Chapter 108: Passing Each Other By
The next day.
In the morning, I told Wilhelm-sama that today’s lecture was canceled. I felt sorry because of my selfishness. But he said with a smile that it was all right if it was only for a day, so there seemed to be no problem.
Rather, aside from when I was informed of the false news that Wilhelm-sama had passed away, I had been giving six lectures a week without rest so far. Apparently, everyone in the Order also voiced their concern about it and said it was all right to take a break. Thank goodness.
And so, for the first time in a while, I went with Natalia back to my old home—the Ambrose ducal house’s manor.
For me, who used to come and go between the manor and the garrison, it felt very nostalgic. Although it had not been that long since I got married and moved to Wilhelm-sama’s manor.
I was no longer a resident of this manor, but a relative’s guest. When I struck the knocker, Richard immediately came out.
「Welcome……My, Ojou-sama. It has been a while」
「Indeed. It has been a while, Richard」
「I have heard from Madam. Please come in」
Richard prompted me to enter the manor.
As expected, not much time had passed; the interior had not changed at all. Then again, it would be a wonder if a lot did change.
It was a manor I was familiar with, but I walked behind Richard.
And ahead of us—was my mother’s room.
「Madam, please pardon my interruption」
「What is it? 」
「Lady Carol is here」
「I see. You may enter」
「Mother, please excuse me」
Richard quietly stepped back, and I opened the door.
Similarly saying 「Please excuse me」, Richard also entered the room. Basically, whenever there was a guest, there must always be someone around.
As I entered, my mother who was sitting on the sofa stood up.
「It has been a while, Carol」
「It has been long since we last saw each other, Mother」
「It truly has. Do come see us once in a while. It has been lonely in the manor since you got married」
「That……I am sorry」
Indeed, that might truly be the case.
Though there were many servants, the family members of the Ambrose ducal house were only my father, mother, elder brother, and me. My elder brother was also a knight, so he must be busy every day. I was not at home much either when I was still going to the academy. But ever since His Highness Rayford broke off our engagement, I was in the manor all the time.
Should I visit at least once a week, after all? I would not know what to do, though.
For the time being, today’s purpose was opera.
「Have you had lunch yet? 」
「No, not yet」
「Then, have a meal with Mother. Richard, tell the kitchen to add one more serving for lunch」
It was so sudden that I felt sorry.
Chris also seemed to be busy at this time, and it must be a trouble for her to suddenly be told to add another serving.
Still, since I could eat Chris’s cooking for the first time in a while, I was excited. Natalia and Mary were good in their own way, but they still could not match Chris’s skill.
「Have a seat」
Prompted by my mother, I sat down on the sofa across from her. Meanwhile, my mother’s attendant set a cup of tea for me.
As always—or rather, since leaving the manor, I once again thought that the Ambrose ducal house had a lot of servants. Meanwhile I only had Natalia, Mary, and the servant-in-training Zack in my own residence.
May I take two or three people with me?
「How have you been since you got married? 」
「How……do I put it…」
「Are you happy? 」
I had always wanted to be Wilhelm-sama’s wife. I had always wished for it.
That wish came true. There was no reason not to be happy.
It was just—right now, we were slightly passing each other by.
My mother fixed me with a suspicious gaze.
I felt exposed under such a gaze. It was as if all of my shallow thinking could be seen through.
I exhaled a small sigh.
「……Mother, is this what marriage is like? 」
「Please explain, Carol」
「Wilhelm-sama……he…does not return to the manor at all. When he is…busy with work…it is always until…the middle of the night……」
「We can only greet each other in the morning. We…could barely talk. There was a time…when he finally came back…early in the morning……」
「He, had a drink……and his coat, smelled of perfume……there was, a suspicious business card, in his pocket……」
「I…I am……! 」
When I realized it, my tears were already overflowing.
My dissatisfaction towards Wilhelm-sama, which accumulated all along…
It was easy to treat it with a smile, as if nothing happened. All I had to do was keep it hidden in my heart.
「About that…did you ask Wilhelm-sama? 」
My mother asked me so.
However, I silently shook my head.
I could not ask about it. Nor could I pursue it.
How easy would it be if I could ask about it! How relieving it would be to hear the truth from Wilhelm-sama’s mouth.
“An unpleasant woman who would search through his pockets as she pleased.” “A troublesome woman who would interrogate if he really was working.” “A selfish woman who would demand to spend even more time together.”
I did not want Wilhelm-sama to think of me like that—.
「You did well in bearing with it. I, your mother, admire your perseverance. If it was Mother, I would have done away with words and would drown Gilliam in a sea of blood」
Did this really warrant drowning in a sea of blood?
「In any case, you said Wilhelm-sama is busy with his work, yes? 」
Was that true or not?
I did not know.
However, because I was his wife, I must believe in Wilhelm-sama more than anyone else.
「Do you know what a busy man wants at home? 」
「He is busy with his work and does not come back until midnight. But to put it another way, Wilhelm-sama will come back in the middle of the night. Do you know why? Because there is someone waiting for him」
My mother’s words struck me like a bolt of lightning.
Speaking of which, Wilhelm-sama did say he often worked overnight. He said he would rarely go home.
But now, he would come home. Be it in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning, he would come home without fail.
I was not completely neglected.
「Wilhelm-sama is coming home to see you. Do you think being a good woman is to sulk when he does not return at all? 」
「I…do not think so……! 」
「Being a good woman is also to receive her lord who is tired from work. You must start with forgiving. Forgive Wilhelm-sama who is busy with his work. Smile and say, “Welcome home.” And even if he is doing something unscrupulous, with you patiently waiting for him, he will definitely reflect on it. Well, considering his personality, I do not think he is being unscrupulous」
「Welcome him home……」
I felt like it grew completely dark right in front of me.
I had not been staying awake until Wilhelm-sama returned. I always slept before he came home.
I pictured it in my head.
Wilhelm-sama who did his best to return with a body tired from work.
There was no one to welcome him, and he would walk through the dark manor without waking me up.
And in the morning, he would say “good morning” with a smile, without blaming me for not waiting for him.
Oh, how kind he was—!
「You know who’s sake Wilhelm-sama is working for, do you not? Then, do you understand what you have to do? 」
I had been foolish.
Selfishly feeling dissatisfied on my own, selfishly thinking that he was not spending time with me, and selfishly sulking.
Even though Wilhelm-sama did nothing wrong.
「I shall tell you the secret of a happy couple」
「It is to not keep it in」
Ufufu, my laughing mother…
Looked much more beautiful than usual—.