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    Translated by alyalia
    Edited by popcorn


     

    “Cersinia, take a rest. I’ll do the laundry.”

    Ben, who returned from carpentry, went out to the yard. Only the village and the house were different, but there was no significant change in his life when he lived at the cabin. Instead, it was better, and he liked it.

    Cersinia didn’t bring up the matter of her relationship with Ben.  She didn’t think deeply about what it meant to live together with people who weren’t her family, friends, or lovers. It was nice to just share warm food together and feel a different warmth in the desolate house. It was a good thing she lived with someone, especially since it’s Ben.

    Ben didn’t question her about their relationship, whether he knew how she felt. It was just that the two of them were together as they had been from the beginning. However, it was impossible for a man and a woman to live together under the same roof. Still, Ben blushed and smiled shyly whenever he made eye contact with her. She didn’t particularly hate it. Rather, she felt good. But she still didn’t know her whole heart well.

    “Oh, crap.”

    Cersinia, who was organizing the tableware, whispered. She just remembered the underwear that she had put in the laundry basket last night. When it came to her underwear, she did the laundry herself… She had forgotten she was doing it before Ben came home from his carpentry work. She quickly opened the door and headed to the yard. She must get it out before Ben finds it. Just in time, Ben brought some water and poured it into the basin.  

    Cersinia hurriedly ran towards Ben and said, “Ben, I will do the laundry…”

    “Pardon?”

    Cersinia’s voice was swallowed without being able to come out. Ben picked up the wet laundry. Of all things, how could it be her underwear? Cersinia’s face turned red as she looked at her underwear dripping with water as he looked at Cersinia with an innocent face.

    “I-I’ll do that.”

    “Yes? Actually no, don’t do that. Your hands will get cold because the water is cold. I’ll do it, Cersinia.”

    Knowing nothing, Ben refused. Cersinia trudged up to Ben and snatched her underwear from his hand.

    “Ah, I’ll do it.”

    “This is my underwear.”

    “What?”

    Ben alternately looked at the cloth in Cersinia’s hand and her face. After a few seconds, his face turned red.

    “Ah…”

    Ben’s gaze lost its way and wandered. His face was restless and even the back of his hands was burning red. If you spray cold water on it, it seems that steam would rise with a sizzling sound.

    There’s nothing different with Cersinia. Her face was as red as a ripe apple. The two of them couldn’t open their mouths. As they looked at the distant mountains, only the awkward silence flowed. Cersinia secretly hid the damp underwear in her hand behind her. She made up her mind that she would do the laundry all at once by putting her underwear in place other than the laundry basket in the future.

    “I-I’m sorry.”

    “No, don’t be.”

    Again, only the sound of wind filled the gap between the two.

    “T-Then I’ll do the rest of the laundry.”

    Thud.

    Ben, who was in a hurry, kicked the basin, which had water in it, as he couldn’t see properly. Laundry was poured into the yard with water.

    “Ah…”

    Ben, who turned red to his earlobe, became like a faulty robot without a screw. Seeing him creaking as if something had gone wrong, Cersinia felt embarrassed. Ben couldn’t raise his head in embarrassment. After he recognized Cersinia’s underwear, his heart jumped so hard that he thought Cersinia would hear it. The weather wasn’t that hot, but he was so nervous that sweat was forming on his forehead.

    Cersinia quietly entered the house. She wanted to get out of the tickling situation. And maybe Ben wouldn’t be able to do the laundry today if she kept staying next to him.

    * * *

    “It’s done,” Cersinia said after applying the medicine evenly to Ben’s wounds.

    “Thank you.”

    Ben hurriedly wore the clothes he had taken off. He is still embarrassed even though it’s already a daily activity for him to show his upper body so that Cersinia can apply for medicine.

    “By the way, what is this scar?”

    “Scar?”

    Cersinia saw his wounds every time he got treatment, but there was a scar on Ben’s left shoulder. Most of his wounds almost healed and disappeared, but the scar didn’t disappear. She presumed that he had been injured in that place a long time ago, seeing that it left a scar rather than a wound.

    It was a scar that was barely visible, whether it was a natural wound or not. A scar with an exact cut, like an apple being cut in half with a knife. A slightly strange scar that seemed to form a curve. For some reason, its contrived appearance was strange, and she couldn’t even get a sense of how it was created.

    Ben looked around his body, not knowing where the scar Cersinia was referring to. Cersinia pointed her fingers at the scar and told him. Ben nodded his head as if he knew only then.

    “I think I got it when I was young. I don’t know the details either.”

    Cersinia didn’t ask more as he didn’t know the details. She nodded her head slightly and handed Ben the organized medicine box. Ben naturally took the box and put it back in place.

    “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

    Ben’s eyes that came to her were desperate. Unlike the cabin in the woods, this house has two rooms, and Ben asked if they could sleep together every day. What she allowed on the first day continued to this day. Cersinia slightly hardened her face as if in trouble. There’s nothing wrong with it, but she’s not sure if this is the right thing to do.

    “I-It’s nothing. Cersinia, good night.”

    Ben noticed Cersinia’s hardened expression and hurriedly tried to leave. Cersinia sighed a little at Ben’s back, walking like a puppy with its tail between his legs.

    ‘How can I say no when he would look disappointed like that?’

    She wondered if her weakness was Ben. When she saw those droopy shoulders and sullen faces, she answered…

    “Okay, bring the blanket.”

    Ben looked back and smiled brightly at her as if he hadn’t looked disappointed earlier.

    “Yes!”

    A smile that will brighten up this dark room. She could feel how happy he was right now. Cersinia smiled and lay on the floor with a blanket on her back. The house was equipped with basic kitchen furniture, but there was no bed, wardrobe, or dressing table, so she had to buy them slowly. Ben, who came quickly with a blanket, lay down a little further away from her.

    Cersinia turned off the light of the candlestick that was next to her and lay down again. Her room was almost dark when she blew out the candle. The moonlight came in, but the window was too small to illuminate the large room. She closed her eyes to fall asleep but heard a rustling sound next to her. In a room where only the sound of breathing could be heard, Ben kept making a rustling sound.

    “Aren’t you going to sleep?” Cersinia, who couldn’t stand it anymore, asked.

    The rustling sound stopped at the question. No answer was heard. Wanting to go to sleep now, she closed her eyes again.

    “I, Cersinia…”

    It was after a long time that she heard a voice. It took Ben quite a long time to start calling her name.

    “Why?”

    “Can I sleep holding your hands?”

    “What?”

    ‘Isn’t this a line I’ve heard a lot before?’

    Surprised, she sat up and looked at Ben. However, she couldn’t see Ben’s expression because of the dark. Her heart was beating fast.

    “That’s… Cersinia’s hands are warm. I think I will sleep well if I hold it.”

    She couldn’t tell if it was really a pure suggestion or not.

    ‘Are you trying to trick me? What do I have to do? Should I accept it or not?’  Cersinia was thinking of 50,000 things that could happen.

    “Can’t we?” Ben carefully added.

    She lay back down with a sigh inwardly. Ben, whom she has seen so far, wasn’t the kind of person who could do such a trick. However, that didn’t mean her little bit of anticipation, and strange palpitations were gone.

    “Here.”

    She reached out her hand. Then she felt his cold hand holding her hand. She thought he would just put them on top of each other, but he put his fingers in her knuckles and grabbed them. She, who has a lot of heat in her body, and he, who is cold, became the ideal temperature as they shared each other’s temperature.

    “Thank you. Sleep well, Cersinia.”

    “You too.”

    Ben’s voice, saying good night, was filled with a light smile. Cersinia looked up the ceiling with her eyes wide open. In the darkness where nothing could be seen, only the faint moonlight entered the room. She had to sleep, but she couldn’t sleep. Her heart was beating a little faster than usual. It was the first time she felt the pulse of another person in her hand for such a long time. Her mood was a little floating.

    ‘How long has it been since we held hands?’

    Cersinia lay still like a corpse, with her eyes open, still dazed. Ben was breathing softly as if he had fallen asleep.

    “What a trash,” she said in a very annoyed voice.

    After thinking about it for a while, nothing happened to the point where she felt like an idiot. She was grumpy and tried to let go of his hand.

    ‘But, why me?’

    There was no reason for her to be annoyed, but she was.

    ‘I can’t sleep, but Ben is asleep. Why is that annoying?’

    Doubt began to rise in her head. She pondered for a long time but couldn’t find an answer in the end. It was not until the moonlight disappeared and the sun almost rose that Cersinia could fall asleep.

    When Ben woke up in the twilight of dawn, he stared at the hands he was still holding. The sound of breathing could be heard from Cersinia, who was sleeping quietly. Ben opened his mouth, smiled, and turned towards Cersinia.

    He carefully put his other hand to Cersinia’s hair that was attached to her face. It was to remove her hair that would make her face itchy. His hand that was gently brushing her hair trembled. Ben, who brushed her hair as much as possible so that it didn’t touch her face, was relieved. It took quite a long time for his hand to return to its place after finishing its work.

    Cersinia’s long curled eyelashes and red lips that were munching in sleep were very seductive. He wanted to touch it. He wanted to feel the feeling in her hand. His tightly closed lips showed how much desire he endured. His hand, which had been wandering around her face for a long time, eventually returned to its place without touching a single eyelash. Ben left behind his regrets and instead kissed the back of Cersinia’s hand, who was holding his hand.

    Muah.

    When the cold lips touched the back of the hot hand and fell, a sensational sound resonated in the room. Ben’s heart started beating fast at the sound as if it was going to run wild. His face flushed red.

    “W-What…”

    ‘What have I done now? I secretly kissed Cersinia when she was sleeping!’ Of course, it was only the back of her hand. Ben was bewildered by his bold and immoral act. But he didn’t regret it. Because it was only once today amidst hundreds of worries and greed.

    Ben couldn’t sleep anymore. His heart was beating so fast that he was breathing hard. But he didn’t get up. He just wants to hold Cersinia’s hand until she wakes up. Even if she was only being sympathetic with him, he wanted to always be with her. Ben clutched to Cersinia’s hand as if he didn’t want to let it go.


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