I have always wanted to be recognized, so I have worked hard.
Whether it was my studies or my manners, I tried my hardest.
But my Mother’s priority was always my Brother.
I never intended to compete with him.
“The best among girls? What does that mean? It’s only natural that she can do it.”
“She’s just a girl. There is no one to compete with.”
The school I went to was a meritocracy, with no discrimination between men and women.
I frantically studied hard there.
One day, I was chosen as a special student.
“Is the level so low that you can be the best? Or is the quality of teaching different for girls and boys?”
“How could you say that!”
“There’s no way for Shepherd to be 30th in his class otherwise. Because you are a waste.”
I thought that if I worked hard and studied hard and became a special student, they would accept me.
I also worked hard on my etiquette, music, and embroidery.
“I can’t believe you have to work hard on things like this.”
“You are mediocre.”
I was scolded for not being able to do even that much without trying hard.
In the midst of these difficult days, I met Henry.
He was a special student like me.
“I was always curious about you. The girl at the top of the class.”
“I lost again this time, but I won’t lose next time. I’ll work harder than you.”
I’ll work harder.
I was surprised at those words.
Did he know how hard I worked?
We often competed with each other.
The year I reached the highest grade, I was completely defeated by Henry.
“I won this time.”
“It’s my loss. What do you demand as promised? Do I have to run errands for you? Or?”
We have decided to make a bet, the loser would do what the winner said.
“Fall in love with me.”
“Fall in love, with me.”
I think I looked very dumb at that point.
“Naturally, it’s because I love you very much.”
I still remember what he said to me at that time.
Later, I became Henry’s lover, and after a year of dating we became engaged and got married.
At that time, my Brother had said that he would never marry and would remain single, so we were allowed to marry on the condition that Henry would be marrying in to become the heir to the Ranford family.
Moreover, even though he was forced to live with us, Henry accepted it without a bad look on his face.
During that time, my Mother’s overbearing attitude did not change, and I did not even know whether she approved of him as a son-in-law or not.
However, it was thanks to Henry that the household did not fall into ruin, and yet!
“I am sorry, Henry.”
“Don’t cry. Everything will be all right.”
“But, for something like this to happen.”
It’s too much.
Just how hard was Henry working all this time?
“I am ashamed to face Mother-in-law.”
Henry is from a fatherless family.
His Father died early in his life, but Mother-in-law is a highly respectable and independent woman.
The Ranford family might be a Viscount household, but Henry’s Mother is a respectable person who raised Henry with her own hands.
She’s a wonderful person who does not put on airs.
Normally, it would have been unthinkable for her to give up her only son, Henry, and let him marry in.
I am too ashamed to face her.