The Cursed Prince's Strange Bride -
Chapter 359 "You Make Me Happy"
Alicia awoke to the chirping of birds outside her window. The soft light of the early morning filtered through the curtains, illuminating the room. As she rubbed the sleep from her eyes, she realized she was not alone in bed. Not only was her elbow bumping into the other person, but they were holding her close with their hand draped around her waist, and her face almost touching their chest.
They were both covered with a quilt.
She immediately recognized who it was—Harold had come in last night and comforted her after a dream that had disturbed her. She had asked him to join her in bed, but he had seemed surprised and a bit reluctant.
Unlike his usual self, he didn't speak much and had appeared stiff. However, Alicia made the first move and snuggled closer, putting her arm around his waist. He stiffened again, but when he recovered, he raised a hand as though about to hug her, but he stopped midair, asking, "Can I?"
"Don't be silly," she replied tiredly, taking his hand and placing it on her waist. She closed her eyes, but it was still difficult for her to control her breathing.
"Will you be okay?" He asked softly.
She nodded tiredly. "But you can sing for me."
He was quiet for a while before saying, "I have never sang before in my entire life."
She wasn't sure how he handled the rest of the night before she drifted off to sleep. Now that she thought about it, it was quite crazy because she had just woken up from a very weird and scary dream and felt she would have to stay up for the rest of the night, but she felt weak all over and couldn't fight the sleep.
Thankfully, she had a dreamless sleep for the rest of the night, helping her head relax.
She drew herself up, fixing her eyes on the man sleeping next to her. Harold was still asleep, his chest rising and falling rhythmically. She studied his face, taking a moment to admire his handsome face, his strong jawline, and his messy hair. She loved how peaceful he looked when he slept. He looked... normal.
He was still the same man. She assured herself.
It didn't matter whatever he was. All that had happened to her until this point had also been strange, so it shouldn't matter if he was a werewolf or vampire.
Alicia leaned in closer, brushing a strand of hair from his forehead. Her eyes fell to his lips, and ever so slowly, she began to reach closer with her gaze on his lips.
Was this considered taking advantage of someone since it was unconsented? She hesitated a bit, and her eyes moved from his lips and looked up. She let out a shout and kicked him out of the bed when she saw a pair of blue staring at her!
Harold hadn't expected that, so he couldn't prepare himself as he landed hard on the floor and winced.
"What... were you trying to do?" Alicia asked, a little flustered after being caught in the act.
Harold looked at her in confusion, not bothering to get up from the ground where he sat comfortably.
"Shouldn't... I be the one asking you that?" He asked, his voice still rough from sleep.
Well, that was correct. She reasoned.
"Why... why didn't you tell me you were awake?" She said in embarrassment, still trying to push the blame onto him.
He just gave her a puzzling look as he asked, "Why are you embarrassed? You can always do whatever you want to me. I don't mind." He added the last part in a quieter tone, suppressing a smile as he bit down on his lower lip.
"It's not funny!" She snapped at him, hissing as she climbed down from the bed and offered him a hand to help him up.
Harold smiled at her and took her hand; however, instead of getting up, he tugged at her hand only a little, but that was enough to send her off balance. She let out a startled scream as she fell on top of him while he began to laugh.
She tried to get off him, but he held onto her tightly and even laid his back on the floor with her on top of him, his hands firmly around her waist and keeping her in place.
"Stop playing around!" She scolded him and tried to get away, but despite all her wiggling, she could not move away.
She sighed deeply and just stared at his face, looking annoyed.
"What's funny?" She snapped at him again when she noticed how bright his face looked. He seemed to be having fun at her expense.
"You make me happy." He spoke in a quiet voice and smiled softly at her.
Those words seemed to melt her heart immediately, transforming the annoyed look on her face into a soft one.
It was so unfair that he seemed to have this kind of effect on her. Alicia thought with resignation as she fell onto him, resting her face on the side of his neck.
They lay there for a moment, enjoying each other's company in silence. It was a peaceful moment, one that they both treasured.
For some reason, it felt like they had been missing this for a long time, even though it was just a short time ago that they were like this.
"Did you sleep well?" he asked, breaking the silence.
She nodded. "Did you?"
"The first time in days." He informed her and suddenly asked, "What were you thinking?"
"When?" She asked as she unconsciously snuggled closer to him.
"The time before you tried to kiss me on the lips—"
"You. don't. have. to. be. so. specific!" She said through gritted teeth and felt the rubble of restrained laughter in his chest.
After a little pause, Alicia decided to be honest with him and said, "Just wondering what our future holds. What we'll be doing, where we'll be. Things like that."
Harold gently rubbed her back soothingly, almost cajoling her back to sleep.
"It doesn't matter. I... will always be by your side."
Alicia felt a warm rush of relief, the fear and uncertainty that had been gnawing at her dissipating in an instant. "I'm... glad," she said. "That means a lot to me."
Harold turned his head to her side and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. "You must always remember that I treasure you." He paused and added in a serious tone, "It is an order."
Maybe this should have been romantic, but it made Alicia laugh, especially because he was serious.
"You should probably use that royal order and move us away from the floor. My body hurts." She said this in amusement, making him laugh in embarrassment.
Alvin groaned as he slowly came to, his eyes fluttering open to find a familiar face looking down at him with a hopeful smile. He rubbed his head, trying to shake off the fog of unconsciousness, but he felt even more uncomfortable with the way he was sleeping with his front on the bed and not the back.
"You're awake!" Susan cried, a relieved smile spreading across her face.
As expected of the teenager, she had escaped from her family's watch as soon as they focused on other things and decided to come to check on Alvin instead. Fortunately, there haven't been any guards watching outside the chamber since, obviously, only a crazy person courting death would decide to come to Prince Harold's chamber to hurt Alvin.
"What are you doing here?" Alvin asked, his voice raspy. He tried to sniff the air around him sensing something different about it, but his senses were too dull for that so he ignored it.
"Do you know where you are? Do you remember what happened?" Susan asked at once before she continued speaking, "You saved my life. You put yourself in harm's way to protect me. Do you remember?" She asked hopefully as she dragged her stool closer to his bed, her eyes shining with hope. However, Alvin just stared at her with his usual indifference.
"You don't have to remember if you can't," she said hurriedly. "Just know that I am grateful."
Silence followed after that.
"What's on your mind?" Alvin asked.
"What?" She asked, confused.
"What is it you want to say?" He asked her,
sensing that there was more she wanted to say.
Susan blushed and rubbed her hands together before she started talking, "Well... your life is... in danger, so you have to stay beside me from now on in order to survive."
He frowned, pointing her, "I am healing just fine."
"I am not talking about your wound." She said and hesitated before saying, "When you... returned to the palace, many people... including my mother, saw us embracing so—"
His frown deepened. "Why would I embrace you?"
His question annoyed Susan, but that wasn't the point now, so she ignored it and answered without meeting his gaze.
"You... were still alive, and I was relieved."
"And I embraced you because you were relieved?" He asked in a tone that said, "you are not making any sense."
"Well... I was the one that embraced you— but do not worry! I will protect you!" She quickly added when the look on his face changed as soon as she said the part about being the one who had initiated the embrace between them.
Alvin almost snorted. With all his might, he tried to bring himself to lie on his side, leaving Susan confused since she was not sure whether to help him adjust or just let him be.
"Look closely at the two of us..." He started. "Who can protect whom?"
His tone was taunting.
Susan pondered his question.
"Uhm... that is correct. Then you can just protect me instead. I don't mind." She offered shamelessly, blinking innocently at him.
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