Between Friendship and Love (4)
Huge thanks to OnitaChan for the kofis! (2/3)
Marquis Blanchett’s house became a ruckus when its owner, who had been coming home at a late hour for the last week, returned home early. Subordinates always suffered from the temperaments of their masters.
“Did you take care of the bath water?”
Albert, the butler of Marquis Blanchett’s household, was checking to see if everything was ready once again before welcoming his master.
“Zenya, how is dinner preparation going?”
“I think it’ll be ready in time.”
Albert sighed with a more relaxed expression upon hearing from Zenya, a kitchen attendant. He had taken care of all the urgent matters for now.
Clank, clank, clank.
“The carriage has passed the main gate!”
A servant, who was waiting for the carriage in front of the mansion, rang the bell at the front door and shouted loudly.
Hearing that, the servants gathered at the front door and lined up on both sides. Albert walked through the center and checked the servants’ attire.
“Hans, your necktie is undone. Tie it again.”
“Emily, your hair is falling down. Redo it.”
Hans and Emily redressed according to Albert’s instructions.
The satisfied looking Albert finally stood at the front of the lined-up servants.
The owner of the Blanchett Mansion, Gerard, got out of his carriage and entered the residence with an exhausted expression.
“Welcome back, My Lord.”
The servants greeted Gerard politely.
“Yes, you’ve worked hard.”
Gerard found Albert after his short greeting.
“Has there been any contact from my wife yet?”
The old butler felt sorry for no reason upon seeing his master running his hand across his face as if disappointed.
More than ten days had passed since the Marchioness left the residence. He thought she’d contact him through a bird when she arrived at Anata Castle. However, he didn’t receive anything from her.
‘…She must be busy.’
Gerard was unknowingly disheartened. Receiving a report from Aiden was different because he was the Knight Commander of Blanchett Order, who was sent as an escort for her.
He wished to hear from his wife. He would be m disappointed if he was the only one who longed for his wife and son.
‘Yeah, she probably just arrived, no wonder she’s not even thinking about it.’
Gerard tried to understand, but… It was upsetting. He thought it wasn’t worth rushing home because he wanted to hear from her.
He seemed perfectly fine on the outside, but Albert, who had been by his side since he was young, knew that his master was highly disappointed.
“We’ve prepared warm bath water. Your meal will be ready after you bathe.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Albert, who felt sorry for Gerard, tried to comfort his master. He followed Gerard to the bathroom and explained.
“The lobster that we got today is very fresh. The chef even bragged about it, so please look forward to dinner tonight.”
Gerard, who was walking ahead of him, stopped in place for a moment.
Gerard turned around.
“I don’t feel like eating it so you can share it with others.”
“I don’t want to eat seafood today. I’d like to eat something else, I won’t mind even if it’s a simple dish.”
Albert had a bewildered look on his face. Come to think of it, it had only been eight years since seafood began to be served for his master’s dinner.
He thought his master’s taste buds had changed, but it was obviously because of the Marchioness, who liked seafood.
When Gerard entered the bathroom, Albert blamed himself for not noticing it before.
“Hoho, I’ve grown old.”
However, his amusement didn’t last long. He had to see the chef and inform him about this.
Gerard, who came into his room after finishing dinner, headed straight to the bed. The exhaustion he felt accumulated from having pulled an all-nighter for the last ten days.
However, after working a little more like this, he thought he could have a week off. Wouldn’t he be able to use it to follow his wife North?
Gerard recently developed a new habit; sleeping on the left side where Chloe usually lay, not on the right side where he did. For some reason, he had had a lot of unpleasant dreams, but lying on his wife’s side of the bed and smelling her remaining scent seemed to make him a bit more comfortable.
Burying his face into the blanket, Gerard sighed for no reason. He sensed something was missing.
It was the same way within the mansion. Although it was packed with many servants, it felt lonely without two people, Chloe and Abel.
“When will they come back?”
Gerard, who was trying to calculate when Chloe would return, was dumbfounded and laughed. It had only been ten days…
“It’s so weird.”
Gerard, who fell asleep while blaming himself, really had no idea. The fact that he couldn’t bear it any longer and would be writing to his wife the next morning. The ten days he endured because he didn’t want to look like a possessive husband were a
As a matter of fact, his shallow expectation, which was waiting for his wife to send him a letter first, was shattered.
In the meantime, the two women moved to Leila’s private study to take a look at the letters.
“Ahaha! Chloe, look at this one. It’s the letter from when Derick and I fought!”
A red-faced Leila picked up a letter and showed it to Chloe. Chloe wasn’t really interested in the letters they exchanged with each other, but she pretended to be happy in order to create a natural opportunity.
“You know that you and the Grand Duke should really thank me, right? I could publish a book if I compiled the letters you used to consult me about your relationship.”
“That’s right, hehe! Even if we misunderstood each other, we quickly made up thanks to you.”
Chloe could learn more details about the misunderstanding and conflict between Leila and Frederick through her dreams. Therefore, she was able to always give Leila suitable advice.
“Wow, take a look at this. ‘Leila, as much as you like him, you can’t help but be scared. However, instead of concealing it and causing a misunderstanding, why don’t you express your feelings honestly to him? The Grand Duke may misunderstand it just like you do’!”
After reading one paragraph in Chloe’s counseling letter of the past, Leila clapped.
“Such a smartypants. How could you be so smart since you were young?”
Leila praised Chloe with slurred words due to the effect of alcohol. However, the person who received the compliment was so embarrassed that she wanted to hide.
She heard that relationships were easy, but that was only when they were a good match for each other. Using herself as an example, she had fled to the North to avoid Gerard.
Chloe let out a short sigh and poured alcohol into the empty glass in front of Leila.
“Hehe, this wine is so sweet and deliciousss.”
Leila was eager to spend time with her friend after a long time. She gulped down Chloe’s drink.
“It’s because I brought a particularly good one.”
Chloe said while lifting a bottle of wine from the House of Marquis de Blanchett.
‘I’m glad to have brought it.’
Chloe prepared two glasses of wine, one strong red wine, and one low-alcohol sweet wine. The colors of both wines were the same, thus making it difficult to differentiate them by sight.
Chloe poured red wine for Leila and sweet wine for herself.
Leila, who wasn’t a heavy drinker, became tipsy after three or four glasses. Chloe glanced at Leila when she seemed somewhat drunk.
“But it’s the same as it used to be. Do you still collect letters according to the people who you got it from? There’s only my letters in this box, am I right?”
“Yes, yes! You, Derrick, my kids, my mother, father, and…”
Leila dozed off while rambling. Perhaps she was too drunk.
Chloe grabbed Leila’s arm, shaking it lightly.
“…Huh? Oh, and Gerard’s letters are in a separate box.”
Chloe spontaneously felt thirsty, so she drank the wine while pretending to be calm.
Surely, the closet on the left side of Leila’s study was packed with boxes of various colors, just as she said. She just saw Leila take a letterbox out of there, so those boxes must be letterboxes.
“But don’t you have a lock on your letter boxes?”
She confirmed earlier that there was no special device inside the box, but Chloe asked just in case.
“Ah… No one can come into my study unless I allow them, so what’s the point? Whyyyyy? Do you lock your letterboxes, Chloe?”
Chloe didn’t care less about what happened to her letterboxes, so she just shook her head with a smile. Then, she clinked their glasses and encouraged Leila to drink more.
She only had to put Leila to sleep and find Gerard’s letter…!
Leila couldn’t endure it and fell asleep when she drank one or two more glasses of wine.
Chloe proceeded to search through the letterboxes while listening to Leila’s even breathing in the distance.
She felt guilty because she thought she had given her friend too much. However, she didn’t have time to think of anything during that moment.
“Is this it…?”
[To my precious daughter,]
Chloe opened the brown letterbox, read the beginning part of the letter, and quickly folded it again. It seemed to be from Leila’s parents, Viscount and Viscountess Stein.
She felt sorry for reading letters from others so carelessly, so she pretended to dust off the box.
[To my only beloved,]
The red letterbox was filled with Frederick’s letters. Chloe quickly closed it and took out the green one.
As soon as she opened the first letter, Chloe knew.
It was Gerard’s fine and neat handwriting.
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