HCM – 5

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‘Three years wasn’t that long.’

It was awkward at first. Sharing space with Frisia.

She meticulously planned, specified, and revised the provisions of the contract. One of them included the couple’s image.

“I don’t want the duke’s servants to look down on me.”

In a quiet, shaky voice, she explained her goal. Being a duchess did not consist solely of marrying the duke. At least, it had to seem that the Duke trusted the Duchess.

They agreed to eat together five times a week and take a walk together once. In addition, it was decided that they would share a room two days a month.

If nothing else, their nights together were simply following the doctor’s orders.

“We’re uncomfortable with each other.”

The two of them ate in a large dining room on time. They didn’t want the servants to observe their indifference, so they dismissed them.

It felt ridiculous to sit at the end of a huge table and eat. Frisia could not see Aslei’s face because of the distance, but he had no trouble.

Since he was a swordmaster.

He could observe the expressions she made as she ate.

They agreed not to make efforts to get closer to each other to keep their loyalty to their loved ones. So Frisia brought a book and read it during her mealtime.

It was not polite, but he also brought documents and ate while working.

Then, suddenly, he saw Frisia.

Frisia with a soft and friendly expression. A wife who doesn’t pay attention to him.

He thought it was fortunate while at the same time thinking it was regrettable.

‘I wish I had met you before you met that man.’

When the thought spontaneously popped up, he was shocked, then embarrassed, and then it became a combination of awkward, flustered, and self-condemnation. Frisia couldn’t see his expressions because he was far away.

It was the same when taking a walk. Upon entering the garden, they dismissed all the maids and servants. Then, they pretended to walk together until they entered the park and went their separate ways.

Frisia would take out a book hidden on one side of the garden and read it.

Sometimes on garden benches, tree stumps, pavilions or in a gazebo.

Aslei also brought documents and books to read, but he also secretly watched her. Sometimes he sat next to her and talked to her for no apparent reason.

Frisia seemed surprised when he showed interest. He also felt embarrassed. He was secretly worried that she would avoid him, but she didn’t.

‘Is it possible her feelings for that man disappeared?’

He knew that Frisia harbored unrequited love. Because the man she named was an avid follower of Marianne.

It was only later that he learned that the whole thing was a lie.

When they attended a party as a couple, Frisia didn’t recognize him.

It wasn’t as if she was pretending not to be interested, but it seemed she only knew his name and used it for her cover story for her unrequited love.

‘Did she give me a fake name?’

Maybe because trust wasn’t established? But knowing her, Aslei felt pretty good.

It could have been that Frisia’s heart held no one at all.

When they shared a bedroom for a night, they slept separately.

She slept on the bed and him on the sofa. Frisia’s trust in him was like steel, even though they were a man and a woman sleeping alone in the same room.

“There’s no way the duke would do that to me.”

Why do you trust me so much?

However, Frisia’s trust in him was substantiated not only in words but in her actions. At first, she had seemed nervous, but now she quickly fell asleep.

Three years passed by dangerously fast.

He was also busy after receiving the duke’s title from the old Duke and continuing his work, but in the meantime, the times he spent with Frisia were not bad—no, in fact, they were pleasant.

After that, he started to look forward to those times.

‘……We can be friends even after the divorce.’

She said she would set up a residence in the Duke of Tintalion’s territories after their divorce. So he can be a good friend.

Their relationship wouldn’t end. With only a month left before their contract, Aslei thought so.

But then this happened.

At the same time as he was shocked and shaken, Aslei was deeply afraid. He was worried this would hurt their delicate relationship, and Frisia wouldn’t want to see him.

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