< — The Capital’s High Society– > (7)
TN: Last Chapter of book 4, one side-story, then we are onto book 5. BONUS RELEASE 3~
Hugo returned home late at night. Lucia’s expression was dark as she greeted him upon his return home. Her gaze was downcast and a gloomy aura revolved around her.
Hugo grabbed her chin and lifted her face to meet his eyes. She was surprised at the sudden contact and became conscious of the servants gazes and turned her away.
Hugo wasn’t concerned about the servant’s gazes and held her chin firmly. Her repeated avoidance of his eyes was very worrying.
Jerome quickly answered to the sharp call of the Duke.
The butler, Jerome, had been developing new ways to improve his competence and chased away the servants with his eyes because the mood around his two masters was starting to turn unusual.
“Her Grace has been upset ever since the boutique designer dropped by.”
For Jerome, the understanding of his madam’s mood was now a more important priority than anything else.
“Was she rude to you?” (Hugo)
Lucia shook her head.
“Then what is it? Tell me. What is making you so upset?”
“…I think I made a big mess.”
“Would…Would it be possible to get a refund even now? It may not be finalized yet.”
Hugo, who was ready to immediately get to the root of her problem and eradicate it, instantly softened. Hugo was reminded of the designer that asked him to leave it to her. It would seem the lady had as much ability as her confidence stated.
When Hugo released her chin and began to walk away, Lucia grabbed onto his arm.
“Where are you going? I said I made a big mess! I mean, as many as nineteen outfits were added to the dress!!”
Shoes, hats, and so on, naturally came along with the dresses. The price tag of these additions were not inferior to that of the dress.
Not 190 but 19? Why the ambiguous nineteen instead of cleanly striking at 20? Hugo’s rating of Antoine’s capability went down. If Antoine were to hear this, she would feel aggrieved. She had used all her means possible to sell those nineteen outfits. Antoine had even justified it with the honor of the Duke that should not be mentioned carelessly.
“I have worked up a sweat all day so I want to wash up first. You can tell me your story afterwards.”
“If you hear the amount, you won’t be so calm!”
“If I’m not surprised, what will you give me?”
“A bet has to have a reward.”
“When did I say I was betting!”
“Think about what you’ll give me. You have till I bathe and come out.”
Listen when someone is talking! Lucia called after him in protest but he climbed up the stairs. Oh, for crying out loud. She stamped her feet in frustration for an unknown reason and turned her head to the small sound of someone clearing their throat.
Lucia was embarrassed. The bill Antoine left behind was still circling in her head so she forgot all about keeping up appearances in front of the servants. Fortunately, it seemed the servants had dispersed when she didn’t realize it so they didn’t see anything.
Lucia looked at Jerome in relief and somehow, his eyes seemed to be smiling.
“Shall I prepare a bath?”
“You have not bathed yet and since master has already gone ahead, I was just informing you.”
Lucia face went red and she lowered her gaze. She felt embarrassed for some reason. A respectable butler like Jerome would not say that with any intention of the sort. She knew that but the timing was strange.
Lucia stood around indecisively then gave a deep sigh. She would end up bathing anyways. Plus her body was sticky because of the hot weather. However because of a strange feeling of unwillingness, she replied quietly.
“…I’ll leave it to you.”
Jerome answered with a smile. Indeed, he was an excellent butler. One that could read the mind of his master.
* * *
‘I must have really lost my senses earlier.’
It was Lucia’s first time experiencing the kind of service where one devoted their all with the intention of getting paid. If Lucia had visited the boutique, she would not have let down her guard.
However, she was too relaxed in the safety of her own home. What could a guest do to the host? Lucia was thinking too naively. She was used to the flattery of the noblewomen she met at Roam. So she was confident that she would not fall for someone else’s nice words.
But now, she had to pay the price of looking down on the flattery of a merchant that wanted to sell their product. Antoine’s eloquence was weaved to meet the demands of fussy noblewomen and it could capture the human soul.
Antoine was not just a good talker. Her skills were also excellent. She touched the simple dress that Lucia was wearing, here and there, and made it give off a completely different atmosphere.
Lucia had almost forgotten about face and clapped. Antoine first showed off her skill and seduced Lucia’s heart. She couldn’t understand half of the fashion terminologies that Antoine explained colorfully but she had strangely felt like she understood.
Through Antoine’s words, Lucia was reborn into visionary beauty that was the focus of people’s eyes. When Lucia thought about it now, it was very ridiculous but at the time, it sounded quite reasonable.
Antoine talked about the rumor that Lucia knew – that the Duchess was a matchless beauty- and while talking, she brought up the honor of the Duke. She also emphasized the fact that the Duke of Taran was so concerned that he visited the boutique personally. After which, she boastfully proclaimed that Lucia should leave everything to her.
[Your Grace only has to relax, count the days till you appear in society and wait for time to pass. I will make the rumor that the Duke of Taran has a beauty of the century as his wife into a reality.]
Lucia inwardly cared about the rumors. It wasn’t that she was afraid of people’s gazes but that any gossip that concerned him, weighed on her mind.
[Your Grace is beautiful. But like a rough gem, this beauty is not revealed. A rough gem’s true beauty is hidden deeply but if not processed properly, it can turn to stone. Please allow me to process Your Grace into a jewel.]