The moment I rushed in and saw him threateningly lunging before my father, I was overcome with a rage so entire; I hardly knew what I did next. Nor did I register his hesitant parrying. I vaguely heard him pleading, but I did not know why, nor did I care why. The man could have killed me swiftly if he wished- I can see that now. But blind hatred kept me blind to all my other senses.
And then I heard my mother scream.
I was powerless to lift a finger while she stood in between us. To my incredulity, I realised that he was much in the same state as I was. Perhaps he was a bit more of the gentleman than I gave him credit for. Perhaps it was her grace- and her natural beauty- that made him reluctant to hold arms in the presence of such a creature. I rarely saw my mother like this. Her hair looked a little dishevelled-it was undone. A smattering of red lipstick was smeared over her mouth. My mother never wore lipstick. And she was wearing a dress the colour of which she usually never wore- a blue that indicated joy. I wondered what particular occasion had made her feel so festive to put on that particular dress.
My mother gestured with her hand for the man to drop his weapon, and to my amazement, he did so, lowering it. It seemed as if she was not frightened of him, and I had the strangest feeling that he had no intention of harming her either. If she had nothing to fear, then...did I?
She turned to look at me. Her eyes seemed to plead, but I had no idea why she had to. I had no idea, because she had nothing to do with this. With father, and the man.
"Albert..." she began. Her voice was cracking, as if it were hard for her to speak. Then she seemed to compose herself. "I found the note you left explaining where you had gone."
That made sense. She had travelled out here, had no time to do her hair, in order to save me from whatever trouble she presumed I would come across. I knew mother would despair often at my impatient nature. The last fiasco in Rome kept me grounded inside the house for at least 2 weeks. My mother spoke again, this time her voice seeming to falter slightly.
"But now I must explain something to you."
I waited, feeling puzzled. She looked into my eyes, and for the first time in my entire life, I felt as if she were afraid.
"You are the son of Edmond Dantes."
She looked, strangely enough, to the man. Shock spread across his face.
She turned back to me.
"The man you know as the Count of Monte Cristo."
I stood dumbfounded, but it was nothing compared to the look on the man's face. A thousand questions seemed to gather in his eyes. He is mine? He is my son? I have a son? At first, I thought that there may have been a terrible story behind this- my mother was taken advantage of in her youth by the tyrant- and I had become the unfortunate unwanted product. But the way my mother had pled before me had convinced me otherwise. I turned to my father, my eyes searching. My father, my hero.
He scoffed at me.