After pondering for a long time, I comfortably concluded, ‘Etienne is the kind of person who gets angry all the time.’
Anyhow, since I got a separate room, it’s a good thing… right?
There was a lingering, inexplicable sense of regret, however.
To move to his new room, Etienne called for a servant. But perhaps because they were busy with the banquet, even after waiting for a while, the servant didn’t show up.
Because of that, I had to stand idly in the quiet room, constantly gauging Etienne’s mood.
Whether it’s the emperor, empress, or Etienne, I always seem to be on the lookout. Oh, my fate! I wonder when I can finally live without tiptoeing around.
As I was taking careful breaths, trying not to breathe too loudly, a knock came from the door.
Thinking that I could finally get a break, I couldn’t help but smile.
The door opened, and a man entered.
It wasn’t the servant. The man looked at me and gave a big smile.
“Have you been well? Dahlia.”
I glanced at Etienne, feeling the need to gauge his reaction.
“Am I invisible?”
At Etienne’s voice, Versus shifted his gaze from me to look at Etienne.
“Etienne. I didn’t think you’d come. Glad you did.”
“His Highness the crown prince personally asked me to come. Of course, I had to oblige.”
Etienne approached and stood next to me. There was a spark in his eyes that seemed unusual.
Given the awkward situation, I just stood still, trying to read the atmosphere.
Why did Versus suddenly show up?
According to the novel… By now, he should be strolling in the garden, on a date with Sophienne. They’re supposed to try to kiss but get interrupted by a bee, right?
Ha, I remember the comments going wild back then, with readers planning a “bee hunting” party during that scene.
As I got lost in those memories that didn’t suit the situation, the servant, who should’ve been here earlier, hurried into the room.
“My apologies, Your Highness. I was delayed due to the influx of guests. Is there anything you’d like to entrust me with? Oh, shall I prepare a separate room for Her Highness, the princess consort?”
Etienne looked at both Versus and me in turn.
Why? What? Why is he looking at us like that?
He looked straight into my eyes and spoke.
“Why would a married couple need separate rooms? No need for that.”
It took me a moment to process what he’d just said.
“Hold on a second! A separate room…!”
I tried to object, but the words choked in my throat when I met Etienne’s piercing gaze.
I sighed silently.
I knew I couldn’t fully deceive Versus. From the moment I rejected his confession and kiss, it was almost like showing him all my cards.
But there was no need to give the impression of us being a perfectly harmonious couple.
He’s my prime suspect! Acting like this will just make him more suspicious of me!
“So, what do you need?”
Etienne slowly turned his head to Versus. He pulled me close by my waist and slightly lifted the corner of his mouth.
“Bring bath water. Enough for both my wife and me.”
…Excuse me? What? Huh…?
Amidst all this, the servant professionally acknowledged and then disappeared from the room.
An awkward silence enveloped the space.
Versus glanced at me, as if seeking answers.
Don’t look at me… I’m just as clueless.
Etienne suddenly pulled my hand, and I found myself swiftly drawn to his side.
“I thought we might share a conversation, but it seems I’m intruding?”
“Well, it would be great if you could step aside once you realize that.”
Etienne’s tone was growing colder. I felt like a fish pulled out of the water, darting glances between the two.
Whether Versus was intentionally ignoring Etienne’s sharp words or was just an expert at maintaining his composure, he wore a perpetual smile.
“Really? From the looks of it, Dahlia seems more uncomfortable with you around.”
His smile was a facade! He launched his assault.
But why do I feel like I’m the one under attack?
Dodging Etienne’s sharp gaze, I turned my head the other way. I could swear I felt a squeak in my neck.
With his warm voice cutting through the tension, I heard Versus again.
“Dahlia, want to come with me? I’ll prepare a new room for you.”
Versus launched his hand-extending attack! From the side, Etienne’s icy stare landed a double critical hit!
What should I do?
If I take Versus’s hand here, Etienne looks ready to kill me. If I refuse, I’m in danger of sharing a bed with Etienne for the entire night.
Ugh, sharing a bed seems better than being killed. I can always pinch my thigh and endure through the night, right…?
“Thanks for your concern. But I don’t need another room.”
“If you say so, Dahlia. But if you ever need me, know that I’m always here for you.”
“Huh… thank you…”
“See you tomorrow, Dahlia. Dress beautifully.”
With those flirtatious parting words, Versus left, leaving just Etienne and me in the room again.
This was even more awkward than before. I was now standing right next to Etienne.
I couldn’t tell whether I should distance myself from him or just pretend everything was normal.
Meanwhile, the servants busily prepared the bath. I silently watched as a massive bathtub was placed in the center of the room.
Steam began to rise. The maids, with their quick movements, left the room. I swallowed hard, trying to be as quiet as possible.
Etienne abruptly stood up. I glanced at him with apprehension. Nonchalantly, he began to strip off his clothes.