Yvonne sat opposite her big and muscular father and thought back to what Marquess Samed had revealed about his past.
"Father, did you not hate grandpa because he made you give up on your dream?" She looked into his clear sapphire eyes and asked.
Rutherford was taken aback that she had asked him about something that had taken place so long ago.
He recalled the incident as though it had happened just yesterday.
Coming back from the capital, he rushed to inform his father about his successful recruitment as a knight.
All he had to do was attend the ceremony and he would be dubbed a knight by the King himself.
Being the sole heir of the St. Claire Earldom, Rutherford's dreams were crushed like a bug under his father's foot.
Starved for days together just to get the thought of returning to the capital out of his mind and to completely focus on his responsibilities as a future Earl had caused his spirit to plummet.
He fought and argued for many days, he even tried to escape but he was ratted out by the older maids in the mansion.
Having left with no choice, he forced his mind to forget about holding the sword ever again and followed after his father to learn how to manage their fief.
But it wasn't all that bad because if he had not followed his father to the neighboring fiefs for business purposes, he never would have met his beloved wife, Raylene.
So even though he had to give up on one dream, he was granted another by the Almighty Asmodeus.
"Father? What's wrong?" Yvonne's childish voice woke him up from his blissful daze.
If she could hear his inner thoughts, then she definitely would have cursed the blue bird once again.
"Who told you about that?" He curiously inquired because no one in this house would openly talk about his past.
"History class with Marquess Samed." She pushed the blame on him because he was the one who spilled the beans.
"No wonder. That man does not have a filter on his mouth. How can he speak of such matters with my precious Vonna?" He mumbled incoherently.
"So…? Do you still hate Grandpa?" She asked again when she saw that he was lost in his thoughts.
"At first I did. For a very long time, but then time heals all wounds. Moreover, it wasn't all that bad." He shrugged and gave her a vague answer.
'How am I going to get my plans approved when he's this indifferent about it?' She thought of another way to get him on her side.
"Then how would you feel if I hated you?" She pouted and questioned with her finger pointed to her chubby face.
Rutherford's expression changed from his lazy indifference to a shocked and hurt face.
"But why would Vonna hate me?" He quickly scooted to her side and placed her on his lap.
'Again with the lack of personal space!' She took a deep breath and calmed herself.
"Doesn't matter why. Just tell me if you would be hurt if I hated you?" She looked up at him.
Rutherford just answered with a furious nod.
"What if Brother Howard hated you?" She tested him.
"It would hurt my feelings if either one of you hated me. You two are my precious children and under no circumstance would I want you to despise me." He solemnly declared.
'Gotcha! Now you are putty in my hands!' She hid her smirk and looked back up.
"But I would definitely hate you if you made big brother give up on his dreams in order to inherit your title in the future." She spoke and then gauged his reaction.
"And big brother would also hate you just like you hated grandpa!" She looked at him with undisguised anger.
Rutherford's face morphed from concern to a hesitancy.
"But Vonna… That is the noblesse duty that he needs to fulfill. Now if he had another brother that could take care of the Earldom in his stead then there would have been no problem. But he only has you as his sibling." He tried to explain his point of view.
Yvonne nodded to show that she understood the dilemma he was facing.
"But what if there was someone who could manage the fief until he was ready to take over?" She mentioned her idea and waited for his response.
He mulled over her suggestion for a few seconds then shook his head in rejection.
He rubbed her cheek with his thumb and stated his reason for the refusal.
"The idea is great but sadly we do not have anyone to fill in that position." He smiled at her to show that she had done a good job.
'Open your eyes, old man! I am right here!' Her eyes sparkled.
She then held his large palm in her hand and pressed her tiny fingers over his callouses.
"But Papa, I want to look after the fief until big brother is ready." She drawled out her words and blinked her big watery amethyst eyes in a lovable way.
She used the big guns in her arsenal to get him on board with her idea.
Rutherford's heart melted in an instant and just when he was about to agree with her suggestion, the rational part of his brain kicked in.
"No, Vonna. Women can not oversee businesses and this is a burden that Howard has to bear. Not something that you should be bothered about." He sternly rejected her.
'The puppy eyes failed?' She was shocked by this outcome.
"Moreover, you are too young to be talking about business matters. Just concentrate on the classes you have for now." He rubbed her head and picked her up.
"Does that mean you will consider my proposal when I grow older?" She did not lose hope and asked expectantly.
Rutherford chuckled at her enthusiasm as he walked towards her room.
"Sure. If you can still remember this conversation when you grow older, then I might even reconsider my answer." He jested and gently tapped on her button nose.
"Don't forget your promise!" She cheerfully exclaimed and rested her head on his shoulder.
'Little children forget about things very soon, so such a situation may never arise in the future.' He felt bad for fooling his little child but that was necessary to placate her for the time being.
Rutherford was very confident because he had read about it in the child-rearing books that Raylene had gotten him.
'Heh! Just you wait till I get a little older.' Yvonne smirked and desperately hoped for time to fly.
From behind the door of the parlor that Yvonne and Rutherford had just exited, a shadow stepped into the light.
'So that's what your plan all along was?' A little boy glared at the child in the man's arms.
'I will never let you take away my inheritance, you devil incarnate!' Howard St. Claire clenched his fists and ran in the opposite direction.