Ch. 186 This Is Enough For Now
The Selby mansion was in chaos after Helen was arrested for attempting to murder the Crown Prince. Marquis Oswald, her father, burst to the mansion in the middle of the night, and roared at the butler that was waiting for him at the entrance.
“What the hell happened!”
“I-I’m sorry, My Lord. There seemed to have been a major incident.”
“Helen has caused trouble more than once, so just tell me what happened.”
“Well…it appears that she purchased an aphrodisiac and slipped it in the Crown Prince’s tea. I have heard from the maids recently that the Empress would support Lady Selby to become the Crown Prince’s second wife. She was excited about the arrangement.”
“She should’ve waited patiently for the Empress’ move. What’s the hurry to act on her own?”
At Oswald’s reprimand, the butler gave a low bow.
“I-I’m sorry. I should have kept a closer eye.”
“It doesn’t matter. It already happened, and placing blame won’t help now. First, we must make sure the palace interrogator is on our side.”
The butler’s face darkened at his words.
“I tried to arrange it before you came, but…it’s too late.”
“Yes. The Crown Princess had already designated an interrogator in advance.”
Oswald’s face crumpled. Normally the presence of an interrogator was insignificant, but in such a situation, they became a person of incredible importance. Depending on who they were, evidence could be manipulated and the treatment the accused received in prison could be completely changed. Oswald spoke with increasing irritation.
“Are the evidence and witnesses already secured?”
“I’m still trying to find out all the details, but the young Lady Jenner, who often socialized with Helen, has turned traitor and become a witness.”
“Tsk. That is why I taught her not to trust anyone. You can’t rely on people with lower status, even if they are a noble.”
Oswald turned his heel and boarded his carriage. He needed more information, but it was already clear that the circumstances were unfavorable to Helen. He couldn’t waste more time yelling at people in the mansion, and he urgently needed those who could lend him their power. Oswald was not an influential power in the south for nothing. He excelled in his ability to judge the situation.
“First, find out the total value of all the family’s assets. If things go wrong, I may have to pour out all the wealth I have.”
The butler answered with a look of dismay.
“Yes, My Lord.”
As soon as Oswald heard his answer, he gave a low order to the driver waiting.
“The Empress’ palace, immediately.”
The carriage started again, and Oswald left one last message to the butler.
“Cut off everything related to Viscount Jenner. Once this case is finished, I’ll make them pay dearly for this betrayal.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The butler bowed deeply in answer, and the carriage rode away from the mansion again.
Elena was embarrassed that after receiving such a passionate confession from Carlisle, she had to sleep in the same space as him. Their arrangement had become routine to her, and whatever happened in the day, they would see each other in the evening. The same was true after sharing not-so-chaste kisses with him. She could no longer avoid the feelings in her heart.
‘I still look red.’
She looked in the mirror in the powder room and touched her flushed cheeks. She didn’t know how she survived kissing him to returning to the Crown Prince’s palace. Carlisle had wordlessly taken Elena’s hand in the carriage, and her heart beat wildly at his touch.
Just remembering the scene made her heart tremble as if she were back in time. Even without any conversation, she enjoyed sitting by his side and studying his profile as his warm hands enveloped hers.
Was this alright? She was still scared of these new feelings.
‘He liked me from the very beginning.’
The thought alone made her face turn even redder. Elena leaned over on the counter, covering her face with both her hands.
‘What can I do? I’m so happy I’m going crazy.’
She didn’t know if she could allow herself to feel this way. She still had so much work to do…her family was not yet secure, and Paveluc hadn’t been removed. However, she couldn’t control the emotions bursting in her, and her heart reacted before her head.
Elena looked up and studied her crimson face in the mirror.
“…How can I look at him with this face?”
The words Carlisle spoke earlier echoed in her ears.
—Everything about you is incredible. Your eyes, nose, lips are all so beautiful that I can’t take my eyes off them.
Elena collapsed over the counter again. She was going to die. She was so happy.
It was a long time before she eventually left the powder room. She had no choice, as her heart was thumping wildly just at the thought of seeing Carlisle’s face again. Part of her wished that he was already asleep so she wouldn’t have to confront him.
To her dismay, however, Carlisle was sitting on the couch waiting for her. He was the first to confess his feelings out loud, but he looked completely calm, while it was Elena who found herself at her wit’s end.
“I-I thought you were sleeping.”
“I can’t fall asleep when you haven’t come back yet.”
He spoke in a casual tone, but she couldn’t bring herself to meet his eyes. She had barely gotten her reddened face under control in the powder room, and she quickly climbed into bed.
“It’s late, so go sleep.”
Elena planned to hurry and fall straight asleep, but Carlisle seemed to have different ideas. He looked at her for a moment, then suddenly got up from the couch and approached her. He hadn’t done this except for the time she had sobered up, but the situation was different now in the middle of the night instead of morning.
“What are you doing?”
Her voice trembled, and a faint smile played on his languid face.
“I want to sleep with you tonight.”
Elena’s eyes widened. This was too fast. She could feel her heart leap at his suggestion. Just because she was attracted to him, didn’t mean that the heavy burden on her shoulders disappeared. She didn’t intend to do her wifely duties until Carlisle became emperor. For now, she was supposed to be his weapon. That hadn’t changed at all.
Despite her stern refusal, the faint smile on Carlisle’s face turned playful.
“What are you thinking? I just want to sleep by my wife’s side.”
Elena realized that she was getting ahead of herself. Heat poured from her face in embarrassment, and even without looking in a mirror she knew that her face was even redder than before.
Meanwhile, Carlisle reached the opposite side of the bed where Elena lay.
“I will never do anything you don’t want. As I said before, I have no intention of breaking our contract.”
“Then why all of a sudden…”
“Not all of a sudden. I’ve always coveted being by your side.”
Carlisle spoke like a gentleman, but his blue eyes shone dangerously like a beast of prey. He was like a devil tempting her into something sweet, before she would realize that she was entangled in his trap.
“When I wake up, I will think that what happened today will be a dream. So let me sleep by your side only for tonight.”
Elena couldn’t find the words to reply, but she also wanted to be near him. It would be easy to say yes, but his presence was sure to throw her into even more confusion.
As Elena appeared to be agonizing with herself in silence, Carlisle took the opportunity to speak again.
“There’s no reason to think for so long. If you’re that worried, you can just accept it. Right, my wife?”
Carlisle didn’t wait any longer and crawled into bed next to Elena. The bed dipped under his weight, causing Elena to become startled.
She stared at him wide-eyed, and Carlisle grinned at her brazenly.
Elena was stunned, as this was the first time she had seen him so strongly demanding, simply for the mere fact that he wanted to sleep next to her. Her already red face seemed to heat up even more.
‘What if I feel good in this situation?’
She wondered why she felt so happy to have Carlisle nearby. Eventually she closed her eyes, and he sidled up next to her. They lay awkwardly in silence.
Suddenly, Carlisle’s arm wriggled underneath her neck. Her eyes flew open to look at him.
Kung kung kung kung kung.
Her heart was racing madly at the sudden touch. Carlisle didn’t stop there, and he tilted his head in the direction Elena lay, staring into her eyes.
“How can my wife be so beautiful?”
The softness of his voice caused Elena’s mind to spin, and with his other arm, he pulled her waist closer to him. She could feel his solid torso muscles almost as if he were naked. That wasn’t all, however.
Dugeun, dugeun, dugeun, dugeun, dugeun.
Carlisle’s heart was beating even harder than hers. He spoke in a murmured voice.
“This is enough for now….”
Elena’s whole body was so tense that she couldn’t lift a finger. She could no longer distinguish whether the thrumming she heard was Carlisle’s heart or her own. She squeezed her eyes shut.
‘ …I might die.’
At this rate, her heart might actually explode. Simply being in Carlisle’s arms made her feel as if she were walking on clouds. The problem, however, was that she was getting more addicted to this feeling. She had never known such happiness existed in the world, and simply breathing in the same space as him was overwhelming.
“I…I feel like I’m suffocating.”
His arms immediately loosened around her.
“Did I hug you too hard?”
“No, my heart was beating too fast.”
Carlisle’s forehead creased. As if he could no longer bear it, he wrapped Elena’s slim body with his arms again and hugged her more tightly.
“Don’t be too honest, my wife. I’ll go crazy.”