“But I do feel a little bad. I mean, we will be leaving for the Holy City together as a couple, but the ladies will have to leave their husbands for quite a while as it would take at least two months before we come back to the capital.”
Eugene wondered if the ladies will be delighted by her invitation or will they be reluctant to leave their husbands behind. When she let out a silly laugh at her own mischievous curiosity, she met eyes with Kasser who was staring at her in silence.
When Eugene realized his stares, she purposely widened her eyes as if asking ‘Why?’ to him. Kasser then shook his head with a smile on his face.
“If there’s anything you want to say, you can always just tell me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I often find you staring at me without words like you did just now.” Eugene told him off lightly but not in an offensive manner.
“There’s no way for me to know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell me as I can’t read minds. So please tell me instead of bottling up.”
Kasser laughed as if he was amused by her words.
“I’m not bottling up anything.”
She looked back at him with a doubtful look on her face. She often felt an invisible distance between them as she sometimes couldn’t get a handle on what he was thinking inside. She also felt like she was in a lopsided relationship, as it was always him who made compromises for her instead of talking things over together.
‘But he sure is a changed man compared to his past self.’
He surely did speak more than he ever did before. And from his tender expression and thoughtful behaviors, it clearly showed that he had special feelings towards her.
Yet, Eugene was still confused from time to time. She skeptically doubted his ingenuous devotion to her, wondering if his kindness and affection was solely because she was an Anika who could bear him a child.
However, she knew deep down in heart that the root of her mistrust was in fact due to her own dishonesty. She felt ashamed of her own selfishness as she realized that she had been putting the blame on him the whole time.
No matter how hard she had tried to keep her composure to refrain herself from making hasty judgements, she always ended up feeling impatient around him. Maybe what she was feeling was fear after all. She was afraid that he might leave her someday, when he eventually gets tired of putting up with her.
Eugene deliberately hastened herself to hide her mixed feelings from him.
“I better go and make preparations before the knights arrive then. The ladies should be informed as well.”
When Eugene left the room, Kasser gestured to the chamberlain who was about to enter to leave him as well. He then once again unrolled Sang-je’s telegram and absently murmured the message written on it with a seemingly subdued tone.
He had felt a strange feeling when Eugene naturally assumed that he would be leaving for the Holy City together with her, although he never once told her before that he was thinking of accompanying her when Sang-je ever sends for her.
He then recalled her response to the telegram just now. The fact that she’d implied their return to the capital after their visit to the Holy City by using the word ‘coming back’ and the way she remarked Sang-je’s call as ‘annoying’, somehow eased his anxiety effortlessly.
He let out a small sigh as he ran his fingers through his hair. He was seriously worried about his mood swings which were getting noticeably worse as time went by, as he now found himself responding to Eugene’s every word and expressions.
But he had no one to ask for advice if what he was experiencing was actually normal.
He’d been told all his life about how he mustn’t lose his composure at all times as he was a king, but he knew nothing about the exemplary behavior of a husband as his father was never a good example for him. In fact, his parents had never been a family before.
“Family…” He carefully muttered the word to himself as if he was mentioning some kind of forbidden word.
And he felt the same strange feeling inside him again as his heart started to pound like it did when he first heard Eugene say the word ‘couple’.
He had always told himself that he could simply live without it like he always had been, out of pride. But he had now come to realize that his longing for a family he once had as a child, hasn’t disappeared just because he’d gotten older. He just had kept it buried deep in his heart all this time.
One thing was clear for sure. It wouldn’t be possible for him to ignore his wife and make her leave for the Holy City all by herself, like his father did to his mother. There was no way he would be giving up on his first family that he had finally found after all these years.