< — I love you — > (5)
Hugo thought that women only loved his wealth and power, but now he thought it was fortunate he was able to obtain her through his wealth and power. Even if it wasn’t because of fate but a matter of mere coincidences, it didn’t matter.
“…I didn’t mean to describe you as a gambling bet.”
Lucia tried to explain but Hugo was fine with it anyways.
“So. Was your gambling successful? Enough that if you could choose again, you would make the same choice?”
He grabbed her chin and slowly rubbed her red lips with his thumb. Feeling his slow and meaningful touch, Lucia’s face grew flushed. His insistent gaze on her made her feel overwhelmed. Her heart pounded at the strange sexual tension in the air. He had a languid look in his eyes as if he would pounce on her at any moment. Lucia replied like she was bewitched.
“No. There was actually one more option I didn’t know about.”1
Lucia suddenly hugged his neck and gave him a smacking kiss. Looking into his disconcerted, wavering eyes, Lucia smiled oddly.
“Virility.” (T/N: male sex drive)
As he pounced on her, Lucia burst into laughter. He kissed her lips, eyes, jaw and neck at random without any inhibitions and as she pushed him while avoiding his teasing bites, she laughed till she was out of breath.
Hugo was thrilled to hear her clear laughter. He never ever wanted to lose this sound. The words she said, thanking him for marrying her made him feel overwhelmed again. He wanted to tell her his feeling as well, so that she could also feel what he was currently feeling.
“Vivian. I don’t think I’ve said it either.”
“Thank you for coming and proposing to me that day.”
Lucia suddenly couldn’t breathe. His red eyes were filled with love and joy, and her body froze stiff.
‘Ah…I can’t do this anymore.’
Her eyes were sore. Tears welled up in her eyes, filling them up in spite of herself. She watched his red eyes tremble with confusion. When she closed and re-opened her eyes, her blurred vision became clear as hot tears flowed down her cheek.
Her heart was too full for words and she couldn’t bear the feeling that threatened to swallow her from head to toe. Her love for him was overflowing and spilling over. She couldn’t hide it anymore.
“I love you, Hugh.”
The words left her mouth on their own, bursting out from deep within her heart. At the same time she confessed, Lucia realized something. She could not even imagine a life without him.
He was looking at her with an expression like he was struck by lightning. Lucia watched the emotions in his briefly frozen eyes changed from one to another, moment by moment. Surprise, doubt, and then joy. Seeing his eyes finally trembling with delight, Lucia came to a realization.
‘He loves me. This man…he loves me.’
Her whole body trembled with excitement, but strangely, she wasn’t that surprised. It seemed like subconsciously, she kept thinking it might be possible. It was just that she couldn’t confront it directly. The tears refused to stop. Lucia looked at him with teary eyes and smiled happily.
“Will you give me a rose?” (Lucia)
Hugo was startled. His dazed senses which were drowning in ecstasy instantly sobered up. Her eyes and cheeks were all wet with tears and her smile seemed like an illusion, so Hugo reached out and cupped her cheek in his hands. The vivid sensation in his hands was not a mirage. He gave a wry smile.
“You really are a witch.”
Talking about a rose in this situation. Hugo truly wanted to root out all the roses in the world, pile them up, and set them all on fire. That way they could never come close to her. It was an ominous but happy feeling.
Hugo pulled her into his arms and kissed her wet eyes. The salty taste of her tears felt sweet to him. He lowered his head and kissed her red lips. He swept through the deep, tender flesh of her mouth and gazed at her trembling eyelashes. The soft, sweet kiss gave a new, different feeling from usual. When the kiss came to an end, he took his lips away.
He looked into her clear amber eyes and she looked back at him. Her eyes were completely filled with his image.
His throat felt sore, so he stopped talking and audibly cleared his throat. So, this is what being choked up feels like. Hugo learned a new emotional state with his senses. And his mind was blank on what to say.
‘She said she loves me…? Me…?’
He didn’t think she had lied. But he couldn’t believe it either. It felt like some colossal powers had conspired together and were making fun of him. His silence grew longer.
Lucia tried not to rush him, but a little anxiety remained at the bottom of her heart. She wanted to hear assurance from him.
“I love you.” (Lucia)
He frowned as if he was hurting somewhere.
“I love you. Hugh.”
He uttered a sigh that was more like a groan.
“Let me rest a little. I can’t even breathe.”
Lucia burst out laughing.
“Won’t you say it to me?”
“…It’s too short.”3
I love you. His feelings couldn’t be expressed in just those three words. His heart was overflowing, and he was unable to control it. He didn’t know how that short phrase could express what he was feeling.
She was his joy and his pain. The joy came from the relief he felt when he held her in his arms, and the underlying pain came from the fact that they had to be two separate people. Her smile was his happiness and her tears were his pain.
He had never actually felt the limitations of the human language before. But that was the only word possible. Even if it felt like something he couldn’t fathom was forcing him into a small box, there was nothing he could use but that phrase.
Hugo squeezed her tightly in his arms. He wrapped his arms strongly around her back and pressed their chests tightly together so that they could feel the heartbeats of each other with their entire body. The warmth coming from the body in his arms made him feel emotional. For a long time, she had been his wife and his woman, but it occurred to Hugo that only now was he able to have all of her and she had given all of herself to him.
“You are my heart. I love you.” (Hugo)
Hearing the soft voice by her ear, Lucia’s eyes welled up with tears again. She leaned her head on his shoulder and felt the sound of a beating heart echo throughout her entire body; she didn’t know whether it was his heartbeat or her own. The inside of her chest ached with deep overflowing emotions.
Now she knew why the human reaction dulled in proportion to the time and frequency the body was exposed to stimulation. If she kept on feeling this same degree of happiness and excitement, her heart would stop.
1. She uses the word for yes here. But this is one of those weird time when the word for ‘yes’ in Korean, means ‘no’ in English.
2. He’s saying she played him like a witch. Literal translation is “this witch-like woman”. I was gonna translate this to minx but thought better of it.
3. Again, [I love you] is one word in Korean. But in order to avoid disconnection as you guys read, I wrote three instead of one.