Chapter 74 - Forgiveness
The hatred and doubt that was rooted deep in her from the past five days had worked its job even with his apology, disturbing her mind. Ella frowned slightly, just like how she felt.
Cladis, who was wary of Ella, unlike how confident he looked, hurriedly added, “I’m not asking for your forgiveness. I understand even if you cannot forgive me.”
“Is that true?”
Ella thought that maybe Cladis had heard something from Ethan, from how he was being so submissive. Ethan, however, had never taken a step outside his room after she insisted on her decision. Even for her brother, he knew that running straight to Cladis would only make his sister more furious. As such, he had stayed in his room like a dead mouse.
‘Then why is he like that?’
It was a genuine apology, but Ella couldn’t trust even that, so Cladis let out another long sigh and continued his speech with determination, “It’s true. I thought about it a lot last night. Why did you refuse to marry me? I looked back to what I did to you after seeing you again for the first time in three years ever since the Week of Beginning began. The words I said to you as well. From that, I’ve come to a conclusion that… I’m an a*sh*le.”
She was shocked by his harsh words as she never imagined such words would come from his mouth. Cladis smiled as he looked at Ella, who was shocked. That alone seemed enough to make him feel good.
“I am an a*sh*le. Don’t you think so?”
Ella nodded to his question. There was no need to deny it when he was saying to himself. “Yes, you are an a*sh*le, Your Highness.”
“Right? Hahaha. But I still want you by my side.”
Cladis, who laughed at Ella sternly agreeing, stopped and clearly shared his intentions to her. She saw the determination in his eyes that he would never let her go, so she felt threatened, “Your Highness!”
“Please give me a chance. I know I’ve hurt you so badly. I understand that it made you hate me. I even thought about letting you go,” said Cladis as he took a step closer toward her.
Ella then took a step backward. Cladis looked at her, smiled in self-pity, then looked back at her and added, “I came to one conclusion after thinking it over all night. I cannot imagine a life without you. I cannot do that.”
“Your Highness. I cannot imagine a future with you anymore.”
“I know. You’ve been telling me that since the Glass Garden, that you don’t need me anymore. But Ella, I can’t do that.”
Hearing from Cladis that he couldn’t imagine a world without her, Ella thought about what Ethan told her last night. Even when he was acting like he only loved her, he had called Clara his first love. He did say it was love for a limited time, but he brought her to the party and was with her at the Glass Garden. Not only that, he even brought her to the Magical Tower. Now, he spoke as if Clara had nothing to do with this, as he talked about how he felt for Ella.
‘Do I have to forgive him if he acts as if nothing had happened? Why should I?’
“What about Lady Mellin? Oh, are you going to say that’s done because you only planned to keep the relationship until you leave the Academy?”
“How did you… It was Ethan. Did Ethan tell you?”
“Yes, he told me all last night. That she was your first love.”
Cladis’s expression darkened as a cold smile appeared on Ella’s face as she spoke the word “first love.” He had to explain, but at the same time, he didn’t want to do it. It all happened because of his foolishness. He chose by force, but it was his choice after all.
‘Then this is because of me,’ thought Cladis. The fact that he didn’t say that he left the boutonniere by mistake led to this. The choice he made was because he wanted to hide the truth. ‘What if I told her the truth from the start?’
Maybe that might have been better. He couldn’t lie to Ella in trying to hide his shame anymore, so he replied, “I told her today that I don’t wish to see her anymore. That was the promise from the beginning, and my answer to that remains the same. I don’t have the slightest intention of keeping her by my side. I will only think about persuading you from now on.”
‘It’s over because you broke up with her? Is that what you’re saying?’ Ella frowned because of his words. She wasn’t sure if that was an excuse or a declaration. Will it make the time spent with Clara and the fact that everyone called her his first love disappear? As well as all those things that happened afterward?
Ella couldn’t understand him. Was that why? She couldn’t trust that he wouldn’t “have the slightest intention of keeping her” by his side. Not only that, she found his apologies and excuses unpleasant. Such unpleasantness became complaints, and that complaint hadn’t been resolved and just added on top of the existing complaints she already had.
But Cladis, who didn’t know what she was thinking, kept apologizing, making excuses, and continued declaring that he would persuade Ella. At that point, the word “persuade” was stuck in her mind, and it made her uncomfortable. Her complaints became a sharp voice as she threw them at him.
“Did you just say, ‘persuade?’”
“Yes, persuade. I will persuade and court you so that you can imagine a future with me.”
‘So, it’s courting, now?’ thought Ella.
Ella scoffed at the laughable words he said. Cladis then walked up to her without a smile on his face. He hugged her before she could get away and added, “Just one year. Give me just one year. I will do my best to court you.”
After a year, Ella had to be formally engaged to Cladis. Was he planning to persuade her, so she’ll be there by that time?
‘He’s so full of himself. Sorry, but I’m pissed off, so I don’t plan on being persuaded,’ thought Ella.
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