Anton and Fii’s meeting.
“Did you really live in that mansion? It had a reputation for bad-looking men coming in and out of that place, but was it nothing?”
Fii opened his eyes wide in surprise and he chuckled as if he noticed something.
“… Old man, you are a disaster.”
“No, it’s nothing.”
Fii said it’s nothing but he seemed to be hiding something. I mean, he exchanged glances with Killan.
“That mansion belonged to someone else, no? I think I remember Father talking that it’s someone’s villa.”
“It was the Old man’s property. It was a summer residence he bought for his sickly late wife.”
By Old man, he means Father-in-law. By his late wife, does he mean that person’s mother?
“You mean Anton’s mother? But, I feel that it was quite a gloomy place, though?”
“Yeah. He apparently often brought Anton and his wife there to play. Anton’s mother passed away when he was five, so the mansion has been lively until then, but it was like that by the time we moved in. Its state was convenient for us, though.”
“Is that so?”
“Even though it looked like that from outside, the inside of the mansion was well maintained and comfortable.”
I was surprised that Fii and his mother lived in that Vine Mansion, but I was even more surprised that it was an important place for Father-in-law and Anton. That mansion looked worn out from age and uninhabited in my memories. I couldn’t believe people actively lived in there.
“People rarely visit and you could protect yourself from sudden visitors.”
“But, right. There was a day Anton came to visit.”
“The day I met you.”
It felt like an advantage that nobody visited because of the mansion’s appearance. Doesn’t it make it sound like Fii and his mother were hiding from someone, though?
While having my doubts, I got distracted by Fii mentioning Anton.
“He suddenly appeared that day and asked us why we are living here and whether we have permission from the property owner. So when we told him that we do have permission from the Old man, he seemed to have received a shock.”
I met Fii when I was five and he was eight, so Anton at that time must have been ten years old. It must have looked like strangers occupied the place he had memories of with his late mother.
“I thought he might be a runaway at that time, but Hannah told me he was Old man’s son.”
“So you have known Father-in-law since then?”
“I wonder? My mother was apparently acquaintances with the Old man a long time before then.”
As I was caught up in Fii’s story, Noah who was tired of listening to the adult talk pulled on me, saying “Let’s go home already, Mother.” His eyelids were getting heavier. It seems he got tired from all the playing. His stomach must be also satisfied and feeling sleepy.
“True, we should go home.”
“Are you okay? Can you get down on your own? Or should I help you down, Noah?”
“I’m fine, Uncle. I’m not such a child.”
The overprotective Fii wanted to help the sleepy Noah by carrying him. What do I say to this? Killan and Dora were giggling, so Noah must have felt embarrassed. He pulled on my hand.