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Archive for May, 2012

19 ~ A Honey Moon

“You sound like Fr. John!” Shin Hye weakly chuckled as she replied. “No need to worry! I can go back to Tyneside! Just give me a second and I’ll be on my way!” Shin Hye mumbled. She said it so matter-of-factly that it took Keun Suk completely aback. She was serious. So odd how hearing her say that could send a searing pain through his gut. She really believes that I will let her go? And, sick at that! He stood rooted for a minute. He prided himself for being quick on his feet but not right now. He felt furious and anxious and downright confused. Brows knitted he approached the bed just as Shin Hye laboriously slid her feet off the bed and sat up like a drunk, swaying forward eyes closed, arms holding on to the bed for support.

“And what do you think you’re doing?” Keun Suk barked. Shin Hye winced at the sound and Keun Suk clenched his jaws at not being able to control his temper.

“If you help me up I can be on my way sooner!” coaxed Shin Hye even as she continued to whisper.

“Go back to bed! You’re not going anywhere!” Keun Suk ordered.

“Er no thanks! It was really Yong Hwa’s fault that got me here you know. He said His majesty would expect me to be here.” She babbled in a raspy voice as she boosted herself up to stand.

She can do this she thought, ‘though I really wish Hongki would still be at the hall when I get out. Have to move faster!’ She concentrated on walking as she tried to remember the time when she staggered home almost frozen when she went after Hye-ya, Yong Hwa and Philippa. ‘Almost lost a few toes but didn’t, right? This is just a fever. Can’t seem to remember feeling like this whenever I have a fever? My muscles ache so and I feel like am in a haze. Stupid fever! Crazy monarch! Why marry me off to this conceited handsome oaf! Quite a short marriage but hey at least Uncle Theo would stop bugging me now, right? Yup best to stay away. Off to Tyneside now!’

Then she noticed that she’s been looking down at those boots for quite sometime already. ‘Hmm… Can’t remember wearing boots! And, why are those boots facing me! Hey move! Out of my way!’ she thought. Then she followed the boots all the way up past its cloak and long robe till she stopped and stared at the lips for a second, ‘hmm… nice lips’ she thought. ‘Oooh! Nice nose too!’ as she looked higher still. Then she reached the eyes of the boot’s owner, dark eyes, almost black like coal, like a deep dark well pulling you down into its depths. But, why is it drawing away instead? Then she felt arms wrapping around her and for a second just before everything turned black she thought she was in her bed in Tyneside, a crackling fire and cozy bed warming her. “Ah am home!” she thought and she settled in, one arm embracing her pillow like she always does.

The ‘deep well’ wasn’t really moving away as she had imagined, it was Shin Hye who was falling backwards and Keun Suk was quick enough to grab her and prevent her from falling. One of Shin Hye’s hands had clutched Keun Suk’s shoulder and she snuggled closer just before she started to sag. Standing and supporting Shin Hye enveloped in his arms he could not help hold her there longer than he needed to. Having her there in his arms felt… what does it really feel like? He cannot quite explain what it was! He only knows that her smell was like a warm cloak wrapping around him and he didn’t want to let go… till he felt her hot forehead on his throat. She’s burning!

Keun Suk scooped her up, placed her on the bed and tenderly pulled on her arm to let go. Even in her sleep she was complaining, whining refusing to let go. He had to whisper to her soothingly, almost like calming down an agitated Tristan.

“Ssssh… hush now! Am not leaving! I’ll just be right here. Everything is going to be fine!”

Keun Suk turned Shin Hye on her side and proceeded to loosen the laces on her back then drew the blanket over her as he sat- back on the headboard, legs straight beside Shin Hye, his hands holding, tapping her tensely gripping ones, and impatiently waited for Hongki. Shin Hye was restless. She kept tossing and mumbling.

It was a very bewildering night for Shin Hye. She’s never been this sick with just fever. Something’s wrong! Her mind’s all muddled and she could not think straight. She felt as if she were engulfed in a thick fog and her limbs were all hard to move. She knew she had to do something even before Hongki comes with the medicine but she can’t quite remember what it was. Then she felt Bella, her knife/dagger, pressing on her side with her small leather purse. Then groping with every bit of strength she still had left she pulled out her purse, opened it and removed a small goatskin leather bag inside, like a miniature wineskin, and took a draught. Then sputtering what sounded like a train of Italian curses under her breath, if the much surprised Keun Suk were not mistaken, her face screwing up and turning plum red from the bitter, distasteful medicine she squeaked “Window hurry! Vomit!”

Shin Hye heaved out everything in her stomach in a matter of minutes with Keun Suk supporting her weight, gripping her waist tight. She turned deathly pale when she was done throwing up, her nose, upper lip and forehead gracing not a few beads of sweat from the exertion, her limbs limp but her skin remained burning hot.

“I’m summoning the royal physician,” a much disturbed and worried Keun Suk curtly said as he laid her back onto the bed, but Shin Hye held onto his hand tight and wouldn’t let go. He can only imagine the effort she must have put to hold him like that. Looking at her, seeing her so pallid, and not being able to do anything about it he felt his anger seething, welling up.

“Tell no one, please?” Shin Hye requested and seeing Keun Suk’s puzzled eyes, “I will explain later okay? Save for Yonghwa and Hongki let no one know or see me, okay? Please?” Shin Hye softly pleaded with Keun Suk, through heavy lidded eyes.

“I mustn’t sleep… need to take medicine! Promise to make me take the medicine Hongki is bringing! Promise… me!” she urgently whispered.

“I promise!” was the last, distinct thing Shin Hye heard Keun Suk say before she blacked out again. All through the night she drifted in and out of consciousness. Remembering only bits and pieces- of being propped up and made to drink some brew, what she remembers most though was the soothing voice and warm arms of Keun Suk prodding her awake to take the medicine. She didn’t hear or see Keun Suk and Hongki fighting against each other, with just about everything from how to sit her up, make her drink, to whose going to hold Shin Hye, nor did she hear them when they fought for her life, when they couldn’t get her to open her mouth during the first dose or how to make her swallow. Keun Suk wouldn’t let Hongki assist him. He wouldn’t let him touch his wife. It took some time for Hongki to understand Keun Suk’s reticence. Keun Suk is a man of action and ministering to his wife was the only way for him to feel useful. It also helped quell his agitation and the storm of questions brewing in his mind.

It was near dawn when Shin Hye’s fever broke, her sweat soaking through her gown, kicking the covers off her and flinging Keun Suk’s arms away even in her sleep, she was moaning and pulling on her gown when Keun Suk calmed her down. Hongki placed Shin Hye’s change of clothes by the foot of the bed and a small basin with a warm damp washcloth and towel on to the table beside the bed.

“I’ll be outside of the door if you need me!” Hongki said and walked towards the door but paused and quipped, “You do know that you have to wipe her dry after the…” but abruptly stopped in midsentence upon seeing Keun Suk’s raised eyebrow.

Keun Suk became occupied in undressing, wiping, drying off and dressing Shin Hye save for a second or two as he was taking off her inner tunic and was distracted at seeing the pink crowns of her breasts again. It transported him to that night when he first laid eyes on them but he was immediately shaken back into reality by Shin Hye shivering from the exposure. He didn’t see anything after that, so absorbed was he in changing her into dry clothes and making her comfortable.

Keun Suk stood up and opened a few windows to let fresher air in when he heard a ruckus a bit way off. Maybe some boisterous revelers he thought, but never the type to take things for granted, he went out to talk to Hongki. Then he went back to bed by Shin Hye’s side, made her drink the last of the brew Hongki made, and as he lay down he scooped Shin Hye’s head and laid it on his shoulder. Shin Hye, accustomed to such position, turned fully on her side facing Keun Suk, laid her leg over his thigh, cuddled closer and hugged him. Keun Suk, despite the long night and the increasing disturbance outside, for the first time in quite a long time, effortlessly went to sleep thinking how right everything was. He didn’t even have the time to question how that can be so, he just knows it is so.

Hongki knocked softly, opened the door and peeped in. Seeing the two sleeping peacefully he thought they could afford an hour or two of sleep before he has to wake them up to some strange, disturbing development. They would probably chew his butt off for not telling them immediately but they would need their strength and wits for this one.

‘Boy what a honey moon!” Hongki muttered.

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