< — Ducal couple — > (13)
TN: And we now have an update schedule! Kinda. Also my translations are being stolen…welp.
Jerome prepared a cup of afternoon tea as he did every day and went into the Duke’s office.
To avoid disturbing his master who was currently engrossed in his work, Jerome tried to leave the tea and leave but the desk was covered in documents and the person supposed to be there could not be seen.
As this was more or less a regular thing these days, Jerome shifted his gaze in the direction he expected his master to go and as expected, the balcony window was slightly open.
He went closer to take a look and he could see the back of a tall man, leaning against the handrail.
These days the duke would start work in the afternoon and then lazy around; something he had never done before.
He would spend a long time standing there and looking down the balcony.
And below was the beautiful picture of her Grace who had recently taken to diligently growing colorful flowers in the garden.
Her Grace frequently went out to personally examine the flowers in the garden and his master would watch her.
Jerome had initially thought that his master’s honeymoon phase would be briefly interesting but now he knew it wasn’t.
If there was a case where the prodigal son marries and starts to change and become a reliable person, then that was practically his master.
This was why one had to live long in this world. Jerome wondered if his master knew that when he was with her, it was as though nothing else was visible, as his gaze was locked onto her.
Surprisingly, her Graclacee did not seem conscious of his master’s intense and straight-forward gaze. It would seem that her Grace was unexpectedly insensitive.
There was something delicate between the two of them. Obviously, their relationship was good. Her Grace would give his master a pure smile, and his frigid master would warm up when her Grace was around.
Nonetheless, undeniably there was somewhat of an invisible thin wall between them. It was too ambiguous to criticize and he couldn’t speak out hastily on something vague.
It was a new routine to p a brief report on what her Grace did or who she met on his master’s desk so Jerome couldn’t postpone his report anymore. Even more so because it was related to the health of her Grace.
Jerome hesitated a little then approached the balcony.
“I have something to tell you about her Grace.”
At those words, Hugo turned his head. He stared at Jerome then walked past him and went inside. But even after waiting a while, he didn’t hear Jerome speaking. Hugo could tell that Jerome was being hesitant.
“What’s so difficult? Talk.”
“…Her Grace has never had her monthly guest.” (1).
Lucia had a promise with Jerome that she would tell the Duke about her body condition together with Jerome.
But as time passed, Lucia was still the same, keeping her mouth shut. Jerome considered that she had forgotten so he reminded her but her Grace had only said that she understood and went back to being silent.
Jerome knew that interfering in this could be exceeding his authority but it was also the task of the steward to take care of his master’s health.
Jerome worried several times if he should urge her Grace even if it was forcibly, to personally tell his master but eventually he decided to tell his master personally.
“The thing that women go through every month…”
Hugo was familiar with the common knowledge of women’s physiological parts but the rest was sleeping at the bottom of his mind.
He had never been with a woman long enough for her to have her period. Moreover, he had never been worried about a woman getting pregnant so he really hadn’t thought about it.
“At first, a maid was concerned as to whether or not her Grace was pregnant but then she was looked at by the family doctor who said that she wasn’t pregnant. According to her Grace, she’s never had a monthly guest and she also refused to be looked at by the doctor for treatment. She said it was something that your Grace already knew about so there was no need for it.”
“She isn’t pregnant so is it something serious if she isn’t menstruating?”
“It is not normal, after all, it would be impossible for her Grace to get pregnant. Her Grace has to have a medical examination for us to know for sure.”
“What does she mean that I already knew…”
[I cannot have a child.]
Hugo furrowed his brows.
He gave a forced laugh. She had definitely said that. Originally, it wasn’t something one could easily say but she had simply said that she couldn’t have a child as though it was trivial. She had also given a small laugh.
To her, her inability to be pregnant was not a big deal because she couldn’t have a baby anyways. She had spoken like she was telling a big secret but he had simply thought it was interesting.
“Right. I knew about it.”
His head ached like it had been hit with a blunt weapon. There was an uncomfortable twisting in his stomach and he felt an anger within him that he didn’t know what for, couldn’t explain it or even give a reason for it.
“What is the doctor doing?”
“It isn’t an external disease so if her Grace doesn’t speak about it, the doctor cannot diagnose it.”
“Call her now.”
“…Yes, your Grace.”
Jerome could see that his master’s mood had soured so he immediately went away without saying a word.
While standing still, Hugo suppressed his anger and clenched his fists tightly. He then tried to calmly think of where his displeasure was coming from.
She was very much the ideal wife he wanted. She controlled the servants moderately well and did not give him any issues. He had nothing to complain about nor was he uncomfortable.
Recently, she’d had a lot of requests but it was different from the bothersome requests he was expecting.
He gave a heavy sigh, cupped his head in his hands and sat on the sofa. This wasn’t normal.
He realized he still had no idea about what she was thinking. All he knew about his wife was what was written in the few reports Fabian gave him.
Their relationship was good. As least he thought so. Their conversations were fun and in the bedroom, they were passionate. But they had never really talked.
Had she ever exposed herself to him? He seemed to have misunderstood that she’d exposed all of her heart to him since she smiled so purely.
Something suddenly came to mind so he called for Jerome and ordered him to bring the details of her spending.
Jerome soon returned with the documents.
“What of the doctor?”
“I sent someone to call her.”
“I’ll be coming along for the examination.”
“Yes, your Grace.”
As he flipped through the documents and checked the details, his eyes grew cold. Apart from the cost of decorating the garden and the cost of throwing a tea party a few times, there was no other history of personal use.
“Has she ever called for a tailor or a jeweler?”
“Even though she has thrown a few tea parties and gone outdoors several times?”
“There are dresses that were used by former Duchesses of the family and the ornaments that are passed down in the Taran family. The dresses were chosen, mended then worn while the ornaments were returned to the storage room after use.”
He knit his brow tightly. It was a feeling he couldn’t explain. He was angry but he couldn’t explain exactly why he was angry.
‘Wasn’t this what you wanted?’
Those words echoed in his head.
He married what he had hoped for. A doll-like wife that would only keep her seat as the Duchess.
He needed the status and for that he needed to marry but husbandly duties were troublesome so, he made a deal. It was a contract.
A contract beneficial to both of them. She had said from that start that what she needed was the title of the Duchess.
Of course, he had thought that she wanted the wealth and power that came with being a Duchess.
It was not very long since they had been married but he knew now. From the beginning, she was not interested in it.
So what exactly was making him so unhappy? Why should it matter if she didn’t want power or wealth? There was nothing for him to lose.
Rather, he should have a toast to this overwhelmingly favorable contract. But he continued to agonize about it.
He wanted to know exactly why he was in such a foul mood. He was feeling as though the ground supporting his feet had collapsed. He felt desperate, he felt anxious. But he didn’t know why he was desperate or anxious.
When he was about to descend into his thoughts again, he heard Jerome’s voice.
“The doctor is waiting.”
1. So, there are two words that can be used for menstruation/period. The one here translates directly to monthly guest but it seems more like a formal way of saying it.