Huge thanks to Eilidh for the support! (2/3)
The Blanchett party entered one of the towns in the Spencer viscounty, where they decided to stay the night. They could get more formal treatment if they continued to Youngju Fortress, but they would have to stay on the road a bit longer.
“Are we sleeping here tonight?”
The inn was modest, but the Blanchett party, who had ridden in a carriage and on horses all day, were content with it.
The Blanchett family, who finished their simple meal and prepared to sleep, were unusually quiet. Chloe and Gerard were still acting cold toward each other, meanwhile Abel had been dozing off for a while, most likely tired from the long carriage trip.
After washing up, Gerard ruffled his half-dried hair with a towel several times. He glanced at the bed where his wife and child were lying.
His eyes lingered on Chloe as she lay down beside Abel. His wife, despite being aware of his presence, didn’t sneak him a single glance until the end of the day. He thought she was becoming increasingly cruel.
Gerard called his wife, who was lying beside Abel.
However, Chloe buried her face deeper in her pillow. It was a wordless gesture that indicated she didn’t want to talk.
The despair from yesterday still weighed on her mind. Now, she didn’t want to hear her husband’s voice or look at his face. She hated him. She hated him with all her heart.
“I made a mistake yesterday…”
“I want to sleep. Let’s talk about it next time.”
Gerard’s courageous apology was cut off by Chloe’s cold remarks.
“You like talking about it next time, don’t you?”
Chloe turned her back on Gerard after muttering sarcastically. That back felt like a firm wall. He was frustrated.
Abel, who was lying between Chloe and Gerard, whimpered in his sleep. Gerard caressed Abel instead of his wife who turned her back on him.
However, he agonized in the darkness. If he woke Abel, perhaps his wife would turn around again? He wanted to be Abel. He wanted to make a fuss because she turned her back on him, to show her face to him.
However, he couldn’t do that. The perfect Gerard Blanchett was not supposed to do that.
“…Have a peaceful rest, my Lady.”
Rather, he couldn’t imagine that his wife was sad because he maintained distance between them. If he held her shoulders and asked for affection, his wife, who loved him, would burst into tears and bury herself into his arms.
But Daniel’s teaching that in order to be loved, he must always act in a way deserving to be loved, still controlled Gerard.
Gerard woke up with heavy breathing in the middle of the night. He had no idea what kind of dream he had, but his whole body was soaked in sweat. He felt a chill as he wiped his eyes. They were wet.
‘Did I cry?’
What the hell? He couldn’t figure out what happened to him lately.
He looked around with a deep sigh. Chloe and Abel were seen sleeping soundly.
‘I haven’t had it for a while since I was reunited with the Lady, so why all of a sudden…?’
The dream he had when he was away from his wife haunted him again. The dream that made him anxious for a long time and despair for no reason.
He thought he would feel a bit comforted if he could remember his dream vividly. However, he couldn’t remember the exact dream after he woke up. Some scenes floated unpleasantly in his head.
In his dream, Chloe called out to a man named Ace. Then, soon after, a man entered the room with a hat on his head. Judging from the fact that he carried a sword, there was a high chance that he was a knight. Gerard wanted to see his face, but he could only watch the man’s back from this angle.
–Here… I wanted to show you this.
However, the shocking parr was his wife’s expression that was seen over the man’s shoulder. Her shy face was instantly engraved on his mind. The expression, as if she were in love.
‘Why do you show such an expression to him? You’ve never made such a face to me!’
He felt like he was going crazy. A dream would stay a mere dream, but he became a mess from a single dream. He had the dream, but the dream preyed on him.
Gerard clenched his fist at the sudden attack of anxiety. He felt he wanted to relieve this anxiety even if he had to wake up his wife who was sleeping by his side.
She was sleeping soundly, so his voice couldn’t be heard by her.
It was painful for him to wake up on his own in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep. He felt as if he had been left alone in the middle of nowhere.
‘Don’t abandon me.’
Why did those words linger in his mouth? He was frustrated because he couldn’t figure out the reason.
Gerard stayed up for the rest of the night.
Aiden was baffled the next day. No matter what happened last night, the Lord kept frowning. He naturally noticed it because he usually had a kind look.
Aiden instinctively realized. Yesterday, he had tried to talk with him to cheer him up, but he would probably die if he did that again!
Gerard groaned slightly at the throbbing sensation in his head. He was in an unfit condition because his head was numb.
He stepped back slightly from the front line after entrusting everything to Aiden.
Clack, clack, clack.
He fell into thought, allowing his body to be moved by the swaying horse.
-I know that you don’t love me!
Why on earth did his wife say that? Even though Gerard had been thinking about it since the day before yesterday, he hadn’t reached a plausible conclusion.
During their marriage, he put his wife first and attempted to be faithful to his family. Was that not considered love?
‘Then, what have I done until now…?’
Gerard felt emptiness wrap around his body. His head throbbed.
In fact, what Chloe wanted from her husband wasn’t complicated and difficult. It was just to tell her the truth.
However, that was hard because it wasn’t a big concern for Gerard. Unlike how he appeared on the surface, he couldn’t read her mind no matter how hard he tried. He was afraid that his wife would leave him after showing her his true feelings. The vague fear laid deep in his unconscious mind.
Moreover, he was someone who was skeptical of verbal expression. The kind of person who couldn’t love with words.
He didn’t want to give it to his wife. He wished to be with her forever, not by exchanging mere words a few times a day, but with actions that didn’t change for life.
Oh, surely there were times when he believed that she also loved him. Even when he didn’t know what love was.
The possessive desire not to lose the only friend he had, the ferocious spirit of a child, and the selfishness to push his feelings on the other person without consideration. Now that he looked back to those moments, he wondered if what he did in those days was truly because of love.
Gerard didn’t want to make the same mistake with his wife.
Gerard’s swordsmanship teacher, Viscount Stein, felt sorry for Gerard, suffering from loneliness in a desolate environment. Therefore, he brought his daughter to their swordsmanship class. His child was Leila Stein.
“You must be Gerard! I am Leila Stein. Please take good care of me!”
The young Gerard, who was a firm person, ignored Leila, who approached him feistily with a smile for some time. However, no matter how much he ignored Leila, she kept approaching him. Gerard grew increasingly irritated. The strange brightness exuded by the lovely child was unpleasant to him.
One day, at the end of their sparring, Leila greeted him brightly as usual.
“That was a great match, Gerard!”
“Are you out of your mind?”
That’s why each word said by Leila, which he would ignore on a normal basis, was particularly irritating.
“Huh? You’re talking back today.”
“I never told you my name. Once again, don’t greet me like that.”
“You don’t like it? Gerard, Gerard, Gerard, Gerard!”
He wasn’t joking. If it wasn’t for Viscount Stein, he would have punched her.
“Why? Are you upset? Then, call me by my name, too.”
Leila provoked Gerard. However, Gerard wasn’t going to fall for such a shallow trick.
“…If you’re trying to flatter me to trust your father, you’d better not cross my boundaries.”
Gerard gave Leila a glare and turned away.
However, he heard an unexpected sound behind him. Leila made a gasping sound as if she was flabbergasted. Young Leila wasn’t the type that could be bullied.
“What the-? Who’s flattering who and who has trust in whose father? Are you going to introduce yourself to me?”
Gerard had no choice but to turn back around.
“Do you think I’m smiling because I like you? My father feels sorry for you, so I have to be nice for him… AH!”
Gerard, who was upset, pulled Leila’s ponytail.
“Do you think you can say anything without thinking? Who’s the pitiful one here?”
“Hey, let go!”
“I don’t want to. Why are you saying anyone is pitiful, when you are a girl who holds a sword?”
Gerard recited the words said by the servants about Leila.
Leila’s eyes widened in an instant. After that, no words were exchanged between them. They continued their conversation through punching, biting, and kicking one other. It was similar to a dog fight.
Viscount Marcus Stein ran over with a pale face.
Gerard hit Leila once more. He hit her for the last time, that meant he won. The boy, who hated the idea of losing, justified it to himself.
However, Leila was much bigger than Gerard because she was in her early teens. It was kept a secret that Gerard actually got hit more back then.
Ever since then, Leila and Gerard became rivals. The two growled at the mere sight of each other. For the most part, their problem was being possessive of Sir Stein.
“Sir, please look at my posture.”
“…Can’t you see Father is looking at me?”
“I don’t see it. Where is your father?”
“Sir Stein is my teacher. Not your father.”
Gerard obeyed the kind-hearted Sir Stein, who was his teacher, better than anyone else. He wished the man was his father. The boy used to think that way. That thought eventually grew into jealousy toward Leila.
“How ridiculous! He was my father before your teacher.”
Leila didn’t like Gerard when he behaved that way. At first, she tried to get along with him just as her father told her. However, Gerard’s actions were aggravating. Moreover, she felt like her father was slipping away from her reach.
That was how the relationship between the two children grew.
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