Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
I quickly headed to the office because I didn’t want to run into other employees.
When I entered the office, I leaned against the closed door and sighed deeply, rubbing my face with both hands.
After accepting my offer, Philen’s behavior toward me became noticeably colder.
Is it a week already?
I and Philen started using honorifics in front of other people.
If there’s no one around, I decided to speak informally with him. But since that day, we had never met together alone, so I never had a chance to do that.
We always called each other ‘Duke’ and ‘Lady Thebesa’. We didn’t exchange jokes or talk as loud as we used to.
“It seems like we became very distant.”
Even if Philen was on the battlefield for six years, I didn’t feel distant at all. But in the last few days, I felt distant. If I knew that it would be like this, I would have told him not to use honorifics.
No. It’s something I should have done. Rather, it was strange if we still spoke informally.
I decided not to think about it again, but I kept thinking about it, so I sighed. Especially, when I thought about that woman, I felt a heavy rock pressing my chest.
It wasn’t long when that woman sent Misa back, maybe she didn’t like her anymore. Instead, she started using the newly hired maid as her exclusive maid, who was hired by Philen after an interview in person. That meant Philen cherished her so much.
If he had shown me a little bit of his interest, I wouldn’t have felt this sad. No, I might have been more disappointed if it had been. I could have been struggling because she definitely didn’t want me to take Philen’s attention from her.
“…what happens to me if she gives birth to a son?”
Would she take my place as the Duchess and would I miserably have to leave the Duke of Williot?
The sudden thought darkened my eyes because I had never thought of any other path than being a Duchess.
After getting engaged to Philen, I was educated to become a Duchess. For more than 10 years, I carried out the Duke and Duchess’s duties.
I never doubted that I would be the Duchess until now. But would I not be able to be the one now? Would I be robbed by an unidentified woman whom I didn’t know where she came from? So what should I do?
If I couldn’t become the Duchess, I’d…
My mind was getting dark before my eyes. It became distant.
I stumbled and sat on the sofa. A lot of documents were waiting for me, but I didn’t want to see them now.
I don’t think it will get into my head anyway, so let’s take a break.
I closed my eyes to find peace in my mind.
The whole world looked black. What if I fell asleep like this, I was worried. Of course, it was a useless worry.
Not long after I closed my eyes, I heard a knock. I got up and arranged my messy hair and clothes.
It’s time to work. I thought it’d be an aide…
Unexpectedly, it was Philen who opened the door.
I stood up, slightly surprised.
It was the first time he came to my office after returning to the mansion.
I asked with half-anxiety and half-pleasure. “What’s going on?” Since there’s no one here, I was talking like it used to be.
“You called a costume designer before.”
“Yes, I did.”
To participate in the upcoming banquet, I called out a costume designer and accessory craftsman to match Philen’s clothes and accessories.
“Is there a problem?” Is that why you are here?
If that’s the case, I’d ask if it’s better to change it right away before it’s too late but Philen frowned.
“You have no idea what the problem is?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t match her clothes.”
“Are you talking about the woman you brought?”
I wanted to know that woman’s name, but I didn’t want to put it in my mouth, so I called her like that on purpose.
“Yeah. When I checked, I found that she didn’t match any single clothes. Why did you do that?”
Are you asking me that question now?
I replied, pressing down my burning irritation. “I’ll ask the other way around. Why should I do that?”
“Why should you do that? It’s obvious.”
“How is it obvious?”
Pilen frowned as I kept asking.
“I didn’t expect such a smart girl like you would ask something like that.”
“Thank you for thinking I’m smart, but no matter how much I think about it, I don’t know. So can you explain it to me?”
Of course, I didn’t understand. I was very upset. The reason he came to my office for the first time was to ask about her. There’s no way I couldn’t feel upset.
The half-pleasant that I felt disappeared and that place was filled with irritation. I regretted having a conversation with him this time.
“Cecily came to this mansion naked with nothing. The clothes she’s wearing are all she has.”
“That’s why.” Philen continued with a strong impression. “If you had a little thought, you should have arranged some nice clothes for her. We’re preparing baby supplies for our upcoming baby.”
“Why do I have to do that? Can she do it herself?”
“She is pregnant. What if she overdoes it and gets a miscarriage?”
Is it too much to match clothes and prepare baby supplies…
“And you’re the hostess of the mansion.”
Hostess. The word completely cut off the strings of my reason.
I twisted my lips and shot Philen. “Do you think I’m the hostess of the mansion?”
“Of course. You’re the woman I’m going to marry. Who else would be the hostess of the mansion?”
I hated myself, who said that at least my place wouldn’t be taken by her.
“And you’re still asking me to take care of her?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Seeing his eyes were wide open, Philen really didn’t seem to understand what I was saying.
I already knew he was tactless, but I didn’t think he would be this stupid. I was thinking about what to explain, but Philen added.
“Leila, I don’t think you know, but it’s the hostess’s job to take care of the guests who come to the mansion.”
“Guest?” I tilted my head and asked back.
“She has my child, how can she be a simple guest? Not a guest, it should be considered a mistress.”
He didn’t want to talk in circles, so he asked me bluntly. “Don’t tell me, you have been angry about that?”
Now, as if he finally realized why I was angry, Philen smiled a little and came right in front of me.
“Leila, I say once again, you are the only woman I’m going to marry. She only had my child for one night’s mistake.”
One night’s mistake. Will it be like that?
“If she hadn’t had my baby, I wouldn’t have brought her here. I had to bring her because she had my baby. I didn’t want to be a heartless man who abandoned his child.”
I really wanted to ask if he treated her too kindly because of that, but I endured it because it seemed like I was too childish.
“When Cecily has the baby, I will take him into the mansion.”
“I will put him into my family register.”
“Because it’s my blood anyway.”
Yeah, you would. I didn’t understand the heart, but I understood the head.
My father, Count Thebesa, did the same. I became lady Thebesa like that.
So I fully understood what he was saying, but that’s all. I kept my mouth shut because I still didn’t get the ready answer.
“If you understand what I’m saying, try to match her dress now.”
He interpreted himself as such and began to talk bullshit.
“There’s no time to make a custom dress, so let’s go with a readymade dress.”
Wait. There’s no time to make a custom dress? Don’t tell me…
“…are you going to take her to the capital?”
“Mm. If we leave her alone in the mansion, she’ll be bored, so we’ll take her to look around the capital.”
How could that be the behavior of the man who had no choice but to bring her?
I thought I could trust him even if he really liked her.
There was no way to prevent Philen from taking that woman to the capital. If he said he’s taking her to the banquet, I could stop him by making an excuse to be aware of other people’s eyes. But it’s not a problem with taking her to the capital.
I felt very offended and I didn’t like it. But it was my loss by saying this, “Yeah, do whatever you like.”
If I throw out my pride, I’d be crushed, and eventually, I’d have to obey him. So I decided to let him do whatever he wanted from the beginning.
“But don’t tell me to take care of her. Do it on your own for that part.”
“You haven’t understood what I’m talking about yet?”
“I understand. I fully understand what you’re talking about, but not this.” I said, staring at Philen with cold eyes. “If you really think of me as a fiancée and a woman to marry, don’t ever tell me to take care of her.”
If he couldn’t understand what I was saying this time, I was ready to fight him greatly.
Fortunately, Philen didn’t mention her anymore to me as if he understood me well.
I didn’t even say anything about her, and everything seemed to go back to the beginning.
Although my feeling was rising little by little, at least it was still on the surface.
Philen called the designer to match that woman’s clothes. She stayed with me the whole time choosing clothes.
When I called him and said that he had to match my clothes to go to the capital, he didn’t even show his nose, saying to do it on my own.
As expected, Philen seemed to have a heart for that woman.
I was a little disappointed, but that’s all. I wasn’t engaged to him in the first place hoping for his love. What I wanted was the title, Duchess Williot. A place where I could do whatever I wanted to do.
A good reason to get out of that damn house. Anything else was good if that was guaranteed.
Of course, if my fiancé got acquainted with another woman, it would be heartbreaking. That said, I was able to endure it because my position wasn’t threatened.
Although the existence of the mistress was not officially recognized, many nobles had more mistresses than expected.
Even if they swore on the outside, it was also an atmosphere of acknowledging implicitly. I didn’t want to see her as much as possible. Soon, even if I had a child I gave birth to, I had no intention of conversing with her face to face.
What I didn’t want to happen always happened.