Thanks to Kelps (1/2) for the support!
It had been eight years. Some days it seemed like a lot of things happened, and other days went by in the blink of an eye.
The only certain thing was that those eight years were the best of his entire life.
He was willing to go to a street vendor and buy fried bread at his pregnant wife’s words. When his child said Father for the first time, he took night strolls with his wife, and sometimes sneaked a peak at his wife’s face when she was fast asleep by his side.
He was happy with their routine. And he knew it wasn’t something that should be taken for granted. He was happy but anxious as well.
Therefore, he attempted to protect it. He lived for eight years as a perfect and loving head of the household. Respecting his wife, caring for his child, and so on. He struggled not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
“Then why did you even think about proposing to me? If you have a conscience, be honest with me!”
Why did his wife say that?
Did it really matter what he thought back then? At that time he was still infantile and small, and now he had become whole.
“Absolutely not because of this letter.”
Gerard said, crumpling up the letters and throwing them to the floor of the carriage.
“My Lady, I didn’t even know where I’d put that letter… Does that really matter to you?”
Eight years ago, he became the Marquis of Blanchett, and he mostly worked in the office of Blanchett’s mansion. However, when he was reinstated as the Chief Commander of the Imperial Knights, he attended knight-related work in the Imperial office and household work in the Blanchett residence.
So Gerard had no clue where the letter came from. It was not deliberately stored anywhere, so it must have fallen through documents during his busy days.
Gerard stuffed his hand into his jacket and managed to pull something out. He placed it in Chloe’s hand.
Chloe looked at the thing in her hand.
It was the handkerchief that she had given to him during Daniel Blanchett’s funeral. It looked worn after eight years, but the colors had not faded at all.
Gerard had been treating it dearly and kept it with him.
“Our eight years, my Lady, cannot be overlooked. I… I won’t let you do that.”
Gerard explained as he held her hand where the handkerchief was placed. As if it was his lifeline.
“Calm down, alright? You know that I can’t live without you, right?”
Chloe also knew that her husband respected and cared dearly for her. It would be a lie if she didn’t feel anything after having received his words and actions.
“Then why do I feel lonely?”
A single tear trickled down Chloe’s cheek.
“Do you even love me?”
Finally. She was able to ask the question she was most curious about only after her heart had become worn more than the old handkerchief in her hand.
“Do you mean that you feel lonely by my side?”
However for Gerard, he focused on her new question more than the last one.
‘However, you know what? I was actually a bit lonely. It was frustrating to be the only friend you had.’
Memories of his younger days flashed through his mind. The words that Leila said to Gerard in the past. His heart sank when he heard the same remark from his wife.
“My Lady. I, I…”
He stuttered gibberish out of shock.
He was able to escape loneliness thanks to his wife, but she was the one who felt lonely instead? What should he do in this case? The problem was that he didn’t know how to not make his partner feel lonely.
He felt like being a prisoner sentenced to death. It felt as if he was destined to feel guilty regardless of how hard he tried. It was gloomy.
“You know how hard I work for you, my Lady.”
That was all he could muster up.
However, those words couldn’t fill Chloe’s heart. She didn’t know how hard Gerard had been trying.
“I don’t like it!”
Once her feelings burst, words endlessly poured from her mouth.
“Why do you keep your distance from me? Every time, always?”
“When did I distance myself from you, my Lady?”
Gerard immediately refuted when he didn’t understand her words. Even if there was a misunderstanding between them, it couldn’t be this bad.
Chloe was a salvation for Gerard. The only one he wanted to get close to and stay with for a long time. However, she said he distanced himself from her?
“You call Leila Leila, yet you always call me my Lady. You speak in an informal way to Leila, but a formal way with me! I bet we’re the only couple in the world who don’t have any physical affection!”
Chloe burst out in anguish, which had accumulated all this time.
Her words left Gerard dumbfounded. He didn’t know his wife had been bothered by Leila to this extent. She never showed it before.
Leila was no more than a childhood friend to him now. Honestly speaking, Leila’s friendly personality sometimes made him uncomfortable.
However, he didn’t make it obvious because his wife had become friends with Leila. He didn’t want to keep his wife away from her friend because of him.
“And why don’t you tell me about your feelings? Such as things that you like!”
Chloe snapped at Gerard. She didn’t talk about her feelings because he didn’t.
“I even heard you don’t like seafood? Why did I have to hear that from Leila? Is it because you wanted to make me a wife who knows nothing about her husband?”
“My La… But you love it!”
Gerard hurriedly refuted as he was listening to his wife.
“I eat seafood because you like it. No, I mean I have to eat it. I don’t want to be a husband who doesn’t even eat what his wife likes.”
Gerard began defending his actions while attempting to speak informally. It was awkward for him.
“Because… I like it?”
“Yes… Hah, yeah. And you’re the only person whom I call my Lady. I called you that because I thought you liked it, but it turns out you don’t?”
He huffed because he was frustrated with how he kept twisting his words. He sighed while brushing his bangs backward.
“You want me to talk in an informal way to you? But you said you wanted to be a couple who can respect each other!”
Ironically, all the actions that made Chloe upset were his own way of expressing affection.
“Then, what about skinship? Ha!”
Gerard thought his wife felt uncomfortable because she stiffened every time he touched her.
And it wasn’t that he didn’t want to do it. Once he started doing that, he would not be able to control it… that’s why he was trying to hold back.
Eight years later, he still suffered with thirst for his wife, but the fear of losing her was greater than the thirst itself.
“Do my feelings matter? I am confident that I will be able to please you for the rest of my life, and if you are happy, that is enough for me.”
However, his words showed his sincerity toward his wife. Gerard’s expression was stiff as he wasn’t good at expressing his feelings.
Chloe shook her head. Her husband’s sincerity that she had never known made her stomach churn. She felt both happy and sad. She was confused about how to express this feeling.
“That’s not what I want.”
She unknowingly stuck out her lower lip while weeping. Gerard’s eyes fell on her plump lower lip.
Those coquettish lips. He unknowingly squeezed his thigh when he felt himself get hard below.
“Then, what do you want?”
Gerard asked as if he would do anything she wanted.
“Tell me about your feelings and thoughts.”
What Chloe wished to know wasn’t merely his perfect facade. She wanted to know things he hated, things he was afraid of, the reason he didn’t get along with his mother, and why he would grunt in agony on his father’s death anniversary. She wanted to know about those things.
“…You’re going to regret it.”
Gerard said that, but his big hand was holding Chloe tightly in order to prevent her escape.
His self-contradictory feelings. He wanted to show his feelings completely and make it up to her, and he also didn’t want to hide his inner thoughts.
However, Gerard Blanchett still couldn’t overcome the fears within him. If he showed his dark past and scars, he thought she would leave.
Therefore, all he said was,
“I want to kiss you, Chloe.”
It was meant to get him away from the situation. However, it was also a sincere feeling he had suppressed for a long time. Gerard’s green eyes landed with a glint of hope on Chloe’s face.
Chloe’s face was growing hotter as she felt like she was being dug up from the inside. She couldn’t stand it any longer and avoided his stare.
“We… shouldn’t be talking about that now.”
“This is what I feel now, so why? Do you feel pressured?”
“I knew it. Why are you pointing out the feelings I’ve been trying to suppress?”
Gerard looked at Chloe’s lips intently as he closed his eyes slowly. He decided this was enough.
He was afraid his wife would freak out by his uncontrollable feelings. He thought it would be hard for his wife to endure if he acted that way.
Instead, he chose to bury his face in her white little hand. His wife’s hands emitted her typical scent. It wasn’t enough, but he was satisfied with that.
Chloe flinched when the breath coming out of her husband’s nose touched her hand. She felt ticklish.
Then, Gerard put his lips on her hand.
“I adore you… so much, my Lady.”
Adore. That word didn’t explain his feelings completely. It was deeper than that.
He was skeptical of love, and he was reluctant to say it because he thought it was overused. However, he would say it millions of times if his wife wanted him to.
If she wanted him to call her by her first name, he would.
“Are you okay with us being like this?”
If she wanted him to use informal speech, he would. If that was what his wife wished.
However, Gerard didn’t intend to show his dark thoughts until the end.
He didn’t have the courage to show his dark thoughts to her, who was his light. He thought of it as wisdom not to repeat the mistakes he did in the past.
He just actually didn’t have the courage. Perhaps, Gerard was more of a coward than Chloe.
‘Is this really alright?’
Chloe looked at her husband’s face as she thought so. She heard his confession, but she still couldn’t shake the uneasiness in her heart.
Her mind was torn by happiness filled with uneasiness.
Chloe wanted to overcome this situation and move on, meanwhile Gerard was afraid this delight would end. How could they solve the problem at hand when they had different views of the present?