Elias wondered if it was a stroke of luck or if she was just pretending to not know. He gouged her expression.
Adeline was stupidly smiling to herself, amused that the guess was correct. He supposed she meant no harm. She never did. Even when she came to the ball with a knife strapped to her t.h.i.g.h. Speaking of the ball, he would be announcing their arrangement tonight.
“So the conversation?” Adeline slowly said. “What happened?”
Elias peered down at her. She was tiny and docile, her heart was made of glass, a single push, and she’d shatter.
Elias was cruel. He wanted to see how she would shatter. Was it in a few, large pieces? Or thousands, if not, millions of tiny shards that would hurt with each step?
He wanted to see her reaction.
“Weston doesn’t approve of this marriage,” he said.
Elias expected disappointment. He thought she would be upset. She seemed to be the type of woman that cried over every little inconvenience. Instead, she smiled up at him and then laughed a bit.
Elias raised a brow. Did she hear him correctly?
She naively pushed strands of hair behind her ears. His eyes lingered on her.
Her wrists were thin, and he suddenly felt the urge to decorate it with expensive bracelets. Out of all the designer dresses in the closet, she wore the plainest item of all.
“W-what is a marriage without woes?” Adeline said in a louder voice, almost as if she was suppressing another laugh. “My mother told me the most dramatic marriage will have at least one ‘I object’ when the wedding officiant asks.”
Elias returned her smile with one of his own. He remembered Kaline and Addison’s wedding well. Theirs were perhaps the most dramatic of all. In the last moment of the wedding, just as “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” was spoken, the doors had busted open, gunshots loaded, smokes blazing, as Kaline stole Addison from another groom.
“I’m sure your mother taught you right,” Elias wryly said. He did not expect that much dramatics at his wedding, especially gunshots near his wife. Before a bullet even grazed her soft skin, the man would drop dead.
The thought of death made him smile. So much so, he did not realize he was softly c.a.r.e.s.sing the side of her face. She peered up at him, wondering what could be so amusing.
“I’m surprised there haven’t been more objections,” Adeline commented, whilst continuing to watch him. He had an eerie smile on his ghostly features. It worried her. She felt her stomach churn with unease. His red eyes connected with her green ones. Her heart flipped.
“Why did you forget me, darling?”
Adeline glanced up in surprise. Forget…? How could she possibly forget a face like his?
Seeing her bewildered expression, Elias’s smile became kinder. His eyes dimmed with somberness. He dropped his hands.
“Forget I asked,” he commanded.
Elias turned upon his heels and began to leave towards the door. When he didn’t hear the tiny pitter-patter of her feet, he turned his chin.
“Follow me, little Adeline.”
She didn’t respond.
Elias held back an impatient sigh. He swiveled around, noting her hesitant expression. Adeline had clutched her hand to her c.h.e.s.t as if he had told her she would die at this moment.
There was a look of fear that crossed her unconventional features. She was beautiful in ways that people didn’t expect. Sometimes it felt like the universe was hidden in her eyes, the stars were bottled up for her smile, for she could light up the room, but had forgotten how to do so.
“Come, darling,” Elias murmured, his voice no more than a whisper. “There’s no need to be so frightened, my sweet.”
Adeline believed his voice was similar to a siren— luring unsuspecting victims to their death. His tone was soft and gentle, but the glint of his eyes said otherwise. He was upset and infuriated.
Elias was always good at masking these emotions. It was as if he had done it for decades now.
And perhaps he did, for he had a world of knowledge tucked within his crimson eyes.
“I’m sorry, Elias,” Adeline finally said in a sullen voice. “I don’t remember much about my childhood. I-if we knew each other before, then let’s get to know each other again.”
Adeline was worried about his rejection. There had been many people who were disgruntled with her inability to recall her past. For example, when the police came to interrogate her, in hopes of finding her parents’ murderers, she was a stammering mess of words.
Did that mean the times spent with Elias was too upsetting to remember?
“Oh darling,” he mused. “What makes you think I don’t know you already?”
Adeline blinked. She hadn’t thought about that much. “You only know the surface of what I show you,” she said with determination, though her voice didn’t sound firm. Sometimes, she wished she had Lydia’s proud nature and loud voice that demanded everyone’s attention.
Sometimes, Adeline was not aware, that this was Lydia’s charms, and she had one of her own—the ability to capture a person’s attention.
Adeline was aloof by nature, and nonchalant, which made her appear like a wonder of mysteries. If only, the people closest to her did not criticize her for this.
“Now come here, my sweet,” Elias ushered her. He watched as she took steps towards him, her shoulders low, but not hunched over.
It was certainly an improvement.
Elias grabbed her hand. They were warm with life, much like the color in her cheeks. She was pale, but there was a glow to her that he admired in humans. He never wished for her to walk his path, even if it meant he would live the rest of eternity without her.
“Even if you’re unable to recall your past, I will always accompany you in the present, and live out your future with you,” Elias muttered.
Adeline’s heart swelled in strange ways she could not describe. Something about his words struck a deep chord from within her. She wondered what had happened between them for him to treat her so well.
There were rumors of how cold and statistic the King of the West was. It was said he showed no mercy, and when someone wronged him, they would never see the light of the day. Some even whispered he was a heartless monster, with the skin of a human, but the behavior of a beast.
They said when the King turned his back on something, he would never look at it again.
Adeline was never one to trust rumors.
“Then, I will be in your care,” Adeline finally said.
Elias warmly smiled upon her. He tugged her close, until her free hand was resting upon his c.h.e.s.t. “I would not have it any other way.”
And in this moment, Adeline saw snippets of their future. It was a foolish thing to see so far into her life, but she could’ve sworn, she saw a type of happiness that could not be fathomed.
Too bad fate always had other plans.