Marianne slowly inhaled as she stared at the heavy door.
A thick oak door stood in front of her like a huge wall.


Her livid blue eyes, which seemed to contain the universe, shone with a glint of anxiety.
Marianne, who clutched the hem of her dress tightly, which wasn’t like her, stared at the door without knowing her satin cloth was wrinkled.


No, to be more specific, to the man beyond the door.




Her husband’s name came out of her lips.
It occurred to her that one day she might regret this moment.
In the future ahead, she might burst into tears thinking about this day.


She bit her lips and pressed her hands against the door, holding back the weakness she felt inside.


Knock, knock.


There was no response.
It wasn’t until she knocked once more that a dry voice was heard from beyond the door that said, “Come in.”


The voice was so heavy that it made her heart tremble every single time.


Taking her deep last breath, Marianne turned the handle.
A well-organized office slowly appeared to her sight through the opened door without any noise.


A mahogany desk was placed in front of a large window where the sunlight fell like a curtain, a sofa as well as a table for guests were located across it.
On one side of the wall, there was a high bookcase that seemed to reach the ceiling.


The gentle spring breeze came in through the half-opened window.
The livid blue colored curtains, which were the same color as her eyes, swayed gently each time.
The office, which was full of books and documents, was always filled with the smell of dry paper.


It was a familiar landscape that she could even draw eyes-closed.
It was also the place she was quite fond of.
Lastly, Marianne glanced at the man standing in front of the window.


It was Schneider.
Her husband, Kristoff K.
Schneider, was a dark-haired man with black eyes piercing through his opponent.


His invigorating stretch of eyebrows and nose bridge were manly, but the white skin, which was in contrast to his black hair, looked pale at the first glance.


However, Marianne knew there was a firm and muscular body hidden under his business suit.
His body was so firm that she couldn’t even poke her fingers into it.


Bearing the clear weight on her own, she used to feel the heaviness more after the feeling of security.
It might be because she realized that the great man was entirely her responsibility.


Kristoff, who was wearing a jacket over his black vest, turned around to glance at the door.
Having confirmed that it was Marianne who stood at the door, he brought the documents on the desk into his bag.


His heartless gaze and tightly closed lips felt as cold as usual.
His black hair was brushed stunningly, even the business suit he was wearing had no wrinkles.


Marianne could barely speak up as she stared at him, who seemed to not bleed even if she stabbed him with a needle.




“If it’s not important, we can discuss it later.
I’m going to go out.
I have an appointment with Sir Judge Pottenstein.”


His low voice that pierced her inside was still her preference.
Even his clean way of speaking as if he was cutting with a knife, also his voice was neither fast nor slow.


However, she knew how cruel that voice could be at times.
Nonetheless, that voice was the first reason she loved him.


The second reason was probably because he has a handsome face.


There might be one or two dozen people who don’t agree with that word.
As he wasn’t a typical handsome man with blond hair and blue eyes.


No, it was the opposite, people who met Kristoff for the first time felt somewhat uncomfortable because of his cold expression.


However for Marianne, even Kristoff’s sarcasm was one of the reasons she loved him.
From the moment she met him for the first time, her eyes must’ve been covered with a thick pod.


“It’s an important matter…… at least to me.”


She added in a questionable tone.
At that moment, she wasn’t sure whether it was important to Kristoff or not.


Kristoff, who checked his watch and casted a glance at her while frowning slightly.


“Can’t we do it after I return? The judge is a strict man in making appointments.”


His firm tone unknowingly made her flinch.
She was usually going to see him off with a smile during this time, but she had no chance to do it today.
If not this time, she probably would lose the chance to resolve it.


When Marianne didn’t say anything with a stiff expression, Kristoff sighed briefly and spoke quickly.


“I’ll give you three minutes.
Make it short and simple.”


She suddenly burst out laughing.
It was really the typical Kristoff.
Marianne’s unexpected laugh made his eyebrows twitch.


Kristoff stared at her laughing figure with his pitch-black eyes.
His eyes sparkled with the sense of persistence as if he could see through Marianne’s mind.


Just as Kristoff was about to speak again, Marianne stole the show.
She answered while walking toward his desk.


“One minute is enough.”


She put down the documents in her hand to the desk.
Kristoff casted his eyes at her instead of the documents after glancing at his watch again.
An indifferent question came out of his mouth.


“What’s this?”


“Divorce documents.”




Kristoff was silent for a moment.
His expression quickly vanished from his face as if he had been splashed with cold water.
Originally, he wasn’t someone who had a lot of expression, but the difference was so subtle, although he looked rigid.


Kristoff, who looked at her without saying anything, suddenly sighed.
He massaged his eyebrows with an annoyed look on his face.


An unpleasant tone of voice came out of Kristoff’s mouth.


“What are you doing, Marianne?”

“Divorce, I mean us.”


Mariann exhaled quickly as she finally managed to spit out those words.
At such a critical moment, words that she thought couldn’t come out of her mouth were easily delivered.


It was natural as if she had been practicing it for a long time.




Kristoff clicked his tongue.
After checking his watch once again, he held the bag in his hand.
The dry voice came out of his also dry lips.


“Is it because of Veronica? I’m sorry for my sister-in-law’s death, but she obviously had jumped into the river.
I checked the police investigation records on my own and met my roommate in the dormitory.
According to her, she had a hard time when she was told about her breakup.
There’s no question about this matter, Marianne.”


Marianne smiled bitterly at his firm tone.


Veronica hasn’t gone near the water since she almost drowned in a well when she was young.
She was a scared child who turned around to another street when she saw a fountain.


It was understandable that Veronica, who was betrayed by her lover, had to make an extreme choice as she could not endure the deep sense of loss.
However, she couldn’t believe that the poor girl chose to jump into the river.


However, Kristoff didn’t listen to her at all.
Marianne was painfully helpless as she could not do anything for Veronica.


No, it might be even more shocking that the important matter for her was considered nothing to Kristoff.


If so, the truths that she had tried to ignore come crashing right before Marianne’s eyes.
The fact that she might not be very important to him as well.


As Kristoff said, Veronica’s incident was clearly a trigger for this.
However, firewood has steadily piled up inside her for over the past three years.


The only thing left was waiting for the flames to burn it entirely and violently.
And then, only white ashes would be scattered in her heart.


With no more love, resentment, and expectation that has gone with it.


Would it be more comfortable than this?


“Stop playing a silly prank on me.”


Kristoff was extremely realistic and rational even at this moment when she asked for a divorce.
It was clear that he thought she was being pretentious.
Or, it seemed to be a threat in order to find out more about Veronica’s case.


Kristoff’s indifferent attitude was a sign of credence that a divorce wouldn’t happen without his consent.
And Kristoff absolutely had no intention of divorcing her.


Marianne casted a glance at his watch and gave a signal with her eyes.


“The business I have with you is over.
We can’t keep Sir Judge Pottenstein waiting, can we?”


“I’ll talk to you when I return.”


Kristoff strutted across the office without a single refusal.
For him, the meeting with Sir Judge Pottenstein was more important than the divorce with Marianne, who had been staying with him for three years.


Lastly, a bitter smile formed on Marianne’s mouth.
She thought it would be like this.
However, it doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t be hurt.




She heard another piece of wood piling up in her chest.
The wood that would soon get caught in fire and burn until it became black.




At that time, Kristoff stopped walking for a moment as he proceeded to leave the office.
He turned around and stared at Marianne right in the face.
There was a gaping wound in her and a bitter look on her face.


After checking his watch for the last time, he proceeded to walk through the hallway again.


“Let’s talk in the evening.”


Marianne slowly dropped her gaze while hearing the distant footsteps.
Any chance for hope and expectation turned into disappointment and Kristoff unknowingly discarded his last chance.


Marianne looked as if she was about to cry and raised her chin confidently.


“No, I can’t see you in the evening, Kristoff.”


She mumbled to herself in the empty room where her feet lingered.
Right, he would never get to see her again.


It was a revenge toward Kristoff, who had abandoned his last chance, and a once-in-a-lifetime departure to protect himself.




Marianne shouted out the maid’s name.
Carin, who quickly appeared from somewhere, bowed her head and said, “Did you call me, Lady Schneider?”


Lady Schneider.


Marianne unconsciously flinched at those words.
She smiled gracefully just like usual as if nothing had happened.


Everything has gone as she expected so far.
However, there was no guarantee that it would keep being like that.


A perfect plan is bound to collapse with just a single crack.


Marianne pulled the corners of her mouth into a smile as she looked at Carin with thoughtful eyes.


“I’m going to go shopping right now, can you hurry up and prepare for the outing?”


“Of course, Lady Schneider.”


Carin walked out of the office with frequent steps.
Marianne casually looked around the room after staring at her from behind for a moment.
She captured the last view of the office with her eyes to be kept in her mind for a long time.


Even the appearance of the man who stayed there a moment ago.




The car carrying Marianne and Carin drove slowly through the endless garden.
The guard, who had been waiting with the opened gate, greeted the passing car.


In the front part of the mansion, the private property was adorned by lines of metasequoia trees on both sides.
They were tall trees that could only be seen by completely tilting their necks.


The slowly speeding car crossed the endless road filled with Metasequoia trees.
Marianne turned her head and looked at the distant mansion through the car window.


A three-story white stone building that stood magnificently on the green grass.
The blue roof shone more clearly in contrast to the white colored exterior wall.


The fun things that happened there, kind people, and the memories she shared with Kristoff flashed through her mind like a flashlight.


“What’s the matter, Lady Schneider? Is there anything left behind?”


Carin looked at her and asked curiously.
Marianne shook her head after coming back to her senses and smiled faintly.


“No, Carin.
There’s no such thing.”


There couldn’t have been any lingering feelings behind.


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