How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 35. Things Couples Do
This chapter has been re-worked by Regan
The moment Raphael saw those pink eyes, he strangely felt nervous, his heart pounding wildly in fear of what she would say. And at first Annette didn’t take the question seriously, until she realized he was asking if she regretted marrying him.
In her last life, Raphael had kept his vows to the end. Even when she was helpless and suffering from that ugly illness, he had never looked at her with disgust. He had stayed with her until the day she died, no matter how bad her illness became. A man like that was rare in this world.
“Yes,” she said, smiling gently at him at this memory. “Even though it might be disrespectful to the royal family, I would rather have married you than become a princess.”
It was a strange reversal, that Annette would calmly say something so embarrassing, while Raphael’s face turned red as a beet when he heard it, and even redder when he realized it was the first time he had ever blushed in front of a woman. It was the sweetest thing he had ever heard.
He knew what he was. In a society like Deltium that valued noble lineage, he was often ridiculed for his low birth, and his half-brother was the Crown Prince. Raphael was acutely aware of his own inferiority, and so he lashed out at Annette, knowing that for a woman who had hoped to be Crown Princess and would even go so far as to attack her competition, this marriage was as good as a death sentence.
This marriage could never be legitimate in her eyes. She had been promised a treasure and ended up with trash, and Raphael was too proud to let anyone treat him that way. He would give up on this marriage before she could. It had been evident in his cold attitude from the beginning.
But did she really mean it? She really thought it was better to marry him than the Crown Prince?
Raphael turned his back, trying to control his expression when the corners of his mouth were trying to turn up in an irrepressible smile. It was shallow of him to be so easily moved, and he was worried that she might see how red his face was even in the darkened hallway.
But Annette was unaware of the earthquake she had caused in his heart, and only thought he was going to bed. Maybe he would even be able to sleep comfortably, since she had gone to Robert’s grave with him.
“Good night, Raphael,” she said, warm and sincere.
“…Annette,” Raphael said, just as she was about to turn away, and Annette looked up at him quizzically.
Raphael hesitated. His eyes dropped to the floor as he fought with himself, forcing the words out.
“That…sometimes…do you mind if I sleep in your bed?”
Inside, she laughed at the question. He had never bothered to ask before, and mostly his entrances to her bedroom were abrupt, slamming the door open without knocking, never mind asking permission. But now he was standing stiffly before her, avoiding her eyes, and apparently sincere.
He even looked a little…cute.
It was surprising, when he had been such a violent and frightening man before her regression. The conflict between the two made her heart twist strangely.
“You know I can’t sleep well,” Raphael added reluctantly, anxious at her silence.
For a moment, a flash of fear numbed her to her toes. If he knew he slept well when he was with her, did it mean he had noticed her ability? She really didn’t want anyone to know about her regression.
“Do you feel better when you sleep with me?” she asked, hiding her alarm.
“Much,” he said, lifting his eyes to look directly at her. Those deep blue eyes under their long, dark lashes looked sincere, and Annette felt her cheeks flush under that intense gaze. Maybe he really did want her, even if it was just so he could sleep.
Lowering her eyes, she nodded. They were married, anyway.
“Thank you,” he said, and his smile was dazzling. It was the first time he had ever thanked her.
Things really were different from before. There was a friendly warmth between them in the dark hallway as they separated to go to their own bedrooms, and it felt so surreal to her, she wondered whether it might just be a pleasant dream.
* * *
Annette opened her eyes to the hazy sight of a beautiful man.
In profile, she could see his straight forehead, sharp nose, and red lips, an almost otherworldly beauty. That face was above a strong neck and broad shoulders, a muscular body that was wildly masculine.
It took a moment for the events of the previous night to surface vaguely in her memory.
Oh, he did sleep here again last night.
Raphael could move like a skilled assassin, or in this case, perhaps it was more like a thief in the night. Whenever he couldn’t sleep, he crept into her bedroom, so silently that even a bird or a mouse wouldn’t notice. And since Annette was the sort of person who fell asleep the instant her head hit the pillow, she never noticed when he came in. It was always a surprise to find him in her bed every morning.
But there were some nights when she caught him at it, or more accurately, caught him trying not to come, which often triggered his sleepwalking. Whenever she found him in this state, Annette would take his hand and gently lead him to bed, and then sing to put him to sleep.
Her lullaby skills were improving.
Stifling a yawn that threatened to escape, she sat up and examined his sleeping face. She had been worried because he had been sleepwalking again last night, but now it seemed he was sleeping well. There were no shadows under his eyes, and his color looked good. Watching him sleeping deeply, with long, slow breaths, she thought he looked as strong and beautiful as a god of war.
Let him sleep more.
He had such trouble falling asleep, she felt sorry for him. He needed to sleep himself out, if it was possible. Silently, she slipped out of the bed, and then glanced at him, wondering if he might not catch a cold, sleeping like that, with his upper body uncovered. He always pushed away his blankets, and now his tanned, sturdy torso was completely bare.
It was pleasing to the eye, but it couldn’t be good for his health. Tugging the blankets up, she covered him to his neck, taking care even to cover his hands. In his sleep, Raphael frowned and stirred, and Annette automatically stroked his shoulder, soothing him like a mother with her child.
“It’s all right, baby,” she whispered. “Sleep.”
It just popped out, and Annette froze. She could have bitten her tongue off. What sort of embarrassing thing was that to say? The thought of Raphael’s expression if he happened to wake up and hear her was mortifying.
But fortunately, he didn’t. He only turned his head a little and fell back into a deep sleep, and Annette sighed with relief. Tiptoeing, she slipped out of the bedroom, hoping that he would sleep for a while longer.
Unfortunately, her wish had already been denied. Though the sound of the door closing was quiet, Raphael’s sharp ears still caught it. He had awakened the moment Annette had, and only pretended to be asleep because he was too embarrassed to face her.
Did she think he was coming too often?
Inside, it bothered him a great deal. His pride was too great to face her in the morning, or to let her catch him coming to her bed. If he had been his usual self, he never would have come at all, even if such unpleasant things generally didn’t bother him. But the sleep in her bed was too sweet to resist. He wondered why he could sleep so well there.
Well, given Annette’s nature, it seemed unlikely she would kick him out. She wasn’t the type who broke her promises. Inside, he laughed a little, wondering at her words.
It’s all right, baby. Sleep.
It was not something he would have ever dreamed would come out of her mouth. She was always so cautious and self-possessed, it actually made him nervous when she looked at him. If she had awakened and asked him immediately to leave, something in him would have broken. He wasn’t sure if it was his pride, or something else.
But instead, she had just covered him up and stroked his shoulder. That small hand had seemed like it touched his heart rather than his shoulder, a strange feeling, as if there was a tightening in his chest.
Frowning, he rubbed the spot, wondering why he was doing this.
It wasn’t bad. Maybe this was what marriage was. With that thought in his heart, he sighed and rose with satisfaction, feeling like a lion who had just awakened. As he stretched his arms and legs, he was surprised at how much more vital he felt. He had only had a few days of good rest, but it had done him much more good than expected.
This was why he couldn’t stop sneaking into Annette’s bedroom.
Today was going to be a good day. Maybe he would even have dinner with Annette after he had finished his training. After all, that was something couples did.
“What? She went out?”
That good mood did not last through the day. Having finished his training and hurried back home, Raphael was thoroughly off-balance as he confronted a terrified maid.