Chapter 4

Translator: Alyalia

Editor: Yommie

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01. Crack (4)

 

The hot summer that started when she was fifteen and ended at seventeen was a hot and intense ecstatic memory for Ana, a past that should be buried forever. Was it because she was still immature or young? To reminisce those memories one by one even felt fatal. Nevertheless, Ana thought it was alright now, but it seemed she was mistaken. As soon as she reunited with him, she felt like going crazy.

 

Garcia, who slightly lowered his eyes and stared at Ana, who did not make eye contact with him, gently opened his mouth.

 

“Do you have any concerns? Please let me know if you need any help.”

 

“Not at all. Thank you for your care.”

 

Perhaps he thought she was worried about some internal or social affairs. It was natural he thought so, considering Ana’s behavior so far. The types and extent of conflicts and difficulties Ana faced were so predictable and uninteresting.

 

She would have made excuses if she had the usual elegant consideration, citing reasonably similar things. Still, Ana had no mind to do so. So, she cut the conversation short and paused a beat later. Was it a little rude?

 

Fortunately, when she glanced at Garcia, he was resuming his meal silently. Ana was relieved. Her husband was a quick-witted man, but as a noble, he was indifferent and kept a certain distance.

 

Ana, who grew up relatively loved by her family, father, and older brother, felt that his personality was a bit cold at first. Even so, she got used to it and overall felt comfortable with his personality.

 

Their relationship and Ana’s personality were quite compatible with her husband’s temperament. This was particularly fortunate, especially for today. However, she had overlooked his gentlemanly manners.

 

As breakfast ended and it was time to move to the sitting room for tea, her husband, as always, approached to escort her. When she placed her hand in his, Garcia’s neat eyebrows suddenly twitched. His large hand grasped Ana’s wrist. He touched Ana’s forehead as he spoke in a low voice.

 

“You have a slight fever. Your complexion doesn’t look good either. I guess you must have been under the weather.”

 

Ana was surprised because she only thought her body just felt heavy. She smiled awkwardly and shook her head. “It’s not that serious.”

 

“That won’t do. I’ll call Sir Perot.”

 

Sir Perot was one of the capital’s prominent doctors and the Tudor family’s personal doctor. Ana immediately turned it down because things were getting bigger than she expected.

 

“No. I just have a headache for a moment. It will get better if I rest.”

 

“Ana.”

 

“If my condition worsens, I’ll send a letter to him.”

 

Garcia had a disapproving look on his face, but he didn’t suggest anything further. Instead, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and escorted her more comfortably.

 

Ana leaned against him familiarly. He intuitively knew how to make her feel more at ease, from the appropriate grip of his hand to the pace of his steps— these little things were ingrained in him. This was one of his qualities that Ana found most comforting. Truly, they were different in many ways.

 

Siasen, the boy full of youthful energy and honest with his emotions, would unhesitatingly take her hand, excitedly leading her to see a fascinating wildflower he had found, or rushing to show her a painting he had done. He was like a young boy, bursting with enthusiasm and unsure of what to do next.

 

There were times when she felt embarrassed by it, but it still felt nice. He was so lovely when he held the petite hand under the sun and led her. She loved the way his black eyes twinkled like stars as he looked back.

 

Upon realizing that she was smiling without realizing it, the nostalgia that had been rising gently within her sharply cooled down to an almost frightening extent. What kind of thought was she thinking? Feeling disappointment and discomfort with herself, she clenched her fists tightly. Moreover, comparing him to her husband. What a foolish thing to do.

 

Unintentionally, she glanced up at Garcia and was about to turn her eyes from his sharp jawline when, at that very moment, he also met her gaze. It was a coincidental timing, as if it were planned.

 

His face, with its slight concern and still gentlemanly kindness, made her uncomfortable today. To be precise, it made her feel uncomfortable with herself.

 

She smoothly averted her gaze and looked straight ahead. Fortunately, they soon arrived at the place where the refreshments were set, allowing her to naturally distance herself from him and calm down her emotions. Her fingertips were cold. Ana lifted the teacup with slightly hurried movements and moistened her dry lips. Her shoulders slumped.

 

“I think it would be better for you to rest at the mansion today.”

 

She was thinking the same thing. There was a tea party, and since the host was Madam Armendi, her close friend, she thought she would understand. When Ana nodded quietly, Garcia took his eyes off his wife and picked up his tea.

 

It was a quiet morning for the couple, no different from usual. Even though it was a time she enjoyed very much, she felt like she wanted to go to her bedroom and rest. She felt embarrassed to look at her husband’s face.

 

When she mentioned feeling unwell, Garcia immediately nodded his head to leave earlier. He had been reading a newspaper, which he promptly folded and stood up from his seat, indicating he had been concerned all along. That made her feel both grateful and apologetic.

 

Just as she was taking his hand to rise, the butler, Yosep, entered the parlor.

 

“Master. Madam.”

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“Madam, a guest has come to visit.”

 

Guest? What immediately came to her mind was Siasen, whom she had reunited with after several years. The moment she recalled his face, which was full of emotions that were difficult to read, she felt suffocated. Thankfully, Garcia asked instead while she was frozen. A subtle look of displeasure appeared on his face.

 

“At this early hour? Who is it?”

 

“That, when Madam buys the painting…”

 

Her heart pounded wildly as soon as the word ‘painting’ came out. Ana was almost scared to check her own expression. Her slender fingers dug into her palm as she clenched her hand, sneaking a glance at her husband’s demeanor. His face was turned away from her, so she couldn’t see his expression.

 

“It’s the broker. He has something important to tell.”

 

“If it’s not urgent, let’s discuss it later,”

 

“No.”

 

Ana quickly interrupted, cutting in. A mix of relief and strange excitement made her speak impulsively. As Garcia turned to look at her, she nonchalantly lifted her lips in response.

 

“It must be about the matter I requested. Garcia, you must be busy, so you can go ahead upstairs.”

 

If she went this far, even if it was an unusual situation, he would understand and move on. Regardless of his affection as a couple, he was a man who respected his wife’s privacy. And just like she said, he was a very busy man.

 

However, the man who would usually turn after advising her to take care of her illness was intently gazing into Ana’s face. His expression was always calm and quiet, but his eyes were slightly narrowed. Even the butler tilted his head in confusion, making it clear that it wasn’t just Ana’s illusion.

 

“Alright. Keep it short.”

 

It was a gentle suggestion, yet there was an inexplicable feeling that it couldn’t be declined. Without realizing it, Ana nodded in agreement. “Yes.”

 

“Take a good rest today, Wife.”

 

His deep and elegant gold eyes held a tender light and curved slightly. Any faint of unease vanished without a trace. It must have been just because of her concern.

 

After a brief kiss on the cheek, Ana watched his retreating figure for a moment longer before turning to the butler. A strange emotion was stirring again in her chest. Anyway, she needed to meet the guest who had said having an important message.

 

“Lead the way.”

 

She received a shawl from the maid, then wrapped it around her shoulders, and hurried her steps. As she ascended the stairs, he didn’t notice Garcia’s gaze lingering on her from below.

 

The broker, who had been waiting and twisting his hat in his hands, bowed deeply as if his back would break. But upon hearing the purpose of his visit, Ana felt a mix of immense relief and a strange disappointment, which further dampened her mood.

 

He had come in a rush, having successfully acquired a piece of art from another artist that Ana had ordered previously. It was a piece she had been willing to pay extra for, yet the joy she expected to feel was surprisingly absent. Nevertheless, she smiled.

 

“Thank you. As expected, you’re a competent broker.”

 

The broker bowed his head in bewilderment at her praise. Her words were excessive praise.

 

“Who else could be a collector with such a discerning eye as yours? For a true connoisseur of art, this level of effort is only natural.”

 

“Save the sweet talk when I purchase a masterpiece later.”

 

Ana responded amiably and looked at the painting that the broker had brought. Despite her troubled state, a fine work of art still had the power to soothe her mind. She planned to hang it in her bedroom. The thought of adoring her room with this piece framed elegantly lifted her spirits slightly.

 

“But Madam, about Siguin Noel, whom you wished to sponsor…”

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