Aubree followed Estella closely into the room. Hesitantly, she muttered, “Lucian…”
She felt somewhat guilty when she noticed the young girl fuming at Lucian. At the same time, she was relieved that Estella had not said a word to her father.
Lucian nodded at Aubree and said, “Sorry for troubling you to look after Essie.” Aubree was delighted by his words. She sputtered, “Not at all. I’m happy to do this. Essie’s a lovely girl.”
As for how she upset Estella in the car earlier, Aubree decided to sweep things under the rug if the young girl kept things to herself.
“Dinner’s ready. Why don’t you eat with us?” Lucian offered. Aubree was over the moon. “Sure.”
They entered the dining room one after another. Catalina had already set the table for three. Aubree said, “I’ll go get Essie.”
Despite her suggestion, she was not confident about coaxing Estella downstairs.
After all, the young girl was put out because of Aubree, and she might not listen to her instructions. If she throws a tantrum in front of Lucian…
Amid her distress, Lucian piped up, “It’s fine. She might be angry at me. She still doesn’t like her new kindergarten. Let her calm down on her own.” After that, Lucian picked up his cutlery and began eating.
Aubree stopped in her tracks, though the tension in her heart gradually eased. Still, she did not forget to put on her loving stepmother’s act.
“Essie’s still so young. She shouldn’t be starving herself. If she doesn’t want to come downstairs, Catalina, could you put together a plate and bring it upstairs?”
Now it was Catalina’s turn to stiffen in shock. She was pleasantly surprised at Aubree’s. thoughtfulness.
She quickly collected herself and began filling a new plate with some food. Then, she brought the food upstairs to Estella, leaving Lucian and Aubree alone in the dining room.
Silence fell over the room. It was absolutely stifling, yet Aubree quietly ate her dinner, as she dared not utter a single word.
She had no idea how much time had passed before Lucian’s voice suddenly rang out. “How are Mr. and Mrs. Pearson?” Aubree’s heart skipped a beat. Elation bloomed in her chest.
In the past, she had always been the one scrambling to find a topic of conversation between herself and Lucian. Now, however, Lucian took the lead and even asked after her parents. Is this what I think it is?
The possibility filled her with hope, though Aubree suppressed her excitement and feigned composure. “They’ve been well. It’s just that my dad, well…
Here, she trailed off and smiled wryly at Lucian before continuing, “You probably know how he had a huge argument with me after the whole issue with our engagement. He even kicked me out of the house. And he still hasn’t let go of the topic after all this time. I’ve told him that you won’t break off our engagement anymore, but he simply won’t believe me.”
As she spoke, Aubree carefully observed Lucian’s expression. She noticed his brows creasing slightly, and she inadvertently tensed as she awaited his answer.
I can’t be obvious enough with my hint. I wonder how he’ll reply to that….
Lucian was not a fool, and he immediately. knew this was Aubree’s roundabout way of asking about their marriage. It was also a thinly veiled request for him to clear things up with her parents.
Despite making up his mind to go along with the engagement, he still felt irritated when Aubree brought the topic up.
It took him a long time to suppress his annoyance. In a low voice, he replied, “If you’re free, help me arrange a meal with your parents. I haven’t met them in a while.”
In a way, that remark answered Aubree’s hopes. As expected, Aubree agreed happily to his request. “Of course. I’ll tell them about it tonight!”