Please be Patient, Grand Duke - Chapter 58.1
The letter fluttered to the floor.
Lia quickly stepped back. A hand stretched out and grabbed her wrist. She tried to stand her ground, but couldn’t. Instead, she lost her balance and leaned towards Claude. He hugged her tightly, surprising her so, that her hand flew to her mouth to cover a gasp.
A thick smell of disinfectant and a faint smell of blood hung in the air.
“It doesn’t seem like a dream,” Claude said, his head above hers.
“You’re hurt!” exclaimed Lia. “Your wound won’t heal properly.”
“Do I hear nagging? That doesn’t sound like the Canillian I know,” said Claude almost teasingly.
“It is I, Sir Claude. Let me—”
“Why are you here?” he whispered as though asking himself the question. He then touched her chin, lifting it. As his eyes focused, he patted her cheek in disbelief. Then he ran his fingers through her hair and scoffed. “Canillian.”
She found the touch of his hand on her cheek quite pleasant.
“Yes, it is I. Canillian.”
She lowered her voice as best as she could to hide her surprise, but he grabbed her chin again.
Her head lifted up, and Claude’s face slowly came into focus, her eyes no longer dazed.
The moment their lips touched, Lia grabbed his shoulder and pushed him away, but her gesture did no good, as his back was against the bed. He was a wounded patient, so she could refuse him with all her might.
Through sweet lips came his probing tongue. She could neither scream nor stubbornly rebuff him. The more she pushed him away, the deeper the kiss.
His rough kiss was anxious as it overtook her small tongue and lower lip. It felt vicious—even more so than the time he had declared he didn’t care if she were an animal or a boy.
The Duke moved and groaned as if in pain, letting down his guard for a brief moment that allowed her to extricate herself from his embrace.
Panting, she wiped her lips. He wrapped his arms around her waist and looked her in the eye.
“Come here,” Claude commanded.
“N, no,” she stuttered.
“You’re hurt. And—”
“You’re not going to say it’s because you are a man, are you?” he asked.
She hadn’t been thinking that, but Lia nodded vigorously anyway. “You can’t do this, Sir.”
“And why not?”
“Y, you like men?” she asked disdainfully. But Claude was prepared for that question.
“I like you.” His eager lips curved up smoothly.
Lia could neither cry nor laugh. The whole thing was absurd. She didn’t want to betray any more emotion.
Not too long ago, he had visited her on purpose just so that he could apologize and ask her to forget his inappropriate actions. He even said this was an improper thing to do between men.
But now he likes me? Me, a man?
“Come here. Canillian.”
“I beg you, please come here. I lost my sanity for a moment because you are right here. I won’t do anything you won’t like,” he said with pleading in his voice.
Lia grabbed her hair, almost pulling it in disbelief. It was the first time Claude sounded like he was begging. He clutched his waist, shut his eyes, and moaned with the pain.
Lia, surprised, carefully approached him and knelt by his bed. “Should I call a doctor?”
She gently pulled his hand away from his waist revealing bigger bloodstains.
“This doesn’t even count as a wound,” Claude scoffed. “Don’t worry. The person who shot me had his head blown off, so I shouldn’t look weak because of this.”
“But it’s still a gunshot wound. A laceration of this magnitude requires treatment at a hospital.”
“Canillian, we’re in the middle of a war. The hospital will have to wait.”
Claude leisurely spoke then pulled her up from the floor. He sat her on his lap like a doll, then dug his face in her neck, hugging her tightly.
Lia’s head was spinning, trying to make sense of his actions. She even briefly forgot about the existence of the letter. There was no way she could think of anything else. Her heart thumped fast and loud.
“Aren’t you scared of war?”
She looked around: a soggy tent, soldiers far from home, the thin smell of blood and alcohol, and the burning smell of chemicals. The scent she associated with Claude was gone.
“Of course, I’m scared! How could I not be?”
“Then, can’t we stop the war? Is revenge really the only answer?” she asked.
Claude lifted his head from her neck. He carefully put his thumb on her wet lips. His smiling face came closer and closer.
Lia instinctively covered his lips, preventing another kiss and annoying Claude.
“The reason we chose war wasn’t just revenge,” he said, pulling her fingers away from his lips.
“Greed triggers war. In this case, greed has boiled over. But, I want to make Del Casa the safest place in the Empire, a place that no one can ruin. And I will make that happen,” Claude stated resolutely.
“Even if it costs your life?”
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