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The next morning.
Ines raised her twinkling eyelids.
Mary, who was sitting next to her, looked at Ines with a smile.
“Lord, are you awake?”
Ines, who had blinked blankly, smiled softly.
Did you not sleep because you were taking care of me?”
“Ugh, of course! Do you know how worried I was yesterday? You kept collapsing all the way back to the house!”
A long roar ensued.
Mary stood up from her seat, raising her hand, and place it on Ines’ forehead.
Then she breathed a sigh of relief.
“But it seems that the fever has gone down now. Still, it’s better to recuperate for a day or so…”
Ines shook her head and got up slowly.
His whole body was as light as a feather.
“I have to go out today. I have work to do.”
“What? What are you going to do?”
“Yesterday, didn’t the Duke of Sussex take me home?”
Ines asked with a slightly embarrassed face.
‘I was so ugly.’
She was crying profusely, and she couldn’t control her body properly. As she recalled returning with Enoch’s support, her face heated up by itself.
‘Really, no matter how bad my physical condition is!’
Excited with the heat, she seemed to have made a fool of herself.
Ines vowed to send a letter of apology to Enoch immediately.
Meanwhile, Mary’s eyes widened as if she had just remembered something.
“The Duke of Sussex has sent you something.”
Mary walked towards the table, and then came back with something large in her arms. She then smiled brightly as she held it out in front of Ines.
“Look at this, the Duke has sent you a fruit basket to get well!”
For a moment, Ines felt like crying.
A luxurious basket full of various precious fruits.
Sure enough, that basket had a special meaning to Ines.
‘It’s the same kind of fruit basket I drew in the courtroom.’
A still life that helped her sort out her relationship with Ryan by winning the case. The still life was painted with that fruit basket as the theme.
“Oh, there’s a card!”
Just then, Mary’s lively voice rang out.
Ines, who suddenly came to her senses, reached out to Mary.
“Yes? Give it to me.”
A short sentence was written on the stiff card in a characteristic elegant handwriting.
<I wish you a speedy recovery.>
“It’s perfect handwriting.”
Ines let out a short laugh without realizing it. She didn’t know the Duke of Sussex was so aristocratic even in his handwriting.
Ines was a little surprised.
She thought it would just end with a wish, but unexpectedly, the memo had not been finished yet.
<Post-processing is definitely done. If you want to check it out, take a look at the Elton magazine published today.>
Ines hurriedly turned to Mary.
“Mary, what about today’s morning paper?”
“Here you are.”
Mary handed over the Elton magazine issued this morning.
Ines, who was quickly scanning the newspaper, burst out laughing like a sigh.
“Oh my god.”
Enoch kept his promise with Ines thoroughly to the end. In addition to the news of the divorce of the Countess of Brierton yesterday, the news of Charlotte and Ryan’s affair was laid out in a flashy way.
Ines, who had been looking at the article for a long time, jumped up.
“Lord? Why all of a sudden… ”
“I told you earlier, I have work to do.”
Then Mary nagged.
“No, I think the sick person needs to rest!”
“Mary, I’m Count of Brierton now. So…”
Ines smiled confidently.
“Now I have to go see Ryan to recover the Count’s estate.”
It was time to take back everything she had handed over to Ryan.
A dark room with thick blackout curtains.
Ashtrays full of cigarette ashes, empty wine bottles, and clothes were lying on the floor messily like snake skin.
And on the bed in the corner of the room.
A naked man and a woman were entangled like snakes and were asleep.
There was only the sound of breathing, and the room was as quiet as a grave.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Someone knocked loudly on the door.
The knocking was on the entrance hall of the studio, but it felt like the whole building was shaking.
The man, Ryan, made a sick sound.
It was because his head was pounding because of the alcohol he drank yesterday.
“Oh, d*mn it…”
Ryan muttered a swear word and curled up.
Charlotte, who was next to him, dug into Ryan’s arms.
She mumbled in an annoyed voice.
“Ryan, get up… ”
“Noisy, Charlotte, can’t you go… ?”
The two whimpered like dogs, but couldn’t open their eyes. It was because of the heavy hangover.
After yesterday’s trial. Charlotte and Ryan sat together in the studio and drank until dawn.
“How could Ines do this to me!”
Ryan vomited out his sorrow.
“It’s because she hasn’t come to her senses yet. I’ll meet Ines and try to convince her, so calm down. Huh?”
As Charlotte comforted Ryan with her sweet words, she felt a subtle sense of crisis. The other day she asked to ride the same carriage to the New Year’s ball but Ines flatly refused.
‘I don’t think she’s the Ines of the past.’
But Ryan in front of her was so desperate that she had no room for doubt.
Sharing one or two drinks like that led to excessive drinking.
Just then, the atmosphere became as quiet as the knocking stopped. Charlotte let her mind go and tried to close her eyes again.
Until all of a sudden she heard a strange noise.
There was a sharp sound of metal rubbing.
Surprised, Charlotte raised her eyelids.
Ryan, who got up at the same time, looked around with his stupid face.
“Who, who is breaking the door… ?”
A hoarse voice came out.
As if to make fun of those two, the loud noise continued.
It felt as if the doorknob itself was forcibly removed.
Creak, creak, crash!
The sound of the doorknob and the door being separated rumbled loudly.
Finally, the door came off completely.
By that time, Ryan and Charlotte’s sleepiness ran away.
“What, what? Is it a thief? Or a robber?”
“Some crazy b*stard ripped off the doorknob…!”
The two got up in a hurry.
Outside the closed door, the sound of heels hitting the floor clearly echoed.
The door to the room swung open.
The bright midday sunlight poured like water into the dark room.
A woman stood with her back to the light. Ryan called her with a bewildered face.
It was Ines.
Ines frowned and covered her nose with her handkerchief.
“Oh, the smell. How much did you drink? In addition, smoking cigarettes in the studio.”
The strong smell of alcohol, and the smell of cigarettes mixed together, lingered in the room.
The smell was so strong that Ines felt like she was going to vomit. Ines, who had looked around, then narrowed her forehead and looked down at the floor.
“Besides, Charlotte, didn’t you say you didn’t smoke?”
Dark green eyes looked at the ashtray, and red lipstick marks were imprinted vividly on the cigarette butts.
“I thought it’s your dream to meet a good man and turn your life around.”
“That, what? Ines, what…”
Charlotte looked at Ines with embarrassed eyes.
Face to face with that stupid face, Ines smiled beautifully with her eyes bent.
“So, didn’t you say that you hate gentlemen who smoke?”
“Oh, no, that’s… .!”
Interrupting Charlotte’s words, Ines tilted her head.
“From the moment you spend such a hot night with your friend’s husband, your dream of starting a family with a good man has already gone.”
Then she added,
“Ah, of course he’s an ‘ex-husband’ now, but that’s it.”
“Oh, that’s a misunderstanding!”
In an instant, Ines’ face sank as cold as a sharply sharpened blade.
Charlotte opened her eyes wide.
It was the first time she’d ever seen Ines, who was always so gentle, making such an expression. At the same time, Ines twisted her lips.
It was a sharp sneer.
“You’re lying naked in the bed with my ex-husband, is it a misunderstanding?”
At the blunt remark, Charlotte felt her face heat up.
Charlotte reflexively pulled the blanket to cover her naked body. Ines looked at Charlotte as if it were interesting.