After she had come to him when he became king, he had looked into her.
He found out what kind of man her husband was, how many children they had, and what her finances were.
He knew they were living a hard life after she came to him begging for money.
What he learned was tragic. Katie had completely cut her ties with her parents and Hogan kept gambling away their money.
He didn’t take care of his family in any way. Katie and her child were living off of the pension Anikas received, and, although it was quite a bit of money, they still lost most of it to Hogan’s gambling problems.
That was when Kasser started checking in on Hogan every time his mother asked him for money. It was clear that the man’s addiction was getting worse with every day. It enraged Kasser when he realized it, but eventually he realized his rage was empty.
Why should he be angry on behalf of the mother that had abandoned him?
He stopped looking into her after that. He couldn’t stand to waste more emotions on people that weren’t even in his life.
“Things seem different now,” he said. “It seems her finances have gotten better.”
Whenever he used to check in on how she was doing, he would find nothing. But now it seemed that she was the owner of a small two-story property.
He realized that the money he had given her hadn’t actually gone into Hogan’s addiction, and that gave him hope.
So he wasn’t working yesterday. Eugene thought of how he had seemed to disappear into his work the day before. He wanted to know more about his mother.
She almost felt ashamed of even considering the thought that Kasser had been trying to avoid reality by throwing himself into work. She was also in awe of how quickly he had recovered after discovering the truth.
“Did you see her?” Eugene asked.
Kasser shook his head. “No.”
He had sat in the carriage just as Eugene had when she was there. He arrived fairly early so the shop wasn’t even open yet. If Katie had shown up, he probably would’ve left at once. He found that the way he processed the situation and how she kept her secret were two separate things. Unless she told him the truth herself and asked for his forgiveness, nothing between them would change.
But learning all of this about her made Kasser lose his resentment for his mother. He felt sympathy for her just as he always had.
“I don’t want to see her,” he said. “I did nothing wrong.”
Eugene nodded. “Okay. It’s your decision to make.” She reached up and ran a hand through his wet hair.
“I knew as soon as I saw him that he was my brother,” Kasser said quietly.
He had seen the young man open the shop that morning. It was like looking in a slightly distorted mirror, but a mirror nonetheless.
“I couldn’t help my curiosity, so I followed him.” He chuckled as he remembered how he had seemed to follow his brother out of nowhere.
He didn’t want to talk or anything, he just wanted to see him. The fact that he had a brother was fascinating to him. “He’s a student at the Torred Institution.”
Kasser was able to learn about his mother’s financial situation overnight.
When that was settled, he began an investigation into Aiden.
He told Eugene about what the Torred Institution was. It was a school that the Torred family had established to offer people the most prestigious education.
A great deal of important scholars graduated from the school, so all those who wanted to study aimed to get into the Torred Institution.
Other schools would let you in based on your family or your money, but Torred only based admission on a student’s marks.
“That’s amazing,” Eugene said.
Kasser hummed. “And he’s always top of his class.”
Eugene felt like she was going to tear up as she watched him beam with pride. She held him closer and said, “Aiden should also be so proud to have a brother like you.”
“You think so?”
“Definitely. And he’ll feel so special. His brother is a king after all.”
Kasser laughed at that and squeezed her.
“Will you go see him?”
He shook his head. “Maybe not yet,” he said. “I don’t know. But, for now, I’ll fund his education anonymously. That school is quite expensive.”
Most students who weren’t wealthy but showed immense talent were sponsored by those who could afford it, but Aiden didn’t have someone to sponsor him. Kasser assumed that was why his mother had come to ask him for money, the school term had started not too long ago.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Eugene said. “He’ll definitely appreciate that.”
She thought about the rest of her conversation with Katie. When Eugene had implied that she would try to get Katie away from Hogan, she had received an unexpected response.
“He wasn’t like that in the beginning,” Katie had told her. “He’s a mess now and maybe he did deceive me too in the beginning. But he was the only one who helped me when I was on the brink of death. I have no intention of leaving him. Not unless he leaves me first.”
She decided not to tell Kasser that. Not now at least.
It would be hard for the two of them to ever understand each other fully. Her life had led her so far away from his that, no matter what they did to try and mend it now, it would never be a straightforward relationship. Still, she was grateful that the wound on Kasser’s heart hadn’t grown. For now, that was all that mattered.