Their luggage had been loaded since the morning and was ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Before they left, Prince Edin’s servant appeared. This time, the letter delivered to Deatrice truly came from the royal.
It was against the rules to give a letter to a married person this way, so Deatrice refused to receive the letter. However, the servant wheedled childishly, saying that if she did not receive the letter, the prince might come and apologize in person.
In that case, the ‘misunderstanding’ with Lucius would inevitably rise again.
Deatrice glanced up at Lucius who waited for her in front of the carriage. He had no room to object since he had invaded her privacy before by mistaking her father’s letter for the prince’s.
Since he was quiet, Deatrice accepted the letter.
After getting into the carriage together, she deliberately took out the letter in front of him and read it. The contents really didn’t matter. It was basically just a letter of confession filled with passion that was very fitting for Prince Edin’s ability to spout nonsense.
The letter was filled with him saying how apologetic he was about the altercation and that he had no other choice but to do what he did. He also said that he’ll help her get out of her marriage if she wanted to because he was ready to give his life for her. Deatrice only needed to contact him.
Deatrice looked at Lucius for a moment and pondered whether or not to inform him of the contents of this letter. If Lucius had expressed any curiosity about it, she would have nonchalantly shown it to him.
But ever since they’d entered the carriage, Lucius had already assumed an indifferent and unimpressed disposition. Showing him the letter out of nowhere was unwarranted and she would just be embarrassing herself.
Besides, their marriage didn’t look like it would end in the near foreseeable future.
She folded the letter and put it in her little handbag, “You may be unhappy that I have received a letter from the prince, but don’t even think about accusing me of having an affair with him.”
Lucius’ calm facade cracked at her puzzling words.
“What do you mean?”
“I will cooperate with you, so I ask you the honor of doing the same. If this issue with Prince Edin ever causes my fidelity to be questioned, I will not sit by idly.”
What… is she talking about?
Lucius felt it was comical that he almost burst out laughing. He was contemplating seriously, and yet here she was making absurd claims. However, her words uncomfortably tugged at him a little.
Was he really nothing more than that in her eyes?
Lucius asked as he stared at her with deepened eyes. “What if Prince Edin really loves you? What if he abandoned Princess Stockdale and devoted his efforts to you?”
“What?” Deatrice frowned.
But Lucius twisted his lips and made a sarcastic remark. “You’re already married to a man who hates you, why not try living with one who actually loves you for a change?”
After dropping those scathing words, he casually turned his head to look out the window. Deatrice’s heart was wounded by his words, but she would never show it looked towards the window opposite his.
Once more, the silence suffocated them on the way back. As time went on, Lucius could no longer stand it and eventually left the carriage to ride his horse.
When they returned to the manor, a banquet-festival was in the works to celebrate the change of ownership of the estate.
Since there weren’t enough people to work with and Deatrice had already proven how well she did her job, everyone naturally flocked to her for directions or advice. The servants were then thoroughly instructed on which nobles should be given invitations and how they should handle a crowded venue.
Lanterns were attached to every tree, and all hidden tableware and crockery were brought out and cleaned.
Deatrice was busy listening to the butler’s report and thought that it was very fortunate that a busy schedule was there to distract her. Had she spent time idly like a doll decorating her home, she would’ve inevitably recalled the events of that night.
Being engulfed in depression was unavoidable.
While she was busy preparing for the banquet, Lucius also kept himself busy by keeping track of the changes in the estate.
Both of them deliberately avoided each other, and they were so busy with work that they hadn’t even seen each other properly in a week. Except for some instances where they can give each other a quick glance.
Receiving a sketch of the pink-colored clothes that Deatrice would wear to the occasion, Lucius decided to match accordingly. But he was bored out of his wits when the tailor came to take his measurements.
Standing with his arms outstretched, Lucius’ mind was filled with the figure of Deatrice donning the dress he saw in the sketch. But his imaginations could never make up for reality.
On the day of the banquet, Deatrice descended the stairs wearing the intricately-designed gown. He had to admit that the Deatrice in front of him was much more exquisite than he had imagined.
White chiffon puffed up the pink, satin skirt above it. On her collarbone rested a pomegranate necklace that contrasted wonderfully with the paleness of her neck. Her hair was adorned with small pearls and glimmering diamond crystals that further accentuated her elegance.
She was definitely the center of attention.
Dazed, Lucius forgot to reach out his arm to take her hand.
Thinking that so many people were seeing this Deatrice like this, made him want to tell them to shut their eyes so he could solely be the one to admire her.
Thanks to the numerous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and candelabras by the walls, the inside of the manor was very bright and Deatrice shone like a star in the night.
As it was a banquet held to greet neighboring nobles and make their own influence known, it was impossible to manually count the number of people who attended. But that didn’t matter as much, since the main purpose of this banquet was to invite as many people as possible and leave a good impression.
Because of this, the halls were filled with decorations, trinkets, and lively music. Those who knew Deatrice from when she was still living with the duke thought that the banquet was different from what they expected, but they soon had to admit that this was also enjoyable.
As the hostess, Deatrice had to keep her guests entertained by greeting and talking to them with a practiced smile. Then she would move to another clique like a butterfly fluttering within the crowd.
It feels like the wedding phase all over again.