Chapter 77 - Another Chance
Ella swore so hard in her mind. The insult wasn’t aimed at herself, but she was so enraged because of it. Hating Cladis and hearing that the crown prince from her country was insulted in such a way were different matters. How could sons of nobles say such words to their own country’s crown prince?
She couldn’t have imagined that he had heard such words, so it was even more shocking. But fortunately, Ella’s body and her mind often behaved differently, and her skilled manner changed her words to be like the elegant words of nobles, “How can anyone dare speak such blasphemy to you?!”
“Everyone. Your brother is one of them, so please tell him that I’m not one once you get back.”
Cladis seemed a bit happy as he said it. It was as if he, too, had doubted himself but now confirmed that he wasn’t. He also seemed happy to see Ella enraged. On the other hand, Ella felt a bit of uneasiness in her stomach as she watched his expression change from the one he had when he confessed with determination earlier. She finally realized what he was trying to say.
“Maybe this kind of explanation isn’t enough for you. Maybe you will never understand.”
“I don’t know. I think I will understand it all too clearly.”
“Right. It seems that way. I feel like I was a fool. I’m the world’s only fool.”
“It looks that way to me as well.”
She used to be so surprised by the word “a*sh*le,” but now she wasn’t even surprised and immediately agreed. She agreed so easily that it felt like she was asking why there was a need to say something so obvious that it made Cladis laugh. The real Ella was so different from the one that he missed and imagined.
‘What have I been thinking all this time?’
Cladis realized once again how misguided his thoughts were. Ella was no longer a young and cute girl but a full-grown, prideful lady. She wasn’t the young girl who made him happy and smile, but a grown woman who made his heart pound and gave him the urge to touch her skin in any way possible.
‘She would be disgusted if she found out what I was thinking.’
After he kissed Ella’s cheek, Cladis hid his hands behind his back, trying to hide his sudden temptation. He clenched those hands, ended his laughter with a bitter smile, then said, “Everyone told me I was strange. They asked me why I didn’t want to kiss or hug her when I saw her. But in all honesty, I never thought of such a thing with her. I didn’t even think of grabbing her hand unless she offered it to me first.”
‘A young teenage boy didn’t have any temptations when a girl threw everything she had at him to charm him?’ wondered Ella.
It wasn’t that he felt the urge but more that he suppressed it. He was saying that he didn’t even get tempted. Now, Ella thought she could understand the unexplainable part of the report about Clara that she had read. Within that report, there were many instances of her trying hard to win Cladis’s heart, and she was reminded of the best attempt among them.
On that day, not too far from the Week of Beginning, Clara came to see Cladis by going through the rain that started late in the evening. She was wearing a thin chemise dress that was completely soaked and was heavily breathing as if she had come running.
It was a thin dress that revealed the skin underneath it, and she was heavily breathing. What Ella thought while reading that part was that she was truly trying so hard. The best part, however, was Cladis’s reaction when he found her. He gave her his jacket, then called Ethan to escort her back to the dormitory and sent them back. Clara couldn’t even say any of the words that she planned, had to accept Ethan’s escort, and return to her dormitory.
‘She must have been so speechless over the event she prepared so hard for.’
It made Ella feel great for giving a blow to Clara when she read about it, but it was a reaction that could make Cladis look like he was a eunuch. She then realized why Ethan said such words to the prince, ‘I can’t blame him for thinking that way after seeing that.’
Cladis was not only straight but also a typical teenager with such an urge that suited his age. In the novel, ever since he fell in love with Luciella on the day of her debutante, he came to her house, successfully kissed her in the garden, and had never let his hands off of her afterward.
It was to the point where the worst punishment for him was not to touch Ella. Whenever Cladis made her angry, and she gave him that kind of punishment, he lingered around her with a dying man’s look. He couldn’t put his hand on her since that was forbidden, but his hand instinctively searched for her. Then, he would bring it back, trying to fight his temptations.
‘Come to think of it. It’s very similar to what I’m looking at right now.’
Ella saw Cladis standing far away after that kiss on the cheek while putting his hands behind him. She took a step closer just in case, and he took exactly the same amount backward. It was just like Ella, who did so earlier to keep a safe distance.
‘Oh? So was that it?’
She had already read about Cladis from the book and also took a peek into what he did while investigating Clara, so she now realized what he meant by him saying, “You and Clara are different.”
Cladis didn’t know what was on her mind, so he continued to confess his sins, “I just liked listening to her stories. She said things that comforted me and recognized my dilemma that I never told anyone. She also told me that it was okay. I just thought she was a good person.”
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