Chapter 5

 

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“But Ines, we are friends… .”

 

“The more we’re friends, the more polite you should be.”

 

Ines drew the line softly but firmly.

 

Actually, that was correct.

 

In the Kingdom of Lancaster, unless it was relatives or lovers, intimate physical contact was avoided.

 

Charlotte’s behavior was clearly rude. Ines continued talking to Charlotte, who was dazed.

 

“And I don’t think I can grant your request.”

 

“Uh, why?”

 

“Even though we are close friends, you’ll be together in a wagon with a married couple. What would other people think?”

 

Perhaps Charlotte’s asking for such a favor was to show off that she was this close to the Brierton and also to mock Ines.

 

Ines narrowed her eyes.

 

In the future that had now disappeared, Ines had heard quite a few gossip about Charlotte.

 

At that time, Ines didn’t know anything about Charlotte and Ryan’s affair, so they said, ‘It’s just pure friendship’.

 

Ines was too busy to seek affection and was too naive to see the truth.

 

‘I can’t see my reputation tarnished anymore.’

 

Meanwhile, seeing Ines coldly rejecting Charlotte’s request, Ryan was surprised with rabbit eyes.

 

“No, why are you being so cold-hearted?”

 

“What do you mean cold hearted?”

 

Ryan was bruised, but Ines responded back without raising an eyebrow.

 

“Rather, considering Charlotte’s position, wouldn’t it be right  to say no?”

 

“What?”

 

“I’m close to Charlotte, Ryan, and you’ve been friends with Charlotte for a long time, so it doesn’t matter.”

 

Ines shrugged her shoulders.

 

“Charlotte is in a position to care a little bit about other people’s opinions, right?”

 

“No, what do other people’s views matter?”

 

“It does matter. Charlotte is still single, and she is very interested in marriage.”

 

Ines smiled softly, pretending not to know anything.

 

 “She had asked me to introduce her to a gentleman several times.”

 

“Hey, Ines, that’s… ”

 

Charlotte looked into Ryan’s eyes, not knowing what to do.

 

‘Yeah, it’s going to hurt your heart.’

 

Ines twisted her lips.

 

Because in front of Ryan, Charlotte would only pretend to give her lifelong innocence to him.

 

“If you are thinking about getting married, wouldn’t it be better not to do something that could lead to misunderstandings in many ways?” 

 

Ines turned to Charlotte, pretending to know nothing.

 

 “Wait, that’s…”

 

“It doesn’t matter to me, but I think the ladies of the social circle will be prejudiced against your conduct.”

 

“Prejudice?”

 

 “Yes, the prejudice about being overly intimate with married men.”

 

Charlotte’s face heated up in an instant.

 

‘She didn’t notice the relationship between me and Ryan, did she?’

 

Charlotte glanced at Ines, but Ines just had a calm face. 

 

‘Of course not.’

 

Charlotte was a little relieved.

 

Still, her heart felt uncomfortable as if there was a thorn under her fingernail. 

 

You’re saying I’m a vulgar person.… No way, that naive Ines couldn’t say something like that.’

 

 When Charlotte shook her head inwardly.

 

“I didn’t know that Lady Jason was greedy for marriage.”

 

Ryan’s cold voice rang out.

 

‘Ah!’

 

Feeling her heart sink, Charlotte raised her head.

 

She saw Ryan staring straight at her.

 

“Ah, that… ”

 

Charlotte tried to make excuses, but Ines was quicker. 

 

“Ryan, don’t women always like that? Meeting a good man and finding stability is a woman’s greatest happiness.”

 

 “Hey, Ines!”

 

“Charlotte is just dreaming like that.”

 

Pretending to wrap her arms around Charlotte, Ines pushed Ryan further.

 

“But Charlotte has a very lovely side, so she asked me to introduce her to Sir Todd the other day.”

 

 Ryan clenched his fists.

 

William Todd.

 

As the third son of Viscount Todd, he was a gifted man who even joined the Royal Knights with his own abilities.

 

He was the same age as Ryan, the two were compared in every case.

 

‘To be more precise, William’s ability shone through comparison with Ryan.’ 

 

Unlike Ryan, who had nothing before his marriage to Ines, William made a place for himself.

 

Ines’s smile grew a little deeper.

 

“Well, Charlotte even embroidered on the handkerchief to give it to Sir Todd.”

 

“…”

 

“I’m not saying this because she’s my friend, but isn’t she so lovely?”

 

“Yes, that’s right….”

 

After barely giving out that answer, Ryan was silent.

 

There was a lot of force in his jaw as he was biting his molars. 

 

‘His pride is hurt.’

 

Ines, who was looking at Ryan with a happy gaze, got up.

 

“Then I’ll go to the bathroom for a while, you two can continue talking.” 

 

Ines, who walked out, leaned against a place nearby.

 

As she listened, Ryan’s suppressed voice rang out.

 

“Todd? Todd? How could you bring a handkerchief or anything to that man?”

 

Ha, after bursting into an angry laughter. Ryan asked again.

 

“Charlotte, have you been flirting with men other than me?”

 

“I, too, can’t live just being your lover forever, can I?”

 

“Say it now!”

 

Ines, who heard the two of them arguing, grinned.

 

‘There have been times like this before.’

 

The past before regression.

 

Charlotte had a strong desire for marriage, or to be more precise, to raise her status through marriage.

 

Ines had tried to introduce a good man to Charlotte. She thought that if Charlotte found a good mate, she might break up with Ryan.

 

… If that happened, Ines believed that Ryan would return to her. 

 

‘But, even after that, they stuck together like a pair of cockroaches and didn’t even fall off.’ 

 

Ines shrugged and turned around.

 

Now, such a vain thing didn’t matter.

 

What was important to her now.

 

‘New Year’s ball.’

 

There she had to somehow meet the Duke of Sussex.

 

Ines’ dark green eyes sank coldly.

 

***

 

The day of the New year’s banquet.

 

Ines stood in front of the mirror with a tense face. A silver-white dress that completely wrapped around her slender body and fluttered down elegantly.

 

White fur was wrapped around the shoulders to make it more elegant, and emerald earrings matched to the color of her eyes were worn on the earlobes.

 

Although there were no fancy decorations, it did not look shabby. Rather, she was elegant and dignified like a queen. The fabric of the dress itself, and the fur and earrings worn on the body are expensive.

 

‘It’s been a while since I’ve worn these earrings.’

 

Ines touched her ear with a nostalgic touch.

 

She liked the feel of the emerald earrings dangling from her earlobes.

 

‘My mother loved these earrings.’

 

These emerald earrings were her mother’s keepsake.

 

She heard that the price of this pair of earrings was enough to buy a carriage.

 

In commemoration of her father’s fifth wedding anniversary with her mother, he directly asked a famous artisan to make it.

 

However, Ines in her previous life did not even wear these earrings but a few times.

 

“What the hell are those earrings? That’s too extravagant. If you are the hostess of a family, you should know how to be frugal.”

 

It was because Ryan said so.

 

If she hadn’t returned to the past, if she had been taken to a mental hospital and spent the rest of her life there….

 

‘… Could the earrings belong to Charlotte?’

 

Ines bit her molar teeth.

 

“Madam, the carriage is ready.” 

 

Just then, the maid’s call was heard.

 

“Okay, I’m coming down.”

 

Ines turned around and went outside.

 

Ryan, who was waiting on the first floor of the mansion, found her and narrowed his brow.

 

“Isn’t your outfit too flashy?”

 

Reprimands flew in at once.

 

“I said I don’t like extravagant women. How long will you continue to dress so immaturely and expensively…..” (*Can I strangle this guy already?)

 

“I like it.” (Ines)

 

“What?”

 

In an instant, Ryan’s eyes widened.

 

Ines added casually.

 

“I know what you like. But I like it, so I dressed like this.”

 

“… Ines?”

 

“You said I should know how to be frugal as a family hostess, right?”

 

Tick, tick, tick. The heels of the shoes collided with the marble floor, making a distinct sound.

 

Ines, standing right in front of Ryan, reached out and touched her husband’s collar. He thought Ines’ long, slender fingers would touch his neatly angled top of his suit, but her hands headed to his tie.

 

“There is some truth to that statement, but you still have to think about the face of Count Brierton.”  (Ines)

 

Ines tightened the tie with force.

 

“Ugh.”

 

At the breath that tightened in an instant, Ryan stiffened his shoulders.

 

“You wear the finest suits you have tailored in the dressing room, and you wear silk ties from the East.” (Ines)

 

Ines gently folded her eyes.

 

“Isn’t it all for the sake of the Count’s face?” (Ines)

 

“That’s true… but.”

 

“So from now on, I will also think about the Count’s face when I dress up.” (Ines)

 

Ines finished her speech calmly.

 

“Ack, ack!”

 

Ryan, whose conscience was stabbed, coughed for no reason and avoided his gaze.

 

Because he always used excuses to make Ines dress poorly while he indulged in all kinds of extravagance.