Please Kill Me Vol. 3 Chapter 2 - VICE VERSA, II
<VICE VERSA, II>
Since the birth of my and Dahlia’s daughter, Ines, my life has completely changed. I became significantly busier than the days when I only had to take care of Dahlia, and I couldn’t have a proper long and deep sleep even for a day. However, I was happier than ever.
With my overflowing love for baby Dahlia, my heart was filled with love and reverence like never before. If I had always endured my life with a large hole in my chest, always feeling something cold escaping, after reclaiming Dahlia and bringing her by my side, a blazing passion ignited within me. As a result, since the birth of baby Ines, the unquenchable lava of love seemed to flow, filling that hole completely and continuing to boil.
However, one thing was undeniably regrettable. It seemed that Dahlia developed some kind of neurosis after the birth of the baby. She became unusually sensitive and frequently became angry. Despite my best efforts to provide her with comfort and happiness by paying even more attention to every aspect, her symptoms worsened day by day.
I still loved Dahlia, even when she shouted at me and said harsh words. But as her anxiety, contempt, and expressions of negative emotions like hatred became more frequent, I grew fearful. My mother, Leticia Deluah Hindleton, also went mad through a similar process. She constantly doubted and suspected my father. Of course, my mother’s suspicions were justified. My father’s misdeeds left no room for doubt.
In the mansion, now there were only Dahlia, the baby, and me. Even if I swore to hire a servant, I had the confidence that I would never turn a blind eye or engage in any frivolous acts. However, once suspicion starts to ignite, its momentum does not diminish easily, leaving nothing untouched. In numerous classics I read in my great-aunt’s study, someone ultimately faced death or even worse fate due to suspicion. Through those stories, I read about unfortunate protagonists who tried to prove their innocence but failed in the end.
At some point, Dahlia began to recoil from my touch as if all the passionate days of love we had shared never existed. Yet, when she occasionally suffered from chest pains, she would frequently ask me to suckle her breasts until her heavy and swollen breasts felt comfortable and light again.
However, that was as far as it went. As soon as I began to respond to suckling and my body instinctively reached out to her, my center extending towards her, it became something that couldn’t even be hinted at. Although I was tired from dedicating a significant portion of my day to taking care of the baby and attending to various minor tasks, there were moments when I wanted to indulge my primal instincts that welled up inside me. Sometimes, I would be alone in the bathroom, touching myself.
Despite my efforts, Dahlia’s heart remained unmoved. One day, she even declared that she wouldn’t eat or breastfeed the baby. I was worried and saddened by the plight of baby Ines, but Dahlia, tormented by uncontrollable lactation, also suffered. I had no choice but to feed Ines sugar-dissolved oatmeal water. Fortunately, Dahlia changed her mind before the day was over.
And not long after, Dahlia expressed a desire to hold the baby and be alone with her. Her suggestion of going out to Secretia Woods was a tempting idea. I hoped that somehow, she would regain her strength, her mood would improve, and that the night would come when we could share love again. Even if the intense passion and breathless nights of love did not return, I fervently wished that she wouldn’t show any aversion to being with me.
Yet, on the other hand, I was grateful for Dahlia’s love for our baby Ines, even if she hated me. Since Dahlia was spending more time in the woods, I believed that when spring arrived in the forest, cherry blossoms would bloom in her heart, and positive energy would come to her.
“Dahlia, today feels quite spring-like. It’s not yet spring, but while you’re in the forest, should I wrap Ines in a fluffy blanket and take her out?”
“No! Absolutely not! Ines is still a baby. Spring hasn’t come yet!”
Dahlia shouted fiercely. I also immediately regretted my slightly premature and hasty attempt. I deeply appreciated and cherished the fact that Ines was the most precious and tender existence to her. There was a tinge of gratitude and nostalgia. Although there was a sense of regret stemming from the rejection of my desire to spend serene time with both Dahlia and Ines on the cusp of winter and spring in the forest, I swallowed it as I normally would.
What mattered to me was Dahlia’s happiness, as always.
Every time I realized that she was more unhappy than happy lately, I, too, became unhappy. My happiness was determined by her happiness or unhappiness. My existence was meant to be depleted for her happiness.
After taking her to the forest, I returned to the room where Ines was peacefully asleep, wondering if Ines would wake up and cry. As I looked at her adorable face sleeping soundly in the cradle, I once again immersed myself in pure happiness. I vowed over and over again that I would not pass on the terrible childhood experiences Dahlia and I had to this baby. I would live for the safety and joy of Dahlia and this child. Every time I saw the baby’s flawless and transparent skin without a trace, I renewed my commitment.
I put Dahlia on the cart covered with a woolen blanket and, as usual, tried to wrap her with two layers of fabric, but that day she only wanted to wear one layer. However, the sky suddenly darkened and the sound of the chilly wind brushing against the window was quite fierce. If I were to take Dahlia to pick her up early, as she wanted to have her alone time in the forest for over an hour, she would definitely be angry. But I couldn’t afford for her to catch a cold.
Ines continued to sleep peacefully. I grabbed another blanket and headed towards the forest. I hesitated briefly at the entrance of the forest, but the wind seemed to calm down again. The sun hid its presence for a while, then peeked through the clouds, emitting a warm and yellow ray of sunshine. I was momentarily deceived by the capricious weather of Stradfordshire. However, there was a possibility that the wind might pick up again, so I quietly walked into the forest, just wanting to see if Dahlia was doing well without showing any signs of being cold.
When I arrived at the spot where I had left the cart, I felt my heart stop for a moment. There was only an empty cart. Naturally, I thought Dahlia would be sitting there, enjoying the sun and the breeze with a content expression on her face, but there was only the cart. As I approached the cart, Dahlia was not there, but only the folded lace blindfold that had been tied around her eyes was left behind.
I was startled. Could someone have infiltrated this forest and kidnapped my Dahlia? But there was hardly anyone around here for miles. In this treacherous terrain, with the cold north wind, no one would come here during the long winter unless they were hired to do so. There had never been a single person here, not even during my childhood or since the recent restoration of the mansion.
And why would they leave the blindfold behind when they were kidnapping a blind woman? There was no reason for it… But then why the blindfold…
At that moment, I realized.
Dahlia wanted to be alone with Ines. She wanted to be alone in the forest. She had explicitly told me not to come for at least an hour.
Since the birth of the baby, Dahlia had been experiencing frequent bouts of depression and discomfort, complaining without finding any relief. Her emotional fluctuations had become even more pronounced. And it was undoubtedly heartbreaking that, since the day I offered her the tea made from Derzville’s Clora, she had started to doubt and suspect me.
Derzville’s Clora was nothing more than an herb that calmed and soothed the sharp and sensitive nerves. It was by no means a harmful or poisonous plant. It was commonly used for medicinal purposes and considered one of the safest medicinal plants among the doctors of the capital.
But no matter how much I pleaded, I knew I couldn’t dispel Dahlia’s suspicions. It was my mother who went as far as using the most malicious thing among all that belongs to this forest to kill that pitiful woman, Ines, who shares the same name as my daughter. And it was Dahlia who suffered the consequences.
Should I have explained? Should I have made excuses? Would my words have been accepted by her, who is tormented by the ghosts of the past once again?
It was regrettable. It hurt my heart. In the bitterest judgment, I could only stagger and stumble backward. Rustling sounds came from beyond the dense foliage. I could merely discern that it was the movement of Dahlia. Without realizing it, instinctively, I hid my body behind an oak tree and merely observed. I watched Dahlia, wide-eyed. She walked with determination, an expression of intense focus on her face. She had become the complete master of a single moment in life.
I was happy.
I was relieved.
Finally, I had the firm conviction that my wish would be fulfilled. Even as I faintly smiled at the Bellbedionna’s poisonous herb in Dahlia’s hand, it was not without unease, but I was prepared.
I would accept what was given to me.
I would not shake my head in denial.
If I could quell her suspicions, her anxieties, her resentments, her grievances, and her unhappiness, I was prepared to do whatever it took. If she could roam the forest, embrace the moments of life, shape her own daily routine, and live this present life fully, experiencing and enjoying it as she desired, that would be enough for me.
Taking care of our baby, Ines, was a series of simple tasks. Bathing the baby, changing diapers, feeding, trimming nails, soothing to sleep—these repetitive actions were performed dozens of times every day, to the point where I had the confidence to do them even with my eyes closed.
After Dahlia had spent the desired amount of time, I approached her cart with a joyful expression, as if I had finally come to pick her up. Determination was evident on Dahlia’s face as I carefully placed the blindfold back on her. Even that made me happy.
It was Dahlia’s decision.
I had no choice but to follow.
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