15. The Point of No Return
“Lady Sherry, what would you like for dinner?”
“…I’m sorry, I don’t have an appetite.”
At my reply, Horace called out from behind the door. “If anything troubles you, please call me immediately.”
Feeling remorseful, I buried my face in my pillow.
Upon returning home, I went to my room and stayed there the entire time. The inside of my head was a mess. I didn’t know what kind of face should I make when I met Noel.
“Don’t you know? Noel abandoned his dream of becoming a civil officer and became a knight just so that he could marry you.”
Chester’s words were stuck in my mind. It didn’t seem like I’d ever be able to forget them.
In order to marry me, he not only had to become a knight, but also had to give up on his childhood dream. I suddenly recalled what I said before he left the academy.
“Because I don’t think I can fall in love with anyone other than Lord Noel.”
“…Do you truly mean it?”
“Yes, in this life, Lord Noel is my one and only.”
Upon recalling that, I realized that my words sounded like a proposal.
Of course, I didn’t have the slightest intention of doing that at the time. To me, it was just an alternate version of, ‘I love you.’
However, if Noel had already loved me from that time, him taking that as a promise wouldn’t be strange.
He also said, ‘I understand.’ At that moment, had he already decided to spend the rest of his life with me?
I would have never imagined my words from back then leading to the present…
“I will never forget that.”
What did he feel as he spoke those words?
I couldn’t believe the words I had nonchalantly uttered that day had changed his life. Because I spoke those words, Noel forsook his dream for me. I didn’t want to believe it.
Since enrolling in the magic academy, Noel was more hardworking than anyone else. Noel was arguably one of the best students in the school. I didn’t get why he was so hard on himself.
Whenever I asked him about the reason, he’d happily answer, “It’s because I have a dream.” He seemed to have been making that effort to achieve said dream.
I never knew why he suddenly quit the academy and joined the knights. I always thought it was because of a personal issue.
I’d have never dreamed that I was the reason he became a division leader. I’d have never dreamed that all the bloody effort he had made was for me. As far as Chester’s story was concerned, it seemed that him joining the knights and becoming a division leader was a condition for the marriage.
At the same time, I noticed something.
—What did I say to him that day?
He abandoned his long-cherished dream and became a knight.
He put in painstaking effort to become the division leader.
After his promotion, while sacrificing sleep, he went to ask his father for permission.
Wanting to see me as soon as possible, he went to my house by foot.
To him who had been struggling for more than three years and finally came to apply for an engagement—
“…Do you not love me anymore?”
“That may be the case.”
“It’s about our engagement. Will you accept it?”
“What would you do if I were to say, I’m displeased by it?”
…What was I doing?
I had never cursed my idiocy to that extent. Color was drained from my face, my limbs trembled, and I was feeling cold.
“I’ve always believed in your words—that I’m the only one for you, for the rest of your life.”
“I’ve come this far for you.”
Only now did I fully understand—the meaning of his words back then.
I did something unnecessary and ended up hurting him, he who thought about me so much.
…What am I seriously doing?
“I’m the one who’s to blame. I’ve taken your affection for granted. I find being spoiled by you to be pleasant. I’m the one who’s at fault. I should’ve done more for you.”
“Still, I want you to smile at me again. I want you to love me once again.”
“Sherry, I love you.”
Yet, he blamed himself, not me, and still said that he loved me. I didn’t know how could he love me so much. Still, I hated my foolish self who made him unhappy.
Before I realized it, I was a sobbing mess.
Lord Noel, I’m unworthy of you.
That was an unmistakable fact.
I wasn’t qualified to love him.
A few months ago, I’d surely have quietly withdrawn while wishing for his happiness.
However, as of the present, I had known.
I had known the joy of being loved by him. The happiness of being touched by him. I had come to know a lot of emotions. I couldn’t go back to the time when I was content with merely looking at him from a distance and talking to him once in a while.
Only two months. If I hadn’t had that restriction spell cast upon myself, I would’ve been able to tell him how much I loved him. I wouldn’t have hurt him so much.
No matter how much I regretted, I knew that nothing would change anymore. I could only blame myself and continue to be remorseful.
Three days had passed since then. Thanks to the shower and the toilet in the room, I didn’t need to go out. Although I had no appetite, I was forced to consume easy-to-eat food by Horace. I kept crying because of Noel.
I was terrified of hurting Noel any more than that. I also had no courage to meet him.
As for my work, I was burning through my paid leaves. That said, I left quite suddenly. Sheila must be burdened. I was truly a piece of trash.
My self-esteem had fallen to the bottom. For the past few days, I had been blaming myself. I felt like I was on the bottom of the food chain. Perhaps the mice that lived in the area were more superior than me.
“Sherry, are you still feeling unwell?”
“…Yes, forgive me.”
The voice of my beloved, which could be heard along with knocking, made me leapt. Every day, Noel would beckon through the door many times. I felt sick of myself, so I made an excuse to stay hidden away every day.
“Are you truly sick?”
The words that I suddenly heard took my breath away.
“I met and talked to Chester today. I know he spoke to you three days ago, although I don’t know what kind of conversation it was.”
“I’m sorry, I should’ve directly spoken with you. I truly was bewildered. I’m very sorry.”
Noel muttered in a terribly sad voice as if he were choking on his words, not knowing what to say.
“…Do you despise me so much to the point you don’t even want to see my face?”
Ah, even then, I was hurting him.
Even if I talked to him, I wouldn’t be able to say what I wanted due to the restriction spell. No wonder he thought I was being cold to him.
“Sherry, please. Please come out and talk to me.”
After hearing how desperate Noel sounded, I couldn’t take it anymore.
With trembling hands, I gently opened the door.
***T/N: You guys better communicate now. Properly, this time around.