The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 15
“It may be too late, but I still wanted to make a formal apology.”
She lifted her head and saw him. She could see his deep, serious eyes through his soft hair.
He had clear and beautiful eyes like the ice of a lake. The more she looked, the more helpless she seemed. At one time, he was a person whom she could not even stand side by side with, let alone exchange a single word with. She felt thrilled and even terrified to think that his eyes would contain only her image now.
Edwin ruthlessly trampled Herietta’s attempt to jump over with an expressionless expression. She didn’t know if she would rather see him smile. She was perplexed by his iron-like attitude. No, she was more than embarrassed, she was insanely embarrassed.
Eventually, Herietta closed the book and placed it on her lap. She set her gaze down, creating a gloomy atmosphere. After being silent for so long, she helplessly opened her mouth.
“You don’t like me being around?”
It was a more depressed voice.
“If so, please tell me. As I said before, if that’s your will, then I won’t bother you any more.”
Herietta looked away anxiously. Because she was afraid that Edwin would answer yes even if she had said it herself.
Edwin looked at her without saying a word. He thought that if she had ears like puppies, it would have drooped down already. He stood at an angle with his arms crossed and his back against the wall of the warehouse.
‘Is she bothering you?’
To say no would be a lie. Whenever there was a chance, her presence, sneaking up and clinging to him, made him feel heavy at times. Still, for some reason, he didn’t say yes to her willingly.
“Aren’t you afraid of people’s gazes?”
Instead, an odd question arose. Then Herietta looked at him with big eyes.
“People’s eyes? Who?”
Your family, the workers of this mansion, or the villagers.”
In a word, it meant everyone. But even so, Herietta continued to blink. She turned her head to the side.
“What did those people do?”
“They would think it was strange.”
“A noble girl being close to a mere slave. Your reputation will be ruined.”
It was a world where even talking with the bastard of a plausible noble family would make words come out. She was not a commoner, and yet this woman, who was from a noble family, wants to hang out with slaves. Half of the people who hear about it would be unable to believe it, and the other half would despise her as lowly and filthy.
‘If I had said this much, she would have understood.’
Edwin thought silently. But contrary to his thoughts, she burst into laughter, hahaha.
“What about my reputation? Not anywhere else but this Philioche? No matter how unusual it is, my parents would be the only ones nagging at me.”
Herietta shrugged and waved it over insignificantly.
“You don’t have to worry. My reputation in the social world is not very good. So there is no need to panic and worry about such useless things.”
In the first place, her reputation wasn’t good enough to lose, so she didn’t have to worry about her reputation going down. It was a simplistic way of thinking. The daughter of Count Bolero, who was known for being a great tomboy and ruthless in social circles, was not even this much.
Edwin observed the woman sitting in front of him slowly. She said that she was already seventeen. She was a little too young to be called mature, but she was also too feminine to be called a girl.
Herietta, with her dark auburn hair and pale brown eyes, was taller for a woman. Her skin was clean, but not as white as white jade, and her features, which were in perfect harmony with her, boasted an elegant beauty, but were not so glamorous as to stand out to his eyes.
In other words, there were no particularly ugly corners, but that didn’t mean she was a great beauty either.
Edwin was always surrounded by outstanding beauties. Including his family, who was said to be all born with great looks, the women who approached him based on his background and appearance, and even his ex-fiance, who is considered to be Brimdel’s most beautiful woman. His eyes must not have been set high, but it could not be helped that his expectations were set to such a standard.
To him, Herrieta’s appearance certainly did not impress him strongly either at first glance or now. Had she mingled among the many noble maidens, he most likely would not have found her at her first glance.
And to prove it, she said she had met him before, but he had no memory of her.
Herietta, who was trying to get down from the wooden box and approach Edwin, stumbled over her feet, unable to find anything under her feet and fell down. Her hair was pulled forward and scattered, and she fell so loudly that her skirt was turned over.
‘In that sense, she falls quite often.’
Edwin clicked inwardly and got up from leaning against the wall. It was amazing how she could shoot an arrow on a horse with such a sense of balance.
Edwin approached Herietta with a leisurely gait. When she put her hands on the floor and tried to get her body up, she lifted her head.
He went right in front of her and naturally bowed down and reached out his hand towards her.
“Are you okay?”
It was just a courtesy question. Still, surprise spread across Herietta’s face when she heard his question. She looked at him with an astonished face, as if he had scorched her on fire, or covered her in cold water. Her body had stiffened like plaster.
Because it was a question that he posed without much meaning, her reaction like this made him bewildered.
“Is something wrong?”
Edwin asked. But Herietta continued to stare blankly at him. In her eyes, there was an image of him being a little perplexed.
No matter how much he waited, no answer came, so Edwin called Herietta. When she returned to her senses, her gaze seemed to be lost in a daydream. And her body, which had stiffened like plaster, also softened.
A bright smile spread across her eyes and lips as if the frost that fell on the leaves on an early spring day melted in the warm spring breeze. The white, well-groomed teeth hidden under her red lips were gently revealed.
Edwin saw this and held his breath without realizing it. He had just rated her face as normal a little while ago.
However, the moment she smiled brightly and clearly, a very soft and warm spring flower bloomed on her ordinary face. The black dust on the tip of her nose didn’t even catch his eye.
At that moment, it was a fleeting moment, but it seemed as if time had stopped. It felt as if he had been swept away helplessly by a strong wave from somewhere.
Thud. A still unknown emotion knocked on the door of his dull heart. Even so, he was mesmerized and just looked at Herietta’s smiling face.
“I remember the first time I met you. Even then, you lifted me up from the floor. “Are you okay?” you asked.”
Herietta said while holding Edwin’s hand that had been extended to her. His stiff body trembled very faintly as she touched it. And that brought him to his senses.
‘What was that just before?’
It was a dazed feeling. It was as if he had suddenly regained his senses from being drunk in a good mood. It wasn’t like himself, to the point that he wondered if she had used a strange drug secretly. He was hopeful, and he checked her face again, but she was as normal as before.
‘It was probably because I was tired.’
Edwin struggled to convince himself, and quickly captured his expression. Then, pretending nothing had happened, he supported her and lifted her up.
Herietta stood up from her spot and looked up at Edwin.
“You know. I still vividly remember the moment you walked into the ballroom that day.”
Herietta’s eyes looking up at Edwin twinkled like stars in the night sky.
“Everyone’s eyes were on you, and so was mine. What should I say? It was like seeing a prince from a fairy tale book.”
“… But I am not a prince.”
He was known as the heir of the Duchy of Redford, when he commanded the Knights of Demner protecting the borders before, and he was now known by a number when he was reduced to slavery without being able to keep his original castle. But never had he been called a prince since he was born. Although he may have once been regarded as the closest person to him, now he couldn’t be any further away.
Herietta looked at Edwin silently. She bluntly told a slave no nobler than her that she thought he was a prince nobler than her, and he blinked his eyes a couple of times as if trying to understand what the woman was saying.
Soon, she smiled at him bashfully.
“I know. You are so much cooler than that.”