Chapter 2

Translator: Alyalia

Editor: Yommie

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01. Crack (2)

 

Perhaps there was an important report to be made. There was a short delay after he called Ana. His concentration was truly amazing. It wasn’t common for him to call her in the meantime.

 

Perhaps it bothered him a little because Ana rarely expressed her preference and spoke as if she was criticizing her husband. Ana answered calmly, turning her eyes back to the booklet.

 

“No. That can’t be.”

 

In fact, she had no regrets about her husband’s unusual hobby. She was surprised that someone who had always been gentle could be obsessed and enjoy such physical activity. Still, other than commenting that it was a little inhuman, she was indifferent.

 

Surprisingly, her husband was so into it that she didn’t hear anything from him for two days. However, just because her husband hadn’t informed her for two days didn’t mean her life would be greatly affected.

 

Receiving it like a reward, she pretended to be happy to receive the high-quality fur that he had packed and handed to her, but in reality, it was just so-so. Ana wasn’t interested in animal skin, but she liked the oriental silk woven from the silkworm thread and beautiful lace and embroidery made by hand.

 

There was a moment of silence. The couple were briefly distracted by their respective work. As Ana turned two or three more pages, Garcia murmured. “That’s a relief.”

 

Soon, they said nothing until they reached the mansion.

* * *

Being responsible and supervising the finances of the family and the mansion isn’t as easy as it appears on the surface. Ana thought that a noble lady’s life was like a swan.

 

At first glance, they appear to be swimming leisurely across the lake, gracefully picking out their white feathers, but this is possible because their feet are struggling unsightly beneath the surface of the water.

 

Like a corset to create a thin, flimsy waist, and how a lady’s maid carrying parasols and hats like holding their lives to keep out a single ray of sunlight from their lady’s skin, her tired eyes carefully examined complex budget documents.

 

Of course, the Tudor family has a huge family that is historically almost 300 years old, so they have a separate budget manager. However, she has never neglected to supervise the family’s money since she entered the family. Gardens, parties, banquets, etc., as well as the work and employment of employees, are basic.

 

Her husband, Garcia, who was straightforward regarding public matters such as business and work, also acknowledged her meticulous handling of work. In fact, Ana wasn’t as memory-wise or intelligent as Garcia, but she was a hardworking person. It was because of her meticulous and responsible personality.

 

Now, in their third year of marriage, she has somewhat mastered reading through the documents, marking the parts to ask the tax collector. Ana stretched her body. Her eyes hurt a little.

 

As she stopped working and rested while drinking tea, her nerves relaxed, and she felt drowsy. The moment she looked at the garden beyond the window, her old memories came back to her.

 

“Read books in moderation. You’re going to hurt your eyes.”

 

Isn’t it better to read stuff like that than run around at our age?

 

“Madam.”

 

The maid called her again when her master didn’t answer. Madam. It was only after a long time that a response came. Ana straightened her back as if snapping out of the daze and asked in a clear voice.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“It’s the painting that you bought a month ago.”

 

Ah.

 

While Garcia’s hobby is hunting, Ana’s hobby is collecting paintings and supporting artists. Her preferences and hobbies as a lady continued even after she got married.

 

Ana felt nostalgic for a moment, but then she came to her senses when she saw the maid quietly bow her head. Why am I like this? She found it funny that her sentiment came up immediately after she had distracted herself for a moment. She smiled, straightened her expression, and opened her mouth.

 

“I see. I said before that I wanted to meet the artist who painted the painting.”

 

Among the many paintings the broker brought, that painting immediately caught her eye. The deep blue sea, the emerald sky, and the only red girl on the blue paint. The girl and the sea in the painting looked so alive and real as if each brushstroke carried emotion and soul.

 

Ana, who was fascinated by a painting by an unknown artist, was unusually excited and strongly insisted on meeting them. She intended to buy their paintings, prioritize their collections, and sponsor their future works. However, the answer that came was unexpected.

 

“I’m sorry, Madam. That’s…”

 

The painting broker awkwardly explained that the artist didn’t like meeting nobles. It was a reason she had never thought of.

 

In many cases, it was difficult for artists to freely engage in artistic activities without the support of a wealthy person. That’s why an artist deserves to dream of the sponsorship of the nobles. The more solid their support, the higher the chance the artist will spread their wings.

 

Although it was difficult to accept, she believed that since artists often have a difficult way of thinking for ordinary people to understand, there was something to do with it or a philosophy of its own. Especially if it’s an artist who created such outstanding works. There must be something they’re pursuing.

 

“I see. Instead, please let them come to me at any time if they change their mind.”

 

The broker bowed his head in apology and retreated. That was a week ago.

 

Ana frowned between her eyebrows. “The artist wants to meet me?”

 

Are they looking for financial support? If that’s the case, it’s not a bad thing at all. Though she’s not sure why they suddenly changed their mind.

 

His name is… Did he say Siguin Noel?

 

Ana followed the maid down the central stairs to the parlor. She passed through the red carpet, the colorful wallpaper, chandeliers, beautiful statues, and mahogany wall decorations, then arrived at a hall with a terrace overlooking a bright garden beyond an arched wall.

 

It was an old-fashioned parlor with a portrait created to commemorate the marriage of Marquis Tudor and his wife. It was also her favorite space. And a man was looking up at the portrait.

 

Ana involuntarily stopped walking, influenced by the painter’s mysterious aura. It wasn’t because of his appearance. He doesn’t have that kind of stature.

 

The man was much taller, and although his clothes were shabby, including a worn traveling cloak, he didn’t look that shabby, perhaps because of his sturdy build. The black curly hairs that poked out from his hood gleamed like an untamed wild beast, exuding a sense of wild freedom.

 

Perhaps, as soon as she captured that familiar and unfamiliar backside, or from the moment she smelled the strange air he exuded as he looked up at the portrait, or from the moment she entered the parlor, she felt a hunch.

 

The man turned around and looked at her.

 

Ah.

 

Her eyes opened wide. She thought she had stepped back, but she hadn’t. This is because her body was already stiff.

 

That face was exposed under the bright light. The man who smiled brightly overlapped with the boy who had grown up. His black eyes, full of longing and thirst, flickered. His parched lips whispered silently.

 

Ana.

 

Unbelievable. Why is he standing here, looking at me?

 

He was her first love. 

* * *

Her first love came to her at fifteen, at the summer house ripe with heat.

 

She remembered how dark the eyes of the boy brought by her uncle were. It made her couldn’t help but sneak glances at him. Although known as a precocious and well-behaved lady, at that age, Ana had a budding curiosity and naive liveliness towards boys her age just starting to sprout.

 

Naturally, they made eye contact, and he turned his head away. Everything from the bluntly downcast eyes to the hand that kept restlessly picking at his hair to the pursed lips without even saying a greeting was a reaction that went against the etiquette that Ana had learned.

 

The young Ana was embarrassed by the boy’s reaction and just fiddled with the hem of her skirt. It was both embarrassing and awkward for her.

 

But eye contact was probably a natural outcome. Unlike Ana, who scanned the boy from the corner of her eye, the boy had stared at her blatantly from the start.

 

“Say hello. This is Ana of Dupont. To you, she would be your second cousin.”

 

Once again, his black eyes completely engulfed her vision. Facing the boy directly, Ana fidgeted her fingertips under her skirt. With a lightly tanned face, stubborn lips, and shadowed eyes, the handsome boy, who was fitting boyish, stared straight ahead in a way that could make someone uncomfortable and speak.

 

“Siasen.”

***

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