𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑𝟐: 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨
And a few days later, leaving Anne behind, the Strelitzi couple returned to their own territory.
The last sight I had of my ex-husband was him turning his face away from me, looking completely exhausted.
As I watched the carriage leave with Theodore-sama, I muttered to myself as if speaking to no one.
“In the end, he never looked me in the eyes.”
Theodore-sama placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled in a comforting way.
“I’m glad that he doesn’t have the memory of your dignified eyes in his mind. . . Your beautiful blue eyes, Miss Chloe, must have been too dazzling for him.”
Theodore-sama, as always, showered me with compliments today.
“Everything has settled down.”
Yes, everything had settled down. ーーExcept for one thing.
Today, Theodore-sama, who had taken the day off, and I visited the lakeside villa in Heyerdahl. It was lively with children when we visited before, but when we visited alone, excluding the servants, I suddenly became aware of the distance between Theodore-sama and me.
Sitting on the wicker chairs on the terrace of the villa, we were looking at the lake.
The breeze was gentle enough not to cause waves, and it was comfortable. The majestic Heyerdahl mountain range was reflected on the lake surface.
ーーIt was very quiet.
Theodore-sama had taken off his usual formal attire and was dressed only in a shirt and a traditional stole. I, too, was dressed in a dress similar to a white shirt dress to match him.
“The wind is getting warmer. Summer is coming.”
“. . .Yes.”
With his silver hair and hair tie swaying, Theodore-sama muttered, squinting in the sunlight.
I couldn’t look at his profile, his sturdy figure in light clothing, straight on because I was embarrassed.
As I was looking at the lakeside, Theodore-sama began to speak quietly.
“Thank you for believing in my words that day and going along with my story.”
“. . .You’re talking about the incident with the Strelitzi couple, aren’t you. . .”
I felt like my face was on fire.
At that time, he certainly said that he intended to marry me.
I also managed to get through the situation by pretending that it was a matter of course.
But that wasーーfor the sake of my father, whom Theodore-sama respects, and ultimately, for me, his daughter.
“I want to marry you, Miss Chloe.”
When I looked at him in surprise, Theodore-sama was smiling gently. I wonder if it’s my imagination that his cheeks seem to be faintly flushed.
“Of course, whether you accept me or not is up to you. But. . . I swear that there was no lie or deception in the feelings I showed for you that day in that place. The rest is up to your judgment. . . You don’t have to rush your answer. Compared to the long years when I was watching you from afarーーI am so fulfilled as I am now that I want to thank God.”
Just by being by his side, he squints his eyes happily.
I just didn’t understand.
“Are you sure you want me? Why would someone as respectable and attractive as you. . . want someone like me?”
“I’m not a great or attractive man, Miss Chloe. I’m a pathetic man who fell in love with you from afar, a one-sided love.”
He laughs as if mocking himself.
“I was attracted to you from the start, but as we started spending time together, I fell more and more in love with you every day. Life without Miss Chloe is like all the lights going out in the land of Heyerdahl. Summer is coming, and eventually winter will come. Even on freezing winter nights, I want to sleep holding your warmth. I want to watch over the happiness of our children with you.”
I felt as if his mask was gradually peeling off.
Something like passion was overflowing from his calm eyes that had always maintained a distance.
I faced him and touched the hand that was clenched on my knee.
I thought, what a big hand he has.
With this big hand, this man has been protecting me for a long time, the territory, the adopted children, andーーme.
The inside of my chest suddenly became hot. I wanted to touch him more.
When I looked into Theodore-sama’s eyes, his feverish eyes were staring at me intently.
I was clearly reflected in his light-colored eyes.
“I have a wish, just one.”
“What is it?”
Even the thought of speaking it out loud seemed indecent, but it had completely disappeared from me now.
The dream I had kept locked in my heart spilled from my lips.
“I. . . I want a family of my own. It was a dream I had given up on.”
Theodore-sama was holding my hand.
His face was getting closer.
“Theodore-sama. . . If it’s okay with you, I want to be your. . .”
The rest of my words disappeared into his chest that was pressed against me.
Held in his strong arms, I closed my eyes.
“Let’s become a family. . . I love you, Miss Chloe. I won’t let you go anymore.”
『”𝐴𝑤𝑒𝑏𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠.𝑐𝑜𝑚” – 𝐷𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑎 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒, 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒, 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑢l𝑔𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑛𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ “𝑑𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑢𝑝𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠” 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑥𝑐𝑙𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑡𝑜 “𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠”.』