Chapter 184 - Growing Hope
‘Snow flowers… I resemble them?’
Kalix’s thoughts were such a mystery. While Amber did often hear people saying she was like embers or the sun because of her orange irises, it was her first time being likened to snow flowers, let alone anything similar to white flowers.
“Yes,” Kalix said, more serious and earnest than ever. “The snow flowers are as white as your skin, aren’t they?”
The heat in Amber’s face rekindled even though she had only barely cooled it off. She looked for a teacup to hide her cheeks that were burning fiercely crimson, but upon realizing there was only a flower pot on the table, she rubbed her face up and down repeatedly. Only after a long while was she able to calm the tidal wave crashing in her heart and correct her posture.
Unfortunately for Amber, however, Kalix still had more words to embarrass her with. He gazed at the tip of Amber’s fingers on the table for a moment before suddenly saying, “The snow flowers resembled you, my wife, so I thought I should go to see you. To confirm if the semblance was true.”
Unnerved by his gaze, Amber hid her hands below the table, following which Kalix looked up to face her straight. The shining fever in his deep blue eyes grew a little more intense as he continued, “I felt so urgent that I couldn’t concentrate on the rest of the paperwork.”
Amber was so shocked that her hands trembled under the table. ‘Is this man trying to say that he dropped all his work and came running over because snow flowers reminded him of me?’
Amber couldn’t believe that Kalix was someone who could say something so romantic. Ironically, though, the man himself seemed completely oblivious to what his words sounded like. Actually, he didn’t seem to even know the identity of the emotions he was feeling.
‘Right. No way he could intentionally say such embarrassing things.’
Amber was certain that her husband didn’t intend even in the slightest to create a romantic atmosphere with his talk of snow flowers… but that fact was no comfort at all to her. If Kalix had no such intention, then it meant that everything he felt derived from pure sincerity. It meant that he truly wanted to see Amber so much that he couldn’t focus on his work, which he normally considered more important than his life.
Amber couldn’t breathe for a moment. Ever since that night in the study, she had revisited that event over and over, at times even suspecting that it was a dream. The more she thought about it, the more everything that happened that night felt like a lie.
Amber believed that it was an accident that happened in the strange heat of the moment, and once the awkwardness passed they would return to being colleagues under the guise of a married couple. But the event of that night was no accident nor coincidence. It became clear today that they would no longer be returning to their old dry relationship.
‘I have to keep on enduring this sort of uncomfortable mood?’
Everything was easy when they were in a relationship that only concerned the requirements of either side, but with emotion in the mix, Amber immediately felt chaos inside her. Everything that was clear when it was just a contractual relationship turned vague with the new addition of feelings.
The things as you know them from yesterday will fade today, and even that will ultimately disappear when tomorrow comes. That was the emotion between men and women; it was an inconvenient thing that was impossible to predict.
Amber’s head was telling her that things couldn’t be left like this.
‘But why not?’ Because her husband was an impossible man who was cold, brusque and took the sides of others? But that was from her previous life. No one knew how her husband of the present would turn out.
‘Even so, can a person so easily change?’
Kalix had yet to suffer the experience of war, but he showed similarities to the temperament he had in Amber’s past life, such as clamming up in a disadvantaged situation and being reluctant to show emotions. In the worst case, even if Amber resolved the war against the Kingdom of Kale, Kalix might still end up a bad man who was only slightly better than the husband she knew.
Feeling a headache, Amber coughed dryly to change the atmosphere and draw Kalix’s attention. “I… I thought you were going to talk about the ladies-in-waiting. I happened to get an earful from Heinreich, you see.”
“Heinreich?” Kalix frowned.
Amber quickly explained, “Don’t worry. He wasn’t disrespecting me or saying anything in a bad way, just giving advice.”
The crease between Kalix’s brows eased as he asked, “What did Heinreich say to make you think that? Did something happen among the ladies-in-waiting?”
Amber couldn’t help a hollow laugh followed by a hollow remark. “I forgot. Yes. You never were particular for interfering in women’s affairs.” This was why Kalix turned a blind eye even when she and Bella raised a commotion in their ferocious fighting. And when confronted with a hopeless situation, he would say, “You two work it out,” and leave.
It was the same even after Amber returned in time. Kalix had no idea what she had suffered at Bella’s hands to protect Jenia, and what danger she went through in the Vine Room.
Amber’s expression grew dark. On the other hand, Kalix didn’t deny that he had no interest in the matters of women, saying, “The situation will only grow complicated if I get involved.” He genuinely seemed to think that not interfering in the work of the castle women was the way to help Amber.
“Governing the matters within the castle is your right, my wife, isn’t it?”
Although his words might sound like he was coldly drawing a line, Kalix’s tone was far from cold. In fact, it was sweet. Despite sounding as stiff as ever, Amber could sense the warmth and trust toward her mixed in his voice.
“I’m sure you will solve this matter as you did with your dowry.”
Amber still didn’t know why Kalix was so averse to getting involved in the fights of women in her past life. But in the present, she could clearly see why he didn’t want to mettle in the castle affairs—he trusted her. He believed that Amber would get through everything as well as she had done so far, and bring about unimagined amazing results.
The hollowness in Amber’s chest gradually faded in the face of Kalix’s explicit faith. Every time she fell into the sense that things were no different than in her past life, Kalix would show a changed side of him, pull her out from her deep disbelief… and give her hope.
Amber didn’t hold any vain hopes that this man would come to love her. But she did begin to think that one day, they might not be just a formal couple in a contractual relationship, but a real pair of husband and wife who truly trusted and depended on each other.
Amber smiled unknowingly and called out, “Kalix.”
Kalix turned round-eyed and froze up in surprise that Amber called him by name instead of his title.
Amber said earnestly, “Thank you. Truly.”
Now Kalix was rigid even in the face. The man was so stiff to the point that Amber wondered if he had been struck by invisible lightning.
Getting ready to leave, Amber explained, “I’ll be going out now. There’s a mountain of work to do, but I was taking a break… Heinreich will be looking for me.”
Even when she had finished arranging the flowerpot and half risen from her seat, Kalix was keeping as still as a stone statue.
Noticing that his gaze was on the forest of conifers far out the window, Amber said, “Oh, if you don’t want to go back to the study because you like the scenery here… shall I tell the ladies-in-waiting to bring your paperwork over?”
Kalix turned his head to Amber dumbly like a man who was mesmerized by something. Slowly shaking his head, he answered, “It’s alright.” Then he followed Amber in getting up. His motion was as clean and sharp as a knife thanks to the grueling training instilled in his body, but he was still in a dazed state.
Amber started walking to leave the reception room with Kalix. But when she had her hand on the doorknob, Kalix suddenly asked, “My wife, I have a question.”
“What is it?” Amber replied, turning around with her hand on the door. Meeting her clear, orange eyes, Kalix found it hard to speak for some reason.
“On what occasions do you…” His mouth went dry with tension. He was extremely conflicted on whether to continue his question, afraid that Amber might think him strange. But he was being driven crazy by curiosity.
Kalix felt that if he remained defenseless as he was like now, he would one day suffer Amber’s surprise attack and make a fool of himself. He decided it was better to take the dive and ask instead of being a fool in front of her.
With the conclusion made, Kalix took a deep breath before opening his mouth. “On what occasions do you call me by name, my wife?”
Amber looked to the side in thought while her hand on the door naturally slid to her waist.
“I never really thought about it… Mm, when I feel like it?”
Kalix kept his expression from crumbling with superhuman patience and self-control.
“I think I did call you by name when you were especially attentive to my words, or when I felt very grateful. But it just comes out on its own. There’s no exact standard for it.”
Amber shrugged when she was done. In truth, she had never considered the act of calling Kalix by his name as special.
“We’re a couple, so it’s not like it goes against etiquette to call each other by name.”
“Indeed,” Kalix replied, feeling he was left alone in a collapsing world without even a roof over his head.
Whenever Amber called his name, Kalix felt as if his heart dropped a level lower. He couldn’t get used to that strange sensation no matter how many times he experienced it, so he had to take full care not to make a big mistake every time his soul went out. Yet to think, there was no rule nor rhyme to it. It would happen whenever Amber felt like it. Then was he to spend the rest of his life not knowing when ambush would strike his heart?
“But why do you suddenly ask?” Amber asked with a smile, amused that her husband would show interest in something so trivial. She was utterly clueless about the chaos Kalix was feeling.
You are required to login first