* * *
As time flew by, without realizing how the snow was piling up, Izeline caught a cold. Currently, Robert was washing her back while grumbling.
“Youw weak, so don’t strain youwself for too long.”
He shoved something into her hand as if telling her to listen to him.
“Ouch! Oh, a tissue…”
As she flinched at his sudden gesture, Robert quickly withdrew his hand, surprised.
“Sorry… did I appwy too much force without realizing?”
He looked apologetic as he glanced back at her.
“You should be more caweful.”
“Okay, I’ll be more careful.”
Robert started lathering soap on her back again, his touch becoming extremely cautious.
In fact, Izeline didn’t expect to continue bathing with him like this because of his sensitive attitude on the first day. However, whether it was because he had resolved to overcome everything, just like what he declared to the Duke of Brioche, he readily revealed the scars on his chest to her.
“Are you here?”
“I’ve been waiting, why haven’t you come yet!”
The next day, it was Robert who came to find her first, suggesting they bathe together.
That was already a few months ago.
Izeline chuckled as she reminisced about the memories that had become distant. In the meanwhile, Robert also gradually became brighter.
It was a good change.
“It’s such a waste.”
Robert spoke as he carefully wiped her shoulders. Izeline turned around slightly, hearing his voice sounding somewhat muffled.
“I had a match to win.”
He was referring to his duel with Michael.
Listening to him, she smiled and completely turned around. His cheek was flushed pink from the hot water.
“You dwid really well.”
She tousled his damp black hair with one hand. However, despite the praise, Robert’s mood didn’t seem to lighten, and he murmured with an irritated expression.
“I hwave to win tomorrow, no matter what.”
“Seriously. I had to make him lose.”
She wholeheartedly cheered him on, saying that she believed he could do it. However, his determination was in vain against the challenges of this world.
The day Robert defeated Michael would be a long time later, somewhere in the kingdom.
* * *
A polite knock on the door made Izeline look up.
However, as pressure suddenly forced her head down, she grumbled in dissatisfaction.
“What is it?”
Robert, who was drying her wet hair, spoke with a voice full of annoyance. His hand movements with the towel had become more pronounced than before.
However, Izeline wasn’t the type to just stay quiet.
“We have a guest.”
She pulled away from his touch and called out to the door.
Even though Robert opened his mouth to protest, her action couldn’t be undone.
The sound of the doorknob turning made him scowl. As expected, the guest revealed himself, and Robert stepped forward without hesitation.
“Why are you here? Leave.”
Izeline, on the other hand, shifted her gaze to Michael, who smiled brightly as he turned his head towards her.
“You washed up?”
“Judging by you drying your hair, I guess you just showered. I’ve never seen you with wet hair before.”
For some reason, she replied shyly. As he leaned closer to check on her, a slight pink tint appeared on her cheek.
‘Oh my god…’
Indeed, a festival was taking place within her.
Michael had also just showered. The water droplets clinging to his soft blond hair seemed like fresh morning dew, and his flawless skin became even more radiant with moisture, resembling sweet milk mixed with honey.
In short, otherworldly beauty.
‘Ah, he’s blinding!’
Even though she couldn’t continue looking, he was so handsome that she couldn’t take her eyes off him. She thought she had become accustomed to his refreshing appearance after spending several months together, but it wasn’t the case.
Why did the heroine, Livny, didn’t choose a man like this? Could it be that Prince Arsen was even more impressive than him?
At that moment, Izeline, who was thinking about various thoughts, came out of her stupor by someone’s voice.
“Snap out of it! Get a hold of yourself!”
Robert furrowed his brow and waved his palm in front of her face.
“Why are you stawing like that?!”
His tone seemed to be asking a question he already knew the answer to.
Having come to her senses a bit late, Izeline blinked her eyes as if breaking free from something. Michael gently chuckled and asked.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
His voice seemed as if he already knew the answer as well, so Izeline admitted it obediently.
“Michael, you’re really handsome.”
“Really? I should shower before coming here every time.”
Robert, who felt threatened, rushed forward and vehemently opposed. However, Michael easily brushed him aside by grabbing his wrist and pushing him to the side.
“Should I wear a robe next time, too?”
His perfectly sculpted face approached her with a faint soap scent.
Was it the wind?
Izeline’s cheek immediately blushed.
‘Oh, my… goodness.’
She shook her head vigorously, trying to shake off the towel that had been thrown at her head by Robert’s rough movements. Michael had to endure a series of towel attacks on his face.
“…Hey, you rude man.”
When Michael’s expression, who took a step back reluctantly, changed, Robert replied back, pretending to be calm.
“If you hit someone, shouldn’t you apologize?”
“Who said that? I was the one who started dwying Izel’s hair long before you came.”
Michael, who was about to argue again, suddenly realized something and closed his mouth. He realized something and was confused as to why these two were together in casual clothes. Why did Robert seem to naturally dry Izeline’s hair…?
Looking at the shimmering emerald eyes, Robert, who saw through his rival’s state, added confidently.
“We’re always together. It’s youw fault for getting in the way.”
Michael was momentarily at a loss for words but soon burst into laughter and spoke up.
“I thought you were just a regular gum, but you have quite the adhesive power, huh?”
“If you’re so possessive, won’t Izeline eventually get tired and leave?”
“It was Izeline who suggested we bwathe together, not me, you know?”
When Robert confidently retorted, he gazed at Izeline with an incredulous gaze.
“Is that really true?”
She nodded once and added with a questioning expression as if asking if there was any problem.
“I suggested it bwecause it’s hard to reach my back.”
Michael’s gaze wavered after receiving a blow, but he soon regained his composure and casually asked.
“Should I help too?”
“Is it necessary?”
“I didn’t ask you.”
Michael held back a mischievous smile and said so. In the meanwhile, seeing Robert become restless, he turned his gaze to Izeline, who was rubbing her forehead with her index finger as though she was pondering something.
“Let me… let me wash your hair.”
“I dwon’t need help, though?”
Her round eyes widened at his strange words.
“She didn’t ask for youw help.”
She was only curious about why Michael said it. It was surprising to see the sub-male lead show a similar temperament to Robert. She never thought he would be like that.
‘He must have many friends, considering how popular he is, but he’s obsessed with his friend…’
Perhaps because he didn’t have many friends in Souvri, Izeline concluded it in her own way. Still, regardless of that, she couldn’t make him, who felt lonely, feel uneasy. Izeline looked at Robert’s wavering gaze and then turned her head towards Michael.
“Just your thouwghts is enough. Thank you.”
It was a tactful refusal.
Even though Michael forced a nonchalant, cool smile, he felt quite bitter inside.
Robert, who had regained his composure, proudly looked up. Although he was immensely annoyed by that sight, Michael knew that if he acted too childish, it would never end, so he let out a sigh mixed with patience.
That was when Izeline changed the subject.
“Mowe importantly, what brings you here at this time?”
It was rare for him to come at night.
Michael recalled the purpose of his visit and his mood improved, revealing what he had been hiding behind his back with a slightly brighter expression.