Roseline questioned, “Do you really have to conquer others to get your freedom?”
Melchor raised an eyebrow at the word “conquer,” which was a habit of his when he was agitated but seemed dishonest to Roseline, who was not aware of his feelings.
Though Roseline was young and came from a modest family, the couple was equal. She glared at him with resentment in her eyes.
“Is that so? If His Majesty the Stern Grand Duke desires it, then I must comply.”
“So what…” Melchor trailed off, unable to speak. Roseline was in his arms, appearing as if she might collapse at any moment.
He wasn’t restrained, but he couldn’t move. His mind went blank, and his body seemed to be acting on its own.
Melchor felt the warmth of flesh through her sheer nightgown, causing him to nearly faint. It was the first time he had felt such a soft and warm sensation. No, it was the second time. Memories of his frantic escape from his bedroom flashed through his mind before dissipating.
“Look at me. Are you not going to respond? Do you want to see how much I can do?” Roseline’s resentful voice pierced through the air, but Melchor couldn’t find the words to answer. He had faced battles with greater bravery than any knight, so why did he feel so weak now?
A handful of Roseline’s waist pressed against Melchor’s abdomen, and a soft piece of flesh moved gently on top of his thick clothing. Melchor bit his tongue, unsure if the liquid in his mouth was blood or saliva.
“Roseline, stop!” He wanted to stop her, but his mouth wouldn’t move. He couldn’t catch his breath and looked down at his delicate wife in his arms.
“Are you really going to make me do everything?” Roseline’s words pierced through the air. Melchor took a trembling breath, feeling as though scorching heat was emanating from the top of his head.
“Are you not going to touch me?” Roseline asked.
“Touch?” Melchor trailed off, immediately regretting his response. It was a stimulus he couldn’t bear.
“Stop,” Melchor pleaded, praying to a god he didn’t believe in. The problem was that Roseline’s voice sounded more serious than pleading, making it difficult to refuse her advances.
“Is it because I’m incapable?” Roseline stepped back, her expression melancholy.
Melchor breathed a sigh of relief as he narrowly avoided the crisis of her teetering on the edge of a cliff.
He asked, “Why, why are you doing this?”
“If you didn’t like it, you should have touched me however you wanted; I did my best too,” Roseline replied.
“Then don’t say it like that,” Melchor said, taking a deep breath and closing and opening his eyes slowly. His heart, which he thought had stopped, started beating explosively as his body made contact with hers.
“You said this morning that you would perform your duties as my wife from now on, didn’t you?” he asked.
“I did,” Roseline confirmed.
The mere thought of Roselyn, while he was married to Roseline, sent shivers down his spine. Melchor reassured Roseline that he would never again engage in even a mental affair with her. But what did that have to do with this situation? Roseline seemed lost in a foggy haze, alternating between dizziness and a hazy mood.
Roseline narrowed her eyes as she read the genuine embarrassment in Melchor’s expression. “So you really just sent it for no reason?”
Melchor was confused. “Sent what?”
“A card,” Roseline replied.
Melchor realized he had sent her a card, but he couldn’t remember what he had written on it. He had deleted all the phrases that looked cool and couldn’t recall what he had ultimately written. “Roseline, I sent you…” he trailed off, unsure.
Melchor cringed at his own question about the card. Was he really so forgetful that he couldn’t recall what he had written? He quickly changed his words.
“When you received my card, what did you think?” he asked.
“I felt embarrassed,” Roseline replied.
“Embarrassed? Why?” Melchor wondered if he had written something embarrassing on the card.
“It was a bit silly,” Roseline said. “I thought you were impatient. Of course, it’s natural for you to want to fulfill your duty as a husband, so it’s not wrong…”
Melchor was astounded by her words. Had he really written something so pathetic that Roseline thought he was impatient? He wanted to find the card and burn it immediately, but it was too late.
“Roseline, you misunderstood. I didn’t mean to come across as impatient,” he explained.
Roseline realized she had misunderstood Melchor’s intentions and didn’t feel particularly angry or unfair about it. “I guess I misinterpreted your message,” she said.
Melchor couldn’t understand why Roseline had been so offended by the misunderstanding, but he didn’t dare ask.
“I’m not very good at communicating, but I don’t think we’re very compatible,” he said.
“You don’t think we’re compatible?” Roseline repeated.
Melchor’s mind was racing, trying to figure out how to explain himself to Roseline. He didn’t want her to think he was making excuses or looking for a way out of their conversation. He just wanted her to understand that he was willing to take responsibility for any misunderstandings between them.
“Roseline, what I mean is that I want to be clear with you. I don’t want there to be any more misunderstandings between us, and I’m willing to take responsibility for my part in any confusion.”
Roseline looked at him, her expression still slightly confused, but she seemed to be listening.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of culture or intelligence. I think it’s a matter of communication. I want to work on our communication and make sure we understand each other.”
Roseline nodded slowly as if she were beginning to understand. Melchor felt a wave of relief wash over him. He had been afraid that Roseline would think he was trying to blame her or make excuses, but it seemed like she was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“Okay,” she said finally. “I understand. Let’s work on our communication.”
Melchor smiled, feeling a weight lift off his shoulders. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but he was willing to put in the effort to make things work between them. As long as they were both willing to communicate openly and honestly, he was sure they could overcome any obstacle.
As the situation started to spiral out of control, Melchor quickly realized that it would be better to stop speaking with Roseline and retreat.
“You should rest, Roseline,” he said before turning around with a stern expression. He strode towards the door, opening it swiftly but silently. A large shadow vanished through the crack in the door, and it closed without a sound.
Roseline was left staring at the closed door, feeling bewildered. “What was he talking about?” she wondered. From the first time they met, Melchor had always said things that were difficult to understand. That much was certain.
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