The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 23
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After talking to Edwin, Herietta could only think about him. He said that he wished she would not change in the future because she was perfect as she was now as if he were confessing his secret.
She was going to die of confusion because of his unusual attitude, but he went further and asked her to forget what he said at the end. What the hell was he thinking? And what did he want from her?
She tried hard to think about it, but the riddle he had thrown her way showed no sign of unraveling.
As a result, Herietta could not focus at all on what was happening in front of her when she was at the Countess’s birthday party. There were a few people who came to her saying that they had a son or nephew, but she couldn’t even remember their names.
Lilian poked her in the side to warn her, but that also had no effect. In the end, the two of them had no choice but to return home completely in vain.
She felt sorry for Lilian after she deliberately provided an opportunity for her, but she had no choice. Now, Herietta’s head had no room to think of anything else except for Edwin. She wandered through her room alone, contemplating.
She wanted to immediately run to Edwin and ask him what the hell he meant that day. If he didn’t answer again, she wanted to grab him by the collar and shake him. She wanted to put a threat to his handsome face, telling him to just say it directly rather than talking in circles and frustrating her.
‘No way… Does Edwin like me?’
It was an idea that flashed through her mind. But Herietta immediately shook her head.
Even though he became a slave, it didn’t mean that he also became blind. It was unlikely that he, who had once been nobler than anyone else, would take in her heart, who was less noble than anyone else.
‘Then what? Didn’t he know that I had a crush on him?’
As a slave, Edwin might have found it entertaining to see that Herietta, the daughter of the master, had a crush on him. Although she may not be of much help, she can provide convenience in many ways. But she shook her head again. Because he didn’t seem like a person to take advantage of that fact.
Herietta, who thought about this and that, ripped her hair out with both her hands. Even if she thought about it for a thousand or ten thousand years, it was unlikely that she would be able to solve this problem on her own. Even if she didn’t like the answer she got back, it seemed like she had to ask him first.
Herietta opened the door and went out. She then rushed forward, stomping like an angry bull. People working nearby were wide-eyed as they looked at her, but she didn’t care. Even if this story later made it into people’s mouths, it wasn’t something to think about at that time.
After leaving the mansion, Herietta headed straight to the residence of the employees located near the garden. It was a very small building compared to the original Jenner mansion, but it was not difficult to find.
Now almost running, she crossed the backyard, and in the distance, she saw people huddled together. Judging by their attire, most of them seemed to be maids doing chores in the mansion. They were looking at something and whispered among themselves.
Are there any good sights? Herietta held her breath unknowingly and drew closer to them. After some distance had narrowed, she could naturally overhear their conversation.
“Oh, I must be crazy! I think I’m going to fall ill after getting lovesick. Should I just pretend I’m crazy and go talk to him?”
“Hey, Arthur, Arthur. What are you doing in the yard where even sister Venice was rejected? Don’t go out for nothing and show your disgrace, just stay still.”
“How? How can he be so handsome? His eyes, his nose, his mouth, everything seems flawless.”
“Yeah. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the most handsome person I have ever seen.”
There were only words to praise someone’s appearance. Herietta’s face hardened at that. She had experienced a similar situation a while ago, to the point that she thought it might be deja vu. So, without even looking at who it was, she could guess “who” they were praising.
And again, at the end of their gaze stood someone very familiar to her.
Perhaps from washing his body, Edwin’s golden hair was darkly wet, and a few buttons on his clothes had not been fastened, and the front of his shirt was wide open. Like other male employees working here, he was wearing a white shirt and black trousers made of rough cotton.
Far from wearing accessories, he did not have even a small pattern on his clothes, which could make him look plain. Yet, instead of looking plain, it was conspicuous enough to catch the attention of those around him at once, and he was charming. Every time he moved, the necks of the maids who looked at him with hazy eyes also moved.
‘That man is really…!’
Like a spider with a wide web, Edwin swallowed the hearts of the women around him this way. Of course, she knew that wasn’t what he intended, but she had to blame him nonetheless.
Herietta deliberately coughed exaggeratedly. The maids, unaware that she was standing behind them, jumped in place like frogs.
“Oh! Oh, Miss! What, what brings you here?”
After checking Herietta’s face, they quickly bowed their heads. Her expression didn’t look very good.
“Don’t you have a lot of work to do right now?”
“Yes, yes? Did you need anything, Miss?”
“Oh right. Isn’t this the busiest time for you right now? And yet, you’re all dawdling here, so I can’t help but wonder if you’re free.”
Herietta said with a rather chilly expression. She didn’t raise her voice, but the meaning behind it was clear. In a nutshell, it meant that they should go quickly and do their work instead of fussing around.
The maids who understood the meaning of her words turned pale. Each of them made excuses by saying that they were just about to go to work, but then they quickly ran away like lightning.
A dark shadow fell behind Herietta’s back, watching them run away.
“How scary. I wonder if you’re the Miss Herietta I know.”
It was a playful, friendly tone, but to Herietta, it only sounded like a rebuke.
And whose fault was it?
“So, did I disappoint you like this?”
Herietta, who turned her body around and faced Edwin, narrowed her eyes and looked at him. Her words came out sharper than she intended, but she didn’t care. Edwin looked down at her and tilted his head to one side.
“How is it possible? But…”
“I was just afraid that Miss Herietta would scold me too.”
The man who didn’t seem likely to be easily frightened by anyone’s eyes responded sensibly. Herietta smiled unknowingly at the answer that didn’t suit him so well, but she hurriedly captured her expression. She couldn’t let it go like this. She pretended to clear her throat, hmmmm.
“Don’t joke around. I am very serious now.”
“Really. The anger went all the way to the top of my head.”
“Why do you keep playing with words? Do you want me to show you how scary I can be when I’m really angry?”
“If you wish. I will do as Miss Herietta wills.”
Whatever Herietta said, Edwin accepted it gently. It was like a flexible reed swaying in the wind.
Herietta, who had thorns sharp as a hedgehog, was at a loss for words. When the other person surrendered, why did she keep fussing by herself? The emotions that had been boiling with disappointment and jealousy slowly subsided like a volcano after an explosion.
She closed her eyes and then let out a deep sigh.
“I really can’t win against you. I wonder if the day will come when I will be able to defeat you even just once in my life.”
Edwin’s expression distorted a little at her murmuring, but she didn’t notice it. She looked straight into his eyes.
“Edwin. I have something to ask you.”
“… please ask.”
Edwin stared at her without averting his gaze.
“That’s it. Last time you…”
‘Wait a minute. What should I ask here?’
Herietta, who was trying to quietly express herself, pondered. When she asked why he said that last time, it seemed like he would slip away like a loach again. But that said, she wasn’t even sure if she was going to ask him straight up if he liked her.
‘Are you crazy?’
She imagined Edwin answering her as he looked at her with his cold eyes. Herietta gulped. Even though she thought it was impossible, it would be embarrassing and heartbreaking if she saw his reaction.
Her confidence, which made her raise her head bravely, shrank like a ball of air. Herietta bit her lower lip.
Herietta was unable to continue her words, and as she sighed, Edwin called her again. He bent over and brought himself to eye level with her. The smell of clean soap wafted from his wet hair as he got closer. As she sniffed it, Herietta somehow felt as if she was doing something shameful that she should not have done.
Embarrassed for nothing, she couldn’t face Edwin, so she lowered her gaze. Then she saw the smooth nape of his neck.
As if possessed by something, she followed the nape of his neck and lowered her gaze even further. A protruding collar bone. Distinct shoulder blades. Wide shoulders. And a firm chest that could be seen through the gaping front…
Gulp. Herietta’s neck moved as if she had seen something tempting.
‘… How does it feel to be in those arms?’
“Are you okay?”
Herietta shrieked and pulled away from him. The startled Edwin looked at her, frozen in that position, with his eyes wide open.
‘Crazy! Crazy! Herietta! You…! What are you thinking of doing with the person in front of you!’
Herietta pressed her hands against her heart. Her face was hot as if it were about to explode. She felt as if she were a thief or a molester, and her feet were numb. If he could look into her head now, how shocked and terrified he would be? She got chills just thinking about it.
“Why, why is it so hard to see your face these days?”
Confused, Herietta’s words came out of nowhere and were completely different from what she intended to say.
“I, I, I couldn’t see you, so I was worried that something might have happened!”
Herietta rolled her eyes as she spoke uncontrollably. What should I do? Should I be honest with him that I got the wrong words out of embarrassment? But it seems ridiculous to admit my mistake now. Besides, if he ever asked me why I was so upset…
As Herietta imagined the worst, Edwin stood up and frowned.
“You couldn’t see me?”
He repeated her question. He spoke in a tone that did not understand her question.
“Lady Jenner might recognize me, so didn’t Miss Herietta tell me not to stand out as much as possible?”
“Don’t you remember?”
The tone of Edwin’s voice as he asked the question became lower. There was a mixture of eyes of suspicion, saying, “How can you forget what you said?” Herietta was sweating profusely.
“Well, that’s not important. Because there is something I want to ask you.”
“So what is it?”
A sharp gaze like a peregrine falcon followed Herietta tenaciously.
“What does Miss Herietta want to ask? I want to hear too.”
As if he would never lose sight of his target. Or as if he was looking through her insides.
“Well, that’s it… So, that’s… There, uh…”
And under that gaze, Herietta could not come up with a proper excuse for herself. Because she couldn’t easily spit out any of the things that came to her mind. Even if she had misunderstood his words, it was certain that the situation would worsen beyond her control.
‘If I can dig a tunnel. Or if I could just pass out and get out of this place!’
Herietta blamed herself for not thinking about her actions thoroughly. So, she smiled awkwardly, hoping for a miracle that would never happen.