Bridget Dashwood was, if we were to put it mildly, someone lucky.
Born into a family of considerable wealth at a time when class and wealth were at an all-time high, she was certainly lucky in that she had access to all sorts of things.
Her admission to college as a commoner woman (of course, supported by her abilities) was also an event that could not be denied as a result of her luck.
A commoner and a woman.
Although the words are different, those words with similar meanings clearly represented the unfairness of this society. But Bridget had never felt discriminated against even though she belonged to both categories.
Or at least, until six months ago.
She first realized that things around her were gradually changing after entering college.
‘…Things are quite different now.’
Not only had she been completely ignored by a tightly-knit group for the first time in her life, but now she was openly experiencing discrimination in front of a proud and arrogant man.
‘Have a good vacation. I’m not sure if trying hard will make a difference.’
Bridget’s steps were a little rough as she walked across the lush green school grounds. She removed her glasses with a firm touch and tucked them into her front pocket. Then, she tightened her grip on the thick textbook she had embraced on her arm, while pondering over Dominic Mayer’s incredibly rude sentences.
‘Oh my goodness. Asking Hugo Ellington for a favor! It’s obvious what kind of relationship we have, but how can you even consider that?’
Even the lively and warm summer sunshine, which Bridget currently loved the most, couldn’t improve her mood.
Unintentionally, Bridget let out a hollow laugh and focused even more on her determined steps, trying to erase the recent incident that had popped into her mind. Each time the well-polished leather loafer touched the ground, the stiff grass beneath it was pressed down, tickling her ears.
It was a familiar male voice that stopped her in her tracks, creepy enough to make her want to plug her ears.
Bridget abruptly halted her steps and turned around with a slightly annoyed expression.
Of course. The man who she once believed would be her lifelong companion but now considered her lifelong enemy was staring at Bridget.
Hugo Ellington, the man who approached her with a rather sly smile on his face, whether he knew what she was thinking or not, spoke to Bridget.
“Where are you rushing to like that?”
“I don’t think it’s any of Lord Ellington’s business.”
“Bridget, why are you so angry?”
Hugo asked, looking at the shadows that had formed under Bridget’s crumpled eyes.
“Hugo Ellington, I’ll tell you again since it seems you didn’t hear me. It’s none of your concern.”
“Oh, Bridget… Are you still upset about that matter?”
Hugo held one of Bridget’s hands and spoke to her as if calming a child. Then he added with a mature expression.
“I understand you’re still young and lack understanding. But I told you, my family values our lineage.”
“Are you telling me I should just be your mistress?”
Hugo shrugged his shoulders as if saying ‘Why not?’ Bridget sighed and spoke in a lecturing voice.
“We’re only a year apart, my lord. I don’t know if your understanding is so remarkable as to teach me about your mental state.”
“Bridget, talking about my mental state! No matter how angry you are, your words are too harsh. It’s unbecoming of a lady.”
Is he stupid? Bridget sighed deeply, touching her forehead frustratingly. She also looked at him with a sense of pity, shaking her head in exasperation.
“Isn’t the problem your shameless attitude, my lord? and isn’t the only thing he can boast about his social status?”
A title that anyone could buy if they had the money.
Anyway, Bridget wasn’t in the mood to pay attention to a pathetic and insignificant man like Hugo Ellington.
Her mind was already a mess because of Dominic Meyer, and now her ex-boyfriend was making things complicated for her, causing everything to be a complete mess.
“If you’re finished with your business, could you step aside now? As you can see, I’m quite busy.”
Bridget, looking more tired than before, pulled her held hand away. And as she tried to walk away, Hugo blocked her path. With arms spread wide, he smiled playfully.
“Bridget, stop acting like a child. I get that you want to be cute, but isn’t this enough? Are you still not satisfied? Alright, even though you can’t be my main wife, but I’ll treat you well so you won’t feel disappointed.”
“What did you say?”
Bridget’s face turned into a bewildered expression. He seriously thought she was angry at his comment about her becoming his mistress.
Oh my goodness. I can’t believe I dated this lowlife! Bridget felt embarrassed by the fact that she had been even briefly involved with Hugo.
She couldn’t figure out where to start or how to explain. Annoyingly, the wind kept blowing and blocking her view. Bridget used her irritated hand to brush away the hair that was covering her face.
“Still, because you’re a noble, I tried to show some courtesy.”
“Hugo Ellington, I tried not to say it most of the time, but here it is.”
If I don’t explain properly, I felt like he would continue to bother me. Dealing with these people who simply don’t understand was something I had been sick and tired of since entering college, so it was a bit bothersome but not difficult.
Bridget suppressed her anger with a deep sigh and calmly added,
“Do you still think I’m angry because of your foolish and outdated thinking?”
“…What are you talking about? Then, what made you angry…?”
Hugo tilted his head. He seemed oblivious to his own fault. No, rather, it seemed like he firmly believed that Bridget didn’t know about the rumors he had spread.
Bridget barely restrained the impulse to kick him between the legs and replied,
“The esteemed Lord Ellington spread rumors at school. That Bridget Dashwood came to the university to seduce men and change her social status.”
He pursed his lips with a dumbfounded expression. Each time he puckered his lips, his long hooked nose twitched.
“You thought I wouldn’t know? And you spread ridiculous rumors that we slept together? But do you know why I stayed quiet? It’s because I don’t want to waste my energy on someone as cheap as you. I don’t want to be expelled from university. Are you too stupid to understand what I’m saying?”
Her arm holding the textbooks started to itch. It was draining to see that foolish expression, so Bridget quickly concluded this meaningless conversation.
“If you understood, will you seriously step aside now? I’m extremely busy.”
Bridget gestured with her eyes towards the books in her arms and pushed him away casually, causing Hugo to look startled.
‘If you follow me, I’ll sue you!’ Bridget shouted at Hugo, holding a stack of books in both arms and thumped the ground again.
Anyway, right now, Bridget had no intention of wasting any more time on Hugo Ellington. Graduation, graduation… Bridget pushed the thought of Dominic back from her mind.
‘Crazy bastard. He should have just said he doesn’t like a commoner woman. Asking me to ask a guy like that for a favor? I’d rather you told me to die!’
Dominic undoubtedly had firmly rooted prejudices. Bridget Dashwood defined Dominic Mayer as that type of man.
She felt an inexplicable sense of anger. If he hadn’t been good-looking, no, if he had just firmly declined, she wouldn’t have been this annoyed!
Recalling Dominic’s haughty laughter, Bridget made a firm resolution.
I’m really going to put an end to this during the vacation.
* * *
Bridget walked away from the university’s main gate and strolled along Terrace House Street, located in the heart of Evansville.
Since Bridget, the only female student at Widdleton University, did not have a dormitory to stay in, she lived in a terrace house[/mfn]‘Terrace House’ is a real estate term that refers to a type of apartment complex with a yard or yard for each unit. It originated from the city houses that were popular in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, and refers to a house with a ‘terrace’, an outdoor area without a roof.[/mfn] near the university during the semester. The landlady, Mrs. Cherny, was quite demanding. Bridget had no idea how much effort it took to endure her hysterics.
Finally, she could escape the suffocating life in the terrace house! Bridget briefly set aside the thoughts that were giving her a headache and thought about what to do during the vacation. When she went back home, she would sit in the spacious yard, read a book, and have tea with her mom…
What about group classes?
Once again, invaded by worries that came out of nowhere, Bridget quickly lifted her head. She cleared the room, cramming in images of Dominic Mayer that barely surfaced.
To ventilate the room, she opened the windows and doors wide and sat on the worn rug on the floor, almost finished packing her belongings, when a long shadow was cast behind her.
Suddenly, an unpleasant, cracked voice could be heard.