Chapter 07: Pain
A few hours later, my sleep was naturally cut off, and my eyes opened.
I had asked Claire to come to wake me up in the evening, but she didn’t need to.
My headache, which should have subdued, had gotten worse. It was painful, and it felt like it was being beaten with a hammer.
I sighed. It’s probably because I slept too much.
I moved my heavy body because I was awfully thirsty and got off my bed. I picked up the jug of water that was on the dresser, poured it into a glass cup and gulped it down.
When the lukewarm water slid down my throat, my mind became clear, and my headache felt a little bit better.
I suddenly looked at the big mirror in front of me.
A woman with a bad complexion and a gloomy expression was reflected in the clear mirror. Her ruffled hair that fell on her shoulders and back coupled with her gloomy face made her look like a ghost.
――― What an ugly face.
Her appearance was completely different from Diana’s shining one, whom I met in the afternoon, and it was appalling to think that such a woman was acting selfish and domineering.
I pressed my hands on my forehead to relieve my pounding headache, sat down on the bed and held my head.
――― It hurts.
I hung my head down in depression, but that finally became painful, so I laid back down again.
I closed my eyes tightly and endured the pounding pain.
I don’t know how long I did that for, but after a while, I heard a knock at the door. I thought that Claire had come to wake me up, so I gave her permission to enter the room.
Standing behind the door was a young man who was stylishly dressed in the black uniform that the servants wore.
He had dark brown hair, grey eyes, fair skin and delicate features.
He would look friendly if he laughed, but the expression that he directed towards me was stern, and I didn’t feel any courtesy from him.
I got up with a frown, brushed away my bangs which were in the way and said, “Oh my, this is rare for you to come to my room. Right, Juris?”
The young man’s name is Juris Heiman.
He is still young, but he is a butler of this mansion.
“You look awful, Madam,” a cold voice originated from his thin lips.
Juris hates me, and it clearly showed in his attitude.
He is gentle and friendly to everyone, but he takes a blatant attitude when he is in front of me.
However, Juris’s reaction is very reasonable if you think about my daily behaviour.
It was natural for people to hate me if they are decent human beings.
As for servants, they might be disqualified to be one.
“What can I do? I was sleeping until just a little while ago. If you don’t like it, then get out. I want to nap again,” I said purposely even though my drowsiness had already been blown away and I was unlikely to get any sleep tonight.
I had to act selfish and domineering even in front of Juris.
Juris made an expression that looked like the one his master would make, and sighed deeply.
“It’s already evening.”
“What’s wrong with sleeping when I want to sleep even if it’s in the evening or during the daytime?”
Juris shrugged his shoulders as if he was stunned and stepped inside the room.
Claire and Renee appeared from behind him one after the other. They stopped at the door and bowed like usual.
I looked at Claire, and she glanced at Juris, then she bowed her head again apologetically.
“What? So, you guys are here too? You look like rats hiding secretly behind Juris.”
Claire and Renee didn’t change their expressions, but Juris frowned.
“Stop bullying your servants.”
“I’m not bullying them. I’m just saying what I think. Don’t stand separately at the corner of my eyes… So, what is it? What do you want with me?”
“Lord Orpheus has summoned you.”
“I don’t want to. Is he going to lecture me again? I’d already refused him, but did he not hear what I said? I wonder if he was too focused on his dear Diana. Ah, it’s such a joke that I have to see him twice a day…”
“He wants you to have dinner with him.”
I was playing with my hair in irritation, but those words made my hands stop.
I didn’t know why he was inviting me to eat with him at this point in time and asked in return, “Hah?”
“Dinner, you say? What?”
“Just what it is, Madam. Lord Orpheus wants to have dinner with his wife tonight. So please get ready now. Do your hair, change your clothes and put on makeup…”
“That’s a joke!” I jumped off the bed and raised my voice.
My brain jolted because of my sudden movement, and my head hurt badly, but I was in the middle of acting, so I firmly endured it.
“Why do I have to have dinner with that man? No, I don’t want to! I refuse!”
Perhaps because I had suddenly shouted, Claire’s shoulders shook from behind Juris.
I apologised for surprising her in my head and argued vehemently, “He’s just going to nag me again anyway! What’s with him? I’ve already heard enough from him yesterday morning. What?! Is bullying me that much fun?!”
“I don’t know what Lord Orpheus is thinking. I have been ordered by him to bring you to him.”
“Then tell him I said no!”
“I have been ordered to bring you to him. If you don’t want to eat with him, then please tell him directly.”
“Juris! Are you not going to listen to me even though you’re just a servant?!” I screamed hysterically.
I laughed inside at the horrible high-pitched and selfish scream.
Claire widened her eyes in surprise, met my eyes and nodded in admiration.
However, it didn’t seem to work on Juris, who was used to my tantrums, and he remained calm as if he hadn’t heard anything.
He turned back nonchalantly and ordered the two maids who were waiting behind him, “Help her get ready.”
“Hey!” I raised my voice in objection, but he glared at me.
“If you are unsatisfied with me, then please tell your complaints to Lord Orpheus.”
“What did you say?!”
I knew that it was useless for me to complain about him. My clenched hands shook, and I grind my teeth in annoyance.
“You’re really annoying! … Fine, alright! If you’re going to say that much, then I’ll go! ――― Claire and Renee, just fix my hair and makeup! Once I’m done, I’ll do what that man wants and complain until his ears fall out!” I drove out Juris with words appropriate for a loser’s remark and ordered Claire and Renee to start my preparations.
I had told them to only fix my hair and makeup, but the skirt part of my dress was full of wrinkles and looked terrible, so I ended up changing into another dress.
I chose a chiffon dress in pale yellow with no useless decorations.
I took many deep breaths while walking to the dining room and tried to calm the feelings welling up inside of me.
――― I will have to argue with Orpheus once more.
When I thought that, I wanted to run back to my room and shut myself inside, but I scolded myself and continued forward.
I went down the stairs, continued through the corridor, stopped in front of the dining room and took another deep breath.
――― It’s okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
As I passed through the door and raised my face, I was fascinated by the beauty of the dining room that was shining in the sunset.
It was beautiful.
It looked like a scene in a painting.
The walls were white, but the furnishings, table and cutlery were all dyed in red, and the vivid scene reflected clearly in my eyes.
And far more beautiful than this scene is my husband, who is sitting on the other side of the rectangular table, ――― Orpheus.
His handsome fair-complexion looked even more charming as the sunset illuminated his face; it was really bewitching.
I know what his eye colour is, but I want to confirm what colour is hidden behind those delicate eyelids.
Is he sleeping? Or is he thinking? His back was leaned against the chair, and his closed eyes didn’t even quiver.
“Orpheus,” I whispered in the silent dining room, but Orpheus didn’t open his eyes.
He was asleep.
I came here to complain, but I feel like he has killed my start.
I stood still in my spot with nothing to do.
I stared at his face for a while, but he showed no signs of waking, so I looked around while wondering what was up.
The table was covered in a white cloth and at the centre was a rose of the same colour.
The silver candlesticks were lit, the polished dishes were arranged in an orderly fashion, and he even had a bottle of wine prepared.
It looked as if dinner would start as soon as I sat down.
There must be no waiter around because they happen to be away.
Or are they preparing to carry the food here?
“Jeez. I can’t believe he’s sleeping when he’s the one who summoned me…”
I stood next to Orpheus and put a hand on his shoulder to shake him awake.
At that moment, I saw his handsome face and was charmed by his defenceless sleeping face, so my hands stopped.
“… Look at him sleeping without a care,” I cursed him to mask the feelings that were welling up within me, but it was already too late.
My heart was filled with emotions, and it ached.
――― I love you.
I love you. I love you so much.
I love you so much that it’s killing me.
I love you.
I want to protect him even if I have to abandon everything.
I want to make him happy.
If my wish could come true, then I want to tell him my feelings right now, hug him and lock him up so that no one can see him.
I want to make him only mine.
I love you.
I love this person more than anyone and anything.
“Orpheus. ――― Lord Orpheus.”
My beloved won’t wake up.
His figure is just like a statue of a god from mythology.
His white skin which looked transparent to his loosely wavy black hair and his deep blue eyes which are hidden underneath his eyelids.
His sharp nose and thin lips which were slightly red.
There were no extra bits and pieces to his slender body, and it was supple like a drawn sword.
He is absurdly handsome and even now, I’m so shocked that I can’t even breathe.
But even if his face is burnt and inflamed, and he becomes so ugly that people wouldn’t want to see him twice, I would probably still think that he is handsome and continue to love him.
I left my right hand on Orpheus’s shoulder and touched his white cheek with my other hand.
My trembling fingers lightly brushed against his skin, and I gently brushed away the black hair on his forehead.
I put my face near his ears and mouthed, “I love you.”
I missed the smell of his cologne, which smelt like the deep green forest and his own unique scent, and it almost made me cry.
The pain tightened my chest and I couldn’t breathe.
Why did we turn out like this even though I can clearly recall his warmth and breathe from when we slept together, and I felt that we were so close back in those days?
Now a deep gap that will never be buried has opened up between us, and it keeps getting deeper every day.
We are standing on the brink of a rift, and we hurt each other with cold glances and exchanges.
――― I know. I’m the one in the wrong. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. Because I chose this.
Still, I can’t help but think like this sometimes.
“―――Would you have loved me if Diana wasn’t here and I was still trying to be worthy of being your wife?”
The days that have passed cannot be returned.
There’s no point in making guesses about the past.
More importantly, my small voice will not reach Orpheus in his sleep, so he won’t answer my question.
Even if I knew this, the silence felt as if it was refusing me, and I closed my eyes because I couldn’t endure the pain that had increased in my head and chest.
When we had just gotten married, Orpheus had been kind.
He had fulfilled his duties as a husband.
He took me out even though I had the habit of secluding myself inside, he went shopping with me, and, of course, he attended evening parties and tea parties with me.
He would have dinner with me whenever he could, and he would sleep by my side in my room at night.
When I told him that I liked roses, he promised that he would deliver them to my room every day when the roses in the garden bloomed.
Orpheus had been kind.
He had been so sweet that it had puzzled me.
And yet, I deliberately kept him at a distance.
The waiter didn’t return.
The red-lit room was extremely quiet, and Orpheus and I were alone without anyone to disturb us.
Orpheus was still asleep ―――.
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry, Orpheus.”
I gently kissed his black hair like I had done so many times before.
I closed my eyes and pictured the days that had passed and would never return.