Chapter 17

But he was a busy man. She couldn’t selfishly burden him with her troubled emotions.

 

Biting the inside of her cheek, she held back. Her head felt slightly heavy. She needed to go home and rest. The conversation with Siasen had drained her. She would need to gather her thoughts and reconsider everything later.

 

“Milord said he might finish his schedule early and come to pick you up,” Seryam informed her.

 

“Garcia?” she questioned, surprised.

 

“He finished early? That’s unlike him…” Grand Duke Hereyan murmured, glancing at Ana with a peculiar expression. A faint vitality returned to her pale face. Seeing how a spouse’s absence could affect one’s state was amusing.

 

Ana looked around, saying almost automatically, “That’s unusual. I thought he would be busy.” Indeed, he had mentioned being not too busy during breakfast. Maybe… Her small glimmer of hope was interrupted by familiar footsteps.

 

Garcia’s steps were always precise and dignified, reflecting the disciplined and noble character of a well-educated man. As Ana turned, their eyes met. His golden gaze enveloped her, bringing warmth back to her chilled limbs. He was already close.

 

“Ana.”

 

He had no idea how desperately she had wanted to see him. Just minutes ago, she was trembling with unease like a leaf in the wind.

 

Garcia immediately embraced his wife and kissed her cheek. The small warmth reassured her. He had come for her.

 

Everyone around glanced at them, an eye-catching couple. The presence of a noble Grand Duke and Garcia, who were always in the public eye, made them stand out.

 

“Did you enjoy the exhibition, Wife?” he asked, his attention always first and foremost on her.

 

Ana nodded, holding his hand tightly. His golden eyes studied her face intently.

 

Then Grand Duke Hereyan interjected, “Always a perfect couple. Are you showing off for my sake?”

 

“If you’re envious, why not get married? Even the emperor encourages you to settle down,” Garzia replied, his gaze shifting to the Grand Duke with polite yet unmistakable disapproval. A subtle, soft coolness marked his demeanor. Even in the presence of royalty, he stood his ground.

 

“Don’t add to my headache, Garcia. My hair’s falling out enough as it is,”

 

“That’s up to you, Your Excellency.”

 

 “So harsh.”

 

Garcia’s gentle laughter was met with Grand Duke Hereyan’s mock annoyance. The boyish complaints suited the Grand Duke. And despite his flamboyant lifestyle, he was still likable.

 

Ana couldn’t help but smile slightly. Then Garzia’s hand tenderly moved to her shoulder and neck. It wasn’t an intimate caress, but it naturally drew her gaze to him. Their eyes met.

 

He said, “We should get going. My wife has been busy lately. I want her to rest.”

 

“That’s true. She looked a bit dizzy coming down the stairs. Take good care of her.”

 

“Your Excellency! It’s not that serious, Honey.” Ana protested, flustered.

 

Garcia raised an eyebrow. “Dizzy?”

 

“Yes, she was unsteady on the stairs. Luckily, I was there to assist her.” The Grand Duke’s light-hearted nature was evident.

 

Ana remained silent under Garcia’s scrutinizing gaze. Touching her forehead briefly, he spoke more firmly, “Let’s go.”

 

“Right, off you go.” The Grand Duke nodded and gave permission.

 

Garcia bowed briefly before leading Ana away, briefly glancing at the servant and maid who had been attending to Ana. They all flinched and bowed as his gaze became colder than usual.

 

Ana gripped the hand she was holding even tighter. Garcia silently focused on escorting her. As soon as they got into the carriage, he touched her cheek and gently cupped her face. His voice, mixed with concern, wrapped around her like warm water.

 

“You look pale. You seem to have a slight fever.”

 

“I’ll be better after some rest,” she murmured in an excuse-like tone. Saying she was okay would only return a stern and clear gaze. That would make her even more embarrassed. She resented her prone-to-sickness physique.

 

So, instead of saying she was okay, she burrowed into his embrace, resting her head on his shoulder. Solid and warm. She sighed in relief, like a bird returning to its nest. Being by this man’s side made her irrationally confident that everything would be alright. She liked the unconditional peace and courage that only Garcia could provide.

 

The man who held her head naturally asked softly. “Ana, did something happen?”

 

The voice above her was warm and sweet, just a note lower. Ana mumbled in a closed tone. “No.”

 

His long fingers reached out, gently stroking her head and cheek. She looked like she would fall asleep soon.

 

His fingertips skillfully removed the pins holding up her hair. Her platinum blonde hair cascaded down her neck and shoulders, and Ana opened her eyes to look up at him. Garcia’s inscrutable golden eyes were looking down at her.

 

His firm touch continued to unravel the silky, thread-like hair. The movements were leisurely and smooth as if he were dealing with his own realm and possession. Just letting her hair down changed her appearance. Her long hair flowed over her fair forehead, ears, cheeks, and down her slender neck.

 

His deep gaze watched his wife transform from an elegant lady to a girl or a secretly unraveled figure in the bedroom. There was a light of exploration in his eyes.

 

The husband’s hands delved through the lush platinum hair. The stiff fingertips soothingly pressed against her scalp elicited a sigh from her. Her headache somewhat subsided.

 

“Seems unwell.”

 

He spoke softly, or perhaps it was just to himself. It was an ambiguous whisper as if she could respond if she wanted to or remain silent if she preferred. Naturally, Ana leaned on her husband’s hand and replied.

 

“People…”

 

“Yes.”

 

“There were just too many people. It’s exhausting…”

 

She wasn’t sure what she was saying and rubbed her cheek against his shoulder. It seems fine now. She was on her way home with her husband.

 

Listening quietly to his wife, the man caressed the small body in his hands and drew her closer. She snuggled in more obediently. Garcia kissed her forehead.

 

“I was tired today too. We should have just stayed at home.”

 

“That would have been nice.”

 

If I had known it would be so heart-stirring and painful, I would have just stayed home with you.

 

Feeling drowsy, she remembered something she should have asked earlier. “Why did you come so early today? Even His Excellency seemed surprised.”

 

Garcia laughed lightly amidst the carriage’s gentle vibrations, still pressing his lips to her forehead. Well…

 

“I just kept thinking about you today.”

 

He then concluded briefly. Just that. Then, the carriage was filled with a peaceful silence, mixed with the sound of the coachman handling the horses.

 

Ana thought to herself only after arriving home in his embrace. That was a very uncharacteristic answer from this man.

 

* * *

Ana pondered how to dissuade Siasen. She was unsure how to express her clear intentions. Given past experiences, meeting in person was not a wise choice. Thus, she decided to write a letter.

 

After much writing, crumpling, and erasing, all her attempts ended up in the fireplace. Being overly detailed felt pathetic, but she didn’t know how else to convey her feelings. The noble etiquette of writing polite and elegant letters was utterly useless here.

 

Eventually, Ana realized that all the letters she had written in her life had only contained very light feelings, mere shells. After sending the maids away and struggling in the study for a while, she finally managed to complete a letter.


***

We’ve opened a kofi-shop for this novel, where you can read chapters in advance for a whole month! Tier 1 consists of 5 advanced chapters, and Tier 2 of 8. 

Tier 1 (updated till chapter 22): Link

Tier 2 (updated till chapter 25): Link

***

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: click here. Once we receive 6$, an advance chapter will be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting!

Notes

N/A

DISCUSSION

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You might also like