Chapter 23: Battle
One month after that man’s visit, Orpheus and I still continue our foolish battle.
Orpheus was puzzled by his wife who kept following him with a sweet smile and frowned, but he still hadn’t given up, and it seemed like he was challenging the limits of his patience.
From his behaviour, I could see his unwavering determination to betray the woman he loved so that he could keep the last request of the man who raised him like a real son, no matter how bothered he was by his wife’s folly.
However, he was certainly irritated and unhappy since he looked at me occasionally with a thoughtful gaze and sighed more often.
So, I acted more boldly and flirted with him in a more obvious way to make him more irritated and unhappy.
I did things he hated the most since he hated women who were charmed by his appearance and winked at him, ――― by complimenting his handsome face, and pretending to be charmed by his appearance ―――, but he didn’t doubt my behaviour, and even said the word ‘love’.
『I love you. That’s why I can’t let you leave. I want to be with you forever.』The moment I had said that his face was a sight to behold.
He opened his eyes so wide that it looked like his blue eyes would fall out of their sockets, his mouth was gaping open, and his expression looked as if he had just seen a strange creature appear right before his eyes.
――― I’m sure he’s nearly at his limits.
It would be alright to continue my attacks and drive him into a corner, but I wanted to know if it was possible to create an opportunity to make him explode with all his frustrations and unhappiness since I wanted him to divorce me as soon as possible.
――― Long eyelashes.
I suddenly thought as I sat down on a chair across from him and rested my chin on my hands while he was reading a book.
Orpheus’s eyelashes are long.
They were long enough to cast a shadow on his eyes and would be the envy of ladies who made their eyes pop out with make-up.
Women would envy his long and thick eyelashes.
Orpheus is handsome today as well.
Blue eyes like gems, a straight and high nose, and slightly red lips.
He didn’t have the beauty of a woman. He had the beauty of a man, thick bone structures, and finely chiselled features.
His eyes which were reading the text were full of sorrow and looked mysterious and fascinating.
But that was only a part of him, not all of him.
His appearance is beautiful and worthy of admiration, but appearances aren’t that important to me.
It doesn’t matter whether he’s handsome or not.
What I love about him is his smile, his soul.
No matter how much the things that come attached to that change, my feelings for him will never change.
So, I don’t really want to tell him.
These worthless words that sound as if I’m only looking at him superficially aren’t my true feelings.
“You’re very handsome.”
His blue eyes, which had been reading, looked at me.
“It’s like you’re a piece of art. You’re really handsome and beautiful. It feels like I’m going to swoon just from looking at it,” I said and smiled.
If I can make something of his my own… I smiled sweetly at him, a smile full of the desire to monopolise him, which he hated.
“I like it. ――― Your face, that is.”
Orpheus looked at me expressionlessly as he turned the page, but he looked like he was smiling a little, then he looked troubled and extremely lonely.
You can do what you like with it, was what it felt like he had said.
It was as if he was declaring this to my recent strange behaviour, and my smile twitched.
It would have been better if he told me to stop because it was unpleasant.
However, even if his expressions changed, he rarely rejected me with words.
Perhaps he was afraid that his pent up anger would explode if he were to put it into words.
“This face and this body, they’re all yours. Because you are my wife, my spouse.”
“If that’s true…” I quickly shut my mouth because I nearly revealed my true feelings.
Orpheus tilted his head in curiosity, and asked, “If that’s true…?”
“No, it’s nothing.” I pretended that I hadn’t said anything with a smile.
I can’t say it.
‘If that’s true, then how wonderful that would be,’ I won’t say it even if my mouth split apart.
I will give everything to Orpheus, and he will give everything to me.
If this were true, then we would love each other deeply, and our bonds will be inseparable.
I am a fool who can never be saved because I tried to find hope in this assumption while destroying the relationship between us.
――― I’m tired.
Recently, I’ve suddenly come to my senses.
I’m tired of this foolish attack, of the days that are wearing me down, and of the cold gaze directed at me from the person I love.
Once I realised this fact, I felt terribly empty.
――― What am I doing?
I played the bad wife because I wanted to be hated by the person I loved, then I turned around and flirted with him with a sweet smile on my face.
By doing so, I was trying to make him hate me more.
Aren’t I like a clown who appears in comedies?
Clowns make people laugh with funny remarks and actions.
However, I’m serious.
I’m acting with the intention of throwing everything away.
I was aware of everything.
I even made Orpheus unhappy, and in the end, I’ll step off the stage a lonely person.
I thought this was the only way to prove my love for him because I have nothing and could give him nothing.
For Orpheus, I could have endured any pain.
I was not supposed to feel anything if I repeated this every day and let it become a habit.
――― And yet, why?
Why am I so tired?
I’ll be happy if Orpheus is happy, I’ll be satisfied if Orpheus is smiling, but why do I feel so empty and miserable sometimes?
――― It’s because I’m tired.
There are no other reasons. I’m just tired.
I’m only feeling gloomy because I’m tired.
There are no other reasons.
――― Let’s end this quickly.
I want to make Orpheus happy.
But I’m tired.
Orpheus is probably tired as well.
I want him to release me and free him.
The only way to do this is to make him divorce me as quickly as I can, leave this mansion, and close the curtain to my short and horribly painful long days.
After a while, Orpheus went to the parlour because a servant had come and informed him that a visitor was here.
I was left alone in the room and had nothing to do, so I tried to read the book that Orpheus had been reading, but it was a philosophy book that I had read before, so I went back to my room to get tools to practice embroidery.
When I opened the door and went out into the corridor, Elza was standing there with a tray of tea utensils and baked goods, and I raised my voice in surprise, “Elza!”
“I’m sorry.” Elza quietly bowed her head and apologised for surprising me.
Her bow was a model bow of what the servants should do, and she straightened her back when she raised her head again. I was impressed by her serious behaviour.
The head maid who controls this mansion with Juris and had been serving the Rosenstein House for 30 years making her the oldest servant.
She is a middle-aged woman with a stern face and chestnut hair that wasn’t dishevelled at all, and she always looks at her surroundings with a keen gaze.
It’s hard to get an impression on her, but she’s more zealous about her work than anyone else and is an excellent manager who educates the other servants strictly, but she also watches over them warmly, and never forgets to give them words of encouragement.
Orpheus also acknowledges her work and had great faith in her.
He wasn’t blessed with a mother, so Elza might be like a mother to him with her warm and strict support.
Perhaps because of that, the relationship between Elza and I started off rocky.
Elza is on Diana’s side, and she thinks that the right partner for Orpheus is Diana, so our relationship turned sour.
When I was doing my best for this house, Elza’s reaction towards me was colder than Orpheus’s, and every time I met her, she would scold me and tell me the way I was doing things was no good.
Since I started acting like a foolish woman…
“Master ordered me to prepare tea, but are you going back to your room?” She called me from behind even though I had already started walking. I turned back because it was surprising for Orpheus to show consideration towards me.
My chest ached, and I pretended I hadn’t felt anything while saying, “I’m going to get some tools to kill time. You can leave it in the room.”
“In Master’s room?”
“Yes,” I answered in a rude tone and began walking to my room.
The relationship between Elza and I became much colder and reserved when I began acting like a foolish woman.
Elza, like Juris, would give me advice at the beginning, and tried to improve my behaviour, but then she gave up on me and stopped.
Even if we met like this, she only says what she has to me, and never tells me to stop going out or stop wasting money.
She stays silent and stares at me with criticism.
She was treating me with great caution like the other servants.
“Pitiful,” the words which had been whispered echoed well in the quiet corridor where only footsteps could be heard.
At the same time, I heard a sigh.
――― Is she pitying Orpheus?
Elza probably didn’t like my strange behaviour like the other servants.
She might feel bad for Orpheus because I’ll be sticking to him again once the visitor returns and might have just blabbed that out.
It might have been better for me to pretend I hadn’t heard her and left, but she had clearly whispered that, so I had no choice but to reply to her, “What is?”
I had only stopped and hadn’t turned around, so I don’t know what kind of expression Eliza was making.
She kept silent, but eventually let out another sigh. “It’s nothing,” she said before going into Orpheus’s room.
I didn’t want to come face-to-face with her again, so I spent a lot of time in my room before returning to Orpheus’s room.
Eliza wasn’t there, and tea was prepared on the table, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it until Orpheus returned.
I went to the gambling house yesterday and drank a lot of wine before coming back the following day.
The next day, I got up in the afternoon, had Renee help me change, and spent time reading a book in my room.
It was a dry, hot summer afternoon, but the sky was beautiful and clear.
The Rosenstein mansion had a lot of greenery, so the wind coming in through the opened windows was nice, and the rooms weren’t hot.
The inside of the mansion was quiet, and there were no harsh noises, so I was able to concentrate on reading.
Right now, I was reading a long novel that had many sequels, but I had finished the first volume too fast, and closed the thick cover with a thump.
I engrossed myself in the emotions I felt for a while, but I couldn’t stand it anymore because I was interested in the sequel and headed to the library.
I found the book I wanted right away.
I also took other books that interested me and went up the spiral staircase in the entrance hall in a happy mood.
Then, I saw that the door on the last room on the second floor, Diana’s room, was opened, and she came out with her arms linked around a maid’s.
She’s probably going for a walk. She was wearing a hat and a long-sleeved dress so she wouldn’t get sunburnt.
I flinched for a second. I didn’t know if I should quickly rush back to the library or calmly pass her.
If I pass her, then Diana would speak to me, and I would reply back in disdain.
I’m already worn out, so I don’t want to feel bitter at seeing her hurt expression.
――― Ah, this is no good.
If I continue this way, then it’ll be no good.
I became extremely timid.
I’m afraid of hurting others.
I was shaken even though I decided that I would do anything for Orpheus, even crawl in mud.
If I continue this way, then it’s no good.
『Orpheus loves you.』
It’s because Juris had said those words.
I became shaken ever since he’d said those words and became weird.
Even though I didn’t believe those words and knew it was impossible, but still I…
――― It’s okay.
Shake off the sentiments and look forward.
I’m not tired.
I can do anything for Orpheus. I’ll do it.
Diana’s maid noticed me and whispered to her.
Then, Diana stepped forward and tried to find me with her eyes which couldn’t see.
Her earnest expression struck a chord in my heart and tightened it, but I gazed at her coldly.
Diana was pulled by the maid and walked towards me, then she said, “So, you were here? That’s good. I was just about to visit your room.”
“Hello Diana. What did you need?” I replied in a cold tone, and Diana’s bright smile stiffened, and she looked down awkwardly.
“I wanted to talk to you.”
“I don’t have anything to talk to you about.”
“You might not, but I have. I really wanted to talk to you.”
“Then, I’ll listen. Go on,” I said, and the maid pulled on Diana’s hand, stepped out in front of her and looked at me in protest.
I ignored her and immediately looked at her with an expression that stated I wanted to leave as quickly as possible.
“I want to go back to my room. Quickly tell me what you have to say. You’re just going to say stupid things like ‘You’re misunderstanding the relationship between Orpheus and I,’ or ‘Please get along with him’, right? But well, I’ll listen to what you have to say, so keep it short.”
“I’m sorry. It’s hard to say here. The other servants might hear us… Won’t you walk around the garden with me and talk like we used to? You liked to take walks, didn’t you? You would hold my hand and tell me about the weather, how beautiful the flowers were as they bloomed, and what the water fountain looked like for the day. We had tea together, and talked about the latest trends, about scandals you’ve heard and…”
“If you want to reminisce, then do so with your kind cousin.”
Diana trembled as if she had been struck with thunder and pursed her lips.
She was speechless and frozen in place, but the maid called her name as if to encourage her. She looked as if she was going to cry and nodded with an expression that stated she had made a heart-breaking decision.
“I’m sorry, Ophelia.”
“I’ve hurt you. You’ve denied this many times, but I’m the reason why you became like that…”
“Ophelia. Diana,” at that time, someone called us from the first floor.
I looked down the stairs and saw Orpheus. He was frowning anxiously and had a dangerous aura about him.
“What are you two doing?”
Don’t worry, because we’re not doing anything. ――― I quickly made a smile and opened my mouth to say this, but Diana spoke first.
“I’m inviting Ophelia on a walk. I wanted to talk to her.”
“Ophelia. Won’t you listen to what she has to say?”
It was normal for Orpheus to take Diana’s side, but it was strange for him to say it worryingly.
It was like he knew what Diana was going to say to me.
“Do you also know what she wants to say?” I asked him in a soft voice with a sweet gesture, but Orpheus didn’t answer my question, and just said in a low and calm voice, “Please.”
His blue eyes were past the point of seriousness and looked desperate. I wondered why Orpheus wanted me to hear Diana out so badly.
――― I’m troubled.
It’s strange for Diana to be this persistent.
And if Orpheus speaks and looks at me like that, then I can’t refuse even if it’s for Diana.
――― I’ll listen to what she has to say.
Perhaps, it might be an important matter which has a significant influence on the relationship between Orpheus and me.
“Alright. If you two are going that far. Orpheus, are you coming too?”
“No, I still have things to do. You two go ahead.”
“I see. ――― Diana. I’m going to get my hat, so wait at the bottom of the stairs.”
I passed Diana and walked to my room.
“Thank you, Ophelia,” she said to me in relief from behind, but I didn’t look back and continued to glare in front of me as I concentrated on walking.