Huge thanks to Eilidh for the support! (1/3)
“Yes, come on in.”
Chloe answered the knock on the carriage door. She naturally thought Jane had come to bring their meal.
However, the person who opened the door was her husband, whom she didn’t want to see more than anyone else. Contrary to her stiff posture, Abel welcomed his father brightly.
“I… brought your meal, my Lady.”
Gerard spoke awkwardly.
“Uhm… aren’t you frustrated after staying in the carriage all this time? How about having your meal in the open field?”
Chloe remained quiet despite her husband’s kind suggestion. It was because she didn’t think she would say nice things to him. His back, which left her behind yesterday, still lingered faintly before her eyes.
“What do you think, Abel?”
Gerard asked Abel when Chloe didn’t answer.
Abel, who had grown frustrated after staying in the carriage for a long time, quickly answered. Chloe had no choice but to follow her excited son out of the carriage.
However, eating together failed to relieve the tense atmosphere.
“Abel, don’t leave your carrots behind.”
Chloe treated Gerard as if he didn’t exist and kept her eyes only on Abel.
“Yes, Abel. You have to eat carrots so that you can be stronger.”
Gerard helped Chloe from the side. However, her blue eyes never once turned towards him. Right, if he thought about it, there were times when he really despised blue eyes. He thought he couldn’t be happy because he wasn’t born with blue eyes. Therefore, he despised his green eyes, and blue eyes that he couldn’t have.
But now he was devastated that those blue eyes didn’t reach him. He wanted to force her to look at him. Funny enough, he thought he knew why his mother was hung up on blue eyes.
“My Lady, didn’t you have a hard time riding the carriage for so long?”
He didn’t know whether she knew how he felt or not. His wife only gave a short answer and didn’t even bother to look at him. Throughout lunch, the conversation went on with Gerard talking to Chloe while she simply answered with short remarks.
‘I should apologize for yesterday…’
Gerard’s anxiousness gradually increased as their meal came to an end. It was his first time experiencing his wife being angry and ignoring him, so he had no clue what he should do. It wasn’t easy to ask for forgiveness from his wife, who gave him the cold shoulder.
Meanwhile, Chloe was getting more angry. The husband who left her behind coldly yesterday was acting like nothing had happened, which was ridiculous. The way he talked nonchalantly to her felt like he was ignoring her feelings.
‘Now that his mood has become good again, he’s asking me to go back to the Marchioness he knows?’
Right at that moment, Gerard plucked up his courage and brought up yesterday’s events.
“My Lady… About yesterday, I…”
He wanted to apologize to his wife. He wanted their relationship to be fixed. What he wanted to say was… He wanted them to be how they used to be before they came to the North.
“Don’t talk about it now.”
However, Chloe refused to talk about last night while they were outside. She didn’t know what they would say to each other when they were angry, and they couldn’t show it to their subordinates. Furthermore, there was Abel, who watched them with big doe eyes.
“There’s a lot of eyes here.”
After saying so, Chloe returned to the carriage with Abel.
It might have been Chloe who was abandoned last night, but this time it was Gerard.
After a short break, the Blanchett family and their people started moving again. Gerard, who was riding in the front, looked somewhat dazed. To tell the truth, he was lost in thought.
Just a while ago, Gerard almost grabbed Chloe’s hand and hung onto her as she turned away. He didn’t know it was so hard to look at his wife’s back.
Oh, did his wife feel the same way yesterday? That must have been the reason she didn’t want to look at him. Every time he remembered the stunned expression of his wife, a corner of his heart ached.
–In order to be loved, you should act like you deserve to be loved.
Gerard bit his lip upon the voice in his ears. It must have bled, judging by the metallic taste on his tongue.
–Gerard, how many chances do I have to give you? Don’t let me down anymore.
-Yes, it’s all my fault. It’s because I’m lacking. I will try harder. I won’t let you down again. I will be a son whom my father can take pride in.
Gerard drove the words from his mind.
He had to grit his teeth so that he didn’t spit out the curse that came up from his stomach.
He was no longer a child who longed for the love of his father. Even though he was no longer in the world anymore, his late father lived on in his memories. No, to be more accurate, it was his words that still resided within him.
Daniel Blanchett. Gerard’s father, a man who was held by a sense of inferiority toward his dead brother.
Daniel’s brother, Raphael, did nothing to help his brother until the end of his life. They were compared when his superior brother was alive, and also after his death. How the h*ll was he supposed to beat a dead person?
It wasn’t just that. Everyone around Daniel wanted him to live as his brother’s substitute. However, the only thing given to him, who lived as a substitute for his brother, was disdain for being fake.
Throughout his life, he was appraised as a character inferior to his Raphael, only a Marquis because of the death of his brother.
Perhaps it was natural that such a tag followed him. Because none of this was owned by Daniel. Everything he had was passed on. Status, wealth, honor, wife… everything.
Then he finally had something of his own. Gerard.
If his child surpassed his brother…! Then, wouldn’t he be able to escape this d*mned restraint? The title, ‘The Father of the Perfect Young Marquis’ was more tempting than ‘The Failure Who Was Worse Than His Dead Brother’. So, Daniel naturally began to train Gerard.
Life was all about irony after all. Daniel, who despised Raphael, asked his son to grow up like his brother.
“At your age!”
“Take politics seriously!”
“Tell me how many times you failed!”
“I-I’m sorry. Father…”
On the days he was called in by his father, Gerard’s calves were bathed in blood. Daniel was usually not interested in his son at all, but he always called Gerard on the days he took the test. Every time, young Gerard had to beg several times. The child was afraid of his father, who demanded him to be perfect. He could tell without looking into his father’s cold eyes. His father didn’t love him. Both his parents saw someone else through him.
And he loathed the uncle whom he had never known, Raphael.
Then, one day came that was distinctly different from any other day, as Gerard remembered it. Things might have gone well on the surface because a smile didn’t escape Daniel’s mouth.
Gerard, who always observed his father’s firmness, was puzzled. However, soon the boy’s heart began to pound in excitement. He did something he had never done.
“I sparred against Leila three times today, and won in all of them! Sir Stein said he had never seen anyone as talented in swordsmanship as I am!”
Gerard spoke excitedly. His father was never happy that he was satisfied with small achievements.
The boy shrank back in fear of being shouted at.
However, contrary to his expectations, Daniel laughed loudly. He must have been in a good mood.
Marcus Stein had been a close friend of Raphael since childhood. If he’d said that to his son, it must have meant that Gerard was superior to Raphael in swordsmanship.
“Yes, yes. Well done.”
Daniel patted Gerard on the head affectionately. If he used a stick, he must also use a carrot. There was no way the adult couldn’t have seen the child’s inner thoughts; he wanted to be loved.
“To be loved, you have to do things worthy of being loved, Gerard. Just do well as you are now, got it?”
Perhaps it was because his father’s hand felt so warm. Or was it because his heart was engulfed by the excitement in receiving compliments that he hadn’t heard before?
It was probably because Daniel’s words were engraved inside the young Gerard.
‘I have to do well. Love is something I can receive only if I do well!’
The words, which were engraved in his heart, soon became his values. Therefore, Gerard grew up to be a great swordsman, scholar, and socialite.
He was a perfect young Marquis, as if someone had painted him to be so. Though he was empty inside.
And soon Gerard realized that his father’s words were wrong. His father didn’t love him, even if he surpassed his uncle.
Even the moments prior to his death, Daniel left without giving his son love or a warm remark.
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