Chapter 9 - The Face Beneath The Veil (19+)
His heart began to beat violently when he detected a subtle scent from Anna, who was keeping up with him in graceful steps. When he smelled the scent of a woman for the first time in a long while, his forgotten desire burned hot. Eli stopped in front of the door to Anna’s decided place of residence and told her, “We’ll be having a brief wedding ceremony tomorrow. It must have been a long journey, so I’ll tell them to prepare bath water for you first.”
He let Anna go into the room by herself and turned around, heading to his own.
Left alone, Edna rushed into her room. If the wedding was not until tomorrow, then she could at least sleep comfortably today. Come to think of it, she didn’t spot a single maid on her way here, so she wondered who was preparing her bathwater. Just then, she heard a knock. “Come in.”
As soon as Edna’s voice rang out, the door opened, showing an old maid accompanied by a servant dragging a large tub into the room.
As Eli, annoyed by the screeching sound of something heavy being dragged on the floor, stepped out, the open door to Edna’s room caught his eye. Eli stood by the door and watched as the servant and maid walked back and forth filling the tub with hot water. Beckoning the servants to leave when they had finished their work, he looked at Edna, who deliberately stood against the candle and looked at him from under the veil as he closed the door and walked in.
Eli squinted at Anna’s face. He smiled coldly when he felt that she was holding her breath at a glance. Did she not want to breathe the same air as him?
“Are you going to stand there like that?” Eli said sarcastically, blatantly revealing that he had no intention of going out. The lust that had been caused by her scent shimmered dangerously again, sending his whole body into tremors.
“I should be asking you that,” Edna answered him in a quiet, reproachful voice.
“I am of lowly commoner birth with no manners so I won’t let you have it your way. Why don’t you just take off your clothes already? Before the water cools, that is.” Eli sneered.
Edna’s face momentarily paled. When asked to take off her clothes in front of him even though they hadn’t even married yet, she held her hands together and took a deep breath. Seeing her reaction, Eli added coldly, “Since you’ve come to marry me, it would be faster for you to adjust to me. I’m an uneducated man, and I can never become a classy noble like you.”
“The wedding is tomorrow. Can’t you bear it for today?” Edna did not give up and asked in a trembling voice.
Eli took a threatening step forward and, thinking her voice was very sweet, murmured, “What’s the difference between today and tomorrow? Aren’t you my woman now whether you like it or not?”
Tears rushed to Edna’s eyes and she unknowingly bit her lips. The faint candlelight and veil over her face prevented Eli from seeing her face closely. Eli wanted to see her beautiful face that he remembered. As he took a step closer, she began to tremble like an acorn. Eli reached out one hand and gently rubbed her trembling ear. Then Edna hurriedly moved to avoid his touch as he tried to remove the veil. Her gestures of denying him further ignited his desire.
“You must’ve already heard rumors about me. Do you think you can avoid me?” Speaking softly, Eli pulled on her arm roughly.
“Don’t do this. You are now a duke despite your commoner origins. So please, at least be considerate. I want to have my first night after the wedding.” Hurriedly pleading, Edna struggled not to be dragged by him. Then Eli snatched her veil roughly with a chilling sneer. As soon as the veil came off, Edna quickly turned and escaped from his grasp.
Surprisingly, Eli smiled for a moment at her agile movements. He was a very dangerous man, completely different from the knights she had been avoiding. She clutched her collar tightly and, as the many rumors, she had heard about Eli buzzed in her ear, opened her mouth. “Don’t demean me in front of the maids. You must protect your dignity of a lord.”
“It’s just the two of us here, though?”
“Just because they’re not here does not mean they’re too far away to see and hear.” Edna rebuked him.
But Eli shrugged and gave a careless answer. “I already told you. I’m a commoner, so I’m not as noble as you are. I don’t care about that kind of thing. Aren’t lords men, too?”
Edna’s pride which had been secretly pulsing inside her for a long time was poked and bubbled up at Eli’s cold, determined tone. “But you don’t have to turn me into the same person you are, do you? After the ceremony tomorrow, I’ll be your wife whether you like it or not. I won’t shirk off my wifely duties. So just give me time to breathe until then. I’m sure you can muster that much control.”