“Rezette. Just a moment, please…” Elise pleaded, and Ivetsa felt a sudden surge of apprehension.
In the recesses of her mind, echoes of Genovia’s countless warnings resounded. They spoke of the dragon hybrid’s ruthlessness. Elise had assured everyone, including herself, that she was ready to handle it, but in truth, she was not. Ivetsa firmly believed that if something troubled her, it needed to be voiced. Even in the context of a predetermined contractual relationship, enduring everything that brought discomfort or distaste made no sense. It shouldn’t have to be this way!
Struggling to gather the strength, Ivetsa hesitated to close the door, biting her lip as she observed the couple through the narrow gap. Their proximity was uncomfortably close. I should have talked to her about those things, Ivetsa lamented internally.
Elise clung to the man’s hand, a hand that inched toward the front of her loosely draped dress. At first glance, it might have appeared as if she were pushing him away, but Ivetsa detected the wavering uncertainty in her eyes.
The flicker of hope that had gleamed in her golden eyes just moments before now quivered. As the man whispered something into her ear, Elise’s cheeks flushed a deep crimson.
She grappled with a conflict, caught between neither pushing him away nor pulling him closer. She understood it all too well – that this night would alter something indelibly, and there was no turning back from it.
Elise, who had been wrestling with indecision, turned her head slowly. Her gaze held steady on the man’s straight nose, nuzzled against her neck, and the eyes that met her own. Without uttering a single word, they locked their gaze.
Yet, there was an unspoken longing and torment evident in their eyes. The question remained: who would succumb to it?
Elise appeared as though she were ensnared under a spell, her attention solely on Rezette. Ivetsa, a silent observer through the door’s crack, felt her heart plummet.
Elise’s hand, which had been striving to hold him back, gradually relented. In the instant when the woman became deeply entranced by the man, Ivetsa sensed that she had already discerned Elise’s answer.
Even a servant of her station couldn’t help but see that the duke would understand Elise’s intentions.
His lips met her throat, producing faint, tantalizing sounds that even the most discreet eavesdropper could detect.
Yet, almost simultaneously, his icy, keen blue eyes shot in her direction like an arrow. As a final warning to the prying ear, Ivetsa was startled and hastily retreated, releasing the door handle, which slammed shut behind her. She gazed at the closed door, her mind a swirl of confusion.
“It’ll be… alright,” she whispered to herself, clinging to the hope that when morning arrived, the door would swing open as though nothing had occurred.
Despite Ivetsa’s fervent wish, however, the princess remained hidden in the bedroom for some time.
Elise found herself perplexed by the swiftly unfolding situation. It had all happened so suddenly. Caught between the surge of joy at having a place to call home and the tangled threads of conflicting emotions, she was thrust into the embrace of Rezette without a moment to untangle her feelings.
The sole words Rezette breathed into her ear consisted of only one phrase, “You must accept what you’ve longed for from me.” At that very moment, a flush of warmth swept across her face. When she raised her gaze to meet his, Elise realized she could not possibly deny him.
Rezette’s blue eyes held an even deeper desire than ever before. The man who often appeared indifferent and unfeeling now radiated an enticing rawness in his desires. His touch was gentle, his kisses soft as they landed on her ears and cheeks. There was no forceful demand in his actions.
But doubt still lingered within her. As the fabric of her dress slipped away from her skin, Elise grappled with uncertainty.
Is this what I should do…? Is it right to have this relationship? Should I push him away even now?
Though swept away by the moment, Elise remained uncertain about what she should do. This day had been one she had approached with a clear determination.
July was looming on the horizon. It had been two months since her arrival in Rotiara, and when considering the day they signed the contract, nearly seven months had passed, marking the halfway point of their agreement. The one who would grow anxious if things continued to drag on was her, and she was acutely aware of it.
Rezette gently lifted her disheveled dress, fingers trailing over the fabric that clung between Elise’s waist and hips. Confused, Elise looked down and noticed the dress’s hem, damp and stained with earth. Her heart sank heavily.
Similarly, Rezette, his gaze lowered to examine the soiled dress and shoes, spoke softly, “I told you I’d wake you up.”
Elise’s words stumbled as she responded, “This, this is…”