Chapter 24

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I know that you are a good mother, Yuri.
“It looks like your demons disappeared.”
“Did I seem really that bad even from your point of view? I thought I was acting normal, though.”
“You might have not noticed it yourself.”

Noah fell asleep on my lap on the way back. He seemed at ease. There’s no mistaking it that Noah was worried about his father while I was shocked by my husband and Anna’s affair. Fii, who was sitting opposite to me was looking at me reproachfully. I won’t give you Noah, I thought in my mind.

“The way you say it is as if you have experienced something similar yourself.”
“Well, I’ve been through many things too.”
“But, I didn’t think you would get along with Noah so well. When did you two get so close?”
“I have been turning up at the mansion quite often, actually. I was found out by Noah…”
“Eh? Is that so? When? I didn’t know.”

Fii is someone who stands out, so people would surely know if I asked if they saw him.
While I found it strange, Fii laughed deceivingly.

“I know that you are a good mother, Yuri. The way you think of the menu for Noah together with the chefs, how you inquire the tutors on his progress, the way you make sure that Noah doesn’t get tired of studying, Noah is a lucky boy.”
“Yes, yes, thank you.”
“What. Why in a monotone?”
“I may seem like this but I’m grateful to you, okay? I’m glad Noah can rely on you. Uncle.”

Fii stared in wonder. Then he leaned forward and questioned me.

“You knew?”
“Eh? Knew what?”

When I tilted my head to the side, guessing what he could mean, Fii’s attitude changed and he reseated himself while sighing deeply in relief. I was curious about his change.

“What is it?”
“Oh. No, it’s nothing.”

I felt that he was hiding something from me. The sky seen from the window of the carriage was beginning turning darker as the sun was setting. I have been thinking about that day since the day of our reunion. I didn’t want a conflict, so that’s why I didn’t ask before.
It was the day our relationship as childhood friends ended.

“Hey, Fii.”
“What is it? Yuri.”
“What happened to you on that day? Isn’t it fine to tell me about it now?”

That day. It’s a topic only the two of us know about. I never forgot what happened nine years ago. When I was twelve and Fii was fifteen, he suddenly disappeared from my life. Even so, he told me he wanted to talk with me the day before. He told me to wait at our secret base.
The next day, as I waited expectantly for Fii to turn up, he had never shown up at our secret treehouse base. And he just disappeared.

Nine years later, I thought that we would be awkward if we met again, but our reunion went as if that day never happened.

Fii has a friendly face, but he was by our child and parent side before I noticed, and everyone including Noah didn’t show any vigilance around him.

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