Chapter 12

A sense of trust felt that felt incomplete through his walls.  Solid but hollow. She couldn’t really feel disappointed or unsatisfied because he was perfect in every other aspect. Kind, considerate, and even charming. All these virtues made their gentle relationship satisfying and complete, as neither of them demanded too much from the other.

 

Ana had always considered it just his nature, assuming that he was inherently like that. Surrounded by many people but was indifferent himself and elegantly drew a line without causing offense if someone overstepped.

 

She had wondered if he was a cynic tired of human connections or arrogant, but it was neither. It was more like… being from a different world.

 

He was a man whose thoughts were difficult to read as if covered in fog. Anais couldn’t imagine what lay in the hidden depths of Garcia, whom she deeply respected and trusted, but she thought everyone had their secrets. Watching him, she suddenly wondered how he would react if her first love reappeared or if she had once loved someone fiercely. The answer seemed obvious.

 

He would probably remain silent and then ask what he should do or, with a light smile, suggest they work together to maintain their honor. It was so predictable that it made her laugh.

 

Living together for a few years after marriage, Ana superficially understood why Garcia, as her fiancé, had suggested they not force emotions on each other. He was someone who couldn’t imagine leaving his orderly, unruffled present for something as deep and intense as love. That made him a more reliable and dependable partner. Still, in matters of emotion and heart, he felt like a stranger from a distant land.

 

Perhaps even explaining her complex feelings honestly wouldn’t make him understand. It was a matter already agreed upon in the past. But she hesitated to reveal it because she felt it was inappropriate and embarrassing to expose such feelings to her husband.

 

After all, just because the other person feels nothing doesn’t mean she doesn’t. It was a past to be let go of. And another reason was…

 

“Ana, you should get some sleep.”

 

They needed to rest early for tomorrow’s schedule. She was led to bed, and his fingertips felt slightly cold as he held her. Ana shivered lightly at the chill touching her ears and snuggled deeper into him. He enveloped her in his long arms like a spider’s web.

 

Ana whispered faintly, “Good night.”

 

…For some reason, she felt that confessing her troubled thoughts to him would be an irreversible mistake.

 

“Good night to you too.”

 

She couldn’t fathom why that was.

 

* * *

This morning, she woke up as if on cue, her body tensed with anticipation. About to get up, Ana paused upon seeing Garcia still asleep beside her. His deep, peaceful slumber seemed foreign, and she sat watching him for a long while.

 

His face, usually polite and distant when awake, looked infinitely gentle in sleep. It was strange to see such a mature man looking so young. After all, he was still a young man, not yet thirty.

 

Carefully, she brushed his hair from his forehead. The soft touch and warmth tickled her. He must be sleeping deeply since he still didn’t open his eyes, unusual for someone as sensitive as him.

 

The soft morning light and his quiet breathing calmed her initially anxious heart. Lying next to him, looking at him deeply asleep, she felt peace. The peace she loved.

 

But… he is very handsome. Dense eyelashes, pale cheeks, rosy lips – he looked like an angel. Such perfection in appearance and character seemed unreal. She really married a man from a painting. Was this occasional feeling of shallowness because of that? No, she knew better than that.

 

Gently brushing his forehead, their eyes met as he woke up. Despite just waking up, his gaze was clear. She smiled softly and spoke first. “Did you sleep well?”

 

Is it because he hasn’t woken up yet? He didn’t reply. She kissed him lightly and got up, his quiet gaze following her.

 

An, the maid, had set up a simple breakfast. It seemed that Garcia hadn’t yet woken up from his sleep, so she went into the bathroom to wash first. After she thoroughly washed up, Garcia sat down in the chair, his eyes downcast and lost in thought.

 

His eyes, which had just opened, were clear and bright. He must have already bathed in his room, as his silver hair was slightly damp. Garcia greeted her as she approached. “Good morning, Wife.”

 

“You seemed deeply asleep. Aren’t you tired?”

 

He smiled silently and pulled out her chair. The hot black tea steamed with a pleasant aroma. They began their breakfast in a comfortable silence. While she was enjoying a warm scone, Garcia, reading the newspaper, casually asked. “Is the exhibition the only thing on your agenda today?”

 

Her arm paused mid-motion. After elegantly finishing her bite and wiping her mouth, she replied. “Yes. Is there something at the manor?”

 

“No.”

 

His golden eyes left the newspaper and looked directly at her. The sunlit gaze felt piercing.

 

“I was just asking.”

 

His smile was gentle, but Ana looked at him curiously as he turned back to the newspaper. In their three years of marriage, he never asked unnecessary questions. He hardly even asked about mundane daily schedules. If needed, he would inquire with the butler, and if their schedules overlapped, they naturally joined each other.

 

They spent a pleasant time together, respecting each other’s space and not prying unnecessarily. Most noble families were like that, except her family, the Dupon, who were unusually affectionate for nobility.

 

And yesterday too, he asked about her taste in paintings out of the blue. Even if it was a whim, it was unlike him to do it twice. That was so uncharacteristic of him. It seemed trivial, but Garcia was a man without exceptions.

 

She contemplated asking but decided against it. Perhaps he just wanted to act on a whim. He was just slightly out of character. Instead, she initiated conversation. “Garcia must be busy today too.”

 

“Not particularly. Just the usual.” He answered her trivial question sincerely.

 

Expecting this, Ana sipped her tea, enjoying its fragrance. Her spirits lifted slightly. The sound of the newspaper folding came from across the table.

 

“White dress, huh? Isn’t that a color you rarely wear?”

 

Ana set down her tea. Garcia picked up his cup, and she glanced at the dress she had chosen for the day, smiling awkwardly. It was a pearl-colored dress with a subtle sheen.

 

The dress, embellished with pearls and white corsages, was beautiful. For no particular reason; her eyes were just drawn to it. The maids seemed a bit surprised, indicating she rarely chose white. She used to wear it often as a girl. When has that changed?

 

“Did you see it?  The weather is nice, so I thought I’d try something different.”

 

The weather had nothing to do with it. She had decided on that dress days ago. Was there a reason for choosing it? Ah. Ana realized an unpleasant truth.

 

She often wore white dresses when she was a girl because Siasen liked her in them, saying they suited her best. But she stopped wearing it after she got engaged. 

***

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Notes

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