Chapter 3 – Noel Kristen
“So, please quickly go back to Riel’s side.”
Irene wanted to refuse that request, but the countess’s frosty gaze sent a clear meaning to her. Do not bother me. Her cold expression and tone made her give up on the idea. Irene looked carefully at the hoping for even the slightest hint of affection, but to her dismay, what she longed for was nowhere to be seen. Rather, her mother was full of irritation.
Irene suppressed her emotions. She would not let the tears that were welling up in the back of her throat to come out and escape from her eyes. Then, and there, she could not bring herself to do it. All she wanted to do was close the door and stop seeing the countess’s face, but she knew that was not possible. After all, the person in front of her was her own mother.
That was why Irene forlornly held back her tears and begged the countess.
“Can I visit her later?” She pleaded.
“I’m afraid that I won’t be able to go to the dining room today. Then, have a nice dinner, mom.”
Irene could still hear the countess’s voice shouting her name when she closed the door, but she ignored it. The words of anger and harsh scolding pelted her heart and it stung. After a few minutes, when finally she couldn’t feel any presence of a person outside the room, Irene fell down and leant her back against the door.
To be honest, I expected that reaction. My parent’s priority is always Riel, Riel, and Riel. How could I possibly expect their attention when I’ve never been a priority in their eyes.
Is it wrong of me – to still keep this tiny flame of hope in my heart? Because after all, they are also my parents. It’s so painful to endure this, and knowing that I would never be their first shatters me.
The situation that had occurred, was made even more pathetic, in light of what Irene already knew and had predicted. Her thoughts spun as she reminisced on her interactions with her sister and parents, and after a while, the bright sky had turned to twilight. The room was quiet, not even a pin drop could escape from the stillness. Her surroundings matched the peacefulness of the room, dark and lonely.
Irene slowly raised her head.
I must leave this house. Irene murmured those words.
Now that she had realized the unforgiving truth – that not a single person in this house cared for her, she no longer wished to stay living in these rooms anymore. No, she definitely could not stay. Before, she still held onto a strand of hope that at least her parents would care about her, but that hope was glass. Now, it only lay smashed to pieces, shards scattered and irreparable.
But what do I do? How can I escape?
She was the eldest daughter from an aristocratic family. Wherever she went and hid herself, she would no doubt, due to her family’s high profile, end up being caught. She must find a legitimate way to leave this house without being chased.
Is there a way to do that?
Furthermore, her parents were heavily traditional. They were inclined to believe in the social norms and values lest they lost face. Even if the sky fell, a woman should never leave the house alone. Because of their distaste for this and reasoning, Irene had never gone out of the house.
This was how society operated. The child was treated as the private property of his or her parents. Without guardians’ consent, they would not be allowed to go out. It was forbidden to disobey them, and unfortunately for Irene, above all, she did not own any money. Therefore, if she left the house, there was only a gloomy future waiting for her.
The only way she could quickly achieve her goal was…
If she got married, she could leave the house because she would belong to her husband’s family after the marriage. Tying the knot in this kind of society, would be her best chance for a brighter future. However…
Boris had an affair with Riel.
Irene felt sick imagining that. The disgust was bottled up in the wave of nausea that surged through her, coupled with a low spurt of anger. She had never expected that her fiance would cheat with her sister. How could Boris have an affair with Riel? And how could Riel betray her like that?
Does she really think of me as her sister? She wouldn’t cheat with my fiance if she thought of me as her sister or family. Am I even considered as family in the first place?
Perhaps, for more than twenty years, I have been mistaken. I have never considered as part of the family here.
Thinking so made Irene want to just leave and rush out in a hurry, never to see this house or associate with the people here again. The longer she stayed here, the more she felt like she was being sucked into an endless darkness.