Episode 1. Letters from the Past (1)
Huge thanks to Krim for the kofis! (1/3)
A laugh escaped from Chloe’s mouth. It was her last defense mechanism to deny reality.
Chloe’s arm holding the letter trembled as if she was holding something heavy. It was a light letter, but the content it contained was heavy and disastrous.
When the scent of flowers is carried by the wind, it reminds me of our childhood.
You were shorter than me when we first met, but now I’m shorter! Every time I look up at you, I remember just how fast the speed of time is.
You know how precious time with you is to me. I hope that we will always be as dependent on each other as we were back then.
I recently heard from your mother that you are looking for a partner. I was always worried that you were never interested in marriage. If there is a good candidate, she asked me to introduce her.
So I told her about Chloe Roem. What do you think of Chloe?
You know how sweet and wise Chloe is, right?
I wish your partner were Chloe. If you would stay by her side, I would be so relieved.
Then we don’t have to be separated because of marriage. Actually, I’m worried that I’m too far from you these days. I guess it’s because I haven’t seen your face for 6 months since I went up North. Let’s set up a time to meet soon.
I’ll end the letter here. I hope only good things for you.
~Your childhood friend Leila.
P.S. Did you notice that she likes you?]
What on earth was this letter saying?
No, maybe Chloe was trying to refuse to accept it as a reality. In a daze, she only repeated meaningless words inside.
‘It’s a letter from eight years ago. Eight years ago. It’s different now. Friendly, kind, always respectful… that’s my husband.’
But questions kept popping up in her mind.
Something had changed.
Could it have all been acting?
Maybe he pretended to be her ideal husband because of his sense of duty and responsibility.
Her thoughts eventually reached a question she had been ignoring their entire marriage.
‘Does he love me?’
Chloe’s eyes must have realized the answer before her mind did. A tear ran down her cheek.
Her husband, who felt close to her until a while ago, became the farthest person in an instant.
Chloe sank to the ground. Everything she had built up solidly over eight blissful years crumbled like sand.
Nobility as a lady, strength as a mother, happiness as a wife. It was because everything that defined her was canceled out by only one question. She didn’t even have the strength left to stand.
“Huuuuu, it’s over! Uhhh… it’s over!”
However, there was a single string of reason that prevented her crying from getting louder. In case anyone heard, she swallowed several sobs inside.
But sobs crawled out of her mouth. Chloe shook sadly, pressing her mouth with her hands.
How much did she cry?
She cried so much that she felt dizzy. Her body was exhausted, she no longer had the energy to cry, but tears kept flowing down.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. However, Chloe’s efforts were in vain due to the name that was going through her head.
Leila Stein, no, now she was Leila de Anata. When she thought of the name, something hot bubbled up inside.
A friend she loved but hated at the same time. Perhaps she and her husband would never escape the shadow of that name for the rest of their lives.
She was the heroine of this world. To be exact, she was the heroine nine years ago.
Bright, imposing, and somehow four-dimensional. If the word ‘ heroine’ was a person, it was Leila.
She married Frederick de Anata nine years ago and had her perfect happy ending. Leaving behind Gerard Blanchett.
Gerard, her childhood friend, had a crush on her for a long time. He always warmly comforted Leila, who was hurt by the cold and arrogant Frederick. But, ironically, Leila chose Frederick.
It was Chloe, the pathetic crying woman here, who stayed by Gerard, who was left behind.
She was a supporting actor. She proved that Leila was attractive to everyone, regardless of gender. A character who became close with the heroine and later became a blind helper. If you tried to find the meaning of Chloe in this story, it would be this much.
But ironically, Chloe was the only one who knew that this world was flowing according to the prophecies of a book.
She read the book in her dreams every night after meeting Leila.
She had to read a strange book without a title or author, even if she didn’t want to. Because the book did not accept Chloe’s refusal.
Knowing what was going on in the future and what the characters really thought, Chloe… did nothing!
She knew what part of Leila drew Frederick’s heart to her. But she did nothing.
She soon knew that Leila’s dresses would be fashionable in the social world. But she did nothing.
She knew that future foreign delegations would appreciate Leila’s diplomatic response. But she did nothing.
It wasn’t just for moral reasons like that she didn’t want to take away what belonged to her friend. She was simply satisfied with her role as Chloe, who would never be the protagonist.
No, to be honest, she couldn’t imagine a story with herself being the main character. Chloe, who sat at home and looked pretty, whose proud sisters compared her to Leila, was sadly used to giving up.
‘Would I have gotten a different result if I did intervene?’
She did not dare to confirm that she was not the protagonist of this world. Fearful, she gave up. She avoided it. She wasn’t greedy.
“Haha… No. I was greedy, really.”
Oh, come to think of it, Chloe was the only one who was greedy. It was Gerard who was abandoned by Leila.
At first, he seemed to merge with her, unable to escape from the fixed role in the main characters’ love stories. She couldn’t help but keep thinking about it.
“Lord Blanchett, why are you here alone? Let’s go together.”
So she looked after him. He remained lonely as he watched Leila’s retreating back. Funny enough, at that time, Chloe had cheered for Gerard’s love to reach Leila.
She thought it would be pleasant if she could change this boring ending for herself.
“Lady Roem, if you don’t mind, could you pass this to Leila?”
“Why doesn’t the Lord give it to her…?”
“If I give it to her… I’ll feel burdened. I’d like to ask you a favor.”
Gerard Blanchett was only worried about Leila, handing over precious medicine.
Suddenly, Chloe envied Leila’s kindness and love. She could only imagine receiving such love, but it wouldn’t be so sweet.
“It’s cold, Lady Roem. Please go inside.”
Perhaps it was the aftermath of her imagination, but Chloe secretly blushed despite Gerard’s small consideration. Even though she knew that the consideration was nothing more than a favor, she couldn’t help it.
She had no choice but to admit it. Gerard was hurt by Leila, and Chloe hurt herself.
She was in love with Gerard. But she didn’t mean to do anything. She was just going to bury this crush in her heart.
“I really thought so…”
But a proposal came from Gerard Blanchett. So Chloe decided to be greedy for something that wasn’t hers, just once.
‘Just once… it’s been a long time since the book had its happy ending, so wouldn’t it be okay? I don’t even dream of the book anymore!’
With that thought in mind, she took Gerard’s outstretched hand. And only today had she been punished for that decision.
Chloe cleared her hazy vision and reread the letter she had read several times.
It was increasingly difficult to breathe, so Chloe held her chest tightly. The letter was a slap of reality. She couldn’t deny it anymore.
It was because she had received a proposal from Gerard precisely around the time that Leila had sent this letter. Yes, as she wrote in the letter, Chloe was proposed to in late spring, when the scent of flowers was carried by the wind.
Would it have been less painful if Chloe didn’t remember it vividly? However, her memories were so precious that she remembered the atmosphere, weather, and words spoken in her heart.
Gerard Blanchett proposed to Chloe Roem at the request of his beloved Leila.
That simple sentence made her look at their happy eight years from a completely different perspective. Chloe was suspicious of every kind gesture and every word her husband had spoken her until now.
It was miserable.
Gerard, who was infinitely kind to Leila, was infinitely cruel to Chloe.
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