Chapter 92: Dimi Over You
“Remember when I said I’d protect you? Do you not believe in those words?”
‘Rihannan… I’ll be here for you, always. You’ll never leave my mind, you’ll always be there; mentally if not physically. I took you for granted… I didn’t know it then, but you are the sky and the clouds, the gentle river and the birds that sing… I don’t need your love. It’s not something I deserve. I don’t need you to love me. Just… let me protect you, let me give you all of me…’
Igor looked at her. That eyes of hers, it had stolen his heart. His heart beat hard and slow and the words he wanted to say remained lodged in his throat, blocking out words that wished to escape.
Rihannan shook her head. “No. I think your words were sincere.”
He said those words in front of her mother’s grave and she believed him. Igor was many things, but he was not cowardly enough to tell lies.
“Do you think it’s possible to protect someone or an object that you haven’t known for long?” she asked.
A desire to protect will only disappear if that trust fades.
“I’ve decided to trust you. The next choice is up to you…” He closed his mouth and said no more.
Rihannan looked at the hand resting on top of hers. He gave her his unilateral promise to protect her. Was she willing to do the same? The moment she reciprocated, much of the future will change.
After a moment’s bout of hesitation, she placed her hand on top of his and gave it a light squeeze.
Igor’s cheeks blushed of rouged red, clumsily bowing his head and kissing the back of her hand.
A strange feeling passed through her and she felt a tingling sensation where his lips touched. She managed to keep a calm composure.
“From now on, we’ll tell each other only the truth. I won’t hide anything from you. If there are things you end up learning, questions you demand answers from, I won’t hesitate to give it to you.”
She nodded quickly at his words and waited for him to let go of her hand. But he did not.
“Is it alright if I ask you a question?” he asked with a soft smile.
“Ask,” she said cautiously, somewhat anxious.
“Are there any other men in Chrichton better than me?”
Rihannan was at a loss for words and looked at his face blankly. “Wh… what…?”
She was embarrassed, cheek beet red. She tried to pull her hand away from his hold, but he did not let go. She realized that he’ll only release when she gave an answer.
Rihannan bit her lips. “No. There is none.”
He immediately let go of her hand. The look of satisfaction written on his face disgusted her somewhat. She wanted to say there were better men than him, but she could not. Cause there was none. Chrichton’s men disappointed her.
Rumors of the handsome and unmarried king from Arundell were so well-known that it flowed into every street and corner of Chrichton. Given Igor’s status and superior appearance, only so few could compare to him. The Crown Prince was one. But he was a rascal and lustful. Other noblemen disappointed her too.
Except for one person.
“Of course, except my cousin, Dimitri.”
The smile of victory painted across his lips quickly disappeared. He looked at her with squinting eyes. “I’ve heard that name since we were children. You spoke of him admirably too. It looks like it’s still the same even now.”
Rihannan’s eyes widened at his words. “I said that back then?”
“You spoke highly of him when we first met and on many occasions thereafter.”
Rihannan was amazed that Igor remembered a thing of the past so accurately. Even she did not remember mentioning Dimitri’s name during their first encounter. Perhaps it came out naturally. She had frequent exchanges and meetings with Dimitri then when her mother was alive.
“I didn’t know I talk about my cousin that often.”
“You even called his name in your sleep.”
Rihannan was lost in confusion.
“When you fell asleep in the carriage with your head resting on my legs, you said his name.”
“Well, if I did… it’s because he’s close to me and I treat him dearly.”
“Do cousins lend each other’s legs in Chrichton? How deep is the relationship between cousins?”
Rihannan was baffled.
“I don’t know what’s going on with your head, but marriage between cousins in Chrichton is forbidden.”
“But not in Arundell. Marriage between cousins is possible here. It’s been a long while since you’ve left Arundell, so maybe you’ve forgotten.”
Rihannan, truly at a loss for words, suddenly felt an air of jealousy.
‘What? Is he jealous? This guy?’