“But they wrecked you. Maybe not your mind but they brutalised your body,” he whispered.
I looked at him. “Well, it doesn’t matter either way. I died, that was that. But, why did you do it? Did you do it because you felt guilty that they saw me with you and assumed I was an informant? Did you feel guilty as a cop?”
He looked suffocated. He rubbed his temples. He then stood up and walked to my side, kneeled down by me and wrapped his hands around my face.
I flinched. I panicked. I couldn’t think. Why was I nervous? Thinking about how I had tried to seduce and kill Sir Slanted Eyes, I knew that as inexperienced as I was with men in this lifetime, I hadn’t forgotten my charm. Why am I so flustered and taken aback right now?
But when he kissed me, my head went blank. I couldn’t think straight. Why wasn’t I pulling away at the least? His lips were gentle on mine. It left a sweet taste. Maybe from the snack we had eaten. My heart pounded. His tongue parted my lips and entered softly. My body trembled. I felt as though I would fall off my seat. Perhaps noticing my distress, he broke the kiss. His face was so close. The face felt so familiar yet so unfamiliar.
My lips felt warm. My cheeks felt warm. I couldn’t even swallow. If I did, I felt like a part of him would occupy a space within me. I really didn’t know why he was acting like this.
“I kept dreaming of you. Endlessly, over and over again, without even knowing who you were,” he said. “My mind painted a face of the same woman repeatedly, and my mother thought I’d gone crazy. It was understandable because most gifts of foresight have been accompanied by madness in the royal family.”
His fingers stroked my cheek and softly touched my lips. I shuddered at the feeling of electricity running all over my body.
“But eventually I realized. I realized who I am and who you are. And I knew that I would meet you one day. Even though I didn’t know when, where and with what face I’d see you.”
I looked at him, unable to speak. He kept caressing my face. “I’m not going to deceive myself anymore,” he continued, “I won’t give you a silly excuse, like how you’re the subject of my investigation and that’s the reason why I keep in touch with you. My time had stopped, but it continued flowing and I won’t let anyone stop it this time. Alice Warwick, you’re the one who moves my life. You’re the light that lights up my world and the air that lets me live.”
My world, on the contrary, seemed to have stopped. So, he claims he killed the gangsters for me. He went to jail. But I was already dead by then. How do I believe him? The fact that detective Jang Seong-hoon murdered the gangsters to avenge me and went to jail sounded so ridiculous to me. What were we to each other for him to throw his life away? I had felt that I was trapped in the cycle of unrequited love. But did I really love him in that lifetime or was I just lonely and grabbing at straws?
Was this all an illusion? All of this felt like a sham. I felt so confused. I didn’t know what to think. My head hurt. Can I just get out of here?
As if noticing my panic, he kissed my lips softly and stood up. I looked up at him and glared. That was the only expression I could manage and only because it was my default reaction to everything around me.
“I’ll lead you to your room, so take a rest first,” he said. “It’s true that I only hosted this gathering to meet you. But being a noble comes with a fair slice of responsibility and formality. I have some uninvited guests to take care of…”
He gave a weary sigh and looked to the door. He then looked at me again. “But uninvited guests would hardly ruin my plans.” He smiled.
“Why? What’s your plan?” After the shock I had just received, I deserved to know it. No, I needed to know it. What on earth was he planning?
He grinned. It was a type of a sly smile that I had never seen on his face in our previous lifetimes.
“Seducing you to make our marriage a fait accompli, of course!”
I stared at him with my mouth wide open. He’s joking, right? It must be a joke! There was no way that was going to happen.