Chapter 15: Screwed Up Embroidery
Orpheus tried to talk with me many times when I first became the bad wife, Countess Rosenstein.
He persistently asked: why are you behaving like this? Are you unsatisfied with something?
However, I either ignored him or replied with this. 『Unfortunately, this is who I really am. The obedient and meek Ophelia is a lie. It was absurd to keep on acting.』
Orpheus still tried to talk to me, but eventually, he only cautioned me not to waste money and stay out overnight without notice. He didn’t want to fix our relationship anymore. Even if we pass each other in the corridor now, he only glances at me coldly, and we barely talk.
He might have given up because he just gets ignored when he tries to talk to me.
“Phelia, how do I say this, you’re like that. Once you’ve made up your mind, you’re relentless. I can’t believe you said that to your husband.”
“I’m aware that I’ve said something horrible. But if I don’t go that far, then he won’t let me go. That’s how important that last request is to him.”
“Last request? The last request of the previous head…?” Claire said, and I nodded.
“His last request was to marry the daughter of his beloved prostitute. He respects the former head, his father, a lot, and takes his last request seriously. So much so that he would betray his lover, Diana, to fulfil this request. He still won’t divorce me even though I’m doing whatever I want; probably because of that request and what little sympathy he has for me. He might be preparing for the divorce secretly, though.”
“Well, even if he was following that last request…” Claude shrugged and said.
“If that’s the case, then he should have kicked Diana out before he married you. He may have asked you about this before, but if you’re told that the girl is blind, then you would usually say, 『Then, please let her stay』. Especially if they had your personality, Phelia. Lord Rosenstein should have settled the matter before getting married. He’s breaking the rules. Keeping his lover by his side since the beginning of the marriage; of course, Phelia would become a bad wife. He doesn’t complain about you having a lover either.” Before I knew it, Claude quoted the rumours that were floating around ladies at the theatre. I looked sour and defended myself, “I’m acting like a bad wife on purpose.”
“But he’s said it many times before. He’ll move Diana somewhere else because I’m acting ridiculous.”
“He didn’t move her, though, did he?”
“I told him that he didn’t have to. I told him that I have you, Claude, so I’ll do what I want, and he can do what he wants. And there’s no point to this if Diana leaves. I have to get them together somehow. I want Diana to stay in Rosenstein mansion.”
“I’ve heard this many times before, Phelia. Don’t you think that Lord Rosenstein is a terrible man?”
I looked down.
As Claude said, Orpheus may be a cruel man.
He kept his lover by his side, and showed me, his wife, how close they were and how much they love each other.
In fact, he may be a horrendous man.
――― But still, he saved me.
He saved me from the days of being treated like a servant and being oppressed.
He may have only done that to fulfil his foster father’s last request, but to me, it was salvation.
Thanking him many times and devoting my remaining life to him isn’t enough to compensate him.
Most importantly, he taught me the joy of loving someone.
Loving him has been mostly painful, but the little joy and happiness I felt can’t be replaced with anything.
That’s why I…
“I don’t think he is. He’s everything to me.”
Claude scratched his bed hair and sighed, “Dear me!”
“Doing this much for your love rival. Phelia, you’re like a saint… Don’t you think so Claire?”
Claire was looking down.
I thought she was concentrating on her embroidery, but her hands, which were holding the cloth, were trembling a little.
When I looked at her face, her pretty face was scrunched up, and her eyes were red.
Large tears filled her amber eyes, and they were going to fall if she moved even a little.
“Madam… Madam, you’re too kind. Despite never becoming happy, being hated by everyone, and shunned. Despite… You love the Master so much!”
“Eh, mmm, yes! Here a handkerchief. Use it!”
“Uoah, thank you very much.”
Claire pushed the handkerchief that I had given her to her face and began blowing her nose.
I patted her trembling back, and Claude said while smiling wryly, “Claire cries a lot. She’s moved by your determination. Phelia’s heartfelt feelings certainly can’t be heard without tears.”
“Don’t tease me,” I growled.
What is there to cry about with this comical love?
Playing a hateful person for the person I love, have the person I love marry who he loves, and exit quietly while being hated.
This silly story doesn’t even make a crap play.
“And it’s not wholeheartedly. Because I’m in a lovers relationship with you.”
“Pretend lovers, right? It’s actually different. We’ve never hugged or held hands. We’re just friends.”
“Not just friends, you’re an important friend.”
“My bad, that’s right. I’m going to say this, so you don’t misunderstand, but I feel the same way. That’s why I’m supporting you. I can’t give you much advice, but I think it’s fine for you to try new methods.”
I placed the embroidery cloth onto the table and stared at Claude’s deep green eyes.
“Why can’t you give me advice?”
“Because I don’t know how Lord Rosenstein would react. He might reject you, like you believe, or he might accept it.”
“He might accept it…?”
I thought about that possibility again.
However, I couldn’t think of any way that would be possible no matter how much I puzzled over it.
“I can’t believe that would happen.”
“You don’t know. He might do so to follow that request. He might put up with your selfishness to a certain degree to avoid divorce.”
“Then, I’ll become a woman so terrible that he won’t be able to put up with me. It’s fine, I’m confident. Even if his heart is shaken, he will reject me in the end. He only has that much patience. And I should…” I stopped mid-sentence because I remembered unpleasant feelings.
“You should?” Claire, who had stopped crying, asked in a strange nasally voice, but I shook my head, “It’s nothing.”
Claude stared at me, but I shook my head again.
“Anyway, I’ll try it. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t. I’ll think of another way.” I declared, and Claude sipped his cold tea and shrugged.
“Don’t do anything complicated, I think the quickest way is to say, ‘Please break up with me,’ at the beginning.”
“I’ve tried that many times… but it’s meaningless. I have to get him to divorce me.”
“If so, then why don’t you run away and hide your whereabouts? I’ll help you.”
“I thought of that for emergencies… but, I want to get a formal divorce if possible. So that Orpheus and Diana don’t have to worry in the future. And if they’re going to get married in the future, then I want us to divorce properly.”
“I don’t know if acting bold is good or not. I don’t know how you think sometimes. But well, you seem very confident with this new method, so why don’t you do what you want for the time being until you’re satisfied? Both Claire and I will support you and help out if anything happens. That will never change… Right, Claire?”
“Yes. I’ll always be on your side no matter what.”
――― What a good girl she is.
Claire, this child has always been like this.
She’s been on my side ever since I got married.
The other servants shunned me, but Claire is different.
She serves me with all her might.
She really is a kind and good girl.
When I wanted to tell her thanks, Claude interrupted, “By the way…”
“How is your embroidery progressing? What does it look like now?” He’s hinting something. I held the embroidered cloth that I had thrown on the table.
To be honest, I’m very clumsy with my hands, so I’m pretty bad at embroidery.
I can’t compare to the skilful Claire.
The embroidery I’m working on this time is a large rose surrounded by green vines. I’ve finished about a third of it, but I’ve already wrecked the rose, and it has become something unrecognisable.
Claude glanced at it and twitched. “Ah,” he said in disappointment.
Claire hung her head down as if she hadn’t seen anything and resumed her embroidery.
“Hm. It looks fine since it’s really unique. Or should I say, it’s just like you.”
“You don’t have to force yourself to praise it.”
――― Even if I can’t embroider, I have to at least learn how to sew a button on.
Whether Claude hires me, or I chose a different path, it would be meaningless if I can’t do things on my own.
I took back my embroidery cloth and wholeheartedly manipulated the needle to try and make a decent piece.