The Sleepless Night of the Maid — Chapter 8
Translator: Eonnicorn / Editor: Scarlet
By the time Ruth finished his introduction, a frigid silence befell them. Ruth, the brown-haired man that Pamela had eyes on, was not the Count. Although Knights also held a high status, for Pamela, it was nothing but an empty shell. To her, the Count, who was the blonde-haired man, was the gold mine.
Perhaps, that’s the reason why he stopped Ruth. It was a rule to let the person with the higher status introduce themselves first.
‘In that case…’ Even Eva, who was so dumbfounded, forgot about her pain and glanced at Pamela.
As though the blood had drained from her face, Pamela was as white as a ghost. She had never seen the Count in person, only having heard stories about him, hence, she thought Ruth was the Count.
And it was the same for Eva. At first, she only speculated that Ruth might be the Count and, in fact, she was almost sure about it after he saved her. Not only did he have an outstanding face, but his elegant posture and restrained voice made him naturally extraordinary.
Now how will Pamela act? Was it Ruth she had in mind from the beginning, or Count Holland?
“I see you are the Count. I knew that you weren’t just any ordinary person since you left such a good impression. It’s an honor to meet you.”
It didn’t take long for Pamela to decide which side she wanted. She relaxed her stiff face and turned to Count Holland.
The way she skillfully took a turn was admirable. She chose what benefitted her over the crème de la crème.
Eva was the last one to introduce herself. While Pamela had said her name, it wasn’t a formal introduction. However, in her drenched, unladylike state, she struggled to maintain her composure with the pain that gnawed at her legs.
“I am… Eva Bell… Massies, ugh.” She gritted her teeth to avoid showing the pain that afflicted her. The only thing she felt lucky being wet for was that it disguised her cold sweat.
‘I can hold it. Hang in there a bit more and soon it’ll pass.’
“Is something wrong?”
While Eva tried to clench her teeth and act cool, Ruth noticed something wasn’t right and quickly approached her, worry swirling in his eyes. When he seemed to realise that Eva was not in emotional distress, but rather in physical pain, he lowered his gaze to where her hand was grasping her foot.
“Does your foot hurt? Perhaps your ankle got twisted?”
“N-nothing… Everything is al–ugh.”
Unable to overcome the pain, Eva bent over and grabbed her foot. She felt like her legs were going to fall apart since she couldn’t massage her unseemly foot in front of people.
“Let’s stretch your legs this way.”
Ruth, who was watching, pulled her leg carefully. Out of shame, Eva pushed his hand away weakly, but his arm didn’t budge.
“You… You don’t have to. Please, just let it go.”
“If it’s because I touched you, then I’ll let it go. But if it’s because you feel ashamed, then just stay still. It will cause big trouble if it is left like this.”
Ruth’s soft voice diluted her uneasiness and embarrassment. With no more strength to refuse, Eva refrained from speaking and let her foot follow his lead.
He removed her shoes and took off her wet socks with utmost care. There were holes in several places on her socks, and the trails that Cecil had patched up were visible. When Eva saw it, she got heated once again. Despite knowing she had already ruined her first impression, she still couldn’t stop feeling embarrassed.
“Here, this area is stiff.”
A heinous pain shot up in the area where Ruth pressed lightly. He took Eva’s ankle with one hand, and with the other hand, he put his finger on the swollen sole of her foot. He massaged it in a circular movement, loosening her tense muscles so she could feel comfortable.
Despite the pain, it felt nice, however, she also felt weird. She had good reason to feel this way: Cecil had requested that she never let a strange man touch her body before marriage.
“Ugh… That place…”
The moment his hand went under her skirt and touched her calf, Eva seized him by the shoulder. However, as he continued the treatment, unaware of her panic, she quietly gave up and drew back. She was beginning to believe that it was purely just treatment, with no indecent intention at all.
Count Holland and Pamela stood speechless, watching the scene with amazement. Unlike Eva, who flinched at their interest, this man was focused only on her with unwavering, steady movements.
When the pain dissipated to some extent, she suddenly felt as though she had lost strength all over her body. For some unknown reason, tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Why are you crying, hm?” Surprised by her uncharacteristic display, Ruth looked up at her, anxiously holding her ankle. The worry hinted in his voice sounded warm. Maybe that’s why. Words that had been suppressed this whole time brazenly slipped out.
“What are you ashamed of?”
“The f-fo… Hic… Foot.”
No, the truth was that everything was embarrassing.
It’s embarrassing because she intentionally got tangled into this act, even if it was against her will. It’s embarrassing to wear a man’s coat like this and give her barefoot to a man. It’s embarrassing that Bale’s new lord and Ruth caught her in this state.
“Are you feeling ashamed because you’re hurt? Your foot is still beautiful even like this.”
He cheered her up with kind words. She flinched as he narrowed their distance, staring straight into Eva’s tearful eyes.
“There’s no need to be ashamed. For whatever reason, you did nothing wrong, Eva.” Just like her father in the old days, as well as Lawrence, Matthew, and Cecil, he said her name tenderly.
As if the river breeze filled her heart, it felt like it cooled down the part that rose with heat, soothing her wound. In his eyes, Eva, who trembled wretchedly, was shining under the sunlight.