“You aren’t curious about what kind of men I like?” she asked.
He tilted his head and looked at her. “Have you ever liked someone?” he asked.
“Well… What do you think?” she asked back.
“I don’t know much about psychopaths,” he said, “You may have thought you liked someone but did you really?”
She tossed the file book at his chest. He caught it lightning fast. She flipped the middle finger at him. She didn’t know whether she was a psychopath or not, but he didn’t need to be so mean about it. Fuck off, Chief Detective Jang Seong-hoon, she cursed.
She walked away, and he didn’t call her back. They had finished talking about the case, so there was nothing more to discuss. Using people for his own personal gain to solve the case. Who was the psychopath now?
That was the last she had seen him. After a few days, she had died. She didn’t know whether he knew about her death. She thought it hadn’t mattered to her, that it wouldn’t matter even if they didn’t contact each other. But it did.
The danger of having feelings for someone was that if the other person didn’t feel the same about you, you get caught in the loop of destruction. Your time, energy, abilities, money, everything went to waste.
Just as she had forgotten all the people who had hated her, beat her up, she thought she could make herself forget him too. She thought she could make it all go away. Then there had been a darkness. Then a family, who loved her.
‘My lovely Alice, my darling.’
‘Alice, my beauty. Come here.’
‘Alice, such a fool. Geez. Alright, I’ll say I broke it. Don’t touch this broken vase. You’ll scratch yourself!’
She woke up, startled. She had heard her name being called again and again. She opened her eyes.
“Alex?” She was about to get up but her head was ringing, she felt dizzy.
“Are you alright?” asked Alex, concern etching his forehead.
She squinted to look at him, because her head hurt. She propped herself up and hugged her brother. “I am fine now,” she said, “I am sorry I worried you.”
“There is nothing to be sorry for,” he said, “The Medic said it must have been nerves and anxiety. The marketplace was too crowded, I should have taken you home sooner. I am sorry.”
Great! Alice thought. She had fainted in the street and made a complete fool of herself. But she didn’t think it was because of the crowd that she had fainted. Or maybe it was. She wasn’t sure.
With her chin resting on her brother’s shoulder, she lifted her eyes to look at a figure standing at the back. A tall man with black hair and gray eyes. The Grand Duke was still here?
She had read his name when she was made to study about the history of the kingdom. The king had two sons, but neither prince had any information about their lineage. The king had already chosen the successor as his eldest son, who was much older than his youngest son. The young prince who was seven, when the eldest prince was already married with a child, was pushed out of court politics. The young prince took on the title of Grand Duke and generally stayed on the Glouster estate.
More than a privilege, the ‘Grand Duke’ served as a placating title given to the prince who was expected to be out of politic and not contend for the throne. The Duke/Duchess were expected to live their lives there and not interfere. The title wasn’t as grand as it sounded because irrespective of whether the Grand Duke had children or not, his family will be expected to move out of the estate at his death. His immediate family would not inherit the title or the estate after his death. It was a depressing circumstance. How could someone live in the shadows for someone else? Wouldn’t it be better to leave the country and live abroad? They would still be recognized as a foreign royal and would have more rights than here.
The man didn’t look depressed. She took a tentative look at him. Something about him was familiar but she didn’t remember exactly. Could she have met him in the past? But she had spent all her life in Wishburn where she didn’t get to meet a lot of people. If he had visited and she had met him, she would have remembered.
Maybe I am delusional and finally going mad, she thought.