Knowing what he needed to wake up made things easier for him, after all he was not planning on leaving his father alone and that wish became his anchor to reality, something he noticed after experiencing the slumber three times already was that the dream grew more desirable, the first time he had only wished to meet with his mother again, so he had seen her however they did not talk, in fact, the first time his mother only welcomed him with open arms staying still with open arms but did not move making it simple to tell it was a dream.
The second time his mother actively embraced him, hold him close and asked him to stayed with her, promising love but yet again the flower field broke the illusion, he had never been there before it was a sight out of a dream, exactly, a cursed nightmare disguising as a dream.
But so far, the most tempting one was the third time, the field had vanished, replacing it was the state’s mansion a daily background he was accustomed to, moreover his day went the same as in reality, Ron woke him up, dressed him and told him his schedule for the day and assuming everything was normal he went down to the dinning room expecting to be alone but once he opened the door a familiar cheeky smile greeted him.
“What took you so long dear?” The red headed woman teased him reaching out for him.
For a brief instant everything was perfect, he wasn’t eating alone this time, someone was there waiting for him, that single thought threw his mind into chaos, he had figured out he was dreaming but it took him longer than before, the environment, the people even the food they felt way too real.
His footsteps were light, he sat across his mother and watched her every move, it was like such a familiar yet unfamiliar sight, two years had passed already but the woman of his dreams remained young, Drew received his gaze and smiled back and extend his arms over the table, she was gesturing him to grabbed her hands, they used to do it before it went against etiquette, something meaningless for them.
He put his hands on hers, unlike when he has younger, he reached just fine.
Cale believed for a moment that all the misfortunes that had happened were a bad nightmare that was coming to an end, nonetheless there was something missing, the employees, the maids, Ron and his mother were there but his father was nowhere to be found, his life line was acting out again, pulling him like a silver thread.
He woke up.
Ron was by his side, ready to help him move being inactive was not good for the body but somehow, he wasn’t hurting like last time, that mislead him to think this time he had sleep less, he was amuse when discovered he was out for a week, what he did not know was that Ron had been giving him massages periodically helping his body and as a consequence his physical condition was good enough for him to stood up almost immediately.
Also, thanks to the third slumber he came to certain conclusions, the most significant being that aside from the lapses the dreams grew stronger trying to lure him to never leave, also the periods in between the episodes could also increase, there was evidence of this as the period from the second to the third were a year apart while the period between the first to the second were six months, however, it was still unknow if the slumber lapse could decrease Cale theorized the possibilities, but decided not getting his hopes high.
Two times in two years was a pretty good rate, the third and the fourth time were identical, now Cale was twelve.
But the burden over his shoulders was none of what a normal twelve-year-old could managed, he was the heir of the Henituse’s county and there were responsibilities that came along the title, he had to fulfill the people expectations while dealing secretly with a disease, somedays he was scared of sleeping he was terrified of drowsiness, all in all, it felt tolerable.
His father was back on his tracks it had been three years and Deruth returned to his old positive self, focusing his attention on Cale and the state, but now he was searching for something else, his son was young and needed a maternal figure also Deruth himself needed to move on Drew wouldn’t want them to be alone, of course it was not his priority it was just an intention building inside him like the missing piece that could filled the hole his wife left behind, but right now he would give his son all he thought he needed.
Soon the mornings returned to what they used to be, father and son would spend time in the dinning room and went on with his days later, each time Cale entered the room he expected to see his mother, he knew it was impossible but his mind always returned to his dreams they were engraved into his brain like a scar but as he observed his father, he knew he was where he was supposed to be, everything was slowly changing back and Cale felt better, his father was there for him and vice versa, furthermore he had Ron to rely on and feeling loved his loneliness dimmish day after day, and soon he turned fourteen.
He was sick and tired of the same dream replaying each time he fell into the sleep coma, another two years, another two falls, still his dream was the same as the third time and he was getting used to it, proving his hypothesis to be correct, the sleep coma lapse could decrease, as it occurred with the sixth time, he only slept three days, it was a good sign the disease cannot be cured, however it could be managed.
The soft briss kissed his face and the tender rays of sun bathed the state, it was a beautiful winter morning, Ron woke him as any other day but he felt something was wrong, Ron’s eyes were slightly shaking, so much so that one who didn’t know him well would not perceive it, but Cale did, he read his expression thoughtfully but couldn’t catch what he had seen before, maybe he was tired, but as Ron continued with the daily schedule his eyes shook again.
“Young master, the lord has summoned you to his office”
Now, that was weird, why would his father called for him, especially since they returned to having breakfast together, if it had to do with his classes or something related, he would just mention it there, so it was a relevant matter, Cale felt cold sweet run down his nape ‘Did he figured out?’ it had to be something urgent but each and every suspicion trail back to the same thought.
He was deep in his concerns and turned to Ron with a grim expression which made his assumptions clear, Ron only shook his head, he had no idea of what was happening either, both of them rushed with the daily routine, they couldn’t let the Count wait, before stepping inside the office Cale breathed deeply, he was telling himself that he had to come clean with his father, his condition had improved significatively, he was not at immediate danger so he could apace Deruth in case of being necessary, he swallowed and weakly knock the wooden door.
The door closed silently behind his back, Cale walked to the center of the room and stopped right in front his father’s desk, his white face was even paler up close, his father greeted him without looking at him, his gaze was fixed on a document he had on his hand, as the minutes passed his anxiousness built more and more, Deruth let down his work and stared at him after some time, suddenly a cheerful smiled was visible, Cale tilted his head slightly, that smiled made him realized that the man in front of him had no clue whatsoever of his son’s condition.
The pale face gain color and his heart calmed down, he began to wonder why he was there but he heard soon enough, another knocking could be heard and Deruth´s smiled became even wider, he gave the new guest permission to enter and the door started opening letting a woman silhouette turned into a woman itself. The woman appearance was unpolluted, not a single strand of her hair was out of the high tight bun, she had an stern expression but her lips were discreetly twitching upwards, of course not even Deruth noticed, as for Cale he was at lost of words, he didn’t understood why that woman’s presence was relevant for him to be summoned, perhaps she was a new tutor, the clothes she had on made his status know, they were not the clothes of a normal citizen she had to be a low rank nobility or at least be somewhat wealthy, many ideas were weaving inside Cale, until his father cut them at once.
“Son please greet the Countess of the Henituse state” Cale couldn’t help but to stir his eyes wide open, new Countess meant Deruth’s wife.
“Well, she will be the Countess in a month or so, she stopped by to meet you don’t be shy and say hello.”
They talk over how the two of them have met a couple of years ago, obviously the mutual feeling took time to appear but both of them were in love, at least for them it didn’t seemed to be a rushed decision, they have pondered over again and again, with the only inconvenience being that Cale didn’t knew about anything, the woman was quite nice but inside him deep down he felt betrayed, he was content for his father but at the same time something was twisting, the woman, Violan, talked about how she was happy to finally met him, she told him that next time she would introduce his children and as she pronounced the word step-sibling Cale´s mind clouded over.
He remain attentive, but his train of thought had crashed long ago, definitely it was not the best way to let your child know you are going to remarried and most definitively the joyfulness that envelop him had blind him to the point he thought a fourteen year old boy could comprehend the sudden appearance of another woman when he had never had the chance to actually mourn over his deceased mother, Violan was ignorant of the fact and assumed Deruth had already told him about remarrying and only the introduction wa left.
For both Deruth and Violan the conversation end on the right note as Cale seemed to accept it quite well, truth be told if they hadn’t overlooked his bloodless face, they would have summoned a physician, Violan bit farewell a little after the conversation finished, she promised to take care of everything related to the wedding. Deruth was ready to asked Cale for his opinion when Cale cut him off, he changed the subject subtlety. “Father, I’m glad you call for me I have something to asked you” After the stressing situation, he felt his eyelids getting heavy and drowsiness took over his body his time was running out.
“Speak your mind”
“I was hoping to get some vacations, may I go to the winter house for a while?”
Deruth meditate on it for a bit, his son had worked a lot recently he deserved some peace before the things get moved again, he concede and his son inform him that he would be going right away, he excused himself saying that he had planned them already but he’d hurried as he did not want to missed the weeding forcing a hollow smile, he dismissed himself and exited while dragging his feet.
Ron was waiting him outside the office, he noticed his young master messed up condition right away, his assumptions of Deruth knowing dissipated else he wouldn’t let him room around on such a poor state.
“…To the winter house”
They were a lot of eyes on him, he couldn’t pass out in front of the house servants so he mustered all of his strength to get to the carriage once inside he didn’t fight it anymore, he dropped on the spot, Ron supported his head, only god knew how long he would be out this time.