It was only natural for me to feel impatient. I should spend this time sleeping, it would surely help with my recovery. I think he also told me so in one of those moments when I was half asleep, half awake. At least it seemed real.
「Filmina, go to sleep.」
「Oh, it’s just that I thought I got better for a moment.」
「Even if you say so, I can hear the way you breathe. It’s not very convincing.」
I didn’t have any good retort to such words, so I just took a glass of cold water he handed me and drank it along with the tears that had suddenly filled my eyes. I laid down, again.
As he was putting a cold towel on my forehead, I looked at his face and suddenly I remembered something. In a blink of an eye I remembered it vividly and smiled instinctively. He blinked in surprise.
He drew his face near mine, examining what was wrong and I somehow managed to put my hand on his cheek. Honestly, his skin was so smooth and alabaster-like, it was annoying. I stroked his cheek gently and said.
「Edi, do you remember the stories I used to tell you and Fernan?」
His sunrise-colored eyes opened wide. It was even before I got the scar on my back, when he and I were children, both of us were the same age and my brother was three years younger than us. In the rough Adina household there was such a thing as an afternoon naptime. My parents made a policy for us to sleep a lot, to improve our health and growth. Unfortunately I only grew just enough not to be concerned, whereas that boy and my brother grew quickly and now they look more than just fine, they turned out extremely well… but I digress, never mind that. Anyway, during those afternoon naps sometimes the boy and my brother couldn’t fall asleep. At such occasions I used to tell them stories that 「I」knew 「before」. They both thought I came up with them by myself.
「…What about those stories?」
He put his own hand on mine, while I was still caressing his cheek. I smiled again.
「Hehe. I realised it just now. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, Kai from ‘The Snow Queen’… They were all saved from magic curses by a true love’s kiss.」
He gasped slightly. He didn’t think much of the meaning of my speech and in the loss of words he simply smiled. It was so nostalgic.
When a prince was carrying Snow White, he tripped, and the poisoned apple fell out of her mouth. When The Frog Prince was thrown into a wall, he turned back into his human form. Well, it’s romantic – a happy ending just because of a kiss. I suppose it’s easier for the children to understand the story this way, which is why the symbol of a kiss is used so often.
For selfish reasons I told these stories all those years ago. I took my hand off his cheek and closed my eyes.
「The magic bestowed in you… What if it too…」
What if. I stopped in the middle of the sentence. He gently took my hand in his. It was smaller than mine, different from that man’s bony one. It was a child’s hand. I opened my eyes again and looked into his sunrise colored eyes. What beautiful eyes. They didn’t differ in a single detail. This boy is that man and that man is this boy.
「Do you want to give me a kiss?」
He seemed to be asking if I would rather he were in a grownup form. I wonder. I don’t know. How could I know? Why is he asking such a thing? Isn’t it too late for such a question? I laughed without thinking. My eyelids were too heavy to stay open so I closed my eyes, but kept on smiling.
「What’s so funny?」
「You are you. My sweet Edi. Is it ridiculous that I’d like to kiss you?」
I thought I heard a small gasp.
My dear. If you want to… If you wish to, it would make me happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grown up or a child. Because there will always be just one Agedilus Von Lancent. And nothing nor anybody, will ever be more important to me than you.
I couldn’t form my thoughts into proper words and simply fell asleep again. I had very vague memories of what happened afterwards. I have lost track of time long before that. Even though I could see the light changing between days and nights in the window, my mind was too weak to keep counting the days properly.
One week. That’s right, one week. It’s only seven days, but the boy didn’t say anything about that. He simply devoted himself to taking care of me in such a proper and spirited manner, that if my father-in-law saw that, he would surely disown me.
I must get better soon. I wonder how many times I thought that, to then fall asleep again. And then I thought about it again. And again. I must get better!
I suddenly opened my eyes again. I wondered which day it was? What time was it? Absentmindedly I looked down from the ceiling and saw that the man was sleeping with his head rested on my bed. Naturally he must have been tired after constantly taking care of me. I lifted my heavy arm and stroked his head. He didn’t move a single muscle. To bare such a burden in such a small body. I felt so sorry for him. As it was the only thing I could do, I stroked his hair again. And suddenly – I realized. I looked at his figure. There he was.
Ah. My dearest.
I let out a long sigh, lost for words. I felt like had missed this figure deeply. No, not just felt like it. Really, truly I had missed him so much. So much that I felt anxious seeing him now. He looked almost translucent, which fueled my anxiety. I was probably thinking that because of my illness, though it’s not usual for me to be this timid and I hated that.
He seemed to guess my feelings, bent over and raised his hand. It smoothly slipped through mine without touching me. His white hand moved along my cheek a few times. Still, no matter how many times he did it, he never touched me. His long jet black eyelashes covered his eyes in pain. Such an exceptional expression surprised me. It was quite damaging. Was he trying to imitate my morbid state? After seeing his face I couldn’t do anything but shout this one’s name.
「Yes. Here I am.」
I shouted his name as if trying to make sure it was him. But hearing his beautiful voice was like music to my ears. It was unusually gentle and kind. I thought it would be nice for him to always speak in such a manner but I quickly changed my mind again. It would be scary and would make him almost inhuman if this beautiful person also spoke kindly and gently all the time. It would be enough to satisfy me if he stayed as his usual self. Still, such a gentle voice wasn’t bad at all.
Fufu. I laughed while breathing deeply through my fever. His expression quickly changed, he looked offended and sullen. But not being able to hold it for too long, he let out a sigh and bent over a bit more. I stayed still, not being able to either move or look away, as he lowered his lips to my forehead. I didn’t feel anything, of course. There was zero distance between us and his face was almost too perfect. I felt like I was losing my bearings, overwhelmed with warmth. It was both satisfying and unsatisfying. Whichever way he felt, he smiled mysteriously and opened his pale mouth.
「It’s alright. Go to sleep and get some rest. 」
「…Okay. Goodnight, Edi.」
I wanted to talk a bit more. It was selfish of me, I know. I felt more and more like pleading, but I stopped myself and to keep from laughing, I closed my eyes. Similarly to this man I knew that the beautiful spirit of the night, governing over dreams would come for me soon.
I had a dream.
I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
It’s unforgivable. Unforgivable. Unforgivable.
I won’t forgive you for feeding me with such hopeful thoughts.
I want you to suffer.
Even if you felt loneliness for eternity, it wouldn’t even come near to the pain and sadness I felt.
Suffer. Suffer. I want you to suffer.
And then think about it.
About how much I loved you.
And then suffer again.
About how much you made me love you.
I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.
I won’t forgive it. I won’t. I won’t.
Hate me. And never forget.
But – that’s right…
If someone who loved you more than me, and was loved by you, ever appeared…
If such a time came…
Then, and only then…
I felt a warm teardrop running down smoothly from the corner of my eye. I wondered, whose tear could it be, was it mine? I thought I might have had a dream but I couldn’t remember what it was about. I could only recall the overwhelming sadness. The pure sadness that was slowly filling my chest.
I tried to shake off this feeling so I blinked and opened my eyes wide. “Blink. Blink.” I was looking at the ceiling. I was already sick of this sight. Huh? My body felt light. My weariness and sense of fatigue wasn’t completely gone, but it was considerably smaller than in the height of my illness. Hm, maybe it will work. I felt motivated to try and get up, before I could only do it with the help of the boy.
Every muscle in my body seemed to scream at every single move I made. Regardless, I somehow managed to sit up. I hadn’t removed the towel from my forehead, so it was now lukewarm and it dropped onto my knees.
I announced my triumph. I put both my hands on my knees and tried to clench and unclench my fists for a few times. Yes. Before now every time after I woke up, I didn’t use to have any strength. Now I had enough of it to make a firm and proper fist. I felt I could win a rock-paper-scissors game with anybody right now. I might be reminded that there’s also ‘scissors’ in the game, but it would simply have to be ignored.
Fufufu, I was feeling incredibly cheerful. I thought how I’d love to take a bath. Was it thanks to the boy, whom I had finally managed to see before I slept last time? No, no. More than that, it was thanks to his efforts.
Oh? … Speaking of, where is he… I looked around the bedroom and as I was doing it, the door opened quietly. I instinctively looked in that direction. Sure thing, my eyes met with his sunrise colored ones.
A bowl fell from his hands. With a splash the ice cold water spilled all over the floor and in a blink of an eye the boy rushed to my side.
「Don’t! You must rest properly or you’ll get worse!」
「Ah, but since you gave me the medicine, I won’t get worse.」
He blinked his big eyes in surprise. Looking at this face made me laugh.
「It seems like I’m cured. Edi, it’s all thanks to you.」
To show him that I feel fine I bent my arm to show my muscles… and I failed. I didn’t have any muscles to boast about, so it was just a pose. He stared at me blinking his sunrise colored eyes, and suddenly his sweet and beautiful face contorted.
He vigorously hugged me, hiding his face at the back of my neck. Frankly he was hurting me but I didn’t pull him away, but instead wrapped my arms around him. Slowly I regained more energy and hugged him tightly. Embracing him closely made me the happiest I’ve been for a long time.
「…Edi? Are you crying?」
「No, I’m n-not.」
「Is that so?」
I continued to embrace him with a peaceful mind and laughed again. He seems not to be upfront with his feelings but in actuality, deep inside he is an easy to understand, sweet boy. I went on, pretending not to have felt the back of my neck getting wet. With his face buried in my nape, he murmured something I didn’t catch.
A little bit more. A little. Just a little more.