The next morning, Marianne again delivered the King’s message to Eugene.
“His Majesty would like to have lunch with Your Grace.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Although she said that without a hitch on the surface, inwardly, Marianne was nervous to hear Eugene’s answer, if she refused a meal, it meant that she refused the king. But when Eugene replied with a ‘Yes,’ she finally heaved a sigh of relief.
As she let her maids help her dress for lunch, Eugene recounted her last invitation to a meal with the King, and how nervous she was. It was only a few days ago, yet what she felt now was completely different. She was neither nervous nor uncomfortable.
A sudden thought flashed her mind.
I am adjusting to this world too fast. Is it normal?
Even considering that it was a world she had herself created, where she was someone else, she could easily take in this odd situation.
Jin Anika’s obscure body fitted Eugene like it was hers. She was surprised when she first saw herself in the mirror, but now, she was rather calm. It felt like it was hers all along…
Moreover, Eugene was not a person that adapted to her surroundings very easily. This was, indeed, bizarre.
Shortly after, Zanne entered.
“Your Grace, Lord Chamberlain, is here to escort you.”
“Okay. I am ready.”
Lunch was in the parlour, just like last time.
By the time Eugene arrived, Kasser was already waiting. As he saw her enter, he rose from his seat. His eyes never left her, seeing as she continued walking into the room. He was noting her every step, movement, and gesture. If one were to ask him why he was doing this, he wouldn’t be able to answer. But, he soon returned to his senses, and by the time she was standing before him, he’d settled his mind.
“Thank you for accepting my invitation.”
Fixing her eyes on his face, she replied. “Thank you for your invitation.”
“Have you been well?”
“Yes, I have.” After a while, she added. “And you? Have you been well, Your Majesty?”
“Yes, I’ve been.”
The two exchanged a rather courteous greeting. Kasser did not garnish his words, which left Eugene to return his address simply.
Is this an act of solicitude, or is he just being him? His solicitudes were difficult to spot as he seemed so modest.
Actually, when Eugene was scanning the list of antique books through the Queen’s Expenditure, she had realized something…
When Kasser had first mentioned the contract to Eugene, all he had said was, Execute the contract we agreed to complete in three years. He had, quite rudely, as a matter of fact, refrained from explaining the contents of the contract.
A man of flattery, perhaps an eyesore, nonetheless, one who was easy to read. On the contrary, it was the likes of the Desert King, who kept things to themselves, that were difficult to predict.
The servants walked in to serve the food, which was different from the delightful feast served a couple of days before. While their masters focused on their dishes without exchanging a word, the servants exchanged tensed looks with one another.
When they were done eating, Kasser asked the servants to withdraw. Eugene glanced at the last maid as she closed the door behind her.
Eugene jumped and turned to face the king. Suddenly, she was bombarded with memories from that night.
That night…. she had begged him to call out her name…
Thinking back, she was astonished at her own boldness.
How could she have demanded that of a king! What was she thinking? Wait. Was she even thinking?!
She had a sudden urge to scratch her head… her childish behavior mortified her.
But it wasn’t unpleasant. She’d liked the way her name sounded through his deep voice.
As soon her gaze met his, Eugene looked down.
Being left alone in the room with him, she felt too nervous to look directly at him. She thought of how a man with such sharp, handsome features could turn so cruel. Images from that night kept flashing in her mind.
Kasser gazed at her and finally decided to breach the silence.
“You don’t seem to be ill. Then why did you refuse to meet me last night?”
Eugene was so startled with his direct words that she lifted her head and stared at him. He cleared his throat to continue to talk.
“Did I… not satisfy you?”
Eugene could not understand his words at first. Shortly, her own words came back to her mind.
Be gentle or else… I’ll tell everyone that you are terrible!
Eugene fluttered her eyes with panic.
How is one ought to respond to such a direct comment?
“If I am the reason why you do not wish to have intercourse, then please explain further so that I can understand.”
“I must know the problem to resolve it.”
Eugene was unable to understand her own feelings, let alone explain it to someone else. It was not that she did not like him. Only a bit embarrassed.
If one asked what more is there to be embarrassed about after spending a night with him, Eugene would not be able to answer. A person’s feelings were complicated, not something one could explain using a single word.
“You… are not the problem. It is me,” she said dejectedly.
“What is it about you?”
“Are you pregnant?” Kasser suddenly said.
“What?!” Eugene responded with confusion. “That night was my first.”
“Then how would I know I’m pregnant already?”
His gaze pierced her bewildered orbs.
“Exactly! If you do not have the special talent to predict whether you are pregnant, why are you refusing to have intercourse? Are you not willing to proceed with our contract?
Eugene looked at him blankly and mumbled.
Ah, now I can see it clearly!
This man was only interested in an heir to his throne. The sex that night was solely an act for him to gain a child.
What is wrong with you?!
Her face flushed with shame and humiliation. She chided herself for thinking otherwise. It was not like she did not know. It was just that; she refused to face it.
She had to own up to the fact that she had already started to disrupt Jin’s plan. She was not to put any other meaning into this. But she had done the complete opposite of it and fallen for his charms.
Eugene settled herself down and forced a smile on her face.
“Nothing’s wrong. I just had a lot on my mind. I lost my memory, remember?”