The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 17
“When you debuted, you only spent a year attending social events as a proper member of society. After that, you continued to be stubborn and stayed only in Philioche. If you go on like this, there won’t be a single suitor who will ever get married to you.”
“I don’t care if I’m not married. It’s nice to continue living with mother and father in Philioche like this.”
Herietta quickly intervened and explained her point of view. However, it only served to frustrate Rose more as she quietly wore a bitter expression.
“Herietta, listen to me. We love you, but you can’t live here for the rest of your life. One day you too will have to leave this place and start your own family. Whatever anyone says, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what you have to do in the future.”
“Stop, don’t try to complicate this anymore. To you, my words may sound awful right now, but I am saying all of this for you. On the contrary, you know that we’ve been letting you go too far.”
Rose cut her off. Her decisive attitude forced Herietta to keep her mouth shut because it was true that they had become lax towards her after she returned from Lavant with a broken heart.
Meanwhile, Hugo, who was about to finish eating the bacon, put his knife and fork down as the atmosphere at the dining table turned heavy in an instant. Then, he looked down as if he were poking his nose at his plate. He couldn’t even look his sister in the eye because he had caused the current situation after carelessly opening his mouth. The side of his face tingled as he felt Herietta’s scorching gaze on him.
“Rose, my love. Do you have any plans in mind?”
Baodor asked. Rose nodded as if she were waiting for him to ask.
“Well, there is Lilian. She knew that Herietta was coming last year and was really looking forward to it. But Herietta ended up not coming over in the end, so she must have been very disappointed.”
Baodor trailed off as he glanced in Herietta’s direction. He still vividly remembered how his daughter had a hard time dealing with a broken heart after she returned from Lavant that year.
It wasn’t like he didn’t try to find out what happened to her. But no matter how many times he asked, it was no use because Herietta kept her mouth shut like a clam whenever he tried to get her to talk about it.
Lilian, whom he trusted, also declined to provide information, saying that she could not reveal anything unless Herietta consented.
And so, to this day, they still did not know who had broken Herietta’s heart.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s not Lavant. If Herietta doesn’t want to go to Lavant, I can try contacting my friend in the capital. If I set my mind to it, then we can still find you a suitor, right?”
Herietta’s expression soured at Rose’s words.
The capital of Brimdel was very far from Philioche. Compared to Lavant which could be reached in three days by traveling in a horse-drawn carriage, it would take at least a week to reach the capital through the same means. Thinking that she might have to travel that far, Herietta felt the food she had eaten earlier go back up.
“Then what do you want to do, Herietta?”
Rose asked. This time, there was a determination in Rose’s eyes that her daughter would not be able to change her mind in getting her to socialize with other nobles no matter what.
* * *
“Oh my, my! Look at that, sister! Look at those arm muscles! I told you that slave is in good shape!”
“I know! The last time I talked to him, I also found that he has a nice voice.”
Two young maids, standing a few steps away from the workshop, chattered like sparrows. They were spying on someone and their faces were bright red as they looked on. Thwack. The blunt sound of chopping wood echoed throughout the workshop. The maids were so absorbed in watching the man do his chores that they didn’t even notice Herietta approaching from behind.
“It might just be because his hair has grown shaggy, but if you look closely, his features are very…”
“Whose features are what?”
Herietta asked quietly. My God! The two maids, startled, let out a small scream. After confirming that the speaker was Herietta, both of them quickly shook their heads.
“Oh, Miss! Since when were you there?”
“Well, I just wanted to get some fresh air…”
Though they pretended to be calm, there was a look of embarrassment on their faces. Noticing their unnatural behavior, Herietta glanced over their shoulders. Upon seeing who they were spying on, she looked back at them as if she understood.
“Did you mean Edwin?”
“What? What? No! Of course not!”
“Oh no, no way! We were just getting some fresh air as well!”
They screamed and strongly denied it. Anna, the younger of the two, had turned into a bright shade of red up to her neck. Not knowing what to do in front of Herietta, they suddenly remembered their chores and fled from the place in a hurry as if they were being chased by a criminal.
‘Oh no. What did I do…’
Herietta was confused. She had just asked out of pure curiosity, but she didn’t know how to respond to them when they reacted like that. Seeing the maids running away in such a panic, she felt like she had become a villain all of a sudden.
Herietta, who stood still for a moment in embarrassment, raised her head and looked at Edwin. The work was quite arduous, so his breathing was a little rough. He put down his ax and wiped his forehead with the back of his arm. It wasn’t a big deal, but in her eyes, even that figure was fascinating.
‘Yes. If you have eyes, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized with this sight.’
Herietta understood how the maids felt a hundred times and a thousand times more as she moved toward him. Step. Edwin looked up when he heard her footsteps.
Edwin recognized Herietta and greeted her with his head bowed down. It was a greeting far from friendliness. Therefore, it must just be her illusion that his eyes, which had looked at her indifferently, seemed to have slightly changed.
Herietta walked over to Edwin’s side and flopped down next to the stump where he was chopping wood. It was certainly not a behavior that should be displayed by a noble girl, but she didn’t mind. Besides, Edwin didn’t say anything about whether he’d gotten used to her like that either.
Herietta raised her knees to her chest and placed her chin and arms on top of them. She then stared at him as if to kill the distant air. Her thoughts were intricately tangled like a tangled thread.
A sigh came out of her suffocating heart.
“What are you doing?”
Edwin asked slyly.
“You don’t look happy.”
At Edwin’s words, Herietta raised her head and looked up at him. His hair, which had grown long, was half-covering his beautiful face. She pondered for a moment. She was originally a person who didn’t like to hide things from anyone. Even more so if that person is Edwin, whom she cherished, so she was frustrated.
‘My mother is telling me not to hang out with you anymore because you are not a noble but a slave called 11542.’
Those were words that would hurt anyone who heard it. She wouldn’t have dared to tell him that. Besides, didn’t he warn her from the beginning that it would be like this? It was she who did not heed his warning and was blinded by her feelings.
‘I don’t know. He might just be overjoyed instead.’
She clung to Edwin’s side to such an extreme extent. He didn’t openly say he was bothered or told her to stop, but she knew what he was thinking.
Herietta unconsciously imagined him looking overjoyed about finally escaping her grasp with the news. At the same time as her irritability grew at the thought, she became more depressed.
When she did not answer, Edwin came up to her and leaned over to match her eye level. He tilted his head at an angle. His blue eyes could be seen through the golden hair that fell casually over his face.
“You’re not going to answer me?”
Normally, he would not have asked so tenaciously. However, because Herietta was acting differently than usual, he seemed to be quite concerned.
Herrietta, who was looking at Edwin, reached out her hand and ruffled his hair that had flowed out in front of her. Then, his face, which she thought was more perfect than anyone else in the world, was revealed in front of her.
Was he really a human just like her? Or is he the devil who wears a beautiful mask to lure humans in? He was too beautiful and charming enough to raise such absurd suspicions.
If only he hadn’t been a slave. Or if only he could take care of and decorate himself like he used to.
Herietta imagined Edwin’s appearance when he still had his noble status. It was much more natural for him to rule over people rather than stand at the feet of others.
‘You are not the kind of person who deserves this kind of treatment.’
Herrietta swallowed her bitter thoughts as she recalled Rose’s expression at the mention of Edwin as if he was just an insignificant being.
‘Originally, I would not have dared to even speak with him if he were still a noble. He’s really, really, really precious.’
As she continued to look at him, she remembered how she felt back then and wondered why she was terrified.
Herietta saw a star that had fallen from the sky. He was everyone’s star, but at some point, he became her own star. He was on this earth, not in the sky to which he should belong. Falling into the filthy muddy waters, losing the brilliance that once fascinated everyone.
She didn’t want this. She admired and cherished him, but that didn’t mean she wanted him to fall so horribly.
Herietta’s expression darkened.
‘If you were the way you used to be. If you were still a Redford, then you wouldn’t even look at me.’
Her stomach churned at the undeniable truth. She hated seeing herself feel relieved that things had happened and that he had come to her side. How can a person be so selfish and hateful?
“Come to think of it, your hair has grown too long.”