Chapter 45 – I Want to Work (2)
“Of course. We might be an officially wedded couple on paper but we’ve yet to host an actual wedding ceremony. We need to prepare for it and get ourselves ready, but how can we if you’re sick and hurt every day? How could we proceed with the ceremony if the groom is indisposed?”
“Don’t you agree?”
His silence didn’t daunt me. I schooled my eyes into a glare, imploring Kyle to answer my question. When he chose instead to maintain his silence, I decided to ask him again.
“So, care to answer the question, Archduke?”
“What do you mean?”
“I asked you why you keep getting hurt.”
Yet again: silence. So, I took a deep breath and opened my mouth once more.
Kyle and I started to speak at the same time, so, wide-eyed, I paused and asked him to repeat himself.
“Yes? What is it?”
Kyle frowned, but he made sure to answer me properly this time.
“Once all the treatments are over… Are you going to stop visiting me?”
What on earth is he saying?
There were days, before, where I avoided Kyle’s office because I feared disturbing him. Is that what this was about?
I’m confused. Does this mean it would be better if I regularly came to see him? But I thought he disliked my visits… He should have said something if he liked them.
I decided to interpret Kyle’s words more positively and replied with confidence.
“No, I’ll keep visiting you. As long as we don’t break up, then—”
“We’re not breaking up.”
Kyle was quick to cut me off, his voice firm. His face was contorted into an expression of displeasure, as if my words annoyed him.
Why? What now? I’m so tired of his sensitivity. Well, it’s fine as long as we don’t break up.
I went on, adding a few more assertions.
“Anyway, we really need to prepare for our marriage celebration. So, don’t get hurt anywhere, okay?”
Please answer me.
Suffocating in the silence, I moved to hasten his treatment so I could leave sooner. The last thing I wanted to put myself through was another round of his willful avoidance, stubbornly neglecting to speak to me despite all my efforts. Yet as I concentrated on the divine power escaping me, I could feel him inch closer. It was making me nervous, so when I chose to speak, I avoided looking at him directly.
“What is it? Do you have anything you’d like to say?”
“Have you ever treated him this way?”
I was caught off guard, bewildered by his non sequitur.
Oh, he was referring to Riddel’s ex-fiance. Why so suddenly, though? When Kyle spoke of him, his voice seemed to flood with displeasure.
If you don’t like Doman, you shouldn’t talk about him.
I answered with the intention to reassure him.
“I’ve never healed him like this.” Then, I added, “Because he doesn’t get hurt in the first place.”
Doman was a cowardly man whose only skill was running. Rarely would he ever sustain an injury.
Suddenly, the air began to feel heavy, dissatisfaction permeating the entirety of Kyle’s countenance. I must have said something wrong, something that disappointed him.
I glanced up, seeking clarification in Kyle’s expression, his gaze. When he asked another question, his voice adopted a low tone and his eyes darkened into an ominous shade of crimson. I stiffened beneath the intensity of the atmosphere he imbued between us, equal parts wary and rapt.
“Doman Woodhill and I are very different, aren’t we?”
Why did his eyes turn red all of a sudden? Did he misunderstand, assuming I was comparing him to Doman? Is that why he’s upset? Maybe I had pierced the dragon’s pride.
I got chills. Goosebumps rushed to dot my flesh. Before things could get any worse, I hurried to explain.
“Excuse me, Archduke, but there seems to be a misunderstanding. I know it must seem like I was comparing you with Doman, but—”
“Let’s compare some more.”
“I asked you to compare me to him.”
Kyle was getting crazier. No, crazy wasn’t a strong enough word to express what he had become. His eyes gleamed vividly, alight with madness, and it creeped me out. I didn’t understand why Kyle kept losing his composure everytime he would bring up Doman. As far as I could recall, they’ve never had a bad relationship.
I forced myself to make eye contact with him when I answered his question, determined to endure the pressure.
“Archduke, please don’t interrupt me. I think we’re having a huge misunderstanding; I wasn’t comparing you to him at all.”
“Even if you weren’t, you should have considered it.”
Consider it? Consider what? Suddenly, Kyle moved closer once more.
“Compare everything between us. Our appearance, our eyes, hair, eyelashes, lips, skin—everything, down to the very way we breathe. I’ll let you compare it all.”
“That’s enough. I don’t want to do that.”
“Why? If you don’t know how to, I’ll kindly teach you.”
“I don’t need such kindness. I can’t compare you with Doman.”
Comparing trash like Doman to someone like Kyle was simply a waste of time. It wasn’t worth it.
“Ha, that’s what I’m talking about.”
Kyle slowly crept nearer, closing the distance between us. He was close enough that I could feel his breath puff gently against my skin.
“I’ll have you compare him to me whenever I’d like, so don’t decline.”
His voice reverberated between us, sweetly drifting from his lips to echo in my ears. It was temptation made audible, and I could not suppress the shiver that instinctively ran down my spine. He paused for a moment before raising his hand, carefully smoothing down my hair as he spoke.
“…Riddel Spencer. Now and forever, know this: I will not be as sweet as your ex-fiance.”
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