My Husband Will Regret This - Chapter 24
She looked for Eric because she thought she’d have to greet the Duchess by his side. It would be better if she and Eric went together because she personally knew the Duchess.
And she found him, tilting his champagne glass as he was talking to Theo. Chloe approached from behind them, but the moment she tried to reach out to Eric—
‘So sick and tired.’
‘A terrible woman.’
She heard something she couldn’t wrap her head around. Without realizing it, Chloe faltered.
She listened more, thinking that the next words would clear this up.
‘She’s driven me crazy ever since I saw her at the academy.’
Chloe ran away as soon as she heard this. If she were to listen to more, her heart would shatter entirely.
She already knew that Eric didn’t like her.
But she didn’t know that he hated her.
She just thought that she was being treated as though she wasn’t there.
‘So sick and tired.’
She couldn’t believe he thought of her like this.
She couldn’t believe he thought of her as a horrible woman.
Chloe was so heartbroken that she couldn’t even shed tears. Instead, she laughed in vain. What sin did she commit for her to hear this?
She wished to love someone.
So she loved him.
Was this love so wrong?
Then why did he embrace her?
Why was he being so considerate of her?
He shouldn’t have done anything at all.
Chloe crouched down, her face between her knees. She didn’t want to think about anything.
People were gathered in the long gallery. This was to see the world-famous painter Monte’s paintings, which Duke Antre had bought a while ago.
As a surrealist¹ painter, Monte enjoyed painting subjects that couldn’t be seen in this world.
That was also something he somewhat had in common with Eric, who was continuously inventing things that previously did not exist in the world. That’s why Eric, in his own way, liked Monte’s paintings.
He wasn’t very interested in the art itself, however, it was necessary to be versed in cultural arts so he could talk to people in high society, so he refined himself. Of course, Chloe must know more than he did. He thought that would be good if Chloe could talk to the Duke, so he looked around to find her.
Finally finding Chloe, Eric stood next to her naturally. Then, he whispered into her ear.
“Do greet the Duke soon.”
Since it was Chloe, she would have understood what he was saying even if he said only this much. Because she was a smart woman.
But today… she was being odd.
Chloe kept staring at a painting. Without paying attention to Eric.
Eric placed a hand over Chloe’s shoulder, but she soon shook him off and stood up straight. The lace on her waist fluttered.
She slowly opened her lips.
In the painting, a man who had a rose for a face was standing over a pile of machines, trampling them.
To Chloe, it seemed like the rose was crying. No—was it that the rose was crying and laughing at the same time? She pondered over it.
“Yeah, of course. Any of Monte’s paintings would cost the same as a decently sized mansion.”
Ah. Eric shut his mouth.
He shouldn’t have brought up money in front of Chloe. It was clear that this would only place him under a bad light.
He was ashamed of himself. He must look lowly.
“Why, is it too vulgar for you?”
And so he answered sarcastically because he felt defensive.
“No. That’s not what I think.”
Chloe calmly intertwined her fingers and responded. But Eric did not believe her words. He looked at Chloe, his gaze carrying suspicion.
If she had met his eyes, Chloe would have stayed silent. But she didn’t look back at him.
“If I pay back all the money that my household borrowed, you can buy one of Monte’s paintings, right?”
That’s why she could say this.
Because she didn’t see the frustration and helplessness in Eric’s expression.
With his gaze distorted by anger, he scowled at Chloe.
“How long will you look at me as though I’m a beggar?”
However, Chloe only stared back at him. Eric looked straight into her blue eyes.
“If I talk to you about money, you say I treat you like a vulgar man. If I don’t talk to you about money, you say I treat you like a poor man.”
“You’re wrong. I’ve never done that.”
“Then I wonder what you’re doing right now.”
Eric managed to rein in his voice. There were a lot of people around them, so he couldn’t make a commotion.
Huu. He exhaled heavily. Shame flooded over his entire being. He swept down a palm over his face.
“What should I do for you to believe² me, Wife?”
Chloe stared at Eric, her expression blank.
She didn’t think that there would be such ‘trust’ between them, and it wasn’t an apt word to describe their relationship.
Would such a day come when they would believe and trust each other? She pondered this, yet she eventually decided that this day would never come. Raising her chin, she stared back at Eric.
“Act as though you’re trustworthy, then.”
Eric’s eyes shook. Despite his clear agitation, Chloe turned away.
“Because I can’t believe anything you say or anything about you right now.”
Eric stared at Chloe’s back. She was now talking to the other noblewomen. From the side, it seemed like there was a small smile gracing her lips.
However, Eric noticed that she wasn’t focusing on the conversation. Chattering on about gossip didn’t suit her noble predisposition.
He recalled his past as he tried to better himself in terms of culture in the hopes of striking a conversation with her. But he never got the chance to use that knowledge—he never talked to Chloe
He didn’t want to talk to Chloe. To be exact, he didn’t want her to talk to him. If they ever conversed, in the back of his mind, he would only think about how inferior he was to her, and this negative complex was deeply rooted in him.
It was the same today. They had a conversation about art for a very brief moment, but his temper flared up twice.
Eric loathed himself whenever he was like this. But the person he disliked the most was Chloe—he hated how noble she was. But this was also what made him like her.
Because he hated something, he liked it all the same. This ridiculous conclusion was something that pretty much summed him up.
“Oy, my friend.”
A drunken Theo approached him.
There were several younger noblemen around him, and at the incoming stench of alcohol, Eric frowned.
“If you’re so drunk, why don’t you go home and sleep.”
“I’m fine. I’m going to party later. Wanna join me?”
Theo wiped the alcohol over his mouth with the back of his hand, then poured another glass of champagne.
“It looked like you were having a pretty serious conversation with your wife.”
The person who said that was Gatsby, the young lord of the Leon County. There’s been some talk about him taking over the peerage soon.
Eric glanced over to Gatsby, recalling his cordial relationship with the Leon County.
“So the young lord is interested in other people’s marital relationships.”
The sarcasm directly thrown back at him made Gatsby’s expression harden. But Eric was already trying his best—he was currently being as kind as he could to these young men.
“What can I do? Since ‘that’ Madam came to the capital, everyone’s interested.”
Various meanings could be derived from only one word, but it all came down to one connotation.
“Isn’t she Chloe Rolphe? That Chloe Rolphe, the youngest daughter of the most dignified Rolphe Duchy.”
A woman who you couldn’t help but look up to.
A woman who no one could dare touch.
Chloe was such a woman.
“She is not a Rolphe.”
Eric spoke in a rather hesitant voice.
“Her last name is Aslan.”
“Oh, yes yes. That’s right.”
Gatsby muttered sarcastically, and this frustrated Eric, but he held back his temper. What was he doing, arguing with a drunk man. His current attitude must have made others look at him as though he was easy.
“I heard from His Highness the Second Prince, but it seems like you’ll be marrying the Fourth Princess, Marquis.”
“That’s impossible. You shouldn’t be so careless about your rumors regarding the royal family.”
“But isn’t it too specific to be a rumor.”
Gatsby shrugged. The stench of alcohol was stirred once more.
“If I had known how to make a bunch of machines, the Duke would have given me his daughter and you could have married Her Highness.”
He continued speaking as he picked up a glass of champagne from a tray one attendant was carrying.
Eric felt uneasy. He slowly got the sense of what they were trying to say.
He had to leave.
Eric turned around.
But at that moment.
“I’m curious. How could her noble grace Lady Rolphe cry while crouched on the floor, going waa waa, boo hoo?”
Gatsby’s champagne glass crashed to the floor. This was because Eric punched him squarely in the face.
Despite Theo trying to stop him, Eric went on to grab Gatsby by the collar.
“What a wide mouth. Why don’t you spit out more nonsense?”
Gatsby was still dazed, but when he gained his senses and realized that he was just hit, he raised his voice in anger.
“Y-You’re going to pay for this! Once my father finds out—”
“You’re the one who’ll pay for this.”
Eric tightened his hold over the other man’s collar, gritting his teeth.
“Do you know how cheaply I sell those pumps that your family needs for your mines? What if I raise the price? I can strangle you by changing it as early as tomorrow.”
¹the surrealist movement at its height was around the early 20th century, so it’s safe to say that this novel is set perhaps in the 1920s or 1930s. also, the painter’s name is really ‘mont’ or ‘monte’, not ‘monet’ (this guy’s an impressionist painter)
² the word here for ‘believe’ can also mean ‘faith’ and ‘trust’, which is why there are many layers to their conversation in this part.
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