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As she nodded almost invisibly, Aslei took Frisia into his arms. His chest ached as her body felt too thin in his embrace.
His heart froze with distress that he might have starved her during these three years.
As he held her and put strength in his arms, he realized that he had never embraced her before.
‘You’re a foolish bastard!’
Even if he cursed himself for days, it would not be enough. He should have been trying to get closer to Frisia during those countless hours.
Frisia was confused as she felt her heart beat fast and pound loudly. She didn’t know why Aslei was doing this. She regretted being moved by his sad face and impulsively allowing this.
‘My heart is beating too fast and hard. Aslei will hear it!’
But he was not in the mood to let go. She did not know how much time had passed. Even though they had done worse last night, she was for some reason more ashamed now.
“…… Are you in touch with that man?”
At the words whispered in her ear, Frisia was dumbfounded. What man? Seeing her expression, Aslei smiled strangely.
He knew better than anyone else that there was no man she kept in contact with. Because as long as she was given romance novels and cake, she didn’t bother to go out. [t1v: i feel attacked]
That a commoner knight was the object of her unrequited love was a lie to protect herself.
Frisia, who had been scanning Aslei’s expression for a hint for an lengthy moment, belatedly realized what he was asking. Her long-standing falsehood that had never been mentioned again after she had signed the agreement with him.
“That is…… my one-sided love…… N-now I’m a married woman… ….”
“The term stated in the contract was three years.”
Frisia flinched at the mention of the contract that came up out of nowhere. Aslei, who felt it acutely as she was pressed up against him as he hugged her, looked at her gently.
His fine-grained blonde hair came close to her cheek as he bowed his head. His deep blue eyes, different from Frisia’s, met her eyes and approached the tip of her nose……. he stared at her lips again.
“I like my wife, Frisia.”
At his whispered words, Frisia’s eyes widened in astonishment. Aslei continued his words while looking into those blue eyes as if he was bewitched.
“I don’t want a divorce. Can’t you please remain my Duchess even after the term is over?”
What? She froze for a moment, but Frisia was startled and pushed him away. Aslei was heartbroken, but he quietly let her go.
“What do you mean—?”
Bewildered, Frisia looked at Aslei and then found her footing. Sorrow and misery mixed in her blue eyes.
“You are doing this because of yesterday! If you’re doing this to take responsibility—!”
“No! Frisia…… .”
Imploringly, Aslei pleaded with Frisia. His face turned red with a handsome blush.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time! However, it was difficult to find an opportunity……. That’s why I procrastinated telling you.”
“But…… what about Viscount Rowain?”
Frisia, like Aslei, was unaware of her spouse’s every move. She only guessed that he would stay in touch with Marianne away from her eyes.
“I had only spoken to Viscount Rowain a few times three years ago. We had only chatted a little, but haven’t seen each other since.”
At his earnest words, Frisia was confused. The day she first met him, he was the one who said nothing when she mentioned he liked Marianne.
“When I signed the contract, I knew that you had misunderstood me, but……. At the time, I did not correct your misunderstanding, as it was my priority at the time to sign and close on an advantageous deal. I apologize.”
It became difficult to get angry at his sincere apology. Especially since Frisia herself lied to Aslei.
She couldn’t believe all of this. How could he be free?
‘Aslei is the hero, right?’
During their first meeting, the original female lead captivated the male lead, Aslei, and the heroine quickly became close to him. There was no such thing as a series of exchanges and interruptions and reconnecting again.
Cautiously, Aslei approached Frisia, who was taking a step backwards from him. He was careful not to surprise her.
“Initially, I intended to go along with your plan. But as time passed as you accompanied me as my wife, I came to love you. I’ve fallen in love with you, Frisia.”
She blinked and opened her eyes, but Aslei was still in front of her.
It was neither a dream nor a fantasy.
“Frisia. It is my fault and due to my insensibility that I did not confess before we slept together last night.”
Aslei slowly knelt down before her eyes. It was so incredulously unbelievable that Frisia could only watch him in shock.
“Will you forgive me?”
What? No—I mean! Why are you on your knees?
Fortunately, there were no employees on the path or around here. She would have wanted to run away if he had done this in public.
“Wh-why are you on your knees! What did the Duke do wrong…….”
“It is an egregious enough crime I’ve committed to make my wife look like that.”
Since there was no mirror, Frisia did not know what kind of expression she was donning. But she could guess what kind of face she had made in front of Aslei.
That’s why she had blindfolded him.
“It’s not like that!”
Aslei did not have the courage to get up. Instead, he just walked over to her on his knees and grabbed her hand.
“Hey, get up!”
“If you allow me to kiss the back of your hand, I will get up.”
When asked to allow heart-stimulating behavior, Frisia paused but nodded hurriedly. Aslei smiled brightly and kissed the back of her hand.
At the touch of his hot lips, she felt a tingling sensation on the back of her neck.…
… I want something.
That was the expression on his face as he got up from kneeling before her and gazed deep into her eyes. He was still a shy and polite man, but something about him was different.