How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 23. Gifts are for the Recipient
This chapter has been re-worked by Regan, we have picked up the novel from chapter 64
Though she had succeeded in trapping him into tea, Annette couldn’t force Gerard to speak. As an experienced butler of the Bavaria family, he was no easy opponent. He evaded all her questions and explained that none of them were very important. Eventually, his cup was nearly empty.
What do I do?
Annette frowned, embarrassed. Gerard was not yielding to either persuasion or conciliation. Whatever explosions he had planned to set off, he was only going to do it for Raphael, and she couldn’t force him to speak when he was acting on Duke Bavaria’s orders. She was a Carnesis now. She had no authority to punish him for prioritizing her father’s command.
Under the table, her fingers clutched her skirt anxiously.
Gerard didn’t give her time to come up with another plan. Swallowing his last sip of tea, he looked at her with relief. Beneath his neatly combed blond hair, that face was as shrewd as her own.
“Thank you very much for the tea,” said Gerard, confident enough of his victory to say farewell. “I should be going. Thank you for your kindness, Marchioness.”
Watching him rise from his seat, Annette bit her lips. But at that moment, an idea flashed into her mind.
“I have a favor to ask before you go,” she said calmly, and Gerard was instantly alert. It was just a stalling tactic, a ruse to see if she could get something out of him. She wouldn’t give up so easily. “It’s nothing big, just a little personal favor. I’ve been learning to sing as a hobby, but I don’t know if I’m good, and I’d be ashamed to embarrass myself in front of anyone else. But you’ve known me since I was little, so it would be all right, if it was you. Would you listen to my song? It will just take a minute.”
Shamelessly, she used Prince Ludwig’s request on Gerard. He hesitated at the unexpected favor, but couldn’t refuse. Though he was following the orders of his master, he liked Annette.
“…I guess it will be all right, for a moment,” he said, after a moment’s worry.
Annette smiled gladly. It was the same smile as her maiden days, her eyes half-closed, and Gerard looked at her indulgently without realizing it. Observing this, Annette closed her eyes and sang.
The petals of the flower fall in fleeting streams of time
If the tragedy of their fall could only catch your lovely eyes a moment
It’s good, I will gladly fall before you in countless times…
It was an opera she had recently heard at court, though the song itself wasn’t important. She sang it as far as she could remember, thirty seconds or so of music, and then quietly opened her eyes. Sure enough, in less than half a minute, Gerard had fallen asleep on the couch. Annette blinked.
I guess this is really my ability.
But now was not the time to admire it. She didn’t know how long her power would keep someone asleep. Before he woke up, she wanted to quickly search his body. If she was lucky, she might be able to find some clue to his intentions.
“I’m sorry, Gerard,” she whispered, and began to search him. There was nothing in the pocket of his jacket, but fortunately there was a letter inside his vest.
Carefully, she opened it. The sender’s name wasn’t specified, she could recognize her father’s exquisite, refined handwriting. It was a single short sentence.
Gifts are for the recipient, not for the giver.
What did that mean? Annette pondered it. Allamand valued his aristocratic bloodline more than anything else, and used every possible opportunity to express it. Therefore, he thought it vulgar to state what he wanted outright. But Annette was his daughter, and knew how her father thought very well.
I’m sure you didn’t like the gifts Raphael sent you…
So he had sent them back, but based on this note, it seemed her father wanted another gift from Raphael.
That was why he kept sending Gerard. At first, she thought it was just an insult, to send Raphael a servant because a bastard deserved no better. But if that was all he wanted, he had already accomplished that. Her father wanted something else.
But what the hell could it be?
Annette frowned. The Duke of Bavaria was Deltium’s wealthiest and most powerful man. The Bavaria family lacked nothing. But Raphael was an emerging aristocrat who had just begun his family. He had a few properties and territories given as rewards for his achievements, but nothing at the level her father would covet. Searching her memories of her last life, Annette pondered.
Gerard’s delicate eyebrows furrowed, the sign that he was waking up. He had only been asleep five minutes, but it seemed Annette’s power was not strong enough to keep people unconscious for long. Before he woke fully, she hurriedly replaced the letter, then calmed herself and shook his shoulder lightly.
“Gerard. Gerard? Wake up, didn’t you say you had to go?”
At the sound of her voice, Gerard opened his eyes, disoriented. His soft eyelids were folded in multiple layers, and his dark green eyes drooped under golden lashes. He blinked.
“Miss Annette…” He smiled drowsily, catching her hand and laying a feathery kiss on the back. His young lady was so precious, there was nothing else he could do.
Annette smiled bitterly. Half-asleep, he was addressing her like a maiden again. Ignoring the error, she retrieved her hand from him and clapped both hands together to wake him up.
“Well, was my song really so boring, Gerard? You fell asleep before I even reached the end, I’m a little hurt,” she complained, pouting. Only then did his eyes clear as he remembered what had happened.
“I’m so sorry, Miss–” He began, very embarrassed that he had been so negligent as to fall asleep. “–I mean, Marchioness. That was unforgivably rude.”
“No,” Annette said sadly, with a lonely countenance. “How can I blame others, when I’m the one with no talent. Thank you for listening, even though you were busy. Hurry now, you’ll be late.”
“All right. I’ll be going now.”
He was still so drowsy, he didn’t even try to offer an excuse. Gerard felt as if he had been possessed by a ghost.
I’m not that tired, why did I fall asleep?
He had no idea what to do, and hesitated a moment before he lowered his head and left the Carnesis mansion.
* * *
That night, Annette waited eagerly for Raphael to return. She had tried to remember each and every memory of her previous life, but the relationship between her father had been solidly, consistently bad. She couldn’t imagine Raphael ever giving anything to her family.
All she could do was ask him directly. He probably knew what her father wanted.
Clasping her hands together anxiously, she waited. She was embarrassed and upset that her family kept doing this to him.
Did you marry me off to Raphael because you wanted something? Is that what this is about?
She would investigate that possibility, too. At first, she thought her marriage was just a settlement for the charges against her, and that her father had been forced to consent to it. She was of no value to him anyway if she couldn’t become the Crown Princess, and if he had refused the King, the whole story about the kidnapping would have spread throughout the kingdom, disgracing both her and the Bavaria family. That would have been a disaster so great, even the Bavarias could not save her.
But what if her father had had his own plans with her marriage? What if he had intended to use her to take something from Raphael, or use her as a bargaining chip?
Annette closed her eyes, remembering her father’s cold face at her wedding. Her head was spinning with all the possibilities.
How long have I been waiting?
A little after midnight, at last she heard the sound of Raphael coming in. Quickly, she went downstairs to welcome him.
“Raphael? Are you here? How was your meeting at the palace?”
He only looked at her with hazy eyes, and she could smell a strong scent of liquor on his breath. Looking into his eyes, Annette was suddenly nervous.