PDM Chapter 1
It was the first time I had ever seen a man cry so pitifully. With his back to the sun, the man knelt and placed his hand on his chest, clenching his teeth and sobbing as if he didn’t care about the dignity of aristocrats.
He was more saddened by the death of the deceased than anyone else.
From a stranger’s perspective, one would think it’s too much for a friend’s funeral, but it was easy to understand the man’s grief. It was because the man who passed away was a friend who lost his life trying to protect the mourning man in war.
Distorted face, disheveled clothes, sun-drenched black hair. As tears fell from his eyes and soaked the meadow, I realized. I saw something I shouldn’t have seen.
Oh, I’ll be tethered to that man for the rest of my life.
That emotion I felt, I knew it would be with me for eternity.
Even if that’s person’s heart belonged to another.
It was cruel to one’s self to hope and live with a broken heart. Foolishly enough, I chose such a life. Thinking of him was my priority; taking care of myself was second.
I lived my life hoping that his heart would turn to me, not realizing how futile it was to beg for his love.
Now that I thought about it, it was senseless. Should I continue this love until I lose myself? Courage that came from delusion and ignorance was too much to bear.
Kyle Harace. The man I married and the hero of war. At a young age, he elevated his family’s noble status.
I still couldn’t forget the day I first saw Kyle two years ago.
It was like a vision.
Kyle’s gentle call coaxed me out of the illusion. It was only then that I realized I had been crying.
When I turned, I saw Kyle’s hand approaching me, and so I quickly wiped the tears away with the back of my hands. If I didn’t, he’d probably do it for me.
I turned my face away from Kyle’s hand, then he dropped it and moved away.
How ridiculous. You deceived me with your fickle kindness and fueled my heart to hope in vain.
Kyle’s eyes widened in surprise at the distant way I addressed him. His eyes trembled for a moment, and he clenched his fist and shook his face. With eyes filled with sadness and guilt, he smiled.
I didn’t know what he was sad about. I glared at him.
“Don’t get me wrong, Your Grace.”
“The reason I cry is not because of you, nor because of the child.”
“I’m crying because I feel sorry for what I’ve been doing for years.”
‘Please, marry me, Your Grace.’
“Please, divorce me, Your Grace.”
I had no more regrets.
Chapter One: Contractual Marriage
“Please marry me, Your Grace.”
“Marry?” Kyle raised an eyebrow.
I clasped my hands together, hoping to calm down my shaking fingers. I thought I just had to say what I’ve been planning to say, but when I stood in front of him, my voice shook, and I couldn’t speak.
I lowered my gaze and avoided Kyle’s eyes. “Yes. Please marry me, Your Grace.”
Kyle had his eyes sharply trained on me. He was probably wondering why I was proposing marriage.
He looked away from me as if he couldn’t find the answer. No, to be precise, his eyes had lost interest.
That was expected. Countless families have and would have sent him proposals.
Duke of Harace. He had decapitated the head of the enemy leader in the war that had just ended, ultimately winning the war that had lasted for years. He then dedicated the head of the enemy to the emperor.
He gained immense wealth and power through his service, so attention naturally followed.
He was also a handsome man, one everyone would desire. He had thick, jet-black hair and gray eyes like the clouds of dawn.
With a shallow breath, Kyle turned to face me. Looking at that cold and indifferent face, there was no surprise that he had crushed the bones of his enemies.
When Kyle looked down, his thick eyelashes formed a shadow over his eyes. His eyes darkened and became cloudy. His frown clearly showed his discomfort and disgust over the situation.
Yes, I could understand his disdain. A noble young lady suddenly came to visit him. Aelle Carena was from the humble family of the Carena viscounty, whose finances were unstable and whose name barely made a blip in the political world.
The daughter of Viscount Carena, a man addicted to gambling and alcohol, and younger sister to a brother who cut ties with the family. To sum it up, she was in a worse position than most aristocrats.
I bet he’d never even heard of my name. I only had the chance to meet him today because I heard that the flower shop owner I often visited was going to deliver flowers to the Harace family, so I went in their stead.
The florist said the Duke was picky about checking the flowers himself, but it was my only chance to meet him.
The woman who came to deliver flowers suddenly revealed her identity to him and spun a convoluted story. Of course, it was ridiculous.
I knew I was probably being rude, but he still listened to me with curious eyes. Of course, his interest soon ceased, like a puppet with its strings cut off.
Kyle rose from his seat, looking bored.
“Lady Aelle Carena. I have no intention of marrying anyone,” he said, putting an end to the conversation. “Ever.”
His gaze was more indifferent than when looking at a bug. I wiped the sweat off my palms on my dress.
As Kyle turned away from me and moved to the parlor door, I showed him the only card I had.
“Because you love Countess Hari Harden, the wife of the deceased Louis Harden?”
His steps faltered. I had no idea how long the silence would last. Despite my fear, I kept my head up.
I still had a long way to go, but this was the only way for me to be by his side.
Kyle slowly turned around and tilted his head. He scoffed, obviously shocked at my insolence. His ferocious energy was overwhelming, making it hard to breathe.
“You’ve crossed the line.”
“Let me make it clear.”
“I have nothing to lose, so I’m not afraid of anything.”
“No, sir, you have something to lose, and you’re afraid of it.”
He furrowed eyebrows in annoyance. Indeed, it was unpleasant for him to have a young lady from an insignificant family dare to pretend to know about him.
I tightened my hold on my trembling hands.
“You are afraid that the Countess will find out about your feelings and turn away from you.”
Kyle narrowed his eyes and clenched his teeth. His frown deepened, and he looked as if he was ready to cut my neck.
“Why are you so sure I love her?”
Because I could see it. My eyes didn’t miss a single moment– your eyes full of longing and hands that fail to reach her.
The way you were only looking at her, I was only looking at you.
Above all, the Countess was a longtime friend of Louis and Kyle. The fact that she was engaged to the Duke of Harace family first was also a pretty famous story, making it tempting for people other than myself to infer and doubt his heart.
“You can’t hide your love.”
“That’s a pretty romantic thing to say for a lady proposing a deal.”
Kyle went back to his seat and sat across from me.
“Who would be the most troubled if the relationship between the Countess and His Grace were to be questioned?”
No matter how much time he has spent on the battlefield, he’d know how the social circle worked.
How will the Countess, who was rumored to have an affair with an unmarried duke, be treated in the future? It was obvious that the aristocrats who loved to gossip would believe such a rumor.
The Countess, who refused to remarry and chose to live alone, would have a tough and lonely future.
Kyle ruffled up his hair, and his eyes shone.