that she became a saleswoman.”
“… I didn’t know.”
“I’d only heard about it briefly once in the early days, so I forgot about it until recently, too… I finally remembered when I said we should get a nanny.”
I couldn’t help but smile at Mark as he flipped through the documents with a somewhat complicated expression on his face… He was young.
Did he want to learn everything so badly? He was really into it.
It was funny because I felt like him in that way too.
Even though we were not related by blood, it was as if he were my own son.
He must have grown up without parents or nannies.
I wondered how the children playing peacefully with Margaret would have looked to him, as he squinted at them whenever he peeked into the waiting room between consultations.
It was hard to imagine that this bright child was not aware of his feelings, but he might be looking away deliberately.
Well, let’s just pretend that I didn’t know about it for a while.
“I’m going to Addy’s tonight to talk about this.
Do you want to come too, Mark?”
“… No, I’ll pass.
Please let me know when you’re ready to talk.”
“I knew you’d say that.
You’re a smart kid, after all.”
“Praises won’t get you anywhere.”
I shook the envelope with one hand and threw it on the desk again with a bright wax mark on it, just as the next patient arrived.
The clever Buddy picked me up after I left the clinic.
I haven’t had someone pick me up since I had to leave early in elementary school.
It tickled my heart, and I couldn’t help but grin and stroke Buddy walking beside me every time I made eye contact with him… Hehe.
Today was fun.
I was actually a little nervous from last night, but I was relieved to see that it went well.
And it was more fun than that.
I had interacted with the children when I went out to the village for errands and walks, but it had been a long time since I interacted with them in any depth, even for a short time.
I hadn’t been to a kindergarten since I was in junior college.
The me that was working in a department store was actually planning to become a kindergarten teacher.
I was studying in early childhood education department of a prefectural junior college in the city next door, and I even got a job offer at a kindergarten near where my brother and I lived, and yet… How could they suddenly announce the closing of the structure in February, just before graduation? I was surprised by that.
The children who went to the school didn’t know about it and seemed to be very confused.
The point was that they were just barely making ends meet due to financial difficulties, but I wished they had told us a little earlier.
Other kindergartens had long since finished hiring, and the only thing they were looking for was part-time workers.
In addition, the former employees of the closing kindergarten were also looking for jobs, and as a recent graduate with no experience, I instantly lost my place after graduation.
At that time, I found a job as a sales clerk at the employment office of my junior college.
I was given a full-time position at a local department store that I could commute to from home.
Because of the sudden decision to open the store, they hurriedly posted unseasonal jobs.
To be honest, it was a different field, but as I had to pay off my scholarship, a full-time job was still attractive to me.
And the starting salary was about the same.
I thought I would start by getting a job, and if there was an opening for a full-time position at one of the kindergartens… I was not sure if it was a bad thing that I was hired in a carefree mood.
However, within a year of joining the company, I was ordered to be transferred to the Kanto area under the direct control of the head office.
It was not normal for a salesperson to be transferred to a new job and to have to move across the border.
No matter how high I was placed in the newcomer customer service contest.
I couldn’t believe that the grandfather I saved near the hotel where the event was held was actually a retired chairman.
I knew nothing about that!
If an old man with a cane walking beside you was about to fall, you would probably reach out to him.
So, if they were going to the same place, they would at least back off.
I didn’t do anything.
For a while, I was called a mistress, or an illegitimate child, or some such nonsense….What was I supposed to do with an 80+ year old man I’d never met before? It was just like drinking a cup of tea and listening to the saga of his youth.
I couoldn’t say no to an imperial order, and at the same time, there was talk of my brother getting married, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I just leave the newlyweds in this apartment since I’m leaving?’
Because of that I’d been drifting along for eight years.
That I was here because I was involved in that accident.
Well, what could I say? All was not as it seemed.
Yes, something like that.
I’d come a long way.
I wondered what kind of palm fruit I would get.
I studied early childhood education, but not childcare.
Children were cute after all.
I didn’t think I’d be able to come here and engage with children… Thank you, doctor.
When I arrived at the villa, Lady Adelaide was sitting on a rocking chair on the balcony with her eyes closed.
Since she was taking a nap, I pulled the blanket over her before seeing the letter on her lap.
It was made of some kind of high-grade paper with a wax seal firmly pressed on it.
She must have read it, because there were signs of it being opened.
While I was hesitating about what to do because I didn’t want to drop it, but I was also afraid to touch someone’s letter, Lady Adelaide woke up after Buddy licked her hand.
“Oh, welcome back, you two… I fell asleep.”
Huh, I thought.
She felt kind of down.
It was a refreshing day today, neither hot nor cold, but I guessed she got cold from napping in the wind.
She didn’t look so good…….She was so upset that I could see it from the edge.
Lady Adelaide gently stroked my head as I kneeled beside the rocking chair.
“Ah… I’m so glad you’re worried about me.
I’m just a little tired.
Let’s get ready for dinner.”
I asked her to rest in bed, but she wouldn’t listen to me, so I asked her to at least sit at the kitchen table and let me prepare dinner by myself.
Buddy was also worried, so he didn’t leave Lady Adeleide’s side for a long time.
I gave her a cup of hot tea with honey and told her that Dr.
Daniel was coming in the evening, and the color of her face came back a little… Doctor, I couldn’t wait for you to get here.
We finished dinner as usual, and while we were talking about how my work as nanny was doing at the clinic, the person who had been waiting for us came to the house.
After leading the doctor to Lady Adelaide in the living room and serving tea, I went down to the kitchen alone.
‘I was just a little tired’, Lady Adelaide said so.
Maybe not… However, that letter.
That must be the cause.
I was sure the doctor knew something about it.
It’d been a long time since I’d been here, but I’d never had a letter or a visitor from anyone other than the villagers.
I hadn’t heard a single word from her son, who was supposed to be in the capital.
Whatever that letter brought, if it went against Lady Adelaide’s will, we would do our best to stop it.
As I swore by the starry sky from my kitchen window, Buddy came to call me.
As I went to the living room, the doctor told me to sit down and handed me that letter.
“You can read it.
It’s for you, you know.”
I followed his gentle suggestion and opened the very fine paper… Huh, a visitor from the royal capital was coming to see the Spirit Orison.
He said that my injuries were still healing and I couldn’t go over there yet, so he was going to come from over there.
I thought my injuries were pretty well healed, but the doctor was worried about the long carriage ride and wouldn’t give me permission.
Following the itinerary and whatnot, the visitor’s name was written.
It said that two people were coming.
Hugh Townsend, a magician from the Academy of Magic.
Assistant Prime Minister Walter Dustin from the royal court… Dustin?
“He’s my son.”
When I looked up in surprise, Lady Adelaide smiled a little sadly and said.
“I haven’t seen him for a long time.
We haven’t even exchanged letters.
You know that, right?”
As she was correct, I nodded meekly.
“I was living in the capital with my son and his wife, but the city life didn’t really suit me.
I’ve retracted here.
Shortly thereafter, my son and his wife got divorced… They told me it was my fault.”
What? Divorce would be their problem.
“It seems that he was told that he had kicked out his disturbing mother.
Even though I went out on my own, those children were being made as the bad guys.
That’s when things went sour between us.
Until this point, I didn’t know a thing about the capital nobles because I never heard of them.
There was no one to teach me.”
Lady Adeleide continued to look forlorn with one hand on her cheek.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to look like when I see Walter… I’m sorry, Margaret.
I’m sorry to bother you with something that you have no business in.”
“He’s not a bad kid, but he’s stubborn.
I’m sure he’ll separate public and private matters, so I don’t think it’s up to him.
It’s just, you know, there are no inns in this village, right?”
Wow, he was going to stay here.
That was right, it was his parents’ house, and there were still plenty of spare rooms.
But the doctor said, ‘Bad boy’.
How old were you, Walter boy? What, thirty-five? You’re about the same age as my brother… Bad boy… Pfft.
No, that was right.
He was a bad boy for bothering his mother so much at such an age.
“The other one, Hugh, is from here too.
It’s just that his house is no longer there, so they’ll both have to stay here… What’s the matter, Margaret?”
Oh no, I had to clean! That was right.
I didn’t get to the spare room every day! When were they coming? In half a month? Okay.
Oh, what about food? Did they have any likes or dislikes? Since they were guests, I wondered if I should make them a special treat.
I would have to do a better job of weeding in the front door, because it grew so fast when the weather was nice.
I’d better wash the sheets once, too, and air the pillow.
I was going to need Patty and Ted, who come in twice a week to do menial work, to come in on an extra basis to help me out.
Now, we just needed to order more food and… Eh, ah, the bath! It was really hard to prepare for two people, wasn’t it nice that they did it themselves? They were men, weren’t they? They were strong enough to carry hot water, right? If they had a problem with that, let’s have them go to the river.
It was almost summer and they wouldn’t catch a cold.
Yeah, let’s do that.
“… Addy, it doesn’t look like you have much to worry about.”
“That’s right… I feel a lot better now.”
I felt a warm glare on my face… It was okay, Lady Adelaide.
First of all, let’s give them a good welcome, shall we? Make all their favorite foods and feed them plenty.
If they were still in a bad mood after a good meal, shove them cookies so powdery it made them choke in their mouth.
I wouldn’t give them any tea.
I’ll leave their mouths dry.
Fufu, my arm was going to hurt.
Prepare snowball cookies dusted with lots of powdered sugar and whole wheat cookies.
If you made Lady Adelaide cry, I wouldn’t be an understanding person to you!
When the doctor left, he patted me on the head and said thank you.
I was not quite satisfied with the way I was treated as a child again, but now that Lady Adeleide was feeling better, I guessed it was all good.
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