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Chloe was worried about Gerard because he didn’t enter the bedroom, even after a few hours. Her husband’s face kept lingering in front of her, probably because she had never seen him so angry before.
‘Raphael would be his uncle…’
She tried to understand the situation that took place in the drawing room earlier. Her mother-in-law’s former fiancée was her father-in-law’s half-brother.
Raphael Blanchett. From what she heard, he was quite popular. The gorgeous Marquis was great at diplomacy and politics.
‘And she said Abel looks like his uncle?’
It was not a bad thing to say that Abel resembled his uncle. However, she wondered why her husband was so angry over that.
“This won’t do.”
Chloe eventually decided to look for Gerard. She left the bedroom with a thin shawl wrapped around her shoulders.
However, she had no clue where her husband could possibly have gone. She went to the study where she expected him to be, but Gerard was nowhere to be seen.
“Where did he go?”
Chloe proceeded down to the first floor. A faint light slipped under the door of the parlor on the first floor. She knocked on the door before opening it.
However, there was no sight of her husband in the parlor, only her mother-in-law. Helena, who was drinking high-proof alcohol, flashed a smile at Chloe.
“Oh? My daughter-in-law is here.”
She drank so much that her face looked swollen. Chloe carefully walked towards her mother-in-law.
The closer she got to Helena, the more the stench of alcohol hit her nose. Chloe bit her lip, trying hard not to frown.
“Do you want to drink with me?”
“I’m fine. Mother seemed to have drunk a lot, so you should go up now.”
“…Do you hate me, too?”
The drunk Helena asked out of nowhere.
Chloe quickly denied it. Although Helena was not a good mother-in-law, she wasn’t a bad one either. Helena didn’t nag her unless they were spending a lot of time together.
Of course, Gerard entrusted Chloe with full authority as the Marchioness right after they had their honeymoon, mostly because he wanted to take away Helena’s power.
Casual. That was how Chloe regarded their relationship.
“Then drink this for me.”
Chloe’s bewildered gaze landed on her mother-in-law’s forehead. It must have been like that for a long time. The proof of years etched on her face in the forms of wrinkles.
The wrinkles reminded Chloe of her mother. She eventually had no choice but to sit in front of her mother-in-law.
However, Helena remained quiet for a while. She just drank more liquor.
“Mother, you should stop drinking. If you drink too much, you’ll end up hurting yourself.”
Chloe stopped Helena as she wasn’t able to watch her any longer.
“I… I know I’m bad.”
Helena began to confess her feelings as if Chloe’s words were a trigger for her.
“I know I’ve been cruel to him. Why? I didn’t feel that way when he was born…”
Helena’s eyes stared into the distance as she recalled the past.
He was the first little child she ever held in her arms. She burst into tears when receiving the child. She felt sorrow and affection because he seemed to be the only one who could love her.
However, strangely, as time went by, she hated the child. When he opened his vivid green eyes, Helena realized once again.
The child she gave birth to wasn’t the child of her beloved Raphael. It was the child of his brother, Daniel. A terrible reality dawned upon her.
The more she ran into her husband, the more her husband treated her as invisible. The hatred for her husband grew as time went by, and that hatred was also directed at her child.
From some point on, she felt terrible at the sight of the child.
“How could I say no to him? I was so mean that I… I even left him in the garden.”
Helena looked down at her hands while sobbing.
Chloe bit her lip upon hearing her confession. She recognized the child her mother-in-law was telling her about.
“However, his cry kept ringing in my ears. Therefore, I asked the nanny to pick him up.”
Helena still remembered how she walked in the darkness without light.
She deliberately didn’t look for him after that. Due to her rampaging feelings, she thought that it was either the child or her who would die at this rate.
However, the child who resembled the man she once loved grew older. Soft blond hair that fluttered in the wind, the ability to do everything right.
“Oh… It was too cruel.”
Helena said, her face covered by her hands.
At first, she thought the problem was that Gerard didn’t completely resemble Raphael. Every time she made eye contact with him, she was reminded of the reality that she wanted to deny. She despised those green eyes so much.
However, she found out decades later. The problem wasn’t his eyes. She stayed away from Gerard even after accepting the d*mned reality.
“It’s because he resembles Raphael a lot! When I look at his face, I can’t shake the familiar face that I hate and miss at the same time.”
She had improved so much that she felt fine to look at her son now, but it was hard to bear with it at that time.
“Hah, that’s why I couldn’t look at my child.”
Helena’s emotions began to grow stronger. Chloe hastily took out a handkerchief and handed it to her mother-in-law. However, Helena refused her gesture of consolation.
“I really wanted to see Raphael, who abandoned me! That’s how much I hate and resent him!”
Chloe started to understand the situation to some extent. It was obvious that her mother-in-law hadn’t forgotten her late fiancée. And it seemed that she projected that unresolved wound to Gerard.
“Mother, uncle never abandoned you…”
Chloe tried to comfort her mother-in-law, who was immersed in her own emotions. Despite being quick-witted, she dismissed Helena’s words as things that she said in her drunk state.
“Oh, darling, it’s not like that.”
However, the truth was heavier and more devastating than that.
“He abandoned me. He said he loved me yet abandoned me…”
Helena hit her chest as she went on.
“He abandoned me and chose death.”
“What? What do you mean that he chose death?”
Chloe asked, taken aback at the unbelievable story.
“Yes, he did… He gave up his life on his own accord.”
“But it was said that he died of the plague that circulated around the state…”
“It was all… a story that was made up to save the Blanchett’s honor. I’m sure no one remembers his death now except me.”
Helena fell apart as she told the story that she had buried deep for her whole life. Chloe’s eyes were filled with tears due to the appalling story told with her mother-in-law’s sob.
“Oh, Raphael Blanchett was so heartless…”
Helena despised Raphael, who still lived and breathed in her heart even after 30 years.
“He said he loved me! If he loved me, why did he… Sob.”
The sad smile when he said he missed her. When she called out his name, he smiled softly when turning around. His kindness applying medicine to her feet when they were hurt from wearing new shoes. Responding shyly to her love confession.
They were still embedded in Helena’s heart, so even if she lived, it didn’t feel like she was living. If she didn’t love him deeply, her life wouldn’t have been ruined like this. She could’ve forgotten him quickly and lived happily ever after.
However, Helena was still living in the past where there was Raphael. The person who came to her mind when she closed her eyes. The person who stood strong at the moment when he shone the brightest, unlike herself, who was growing old.
-Helena, I feel like I can breathe only when I’m with you. Thank you always.
She was resentful of him, who left only beautiful memories which made it impossible to completely hate him.
Raphael Blanchett. It was a d*mned name not only for Gerard, but also for Helena.
Chloe, who called in the servants to take care of Helena, became troubled. She could roughly guess her husband’s past through her mother-in-law’s story. She felt sorry for both her mother-in-law and her husband.
Chloe wandered around the dark mansion, dizzy. She didn’t think she could fall asleep at this rate. She missed her husband.
Then, the sound of heavy door opening and closing came to her ears. Along with the sound of footsteps reverberating throughout the room, which Chloe recognized right away. It was her husband.
Chloe headed towards the sound. There was Gerard, who returned with cool night air surrounding him. He looked somewhat exhausted in the dark.
“You’re still awake?”
Chloe approached Gerard. She wanted to stay beside him, who looked somewhat sad.
“Honey, let’s go upstairs together.”
Chloe took Gerard by the hand.
Gerard took Chloe’s hand. He looked down at his wife’s hand, which he was holding tightly as if he relied on it.
He wondered if she knew how comforting it felt holding this tiny, tender hand. Whenever her long, loose hair fluttered gently, he felt emotions running wild in reaction to her scent.
As soon as they entered the bedroom, Gerard hugged Chloe from behind. He needed more comfort. He wanted to feel more of her.
“Hold on. Hold on… Please stay like this.”
Gerard, who had his nose buried in Chloe’s neck, asked. He wanted to shake off the memories of the past that kept haunting him. He wanted to live in the present with his wife and Abel, not with his sorrowful and unresolved past.
Chloe, who was surprised for a moment, eventually put her hand on her husband’s arms, which were wrapped around her waist. Then, she patted him quietly.
She wished she could meet her husband as a child. Then, she would have hugged him and been grateful that he was born.
“Have you also drank, my Lady?”
Gerard asked after smelling the faint scent of alcohol.
“No, it’s… mother-in-law was drinking just now, and I was sitting with her.”
Chloe carefully opened her mouth. She wanted to tell him about what she heard earlier.
Of course, just because her mother-in-law had that kind of past, it didn’t mean it could be justified. Although she felt sorry for her mother-in-law, she honestly felt much more sorry for her husband.
However, Chloe only wanted Gerard to be less hurt and troubled. She wished that her husband would make a choice without having any regret after knowing the situation.
And she wanted to be able to talk to her husband about those wounds and pains.
“Listening to mother’s story, I think there’s something that you didn’t know.”
Chloe continued and swallowed her saliva.
“I mean, your uncle.”
However, Gerard stopped Chloe before she could even speak seriously.
“No more, Chloe.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Absolute refusal. Gerard refused to talk to Chloe. He loosened his arms that were wrapped around Chloe’s waist.
Chloe grabbed her husband’s sleeve at the sense of distance she felt from him. However, having not noticed the faint gesture, pulled away from her.
“You should go to bed first. I… have something to do.”
Gerard kissed Chloe on the cheek and left the bedroom again. Chloe felt overwhelmed and couldn’t even keep her husband from leaving.
Chloe thought they had a relationship where they could talk about burdening and painful things. However, Gerard still wanted to talk about only good things with her.
It felt as if an invisible wall pushed her away. Thinking they were close, it hurt her more to see him turn around.
Abel was the only one who slept comfortably that night. The sleepless nights of the other three only grew worse.
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