How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 15. Claire
This chapter has been re-worked by Regan, we have picked up the novel from chapter 64
A few days later, after he had finished his afternoon training, Raphael returned to the mansion, swiping at his sweat. His face was twisted with fury. It had been days since he had slept so well, and the accumulating deficit was having a profound effect on his sword skills.
I was in so much better shape after I slept.
He clicked his tongue at the memory of sleeping in Annette’s lap a few nights before. That day, he had felt so good, he was sure he would be able to break through and become a Sword Master at last. He had gone to sleep that night, certain he would be able to do it the next day.
But it was all just an illusion. His insomnia had come right back, and his performance with the sword declined. At this point, he would rather just sleep with Annette again, he thought, his stinging eyes filled with irritation.
Though she’d look at me like I’d lost my mind.
After all, he was the one who had told her never to come to his bedroom, and now he was desperate to sleep with her. But it was obvious what Annette, daughter of prideful Bavaria, would think if he asked. Though she was his wife, and had a duty to fulfill to sleep with him. And now that the gash on her forehead had healed, he didn’t have to worry about hurting her again.
Raphael decided to set his feelings for her aside. He couldn’t tell if it was just an unfortunate coincidence that Annette’s warmth had helped him to sleep well, but he really wanted to find out. His blue eyes were bloodshot with lack of sleep.
Entering the mansion, he looked around restlessly, then collared a passing maid.
The maid’s pupils quivered. She had been working several years at the Carnesis mansion, and it was the first time she had ever spoken to the young, fierce master of the house. Quickly, she bowed her head.
“Her ladyship has gone out today,” she answered. “She left a note for you, would you like me to bring it?”
Out? Raphael’s handsome brow furrowed. He assumed she would have gone back home, and felt strangely betrayed. He still hadn’t forgotten the insulting return of the wedding gifts, or the disrespectful behavior of the butler.
But in front of me, you pretended to be on my side.
Raphael frowned at the thought. He didn’t like to admit it, but he had been starting to believe in Annette, a little bit. But it seemed she would always be on her family’s side. By now she must be cursing him with them, and if she was that sort of sneaky Bavaria woman, then there was nothing to be done about it.
Clenching his jaw, he ordered the maid to fetch the note, then snatched it from her, skimming.
I’m going to visit the palace today. My new sister-in-law, Claire Lucid Bavara from the Chapelle Empire, is staying at the palace for the first time, so I’ve gone to see her at the Imperial Embassy, east of the palace. I’ll be back soon.
Raphael’s expression as he read the light pink, scented note paper was indescribable.
Well. It seemed Annette hadn’t gone to that damned Duke Bavaria. His anger quickly cooled, but discovering that his assumptions about Annette were wrong was not the only reason for his mixed feelings.
Annette’s handwriting was terrible.
Graceful Annette Bavaria, so carefully nurtured as the young lady of the most powerful ducal house, had left an ink-smeared mess that looked as if she had driven the pen nearly through the paper. It was amazing that using only the highest quality pen and her own luxurious stationary, she had produced something like this.
Gripping her letter, Raphael pondered. He could imagine Annette sitting with her new sister-in-law Claire, having a friendly tea together. His imagination produced two women in large, puffy dresses decorated with feathers and ribbons, and eating pink desserts.
Maybe they would be cursing him together while they ate their pink desserts.
He frowned. He hated the arrogant Bavarias, especially the Duke of Bavaria, who never missed a chance to insult Raphael whenever they ran into each other at the palace.
The greatest irony was that that man was now Raphael’s father-in-law. Sometimes the world was more ludicrous than any comedy.
But Annette Bavaria wasn’t…that bad.
The generous thought slipped out, and Raphael clicked his tongue. Maybe this was all Annette’s plan. She could be fooling him with that polite, gentle face, and laughing at his stupidity behind his back.
The thought made him feel dirty. He couldn’t let her go and insult him before her new sister-in-law, come all the way from the Chapelle Empire. He felt a sudden need to go to the palace himself. He had so many questions to ask his father, the King of Deltium, Selgratis.
Especially about Annette Bavaria.
The thought of his father made him scowl. King Selgratis always smiled at him warily, and Raphael hated going to the palace. But like some pathetic beggar, sometimes he had to do things that he hated.
Raphael had a feeling that today was going to be a very unpleasant day.
* * *
Contrary to Raphael’s wild imaginings, Annette’s tea time was neither pink nor sweet. Her new sister-in-law’s wrist, tilted to lift her teacup, was very sturdy. That hand was more accustomed to carrying a sword than a dainty teacup, and under the table was not the wide skirts of a rich gown, but the trousers of a knight.
Claire was an androgynous beauty with blue hair cut at the length of her chin, an outstanding knight that led the 3rd Knights Division of the Chapelle Empire. Sensing Annette’s gaze, she immediately set her cup down and began apologizing.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t come to the wedding, Annette. I was away on a really important mission.”
Her accent, blended with the Chapelle Empire’s accent, sounded rather harsh, but under her intimidating exterior, she was actually a very sweet person. She was still regretting that she had missed Annette’s wedding.
“No, I understand,” Annette replied. “The Empire was quite a mess, wasn’t it? With the attempted assassination on that commander. My God, I’m glad everything turned out all right.”
Smiling, Annette accepted the apology. Of course a knight couldn’t leave her commander for a wedding when someone was trying to kill him. Annette could understand that perfectly well. And her brother Arjen must have been as busy as Claire.
Blinking at Annette’s kind response, Claire slid out of her chair to hug her. Despite her very dignified appearance, she poured a shower of kisses onto Annette.
“You’re so sweet! How can a girl be so pretty! If I were a man, I would have married you by any means necessary, Annette Bavaria.”
“It’s Annette Bavaria Carnesis now,” Annette said, leaning into Claire’s embrace. “Don’t forget I am married.”
But Claire stopped and let her go. Her expression was suddenly somber.
“You really are all right, Annette? You said your husband is…Raphael Carnesis?”
Annette’s smile vanished. She was braced to hear Claire question his parentage, just like all the other nobles, and it wasn’t pleasant for Annette to listen to gossip about his illegitimate birth. But what popped out of Claire’s mouth was something entirely different.
“Raphael Carnesis, the Demon of the Battlefield? But I’d heard he preferred men, there are rumors that he had a relationship with his aide-de-camp. Is he really gay?”
Annette’s smile froze at those words.
What the hell are you talking about? My husband is gay and had a lover?