Ch. 185 It Was Love (2)
“Why is that important? The question should be: would they be helpful for Carlisle as an emperor?”
His eyes darkened to a stormy blue.
“I will be emperor regardless. So don’t worry about anything else, and just look at me.”
“If I take any other noblewoman, you can drug me without my knowledge, or you can torture me and make me a cripple.”
Elena widened her eyes, completely dumbstruck. Carlisle took in her startled look and gave a bitter smile.
“You can be cruel to me if you wish.”
Elena was confused by his unexpected words. She didn’t want to be the evil, jealous wife of the emperor.
“…I don’t know what you mean.”
Carlisle faced the bewildered Elena and spoke with a softened expression.
“I’ve told you once before, but I’m so greedy that even if you refuse me, I won’t back down.”
She suddenly recalled the words he had spoken to her on the boat.
— If I said those words, it might reject me. But as you know, I am a greedy man…and I can’t handle rejection.
At that time, Carlisle asked her to guess what he desired, and she replied that it was fish. But what was it truly? As she filed through her thoughts, Carlisle cupped her face with both hands and drew her closer. The distance between the two was now almost nonexistent. Elena had the illusion that she was being sucked into his shining blue eyes right in front of her.
“I clearly warned you. But it was you who came to me without fear.”
Another memory came to Elena’s mind, this time of when she first saved him.
— Don’t forget this. It was you who came to me.
She forgot nothing. All the conversations she had with him came to her one by one, until it was like a tidal wave, and gave her the answer.
In the end, she couldn’t believe it.
Carlisle couldn’t be in love with her. They met each other when they were young, but it didn’t make sense that an encounter so brief could leave an impression so deep.
What did she have that she could give to Carlisle? He was a man of wealth, good upbringing, and what was more, he was the crown prince. He had a face that made many women prisoners of love. Surely such a fatally attractive man wouldn’t turn his head for her.
Elena’s eyes widened.
“Caril, do you love me?”
Carlisle’s expression hardened briefly. His lips opened, but there was no sound, and she quickly moved on with an embarrassed look.
“Ah, no, that’s ridiculous…”
She tried to turn her eyes away when—
Carlisle’s broad hand captured Elena by the chin and moved her gaze back at him, and she saw that his expression more serious than she expected. The blue of his eyes were unfathomably deep, deep enough to drown in them.
“What man would be generous to a woman he doesn’t even like? You only realize that now?”
Elena’s jaw dropped open. Did he really act that way because he liked her? She stood stock still, unable to believe the words that came from his mouth.
“Since when did you start liking me? It doesn’t make sense. We were so young when we first met…”
It was only natural that she didn’t realize that Carlisle liked her. From her point of view, she thought his niceness was part of his personality. She thought him a playboy who knew women’s minds, and was justified in thinking that he had no special feelings for her.
“Why does that not make sense? I liked you from the first time I met you.”
“But we met a long time ago and hadn’t seen each other in years. And…and I was a count’s daughter. I could have already gotten married before I met you again.”
She couldn’t believe he held on to those feelings for years without ever seeing her. Elena gave him a doubtful stare, but Carlisle smiled faintly.
“It didn’t matter to me. Even if you became the wife of another man, I would have found you somehow and made you mine.”
“I would have come to you earlier, but at that time my life was in danger.”
Carlisle’s long fingers slowly traced Elena’s eyes, then drifted down to her nose and then her lips.
“But no matter how we met again…I would still be in love with you. Though it was quite a surprise when you appeared to me in armor.”
“…How can you be so sure?”
“Everything about you is incredible. Your eyes, nose, lips are all so beautiful that I can’t take my eyes off them.”
She blushed furiously. Soon Carlisle’s lips fell on Elena’s forehead. The kiss was as light as a feather, but the touch seemed to burn her skin.
“Now that you know the feelings of my heart, will you run away?”
Although Carlisle’s mouth moved as he spoke, his eyes were resolutely fixed on hers without so much as a tremor.
“I have no intention of breaking my contract with you, but I don’t intend to resent the day you and I got married because of a contract.”
And smile spread on Carlisle’s lips.
“Even if you run all the way to the end of the world, somehow I will keep you by my side.”
It was almost a threat. But ridiculously, to Elena’s ears, it sounded as if his possessiveness was whispering of destiny, of fate. No matter what she looked like or where she was, Carlisle would go to her. If she had heard this in the beginning when she didn’t know him, she might have tried to run away. Now, however, it was as if her entire numb body was beginning to melt.
“My wife is mine.”
He spoke in a husky growl, and Elena couldn’t hold back any longer. She quickly grabbed Carlisle’s back and pulled him to her. As his eyes widened at her sudden action, she crushed her lips against his without hesitation. His body froze in surprise, but Elena pressed more insistently. A moment, and then Carlisle hungrily responded back. They kissed and grabbed at each other, the heat rising between them.
After a few long, desperate minutes, it was the demand for air that made them finally pull away from each other to catch their breath. Elena looked up at Carlisle and spoke in a hoarse voice.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are absolutely cute.”
Carlisle’s eyes popped open in surprise. At that moment, Elena threaded her fingers between Carlisle.
“I’ll never run away from you.”
Carlisle replied in an uncharacteristically tremorous voice.
“…Say it again.”
“I won’t run away.”
“That’s getting strange, isn’t it?”
“We can be a little strange.”
Carlisle swooped down and captured her lips again, as if he could no longer hold himself back anymore. They indulged in each other for a long time in that room. Elena felt as if she owned the whole world at this moment.
Carlisle and Elena, and Elena and Carlisle.
It was a love without a shadow of a lie.