Episode 7. Between Friendship and Love (3)
Huge thanks to OnitaChan for the kofis! (1/3)
The next day the children were excited to go on a picnic to the lake. But the reaction of the adults was strange. If they were going to go today, they should start preparing now, but they were having a leisurely tea time in the garden.
In the end, Rennesia, who couldn’t stand it any longer, asked her mother directly.
“So, when will we go to the lake?”
“Oh, did I say today? I said I’d take you sooner or later.”
Leila said, pretending to be innocent.
“What? Not today?”
“What, Mom! We have been tricked!”
The children were visibly disappointed since they thought they would go on a picnic the very next day. They were angry that they were deceived, and before the adults knew it, the kids were tearing up.
“It’s because the plan was made last night. How can we go right away? We have to get permission from the Grand Duke, ask the knights to escort us, and prepare lunch in the kitchen.”
Chloe explained quietly, but the problem was that the children weren’t listening.
“I’ll take you tomorrow, tomorrow! Instead, I was going to teach you swordsmanship today, aren’t you interested in it?”
Come to think of it, Leila was dressed in training clothes. Chloe wondered if she had been training, or if she was going to show her swordsmanship to the children.
Then, at once, the children’s eyes began to sparkle again. Abel, who wanted to be the sword of the Empire, and Renee, who wanted to be the knight like her mother. And finally Noah, who wanted to copy everything Renee did. All three clung to Leila with excitement.
“Come, let’s move to the wide space over there.”
Leila, who winked at Chloe, moved along with the children.
As expected, the female lead was the female lead. Leila was cool and shining. That’s why Chloe always felt like a shadow when stood beside her.
Chole smiled wryly at the insecurity that bubbled up again and lifted her teacup to take a sip. Her husband also loved that bright woman, so she didn’t know if she should be fond of her.
“Oh, Abel. You have good posture. Are you taking swordsmanship classes?”
“Yes! I’m taking them from Lord Hume!”
“Mom, I want them, too! Look at me!”
“Whose daughter is this? Our Renee’s posture is really good!”
“What about me? What about me?”
“Haha, Noah is in first place if it’s about passion!”
Watching the noisy crowd from afar, Chloe tempered her feelings. She occasionally smiled at Abel, who sometimes turned to look back at her.
“I’m at your service, Marchioness Blanchett. You’re still beautiful.”
A fierce-looking red-haired knight pretended to be surprised and greeted her. His tone and gestures were very light.
Herace Moore. He was a man who passionately tried to court Chloe before she became a Blanchett.
-I fell in love at first sight, young Lady Roem.
-Would you please allow me to call you by name? Can you call me Herace, too?
-I heard you like this flower… I prepared it for you. Would you accept it?
-Please marry me. I want to stay by your side forever.
Herace’s confessions in the past flashed through Chloe’s mind. He never moved her heart. As a result, she felt guilty and awkward.
“Ah… Sir Moore. It’s been a long time since we last saw each other.”
Chloe greeted her opponent, who was unwelcome, with a smile.
‘Why didn’t I think about dating him instead?’
Herace Moore was Frederick’s hands and feet. When he came to the Capital as Frederick’s escort nine years ago, he had already become the commander of the Order of Anata. Perhaps it was natural that she ran into him at Anata Castle. However, she never thought that he would put on an act like this.
“Oh, that must be the son of the Marquis.”
Herace said while watching Abel, who was wielding his sword from afar.
“His posture is quite good.”
Chloe couldn’t figure out why Herace kept talking to her. She didn’t think they were comfortable enough to do that.
“How have you been?”
“…I’m fine, thank you.”
“I’m glad you’re doing well.”
Chloe chose to not say anything, even though she thought it was rude to do so.
“Are you not going to ask how I’ve been doing?”
Herace asked playfully.
“How have you been… Sir?”
Chloe grudgingly asked Herace.
“I haven’t been doing well. The wound caused by my broken heart hasn’t healed well.”
Herace joked while putting his hand on his chest. Chloe looked away because she was embarrassed. Abel was in the distance, sweating as he wielded his sword.
“I’m uncomfortable, Sir.”
Chloe drew the line of their conversation in a firm tone. In the past, she would’ve just laughed it off, but she had a family now. She didn’t want to leave any room for misunderstanding.
“…You’re still like this.”
Herace smiled awkwardly. Marchioness Blanchett remained the same. She was cold to him, elegant, but still…
‘And you look sad.’
Herace swallowed the last remark, saying it inwardly. He didn’t know if it was because he wanted to see her that way. If she was doing well, then he was fine with it.
“I wish to see you again when I have the chance.”
After delivering a greeting to the Marchioness, Herace turned toward his assigned post. He regretted it as soon as he turned away.
He was pleased and felt wonderful to meet her, who was his first love, after eight years. That was the reason he thought he made the wrong choice.
‘Pretend to not know each other and walk past.’
He felt restless as if he returned to when he was a child. Though she seemed reluctant to meet him, he still considered it pleasant.
Stupid first loves. He thought it wouldn’t matter anymore, but it wasn’t like that at all.
That night, Leila and Chloe put the children to bed and gathered in the drawing room.
“What, what is it?”
When Leila looked at Chloe playfully, Chloe put down the wine she was drinking and asked.
“I see, so you’re pretending to be innocent. You met Sir Moore this afternoon.”
Everyone knew that Herace had passionately attempted to court Chloe in the past. In particular, Leila, Chloe’s friend and Frederick’s lover, couldn’t help but know.
“He greeted me briefly and left. That’s all there was to it.”
Chloe said firmly.
“Didn’t he remind you of the past?”
Leila pouted at that, knowing Chloe’s strict personality.
“It’s no fun. You’ve been very cold to Sir Herace since a long time ago. Did you like Gerard that much at that time, even until now?”
Chloe paused and nodded. She hated her husband. However, she still loved him. Hatred was a feeling that originated from love in the first place.
“But you talk like you don’t?”
She changed her mind because Chloe seemed sad for no reason.
“I feel frustrated lately.”
Leila frowned slightly and continued.
“I’ve kept thinking about the time when I spent time with you in the Capital… Those days were great.”
Leila’s eyes were lost in memories of the past. Chloe instinctively realized that this was a good opportunity.
“Yes, I sometimes miss that time, too.”
“I… I really miss crossing the fence to go to the night market with you during the Independence celebration. Do you remember it?”
“Of course, I had a hard time because my skirt ripped while crossing it.”
“Ahaha, that’s right! Your skirt was ripped, wasn’t it?”
Although Chloe deliberately continued the conversation, she also felt nostalgic about their childhood days.
“Oh no, do you remember that boy? You thought he liked me!”
“Oh, what was his name? I remember his face, but I don’t remember his name.”
Leila and Chloe were immersed in recalling stories of those days. Things that were hard and annoying became memories which she could talk about and laugh at.
“Can it be like that in the future?”
When Chloe unknowingly thought out loud, Leila suddenly brought up Gerard.
“Gerard is really cool, too.”
Chloe felt as if she was pulled out of warm memories and thrown into cold reality. Her face stiffened for a moment.
“He was such a crybaby and very possessive of people… And now he’s a Marquis and the head of a family.”
“I’m proud and satisfied for some reason. It’s funny, seriously.”
Chloe felt as if she didn’t know her husband at all. She couldn’t imagine her husband, who always acted like a gentleman, crying or being possessive.
It was natural for Gerard and Leila to know other sides of each other because they were friends since they were very young.
However, every time Leila said things like that, she felt like Leila was still the closest person to Gerard. Even though they had been married for eight years, she felt like those times had no meaning.
“…It’s so nice to have someone who I can talk about the past with. I can only read letters when I am on my own.”
Chloe changed the subject with a cold gaze. She thought it was time to cut off this sickly feeling.
“Yes, I also read letters often. I miss them. So much.”
As soon as Leila agreed, Chloe clapped her hands lightly as if she had a good idea.
“Then, shall we read the letters we wrote a long time ago? Looks like you’ve collected them.”
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