ind of husband and wife is that? They’re worse than strangers.”

“That’s really amazing.
I didn’t know it was that bad.
Why isn’t she getting close to Milord?”

“Do you think I could understand how a noblewoman’s brain works? She never even tried to talk to us, did she? Gosh, it’s all so annoying.”

Their voices grew farther and farther away.

It could be that they’re walking away, or it could be that Chloe had fallen deaf to everything around her.

Left alone in that cruel silence, Chloe suddenly grabbed her own neck.
She squeezed it hard.
If she didn’t do this, her lips would utter a cry.

“Uuurk…”

They were right.

Chloe had never spent the night with Eric.

All throughout their five years of marriage.
Even their first official night never happened.

It’s not as though she never tried.

When her father was still alive, he pressured her endlessly, so she swallowed the shame she felt and reached out to Eric first.

But Eric refused.

What were his eyes like back then? He was so heartless that she didn’t want to remember.

‘It’s not my fault.’

It was because of Eric’s refusal.
Chloe thought so all this time.
But…

‘Is it really my fault?’

She loved him, but he didn’t love her back.

Her mother always said that… It was the woman’s fault if her husband did not love her.

According to what her mother said, then she was entirely responsible.
It was her fault that he did not love her.

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‘What did I do wrong?’

She didn’t know what it was.
But ignorance could not be forgiven, at least in this case.

She’d been living her life the wrong way.
And now, she could only reap what she had sown.

Chloe let go of her neck and sorted out her rumpled dress.

She quickly left that spot and went down the stairs.
As soon as she reached the hall on the first floor, she saw the butler.

“Madam?”

The butler approached her with great surprise, not expecting Chloe to come there.

“Why are you out here, Your Excellency? It’s cold.”

“I have a favor to ask of you.”

A favor? He was surprised once again.
It was very rare for Chloe to ask anything.

“Can you call a carriage for me?”

“A carriage?”

His eyes narrowed quite a bit, then he looked out the large window of the hall.

The snow had slowed for a while, but it was still blowing.

“It will be difficult because of the blizzard.
May I know where you plan on going, Madam?”

“Then when can you call for one?”

“I shall call the horseman as soon as the snow lets up.
But where…”

Chloe breathed out heavily once.
Then, she raised her chin straight up as her blue eyes sparkled dangerously.

“I’m going to see my husband.

She recalled the divorce papers in the drawer.

It’s time to end this mistaken relationship.

 

* * * 

Rattle.

The locomotive shook.

On the icy road, she could hear the horses neighing, and perhaps the wheels had been caught.
However, the horseman didn’t mind it all and continued to ignite the engine.

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Flick, clatter. As the flames ignited, the acrid smoke from the exhaust tank intensified.
The locomotive sped up.

Chloe hurriedly closed the window, the murky smell of coal unwelcome to her senses.

She carefully placed her forehead over the window. Haa. Her breath blew out and the window turned white.
The red sunset could be seen over the hazy horizon.

‘Why don’t you send a telegram instead, Madam? Instead of visiting Milord.’

The butler had recommended this, but Chloe refused.
She wanted to meet him right away before her firm heart would sway.

However, as the locomotive drove along the long road, she felt as though she wasn’t ready to go down this path.

’I don’t know.
He might have a lover.’

Despite the fact that the maid spewed out much sharper words behind her back, this remark wouldn’t leave her ears.

So she thought about it.

Maybe if he left home this early, he might be with his lover right now.

The seed of doubt was clearly embedded deep in her mind.

He was a husband who came home only once every few months.

Even then, he never stayed for more than a week, and he always refused to sleep with his wife who was only ever home.

‘There must be a lover.
There’s no way there’s none.’

Chloe smiled bitterly.

She wondered why she never doubted him before, but the answer came right away.

Because of her pride.
She didn’t allow herself to be the kind of woman who suspected her husband of having an affair.

And due to that pride, everyone but her was convinced that her husband was definitely having an affair.

How wretched.

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How pitiable.

She felt so sorry for herself that she couldn’t stand it.

Thump, thump. She hit her own chest a few times.

However, the dull sorrow filling her heart would not disappear easily.
These dense emotions wouldn’t go away just because of this feeble act.

Chloe, who was out of breath for a long time, reached into her bag and pulled out the divorce papers.

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