William still had a lot to say to Chloe.
However, these weren’t words that he could say in front of her husband, Eric.
Realizing this, William just nodded.

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“Then, please return.”

Eric pointed to the door in a polite, yet firm manner.

“I also have a lot to discuss with my wife.”

William wanted to say something about Eric’s cheeky attitude, but he couldn’t get angry in front of Chloe.
And Eric was about to become a divorced man anyway.

The woman who William loved would abandon Eric.
What could be more pleasant than this?

William gladly cheered himself up.
Then, he turned to Chloe.

“I’ll contact you soon.”

Chloe smiled softly.

“I’ll be waiting.”

As she said this to William, she didn’t notice it—what kind of expression Eric had as he watched them.

 

* * *

 

After William left, Eric sat opposite Chloe.
Perhaps he came in a hurry because his clothes were a bit messy.

Chloe had a passing thought.
She wanted to straighten out his crooked tie for him, but she immediately gave up that idea.
He wouldn’t appreciate the gesture anyway.

Chloe sat there calmly and stared back at Eric.
Then, Eric spoke.

“I guess you’re all better now.”

With his legs crossed, he linked his arms together as well.

“You even have another man here at home.”

Chloe frowned unconsciously.
How could Eric think like that about Chloe and William?

“William is like an older brother to me.
There’s no reason for you to say that.”

“You must really be recovered now.”

Eric said this with irritation.

“No.
Even when you’re sick, you must have had a lot to talk about.”

“What is it that you want to say to me?”

Chloe couldn’t figure out what he was thinking.
Eric raised his head, sneering at her.

“What did you talk about with him?”

It was a question that was even more incomprehensible for Chloe.
Why was he persistently questioning Chloe and William? She sighed quietly.

“He asked me about what I’d do after the divorce, and I said I’d go to the west coast.
That’s all.”

“That divorce.
Until when are you going to be so fixated on it?”

Eric’s tone was laced with venom.
Chloe’s brows furrowed.

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“You said that we can get a divorce after the Fourth Princess gets married.
Didn’t you agree to that?”

Eric remained silent.
Instead of answering, he just stared at Chloe.

His gaze was so relentless that Chloe unknowingly cowered and crouched her shoulders.
But knowing that he wouldn’t harm her—Eric wasn’t that kind of man, fortunately—she lifted her chin more confidently.
But then Eric’s lips opened.

“The reason you want to divorce me,”

He looked at Chloe with a cold gaze.

“Is it only because I don’t love you?”

“’Only,’ you say.”

Chloe frowned and lowered her eyes.

Only.

How could love be just that?

For her, love was…

“Love is everything to me.”

It was her life.
This was all she had.

How could he speak of it so insignificantly?

“You took all of that away.”

She clenched her teeth as she said this.
On the other hand, Eric’s expression was indifferent.
He stared back at her without any emotion.

“I’m so sick and tired of it.”

He muttered under his breath.

“How long are you going to be so delusional about love?”

At the word ‘delusion’, Chloe became furious.
She raised her voice to a degree.

“You don’t know anything.

“Do I have to know?”

“Even this attitude of yours is something I do not like.”

Chloe clenched her fist.

“You don’t want to know anything about me.
Why do you want me by your side when you’re just treating me like a doll? I’d rather you divorce me.”

“And I’m telling you that I don’t want a divorce!”

A resounding shout filled the room.

Chloe widened her eyes, but she soon closed them slowly.
She held her hands together tightly.

“Why?”

Chloe spoke with her eyes closed.

“Why don’t you want to divorce me?”

Eric loosened his tie, frustrated.

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“I already told you.
There’s no reason for it.”

“And I keep telling you the reason clearly.
Countless times.”

She had said it over and over.

She wanted a divorce because he did not love her.

But why was he saying that there’s no reason?

And, Chloe thought, he was disregarding her feelings.

“You really don’t listen to me at all.”

She continued to talk with her eyes closed.

Because she didn’t want to see Eric’s cold expression.

If she saw his indifferent gaze here… She might go mad.
Avoid it.
She just wanted to avoid it.

Silence stretched before them.

Eric didn’t say anything.
Instead, he clenched and unclenched his fists, breathing heavily.

“Fine.”

After a long silence, a single word was finally uttered.

Chloe opened her eyes and looked at Eric.

“I’ll do it for you.”

“What?”

“Divorce.”

Eric said so as he stood up.

“I promise you.
The moment the Fourth Princess marries, we will divorce.”

His gaze was firm.
It was much colder than Chloe had thought.

And she had a fleeting thought.

Rather than loving her…

It was much easier for this man to divorce her.

“Satisfied?”

…Yes.
That’s all that mattered.

Chloe swallowed those words and nodded.

Her heart was hurting.
Her mouth was dry.

 

* * *

 

He finally said that they would get a divorce.

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Her husband said so.

Of course, she would still have to wait until the Fourth Princess would be wedded to someone, but at the end of the day, he agreed to divorce her.

Chloe sat on the sofa, alone in the empty room as she looked blankly into space.
Her eyes were as empty as the room, as lonesome as the cold weather.

It was something she didn’t want to do.

She came here to the capital to get a divorce and eventually gave the documents to her husband.

She should be happy with the current situation.

But Chloe couldn’t feel that way.
Strangely, her heart ached.

She couldn’t breathe properly.

Was it because of her illness?

But it was much too painful.
She didn’t have a fever and she wasn’t coughing, but her heart was throbbing with too much pain.
It felt as though her heart was ripped open.

‘Is it because of the divorce?’

Yes.
It was because of that.

She didn’t know that it would hurt this much.
The consent to divorce finally came out of her husband’s mouth, but she didn’t know that she would be left so forlorn.

Did she want him to oppose until the end? Did she want him to tell her that he wouldn’t divorce her until the very end?

No.

She came all the way here for a divorce.
She had to get a divorce.
She had to separate from him.

But why did it hurt so much…

“Hicc…”

Chloe sobbed as she crouched down.

Maybe she didn’t want to get divorced.
She had also wanted to give up hope when she was waiting outside for him to come even as the blizzard blew fiercely, but just as she had waited for him until the bitter end…

She was weak.

She couldn’t do anything on her own.
She always had to get help from someone else.
That’s how she had lived all this time.

That’s why she wanted her husband to have a momentary weakness as well.
She wanted him to ask her for help.
She wanted him to be someone who couldn’t live without her.

She was terribly selfish.

“How stupid.”

She was a foolish woman.

The word fit her perfectly at this moment.

But there was no turning back.

Now that she had lost both hope and love, there was nothing else she could do.

 

* * *

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The next day—

Chloe didn’t want to leave her room.
She just wanted to lie down like this.
She didn’t want to think about anything.

As it was, she was already weighed down by her thoughts.

But she couldn’t stay that way.

Because today was the day a banquet was being held at the Duke of Antre’s estate.
It was absurd that Eric told her about it on the same day, sending the notice through Daniel, but she couldn’t say no.

It was already publicly known that she was in the capital, so if she let her husband go to the banquet alone, rumors would spread as a result.

So Chloe said that she would attend.

She didn’t know how much she would be caught up in it.

They were going to get divorced anyway, so she thought that she should avoid rumors with her husband until then.
Even now, she was still thinking about Eric’s reputation.

She was going to die and disappear from this world in a couple of years, but Eric would remain.
He would continue living even after she died, so even if they’d be divorced, she couldn’t hurt him.

And so Andrea greeted Chloe and prepared in a hurry.

She wore the dress that Eric bought for her, the accessories, the shoes.
Everything was given by Eric.

Chloe looked at her reflection and laughed snidely.

 

·

 

It was quiet in the locomotive.

After she met Eric the next day, he said nothing to her, not even saying hello.
It was something Chloe already expected.

Either way, she also didn’t talk to him because she had nothing to say.

They were silent, and the atmosphere was reminiscent of a storm’s eve.
Chloe sighed, feeling how clammy her hands were inside her gloves.

Then at that moment.

Outside the window, she saw another locomotive that had come to a halt.
Smoke was coming from its engine, which seemed to have broken down.

Looking at the insignia on the locomotive, Chloe realized that it was Count Jassen’s vehicle.
The Count had recently established a cotton factory and achieved great wealth.

Chloe looked out the window and spoke carefully.

“I believe we’re going to the same place.
Shouldn’t we help?”

“Never mind that.”

Eric refused resolutely.

“Let them deal with it on their own.
It would be fine even if they don’t attend.”

“What?”

While she wondered what he was talking about… Screech! The locomotive stopped suddenly along with the loud sound.
The horses whinnied as well.

Someone suddenly jumped in front of the locomotive!

Chloe barely held a hand to her pounding chest.
Who was it?

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