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‘It’s not a big deal.’
‘You will soon be forgotten.’
Frisia was sure about that. That’s what eventually happened to all memories. Memories that are not cherished over and over again fly away.
That night with Aslei was not a memorable one to hold onto. Instead, she could only recall her lonely struggle. She had covered Aslei eyes with a cloth, making his expression difficult to discern.
‘It wasn’t that bad. Just—’
She was miserable. Everything was dismal. She had thought everything was fine so far. In fact, she actually professed she was really alright too. Even though her fixed marriage had an end, she had managed to get along with Aslei.
It just felt like last night ruined everything. What made her even more miserable was that his curse still remained, and she had to do it again tonight.
Aslei said it was tolerable, but the healer told her,
“The symptoms include a torturous pain that feels like it’s splitting your whole body apart…….”
It wasn’t called a curse for nothing. Aslei endured the pain for five days for her. Even now, he was paying lip service that he was fine for fear that she would overdo it.
‘He can’t be fine.’
This was probably the hardest on Aslei. There was another woman he liked, but now he was involved with another woman and had to walk on eggshells.
Last night Frisia locked the door connecting hers to the Duke’s room. She usually left it unbolted, but she felt strange yesterday.
And she avoided Aslei in the morning as well. Even though he looked like he wanted to talk to her.
‘But I’m afraid to face him.’
It didn’t mean that she was frightened by Aslei himself. But having to see his expression as he looked at her was terrifying. Frisia dreaded that she would witness his contemptuous disdain for her and that his bitter animosity about last night’s act would be evident.
‘The human heart is deceitful. I don’t care if Aslei hates me.’
He was a man of character who would keep his promise even if he hated Frisia. He would give her a clean divorce and protect her from the Duke of Atreille as he vowed.
However, she didn’t want to feel as miserable as she was human.
Wasn’t it a basic human desire to breed affection in relationships? Even more so if it involved acts of intimacy and vulnerability.
‘…… Some people are able to have one-night stands. But I am afraid I can’t.’
She used to be in a world where there were all types of people, and casual relationships were common. She wasn’t disappointed with herself because of her inability to be relaxed about this, but she was worried about what she had to deal with in the future.
It probably won’t end with tonight.
She didn’t know how many more days she would have to sleep with him. If she felt this way every time she did it…….
“It’s hopelessly bleak.”
Aslei’s heart, while spying from afar at the sound of her murmur, collapsed again.
❁ ❁ ❁
He stayed up all night with his eyes wide open. He had taken the documents from Sid, his secretary, and worked on them in his quarters besides Frisia’s room.
He was catching up on work because he had been unable to do any work for five days under the spell.
Then, on the pretense that he would happen to run into Frisia after she had woken up, he thought it would be the time to converse with her. But Frisia ended up saying she was tired and locked herself in her room.
Aslei couldn’t help but be restless as he could not talk to her.
Frisia got up late and had breakfast in her room. And when he felt her presence leaving her room, he couldn’t approach her. She had openly asked her maid ‘Is Aslei in the hallway?’
If Friscia wanted to speak with him, she only needed to knock on the side door. Aslei would have sent Sid out, opened the door, and invited her to come in.
But when she heard the maid’s reply that he wasn’t there, she hurried out into the hall and went downstairs.
‘You are avoiding me.’
It was a situation where she was too embarrassed to see his face. He was ashamed of himself too. For Frisia, who was shy, it was probably even harder for her.
‘Should I postpone facing her?’
It seemed the correct course of action at first glance, but on second thought, it felt cowardly. He couldn’t believe he was avoiding Frisia because he was afraid of how she would react. But on the other hand, it would be low of him to push Frisia when her overflowing emotions were too heavy. He couldn’t make a judgment based only on his own position.
‘What should I do? Should I do what Frisia wants?’
Having lost his parents in childhood and raised by the elderly Duke of Noh, Alsei knew very little about love and relationships. He had comrades around him, but they were all single-mindedly focused on wielding a sword or a pen and were devoid of any aptitude for courting.
I can’t even tell my secretary or lieutenant that my relationship with the Duchess is actually a contract marriage.
According to employees of the Duke’s estate, Aslei and Frisia had already had their first night three years ago. But in reality, it was just yesterday!
‘How does Frisia feel…..?’
Aslei had been contemplating and brooding over his relationship with Frisia all night long. They were a paper married couple whose contract was nearing the end, and she mistakenly under the impression that he fancied another woman.
It was the morning of the next day after they had consummate their relationship. According to her, she had sex with a man who loved another woman in order to save his life.
Aslei thought he would be angry if he were in Frisia’s position. She probably felt miserable too.
Still, he couldn’t help but be grateful it was Frisia and no one else he was involved with. But, of course, that was his feeling because she liked Frisia. It was different for her.
‘First of all……. We need to clear up that misunderstanding!’