Chapter 32 - His Mistake
Quietly putting her fork down, Edna listened again to the person outside. It sounded like he came to the door, but he did not come into the room like earlier. The wound was deeper than she thought, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t move. However, she didn’t want to wander around in bloody clothes and refuel the people’s fear of Eli. His presence in the castle and village was fear-inducing in itself. She didn’t want to fan it.
And now the priority was to come up with a way to calm Eli’s doubts and broaden the scope of what she could do. He was already suspicious of her. But of course, with a mere illegitimate daughter and a former maid stirring people about as soon as she gained a ridiculously high position, he could not be without any doubts.
Thinking that her femininity might be a way to calm his doubts, Edna quietly recalled the behavior of the women who approached her in court. She remembered Anna’s behavior that she had witnessed in the viscount’s castle, but she couldn’t be sure. Besides, she didn’t even want to imitate the disgusting behavior of those women. She felt stupid to have seriously contemplated even for a moment the idea of learning something from such behaviors.
After spending a long time outside, Eli came back into the room with a somewhat flushed face. In his hand, he held not a dress, but white pajamas made of a soft cloth. “I’ve sent all your clothes to be mended so wear these for now.”
When Eli saw her eating, he exhaled a breath of relief. She hadn’t even shed a tear from pain. He abhorred women’s tears and episodes of rage but he was suddenly struck by the unexpected desire of wanting to see this woman cry.
Edna sat holding her pajamas, seemingly waiting for him to leave. But Eli, pretending not to notice, went behind her back and began to untie her dress. It was only then that Edna realized that he was going to change her clothes himself, making her turn beet red to the nape of her neck in embarrassment and say, “I can do it.”
But Eli ignored her plea. The dress slipped down her shoulders, and the very body he had touched and loved all night long was revealed before his eyes. He found it difficult to bear his anger when he saw traces of the cruel beatings on her smooth back.
Wasn’t she still his blood despite being a bastard child? How could he have beaten her without compassion like this? Moreover, the fact that he had not stopped the knights under his command from attempting to ravage her, but had her receive more beatings instead, made him even angrier.
“I want to kill them all,” Eli muttered, sweeping a finger over the marks on her back. Running his hand over her back for a while, he pushed his doubts about her deep into his heart.
The day would come when her identity was revealed as they lived together. But Caden wouldn’t care who his wife was as long as he decided to settle down. That was Cayden’s sole concern.
Just then, Edna spoke in a low tone, “They don’t hurt anymore. It’s okay.”
Eli hugged her slender frame tightly upon hearing her words. It was as if she was reading his mind. As he pressed his body close to hers, he heard her quick breathing and pulsing heartbeat.
At that moment, the memory of his promise to himself to never mistreat his wife like his father did, despite not having known when or even if he’d ever get one, crossed his mind. A stubborn sigh escaped him. It was a pact he made to himself in a dark past he didn’t even remember well anymore. But he did not know why the decision he thought he had already forgotten crossed his mind when he saw this woman.
‘My wife. The woman who has bewitched me,’ Eli whispered in his heart and hugged her even tighter.
Edna gently touched his forearms, surrounding her as if caressing her heart. His sturdy forearms were covered with golden hairs the same shade as his hair. No one had ever hugged her or comforted her like this before, hence why it wouldn’t be a fair shot to describe this warmth right now as the first of its kind she had ever felt.
Eli stripped Edna’s clothes, changed her into pajamas, and sat on the opposite chair, stabbing her leftover meat with a fork and shoving it into his mouth. Edna looked at him with a slightly open mouth in amazement; she hadn’t thought him to be on an empty stomach up until now.
“What?” he asked, conscious of her gaze.
“I’ll tell Rowell to bring another meal. Why are you eating leftovers?”
“What’s wrong with that? It would be a waste. And if you tell Rowell to prepare food again, she might poison me. She thinks I’ve hurt you. Although I really did hurt you.”
After his blunt statement, Eli ate the food she left behind. Edna stared at him and asked, “Didn’t you say that your men would come?”
“Hmm? What was that?”
“You said that they’d be arriving soon. When will they be here?” she pressed.
“I think they will arrive in five days at the latest. Everyone will bring their scattered family members.”