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“It’s okay. I am alright. However, there is one small problem.”
The woman’s eyes lit up brightly, as if to say, ‘Please ask me anything.’
“I drank poison.”
“Yes, you did. This was already the sixth time. How fortunate he was to be tricked by the bad con. Madam would not be here otherwise.”
Not her complaints, but mine were quietly refuted.
I may have been tricked by the bad con until the fifth time, but it wasn’t the last.
Cecilia had to have meticulously planned everything.
“Perhaps that explains why some memories are lost.”
She was startled when I put my finger on her lips.
The woman quickly quieted down.
“Something from your memory, so how much…”
“I recognize myself as Cecilia. I know I married the Count, and know who the Countess Rosette is.”
They were the only names in the diary.
“Aside from that…?”
“Yeah, not at all. I have no idea what your name is.”
The woman pursed her lips in embarrassment.
“Could you please tell me your name?”
“I’m Sarah. I’ve been taking care of Madam since you arrived at Linton’s mansion.”
She paused for a moment, as if in embarrassment, and continued to speak cautiously. Her face looked worried.
“Sarah. Yesterday I saw someone standing in front of my door, do you know who that woman is?”
“Oh. It must have been Jane. She’s a new maid since Madam arrived at the mansion, but I’ve heard Jane has worked here for a long time.”
Sarah said she would tell me everything she knew and sat down, as if her shock had worn off a little.
“I don’t know much either. But I’ll tell you everything you need to know to the best of my knowledge.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Sarah’s story didn’t come to an end until it was time for tea with Countess Rosette.
“Let’s go and do the rest.”
I felt it was awkward for someone else other than me to touch my hair and change my clothes.
But, Cecilia looked beautiful in light makeup.
“We have a carriage ready for you to enter right now!”
The doorknob, which had been tightly shut the day before, turned easily this time.
With a single sigh, I walked out of my room.
When I arrived with the carriage at the Rosette family’s mansion, what should I say about the mansion? It wasn’t as grand as I had imagined.
I would have opened my mouth wide if it had been the original me, but after seeing the Linton mansion, it wasn’t as surprising as I had thought.
Count Linton and Count Rosette had the same status, but there seemed to be a noticeable difference between the two families, based on the difference in two mansions.
I noticed a young woman not far away as I followed the guide. By her appearance, she seemed to be the Countess of Rosette.
After all, she didn’t seem to be too old to have a daughter the same age as Cecilia.
Then I bent my knees slightly based on my knowledge of movies that were occasionally broadcast for free on television.
“You have such a pale complexion.”
Countess Rosette treated her stepdaughter with kindness.
Without even realizing it, the warmth that rushed to my cheek hardened my face.
“I heard the news.”
Countess Rosette grabbed my hand and offered me a seat, pretending not to notice my reaction.
“What kind of news?”
Countess Rosette did not respond right away, but she did request her maid bring the tea.
“Last night, your nanny returned to the mansion. That feeble person panicked when you fainted.”
In this situation, I should have shown that I am concerned about the person referred to as my nanny, but I know nothing about her.
Countess Rosette seemed perplexed as she sat silently waiting for the next word.
“……Are you alright?”
It was a friendly and warm question.
My response was monotonous and cold in comparison.
“What are you lying on? I shouldn’t have asked.”
“I’m fine, really.”
I had no sympathy. Even if it comes from genuine benevolence.
“I was stupid.”
I locked my gaze on the stream of water that the maid poured into the teacup.
“I don’t think there’s anything more to worry about, Madam.”
Along with the tea, I swallowed what Edgar said to me last time.
“Then I’m relieved……”
However, Countess Rosette was not easily convinced.
I already know it. Cecilia drank poison five times.
Her nanny had passed on the message, and the Countess of Rosette knew that Cecilia had consumed poison six times.
Even if I wasn’t her stepdaughter, hearing that someone you knew had attempted suicide twice in a row would be distressing to anyone.
“By the way, you should go see Ayla.”
“She had heard you were coming and had been anticipating your arrival since yesterday, so she slept late. Don’t blame her for being late for this appointment because she misses her sister.”
I nodded my head quietly.
According to Sarah’s story, Ayla was the biological daughter of Countess Rosette and Cecilia’s half-sister.
If Cecilia had entered my original body instead of mine, her side would have suffered far more.
I’ve heard I have a step-sister as well, but I’ve never met her.
“I didn’t see him today.”
“Did he go there again?”
“Perhaps he is.”
Countess Rosette’s face darkened.
“He was a sincere man before you got engaged, but why did he do that……”
My hand that was tilting the teacup stopped for a moment.
Even if he was a sincere man, would it be excessive paranoia if I learned that it was my fault for making him tired of running away from me? As she looked at me and spoke for some reason, sweat seeped into my palms.
“Although we are not biological mother and daughter, we have a strong bond. Don’t be so upset.”
“Yeah, I don’t.”
Countess Rosette was taken aback because she hadn’t expected my demeanor to be so calm.
“I told the Count not to force you to marry in this way, but your father insisted on it.”
Her tone was etched with the words that followed as if she had said them a thousand times before.
“The Count was only worried about you, Cecilia, until the moment he closed his eyes.”
Oh, Count Rosette is not in this world anymore. She continued her speech in a forthright tone like a theater actress.
“He (Count Rosette) was afraid Count Linton would break his promise, so his last words before he left were congratulations on your wedding in advance.”
That’s how it went down. The mystery of why Edgar despised Cecilia but made her sit in the Countess’ seat was solved.
His fiancée’s father was dying, and he (Count Rosette) did him (Count Linton) a favor. It had to be to save his face and reputation if he disobeyed his request.
Edgar Linton didn’t have a choice.
“Even so, Cecilia, I would have supported the breakup if you weren’t sure.”
The tone of Countess Rosette hinted that Edgar Linton had a romantic relationship with the actress in the theater.
“Anyway, if you want to go, you’ll have a good life…”
Countess Rosette wiped her eyes with a handkerchief as her words became ambiguous.
“No, I’m sorry. We met for the first time in a long time and talked nonsense.”
An awkward silence passed.
Countess Rossett narrowed her eyes as if to gauge my reaction.
No, maybe this was also her paranoia.
The plight of her stepdaughter must have left Countess Rosette speechless.
Fortunately, the silence did not last long.
It was because of the girl who came in with light footsteps.
I called out the girl’s name.
Ayla, who ran with a bright smile, didn’t seem to have a big age difference with Cecilia.
She was only a year or two younger.
“I miss you”
She dashed over to Cecilia’s small back.
“Where is Count Linton? Why didn’t he come with you?”
Ayla looked innocent as she scoured Cecilia’s most painful wound. Was it a coincidence?
Countess Rosette softly chuckled.
“Do you know Count Linton is not as free as you are?”
“But you are a lovely newlywed.”
“There’s nothing you can’t say when you are not even engaged.”
Although Countess Rosette pretended to be reprimanded, I could not completely hide my innermost thoughts that Ayla was so cute.
“So, it’s good to be married, sister?”
Cecilia wrote in her diary about having a stepmother and a half-brother, which made life difficult for her.
But now I realize she was blind.
It was good in her eyes how much their kind smiles and innocent questions had dried up Cecilia’s blood.
I answered politely. Ayla’s lips, which were twitching like a child, were momentarily distorted.
“Is the Count doing well?”
It was a tone that made me determined not to dig out the truth.
I made a deliberate pause.
“He is busy.”
“Oh, that’s right! Yeah! Count Linton is busy. Everybody knows!”
“That’s what you like about him.”
The next words made Ayla’s face brighten, then darken.
“Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time together. I’m more at ease because the Count goes about his business according to his own schedule, whereas I go about my business my own way.”
Clang, the teacup was placed on the table unnaturally.
That belonged to Countess Rosette.
“Cecilia, you should have that mindset. Do you have to give up because you’re just married?”
Countess Rosette’s considerable consolation was quickly replaced by a handkerchief.
She covered it up, but I didn’t notice her cheekbones going up suddenly.
“Is there a time like that? I’m fine as long as I’m comfortable.”
I took one last look at the sunset before heading back.
“Are you leaving already? Even without having dinner. You like having dinner with your family.”
That low-pitched word was hidden that I would eat alone and lonely when I returned home.
“Yes, sister. Let’s go to dinner together. My mom already prepared for you.”
Ayla clung to my arm, begging.
“Thank you, but now I am Countess Linton. The Linton Mansion is my residence.”
Countess Rosette looked at me in disbelief.
“The Count is often away from home because he is busy, so I have to protect my residence as well. Employees will be in trouble if both masters are absent.”
I gently pull Ayla’s arm away from me.
“Maybe you don’t know, but the position of the Countess is not easy.”
I spoke in a soft tone and looked at Countess Rosette.
You are Countess like me, but did you know? I glared at her.
Countess Rosette smiled forcely.
“That’s right. if you’re the mistress of a family, you should be. Cecilia has grown up now. Even when you first married, I was worried, but now I don’t have to be.”
“I apologize for troubling you. That is something I will never do again.”
After a formal goodbye, I left the mansion.