Let's Finish What We Started! - Chapter 13
I did call him blueberry cake on purpose.
Other than common expressions such as honey, sugar and chocolate I needed a unique name that would catch his attention.
No sweet purple-colored food came to my mind other than blueberries.
“P-please don’t take off the mask…”
After a long pause that was the only thing he could say. If he was someone I didn’t know, I would think he is having trouble speaking.
I stared at him for a moment.
“You think I’ll be touching it without your permission?”
He blinked at me, his expression painted with surprise.
It was said that his first fiancée passed out after removing his mask without his permission.
While without permission such an act was considered rude, people were curious about what was beneath the mask.
Nobels valued honor and etiquette dearly, yet their curiosity towards Apollyon made them overlook her rudeness.
Lots of people than not awaited an opportunity to take a look at his face.
I felt my stomach turn thinking how the first words that rolled out of his mouth were asking me not to touch his mask.
“I won’t be touching your mask, don’t worry.”
“You asked me not to.”
“Wouldn’t it be rude to take it off since you clearly don’t want to do it?”
Apollyon peeked at me with glassy eyes before turning his head sideways.
“…Why are you avoiding me?”
“Hey, blueberry cake.”
“Don’t call me that please…”
Apollyon mumbled, nothing more than a whisper.
The sight of his face made me sigh as I rose up. With my body moving away, he quickly raised his torso from where he was lying.
Giving him no more freedom than raising his torso, I sat a close distance in case he tried to escape. I had no intention of letting him run free.
“Apollyon, look at me.”
“If you don’t look at me, I won’t stop calling you blueberry cake.”
“You don’t want that, do you?”
Apollyon gazed at me with eyes full of tears.
He had the title of Grand Duke, I’d guessed he didn’t want to be called with such a cute nickname.
“If you don’t like the nickname, do not avoid me from now on. Otherwise, I’ll follow you around calling you ‘honey, darling, my macaroon, my kitten’ or whatever nickname I can think of.”
Apollyon nodded hesitantly.
I knew he was an introvert, but dealing with it firsthand was frustrating. Seemed like I had a long way to go with him.
I shook my head visualizing our distant future. I decided I had to make things clear for him now.
“Apollyon, what’s our relationship?”
“We are… married.”
“That’s right. From today on, we are a married couple.”
“Then, why are you avoiding me?”
Judging by his answer, he admitted he’s been avoiding me. Which made my, a newlywed bride’s, heart sting.
“You don’t like me?”
“That’s not it!”
He said loudly, jerking up in his place.
Why was he yelling for such a thing? He startled me.
“If that’s not it, why?”
“If you don’t give me an answer, I’ll conclude that you hate me.”
“How do you expect me to know? I’m not a mind reader.”
“A wife who even got annoyed on their first day of marriage. How can I continue living when I’m this sad? You hate me so much you can’t even talk to me—“
“I don’t hate you!”
“I-I did avoid you but… I didn’t do it because I hate you.”
“Then again, why?”
‘Huff, this is frustrating.’
I knew he was shy but couldn’t he give an answer?
I decided to try a different method to make him answer.
“Apollyon, you know we have to have our first night, right?”
I chose a straightforward way to get into his head.
Apollyon gaped at my remark.
Well, it seemed he really didn’t want to spend the night with me.
Which was kind of upsetting.
This sadness added to the frustration of the forehead kiss.
“We are married. Shouldn’t we at least fulfill a married couple’s obligations?”
“Th-the obligations between a married couple…”
“You’re the Grand Duke, correct? You have a duty to fulfill.”
Surely I didn’t have any plans of having children. Not now or in the future unless something special between us happened.
Yet I was an adult who was loyal to her instincts and desires.
We were both adults, a married couple at that. Besides, my husband was a big and handsome guy! I had no reason to refuse the first night with him.
Not to forget that in this aristocratic society there was an implicit rule for couples to have a first night.
As someone who knows this society better than me, his behavior hurt my self-esteem.
This made his punishment double, adding the forehead kiss into the equation.
I glanced at him with a strong sense of sadness covering my eyes.
He must have caught that some things weren’t right, since he started locating himself farther from me.
However, even making him change locations was a part of my carefully prepared plan.
Soon enough, his back found the bed frame, leaving him nowhere to run.
I pulled the string that’s next to the bed frame. The canopy rolled down around the bed, blocking every possible way out.
Before he knew it, Apollyon’s back was pressed against the frame, while I loomed over him like a beast eyeing its prey.
“What is it?”
“…if you called for me, you should finish your sentence, right?”
I wrapped my fingers around my robe’s knot.
I loosened the knot slowly revealing silky white skin beneath it.
Even before Apollyon’s call, I slipped out of my robe, which then I crumpled and threw it somewhere away.
The only thing covering my body was a thin, pink nightgown that clung to my body.
Apollyon tightly shut his eyes with a gasp.
I felt grumpy seeing him close his eyes.
I reached for his shirt. Buttons closed up till his neck gave away his neat and organized personality.
A large man, wearing a shirt closed up till his neck, and wearing a scared expression. I somehow found it erotic.
‘…am I into this kind of thing?’
Fascinated with him, I unbuttoned one of his buttons. His neck and collarbone got revealed by the action.
Even though he had plans to avoid the first night, he still had easy to remove clothing.
Surely Walson must be behind his clothing choice.
I moved my fingers to unbutton yet another one of his buttons before Apollyon stopped me by grabbing my hand. His palm was slightly damp, perhaps because he was nervous.
“I-I don’t think- I can…”
“…What does that mean?”
A frown formed on my face.
I knew what he meant, yet acted like I didn’t, forcing him to give me a reason.
“What do you mean you can’t?“
“…that, well, though we are married… we didn’t even meet each other until today.”
I slightly sat down on his thighs, waiting as his words came in one ear and out the other. I noticed him swallowing, lowering his gaze.
“Wife, firstly, calm down and listen to me please.”
“Did you just say calm down?”
“Yes. For now, calm down…”
“…did I get angry? As you can see I’m pretty calm.”
A smile which didn’t reach my eyes. Apollyon’s face paled seeing the grin.
“Where in the Empire did you see a married couple who didn’t spend their first night together?”
Apollyon wanted to say something as his mouth opened and closed repeatedly.
I knew what he wanted to say, even when he didn’t say it out loud.
“…s-still, I met you for the first time today.”
I snorted, speechless. The situation was so ridiculous it made me laugh.
With this, rage rose up from the pit of my stomach.
I raised my torso a little, roughly brushing my hair back. I couldn’t calm myself as another snort followed the first one.
Apollyon shrunk, watching me. His was a desperate struggle to put a distance between us even if little.
I felt wronged seeing him shaking as if he had seen a ghost looking at me. That made me feel like I did something wrong.
The upset of the forehead kiss was long forgotten.
I gritted before opening my mouth.
“Then, why did the person who had never seen me before sent me a marriage proposal?”
“Apollyon, are we the only couple who got married in an arranged marriage?”
He shook his head.
Most aristocrats had political marriages just like ours.
Although society was changing, the aristocratic marriages that were done politically were more common than those were done with love.
All aristocrats fulfilled their obligation of spending the first night together without complaining.
No one skipped the first night. It was because the first night was an important event for a newly married couple.
How could a man be so shy to even be embarrassed about this?
“Give me an answer. I’m sure there were others’ influence on you too, but in the end weren’t you the one sending me a marriage proposal with the intention to marry me?”
Nod, nod and more nodding! He didn’t have an answer other than nodding!
I managed to keep my voice from getting louder. I couldn’t start a tantrum in front of a shy man like him.
“That’s right. Most aristocrats marry politically, just like us. There are lots of people who never knew each other yet got married and, hmph!”
I couldn’t continue my rant due to Apollyon’s big hand covering my mouth.
It was an action he had done out of impulse as he was as startled as I was.
But he didn’t remove the hand covering my mouth.
I thought of licking his hand.
Yet realized that he would probably jump out of the window in embarrassment.
Instead, I chose to bite his calloused palm.