The Royal Deal - Chapter 164
Early next morning, she opened her eyes. She felt exhausted and her whole body felt sore, but her mind was awake and clear.
Her dream. The one that he had called a nightmare that night when she had been unable to calm down or fall asleep, it lingered every day. Her mind wouldn’t rest. Her past and her guilt, that she tried so hard to suppress, would appear and torment her again.
The more Alexcent tried to embrace her, the guiltier she felt. She reminded herself that she couldn’t let things go further. This has to stop.
She knew it. She accepted it. And yet, whenever she looked at her with such a tender gaze, she felt her resolve waver. She knew she couldn’t wish for his heart no matter how much she wanted to. So, every day she reminded herself of it and suppressed her desires.
Her guilt was always at the corner of her mind, adding to the weight that she already felt crushing her. Her guilt grew bigger side by side with her desire and it felt like it would overwhelm her any day now.
I need to stop this, she thought to herself. She knew better but her heart couldn’t bear to outright reject him. She was always craving and wanting him by her side. She cursed herself for not being resolute, but she also didn’t want to let him go.
She felt like she would collapse from wanting him and constantly reprimanding herself for her desires. Amethyst stared at his sleeping form beside her. His hands wrapped around her body.
‘You’re the one who should be careful not to fall in love with me and cling on. It’s a nuisance.’ Alec had said before. Amethyst frowned at she was reminded of an old memory.
He would never really love me for who I am, she thought, so, it should be okay. It is okay as long as no one know how I feel. Maybe he already has another lover destined for him. Because it is not me. Please allow me to love him as much as I can until the contract period is over, she prayed, I will make it so that it will be as before but please… let him only look at me until then.
She didn’t even know who or what she was praying to. But she felt desperate. Her plea was sincere. He was so beautiful. It made her heart ache with fondness just by looking at him sleeping peacefully. She placed a soft kiss on his cheek and snuggled close to him and tried to sleep.
Alexcent felt chirpy in the morning. He felt happy and light. He walked with spring in his steps out of Amethyst’s room. Since I took the day off yesterday, I will be very busy today. Oh, first…
He went into his own room cheerfully. “Pon,” he called.
“Yes, My Lord?”
“Give the maid her job back,” he said.
“Sorry?” said Pon, confused. Then remembered he had been told to fire the gossiping maids. “Oh, understood.”
Pon realized that the duke was in a very good mood today. He was contended the whole day until he received an invite that he couldn’t decline and his scowled turned ever menacing, again.
“Oh my! Lady Skad, please come in,” Empress Belice welcomed Amethyst to her tearoom, “You have gotten even prettier than the last time I saw you.”
Amethyst and Alexcent had been invited to the Empress’ palace for tea in the imperial garden. Well, she had been invited to tea while Alexcent had work in the palace today.
“Your highness, please call me Amethyst,” said Amethyst, “And thank you for honoring me with your time. I am so very grateful.”
“My, my. I can’t possibly address you with your name,” said Belice, “It was different before but now you are officially Lady Skad It was different before the wedding but now you are officially Lady Skad, but please be at ease here.”
“Ah, thank you,” said Amethyst.
Empress Belice seemed to be in a very cheery temperament today. She directed a beaming smile at Amethyst. “I am very disappointed,” declared Belice.
“Why are you disappointed?” asked Amethyst with worry.
“How is it so difficult to get to meet you?” asked Belice, “How could you not visit me even once at the palace? We promised to get along like sisters.”
“Oh… I am sorry,” stammered Amethyst, “I just assumed you would be very busy…”
“No matter how busy I am,” said Belice, “I will always make time for you. Lady Skad.”
Could I really have sauntered into the palace and asked to meet the empress whenever I pleased? Amethyst wondered. Is that what it means to be a duke’s wife?
Amethyst was at a loss. She didn’t know what to say to Belice. “I will remember it next time,” she said, finally, “And I will make sure I visit often.”
Belice beamed brighter and nodded. “Does Alexcent treat you well?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Amethyst, “He is very doting and attentive.”
“I am so jealous!” said Belice, “I heard you turned the table on the nobles?”
Amethyst blushed. Belice was talking about the fireworks. “Ah, I…” Amethyst stammered, “I pestered him. It wasn’t his fault.”
“That’s alright,” said Belice, chucking, “I am just surprised that there is such a side to Alexcent.”
Belice glanced at Alexcent, who was casually sipping his tea pretending that he hadn’t heard anything. I wonder if he really doesn’t care about this conversation or just pretending, thought Belice.
“By the way, Lady Skad,” said Belice, turning to Amethyst, “Will you be attending the hunting match hosted by the imperial family? I am really looking forward it for the first time in a long time. I would love for you to attend.”
Before Amethyst could reply, Alexcent intercepted. “She will not be attending it, Your Highness,” he said, briskly.