Ch. 140 You’re So Beautiful (1)
Elena was dazed. All thoughts of the crowds watching them completely flew from her mind. The only thing that filled her field of view were Carlisle’s blazing sapphire eyes.
After a while, his lips, hot and greedy against her own, finally fell away. Elena gazed at him in astonishment, while Carlisle wiped her damp lips with his thumb. The gesture felt so natural that Elena’s red eyes trembled.
‘What on earth…’
What was this man thinking?
Her numbed brain shattered into a whirlpool of thoughts. Perhaps Carlisle didn’t think a simple kiss was an option, contrary to Elena’s notion. Maybe he just thought a wedding was supposed to end in a strong kiss. Or perhaps he decided he needed to display a convincing love affair with her.
Elena tried untangle Carlisle’s psychology in her head, but there was no way of knowing which theory was right. Suddenly, she remembered what he had said the day they were alone on a boat together.
— If you have any questions, ask me anything. I’ll be honest with you.
She stared at Carlisle with wide eyes, and spoke in a soft voice that was audible only to him.
“…What are you thinking?”
Carlisle’s eyes still burned with a warm heat. He gazed unflinchingly at her.
“I want to do it one more time.”
Elena’s eyes widened even more. She dimly registered the storm of applause and cheers for the couple who had just shared their kiss of oath.
Soon there were popping sounds, and fireworks dazzled the blue sky. When Elena looked towards the guest seats, she saw Mirabelle whooping with a radiant look, her brother Derek wearing a conflicted expression, and her father with his usual solemn face.
There were many others she also knew. Marchioness Marissa and her close friends from the south. Stella, who was one of the most influential people in capital society, and Lady Yulia, who was the Madonna of the ball in the previous life. Elena also spotted Helen and Sarah glaring at her.
Elena had to remind herself that today was her wedding. She felt as if she had entered another realm for a moment, and then was dropped back to reality.
Carlisle truly was a mysterious man. Even today, Elena felt possessed by him like a ghost. Fortunately, her shaking heart began to subside, and she quickly took control of her confused feelings and waved to the crowd. She murmured to Carlisle from the corner of her mouth.
“I’ll allow you to kiss me once, but not twice.”
Carlisle’s forehead wrinkled at her words, then he laughed.
“My bride is so astute that it’s troubling.”
Elena blinked at his words. If she didn’t pull herself together, she would be going at Carlisle’s pace.
‘I’m sure he’s a playboy.’
He seemed so skilled with women, while Elena, on the other hand, had no experience and stumbled whenever a situation caught her off guard. However, it shouldn’t have to be this way, when they may be doing more than kissing in the future. She didn’t want to be startled by this level of touch. Moreover, she had allowed this kiss, and in this situation it really was unavoidable.
Elena set aside her thoughts of that searing kiss. She had many more things to take care of.
‘Such as the Empress and the Second Prince…’
Elena’s vivid red eyes reflected the image of Emperor Sullivan and Empress Ophelia, with the Second Prince Redfield sitting behind them. There were still many enemies to face. And although he wasn’t here, Paveluc would be the last.
Elena could never show weakness. There were countless enemies who would rip her throat the moment she revealed the slightest crack. From now on, she would begin to take the revenge that she had failed to fulfill in her last life. This marriage was her first major step forward.
Carlisle’s open hand appeared before Elena to escort her from this point. She looked at his face and discovered that he was smiling, his eyes soft. She gazed at him curiously.
“You look happy.”
“You’re saying the obvious. Today is our wedding day.”
She didn’t know what it was like to be in a contract marriage, but she didn’t mind his warm gaze on her. She took Carlisle’s hand, and they slowly paraded through Bellouet Square. She glanced at Empress Ophelia and Prince Redfield, then turned to look at Carlisle again.
“I feel happy having a partner like you, too.”
It was the same feeling she had after Redfield’s party. She was lucky to have chosen Carlisle. Many enemies stood in their way, but if they walked together as they did now, they would overcome the most challenging of adversaries. Carlisle smiled gently as he looked at the will burning in Elena’s eyes.
“My bride says something very admirable.”
Elena and Carlisle were carried back to the imperial palace in a carriage. The wedding was a performance, but now it was the start of politics. Elena didn’t get to formally greet the guests in the morning, but the reception at the Imperial Palace was her opportunity to meet the nobles and foreign envoys in person.
Upon arrival at the palace, she changed from her diamond wedding dress into a simpler, more elegant gown, which alluringly revealed her back.
Carlisle was already waiting outside when Elena hurried to attend the reception. He looked carefully at Elena’s waistline and spoke softly.
“This was not what I expected.”
Elena remembered Carlisle’s words at the wedding and responded teasingly.
“Why? You don’t want others to look at me again?”
However, Carlisle’s expression was serious as he nodded.
Elena couldn’t help but chuckle. Somehow, this situation was amusing to her. Carlisle truly delivered his compliments seriously. He probably wanted to dig out the eyes of the people who had seen her.
“Today is our first day of marriage. My husband shouldn’t interfere with what I wear.”
Carlisle’s expression softened at Elena’s playful tone.
“You look good in what you wear because you’re already beautiful. You’re far more stunning than the dress.”
Elena blushed at the forwardness of his compliment. Carlisle lowered his head towards her and whispered in her ear.
“But if you can, I only want you to wear it when you’re with me. Or my eyes would white out in jealousy.”
“If you’re with another man while I’m away, he won’t be safe with you.”
Carlisle’s words sounded too bloodthirsty to be a joke. She remembered something else Carlisle had said in the past.
—… I’ll kill them all. All the men who came into contact with you. If I were the only man in the world, then perhaps you would look at me then.
Carlisle had said that if Elena had an affair, he would kill all the other men. Elena still remembered how strange it was when he said he wouldn’t touch her. His words now felt a bit like that moment. He wouldn’t interfere with what she wore, but he wouldn’t forgive the men who looked at her.
She looked up at him.
‘…Is he playing with me?’
He had to be joking, and surely Carlisle didn’t desire Elena to this excess. She smiled and answered lightly.
“Then in the future, you’ll be busy taking care of all the men I’m seeing.”
“I guess I’ll have to keep a close watch on you today.”
Carlisle spoke in a pleasant manner, but there was a dark shadow to his words. Elena was curious by it, but before she could think on it further, Carlisle kissed the back of her hand.
“It’s all because you’re so beautiful.”
She was not used to receiving these kinds of compliments from Carlisle. Although marital respect was essential in a relationship, royal men did not give more than necessary for fear it would undermine their authority. For Carlisle to kiss the back of her hand meant he respected her and was dedicated to her.
She looked on, speechless, and he continued with a smile on his lips.
She came to her senses and finally nodded.
It was time for the main characters to enter.