Chapter 22 – One Cold Night (1)
Finally, Eugene knows the nature of the contract Jin Anika has made three years ago with the king. But the shock of its knowledge still has her mind reeling at what was expected for her to do. But this was not the time to despair. She must be smart about this. Shaking her fear away mentally, she steeled her resolve and looked at the king with a tight smile and cold gaze.
“My king, you know I barely remember making this agreement.” She countered confidently, her poise held up high as she tried to make him see reason. “How can I be certain you aren’t fooling me in return?” She asks, narrowing her gaze in suspicion.
Kasser did not appreciate her insinuation.
“I swear by my name that I have not lied,” Kasser said, one of his pristine brows rising as a clear sign of a challenge. But Eugene needed no further assurance.
“If that’s the case then,” Eugene trailed off before she continued. This was a rather uncomfortable topic after all. “Did we use contraceptives before?” Eugene knew this was a scandalous inquiry, but she found it rather queer for a couple to remain fruitless despite having three years of marriage.
Nevermind the animosity between the spouses.
Normally, the king would have been annoyed already with the onslaught of questions. But now that she claims she has forgotten everything, Kasser remained calm and patient. Unfazed by the inappropriate questions.
He stared solely on Eugene, his eyes barely hiding such intensity from within him. He found it surprising, her confusion; it was borderline amusing to see her fumble and act so differently from how he was used to interacting with her.
“We never used contraceptives.” He answered her plainly, and his lips quirked ever so slightly upwards as she racked her brain for more excuses as to why they remained childless.
“If we haven’t used birth control in three years, then…” She gulped nervously as dread started to creep in. “Am I expecting now?” She looked to him inquiringly. Her confusion so apparent with his expression. But the king’s reaction was not in the list of how she expected him to react at all.
He was grinning rather amusedly at her, and she felt sorely made fun of.
“You and I have never slept together.” He finally supplied, and Eugene’s eyes widened as the realization has finally dawned upon her.
“What do you mean we didn’t sleep together?” She asked incredulously, disbelief apparent at the inflection in her voice, “You mean not once in three years?”
Finally, Kasser broke out laughing. She was far too amusing and he could no longer hold it in. Wiping a tear from the corner of his eyes, he finally calmed down enough to continue their amicable conversation.
“That’s why I said, we don’t have much time left.” He started as the laughter finally died out, “It’s been almost three years since we’ve been married.” He looked at her somberly.
“If we don’t consummate our marriage now, an annulment is not a far off possibility.” He said, looking at her in a way that made her feel the weight of the world on her shoulders. But it wasn’t the world’s weight she was carrying… “Unless you give me an heir of course.” he finished.
“But I heard that you sleep here on the first day of every month,” she asked, still rather skeptical of it all.
“I just slept,” he answered her dryly.
“In your bed,” he quipped, “With you.”
Eugene turned and gestured to her bed with her pointer finger.
“Over there? With me?”
“It’s wide enough for two people to lie down.” He said nonchalantly.
Eugene seemed rather shocked.
“Anika, it was what you wanted…This arrangement is part of the contract that you, yourself, has asked for.”
‘So…they weren’t a real couple at all.’ Eugene thought, and a sudden wave of relief washed over her. That meant that she didn’t have to put up an act as an affectionate wife after all. But despite this knowledge, she still has a looming problem at hand…
She still needed to get pregnant, and soon.
‘How on earth would I escape this?’ she chuckled dryly to herself. ’I am not even on earth in the first place.’ she thought ruefully.
When Eugene finally snapped out of her musings, only then did she realize that she was staring blankly into space and chortling to herself. Kasser, on the other hand, had watched her expression change to that of awareness. Upon knowing that she’d been watched, she leaned back against the sofa and tried to appear calm and regal, schooling her face into a cool expression for good measure.
But all this still didn’t escape Kasser’s notice, if his quiet chuckle was anything to go by after that. He certainly hadn’t expected to live to see the day when the queen would be the one to bring out the laughter in him continuously.
Before he had informed her of his intent to fulfill the contract they’ve made three years ago, he had come up with a bunch of scenarios on how it would turn out, none of them ended up well. This, however, was not even one of his unlikely expectations.
“Do you want to do it tonight?” He said rather calmly.
“What? Oh, I, uh…” Eugene couldn’t help but be flustered. She wasn’t ready!
Seeing her hesitation, he quickly amended his statement
“Do you need more time to prepare?”
At last! Eugene sighed in relief and gave him a terse nod.
It was fortunate that Kasser had no intention of sleeping with her today anyway. He just made sure to visit and discuss the contract between them. Consummation of the marriage can wait, and he wasn’t in that much of a hurry that he could afford to wait until Anika was indeed ready.
“Alright, but don’t forget. We only have remaining fifteen days.” Still, he needed to impress the importance of doing it soon.
“….Yes.” she replied softly.
“It’s better you not think about it so you can sleep well.” He told her upon noticing how troubled she was of the ultimatum he just gave. It would do them no good if she was too tense through it all. Not the least enjoyable.
Besides, he was willing to wait until Anika is ready.
“Yes, of course.”
And with that, their conversation came to a close. Eugene calmly went to her bed and watched him from a distance as if he were some strange being…
‘They just slept in one bed? Three years? How did he manage to do it when a beautiful woman is next to him?’ she thought in confusion.
It didn’t take long until Kasser followed her. He lied down on the bed, his long limbs stretched out languidly on the soft mattress…
Jin Anika’s beauty was quite exquisite. The maids couldn’t hold a candle against her. They were all pretty, but always fell short right next to the queen. They were no different from the average woman in her original world.
‘It could be either because he’s a man with sexual disabilities, a man who really cares about Anika, or a man who keeps his promises thoroughly’
That was Eugene’s last thought before her eyes fluttered to a close, and prayed that the silence that reigned in her chamber would lull her to sleep as soon as possible.