RotFK Ch. 148 Good Night, My Wife (1)
“I-it looks well-prepared. It’s a shame about the red flowers though…there are still many lavender flowers left at Bellouet Square, and I would’ve had some delivered here if I had known.”
Elena rambled on the first words that came to mind as she took in the red petals scattered throughout the room. She didn’t want to let Carlisle know she was nervous. Carlisle sank into a luxurious couch with an indifferent expression and replied in a low voice.
“Was it lavender decorating Bellouet Square? I didn’t know that.”
She couldn’t believe he entirely missed that prominent detail. Purple was not a common wedding color.
“The lavenders were everywhere, didn’t you notice? What were you looking at in the venue—?”
Elena paused. A scene floated at the forefront of her mind, the moment when Carlisle’s blue eyes riveted on her.
‘He must be joking…’
Elena’s red eyes glistened in astonishment.
“You didn’t know what I was looking at.”
“If you’re curious, shall I tell you?”
Elena didn’t need him to tell her. His likely answer would be that the wedding decorations were unmemorable and he only looked at Elena. Her face heated in embarrassment at the thought.
“Ah, never mind. It’s only flowers at the wedding ceremony.”
Elena hurried to reply before Carlisle could say anything further. He noticed her sudden bashfulness however, and a smile tugged on the corner of his mouth.
“How long are you going to stand there?”
She suddenly realized that she had remained standing by the door, and reminded herself that this marriage was a path she willingly chosen. She relaxed the tension in her shoulders, and with a determined look, went inside. The enormity of those few steps were overwhelming.
She closed the door, and soon she was fully inside the room. After inhaling deeply, Elena turned as casually as she could and approached the other end of the couch where Carlisle was sitting. He observed her wordlessly, then picked up the bottle of red wine sitting on the table.
“Do you want a drink?”
She briefly considered it, but then thought it wouldn’t be a good idea at this time. Carlisle poured himself a glass and took a sip without further comment. Elena couldn’t help but notice how attractive he looked as he did so, and kept stealing furtive glances at him. Carlisle, oblivious to her interest, emptied his glass then spoke again.
“Please don’t be nervous. When I sense it…I get thoughts.”
He seemed to have noticed the tension twisting Elena’s mind despite her outward calm appearance. With no particular reply to give him, she sat and listened as he continued in a subdued voice.
“Try to hide it as much as possible from now on, even in this room. If I sense an opening, I’ll want to penetrate it.”
The words that sounded like a warning could be interpreted in many ways.
The condition in their contract stated that they not sleep together until after she became the empress. It was almost unreasonable to expect for a man and woman to stay together and expect nothing would happen between them.
Just because Elena was inexperienced about romance, didn’t mean she was ignorant. Eventually, the time would come where she would have to lay with Carlisle. But that couldn’t happen now. Before Carlisle became emperor, she would be his weapon, rather than his woman.
Eventually, the strange feeling that ran through her body subsided, and she was able to recall what she had to do.
“Are you saying you can’t keep our contract?”
Elena spoke to him sharply, but Carlisle shook his head.
“Of course not. I wouldn’t have agreed to the contract otherwise. I only meant…don’t make it difficult for me.”
Difficult? Why? Elena stared at Carlisle, and he smiled thinly.
“Sometimes nervousness looks like anticipation in someone else’s eyes. And with anticipation comes the desire to fulfill it.”
Elena raised her voice in protest.
“Nervousness and anticipation are completely different!”
“I know. But don’t make such a displeased expression like you are right now. If you do, it will make me want to tease you. And then it might get to the point where it can’t be stopped…”
Why was it so complicated? Elena became less convinced the more she stared at him, but his eyes were filled with a hungry stare.
“Since I’m upholding our contract faithfully, don’t forget the other part of our agreement.”
Their contract stated they wouldn’t sleep together until after Elena became empress, but conversely, when she did become empress, they would. Carlisle was clearly trying to get to that point now. Elena paused before she replied.
For now, she had a grace period. When Carlisle became emperor and the survival of the Blaise family could be secured, then a completely different future would unfold from the last one. She was not yet sure what their relationship would be like when that came. Saving her family was her utmost priority now, so she could think about the rest later.
‘I don’t have time to look at anyone else until then.’
So far her plan had unfolded smoothly, but her happiness at the present did not mean she had already forgotten the pain of the past. The years of being a knight were long and harsh, and she was only just a princess now. There were still many mountains to cross before she could become empress.
Carlisle set the glass of wine back on the table.
“Alright. If you’re keeping your promise…”
Carlisle slowly rose from his seat, then retrieved a decorative sword hanging from a wall.
Carlisle swiftly drew the blade across his palm.
Blood started to flow down his hand, and Elena jumped from her seat with a stunned cry.
However, Carlisle’s expression remained calm. She was about to ask what he was doing, but after a moment it became clear.
Carlisle allowed the blood to drip from his palm to the bed. There was an old tradition among imperial families to lay white sheets on bed for the wedding night. Superstition had it that if the blood-stained sheets were burned the next day, the bride would give birth to a healthy child.
Elena was speechless. She stared at Carlisle with a conflicted expression on her face, and he smiled first.
“You don’t have to say anything.”
Elena wanted to protest. There was no reason for him to do this. It was only a formality, and it wasn’t like a marriage could be annulled from the absence of virgin blood. And even there had to be blood, it should have been Elena’s.
Her complaint welled up in her throat, but she couldn’t find herself to say them. He really did care for her.
“…My debt keeps increasing.”
She had mixed feelings about him again. She had repeatedly pledged not to be blinded by him until the safety of her family was guaranteed, but she felt Carlisle was slowly reeling her in.
Carlisle studied Elena’s conflicted expression and gave another strange smile.
“I’m glad to hear that you feel more indebted.”
He seemed strangely happy in this situation. Elena hurried to Carlisle and took out a handkerchief, then wrapped it around his hand.
“I’ll treat it properly tomorrow.”
She made a despairing look at Carlisle’s wound without her even realizing it.
“Don’t look at me like that.”
“Like you’re worried. I’ll want to get hurt more.”
Elena’s eyes widened.
“You…you want me to be worried about you?”
“More like I want your attention.”
“Then you won’t have to worry.”
She replied calmly, and he looked curiously at her. A smile flickered on her face.
“Don’t you know that my biggest concern is Caril?”
Carlisle’s blue eyes alighted at her words. His mouth twitched as if he had no idea how to react to it.
“That sounds good to my ears.”
“Before I’m your contract wife, I’m a bodyguard responsible for your safety.”
Carlisle’s smile faded away.
“I wish I hadn’t heard that.”
“You must be tired, so go to sleep.”
Elena froze at Carlisle’s suggestion. She would sleep in this bedroom, naturally, but where and how they would sleep had yet to be decided.
‘What do we do? I don’t know if I should sleep on the couch…’
As Elena’s thoughts raced in her head, Carlisle strode towards the couch and lay himself down without a word. The couch was long enough to accommodate several people, but his legs were somewhat cramped because of his height. Elena quickly recovered herself and spoke.
“I’ll sleep on the couch. You’re too tall, and it would be inconvenient for you to sleep there.”
“You sleep over there, and I sleep here. That’s not negotiable.”
Carlisle raised his arm to cover eyes as if he would not allow further argument.
She stood in place and debated with herself for a moment, but in the end she decided she would not be able to force Carlisle to stand up. She looked at the bed, which was far too large for a single person, then forced herself to speak.
“Alright. Then I’ll wash myself first.”
She had to remove her make-up and change into a nightgown before going to bed, so she hurried to the bathroom.
After a few minutes, the sound of water echoed throughout the bedroom. Carlisle, who was lying on his back on the couch, tugged the cravat from his neck.
“…I don’t think I can last until I become emperor.”