Chapter 162 – The Night Before The Divorce (1)
I took Heinley’s hand and nodded, grateful that he said exactly what I was thinking. Heinley smiled and slowly raised himself back up. My hands naturally fell away, and I clasped them together awkwardly. After rejoicing in the reunion, I blushed at the thought of him hugging me again. Unlike myself, however, Heinley seemed more composed.
“Would you like some coffee?”
“Yes, thank you.”
I rearranged my facial expression into something more appropriate and sat down on the sofa. He moved to one side of the room, and there were the sounds of rattling utensils as he prepared to boil water in a kettle. The coffee powder seemed to have been prepared in advance, since enough for only two portions were placed on the side. Did Duke Elgy prepare all this?
“Where is Duke Elgy?”
I didn’t see him here.
“I sent him away. Do you have something to tell him?”
“Sent him away?”
“Well, I didn’t want all three of us together.”
“Truthfully speaking, I’m like the incarnation of jealousy.”
Heinley gave a shy smile as he busily moved around his hands.
“Duke Elgy is a true womanizer. I didn’t want him around.”
He looked embarrassed despite his somewhat mean remark, and my previous curiosity resurfaced. If Duke Elgy and Heinley friends, why did they always back stab each other whenever the other was not there? If I asked Heinley this, however, then he would discover that Duke Elgy was speaking badly of him. I didn’t intend to drive a wedge between the two, so I kept silent.
Meanwhile, the water finished boiling, and Heinley held the kettle and poured the water into the cup. As he did so, he looked at me and gave me a smile so beautiful that it could make an artist gasp. It would have been even more perfect if he had been paying attention and realized that the cup was overflowing. He gave a start when he realized his mistake, and his ears turned red as he quickly wiped the coffee cup with a napkin.
I tightened my jaw to keep myself from laughing. Fortunately, my facial expressions behaved, and I looked normal by the time he handed my finished coffee to me.
“I usually don’t make these mistakes…”
“Anyone can make mistakes. It’s alright to be human.”
“I want to look dignified.”
“It was entertaining enough—no, it was impressive.”
“It’s more embarrassing when you say that with such an elegant smile, Queen.”
Heinley sat on the opposite sofa with a grumble, and I clenched my jaw again to suppress my laughter. His sloppy side made him seem…perfect. I knew that he was the king of an entire country, but I kept seeing him as a young prince.
I took a sip of coffee to keep myself from laughing. Unfortunately, the mood only turned awkward after that. I drank my coffee in silence, and Heinley drank his coffee in silence. The atmosphere was so quiet that one could hear a petal fall.
Our eyes met accidentally, and Heinley smiled at me again. The awkwardness melted away a bit, but it was determined not to die when thoughts of marriage caused embarrassment to surge in me. I hadn’t felt this way before; I had grown up with the idea that I would be wedded to Sovieshu since I was a child. Yet now, I was red-faced at the thought of being married to Heinley, even if it was for political convenience.
‘I’m really marrying Heinley?’
I shouldn’t have thought that. I gripped my cup to quell the urge to flee the room. Heinley didn’t seem to think I was acting strange, fortunately, but…
Oh no. Once I thought about marriage, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I tried to steer the conversation elsewhere so I wouldn’t have to dwell on it.
“Where is Duke Elgy? I don’t see him.”
“I sent him away.”
I already asked that earlier.
Heinley gave a light chuckle, and I glared at the bottom of my coffee cup. I was so carried away by the atmosphere that I forgot my words. I shouted silently at the coffee cup, and it seemed to help me find my footing in the conversation again.
“It’s possible the Emperor may prevent you from attending the divorce court.”
No, not just possible, it was certain the Sovieshu would try to stop Heinley. Sovieshu hated Heinley because of how he treated Rashta, and when Sovieshu found out that I had exchanged letters with the Western prince, he was furious.
If Heinley appeared out of nowhere and went to the divorce court, he would certainly be barred from attending, disregarding the fact he wanted a second marriage. It was absolutely impossible to get remarried on the day of divorce. When one is approved for remarriage, one’s new partner must be with them.
Despite my anxiety, however, Heinley answered with a nonchalant smile.
“Don’t worry, Queen. We’ll be ready.”
“Yes. After the divorce is approved, please ask for the second marriage immediately.”
Heinley gave a delighted laugh, explaining that he would show up at the right moment for maximum dramatic effect. Surprisingly, his laughter soothed me. Heinley really did have a comforting personality. As the tightness around my heart loosened, another forgotten question came back to me.
“Did you receive my letter?”
“Yes. I came as soon as I did.”
“But how did you get here so quickly?”
“You came not long after Sir Artina returned. I’m glad to see you, but…”
As soon as I learned Heinley was nearby, I couldn’t help but wonder how he did it. I had momentarily forgotten the question due to the stressful situation, but now it came back to me again. I set down my coffee cup and waited for his answer.
Heinley, who was usually so confident, twisted his hands in uncharacteristic nervousness.
“Well…I can’t tell you right now, Queen. But I will after we are married.”
Apparently, it was confidential. I didn’t mean to embarrass him by intruding on his secrets.
I answered with a large, reassuring smile. Heinley spoke again.
“May I ask you a question?”
“What’s the first thing you want to do after we get married?”
“After we get married?”
Heinley smiled at me, but his face suddenly stiffened when he realized the implication of his words, and he waved his hands wildly in the air.
“I don’t mean the first night. No, it was weird to ask that. It was never meant to be a dirty question.”
I didn’t think about it that way, but my cheeks flushed at his words. Heinley, meanwhile, looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him, so I took pity on him and answered him honestly.
“I can’t wait to see the account books.”
“If I can take a look at the books, I can assess the budget flow in the Western Kingdom. I need to get acquainted with my work quickly.”