Chapter 14 - Under the Handkerchief
Anna held a woven bamboo basket in her arms and knocked on the door to Dylan’s room. Knock knock.
“Come in,” came his voice from inside. As soon as she entered, he pointed to a table as if he had been awaiting her arrival. “Put it there,” he ordered.
Moving to comply, Anna kept her eyes locked onto the thin cloth covering the contents of the basket. Just as she had expected, it was hard for her to look at him directly. She had to avert her gaze from the bed as well, incapable of looking at it, either.
“If you don’t need anything else, then…” she began, but Dylan stood up from his seat and pointed at the chair he was just occupying.
“Sit down. Here.”
“I’m telling you to sit down.”
Anna finally glanced up at him to try and identify what kind of scheme he had to be cooking up, but he just cocked his head, nudging his chin toward the chair. She relented at the gesture and sat down with an uncomfortable expression on her face.
As soon as she did so, Dylan kneeled before her and lifted her skirt without any hesitation.
Startled, Anna brought out a hand to stop him. “Wh-Why are you doing this?”
“If this becomes infected later on or something, you’ll have to cut off your leg,” Dylan explained seriously. “If you don’t want to live your entire life with just one leg, you must take care of it now.”
The absence of a teasing tone in his voice frightened Anna. It meant he wasn’t trying to pull one over on her, and she quickly retracted her hand to give him access.
‘No wonder she gets hurt,’ Dylan thought. He noticed that the soles were completely worn out on the old shoes she was wearing. He pulled them off her with his own two hands.
“I’ll do it myself,” Anna protested, but Dylan refused.
“Stay still,” he ordered firmly.
She squirmed in the chair as he continued. It was hard for her to get used to this sudden display of kindness after enduring his constant hatred.
The first thing he did was pull away the cloth scraps she had wrapped around her foot. The wound hadn’t healed yet, so it was still bleeding. Seeing it, Dylan’s expression grew dark and he hauled her foot up onto his knee without a warning.
Anna gasped in surprise. “P-Please don’t—” she pleaded. She tried to take her foot away, but Dylan moved faster than she could and grabbed her calf. The sensation of his powerful hand gripping her bare skin made Anna freeze into a block of ice.
His eyes narrowed, stern, as he spoke in warning. “If you keep acting like this, I’ll make it hurt when I put the medicine on you.”
Dylan took some ointment in hand and began to rub it over her wound. He was focused intently, taking care not to irritate the injured flesh.
‘Why did you act like that yesterday?’ Anna almost asked, but she couldn’t bring herself to speak her mind, so she swallowed back the words.
“I’m done.” Dylan slipped the ragged shoes back on her feet. Then, out of nowhere, he began to confess. “Half of this was my fault, but the other half was yours,” he said.
Anna shook her head. “No. I broke the pot and stepped in it myself. The fault lies with me.”
Her skirt had rolled up to her knee. Dylan took it and pulled it back down to its proper place, the back of his hand lightly stroking her smooth, pale skin. His eyes were dark, as opaque and fathomless as they were yesterday. “I’m not talking about the pot right now,” he said.
Wherever he touched her seemed to tingle, goosebumps rising in place of a shiver. At last, it occured to Anna what he meant, what the weight behind his gaze seemed to imply. He might’ve been tricking her, attempting to convince her to sleep with him so he could kick her out for it, or his intentions might’ve been genuine. Perhaps he did want them to spend a night together.
Whatever his motives might’ve been, one thing was for certain: he wanted her.
“Please don’t do this…” Anna mumbled, sleeping beneath a patchwork blanket. The blanket had far too many patches, its original pattern lost beneath every repair.
Dylan visited her every night she dreamed, and this night proved no different. Other people might consider having such a handsome young man occupy their dreams every night a wonderful thing, but Anna certainly didn’t. Completely nude from head to toe, he approached her with only a small square handkerchief concealing the most intimate part of his body as if to taunt her, saying, “Curious, aren’t you? You want to know what amazing things lie beneath this handkerchief, right? Makes you crazy, doesn’t it?”
He fluttered the handkerchief around while teasing her, driving her absolutely insane. “I’m not curious,” she vehemently denied. “I’m not curious at all.”
Just like magic, he manifested directly in front of her, his body beautifully toned. She couldn’t keep her eyes from drifting down to gawk at his barely-concealed manhood. Nevertheless, Anna shook her head. “No. I’m not lying.”
Dylan smirked devilishly, gesturing between his legs with a nudge of his chin. “Yet still, you specifically keep staring down here,” he said, his expression annoyingly smug.
“No, I wasn’t staring,” Anna objected. She immediately shut her eyes. “I can’t see anything anyways.”
Despite her best efforts to shoo his visage away, his appearance still remained in sight, as clear as it was before she closed her eyes. She was still dreaming, after all. When she opened her eyes again, Dylan suddenly grinned at her brightly, making her deeply anxious. She swallowed back the saliva welling in her mouth.
His index finger and thumb, which were holding up the small handkerchief, slowly started to loosen their hold.
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