Chapter 2

 

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***

 

“Hey, Ryan. what is that……”

 

“Oh, it’s noisy! Don’t meddle in my affairs, okay?!”

 

Ryan slapped Ines’ hand, who was fixing his collar, and then walked out of the house.

 

It had been 3 days since they lost contact.

 

However, Ines could not even send a person to check on Ryan easily. It was because she was afraid that Ryan would get angry again.

 

But then.

 

“Ah!”

 

Ines opened her eyes wide.

 

Through the window, she could see the carriage stopped at the townhouse’s front door. Ines, forgetting a noble lady’s manners, rushed outside in haste.

 

“Ryan!” 

 

As she approached the carriage, she saw Ryan, who was drunk and unable to greet him, leaning in the carriage.

 

Ines opened the carriage door and tried to help Ryan. 

 

“Oh my God, what is this? Why did you drink so much… … ”

 

The stagnant air in the carriage rushed towards her. The strong smell of alcohol and the sweet scent of perfume mixed with it.

 

‘… This perfume smells definitely for women.’ 

 

She felt like cold water was poured over her head. However, she decided to ask Ryan when he woke up.

 

Ines stood there blankly, looking at Ryan who was asleep without knowing the world.

 

‘No way. No way. I’m sure he’ll give me an answer that makes sense…’

 

***

 

The next day, Ryan woke up late. 

 

“What? perfume? What the hell are you talking about?” 

 

He asked back with a shameless face.

 

Rather, he scolded Ines as if he was tired of it.

 

“It’s only because you’re so sensitive, will we be able to live properly as a couple in the future?”

 

“Uh, what do you mean we can’t live as a couple?”

 

 “You make people tired like this, and you think our married life can last?”

 

Ryan sarcastically mocked her.

 

“What if the heiress of the venerable Brierton was divorced?”

 

“…”

 

Ines bit her lip.

 

The Brierton with a long history, one of the most prestigious families in the kingdom.

 

The Brierton was Ines’ pride and was the most precious legacy her parents left her. The reason why she gave up such a position as head of Brierton to Ryan was partly because of the trend in society where male were more recognized than females.

 

Above all, it was because Ines loved Ryan that much.

 

Because she wanted to make Ryan happy, because she wanted to laugh alongside him. But Ryan was now threatening Ines by tying the ‘married life’ and ‘Brierton’. Because he was sure Ines loved him and Brierton passionately.

 

Even for the honor of the family, knowing that she will never leave him. 

 

“But it’s true that you’ve been out too often lately.” 

 

Ines, who could not stand it, protested like that. 

 

“Ines, are you admonishing me now?”

 

Ryan only looked at Ines up and down with a shocked expression.

 

“You have to understand that men have a social life. How long are you going to be so immature?”

 

At that cold reply, Ines felt as if the world was collapsing.

 

****

 

While Ines was struggling alone because of her relationship with Ryan.

 

“Ines, long time no see!”

 

Charlotte visited, as if waiting for the couple to argue.

 

Ines was a little embarrassed by the unannounced visit.

 

 “This is how you communicate with your friends? Right, Ines?”

 

At Charlotte’s kind words, Ines silently nodded.

 

Her relationship with Ryan confused her head. She didn’t want to say anything bad to Charlotte, her only friend and best friend.

 

“I have an appointment around here today, so I came to visit for a while because I have some time in the middle.”

 

“…”

 

It was a very dignified attitude.

 

Charlotte shrugged and continued.

 

“Will you treat me to a cup of tea, Ines?”

 

“Oh, yes.”

 

Of course, Ines prepared high-end tea and refreshments as usual.

 

In front of that splendid tea table, Charlotte opened her mouth as if she was giving a great favor.

 

 “Tell me if you have any concerns.”

 

“…”

 

“That’s what friends are for.”

 

Of course, if Ines had been in a normal state, she would have suspected Charlotte, who had visited Ines at the right time and was impulsive. However, Ines was half out of her mind because of her concerns about Ryan.

 

“That’s actually….. .”

 

So Ines cautiously told her about this matter.

 

“Well, isn’t that your fault?”

 

But all that came back was Charlotte’s unbelievable answer after she heard Ines’s story.

 

Ines shuddered and stiffened her shoulders.

 

“Is it my fault?”

 

“Of course. If not,  then is it Count Brierton’s fault?”

 

For a moment, Ines felt speechless. It was strange.

 

It was definitely Ryan’s fault with her common sense, but everybody was telling Ines that she was wrong.

 

Charlotte shrugged her shoulders.

 

“Honestly, you are the kind of person who is a bit bothersome to men.” 

 

“Me….?”

 

“Yes. Men absolutely hate obsessive women like you.”

 

Charlotte continued to grumble over the high-quality sweets that were served as refreshments.

 

“Isn’t Count Brierton tired of you because you bother him?”

 

“Well, then what should I do?”

 

“Um, if it were me… … ”

 

Charlotte, who had tilted her head pretending to be thinking, smiled softly. 

 

“I think I’ll just leave the Count alone.”

 

“… … Ryan? But……”

 

“Actually, the Count has a very free-spirited personality. Loosening a little can help improve relationships in the long run.”

 

Charlotte, who said so, was surprised and raised her body. 

 

“Oh, it’s almost time for my appointment. Then I’ll get going, and see you next time!”

 

Ines looked at the back of Charlotte, who was walking out of the room with a bewildered gaze. 

 

She didn’t know until then that Charlotte’s promise ‘to be around’ was a secret meeting with Ryan.

 

****

 

Ines, who could not depend on anyone, gradually became isolated.

 

“Am I really weird?”

 

“Is my lack of understanding the problem?”

 

“If I keep trying, will Ryan come back to me someday?”

 

“I’m bad, I’m wrong. I couldn’t satisfy Ryan…… ”

 

In the midst of endless self-deprecation, self-hatred, and self-pity, Ines was getting more and more devastated.

 

Meanwhile, she witnessed an affair between Ryan and Charlotte.

 

She would rather have an opportunity to completely clear up her relationship with Ryan.

 

After working at the studio, Ryan changed his attitude like flipping the palm of his hand to convince Ines.

 

“I’m sorry, this is just… I just deviated for a while.”

 

Despite being cold-hearted until now, Ryan hugged Ines, who was dazed, tightly in his arms.

 

 “Men sometimes act like children. You understand, huh?”

 

“But Ryan…… ”

 

“I’ll get rid of Charlotte quickly.”

 

Ryan shoved a push into Inez’s ear.

 

“You are my only wife, Ines.”

 

“….”

 

“If I achieve a little more success, Ines, I will surely make you happy.”

 

Unable to refuse those sweet words, Ines still loved Ryan too much.

 

Because it was.

 

“Is there anything new you’re working on these days, Ines?”

 

“…”

 

“I want you to paint some still lifes this time.”

 

All works drawn by Ines were published under Ryan’s name, and were praised as masterpieces that will never happen again. 

 

Three years passed like that.

 

In the meantime, Ines drew countless pictures, handed over the rights to *Gott’s family, and helped Ryan. (*Ryan Gott)

 

She wanted Ryan to like her.

 

Because she wanted to receive even a small piece of affection from him.

 

Then one day.

 

“You’ve worked hard all this time, Ines.”

 

Ryan smiled and patted Ines on the shoulder.

 

That time when Ines’ face brightened at the kind words she had not heard in a long time. 

 

“So, let’s end our relationship.”

 

“…… What are you talking about, Ryan?”

 

“See, Ines?”

 

Ryan handed a document to Ines.

 

“You are no longer the Countess of Brierton.”

 

“What?”

 

“You’re just a psychopath.”

 

The document issued by a certain large psychiatric hospital had a full history of Ines’ mental illness.

 

Excessive confidence, obsession, paranoia, hallucinations … . The only problem was that Ines had never even set foot in that mental hospital.

 

“The hospitalization procedure has already been completed. The psychiatric hospital will come to pick you up soon.”

 

“I don’t like it, no Ryan… !”

 

Ines, who was shaking her head violently, faltered back.

 

Ryan narrowed his brow.

 

“Ines?”

 

At the same time, Ines ran out of the house.

 

‘I must run away. I can’t stay locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of my life!’

 

She ran breathlessly.

 

She wanted to get out of Ryan’s grip somehow.

 

And.

 

Boom!

 

“Hey, what’s going on?”

 

“A person was hit by a wagon!”

 

There was a commotion all around.

 

Ines was lying on the floor, immovable.

 

However, there was no pain. She was just confused.

 

‘Then, I think I’ve only lived for Ryan all my life.’

 

Even the honor, wealth, and title that Ryan had built up so far.

 

All of these were the things given to him by Ines.

 

‘I want to get it back.’

 

At the end of the regret that cut through her heart, Ines slowly closed her eyes. It was an insignificant death that did not remain in anyone’s memory.