< — The Ducal Couple — > (11)
TN: Part 2 should be coming in today or tmrw~
Jerome placed a large box wrapped in luxurious velvet on the table. Lucia slowly opened the box with an expectant mind.
The maid next to her, peeking from the corner of her eye let out a gasped and exclaimed in surprise. It was not just the maid, Lucia was just as surprised.
Inside the box was a dazzling, gorgeous looking white diamond necklace with countless diamonds hanging from it. Lucia did not really know the price of jewelry but this could not be simple jewelry, it was a treasure.
Were diamonds common gems? Normal necklaces would have a diamond present in the middle of it, resting on the breastbone, connected to a thin gold string. The diamond would just be an accessory to the rest of the necklace.
For this necklace, the main character of the necklace was a huge diamond that made her suspicious if it was really a diamond or just a piece of glass.
She had never seen anything like it before. She could guess that even if one of the noble ladies owned something like this, they would be too afraid and wouldn’t dare to have it on their necks when they are going out.
She hesitated, wondering in her heart if she should dare touch it then carefully approached and took the necklace in both of her hands. She almost missed its heavy weight the moment it touched her hands.
“Wear it and see, your Grace.”
A maid brought a full-length mirror as Lucia grew more delighted. She fastened the necklace and stood in front of the mirror.
The weight of the necklace made her feel as though someone was pushing down on her neck with two hands. Her entire neckline was densely covered with sparkling diamonds.
“It looks really good on you, your Grace.”
Jerome was pleased and lavished her with compliments.
“Just what… is this?”
The necklace she was expecting was a cute or common female ornament not a rare item that seemed to have come from the royal treasury.
“Did he really buy this? As a present for me?”
“His Grace regrets that it took more time than he thought for the gift to arrive. He wanted to give you before he departed for the inspection.”
“This…this is pretty excessive.”
Jerome was bewildered by Lucia’s reluctant response.
“It is not excessive, your Grace.”
“If the recipient feels burdened, then it is an excessive gift. Jerome, if… I were to tell his Grace that I feel burdened, would he be upset?”
“Yes.” Jerome replied firmly.
He had watched as his master chose this gift with quite the happy expression. It was the first time that his master had personally chosen a gift for a woman.
In the past, he would only ask Jerome to pay for whatever item the woman wanted.
Jerome did not know if he would make a mistake talking about his master’s past relationships so he didn’t say anything. He was specially watching his mouth as he had been pretty careless in the past because of her Grace’s inquires.
“You do not have to feel burdened, your Grace. From his Grace’s standpoint, it is not an excessive gift at all.”
‘My master is wealthy’ was what Jerome was trying to say that but Lucia took the meaning of his words a bit differently. That buying this gift was of the same significance to him as buying a hair comb.
Lucia sat in the living room alone as she starred at the box which contained the necklace and fell into deep thought. She was trying to analyze just what underlying meaning lay behind the gift.
‘It could just be a simple present to celebrate my first tea party. Since he’s rich, it may not be any different from giving a small ring as gift.’
That was her first theory but Lucia didn’t know that no matter how rich he was, that present was not something he would gift with a light heart.
He was only able to acquire it by asking around and even paying a premium on it as the necklace was already won by a royal in another country in a jewelry auction.
Money was money but his efforts were clear. He wanted to give her a special gift. But because he gave the gift in such a simple manner, a small misunderstanding was created.
‘Or…is it for a reward? Since he likes to sleep with me…’
That was her second theory. However the idea of giving her body and being paid like a prostitute made her feel terrible all over.
‘Then, is it something like a habit? He has a lot of lovers so it could just be a routine to give gifts to women.’
That was her third theory. This theory was the same as the last in that in made her feel terrible. Nevertheless, the first theory was the easiest to swallow.
She dug through her head but she couldn’t think of any more theories. She excluded the theory that it could be a present carrying a special meaning. Lucia sighed heavily.
The gift, so precious that it was a bit difficult to bear, was like a stone thrown into her tranquil and asleep heart, causing a ripple. Her marriage life with him was very different from her expectations. She had expected it to be dreary but it was full of joy and happiness.
He never said unkind or sugar-coated words but still, he was affectionate. He was not snappy nor did he ever say anything that would hurt her feelings and he was not as scary or as ridiculously violent as the rumors had made him out to be.
‘I already promised. I said I would not fall in love with him.’
But her heart kept wavering. Even though she tried to control her heart, telling it, ‘you can’t,’ every time he laughed mischievously, every time his arms were wrapped tightly around her waist and every time his lips heatedly met hers, her heart shook like a reed.
She blamed him inwardly as she stared at the necklace box.
‘Why are you doing this? Making someone feel weird for no reason.’
The sound in her chest was deafening, but still, she had been enduring well till now. She was scared that she would one day, without even realizing it herself, cling to his trousers like a leech and then one day, receive a bunch of yellow roses.
Simply imagining it was awful.
He was a courteous and refined nobleman therefore he was just treating her with manners befitting to Lucia’s status as his wife. It would be troublesome if she were to misunderstand his kindness.
He didn’t seem to dislike her and she knew for sure he liked her body but that was just interest due to physical desire.
‘Come to your senses.’
She took a deep breath.
‘The way you have been till now is just right. Do not waver. Your heart should be made of stone. I can stay with him the way I have been till now.’
It was still okay. Until now, it was still ok.