Chapter 1 Part 8- Marriage Life
After the party had ended, Ruby sought out Eli in his room. He was in the process of unbuttoning his sleeves as she entered.
“Where were you?” He asked.
Ruby, who had just entered the room didn’t answer his question, and he didn’t seem intent on pursuing the matter further. Ever since Ruby left, no one had come to look for her. No lady-in-waiting had inquired about her well-being, and no one had questioned her absence
It appeared that her absence had gone largely unnoticed or was simply disregarded. She had been an afterthought during the entire event, and it weighed on her heavily.
“Did you look for me?” Ruby asked in a brief question, her voice holding a faint glimmer of hope.
“It was mother,” Eli replied.
Ruby’s hope flickered briefly but soon extinguished. It was too much to hope that everything would change overnight.
Eli appeared tired. He had spent the past few days without rest, trying to keep up with his family and be a part of their time together. He had felt the time passing by, each moment seeming too precious to waste.
Ruby knew she couldn’t expect their marriage to change in just a few days. It had remained unchanged for the past three years, and it was unlikely to change now.
“Do you have something to say?” Eli asked, looking weary. He had been exhausted and sleep-deprived, spending time with his family day and night. He often considered the consequences of continuing a marriage like this.
“Divorce… let’s get a divorce,” Ruby stated, her words coming out impulsively. She surprised herself with the sudden proclamation.
Eli halted in unbuttoning his shirt, looking at Ruby with a rare expression of astonishment. Ruby mirrored his reaction. She had blurted out her words impulsively and had not expected such a straightforward reply.
Her mind raced, considering what reasons she would give if he asked. Her response had been instinctive, and she didn’t have a fully formed explanation.
“In two weeks,” Elijah responded, his voice steady. Ruby was taken aback by his nonchalant tone.
“What…?” Ruby began.
Eli replied in a normal voice and finished unbuttoning his shirt
“I have business in the capital, so do it then. I’ll let the Emperor know in advance.”
“Write down what you want in the divorce. I’ll take care of it.”
It was such a terse answer that I could have sworn his expression was a mirage.
It was Ruby who was speechless.
How foolish of her to think he’d ask her a question at least.
Ruby smiled wistfully and left the room.
“It seems like you’re pushing yourself a bit too much,” Ruby met the physician during her morning walk, attempting to clear her noisy thoughts.
The physician offered a simple examination upon seeing Ruby, suggesting that she might have a fever.
“If you take a few days to rest, you should improve.”
The examination took place on a bench inside the greenhouse. Ruby considered returning to the mansion, but she knew that if she ran into Marie, there would be more nagging.
“What about medication?”
“No need for medication.”
“Alright, thank you. Then I’ll go rest. I appreciate it.”
With a good-natured smile, the physician agreed and left the greenhouse. Ruby, was relieved that there wasn’t anything serious.
“Did you see my dress? Wasn’t it the most beautiful?”
“My dress was the prettiest, right?”
Upon Emily’s words, Eve scowled with a sour expression, and soon the two of them started bickering.
In this gathering, only Eli and Ruby seemed to be unaffected by the afterglow of the party.
“Did you like it, Eli? Hmm?”
Both Emily and Eve gazed at him. When the choice came to Eli, he pretended to be indecisive, but as the delay continued, Emily and Eve scolded him simultaneously. In the end, Eli answered that they both looked lovely.
“This party was more successful than any other before, don’t you think?”
The Dowager seemed to be quite pleased with the successful party. Ruby was curious about the reason. Was it because of the new food and decorations, or because Eli was present, or perhaps because both Eli and Lady Miles were there?
Ruby couldn’t help but wonder, and if it wasn’t for these reasons, perhaps it was because she had willingly moved aside to make room for their harmony.
However, as she considered it further, she realized that the reaction of the Dowager, once she learned about Ruby’s impending divorce, would be nothing short of welcoming. She would be excited to have her as a guest.
“When is Lady Miles leaving? It would be nice to share a meal before she goes.”
Whenever Lady Miles visited the family, she always stayed at Grit Manor. After the party, she continued to spend time with Marie for several days. But this time, it seemed she had arranged for her own accommodations nearby, which was unusual.
“She has already left.”
At this late hour?
The excessively brief response made Ruby suspicious.
“She left at a time like this?”
Emily and Eve also raised their eyebrows in surprise at the short reply. The way Eli handled the situation gave the impression that he knew how to handle it well.
“It’s not appropriate for a guest to leave at such a time. I feel bad. I should have written a letter or something later.”
In response to Eli’s reaction, Marie smiled contentedly. She was well aware that he would handle things on her behalf.
“By the way, when are you going back to work, Eli?”
“In two weeks.”
Eli’s answer was momentarily stiff, then relaxed again.
“So soon? That’s a shame.”
She often saw Eli’s work schedule as an excuse for a break. His departure was usually met with the same protest from Emily, and this time was no different. Eli fondly caressed Emily’s head, refusing her gently.
“Let me look at you.”
It was a typical complaint from Emily whenever he left. Eli petted her head and reassured her with a loving smile.
“I have something to tell you.”
Ruby went to Marie’s drawing room and was met with an unusual expression. Ruby felt tense as she saw Marie’s tightly pursed lips.
“Have some tea.”
Marie, as always, pushed a prepared cup of tea towards Ruby. Ruby took a sip of Pineapple tea and set the cup down.
“You disappeared during the party yesterday. Where did you go?”
“I spilled wine on my dress. I’m sorry. I told them I would change quickly, but it seems I was late.”
Even after Ruby’s awkward explanation, Marie simply let it slide.
“More than that, I heard that Lady Miles left without getting proper rest.”
“Yeah… she did.”
Ruby gave a reserved answer, and Marie seemed to notice something amiss.
“Isn’t it past midnight when she left? So late?”
Ruby felt that something was wrong with Mari’s incredibly brief responses.
“Late? It was…”
Ruby couldn’t say anything else. She sensed that Marie wouldn’t tolerate any more explanations.
“Lady Miles is a prominent family from the Ruhlen Empire. Being able to meet such a lady and have her attend our party should be a reason to be grateful, don’t you think? She is someone who deserves respect. I am thankful that she has come to our party rather than feeling sorry for her because she didn’t rest properly.”
“From now on… I won’t forget.”
Despite Marie’s reproach, Ruby obediently replied. Mari appeared to be satisfied with Ruby’s response.
Now Ruby was left alone to think, with this new situation of impending divorce slowly sinking in.
It was a few uneventful days that had passed.
“What is this all about?” It was an afternoon when Eli had gone to teach Emily horseback riding. With the party over and nothing specific to prepare, it was a leisurely afternoon for the first time in a while. Ruby had just dozed off when suddenly, Marie burst into the room.
“What’s going on?” Ruby asked, quickly sitting up despite being half-awake.
“I have something to say. What in the world is this?” Marie threw a piece of paper at Ruby.
Even in her drowsy state, Ruby could tell that Marie was not in a good mood. She quickly reached out to pick up the scattered documents. The papers were related to assets like the mansion and land. The documents indicated a transfer of ownership from Eli to Ruby.
Ruby, who was about to become the registered owner of these papers, shook her head in disbelief, feeling like she must be seeing things due to her grogginess.
“You’re getting a divorce, right?”
“What?” Ruby was taken aback.
“Otherwise, why would he transfer the property into your name?”
It was only then that Ruby realized what was written on the document. It was about the assets she would receive in the event of a divorce.
“Why aren’t you answering? Is it true?”
“Sorry,” Ruby said, knowing what she should do. Apologizing was the one thing she had learned to do to please Marie in the three years they had been together. Even though she knew that apologizing was not the right response in this situation.
“Unbelievable..!” Marie’s voice was angry, a reaction that Ruby had not expected. She had thought Marie would be pleased.
Ruby had a moment of doubt, wondering if Marie was disappointed that she didn’t seem more enthusiastic about it.
“How can you ask for this much property? Are you out of your mind?”
“Actually, I didn’t request this.”
Even if she had no intention of receiving property from Eli, the mere fact that she had to accept the divorce was difficult enough for her.
“I thought you had some sense of shame. But property division!”
“What do you mean by ‘sense of shame’?”
Even if Ruby had initially refused to accept any property, it was natural to have property division in the event of a divorce. She couldn’t understand why it was considered shameless.
“Eli made a mistake at his age. He married into your insignificant family. He accepted it because he took responsibility. That’s his virtue. How many nobles would do that? By marrying into your unremarkable household, he gave up on the opportunity to rise higher. I’ve put in a lot of effort to make you look beautiful. Even you becoming a Marchioness is thanks to me, isn’t it? But now you’re greedy for the property? Do you really think you did something for the sake of your Marchioness title?” Marie had no intention of stopping, and her words continued to hurt Ruby’s already wounded face. In fact, Marie looked even more resentful because Ruby seemed clueless about everything.
“If he just married a duchess or a marchioness, he wouldn’t have just worked like this. Our family’s assets would have grown several times, and the family’s prestige…”
In other words, her own mother-in-law, the Dowager, was upset not just about the fact that she was getting a divorce but also because of Ruby’s own inadequacy and lack of contribution, the estate of the Marquisate was diminishing.
Even though she had impulsively decided on a divorce, Ruby had tried her best to delay the announcement and to continue doing her best as she always had, even in this situation..
“Well, I still… tried.”
She still believed she had some affection left.
“Considering that we’re an insignificant family compared to the other noble houses, I did my best to become a part of the Marquisate.”
“So, you think you’re entitled to this?”
Marie scoffed as if she couldn’t believe her ears.
“No, it’s not that. It’s just that I put in effort too, and it wasn’t easy…”
“You were never enough to begin with.”
Ruby froze at Marie’s words.
“If you had been properly educated in a proper household like Lady Miles, then you might have needed to make that effort.”
In the end, it was about Lady Miles.
“How is that because of the marriage? You should have learned those things naturally. It sounds like you’re saying you did them for my sake.”
“Did you not make those efforts to win over my son?”
Marie chuckled smugly and scrutinized Ruby from top to bottom, with a disdainful expression, as if she were looking at a vulgar woman. It reminded Ruby of the way Eli used to look at her.
Ruby felt exposed and ashamed.
“I can’t stand this. So, go and tell him yourself that you won’t take the property. If you have any shame, you should do at least that, shouldn’t you?”
After coming to her own conclusion, Marie left the room.
Even after she had gone, Ruby remained motionless for a while.