e to Chloe.

“Please embrace me.”

“…Yes?”

Chloe, who didn’t understand what Eric was saying, widened her eyes.
Eric spoke with somewhat of a nervous expression.

“I can’t kneel down in front of you and give you my knee to step on, can I? So please hold onto me.”

The moment Eric’s arm wrapped around Chloe’s waist, the only thing she could say was, ‘Uhh.’ Then, he picked her up and put her down on the carpet.

It happened in an instant.
And so, Chloe was stunned.
However, Eric didn’t seem to be alright.

“I’ll go with the Count.
So Wife, you should greet the others, too.”

“…Yes, I understand.
Thank you.”

Grounded to her spot, Chloe stared at Eric’s back that was becoming distant.

Her waist that he had touched felt exceedingly warm for no reason.

 

* * *

 

“I believe you’ve forgotten that my wife is a duke’s daughter.”

Eric said this as he scowled at Theo, who was flirting with many women.
With a glass of champagne in one hand, he replied.

“Are you saying that I was rude earlier?”

“Yes.”

“In that sense, your wife was rude to me, too.”

He recalled how Chloe continued to speak stiffly even though he asked her to call him casually by his name.
And she also held only his fingertips as if refusing to shake hands.

Clicking his tongue, Eric also replied to see if he was bothered by it.

“It’s because she hadn’t met a lot of people.
It’s her own way of expressing herself.”

“What’s wrong with you, why are you so nice to your wife?”

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Theo’s eyes were wide, as though he was truly shocked.

“But it’s like that death glare of yours softens when you look at your wife.
Am I wrong?”

“You’re wrong.”

Eric roared.

“I’m so sick and tired of the same thing.”

He unwound his tie and drank champagne.

“It’s been like that since I first saw her.
What a terrible woman.”

Eric ruffled his hair and said this.
When he first saw her… Theo narrowed his eyes.

“Are you talking about the academy days?”

“Yeah.”

Eric nodded.

“She’s driven me crazy ever since I saw her at the academy.
And she always looked at me with those eyes.”

The way she looked at him,

With pure eyes, as if they could never imagine anything impure, enough to pierce him.

The southern academy was always sunny, and she stood tall under such sunlight.
She didn’t even shield herself from its heat with a hand.
She didn’t even frown—as if there was no other light that shone brighter than her.
She looked at him with eyes brighter than the sunlight.
It was still like that now.

Her gaze was as clear as the snow that fell.
Clean.
Pure.
That’s why it drives him even crazier.

”You don’t love me.”

How could he love her?

A noblewoman like her,

How could a filthy commoner like him…

F*ck.

Eric took out a cigar and cleared his mind of this.

“If you don’t like her that much, why don’t you get divorced?”

Theo gauged Eric’s mood and said this.
He lit Eric’s cigar for him.

“I heard that your wife came to the capital for a reason… and that’s divorce.”

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“What?!”

Eric was furious.
Theo was shocked and grabbed the other man by the shoulder.

“Hey hey, calm down.
You’re at a duke’s estate.”

“Do I look like I can stay calm!”

Eric raised his voice.
Without even thinking about the cigar anymore, he glared at Theo.

“Are you going to believe that nonsense gossip? Then I should say that I really don’t have an eye for friends.
To have such a idiotic dunce next to me.”

“Why are you being so aggressive? It’s just something I heard, you know…”

Theo was discouraged and trailed off.
Eric finally took a drag on his cigar.
The dry smoke filled his lungs deeply, then he let out the smoke with his forehead wrinkled.

“But really, is it not that?”

Theo looked over to Eric and tried to read his facial expressions.
Eric averted his eyes from Theo.

Last night, Eric accepted Chloe’s request to divorce.

It wasn’t something that’s said in the heat of the moment.
He already intended to say he would accept the divorce from the moment Chloe said, ‘It’s already the end.’

“Don’t talk bullsh*t.”

Because he truly didn’t think of getting divorced.

“That will never happen.”

 

* * *

 

Gaaasp.

Chloe breathed heavily.
Leaning on a wall, she placed a hand over her chest.

The anxiety that she felt when her mother was cleaning the bookshelf where her diary was hidden, that kind of tension wracked her body.

She hurriedly looked around her.

No one was looking at her.
But at the same time, everyone seemed to be looking at her.
Everyone seemed to know what kind of unprincipled conduct she had done just now.
So she quickly went towards a balcony.

Click.

As soon as she stepped out of the balcony and turned the latch on the door, Chloe collapsed.

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