My husband came back home with a serious head injury.
I knew he wouldn’t like it if I went to see him.
Even so, since I was his wife, I steeled my nerves and entered his room.
‘…The scent of medicine.’
His room usually had a subtle fragrance of a forest, but now it smelled of bitter medicine.
The doctor in charge seemed to have given him the right medicine already.
“Ah, Your Grace is here.”
As I stood by the doorway, the doctor found me.
From his relaxed attitude, it didn’t seem like my husband’s condition was grave.
Well, it’s not like I thought he’d be in a serious condition…
‘Because he’s such a strong person.’
My husband was behind the curtains of the canopy bed, so he was hidden from my sight.
I hesitated to come closer to the bed, and when the doctor saw this, he raised his eyebrows and started explaining.
“When His Grace arrived, he was bleeding profusely, but now everything is fine.
His Grace is very resilient.”
“Yes, that’s right…”
I wrung my hands together as I answered with a voice as quiet as a mosquito’s.
My husband, Theodore Valentino, was a descendant of a mythical hero, and because of this, he had the physical abilities and resilience that easily exceeded the limits of a normal human being.
I was surprised when I first heard that he got seriously injured.
He had gone to the battlefield near the large fissure where demonic monsters were pouring out, but… it seemed like my worries were for nothing.
‘Even so, he’ll need to rest well, so it would be better if I left quickly.’
With my hands still clasped nervously together, I slipped back.
The doctor saw me and rose from his seat, then asked me.
“Are you leaving already, Your Grace?”
“But don’t you want to see Milord first?”
The doctor… Come to think of it, they mentioned he’s a doctor from the military.
I guess he didn’t know the situation because he’s not from here.
“Not seeing him would be more helpful for the Duke.
Then, I’ll leave now…”
“Pardon? What do you mean…”
At the same moment, the flustered military doctor stepped closer to me—
Suddenly, there was a sound of the canopy bed’s curtains being pulled aside.
Before I could even turn towards the door, I froze right where I was.
Vivid blue eyes met my gaze.
It was the face of my husband who I didn’t see for four weeks.
He was still terribly beautiful.
Like the pure darkness of the deep night, his black hair was paired with his vivid sapphire eyes.
And his sculpted, angular features suited him well.
The Duke of Valentino.
This man had only one flaw, and that was me.
I almost called him ‘darling’ without realizing it, but I managed to stop myself.
It wasn’t right that I call him by his name affectionately or with a term used between couples… Because it had never been like that between us.
This was perfect.
It was a term I could call him by that was fine for someone who wasn’t close to him.
The appropriate term.
I called him Duke or Your Grace, and he called me Miss Everett, which was my maiden name.
Right now, he was sitting up on the bed, holding the curtain with one hand as he stared at me.
His eyes grew wider.
One, two, three seconds passed… Time passed by without fail.
In my confusion, I hesitated and wondered when his sarcastic tone would soon burst out.
But why wasn’t he saying anything?
My husband, who continued to stare at me, gradually frowned.
Then, he tilted his head slightly to the side and opened his lips.
I sweated profusely as I wrung my fingers.
Should I turn around quickly? Before my husband would say something, I should just go ahead and say, ‘I apologize for interrupting your rest, I’ll get going now…’
I was used to hearing my husband’s harsh words, but I was still frightened of them.
His sharp, cold voice was like a blade that stabbed right through my heart every time.
I’d since adapted because I kept hearing the same hurtful words every single day, with the only exception of whenever he was away for work.
It had been like this for all one year and six months of our marriage.
My lips dried up, but I licked them a little with the tip of my tongue.
Then, I spoke.
“I apologize for…”
“…Who are you?”
What did he say just now? I stiffened and stared blankly.
But my husband looked back with a confused gaze.
At this, I was surprised because I couldn’t see any resentment in his eyes.
He always looked at me as though I were a constant nuisance.
I was an eternal stranger in this household, and this man never welcomed me.
His blue irises were always so cold when they were turned to me, so when I saw that there was an unfamiliar warmth within them just now… I wondered if I’d finally gone crazy.
It’s not strange to say that I could be hallucinating right now.
It’s true that I often daydreamed about a time when he’d finally treat me kindly—so perhaps I must only be interpreting my husband’s gaze however I wanted.
—am your wife.
Somehow, it was difficult to say.
On paper, we were husband and wife, but we were no more than strangers to each other.
We never even had our first night.
From the very beginning of this marriage and until now, I had been left alone in solitude.
On my behalf as I couldn’t answer, the military doctor carefully called out to my husband.
The doctor glanced at him, but my husband never took his eyes off me.
As though he didn’t want to miss any detail, he looked at me closely, and my shoulders shrank down without me realizing it.
What’s wrong with him? Did he really not recognize me?
“Don’t you remember, Milord? She is your wife.”
My husband murmured as though it was a new word he learned for the first time, then he blinked.
I covered my mouth with one hand as he asked himself quietly.
At his reaction, the doctor’s eyes trembled greatly.
He tried to hide his astonishment and calmly asked.
“You don’t remember, sire? You married Her Grace more than a year ago.
You know who I am, but how come…”
The doctor glanced at me.
I just stared at my husband with my hands slowly slipping down.
My heart was beating so fast that I could feel my pulse beating at the back of my neck.
What’s going on? My husband couldn’t remember me?
“…I don’t remember.”
At his hushed words, the doctor said, ‘Oh my goodness,’ under his breath.
He placed a hand over my husband’s shoulder as though to calm him, then he asked several questions.
Over ten minutes had passed.
Then, the doctor looked at me as I continued to stand frozen stiff like an old tree.
With a look of bewilderment, he spoke.
“The Duke… seems to have lost his memories.”
“Fortunately, he seemed to have retained important memories, but… everything about the Madam…”
The doctor trailed off, but I understood what he was going to say.
My husband lost his memories.
But only his memories of me.
It didn’t make any sense.
“We’ll have to hope that this memory loss is only temporary.
Let’s wait and see if Milord’s memories of the Madam will come back…”
The doctor, who was looking at me as he spoke, slowly retreated back towards the wall.
He seemed to be signaling for me to talk to my husband.
Maybe he was thinking that his memories of me would return after I talked to him.
But rather than speaking with him, I just wanted to run away.
All of it felt like a dream.
He just suddenly got a head injury and forgot only memories of me, who he hated.
Did he forget because he despised me so?
“Can you come closer?”
As he reached out to me, my husband asked me to come and sit by the bed.
At that moment, I flinched hard and hesitated, feeling my stomach sink heavily towards the ground.
I was scared just seeing him.
I was even more scared to come closer.
What if I went there and his memories returned?
This pleading tone was so strange.
It was so different with the way he usually treated me.
Right now, he looked so gentle and kind.
Staring with eyes that expressed how sincerely curious he was about me… it made me dizzy.
Why was this happening? I’d been living well—living as though I was dead—and when the time came, I was just going to get divorced calmly.
The military urged me once more, trying to hurry me over and listen to my husband’s request.
I could feel no malice from him.
But at the same time, I wasn’t sure if this was a situation akin to me jumping willingly down a cliff…
With a low sigh, I approached my husband reluctantly.
Right then, I decided that I’d gone crazy because this wasn’t something I would have done if I were of the right mind.
When I stopped in front of him, my husband slightly shook his still-outstretched hand in the air as if he wanted me to hold it.
And so, I held it.
It’s been a long time since I had held his hand.
It was large, warm and full of hard calluses.
Meanwhile, my hands had always been small.
He clasped my hand tightly, and it made me think how easily it could be for him to crush my bones with his strength.
My husband kept his eyes on our hands, and he stroked the back of my hand with his thumb.
When I tried to move away in surprise, he grabbed my hand even tighter to prevent me from running away.
I stared at him with my eyebrows knotted and my lips pursed.
As though to reassure me, he smiled softly.
May I know your name?”
…If he couldn’t remember me and didn’t know my name, I didn’t think it mattered anymore.
But still, perhaps he needed to know who he married.
I slowly opened my lips.
What a beautiful name.”
“My maiden name is Lily Everett.”
I saw him flinch a little the moment I said this.
He frowned slightly and he blinked for a moment, but soon smiled.
“I didn’t know I married someone from the Everett Duchy.”
“…Do you really not remember anything?”
“Yes, absolutely nothing.”
As I tried to pull out the hand caught in his, I spoke.
“If you would like to know the details of how exactly we got married—no, ask someone else.
Then you’ll get a sense of how you think of me.”
“Please wait a minute.”
“I need to leave.
Please let go.”
My husband grabbed my other hand and pulled me closer—and I panicked and struggled a lot.
Surprised by my reaction, he froze for a moment, but he didn’t let me go.
His blue eyes took a closer look at my complexion, but I avoided his gaze and clenched my teeth.
Right here, I wanted to melt and disappear just like snow.
“Towards you… Did I do something wrong?”
It was my father and the Everett family who had many transgressions.
My husband, Theodore Valentino, was the victim.
“How did we get married? You… My wife, please tell me.
Is this a difficult request?”
It was something that almost made me laugh.
A difficult request, he asked?
I had taken it upon myself to remember each and every day all the transgressions that my family had done to him.
And it had always been painful.
I was the daughter of a wicked man, but I had never committed any evil deeds like my father.
Actually, I always thought it was unfair.
There were times when I held some hope that my husband would recognize this injustice placed upon me, but…
It didn’t matter now.
“Please ask another person.
To say it myself… Even someone like me feels shame.
Please let go.”
At this, my husband’s grip loosened, and he blinked vacantly.
I quietly left the room and ran away without looking back.
It was two years ago that I, Lily Everett, met Theodore Valentino.
During that time as well, my father had been hell-bent on looking for an opportunity to swallow the Valentino family whole.
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