How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 75. Adverse Consolidation (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Annette couldn’t remember exactly what she had said. It was years ago, and even longer if she counted the time before her regression. But she likely had comforted Ludwig by saying something like that. That she did not want to marry Raphael, or anyone else but Ludwig.
It had been an effective consolation. She remembered how Ludwig had wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes when he heard them, smiling. It was as if she had saved him.
But I can’t believe he told Raphael about that.
Silently, she laid a hand on her forehead. Her head ached. It seemed the sensitive Ludwig had a temper as bad as Raphael’s, when he was angry. And because he couldn’t insult Raphael himself, he had used personal stories about Annette instead. And from a time before she had ever met Raphael, when she had comforted Ludwig out of simple compassion.
And now that she understood what had happened, she was disappointed in Ludwig. It hurt her that he kept causing these unnecessary fights with Raphael, because he couldn’t let go of her. She and Ludwig had spent a lot of time together when they were young, but the things he was doing were erasing those good memories.
“From the look on your face, it must be true,” Raphael said, his frown deepening. His blue eyes hardened and grew cold. She knew that look well. She had gone through this same routine countless times in her last life.
“It was a long time ago,” she began. “I didn’t even know you then. I was comforting His Highness because I felt sorry for him. His Majesty was always comparing him to yo–”
Raphael grabbed her chin, and his thumb rubbed over her lips as if he were bruising the petals of flowers. His thumb was rough with calluses from sword training, and stopped her from speaking at once.
“You are such a good liar,” Raphael whispered in her ear, his voice filled with mocking affection. “I almost believed it when you said you preferred marrying me to being Crown Princess. Sneaky Bavaria.”
Raphael’s temper was wavering. The King had just warned him not to trust her, but he knew this wasn’t fair, that he couldn’t justly reproach her for something that happened before they were married, before they had ever even met each other. Posted only on NovelUtopia
But the timing of this story, and the identity of the person that had told it to him, were like flint and steel.
Ludwig was not the only one with an inferiority complex about his half-brother.
Ludwig’s lineage was perfect. Ludwig was the one who deserved to be beside the refined Annette. Raphael’s jealousy was eating him up inside. He wanted to smash the Crown Prince’s face. And the thing that pissed him off more than anything else was that Ludwig’s stupid attack was working at all.
What the hell was wrong with him? Why did he care what Annette thought of him in the first place?
Raphael was questioning many things as he returned home. But with no satisfactory answer, his insides boiled as if he had swallowed molten iron. All his anxieties about his illegitimate birth, that a woman like Annette could never like him, churned inside him until they burst out, and all because of Ludwig, that thorn in his side.
“Yes, I’m sure it’s terrible for you,” he murmured, stroking her cheeks with his fingertips. “You can’t believe you’re married to a bastard. That the blood in my veins is the same as the man who ruined your life, the coachman who framed you for things you never did. You must be sick of me.”
Annette just thought his face looked sad. The twisted grimace of a deeply hurt person. His blue eyes were gleaming like ice, but somehow that usual darkness was missing.
“No,” she said quickly, before he could think of something worse. “Really, it’s not what you think…”
“Shh, Annette.” One corner of his mouth turned up in a twisted smile. Suddenly, he lifted her, sliding her onto her dressing table. Both his hands caressed her back as he kissed her, his tongue flicking at her lips and darting between them. Their tongues coiled together.
Annette squirmed, but his arms held her tight. She felt a burst of excitement as his tongue nipped her teeth.
“It doesn’t matter,” Raphael whispered when their lips parted, his voice cold. “The fact that you’re my wife won’t change, whether you like it or not.”
He bit down hard on her slender collarbone, as if he were punishing her.