The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 28
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‘Did you know that the Marquis Richconell has a daughter? I’ve met her once, and as rumored, she’s a very beautiful Lady. To the extent that it is not a waste to say that she is the best in the kingdom.’
When Edwin was troubled by his father’s words that he should find the future Duchess of Redford, the Crown Prince quietly spoke up.
‘I was talking to her and strangely, I kept thinking of you. I don’t know the specific reason… But, well, I think it was pretty similar. You and her.’
The Crown Prince, who threw in a meaningless word, laughed.
They were pretty similar. At first, he was a little curious, but that was all. He was in the capital, and she was in Lavant. He never had a chance to meet her. As time went on, he forgot about her little by little.
‘Marquis Richconell’s daughter is very good.’
Until the former Duke of Redford and his father, Eorn, spoke up.
‘If you don’t have a woman in particular that you think about, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider her at least once.’
Eorn didn’t say any more. Like other Redfords, he wasn’t very talkative either. However, the message he wanted to convey was clear.
Edwin thought silently. She is the daughter of Marquis Richconell. There was no way Eorn, who had a cautious personality, would have said so much without recognizing him properly.
He suddenly remembered that the Crown Prince said that he had met a woman with a similar atmosphere to him.
Since he was born as a Redford, it was right to put the prosperity and well-being of his family first rather than the joy of life.
Sometime after that, Edwin got into the carriage headed for Lavant.
‘Nice to meet you. My name is Vivianne Antoine Richconell.’
It was a sudden visit from a stranger she had never met. Nevertheless, Vivianne remained calm, and she did not show any signs of discomfort.
Vivianne was on the quiet side. She preferred to listen rather than lead the conversation, and she didn’t say anything unnecessary.
‘Where is the resemblance?’
Edwin looked at Vivian and wondered.
Her way of speaking, her actions, and everything. She had no blemishes anywhere. Whether she was accustomed to looking into the other person’s eyes, her gaze was straight at him, and her posture of standing with her back straight was dignified and elegant.
‘May I dare ask you what the purpose of finding me like this is?’
At first glance, it seemed polite, but if one looked closely, she was expressing her thoughts without hesitation. She had a calm face, but, of course, the answer to his question was the look in her eyes. There was no sign of blushing or shyness on her face when she saw him.
Edwin looked at Vivian. She was not at all dismayed when she saw him in front of her. She must have been more accustomed to making others bow to her than to bow to others. She was a nobleman through and through.
He thought that she would be a good fit for his spouse. No, it would be more than enough for all his needs. To be honest, he didn’t even have to worry about it from the beginning.
He didn’t care anyway, because all he wanted was a woman who can serve as a mistress to the Duke of Redford, and not a lover to have a fiery love affair with. And Vivianne, the famous only daughter of Marquis of Richconell, could do it.
‘I have come to propose to you.’
So Edwin proposed to the woman he had met for the first time in his life. In the meantime, he didn’t worry that she would reject him. As the Crown Prince said, she had a lot in common with him. He knew that she would look at him in the same way that he saw her as a good spouse.
‘If it’s okay with you.’
And again. After contemplating for a moment, Vivianne nodded and accepted Edwin’s proposal. It was the moment when this couple’s engagement, which had made the kingdom abuzz for a long time, was established.
At first, Edwin had no plans to have a long engagement with Vivianne. He was told to get married at the soonest possible time, so he was going to get married right away because he didn’t think delaying it would do any good.
However, although unintentional, the couple’s engagement lasted for nearly a year. Shortly after the engagement ceremony, he was dispatched to the Demner Order stationed on the outskirts.
‘Please come back safely, Sir Edwin.’
To Edwin, who had left for the outskirts, Vivianne calmly prayed for his safe return. She said yes to him, but he couldn’t keep his word. By the time the war on the frontier came to an end, his family was suddenly annihilated under the charge of treason. Edwin’s status was also demoted to slavery, and their betrothal was naturally broken.
If someone asked him if he felt sorry for breaking his relationship with Vivianne, he would say no. It was just a relationship that was formed to achieve a purpose from the beginning, after all. He’s never had any more feelings than that. And now that the reason to achieve the purpose is gone, there was no need for the two to maintain their relationship.
He believed that Vivian would have the same idea as him. She never showed her feelings to him more than what was expected from a formal fiancee, just as he did.
So when Vivian, who he happened to meet again, jumped into his arms, Edwin had no choice but to panic. She was a woman who maintained a distance of about one step away by being so polite to the point that it felt a little stiff. Then, as she held him in her arms, her body shook.
“I missed you, Sir Edwin. I missed you so much.”
She whispered while sobbing.
“I missed you a lot, a lot more than I thought.”
Vivianne’s eyes were red as she looked up at Edwin. Her appearance, which revealed her feelings for him without restraint, was clearly unlike the noblewoman he remembered. The difference was so great that Edwin didn’t know what to do.
And that was the moment when…
Herietta, who was standing next to them, muttered in silence as if she had remembered something.
Herietta, whose expression looked confused at one point, quickly hardened like stone as the shock crept upon her. Edwin and Vivian were reflected in her eyes as she stared at them and her slightly parted lips began to tremble.
While unconsciously trying to move away from them, Herietta tripped and fell on her behind. Edwin, who saw it, pushed Vivianne away from his arms without any hesitation.
He hurriedly approached Herietta, who was sitting on the floor. He reached out his hand to support her, but she didn’t take his hand. She just stared blankly at him with a face that looked as white as a sheet.
Herietta’s eyes, which always had a warm energy like spring, were empty, like an empty world of nothingness. The way she looked at him was unfamiliar.
It’s too late. His instinct whispered.
Edwin’s heart sank.
* * *
On the way back to the mansion, there was a suffocatingly heavy stillness inside the carriage. Herietta turned her head to the side and just stared out the window without saying a word.
Herrietta wanted to ignore the fact that Edwin was sitting across from her. She had turned her head to the side for so long that her neck was hurting, but she still did not look ahead. She’d rather suffer from muscle aches for a few days than make eye contact with him right now.
Time passed so slowly that she wondered if the distance from the city to the mansion was this far. Rumble rumble. The carriage passing over the square stones on the side of the road shook slightly. Herietta, who was looking at the scenery passing by quickly, took a deep breath and sighed.
It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain, but why? The blue sky, which she thought was pretty until this morning, seemed to have faded to gray.
* * *
The carriage stopped in front of the mansion. The coachman who was sitting on the driver’s seat jumped down to open the door. But Herietta did not wait for him and opened the door by herself because she couldn’t wait for the brief moment it took her to reach the door.
She felt choked as if her throat was tightening, and her chest was stuffy.
Herietta, who got off the carriage and was about to enter the mansion, was called in a rush by Edwin from behind.
“Miss Herietta. Talk to me for a moment.”
Herietta refused the offer without hesitation.
“I am so tired right now. We’ll talk later.”
It was a lame excuse, but for now, it was the best. Her mind was all messed up, and she didn’t know what to think. She just felt that she needed to get out of this place as soon as possible.
Edwin called her again, but she ignored him. Without looking back, she almost ran into the mansion.