< — Meeting People — > (5)
The carriage arrived at the Ducal residence. A servant opened the door from outside but Hugo could not get up. His wife was in deep sleep on top of his legs.
She was fine when they were going to the palace but on the way back, not too long after they entered into the carriage, she began to nod off. And when he moved to seat next to her, she leaned on him and quickly fell asleep.
‘She must have been very nervous. And tired too.’
She was admirable. She handled herself purposefully on that big stage without making a single mistake. Since he had stuck to her today like he was showing her off, no one would dare try to touch her.
He could not gather people together and warn them like he did in the north. So today, he warned people using his actions: If you want to touch the Duchess, remember that the Duke of Taran is behind her.
Her hair was pinned well at the party but as she lay on his lap on the way home, a part of it got loose. Hugo enjoyed the feeling of running his fingers through her soft flowing hair. His expression as he looked at his wife was undeniably gentle. The moment was so peaceful that he wished it could last forever.
In order not to wake her up, he carefully wrapped his arm around her back and weaved his arm under her leg then he lifted her into his embrace. He entered the mansion with her in his arms and climbed up the stairs to the bedroom. As he placed her on the bed, Lucia who was in deep sleep a moment ago, blinked her eyes.
Hugo took her outstretched hand and pressed his lips to her palm.
She blinked a few more times, staring at him vacantly and gradually, her sight became clearer.
“…I unknowingly fell asleep.”
Thanks to the short sleep, her mind felt more refreshed. She began to sit up and Hugo took her hand, helping her up.
“Could I have made a mistake I didn’t know about today?”
“Not at all.”
Lucia grabbed the rope at the bedside to call for the maid, then she came down from the bed. She wanted to take off her weighty dress. As soon as the maid came in, she asked the couple about dinner.
“I’m not in the mood. What about you?” (Lucia)
“I’m not in the mood either.”(Hugo)
The maid bowed and withdrew from the bedroom.
“Earlier…at the banquet hall. Sir. Ramis tried to give me a letter. I refused.”
Lucia rejected the letter but rumors in the social circle were unpredictable. Before her husband chanced upon some distorted rumor somewhere, she told him in passing as if it was a trivial matter.
Hugo’s face distorted in a frown. That bastard dared to ignore his warning.
‘What exactly is Fabian doing?’
How long had it been since he asked him to investigate and find out everything?! The innocent Fabian who worked hard day and night was caught in the crossfire.
“Nothing happened so don’t be upset with Duke Ramis.” (Lucia)
The Duke of Ramis and the Duke of Taran were both supporting and assisting the King. Lucia didn’t know a lot about politics but she knew that much. It would be problematic if these two powerful men became estranged because of a minor emotional issue.
“I’m worried that your work would be affected because of a minor issue.” (Lucia)
“You don’t have to worry about anything.” (Hugo)
If it was in the past, he would get rid of something once it became an eyesore. He didn’t care what happened afterwards. Even if it was the Duke of Ramis himself instead of the Duke’s eldest son, he would not give a damn. If he caused trouble, someone would have to deal with the aftermath but so what. He didn’t care what became of the family and to him who only lived to kill time, there was nothing in the world that he was afraid of.
However, it was different now. There was an existence he had to protect. In order to protect his wife from all the hardships of the world, he also had to protect his family, its power and its wealth.
“Well, indeed. I dare say you know very well what to do.” (Lucia)
Hugo looked at her, who was smiling lightly, and hugged her from behind, placing a kiss on the back of her neck.
“You don’t have to worry, but you can worry.”
Even though he wanted to completely protect her so that she wouldn’t have any worries or concern, he wanted her to worry about him. He couldn’t explain his complicated feelings even to himself.
When he didn’t add anything after saying those puzzling words, Lucia just laughed it off.
* * *
After taking a simple bath and changing his clothes, Hugo went into the office. There was always a pile of work to be done. He looked through the couple of documents that he could examine quickly and signed his approval.
There was a light tapping on the door to the office and Hugo could sense someone come in. He still did not take his eyes off the paperwork.
When he heard a voice that wasn’t Jerome’s but a middle-aged woman’s, he lifted his eyes slightly.
“What is it?”
“Milady fell asleep while taking a bath. This doesn’t usually happen…”
If the maids could not wake her up no matter what, they would have to carry their Madam together and move her to the bed. Nevertheless, the maid came to inform Hugo. Her decision wasn’t wrong.
The Duke put down the document in his hand and gave an order, “You may withdraw and rest.”
After a while, Hugo entered the bathroom which was empty because all the maids had left. Lucia was asleep, soaking in the bathtub. Her nakedness shone brightly, submerged in the clear water. Hugo sat on the edge of the bathtub and rubbed her wet red lips with his finger. Even though it wasn’t possible, he subconsciously looked at his hand as if red water would be on it.
His gaze deepened as he watched her sleep like an innocent baby. Even though he was just looking at her, he felt a lump somewhere in his throat. It was a feeling that he couldn’t quite explain.
He rolled up his shirt and scooped her up from the water. He placed her on the towel that was spread on the bed and then wiped her wet body with another towel. In her dimly lit bedroom, her nakedness shone like the moon.
*I’m sure we can all guess what’s coming next. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
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