Pairing: Parental! 弁庭 (Angst—Family)
“Miss Woods, would you please cease your wailing? It is getting rather annoying here.”
“I’m—I’m sorry, Mr. Riley. Emma is sorry.”
Emma wiped her teary shamrock orbs with her gloved thumb. She sniffed once; before calming down.
“Emma’s okay now, Mr. Riley…”
“Good.” Freddy fixed his glasses and stared at Emma scornfully; he just wanted to have some nice, fresh air at the garden until suddenly he heard Emma’s crying just right before he went inside the garden. What a troublesome child.
“Now what is it that made you lament at such rate, hm?”
Emma pointed at a ruined plot of what supposed to be shrubs of red and white roses.
“Last night the flowers were still fine, Emma made sure of it. But now…” Emma sobbed as she gazed.
“Emma wants her flower back—Emma needs it for Father’s Day tomorrow,” she wailed once more. Freddy raised one of his eyebrows.
“Ah… so it’s Father’s Day tomorrow,” he thought. Freddy cleared his throat.
“Well, I’m afraid there's nothing else we can do other than accept it. I suggest you buy new flowers before you meet Leo—ask for Miss Nightingale’s permission—state your reason clearly, I’m sure she will let you.”
Emma bit her lips. She then mumbled something; Freddy could quite read it.
“Pardon me Miss Woods, what was that again?” he asked.
“Em—Emma said—these flowers weren’t for Daddy.” Freddy furrowed his eyebrows.
“Really? Then for who?”
Emma wanted to open her mouth but then stopped and instead shook her head.
“Never mind that—but it appears that Emma should listen to Mr. Riley’s advice and start asking for Miss Nightingale’s permission now.”
“Yes… yes, you should…” Freddy muttered slowly; suspiciously.
Emma wiped her dirt covered uniform before grinning sheepishly towards the Lawyer.
“Well then, Emma should better be going now. Goodbye Mr. Riley,” she waved her hand as she sprinted towards the door; leaving Freddy all alone.
Freddy just stood there in questions.
“What was all that??” he tought.
Freddy put up a thinking pose.
“She said these flowers were for Father's Day, but why did she then say that the flowers were not for Leo? If it’s not for Leo—then who?”
Freddy shook his head and patted his cheeks hardly.
“No no no—bad Riley—why on earth do you even care on such trivial nonsenses like this?”
He sighed. He then look at the ruined shrubs with a frown.
What is this mixed feelings he was having right now? Sure he felt bad for the poor Gardener, but at the same time he didn’t actually want to… care?
Freddy didn’t know.
But one thing he knew for sure was that his mood on having a refreshment in the garden had just dissolved instantly.
Freddy just wanted to go back to his room now.
And so he did.
Freddy couldn’t sleep that night.
He didn’t know what made him so; he just… felt that he couldn’t sleep.
He got up from his bed; and headed towards the bathroom. “Maybe I need some cold water to calm me down,” he thought as he turned the faucet on.
Three splashed of cold water on his face and Freddy still hadn’t felt the slightest calmness he hoped for.
Rubbing his face dry with a towel, he strolled back to his bed while he held his glasses—he didn’t intend to wear it again since he was going back to bed anyway.
He put both his glasses and his now-wet towel on the nightstand; near the lamp.
He sighed; loudly. What was it with him?
Freddy closed his eyes as he thought, thought, and thought—what was it that made him uneasy tonight?
Freddy widened his eyes. Could it be—
Ah… so it’s Father’s Day tomorrow…
Freddy put his glasses on as he sprinted to his cabinet and opened up the lowest shelf—a worn, crumpled letter. He carefully fixed the letter until the contents were readable again.
I should have already left by the time you read this letter.”
Freddy gritted his teeth—it’s been so long, and yet it hurts. It still hurts.
Freddy decided to skip some of the letter—he opened back his old wound just for the crucial part’s sake only.
“I wouldn’t let Lisa, my daughter, stay in the orphanage alone.
As for the unborn Annecy, I’m going to give her a new name.
Don’t worry about our future.
Annecy will grow up with Lisa and become an honest person.
No one can get away completely with their responsibilities, Freddy.
We all have to pay for what we’ve done.
Freddy could feel tears started to trickle from his cedar orbs. He put off his glasses and wiped the tears away; yet it was futile, as tears kept coming down.
So this was the thing that bothered him all this time.
“Martha… Annecy…” Freddy sobbed. If only—if only he wasn’t selfish back then; Martha wouldn’t leave him then. They could still be a family like he always wanted them to be. Annecy would greet him every morning, kissed him on the cheeks and told him how much she loved his daddy; so much. Martha then came to them, and took Annecy from Freddy's arms; told her not to bother her father too much. Freddy then would chuckle and told Martha that it was fine; as he loved to spoil Annecy the best way he could.
But this never came true. Martha left him—all because of his dishonesty and selfishness; Freddy cursed his stupidity. Because of him Martha left. Because of him he could never see his little Annecy for even the first time.
Because of him Martha died.
“No, it wasn’t my fault Martha died, it was Lydia’s fault—that Lydia Jones scamp. Emily Dyer—”
Freddy shook his head; hard—made himself came back to his senses. No—no no no—bad Riley, bad Freddy—you and Emily already talked about this and agreed to kept these things stay in the past; she already admitted her sins and ready to took all the blame—and you forgave her.
Freddy put the letters back. He closed the shelf before taking his glasses and strolled heavily back towards his bed. He sat on the side—putting the glasses back on the nightstand—and sighed.
Before he forced himself to lay back on the bed.
Freddy let out a sneering chuckle; laughing—mocking at himself.
“So this was what bugged me all day long—I’m actually envy of Leo,” another chuckle came out. He hid his eyes with his arm; in which the clothes on it soon dampened by his tears—he couldn’t stop his crying again.
“Well—” he smiled as he sobbed. “All that I have to do tomorrow is just lay back and watch. That would be at the very least what I can do to atone all of my sins to you in the past, now isn’t it Emma—no…” Freddy slightly shook his head.
21st June; Father’s Day.
Freddy’s routine was all the same. Having breakfast with the other Survivors; today was the Priestess’ part on making breakfast, alongside with the Enchantress. Having a morning match; this morning he was with Prospector, Gravekeeper, and Explorer against the “Herald”. And now, he was having his leisure time scribbling new map blueprints in the library.
He had not seen Emma since morning; nor did he care—tried not to care. She probably did what he told and now was outside the manor buying flower for her father dearest; that was what Freddy told himself.
He heard the door creaked; yet he did not care. Probably Mr. Frank—he also loved to take his time and read books here in the library.
It wasn’t until he heard someone called him from behind.
Freddy stood up from his seat and faced his “unexpected” guests; Emma—and Leo? What was he doing here?
“Miss Woods, what is it now?” he asked; with his signature scoffing attitude. Emma fidgeted slightly.
“Umm—Emma… Emma…” Emma gazed down; stuttered. A minute had past and Freddy now grew impatient; he tapped his foot impatiently.
“Yes, Miss Woods?”
Shamrock orbs gazed at the Hunter next to her; asking for support. The bulky Hunter beside her nodded; giving blessings for what she was about to do.
“Mr. Riley, the truth is… Emma would like to give this to Mr. Riley,” she cheeped as she gave Freddy something she was hiding from the back of her; a bouquet of flowers—red and white roses.
Freddy was so baffled he couldn’t put out any words.
“Emma knew Mr. Riley might not expected this—Emma didn’t even know if Mr. Riley likes this or not, but…” the Gardener gave the flowers to the Lawyer.
“Emma wanted to try something new for this year’s Father’s Day. Sure, Emma is very grateful to finally meet Papa after all these years—Emma also love to shower Papa with gifts as much as Papa gave Emma.”
“Emma knows that Emma should’ve give the flower to Papa, her daddy,” Emma paused as she shook her head lightly.
“But Emma didn’t only had one Papa—no, she had two,” she smiled gleefully towards Freddy.
“Emma is a little afraid that Mr. Riley will take this as offensive but…” Emma put her hand on one Freddy’s arm.
“For today, please let Emma see Mr. Riley as her Papa as well. Happy Father’s Day, Papa Riley…”
Something warm trickled down Freddy’s cheeks. Sobbing, he put one hand on the Gardener cheek; stroking it gently.
That brown hair, those green eyes, that gleeful smile…
She was just like Martha.
“Lisa…” Freddy instantly pulled her into a hug. “Sweet, sweet, little Lisa… I’m sorry—I’m so sorry for everything. It’s all my fault—all mine…” Freddy wept.
“Please forgive me Lisa—I know I didn’t deserve it but please… I’m sorry…”
Emma just stood there silently.
“Mr. Riley, Emma is sorry but Emma afraid Lisa couldn’t forgive Mr. Riley…”
Freddy broke the hug gently; looking heartbroken—but he accepted it. He was just about to open his mouth before Emma continued her words.
“Lisa couldn’t forgive anymore because… Lisa is not here anymore.”
“But Emma is sure—if Lisa was here, she will forgive Mr. Riley for everything. Now… Emma is not Lisa, but if this would make Mr. Riley happy, then…” holding both of Freddy’s hand with both of hers, she gave him the brightest smile.
“Emma has forgiven Mr. Riley for everything he had done.”
Biting his lip, Freddy held a sniffle before answering Emma’s smile with a wide earnest grin.
“I promise you Miss Woods—I will try my best to love and protect you as a father should. Would you still accepted me for me?”
Emma instantly jumped towards Freddy and hugged him.
“Yes, Emma loved to! Emma is happy that Emma now has two loving daddies!”
Freddy hugged back; stroking Emma’s back. Yes, this might not be what he wanted to back then—having Annecy to say that, but this is what he wanted to now; getting and giving love to Lisa—no—Emma, like he should have been all this time.
Ah… so this is what being a father feels like? It sure is pleasant… isn’t it?