Chapter 26.
I’m Used To It

Due to Marianne’s shabby attire, even Kristoff was humiliated.
Rumors of Lady Schneider’s shabby dress might spread all over Blauberg tomorrow.


She should have at least one dress to live up to Lady Schneider’s name.
No, she shouldn’t have gone out with Kristoff in the first place.
If she hadn’t, nothing like this would have happened today.


Marianne couldn’t bear to lift her head.
There was nothing she could say even if she had ten mouths.
It was understandable for him to be angry at her.


Then, Kristoff’s voice came into her ears.


“You think I’m fine with that? You’re the one who isn’t fine.
I think you forgot the fact that you should have been the one getting worked up instead of me, Marianne.”


To put it another way, he was right.
However, Marianne wasn’t angry.
Her life was too tough for her to get angry over that much.


“I’m used to it.”




Kristoff suddenly went quiet.
He looked stunned as if he had been caught off guard, but soon it was replaced with a frown.
Voice laced with suspicion slipped out through his gritted teeth.


“What do you mean you’re used to it?”


“Do you think I was Lady Schneider from the beginning? I was Marianne Kloze, the daughter of a low-ranked official in the City Hall.
The dunce who doesn’t have any idea about manners in the nobility, the hollow Lady Schneider.”




The meaning of that remark was clear.
Kristoff’s eyes, guessing what she didn’t say afterwards, gave a puzzled look.


He showed his raw agitation despite it was unlike him at all to show his emotions.
His dark eyes shook wildly.


“But why……”


“You didn’t even have time to pay attention to me.”


It was not a grudge against him.
She knew better than anyone that Kristoff was a busy man.


Nevertheless, there were times when she was upset.
She didn’t want him to help her.
However, if he had taken a bit of his time to sympathize with her struggles even a bit, Marianne wouldn’t have had to fight such a lonely fight by herself.
She could have lasted longer with a lot more strength he gave her.


“How dare they……”


Kristoff closed his mouth mid sentence.
It didn’t matter who insulted her.
The important point was that she had been despised and he didn’t even realize it.


It reminded him of all the times Marianne had asked him if she could talk to him.
And guess what he answered every time?


D*mn it.


He clutched his hands, slowly closing eyes.
A deadly and miserable look on his face.


He worked his lower jaw.
His clenched hands trembled.
Perhaps, it wouldn’t have been so miserable if he had been insulted as well.


D*mn it, Kristoff.


It was a euphemistic expression from Marianne when she left him with divorce papers.
Even if she swore at him or swung her fist, he had nothing to say.


Kristoff was her husband, but he was not a husband to her.
He didn’t even know his wife was humiliated, and having been too absorbed in his work.
Is his reputation really important to him?




Kristoff bit his molars and quietly opened his eyes.
He whispered lowly, as if confessing his sins.


He wanted to say that he would never leave her alone again, that no one could despise her.


“Marianne, I……”


She stared at Kristoff with her blue eyes.
Then, she gave off a wry smile.
He suddenly squinted his eyes.


It was none other than Kristoff who made her smile that way.
It was none other than him, who took away the smile that shone so brightly that made the surrounding landscape disappear and made her smile wryly instead.


Her lips suddenly felt dry at the lingering anxiety.
He had to say something.
He had to say something to make her wry smile disappear.
It was when Kristoff was about to move his lips to speak.




A strong gust of wind blew past them.
The wind got her hat flew away.
Marianne’s arms struggled to reach out to it.


Kristoff’s eyes trailed the flying hat.
The untied hat fluttered away along with the passing wind.


He reached out his hand hastily.
The hat barely escaped his hand and rolled on the floor.
Kristoff inadvertently walked ahead to follow it.


As soon as he bent down and tried to grab it, the wind pushed it away again.
Kristoff wrinkled his eyebrows.




Clicking his tongue lowly, he reached out again.
The hat missed his hand by a narrow gap like a naughty, teasing child.




One more time.


Once again.


He managed to grab his hat after three attempts.
Shaking away the flick of dust off the hat, he walked out back to her.




Marianne stared at the hat.
The hat that Kristoff picked up for him.


She couldn’t imagine it in the past.
He, who values efficiency above everything, would have given her money and said it was faster to buy another one rather than have to run to get it.


However, Kristoff was bending ridiculously for her at that moment and scurried along to get his hat.
Marianne felt her heart flutter again.


These little things used to break her heart helplessly.


“……Thank- you.”


Marianne replied nonchalantly, as if not wanting to get caught while agitated.
The slight tremor at the end of her remark was probably recognized by her own ears.


Marianne took her hat from him.
Their fingers brushed all of a sudden.
Her index finger and Kristoff’s thumb.






No one opened their mouths nor lifted their fingers.
Kristoff stroked her finger with his thumb.
Pretending it was a mistake.




Marianne tried to tighten her lips.
That alone gave her a thrill.
The brush of his skin on hers for the first time in a while awakened the hair on her skin stiffly and her toes felt tense.


The image of Kristoff casually holding her came to mind.
He hugged her with unimaginable warmth that was the opposite of his cold-headed appearance.
It was unlike him, who valued efficiency, to spend a very long time caressing her.


The skin that was brushing against each other seemed to recall the warmth of that time.


Kristoff looked at her with subdued eyes.
There was a glint of blatant desire in his eyes.


He suddenly thought about the last time he touched her.
He was thirsty.
He had an unbearable thirst.
He felt her hot body through the tip of her hand.




His voice was as rough as sandpaper when they slipped out through his lips.




Marianne’s shoulders trembled.
She didn’t know if it was fear, tension, or another emotion.
She snatched her hat from him hastily.
Then, she began to walk towards the lighthouse.




Kristoff clenched his fist quietly as though regretting the warmth that had slipped away from his fingertips.
After staring at her back for a moment, he followed slowly.


He walked along the stretch of embankment with Marianne.
Seagulls flew over them, and angry waves hit the seawall roughly.
However, the silence between them didn’t end.




Marianne was proud to recognize other people’s feelings quite quickly and quite accurately.
It was a survival strategy that she arranged on her own as Lady Schneider when she belatedly became a member of the upper class society.


She had already noticed Ian’s attitude was somehow awkward toward her.
The problem was that she didn’t know what it was for or the reason for it.


Eventually, she sighed and turned her upper body around while sitting in her chair.
Ian pouted his lower lip.


“Ian sunbaenim.”




His response to when she addressed him with the word ‘senior’ felt halfhearted.
He didn’t even call her ‘rookie’ either.
Something must have really happened.


“What happened?”


“……What? Huh.”


And his awkward formal way of talking to her.


Marianne stared straight at him.
The basis of her social life is to get people on her side.
No matter how weak or how much power they have, it was better than nothing.


There was no reason to sway the count.
At this moment, even if there was only one person who would agree with her opinion, the circumstances could be reversed.
She was certain in saying that, as Lady Schneider, who had been living in isolation for a long time.


Marianne stared at him instead of coming up with an answer.
She knew that sometimes silence could be more overwhelming than any sort of reminder.


There was a brooding voice.
Sure enough, Ian contemplated when he couldn’t stand the prolonged silence and spoke up.


“Rook…… No, Marianne, it’s only been about a week since you joined the National Police Agency…… You caught a jewelry robber and found out that the case that was assumed to be an accident was  actually murder.”


Marianne eventually caught up to Ian’s intentions.
He was afraid that his position as the senior would waver.


She was an outsider everywhere.
The National Police Agency didn’t welcome Marianne just because she was a woman.
Maxim thought she was shaking the system of the National Police Agency, and Nicholas thought she was incompetent.


So was Ian.
He didn’t welcome her as Marianne.
He did welcome her as his junior.
A wry smile drawn across her mouth.


It was a familiar feeling to be an outsider who was thrown into a group.
As if a commoner was thrown amongst noble women who have been born as nobles.


Swallowing the bitter feeling from within, she still managed to draw up the corners of her mouth.


“I was lucky.”




Ian asked back with a doubtful look upon Marianne’s calm reply.


“Yes, I’m lucky.
How could I do such a thing being a rookie who doesn’t know anything if it wasn’t because of luck?”




“Of course.
I’m a rookie.
Therefore, please continue to teach me about a lot of things, Ian.”


“Of course, Marianne! Trust me!”


Shouting loudly with a triumphant look, Ian tilted his upper body toward her and spoke lowly.


“But, why don’t I see him today?”




Marianne, who also lowered her voice along with Ian, whispered with Ian, whose face was above her forehead.
Ian glanced around and swept through their surroundings.


“There’s a legal consultant in the National Police Agency who follows you around.
However, do you know what his last name is? Inspector Nicholas and Inspector seem to know him, but regardless of how much I ask, they won’t tell me.
I’m left out here.
They left me out again.”


“Oh, I don’t know about that.”


Marianne casted her eyes to his chair in the waiting room.
Kristoff couldn’t be seen anywhere, only a few citizens sat on the chairs while waiting for their turn.


Did he give up already?




Marianne bit her lips out of embarrassment when she realized that she was disappointed.
She decided to get him off her mind, but she was worried that Kristoff might have given up on this.
There was a contradiction in that.


“By the way, Marianne.”


“Yes, Ian Sunbae.”


“What’s your relationship with him?”


“What relationship are you talking about?”


Marianne acted innocent.
However, Ian looked at her thoughtfully, his eyes squinted as they focused on her.


“When I saw you two that day, I didn’t think you were in a normal relationship.
Don’t you remember it? Marianne……”


Ian, who had been talking the entire time, stopped quietly.
Kristoff’s warning slipped through his mind, telling him to keep his mouth shut about that day.


Although his voice was soft, his gaze was cold.
It was instantly enough to make his heart shrink.

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