Episode 6. Between Friendship and Love (2)
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“Excuse me, General. Why are you still at work? You didn’t leave as soon as your shift ended.”
“…Why would I work overtime? I’m doing it because I have a lot of work.”
It was a lame excuse. When he was in the Capital, he went to work every day, but when he was not, he went to work a few times a week and left early in the afternoon.
Anton didn’t know if he should say it was a relief because the Blanchett Territory and the Capital were close, or fortunate because he had an honorary position, not a working position. As such, there was no overtime in Gerard Blanchett’s life.
“Oh, please be sincere in your excuses. No matter how much work you usually have, you pack it all up and go home. Ah! By any chance… Did you fight with the Marchioness?”
Anton came to the wrong conclusion because the Blanchett family kept the Marchioness’ departure a secret.
Gerard looked bewildered at Anton’s absurd speculation.
“I’m right, aren’t I? The reason why you don’t want to go home is that you fought with Madame or you are going to fight with Madame soon. Isn’t it one of those two?”
Anton, who had been married for three years, spoke confidently as if he knew the answer.
“No. My wife and I have never fought, and we will not fight in the future.”
“Aye! Is that possible? This should be either your first or second fight. If not, you’re only playing house.”
Anton, who was less sensible than his sword skills, was sad. He stopped talking only when Gerard glared at him.
“I mean…! No, there are no people like the General and the Marchioness who are a model couple. Haha. I made a mistake for a moment. Oh, I’m such a !”
Anton pretended to slap himself on the side of the head. But Gerard’s eyes were already frosty.
“Seeing that your snout is so free-spirited, have I been too soft-hearted? You will come to your senses once you experience the consequences of your tongue. Gather all the Knights at the training ground tomorrow morning. Make it clear that it is because of you.”
Anton pleaded with Gerard pitifully, but Gerard pointed to the door.
After kicking Anton out, Gerard tried to concentrate on the papers again. However, a phrase Anton used kept hovering in his head.
It was a phrase that could have been passed casually, but Gerard somehow didn’t get the word stuck in his throat. There was nothing wrong between him and his wife.
To Gerard, who was thinking about it, it was something he had no idea about.
As Leila promised, dinner was excellent. It was full of ingredients and unfamiliar Northern dishes that could not be obtained in the Capital.
“Abel, try this, too.”
Chloe said, adding some reindeer steak to Abel’s plate.
It was an opportunity for Abel to have access to a variety of foods, so she was rather satisfied. She wanted to introduce him to as many foods as possible since food preferences were set in childhood.
“Yes, mother. You eat a lot, too.”
Abel swallowed the smoked salmon in his mouth and said with a loving smile. His table manners were excellent.
“Oh, Abel likes seafood!”
Leila, who was watching the pair, praised Abel.
“Yes, both my husband and I like seafood, so he eats well.”
“Uh… Gerard likes seafood?”
Leila tilted her head at Chloe’s words.
“His appetite has changed. He couldn’t eat anything when he was young.”
Chloe continued to eat as if nothing had happened but sighed inside.
She knew how close her husband and Leila were, but it was annoying today. Leila was talking as if she knew Gerard better, calling him by his name intimately… The fact that Chloe had never called him that intimately made her even more miserable.
It was not pleasant to be filled with ugly emotions. Recently, her heart had been going back and forth several times a day. She felt like she was experiencing puberty all over again.
There were other contributors, but it was unfair that she was the only one who had to suffer.
“By the way, Marchioness, it is a big deal that you should visit so suddenly. Did you really put in a request for a visit because you wanted to see my wife?”
Frederick, who was enjoying his meal as if it were in a noble etiquette book, asked Chloe. Leila, who listened to Frederick, looked at Chloe as if she was curious.
Certainly, her request for this visit, conveyed through a messenger bird, was far from proper etiquette. That was because a messenger bird was a method of contact used only in very urgent or private situations, so it was not suitable for formal communication between families.
When the Anatas received the message, they doubted whether it had been sent from the Blanchett family, who were meticulous in following aristocratic etiquette.
“I know! I was surprised as you have never done this before. Still, coming to see me like this makes me feel like I got a gift!”
“Thanks for the nice thoughts, Leila. I’ve been dreaming of you often lately. I guess that’s why I wanted to see you.”
Chloe said with a slight smile. Not confident enough to lie, she wrote a request for a visit to the Anatas, saying that she missed Leila and wanted to visit her.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Gerard mailed Chloe’s request without reading it.
“Really? Did you really miss me? Wow, this is the first time you’ve told me this!”
Leila felt better when her friend, who didn’t express much, said she wanted to see her. She had always been disappointed that she liked Chloe more… but hearing this from Chole was touching.
“Come more often, Chloe. The Blanchetts are always welcome.”
Frederick sighed at his excited wife. Well, Chloe Blanchett was fine, but Gerard Blanchett? Absolutely not.
Who would want a man who fought over his wife to visit?
“Yes, Marchioness. Visit often.”
However, his wife was so happy that he had no choice but to agree with her.
The Anatas and Blanchetts, who enjoyed dinner, gathered in one room. Well, all except for Frederick, who was busy with a construction project.
Penelope, the youngest of the Anatas, was sleeping in her crib.
“Wow, she is really small. Her hands are small, and feet are small.”
Abel was amazed. He had never seen a baby before.
“Right? Our Pepe is so cute.”
Renesia proudly showed off her younger sister.
“Look at this, if you do this… she holds it!”
Noah put his finger in the baby’s hand, as if he wanted to show Abel something.
“Young lady, young masters. You can’t touch the baby. She is weak and might hurt.”
In the meantime, Penelope’s nanny was restless, fearing that the baby would wake up. Chloe called the children softly because she felt sorry for the nanny who had to be nervous this late at night.
“Shall we go to bed now? You have to sleep early to play again tomorrow.”
However, even with Chloe’s call, the children kept mumbling as if they were disappointed.
“Oh my, little ones. You must have gotten a lot closer. I was going to take you on a picnic tomorrow if you went to bed early… but I can’t help it.”
Leila, who was watching from the side, pretended to be disappointed.
“Wow! A picnic!”
“Mother, really? Are we going on a picnic?
The children’s eyes began to twinkle at Leila’s words.
“Well, I was going to take you to the famous Lake Meidall in the North. Our guest might want to skate on the frozen lake.”
Leila said, pinching Abel’s nose playfully. Chloe couldn’t help but admire Leila’s skill in handling children.
“Mother, let’s hurry up and go to bed!”
“Us, too! Let’s go to bed, too!”
The children were now rushing their mothers to their rooms. Chloe laughed because the kids were so cute. She felt relieved that the day had gone by so peacefully.
To the point where she wanted to forget it all.
Leila whispered to Chloe as the children bid each other goodnight.
“You’re tired, right? Get a good night’s rest today, put your son to sleep, and let’s talk tomorrow.”
Leila smiled mischievously as she hugged the drowsy Noah. Chloe nodded and turned around, and a sharp glare in her eyes.
Maybe tomorrow she’d find out the truth.
Chloe took Abel’s hand and fell into deep thought on her way back to their room.
‘How can I ask Leila? Let’s discuss the facts we know first. Will she tell me everything? What if she lies?’
“Mother, Rennesia, Noah, and Pe… What was it? Why do they have long names?”
So absorbed in thought, Chloe couldn’t hear her son’s voice.
When Abel waved his hand in front of her face and called again, Chloe finally escaped from her thoughts.
“…Oh! Abel, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you well. What did you say?”
“Why are Renesia and Noah’s names long? My name is short.”
“Well, that’s because it’s a Northern name. People in the North have had long names since ancient times. And your name is short because short names are popular in the Empire these days.”
“Yes. Ever since the Imperial Family did it, it has become a trend.”
Chloe opened the door to their bedroom while answering Abel’s question. When she entered the warm room, she felt tired.
Abel yawned, copying Chloe.
‘I haven’t thought about how I’m going to hear the whole story from Leila… Oh, I don’t know.’
Her tired body refused to think any longer.
In the end, Chloe put aside her worries about tomorrow and decided to finish the day with Abel by her side.
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