Chapter 34 – Eyes Only On Me (2)
Max apprehensively clasped her hands. She felt terrible just imagining that Riftan might despise her or, even worse, feel sorry for her. Knowing it was disgraceful, she still wanted him to think of her as that sophisticated noblewoman for a bit longer.
Max nodded awkwardly, instead of telling him that she didn’t know how to manage servants, or that she had never spent a lot of money to buy things, and that she had never learned how to handle such a grand castle… she would stretch the lie for today.
“If-if you want…”
Riftan’s face instantly relaxed and became noticeably brighter.
“I’ll tell the butler to give you the books right away. Don’t worry about how much it will cost. You can purchase to your heart’s content.”
Riftan gently stroked her tousled hair with his fingers.
“This… is your home now.”
Your home. Such unexpected words pierced Max’s heart painfully, and she almost stopped breathing. Her heart pounded against her chest. Maybe he didn’t mean anything by it, that it was just something he said in passing or a strange whim.
Whatever it was, Max didn’t want to dwell on it.
“I… I’ll make it as cozy as possible… for us.”
“All right.” The good man gave her a satisfied smile. The next moment, he gently pressed his lips over her cheek, and Max shook her head awkwardly. She was suddenly aware of how it was only the two of them in the bedroom. Not having a proper shower or change in a few days, Max was swiftly conscious of her image. She gently pushed him away.
“Ah, I-I… want to take a b-bath…”
He turned his head and said, “I’ll tell the maids to come and prepare the bath.”
Then he went out and ordered the servants to bring warm water for the bath and a fresh change of clothes for her. Max took off her disheveled cloak and placed it carefully at the chair in the corner. After a while, four maids came into the room with large wooden tubs. While hot water was being poured on the large basin, Riftan took off his armor and laid it on the table.
“I’ll call you if we need anything else. Please make sure we have something to eat after the bath.”
“Yes, lord. I’ll put your clothes right here.”
As the maids went outside, Riftan threw the tunic stained with sweat and dust over his head. Then he swiftly untied his pants. Max panicked and turned around, but Riftan walked to her and started to unknot the straps of her dress.
“Let’s bathe together,” his voice suddenly sounded husky in her ears.
Max shuddered at the touch of his hands on her bare back. He combed her messy hair with his hands and laid it over one shoulder to reveal her slender neck.
And then, his tongue was over her skin.
“You taste salty…”
“D-don’t! I’m dirty…”
Despite her protest, Max’s shoulders relaxed as his soft lips traced kisses on the back of her neck. He turned her body around to face him, but she couldn’t look at his naked body and closed her eyes. There was a bizarre, new sensation she felt, and she was mortified of it.
“Can you please stop looking at me like that?” He said, lifting her chin with one hand.
“I am aware I am not as elegant or slender as the son of a distinguished noble, but… I’m not that terrible…”
“Oh, you’re not terrible! Not at all!”
Max opened her eyes in disbelief. There was a look of despair on Riftan’s orbs glancing down at her. His black pupils reminded her of a wild, but a desolate animal.
Is this man truly not aware of his beauty? It made no sense!
“I-I’m just not used to this,” she said, wanting to break the misinterpretation.
“It’s normal for couples… to bathe together,” Riftan said in a low voice.
“In all the castles I’ve visited, all the lords and their ladies bathed together.”
Riftan then grinned and pulled down the bodice of her dress. She was about to ask him how he knew that, but she shuddered when she felt the cold air touch her skin. The warmth of the fireplace gently enveloped her sensitive body.
“It’s not strange at all.” He continued, “There exists a custom in the north. Whenever a nobleman or a knight visits, they must bath with the castle’s hostess.”
He gently rubbed her shoulders in persistent effort to persuade her. Max’s eyes opened wide.
“D-do I have to do that…?” she said.
A beautiful but terrifying smile spread across Riftan’s face.
“If anyone else ever asked you of that, I would make him bathe in the Stemnu river… You only need to think about me. Come here…”
Riftan put his muscular arms around her waist and hoisted her gently into the bathtub with him, water spilling onto the floor upon their descent. Max hugged her knees close to her body, trying to hide her nakedness with futile efforts. Riftan brazenly sat down with his naked body openly displayed to her, as if he was a man who didn’t know what shame was.
“Is it too hot?” he asked.
“I-it’s fine.” she hurriedly answered.
Max sat with her knees bent up to her chin to avoid touching his long legs. Looking at her efforts on distancing themselves, Riftan grabbed her by the arm and sat her on his lap.
Max immediately cried in surprise, “Ri-riftan!”
“I’ll wash you.” He simply said, reaching out for the soap on the shelf.
Max urgently tried to get up from his lap, but Riftan had his arms wrapped around her waist like a snake. He began to lather soap over her shoulders and neck slowly.
“I-I’ll do it!”
“You can wash me too. If you like.”
Riftan be making his moves… boi aren’t you smooth? And double chapter update for today!