YCKTML Chapter 48
After passing through the castle’s lobby and going to the dining room, I asked a maid passing by, “Bring me a cup of water, something cool.”
As I was about to take a sip of the water I had received, a person immediately followed me.
It was Rupert.
“Are you okay? Your face is red.”
I almost spat the water I was drinking. I left to avoid Rupert, but instead, he followed me all the way here.
“Why did you follow me?”
“I told you I’d see you separately. Isn’t that why you came in?”
After making sure that no one was around, I lowered my voice and said, “That’s for later. What if both hosts are away?”
“Hmm, do you have a strong sense of responsibility? Or do you want to be a good hostess?”
He smirked, fiddling his chin with interest. His expression startled me, and I put the cup down on the table.
“Did you follow me to be sarcastic? Good. Shall I quit being the hostess?”
“Ah, calm down. I’m just trying to talk to you,” Rupert said as he patted my shoulder. I slipped away from his touch.
I could clearly see the garden party through the first-floor dining room window, spotting Melaton pouring Chloe a drink.
As I continued to glance in that direction, I said, “Say what you need to say. I have to go soon.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Rupert suddenly spoke in a serious tone.
“I wasn’t being sarcastic a while ago.”
“Being a hostess. If you want to do it properly, you can.”
Not understanding what he said, I rubbed my ears without realizing it.
“We can stay married for more than a year or more. So don’t worry about the debt. You can pay it back as soon as you can.”
Crossing my arms, I stared at Rupert’s blue eyes.
“Why did you change your mind so much? Isn’t it different from the first contract?”
“Because I don’t think it’s bad for me to stay married to you. Don’t you feel the same way?”
I covered my mouth to hide my smirk and muffle the scoff I couldn’t suppress. Was it because his feelings had changed that made him think the exact opposite of me?
“Does your lover think the same?”
“That’s right. This is actually Chloe’s suggestion. She’s really nice. She cares about you.”
“Ah, is that so.”
I wondered why Chloe said that, but I can only guess that it wasn’t with good intentions.
I had no intention of refuting what he said because I just didn’t care. But being here with him right now made me uncomfortable.
I glanced out the window and saw a carriage arriving, and then a lady hurriedly got off it.
“Who’s that woman?”
“… it’s my aunt, Uncle Melaton’s wife. Now answer my question.”
“Well, don’t you want to marry a woman who cares so much about you?”
“What do you mean?”
I feigned a kind look because he didn’t seem to understand.
“Don’t you want to make her your Duchess? If you really loved her, you wouldn’t let her stay your mistress.”
“She understands. How many times do I have to tell you? Do you not want me to have a mistress? Is that why you’re not answering?”
I shrugged and shook my head.
“No, not at all. I don’t care. Well, what I’m saying is that…” I spoke slowly, watching with interest the way Rupert’s well-groomed brow wrinkled. Truthfully, I pretended to be relaxed, but I think I was a little nervous. “You want to maintain your status, and you want to keep the people you love by your side. Don’t you think that’s cowardly?”
I had always thought so about Rupert when I read about him in the novel. However, it annoyed me how clingy he was, so I just spoke my mind.
Still, I was relieved I didn’t say I wanted to divorce him before the year ended. I wanted to be at peace with him and keep a certain distance. It was purely for fear that he would interfere with what I was doing.
The moment I had money in my hands was the moment I would notify him of the divorce.
As always, I avoided answering by telling a relevant and convincing story.
“I understand. People are just inherently selfish. But I don’t want to keep it that long. It doesn’t feel good to be an interloper between the two of you,” I said so and tried to turn around, but he suddenly snatched my wrist again.
“Why would you be an interloper?”
“Am I not?”
“You’re my wife. How can you be an interloper?”
His comment was so off-putting and made me angry. Finally, when I frowned from pain at his tight grip on my wrist, he let me go.
“Then is Miss Andron the interloper?”
Again, he couldn’t answer. Instead, he said something else.
“You look furious. Okay. Then starting today, I’ll treat you as my wife. Is that fine?”
“…what does that even mean?”
“I’m going to be your husband. Are you mad because I left the room last night?”
The audacity… I was speechless for a while because I didn’t know where to begin, then sighed.
“Rupert, listen to me. We had a contract marriage. I needed money, and you did it for your position and comfortable love life.”
“Really… Do you have to say that?”
I looked out the window to see the nobles rising one by one. Melaton’s wife, who had just arrived and looked exasperated, said something to the seated Melaton.
“I was just stating the truth. Why do you keep talking nonsense? Stop it. I really need to go back now.”
At that moment, when I turned around, Rupert said words I never wanted to hear.
“Why? I like you, Erin Clifford. That’s why.”
I paused at his words but didn’t look back. If I did, I might have cursed at this selfish man.
“That’s a mistake. You’re in love with Miss Andron. I’ll say this one more time… I won’t be here for long.”
Then I hastened my pace to leave the castle. As I walked back to the garden party, I hesitated and watched the scene unfolding there.
Rupert’s uncle, Melaton, came out to one side, and his wife seemed to be questioning him. Her voice was so loud that I could hear it all the way here.
Based on what I heard, it seemed that she was scolding him over a woman. However, considering his attitude toward Chloe earlier, the wife’s anger was reasonable.
More than that, my attention was on the two people sitting at the table. Chloe sat right next to Enoch, and she was smiling as she talked about something.
“Wait, Erin. I’m not done talking to you yet.”
After I stopped, Rupert caught up to me.
Even in the absence of several seats, Enoch continued to eat gracefully. Occasionally, he would look towards a window on the side of the castle, but that was it.
“Your Highness, won’t you consider staying longer and taking a look around? Nobles of this nearby estate will hold a party soon.”
“Thank you for your kind words, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stay for long because the government is busy. His Majesty is waiting for me.”
“Oh my gosh, Your Highness the Crown Prince must be very busy.”
The nobles approached him to speak to him and greet him, and Enoch accepted it all with a nod of his head.
However, since he didn’t offer them a seat, the nobles had to stand up and only say a few words before returning to their spots.
‘I think it will take some time, shall I go?’
While Enoch turned to where Erin had disappeared, Chloe came to the seat next to Enoch with her cup.
“So, it’s just you, and I left, Your Highness. Where have the two gone?”
Chloe held out her glass, and Enoch, staring at it, lightly clinked his with hers before putting it down again.
“They’ll return when the time comes.”
“…by the way, Your Highness.”
Chloe leaned closer, her face slightly flushed as if tipsy with alcohol. She must have gotten intoxicated from when she accepted the drinks that Melaton gave her earlier.
“In the eyes of Your Highness… am I beautiful?”
Without turning his head, Enoch glanced sideways at her, then leaned back against the back of his chair. Why was this woman doing this?
“I’m not sure you need my answer.”
However, Enoch seemed to know at least two of the reasons Chloe approached him.
One was to get the attention of many nobles, and the other was to avoid the glare of Countess Clifford, who was now reprimanding her husband.
After Rupert left, Melaton harassed Chloe more aggressively, and Chloe accepted it all. No one could fault the Countess for getting angry over it.
“Your Highness, actually…” Chloe licked her lips as if she had something to tell Enoch, and sighed.
At the smell of alcohol, Enoch frowned and turned his head to the other side.
“Ahh… I have something to tell you, but it would be difficult right now.”
Chloe pointed towards where Erin was walking, Rupert following her behind.
Enoch got up reflexively and distanced himself from Chloe. Chloe stood and followed suit.
“Ah, I’m too drunk… I’m getting dizzy.”
At that moment, Chloe suddenly touched her forehead and leaned toward him. It was too obvious, but Enoch reflexively supported Chloe’s body as she collapsed.
Erin stopped as soon as she saw it and left. About 20 steps away, Enoch and Erin’s eyes met.
Enoch sighed, muttering to himself in a voice that no one could hear.
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