I Don’t Care About Being Liked by the Capture Targets. I Will Be Myself and Free! – Chapter 25

Chapter 25: Dangerous Tea Party with Natural Enemies (Part 1)

(Steed looks terrible!)

The only reason Chloe can think of for someone to turn pale is stomach pain, so she rushes over to Steed, worried about his condition.

“What’s wrong, Steed? You look pale! Did you get a stomachache?”

She peeks at Steed’s face as he sits down. Steed frowns in distress.

“When you act so innocent like that, I feel like forgiving everything that’s been bothering me. If my complexion is bad, it’s because I was worried about you to the point of turning pale.”

Oh, good.

Chloe is relieved to know that nothing has happened to Steed.

“Hey, Chloe. Why did you go out alone? I told you to wait quietly for my arrival.”

“Isn’t it included in the category of [being quiet] to explore the surroundings while waiting?”

“It’s different from taking a walk in the palace garden. I made a promise with you because I thought you would say that.”

Steed stands up and says with genuine disappointment.

“For me, a promise with you is something that I should keep even if it costs me my life. But for you, is a promise with me something that you can easily break?”

“I didn’t mean it like that!”

“Really? Did you really intend to keep the promise?”

Chloe becomes irritated by Steed’s tone, which seems to suggest that she is completely at fault.

Did I do something so bad that I deserve to be blamed so suddenly?

It’s true that she didn’t wait inside the mansion. However, he never said that she couldn’t go outside.

Chloe thought that she was acting within the scope of her promise with him.

However, it felt like making such a rebuttal would be an excuse, so Chloe hesitated. 

Besides, she knew that Steed wasn’t blaming her out of malice.

(I made him worry, didn’t I?)

On that point, Chloe also felt a sense of guilt.

(I know I should apologize. . .)

But her stubbornness was getting in the way, and she couldn’t bring herself to be honest.

(Because he suddenly got angry. . .Stupid Steed)

She averts her gaze from Steed, who is still sternly placing his hand on his waist.

Steed’s anger towards Chloe was something she had never experienced before, so she was quite surprised.

Thanks to that, her heart was beating so fast that it was almost painful.

Maybe she was in shock that he was angry.

When the heart is hurt, people tend to become more stubborn than usual.

Because Chloe couldn’t apologize and was sulking, an awkward silence hung between them.

After sighing, Steed was the first to give in.

“I’m sorry. I said it in a mean way. I was really shocked when I heard you were going out.”

When the atmosphere became awkward like this, it was always Steed who took a step forward.

(Because I’m stubborn. . .)

Feeling awkward and apologetic, Chloe fidgeted with her fingertips.

It would have been better if she were a more honest girl.

Even Chloe, who likes herself, couldn’t help but become aware of her own shortcomings in such a situation.

However, if she were to say “I’m sorry” now, it wouldn’t have been a tense atmosphere from the beginning. . .

In the end, what came out of Chloe’s mouth was the opposite of what she really felt.

“. . .There’s no reason for Steed to apologize.”

Thankfully, Steed is used to Chloe’s stubborn attitude.

Besides, he probably wanted to restore his relationship with Chloe.

He gently shook his head and then bowed his head, saying, “I’m sorry.”

“At least, I’m the one making you look like that now. I want Chloe to always be smiling. That’s why I’m trying to save you from ruin. . .I don’t want to make you cry.”

“I-I’m not crying!”

“Hehe. That’s right.”

Somehow, their usual exchange returned, and she felt relieved.

However――.

“Anyway, I’m glad nothing happened to you. Marion and Oliver are here in this summer resort. I was worried that things would become irreparable if they ran into each other, so I couldn’t relax.”

(Uh. . .well. . .)

Chloe never expected Marion’s topic to be brought up here.

Steed is not unaware of Chloe freezing in place.

“Chloe? What’s wrong?”

Questioned with a puzzled expression, one side of her cheek twitched.

“What’s wrong? What are you talking about?”

“It’s nothing. But just now, you clearly flinched, didn’t you?”

“Well. . .How was it?”

“Sigh. . .Chloe, do you really think you can deceive me like that?”

Is it because she has something to hide in her heart? 

The sound of her heartbeat grows louder and louder.

Unable to bear the awkwardness, she averts her gaze. But then her cheeks are cupped by both hands, and their eyes meet.

(Ah, this is the worst situation.)

Seeing Steed’s face clouding over again, Chloe feels like burying her head in her hands.

“Could it be that something happened with Marion and Oliver?”

Steed calmly asks, his eyes no longer smiling.

Honestly, she finds his sharpness a bit irritating.

Just when she thought they could reconcile.

If she were to mention becoming friends with Marion now, it would definitely add fuel to the fire.

“Something did happen, right?”

He says in a lower voice than usual, and Steed closes the distance between them.

(Ugh, he’s. . .so close! This is the second time today this situation has happened. . .)

Unlike Zach Neal, Steed doesn’t whisper sweet words.

He just stares into Chloe’s eyes, trying to uncover the truth behind her secret.

What would happen if she honestly told him what happened today?

But Chloe didn’t have the option to lie.

Because it feels like she’s feeling guilty about becoming friends with Marion.

(But why do we have to talk about it now. . .)

While cursing the bad timing, Chloe opens her mouth with a feeling as if she’s heading to the executioner’s block.

The guilt of breaking a promise and the desire to protect Marion clash in her mind, leaving her in a constant state of confusion.

“. . .It’s nothing.”

“Huh? What?”

She says in a barely audible voice, and as expected, Steed couldn’t hear it clearly and asks again. 

(I understand. I should make up my mind properly.)

Chloe takes a deep breath and speaks clearly in her usual voice.

“I met Marion!”

It was good until she said that.

But as soon as she spoke, she became scared of Steed’s reaction and looked away again.

This time, she won’t be forcibly pulled back.

She takes a deep breath and cautiously observes Steed’s reaction.

In his eyes, there was surprise and sadness.

“It was warned so many times!”

It would have been better to be blamed for that.

“Why didn’t you tell me that first?”

“Because Steed asked why I went out.”

“You know I asked because I was worried if you had met the heroine, right?”

There was no need to say such a mean thing.

“I don’t like indirect expressions that sound sarcastic. If you have a complaint, you should say it more clearly.”

(Oh no, I did it again.)

Her words were too harsh. She was aware of it, but couldn’t stop herself.

(Why am I like this?!)

Her emotions and words don’t connect properly.

She doesn’t want to fight with Steed.

(That’s right. Anyway, calm down.)

She tells him about what happened in a concise manner.

She focuses only on that.


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