< — The Ducal Couple — > (11)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: Luv Shng
Jerome placed a large box wrapped in luxurious velvet on the table. Lucia slowly opened the box, full of expectations.
The maid next to her, peeking from the corner of her eye let out a gasp and exclaimed in surprise. It was not just the maid, Lucia was also 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 she knew that 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 noblewomen owned something like this, they would be too afraid to wear it and wouldn’t dare to have it on their necks while they were out.
She hesitated, wondering in her heart if she should dare touch it then she carefully approached it and took the necklace with both of her hands. She almost missed its heavy weight when it came into her hands.
“Try it on and see, Milady.”
A maid brought a full-length mirror as Lucia grew more delighted. She fastened the necklace to her neck and stood in front of the mirror. The weight of the necklace made her feel as though someone was pushing her down on her neck with two hands. Her entire neckline was densely covered with sparkling diamonds.
“It looks really good on you, Milady.”
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 a royal treasury.
“Did he really buy this? As a present for me?”
“His Grace regrets that it took more time for the gift to arrive than he had planned. He wanted to give you before he departed for his inspection.”
“This…this is too much.”
Jerome was bewildered by Lucia’s reluctant response.
“It is not too much, Milady.”
“If the recipient feels burdened, then the gift is too much. Jerome, if… I were to tell His Grace that I feel burdened by this, would he be upset?”
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 didn’t know if he would make a mistake talking about his master’s past relationships, so he didn’t say anything. He was particularly watching his mouth since he had been pretty careless in the past because of his Madam’s inquires.
“You do not have to feel burdened, Milady. From His Grace’s standpoint, it is not an excessive gift at all.”
‘My master is wealthy’ was what Jerome was trying to say but Lucia took his words a little differently. That to Hugo, buying this gift was of the same significance as buying a hair comb.
Lucia sat in the receiving room alone, staring at the box that 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 a gift.’
That was her first theory but she didn’t know that no matter how rich he was, this present wasn’t something that he would gift lightly. He was only able to acquire it after asking around and even paying a premium on it because the necklace was already won by a royal in another country at a jewel auction.
Money was money but his efforts were clear. He wanted to give her a special gift. But because he gave it in such a simple manner, a small misunderstanding occurred.
‘Or…is it a reward? Because 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’s had a lot of lovers so it could just be a routine to give gifts to women.’
That was her third theory. This theory was just like the previous one and that made her feel even more 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 the present could be carrying a special meaning.
Lucia sighed heavily.
The gift was so precious that it was a bit difficult to bear and it was like a stone thrown into her tranquil heart, causing a ripple. Her marriage life with him was very different from her expectations. She expected it to be dreary but it was full of joy and happiness.
He never said unkind or sugar-coated words but he was still 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 made him out to be.
‘I already promised. I told myself 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 he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and every time he passionately kissed her, her heart shook like a reed in the wind.
She blamed him inwardly as she stared at the necklace box.
‘Why is you doing this? Making someone feel weird for no reason.’ (1)
The sound in her chest was deafening, but still, she had been enduring well till now. She was scared that one day, without even realizing it, she would cling to his trousers like a leech and then afterwards, receive a bunch of yellow roses.
Simply imagining it was awful.
He was a courteous and a refined nobleman therefore, he was just treating her with manners befitting to her 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. You can stay with him the way you have been till now.’
It was still okay. Until now, it was still ok.
- I think this was obvious but the ‘you’ here is referring to Hugo. The rest of the time, she’s talking to herself.