Erich was her senior at the academy.
They had never been on good terms. Claire hated this young and handsome third generation chaebol who liked to mess with his subordinates.
Especially since it’s obvious that, in a relationship between him and her, she’s going to be the subordinate between them.
He was her senior and she was his junior at the Academy. But even further in the real world, he was Duke Klausener, and she was a mere Baron’s daughter.
While the reason for Erich’s dislike of her was a little more bizarre. He was generally disinterested when it came to other people. Being a great northern aristocrat, it was haplessly apt how elegant and cold he actually was.
She wondered if the reason Erich remembered Claire clearly was because he refreshingly encountered a woman who hated his great and precious self. He must have been showered with only flattery. If not that, then endless favor.
Anyway, their relationship was, to put it simply, rocky. But that’s a story from three years ago. Anything from one’s school days tended to quickly become a distant memory.
It was quite nice to see him after a few years. Claire was very excited yesterday.
Yesterday was a good day when her little sister, who she had raised since her parents died, climbed the podium as the top student of her class at the academy.
So she drank a little bit more than usual, and she went somewhere with Erich for another round of drinks…
Her memory started to fade around that point. When she came to her senses, she was already kissing him.
It may not be right to say she ‘came to her senses’, but… She knew anyway the fact that she did it because she liked it.
Now, back to the present, Erich stared at her as if he was actually speechless. Then, he turned his gaze back to her.
“How on earth did this happen?” she asked.
“You don’t remember?”
“I do. I mean, I just don’t know how exactly it got to this point.”
“…Look who’s talking.”
Erich said in a growl, but he soon glanced downward.
“What? You acted like a beast last night and now you’re going to act like a gentleman?”
“I apologize for that. I drank too much alcohol.”
“Now this is a first.”
“You apologized to me, Senior.”
Erich looked up at Claire again in rage, then covered his eyes with his palms.
“I was wrong yesterday. I didn’t mean to do that.”
“Is that an apology?”
“Well… Mistakes can be evened out. Even if you don’t apologize.”
Claire answered lightly. Then, with a light heart, she glanced around the room.
Threading through her memories, she thought that her clothes might have been thrown on the floor somewhere. No, after thinking about it again, it didn’t seem like they’re in this room.
Claire stopped thinking. She almost remembered something she shouldn’t have thought of.
A piercing gaze stung her. When she turned around, Erich was staring at her. Is there something to be embarrassed of?
“What is it?”
“It’s nothing but a mistake, right? Everything, completely. Something that shouldn’t have happened.”
Claire shrugged her shoulders in an exaggerated way. Erich’s eyebrows shot up like mountains.
“You speak of it so lightly, like losing a wallet.”
“Losing a wallet is not a mere mistake, that’s a big problem. I can’t pretend something like that didn’t happen.”
“So you want to pretend this didn’t happen?”
Why is this man asking about such an obvious thing? Claire thought.
“Or, what, are you going to take responsibility?”
“If it is necessary, then I shall.”
Erich said with a stiff face.
“I can’t say if a Southern Aren, even one that hails from a Barony, is on par with Klausener. But I have no choice but to live with it.”
Claire’s eyes darkened. She could feel blood pressure soaring like never before.
Well, sure. Erich’s words were objectively true. He’s from one of the three most prestigious households of the Empire, the Klausener Duchy, and she was just from a Barony.
Perhaps the general butler of his mansion would hold a title higher than that of a baron. In a family like his, even the butler and the head maid would be nobles. Their relationship would not be as normal employees, but as vassals who had served the family from generation to generation.
Claire knew it already, but she felt so annoyed.
‘Are the only nobles who matter you high-ranked lot? Wow, I’m really speechless.’
Clare was fortunate enough to have been born into a noble family, so she was not in the right to preach liberty, equality, and fraternity at the expense of her own privileges in life.
However, deep in her soul, she could feel the cries of her ancestors, claiming it.
Even if it’s the Emperor who’s saying it, she would still be angry if her family’s being brushed aside like this. But him, a Duke?
If he was her employer, then she would have put up with it because she knew that her neck was on the line no matter what. But they’re not in that kind of relationship, were they?
Didn’t she have nothing to lose here? And did Claire contribute to this mistake alone? Not at all. Did she seduce him one-sidedly? She didn’t really do that either.
She just happened to get caught in the heat of the moment. There’s nothing wrong about a young man and a young woman, who’s at the height of their fiery youth, to spend a night together.
It’s as if the biggest mistake was being pinned onto her, and it’s absurd to hear him say that he would take responsibility as if he’s giving her some huge favor—all the while talking about the difference in their peerages and the fact that she was from a Barony.
Did she ever beg him to marry her?
“Thank you, but I must decline. To be honest, I’m not even grateful to hear that.”
Erich’s lips hardened at Claire’s reply. His face was full of anger.
Claire said confidently.
“Anyway, since we both made a terrible mistake, we’re even, right? Let’s just pretend that this all didn’t happen. What’s the big deal of sleeping together once? This is a better outcome for you as well anyway, Duke.”
Erich’s eyebrows twitched as she called him ‘Duke’. Claire raised her chin, wondering what he was dissatisfied with when she called him by the title that was appropriate for his status.
“Do you want me to be a degenerate who took a lady’s chastity yet did not take responsibility?”
“Who said you’re my first though?”
Right then, Erich’s face cracked for the first time. His emotions visibly rippled.
Claire regretted that she had gone too far. For any noblewoman, chastity was an important virtue as it was saved for after marriage.
But anyway, Claire quickly changed her mind.
‘Well, it’s not like I’m completely wrong.’
It’s not in this current life, but it’s true that she had a boyfriend in her previous life who she dated for quite some time.
Anyway, this was unlikely to be Erich’s first time, too. Thinking about that made her even more annoyed.
As he was frozen, Claire opened the powder room attached to the bedroom and found a new dress—clearly for women. With new underwear, too.
“Hmm. As expected.”
Rather, it’s a good thing that these things were prepared. Claire might have been the first noble to be taken care of, but there’s no way there were no other women before.
So the employees took care of it and brought out new clothes. Thinking about it made her a little more displeased.
“Never mind. Can I wear this?”
“…If it’s there, it must have been brought here for you to wear,” Erich said in a stiff voice.
Comments for chapter "Chapter 2"
Advanced chapters on this site can be unlocked with bells, but don’t worry! You are not obligated to unlock them—you may do so only if you want to read ahead. The chapters will eventually become free according to the update schedule of each novel.