Torin and Meus reached the door of the tea room where Zuria's gathering was taking place. They exchanged a brief glance, each aware of the importance of maintaining a composed demeanor in front of the guests. With a shared nod, Torin raised his hand and knocked on the door.
A moment later, one of the maids opened the door, bowing respectfully as she welcomed them inside. "My lord, Meus, please come in," she said, her voice soft and courteous.
Torin and Meus stepped into the tea room, their presence immediately noticed by Yoko, Nova, and Zuria. The room was adorned with elegant decorations, and the aroma of freshly brewed tea lingered in the air. The atmosphere was one of warmth and camaraderie. Only Zero didn’t look in their direction as he drank his tea calmly.
Zuria's face lit up with a smile as she caught sight of Torin and Meus. "Mathias, Meus, I'm glad you could join us," she greeted them warmly. "Please, make yourselves comfortable."
Torin bowed respectfully to Zuria, a gentle smile playing on his lips. "Thank you for the invitation, Zuria," he replied with gratitude. "It's a pleasure to be here."
Meus followed Torin's lead, bowing respectfully to Zuria. "Thank you, I appreciate your kind invitation, Lady Zuria," he said, his voice carrying a touch of formality. "However, as a servant, I cannot join you all."
Torin then turned and bowed to Yoko. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, miss. It seems I’ve been a poor host. I’m sorry I was not around to greet you when you arrived.”
Yoko returned Torin's bow with a polite smile. "No need to apologize, Earl Torin," she replied graciously. "I understand that you have your duties and responsibilities. It's a pleasure to meet you as well. Thank you for your hospitality."
Torin straightened, his expression showing sincerity. "You are most welcome, Miss Yoko," he said warmly. "I hope you are finding our estate comfortable. Should you have any requests or need any assistance during your stay, please do not hesitate to let either myself or Meus know."
Yoko nodded and with a knowing smile said, "Thank you for your kind offer, Earl Torin. I will keep that in mind."
Torin then turned his attention to Zero, who seemed absorbed in his own thoughts. "Zero, it's good to see you again," Torin greeted him, his tone respectful but tinged with a hint of wariness. "I trust you've been enjoying your time here?"
Zero looked up from his tea and met Torin's gaze, his expression calm and composed. "Indeed, Earl Torin," he replied, his voice measured. "The estate provides a tranquil environment, and the company has been pleasant. I appreciate your hospitality."
Torin's gaze lingered on Zero for a moment, his scrutiny veiled. He had yet to fully trust Zero, considering the enigmatic nature of the man and the mysteries that surrounded him. However, Torin remained composed, not wanting to disrupt the harmony of the tea gathering.
“Now now enough with the greetings already. You’re so formal; have a seat and enjoy yourself. I’ll have them prepare a fresh pot and sandwiches. You’ve been so busy today so let’s take a break and relax,” said Zuria, patting the seat that was placed next to her.
Torin's expression softened as Zuria extended the invitation, her warmth and hospitality shining through. He nodded appreciatively and took a seat next to Zuria, feeling a sense of relief in her presence. Meus followed the maids as they left the room to prepare the tea and snack, maintaining his composed demeanor as a butler.
"Thank you, Zuria," Torin replied with gratitude, a genuine smile gracing his lips. "Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. We have indeed been occupied with various matters, and a moment of respite is most welcome. I have missed spending time with you like this."
Zuria looked confused for a second before a look of realization suddenly hit her. "Yes, when Shia became ill I neglected you. I’m sorry you needed me, and I wasn’t there for you," she said as she held his hand.
Torin had a look of frustration for a second before smiling. He lifted her hand and kissed it as he said, “I am the one who needs to apologize to you for not being there when you needed me. I promise that I shall never make such a mistake again.”
As they looked lovingly into each other’s eyes, Zero’s voice interrupted them and said, “Should we give you two some alone time?”
Torin and Zuria were momentarily lost in their own world, their connection reigniting as they expressed their mutual regret and made promises to be there for each other in the future. The tender moment was interrupted by Zero's voice, drawing their attention back to the present.
Torin released Zuria's hand and turned his gaze towards Zero, his expression composed. "No need for that, Zero," he replied calmly. "We appreciate your consideration, but we are here to enjoy the company of everyone present. Please, join us."
Zuria nodded in agreement, her smile warm and welcoming. "Yes, Sir Zero. You're a part of our gathering as well. We value your presence here," she said, extending her hand towards the sandwich tray. "Please, have some more."
Nova had an upset look on her face as she said, “Papa, if you’re going to be mean, then I won’t talk to you anymore.”
Zero smiled and patted Nova's head as he said, “Yes, I’m sorry I won’t be mean anymore, so you’ll forgive me, right?” causing her to nod and everyone else to laugh.
Moments later, the maid returned with a steaming pot of tea and a tray of delectable sandwiches. She carefully placed them on the table, ensuring everything was in order before stepping back. Zuria poured the tea, the aroma filling the room, as Torin and Zero accepted their cups graciously. The atmosphere in the room shifted to one of relaxation and ease, the conversation flowing naturally.
Throughout the tea party, Nova's infectious energy and innocence brought a lightheartedness to the gathering. Her laughter and curious questions added a touch of joy to the conversations, reminding everyone of the beauty and purity of youth.
As the tea party came to a close, the atmosphere remained warm and inviting. The guests expressed their gratitude to Zuria for her hospitality, praising the delicious food and the pleasant company. Torin felt a gentle tug at his heart, longing to be alone with Zuria, to cherish their private moments together. With a loving gaze, he reached out and took Zuria's hand, a silent understanding passing between them.
Torin stood up, his gaze on Zuria. "Thank you all for inviting me today," he said, his voice carrying a blend of sincerity and warmth. "I had no idea how stressed I was and how long it’s been since I felt like this. Zuria, I love you."
Zuria, whose face was red, turned and looked at him. As their gazes met, Torin's eyes were filled with a mix of adoration, longing, and a deep-seated yearning for his beloved wife. He reached out and tenderly took Zuria's hand in his, feeling a rush of warmth course through his veins.
In that touch, Torin felt the familiarity and comfort he had missed so dearly during the time they were apart. His fingertips gently caressed the softness of Zuria's skin, tracing the lines of her hand with a reverence born from the depths of his heart. The simple act of their hands entwined brought him a profound sense of bliss, as if the missing piece of his soul had been found.
Torin's gaze lingered on Zuria's lips, remembering the taste of their kisses and the passion they had shared before their separation. He longed to feel the warmth of her breath against his skin, to be lost in the depths of her eyes once more. Every fiber of his being ached with a potent desire, a yearning to be intimately connected with her.
But in that moment, words were unnecessary. Their eyes spoke volumes, conveying a profound longing and unspoken desire that surpassed any verbal expression. Torin's heart beat with an intensity matched only by the strength of his love for Zuria.
Together, they silently understood the depth of their connection, the shared history that had shaped their bond. They knew that their reunion was not just about physical intimacy but about the rediscovery of the unbreakable bond that had endured through time and tragedy.
With a soft, knowing smile, Torin led Zuria back to their room, their hands still tightly clasped. The door closed behind them, sealing them away from the world as they embraced the passionate reunion they had yearned for so long.