How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 154. Background (5)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Annette’s eyes lowered, trembling at the dreadful word. She had intended to leave Raphael regardless, but hearing the word divorce made her feel like she was crumbling.
“Don’t tell me you think he would stand by you,” her father said, with a look of disgust. “He’s the King’s dog! He would have nothing if it weren’t for his father. He would never choose you. If he did, he would lose everything. What man would want to return to such misery?”
Every word stabbed at her heart like a blade, and Annette’s hand pressed against her chest as if she felt the wound. She remembered what Raphael had said. He considered the King his benefactor, and even if Selgratis was too distant to feel a member of his family, Raphael was still grateful to him.
Tears streamed steadily from her eyes. Hounds would trust their master, even unto their death. They would never see the blade in his hands even as he called them back, and they would come with their tails wagging.
I can’t let that happen to him.
She was done talking to her father. Annette rose from her chair, feeling suddenly that she had to hurry home and see Raphael right now. And while Allamand didn’t bother trying to dissuade her, he couldn’t help clicking his tongue.
“How is your health?” He asked as she was leaving, as if he had just remembered.
“Fine. I am taking care of myself.”
“Then there will be no problem.” Allamand’s eyes moved away, and he looked tired as he reached for another cigar and lit it.
“Why do you suddenly care about that?” Annette asked, pausing in the door. She was suddenly uneasy.
“King Selgratis was a warrior once, who defeated the Letan traitors with his own sword,” he father answered. “But he changed over time. He replaced violence with trickery.”
Her father never wasted time with nonsense when he spoke. Annette listened as he exhaled another puff of smoke.
“The King has been investing money in medicine lately. Sufficient that even ordinary citizens find themselves deluged with cheap drugs. The capitals’ alleys are awash with them. It is bedlam.”
Having just toured Gruti-4 herself, Annette understood exactly what he meant. There were so many addicts in the capital, and so many people dealing, they would mistake even Annette for a drug dealer. As she caught her breath, Allamand gave her a thin smile.
“Don’t forget the lesson, my child. Once you feel the pain, it’s already too late.”
* * *
At this same time, Raphael was meeting with Hamilton, a conversation that began with hard liquor. Hamilton listened with interest to a full accounting of Raphael’s confession to Annette. His interpretation of what had happened was immediately clear. Posted only on NovelUtopia
Hamilton stuffed a slice of smoked ham in his mouth.
“So, she rejected you.”
“No, she didn’t.”
“What? It’s obvious.”
“I said she didn’t, ass,” Raphael snapped, rising from his seat. Hamilton was hitting him where it hurt, enough that he wanted to shake the older man by the throat. It was even more infuriating because Hamilton was stroking his mustache with that little smile. He enjoyed pricking Raphael’s masculine pride.
“She is so defensive. It’s like she thinks she doesn’t belong here,” Raphael said. “If I don’t do something, she really might leave.”
“Tsk. A woman leaves a man if he’s really bad.”
Hamilton chuckled at the younger man’s distress. Raphael had grown up to be a hard man, and the opportunities to needle him were never to be missed. But Raphael’s tongue was equally sharp.
“You talk as if the same thing didn’t happen to you. Didn’t your wife leave you?”
Hamilton had done many things for the King, when he was younger. He had won all the glory any man would want, but it had cost him his wife. Now in his older years, Hamilton was alone.
The provocation was successful. Hamilton threw a piece of cheese at Raphael.
“If I ever meet Annette again, I will arrange for her boat myself.”
Raphael laughed as he dodged the missile easily. Well, he wanted to laugh. But his mouth hardened at the bare thought of Annette leaving him.
This wasn’t the first time Hamilton had teased him about this, but this time, he wasn’t laughing.
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