Chapter 42 - Alone Again
‘Ah, I really don’t know what to do.’ I sighed again, feeling uneasy about my predicament when my maid spoke outside the door.
“This is Merilyn, my lady.”
I opened the door for her. “Hello,” I greeted.
“Good morning, Lady Floyen,” Merilyn greeted me. She suddenly stopped short and looked at me with a surprised expression. “Oh…”
“You don’t look well, my lady. A-are you okay?” she asked with a stutter.
‘Huh? I don’t look well?’ I was wondering why Merilyn looked so surprised, then I remembered that I had stayed up all night. ‘Ah, I probably… have dark circles under my eyes because I didn’t sleep much.’
“Yes, I’m fine,” I said with a smile so that she wouldn’t unnecessarily worry about me. Although I was upset about the prospective marriage partner list, I did my best to look calm. I didn’t want her to think that I was behaving suspiciously.
‘I wonder when Father is coming back. I hope it won’t be sooner than expected…’ It would be terrible if my father came back when I hadn’t devised a plan to escape the marriage yet.
I trembled as I imagined that situation and said, “Um, Merilyn, did my father say when he would come back by any chance?”
Merilyn flinched and shook her head. “No, but I think he’ll return in two days.”
I became reassured by what she said. ‘I don’t need to be so hasty. I still have some time.’ With this in mind, I felt more at peace.
* * *
Lately, the servants were worried about Lady Floyen’s unusual behavior. ‘The lady has become strange,’ they thought. Jubelian used to frequently wander around the mansion, but now she spent most of her time in her room. It was even more unusual that she restricted the maids from entering her room.
The butler sighed with worry. ‘She started behaving like this after the master left for training.’ Because his return was delayed, five days had passed in his absence. The servants in the Floyen household interacted with the lady with great care, anxious that she might return to her old, unreasonable self.
‘Master must return soon…’ Derrick sighed again. His worries were interrupted by Madam Perez, the head of housekeeping.
“Is it true that the master will be back in two days, Derrick?”
“Yes. Why do you ask…?”
Madam Perez sighed. “The girl who takes care of Lady Floyen told me she was acting strange again.”
“Strange? Can you elaborate…?” Derrick trailed off and looked at her with wavering eyes.
“She said that Lady Floyen asked when the master would return with a pallid face,” Madam Perez replied.
“What?” Derrick was shocked. What she had just told him reminded him of a certain day in the distant past.
“Derrick, why isn’t daddy coming back?” Jubelian had asked him. His heart still ached when he remembered her tearful, periwinkle eyes. ‘I shouldn’t have done that back then,’ he thought.
Derrick sighed with regret and said, “I will contact master right away.”
Madam Perez sighed as well and nodded. “Thank you.”
* * *
As the wind blew through the open window, Merilyn heard Jubelian sigh in the middle of reading a book on her couch. Although her face was full of worries, she was still beautiful.
‘Lady Floyen must be sighing because she misses master, right?’ She looked so sad that Merilyn couldn’t help but strike a conversation with her.
“The weather is so nice today, my lady.”
“Yes, it is,” Jubelian replied weakly.
Merilyn looked at her with pity. ‘This is the first time I’ve seen her look so weak.’ Although she was in higher spirits these days because Jubelian was treating everyone so kindly, she was now worried about the despondent lady.
‘I want to help her.’ Although this was a presumptuous thought, one that might even reignite Jubelian’s temper, she felt the urge to do something.
“How about taking a walk, my lady? Basking in the warm sunlight will surely make you feel better.”
Jubelian looked up. Although she gazed at her calmly, Merilyn became frightened. ‘Oh no… What if she becomes angry at me?’
She had gathered up her courage to speak, but she was still afraid that Jubelian might get angry since the lady was known for being fickle. Merilyn looked down nervously.
Jubelian parted her red lips. “Alright.”
Merilyn looked at her, dumbfounded. ‘She agreed with me so easily?’ Then she heard her voice again.
“I do feel a little suffocated, staying inside all the time.”
Merilyn suddenly recalled something Jubelian had said in the past.
“I hate being home. Daddy is never here… and I’m always alone.”
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