How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 14. Annette’s Lullaby
This chapter has been re-worked by Regan, we have picked up the novel from chapter 64
It would be a lie if she said she wasn’t scared. She was in a dark room, alone with a man so much larger than herself, a man who was armed with a sword and not in his right mind. Annette was scared to death.
But she couldn’t leave him all alone. It was true that she was frightened, but it made her feel strangely grateful to see this, to witness Raphael’s weakest moments, which he had fought so hard to hide. With great courage, she reached for his face, cupping his cheeks in her hands.
“Shh, Raphael. The war is over, you’re safe now, nothing bad will happen,” she whispered tenderly, patting his cheeks. “So put your sword down and come here, all right?”
Her small, warm hands caressed his face, his neck, his arms, over and over. Gradually, the distress disappeared from his face, and his taut body slowly relaxed.
Finally, he let go of his sword and let it fall on the floor. Most of it fell on the carpet, fortunately, so it didn’t make too much noise. Gently, Annette nudged the dreadful thing away from his feet, then sat on the couch, half-embracing Raphael’s bare upper body.
With both her small hands, she gently pressed him down until he was stretched out on the couch. She exhaled a huge sigh, relieved, but it was too soon to relax. Reclining on the couch, Raphael lifted his hands and looked at them dazedly, and then began to rub them against his trousers, as if he were trying to scrub something off them. The palms of those elegant hands quickly reddened, and Annette’s sign of relief became a long inhalation.
“Look at this,” he whispered. “It’s blood, isn’t it blood? I didn’t mean to do it, Robert, you know I didn’t, I didn’t want to, but…I couldn’t stop it…”
Rambling, he buried his face in his hands, as if the pain was too much to bear. Veins bulged in the backs of his hands as he tightened his grip on himself, and Annette sat by his side and grabbed those formidable hands in horror, gently pressing them down.
“I know,” she said. “You’re not bad at all, Raphael, stop tormenting yourself and go to sleep. Now, would you like to lie down? This way, yes, like that.”
It seemed to calm him. Following her hand, he laid down with his head in her lap. He was so tall, his legs hung off the couch a little, but at least he looked more comfortable. All that was left for him to find peaceful sleep.
But he couldn’t do that. Under his long lashes, his blue eyes stared blankly, wandering through the end of his nightmare, bloodshot. Her heart aching, Annette reached to brush his eyes closed, stroking his shoulders. He couldn’t sleep. He was gasping, over and over.
How can I help him?
She tried to think what she could do for him, and the only memory she could recall was a lullaby. Neither of her parents had cared enough for her to sing lullabies, so it must have been her nanny that sung it for her. Annette cleared her throat and began to sing, a little awkwardly.
Good night, darling
When the silver bead of the moon hangs along the black ridge
When the soft spring breeze blows kisses to the flowers
When the foam rushes and rumbles and swells on the sea
You will fall asleep
You will fall asleep in my arms…
The low, soothing song filled the silent room, and her soft hands stroked Raphael’s head, as if he were a helpless, beloved child.
The lullaby worked better than she thought. His ragged breathing slowed, and his eyes stopped darting and lurching behind his closed eyelids. After a while, she could hear him breathing slow and deep. He had finally fallen into a deep sleep.
Annette looked down at him, humming the melody of her lullaby softly. When he was sleeping so peacefully, he looked so exhausted. He must have been having difficulty sleeping for a very long time.
Only now did she realize why he was drunk every night. Even now, she could smell the faint scent of alcohol on his breath. It was because of his insomnia.
Under the strict discipline of her father, Annette had lived a well-ordered life. She always rose early in the morning to start her day, while Raphael would often wake late, and only appear after noon with bloodshot eyes. Before, Annette had despised that dissolute appearance. But now that she had seen his weakness, she felt sorry for him. Annette understood very well what these symptoms meant.
It’s probably the war, isn’t it? He must have seen something…traumatic.
The Kingdom of Deltium had been at war a few years before. More than a hundred years ago, Deltium had occupied Letan, a neighboring kingdom, and insurgent forces had recently risen up and claimed independence. They had started a war and even enlisted the aid of foreign allies. It had cost quite a lot of blood to suppress it.
Raphael had fought on the front lines of the war. Talented and relentless, he had built up a huge army and won sweeping victories, always with arrogance, as if it were only natural that he would win. He was proud and self-righteous, cold and impenetrable as well-forged mithril, as if nothing could ever hurt him.
No one, not even Annette, had suspected the darkness hidden behind that pride.
“You stubborn fool,” Annette whispered, touching his sculpted cheek. Even asleep, his brows wrinkled up in a frown. It seemed even in his sleep, those beastly senses knew when his wife was calling him an idiot.
When she saw that, she burst into giggles. No matter how angry he got, he would never be so frightening to her again. Now she knew that he was a normal person, with his own scars and heartaches.
“Good night, Raphael. My brave husband,” she whispered in his ear, hoping he would rest peacefully for today. The wrinkles in his forehead smoothed out.
Annette laughed silently to herself. The peaceful night deepened.
* * *
The sunlight pouring through the window was dazzling. Reflexively, Raphael frowned. He felt strange even before he got up. Something was different today.
Even half asleep, Raphael realized he felt better than he had felt in years. For the first time in a long time, he felt as if he had slept well. His bedroom looked no different when he opened his eyes, but something was strange nonetheless. He saw his feet dangling off the edge of the sofa and realized what it was.
I must have fallen asleep here last night.
It wasn’t so strange that he had fallen asleep in one place and woke up in another. Raphael was well aware of his tendency to sleep walk. Maybe he had tripped over the small sofa and fallen into the best sleep he’d ever had.
What a strange thing to do.
But he felt good, in better shape than he had been in a long time. He wanted to go out and train immediately, and see if he might break through to become a Sword Master, but when he tried to rise, he suddenly realized there was something very warm and soft under him.
Confirming the identity of his pillow only added to his confusion. Raphael wondered if he was still dreaming.
Why is she here?
In the corner of the sofa, Annette was sleeping. Her face looked unusually small and pale with the bandage on her forehead, and Raphael gazed at her closed eyelashes, her petal-like lips slightly parted. Drawn by her beauty, he thoughtlessly reached out to touch her face and neck. He told himself he was only checking her temperature, but honestly, there was something strange inside him that made him want to touch her. The feeling of her against his fingertips was like silk.
Fortunately, though she was a little chilled, her temperature felt fairly normal. The cut in her forehead had closed and didn’t seem quite so bad. Raphael withdrew his hands and clicked his tongue, disapproving.
If you’re hurt, you should stay in your room and rest. Why are you..
His face suddenly hardened at the ominous thought. Grabbing her shoulder, he shook her roughly to wake her up.
Dragged violently from her dreams, Annette woke with a gasp of surprise.
Raphael glared. She looked like a rabbit caught in a trap, and he wrapped his arms around her before she could escape and bent his head, his eyes level with hers.
“Did you see it?” He demanded in a terrible voice.
“What? What do you…”
“Last night. Did you see me?”
Having just been awakened, Annette was confused at his sudden hostility. But as soon as she heard the question, she realized what he was asking. His blue eyes glared, pretending anger, but she could see the anxiety underneath. Proud Raphael must have been afraid she had caught him sleepwalking.
How should she answer this? Annette swallowed dryly.
She decided to protect his pride first, even if it meant a lie. She lowered her eyes as she explained, in case he might detect it.
“No, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I must have gone to the wrong room. I woke up and I was thirsty, but it was so dark, I must have come to the wrong room. I was going to go back to my room at dawn, but I must have fallen asleep. I’m sorry.”
Fortunately, she looked sincere enough for Raphael to doubt himself. And while he was trying to decide, she slipped out of his arms and tried to escape.
“I won’t do it again, I’m sorry. I’ll let you be…yaah!”
Raphael caught her waist from behind and bit the earlobe peeking through her hair. He thought she was hiding something, but there was no way to prove it either way. He remembered nothing of last night.
Resentfully, he bit her ears several times, then licked the smooth nape of her neck. She tasted indescribably sweet. What had begun as a punishment ended up stirring his c0ck awake, which wasn’t difficult in the morning.
Should I just do it? he wondered, looking down at Annette, who was gently pinned in his arms. The sight of the white bandage on her small head bothered him. Raphael liked rough s3x, but if he rolled on top of her now, her wound might open and bleed again.
She was such a frail woman.
“Go. If you come into my room again, it won’t end here,” he threatened, pushing her coldly away. The way he turned his back, it seemed he was furious, and Annette hurried from the room. He hadn’t seemed fooled by her lie, it was lucky that she could escape.
Annette swiped at her ear and neck, damp from his saliva. He had always liked to lick and bite her. It hadn’t changed from the past to the present. Her husband had always been such a beastly man.