Sickly? Husband's Contractual Wife - Chapter 12
Translator and Editor: Anna and Nabi
When the force on my shoulders lessened, I finally found the source of the pain.
“…What’s wrong with your hand?”
When I raised my right hand at his words, I saw a bandage wrapped around it. Only then, I remembered the condition of my hand that I had forgotten. “Oh, this…”
His clasp was strong enough to crush my bones. Since the swelling of my hand didn’t subside easily, Rona even had me immersed it in the cold water all night long.
“It’s not a big deal.” ‘It’s still hurt, though to say it’s not a big deal. Just how strong your clasp could be?’ I looked up at him while touching my bandaged hand with my other hand.
He looked confused, as if he had remembered something.
‘Now you know what you did?’ I suppressed my laughter from breaking out and observed his expression instead.
“…Did I do that?” He asked hesitantly.
“Pro…bably?” Actually, I wanted to say that while looking at him with eyes full of disillusionment. But the expression on his face was a bit surprising. At first glance, I could see the hint of embarrassment on his handsome face. No way… I didn’t mean to act like this because I had a hunch, but I thought I should try to make a fuss.
“It hurts a lot.” I said as I raised my hand and shook it lightly in front of him.
“Is it broken?”
I could see his eyes widened in surprise. Standing close, I saw every change on his face.
“It’s not that bad.” Maybe it would turn out like that if he exerted a bit more strength since the pain still remained like this.
“But it still hurts.” I opened my eyes with a pitiful look. I could see that he was at a loss. “Don’t you remember?” With my chin up, I pressed him more. “Oh dear, it seems like you forgot that you held someone’s hand when you had a seizure last time.”
In an instant, the situation turned around. There was not a situation where a scary man pushed me against the wall while exuding a violent aura. Instead, only a young man with an embarrassed look stood in front of me as if he was deeply ashamed of himself.
‘Did I overdo it?’ No matter how much it hurt, it couldn’t be compared to the pain of someone who often had seizures due to his sickness.
At that moment, the sentence that I never expected to hear from him came out of his mouth.
Hmm…maybe I misheard it. Did it really come out of Amoide’s mouth?
He swept his hair randomly with his big hand.
No matter how distant we were as a couple, I could easily know what that meant. ‘You must’ve felt quite embarrassed.’ He seemed very upset, bothered, and troubled by the fact that he had unexpectedly received my help before.
‘Then, let’s make use of this.’ I stared at him intently. First, I needed to check if I heard it right. “I can’t hear you.” I said as I brought my ears closer.
Then, as expected, he backed away in disgust. “What are you doing?”
“I said I couldn’t hear you.” I looked at him with a firm determination to hear that sentence again.
“I’m sorry. I’ll be careful from now on.”
I could see a bit of redness appearing near his cheekbones. It was such a waste to see a handsome man blushing alone. I didn’t miss this opportunity and whispered. “If you’re sorry, how about going for a walk?”
Sometimes, taking advantage of a person’s guilt was a good way to advance a relationship.
Amoide and I were walking along the beautiful promenade of Efret Duchy. The air was refreshing, and the wafting exuberant floral scent livened up the mood.
“See? It’s good to be here, right?”
He didn’t answer my question and didn’t even show any reaction. He just walked stiffly, trying to keep pace with my stride.
‘Will it kill you if you smile?’ I grumbled inwardly, but I knew that he was already trying very hard right now. Since today was the first time, this much progress should be counted as a success.
“Let’s take a walk together like this from time to time.” I linked my arm with his and walked arm in arm with him. Of course, the linked arm was the bandaged one, so he couldn’t help untangling it or shaking it off. He just put up with my action while looking like a wolf tied on a leash.
“Hello, Master, Milady.” The gardeners, who were trimming the trees in the garden, greeted us politely as they exchanged glances.
It was inevitable since it was the first time that they saw us walking around like this. I walked past them with a graceful smile.
The maids, who were cutting the flowers in the garden to decorate the interior, and even the servants who were busy with their work, looked at us with inquiring eyes. They greeted us politely with smiles, but when we turned around, they started whispering with each other.
I could tell what they would say even without hearing it myself. Because Selena was a woman whose life and death were in the former duchess’s hand. The monthly living expenses for my younger siblings were certainly significant collateral. Therefore, I had no choice but to do what Camilla told me to.
In this mansion, not even a single grass would move according to my will because I was nothing more than a tool to give birth to a successor. The conversation of the maids that I overheard one day really made me feel miserable.
[ Since she’s just a surrogate mother, won’t she be expelled after giving birth to a son? ]
[ It’ll be a relief if she really manages to give birth to one. ]
[ Will she be expelled right after she gives birth? ]
[ Didn’t Madam spend a fortune on her? ]
[ Is that true? ]
[ Even without checking it, can’t you tell just by looking? One could tell at a glance that’s the case. Otherwise, there’s no way Madam would choose the duke’s bride from such a humble family. ]
[ Yeah, they weren’t even secretly in love. I think they met for the first time on the day she entered this mansion. ]
[ Oh my god, really? ]
As soon as the maids made eye contact with bated breath, they burst into laughter. Then, when they saw me walking past them, they just glanced sideways.
Yeah, that’s how it was. The former Selena was always treated like that. Even if the maids openly criticized her, she couldn’t even yell at them because she knew her situation too well.
The main purposes of the marriage between nobles were to unite families, establish blood ties, and consolidate their wealth and power further. But her case was different. She was just a woman who came into this mansion to lend her womb for bearing the duke’s child.
As the duchess, she was addressed as Milady in this mansion, but neither the position nor the title bore the significance of her presence. She was just someone who was bought with money.
The fact that the duchess from a distinguished family chose the eldest daughter of a very humble family with enormous debt as her daughter-in-law wasn’t a common occurrence. So, it was understandable that people would talk that way. Well, to begin with, that was how it was stated in the contract.
[ Here, read it first. These are the conditions for my offer. You don’t have to accept it if you don’t like it. ]
Camilla, who was accompanied by a lawyer, gave me a piece of paper. Then, as I received the paper, she immediately added, as if she had done me a favor.
[ I’ll find someone else right away. ]
It meant that, other than me, there were many other candidates. Nevertheless, she came to me first, probably because she knew that I was the easiest one to deal with. A mountain of debt. Many younger siblings, who clung to me like the hanging gourds in the midsummer. For me, there was nothing more important to deal with than these.
[ T/N: Many younger siblings, who clung to me like the hanging gourds in the midsummer. I’m not sure whether the author means it literally, like imagining them clinging to her like the gourds – it looks beautiful in the picture though, haha – or there’s a deeper meaning to this sentence. I’ve never seen the hanging gourds in real life, so I have no idea about the deeper meaning. If you have an idea about it, please let me know the comment. ]
“Taking a walk together… What are you trying to get out of this?” Amoide asked in a low voice. His mouth was barely open, so he almost looked like a ventriloquist.
“There’s no such thing.” So, I answered by moving my lips just slightly too. I, then, looked at him with a smile, “I’m just worried about your health, Amoide.”
I said so, but that was not all. Other than for the sake of his health, there was another important purpose behind my suggestion to take a walk together. It was related to my survival. ‘This will make everyone think that there’s something special between Amoide and me.’
It was the testimony of the duke’s employees that became the decisive evidence against Selena when she was suspected as the culprit. They testified that the duke and his wife were usually not on good terms and he particularly hated her.
Moreover, their testimony that she married the duke for money put her at a great disadvantage. All those testimonies contributed significantly toward Selena’s conviction for murder and eventually led her to be hanged on the gallows.
‘So, from now on, it’s time to change my reputation. Just in case I get caught up in something unexpected in the future, I need to secure the people who can testify favorably for me in advance.’
To do so, more than anything else, the active cooperation from one person was essential. Amoide, my husband on paper. We didn’t even hold a wedding ceremony, and I had never stepped into the social circle proudly as his wife.
Nevertheless, I was definitely his official wife. My status was valid as long as this marriage wasn’t dissolved. ‘So, from now on, we are going to be a loving couple.’ That way, everyone would believe that I would never poison my husband.
“…You want me to believe that now?” A drowsy voice echoed in my ears like the cry of a cat who was about to sleep in the sun.
I slowly came to my senses. His voice. It was a voice that made me want to install it in the music box and play it every night.
….I must be crazy. I slowly turned my head toward him and cleared my throat. “You have to believe it, of course. Since I’m your wife.”
“You’ve been talking about being a wife since a while ago. Can’t you stop it now?” He frowned in displeasure.
“But it’s true.” I answered with my eyes wide open. “Until you sign the divorce paper.”
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