You Can Keep the Male Lead Chapter Eight

YCKTML Chapter 8

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To settle her family’s massive debt, Erin chose to marry. Unfortunately, it was a marriage arranged through blackmail and bargaining.

Of course, the marriage also fulfilled Erin’s long-standing self-interest. It was also because of that interest that she eventually met a tragic end.

But had she not married Rupert and Rupert hadn’t given her half of the money, Erin would have had to sell her title and perhaps even her body.

After reading the letter, I folded it and put it back in the envelope. And I began to eat harder by tearing into the bread and soup I was eating.

Honestly, my appetite all but disappeared the moment I opened that letter. However, I knew I’d only be able to think and act after I’ve eaten and freshened up.

The only upside was that I was now the wife of the future Duke of Clifford, one of the most powerful men I’ve known. They couldn’t do anything to me just because I’ve only paid half of my debt.

While I was so absorbed in eating, I felt Rupert’s gaze toward me. But I didn’t care. In the end, he tried to have a conversation with the top of my head.

“I have allocated some money for you. Don’t use it for nonsense.”

At his patronizing tone, I lifted my eyes from the soup bowl. “Allocated… that means it’s not financial authority.

“We can’t give financial authority to a person who will stay for just over a year. How much do you think you’re going to spend?”

Well, that made sense. In this era, even if a wife had financial authority over a household, Erin would have to step down from the position after a year. However, it was a matter of pride to say that I was aware of that fact.

“Rupert, be honest with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s not that you don’t want to give it to me. Is it that you can’t?”

“What? What possessed you to say that?” He was about to lose his temper again.

Hmm, let’s stop here. I didn’t mean to get financial authority in the guise of fulfilling my responsibility as the new hostess. And there were other ways to solve my problems without facing Rupert.

“Okay, that’s enough for today. And there’s one thing I’d like to tell you…”

He nodded his head as if urging me to continue. I went on, “As I do to you, I don’t want you to bother with what I do.”

“…What?”

“Well, I know you wouldn’t care about me even if I didn’t tell you, but… just in case,” I said with a smile.

Rupert, who hated Erin, would not be able to refuse. But listening to this would make Erin feel bad. Even though I was aware of that fact, I still said it.

Rupert, the male lead, was attractive. Handsome, well-mannered except to Erin, and capable, so everyone wanted to be with him regardless of age or gender.

Erin Spilet was also one of his enthusiastic admirers.

But not now. A future with Rupert was a future of ending up at a brothel.

I didn’t want to die, so I had to divorce him someday. Of course, we’d need to stay together for a year.

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The reason for a year was simple.

I could only receive alimony after a year of marriage.

Erin married Rupert and received half the amount. According to their contract, she would receive the other half as the alimony condition of their divorce.

If we exchanged such a large sum for free, we had to report the reason for the expense to the Empire, and we would have to pay a hefty tax together.

That was it.

“What are you up to? If you’re going to disgrace our family…”

“I’ve finished eating, so I’ll get up.”

I smiled brightly, grabbed the envelope, and sauntered to the exit. I felt his gaze on me the whole time, but I didn’t care.

Then, I went straight upstairs and headed to the library opposite the bedroom. It was a library used by Rupert’s mother, the Duchess, but it was now my exclusive space.

I leaned on the chair and took a deep breath. “You’ve been through a lot… Erin Spilet.”

It must have been Erin’s decision to sell the mansion and land after Rupert agreed to marry her.

Selling all of that, what kind of determination and thoughts did this young lady have?

“You idiot.”

Then you shouldn’t have fallen in love. Leave the Chloe issue alone.

Deep in thought, I sat back and pulled out a quill pen. But as I was about to write a letter, someone knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

The old butler I saw yesterday sneaked in and lowered his head. “A letter has arrived for you, Madam.”

“Again?”

Then Rupert gave me the other letter on purpose. Maybe he was thinking of crushing Erin’s pride with that, but it didn’t work.

The butler held out two envelopes and stood there.

“Do you have any other business?”

“Yes, Madam.”

I thought he wanted me to open the envelope in front of him, however, he excused himself to get something.

I haven’t been confronted by him yet, but his gaze was strangely unsettling.

He came back with a bunch of stuff and a folded card. “The Young Lord told me to give this to you – some gold coins Madam can use right now and a bank certificate worth a thousand gold a month.”

“A thousand gold…”

I’ve only been here a day and I didn’t know the worth of a thousand gold. But I didn’t make my ignorance obvious and mumbled as if displeased.

To put things into perspective, Erin owed about 4 billion gold. It would take 400 months to save that amount with a thousand gold, and that was if she didn’t spend a single penny. And she would only receive that every month in just one year.

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“Of course, it’s not a big amount, but the lady has been very considerate…”

“Lady?”

“Ah, that, it’s nothing.”

Lady? There was no ‘lady’ here. Rupert was the Duke’s only child, and as far as I knew, he had no illegitimate children.

Then, don’t tell me that lady he’s talking about was…?

“You mean Miss Verezian? So far she’s managed the household’s finances?”

“Well, I, uh… rather than managing…”

Suddenly, I felt a rush of heat and a spinning sensation in my head. I took a deep breath. Even though I knew Chloe had been using the Duchess’ bedroom, I didn’t expect her to have financial authority over the house.

Now that I knew, I could see why he wouldn’t give me financial control. Furthermore, how useless and foolish it was to discuss this with him.

Let’s not get too involved for now. Right now, we had to solve a more urgent problem.

“Oh, no. Okay, take that gold and change all the beds and furniture in my bedroom.”

I had no intention of carrying that heavy burden myself and spending money.

“What, with this gold?”

“Why, is it not enough?”

“No, it’s more than enough.”

“Okay, then. You can have the rest of the money.”

Seeing the butler’s expression brighten up, the amount of gold in that package certainly wasn’t small. But of course, there was a good reason for giving that butler a lot of money.

“Clean up the whole house. There were a lot of dirty places in this house.”

The corners of the butler’s mouth, which twitched upward, began to fall.

“If you can’t do it, then I’ll have someone else do it.”

“No, leave it to me.”

I guess he didn’t want to give up the money because he insisted on following my orders. I nodded for now.

He wasn’t someone I’d have a use for in the long run, but since he was in charge of running this house, I had no choice but to make use of him.

“Send this letter to the Duke of Clifford. And I’m going out later, so please get me a carriage.”

“Yes, Madam.”

Once the butler had left the room, I burst into laughter. Perhaps Rupert really was crazy in love to give Chloe financial authority over the house.

I had no dreams nor intentions of fixing things and taking care of this house when I would leave in a year anyway. All I had to do was keep to myself and ensure my safety. I would only interfere to a certain extent.

However, there was something curious about the situation. I didn’t have financial authority, but Chloe did? The people of this house were even condoning and acknowledging Chloe’s existence.

Did I miss something important in the novel?

After much consideration, I started writing a letter to my father-in-law, the current Duke of Clifford.

The Duke did not appear directly in the novel. He was unwell, so he stayed at a nursing home. However, given the fact that Rupert feared him the most, his presence was significant.

He was Erin’s shield until he died. It wouldn’t hurt to prepare in advance, so I decided to send letters of regards regularly.

When I finished writing the letter and put down my pen, I noticed the mail that the butler had just given me. Among them, I picked up an envelope that looked relatively fancy.

“Oh, huh.”

I skimmed through the letter then put it down on the desk. It was about becoming selling the Count Spilet title since she would become a Duchess and would not need the lower title anymore.

There was no point in reading further.

A year from now, I wouldn’t be the future Duchess. With that, I had to maintain my current title. Once lost, it was more complicated to get back into aristocracy than picking a star in the sky.

I tore up the letter I was reading then looked at a white, clean envelope.

“What is this time.”

The words ‘Dear Count Spilet’ caught my eye. I stroked my fingers on the fancy handwriting, the penmanship reminding me of someone.

After hesitating for a moment, I opened the envelope.