< — The Capital’s High Society– > (3)
Hugo was in a good mood because he was going home early.
‘Today, we can have dinner and take a walk together.’
When they were in Roam, they regularly ate dinner together but nowadays, it was difficult to do even that. He was needlessly busy with something. When he got home, there was a lot of work to do. At that thought, his mood darkened slightly but still, he liked the fact that he was going home so his mood quickly lightened up.
He would have felt even better if he didn’t meet a certain person when he turned at the corner of the hallway.
‘Somehow, today is a bit annoying.’
Hugo thought as he looked at Sofia, the woman who was looking at him with wide eyes. He didn’t want his return home to be disturbed twice.
Sofia called out to stop Hugo when she saw that he was simply going to pass by.
“Your Grace. I hope you have been well. It has been a long time.”
Hugo was forced to stop as he could not out-rightly ignore her in a public.
“It is late, but congratulations on your marriage.” (Sofia)
“Congratulations from me as well. I heard you have become a Countess.” (Hugo)
Count Alvin, the man Sofia married, was a rich merchant. In the economic field, he was ranked quite high in terms of importance. Since Hugo steadily got information about influential nobles in politics, economy and so on, he had already heard that Count Alvin had gotten married to the daughter of Baron Lawrence.
“…Yes. Thank you…for the congratulations. I came to the palace today to meet Her Highness the Queen.”
Hugo was not interested in whatever business Sofia was visiting the palace for. His mind was focused on rushing home.
Sofia was still as beautiful as ever. Those passing by could not take their eyes off her. Sofia’s beauty drew the attention of both men and women. After experiencing the pain of heart-break, a sense of melancholy was added onto that beauty, shaking up the hearts of men. Even though she was married, Sofia still received the love letters of many men when she attended balls.
Sofia’s beauty did not enter Hugo’s eyes. His eyes could see Sofia but his head was filled with the thoughts of his wife. On the contrary, the more he talked with the woman, the more he missed his wife. He did not see Sofia looking at him with a sad look in her eyes.
Seeing his cold red eyes, Sofia was shocked. She was yet to abandon her lingering affection, always thinking ‘maybe…’. She harbored expectations that maybe if they met again after a long time, he would also be shaken slightly by memories of the past.
However, his attitude as he offered his congratulations on her marriage was clean without a doubt. She was the only one that spent long sleepless nights, and was unable to let go even after marriage.
“Then, I’ll be on my way now.” (Hugo)
Sofia felt desperate when she saw him walk by her without any hesitation. She had a feeling that this was really the end. There was no space to squeeze into his heart. Even knowing that, her hand grabbed onto him on its own.
When he stopped and looked at Sofia’s hand holding his sleeve, his face showed undisguised annoyance. Sofia was startled and released her hand.
“Are you…happy?” (Sofia)
He knit his brows, not giving an answer.
Was her question that unpleasant? Sofia thought and felt something flowing down her cheeks. She was crying in spite of herself. By the time she dabbed her tears with her handkerchief and looked up, he was already walking away. The man who walked away without saying a single word of comfort to a crying woman was just as cruel as ever.
‘Why isn’t it me?’
When Sofia heard of his marriage, she experienced pain like the world was caving in. She wanted to run to him and ask. If he didn’t immediately go to his territory, she would have really done so.
Sofia, who had fallen into despair, accepted the proposal of Count Alvin. She had felt like giving up. She wanted to forget everything. But she could not find happiness in the marriage she had chosen as an escape.
Despite the abundance she could be enjoy thanks to her husband’s wealth, Sofia’s heart was always empty. She could not let go off her persisting lingering affection at all.
Antoine was visiting to carry out a partial interim check on the finished dress and she was excited to hear of Lucia visiting the palace.
“Your first palace visit! I have to help.” (Antoine)
“You don’t have to go through that trouble.” (Lucia)
The Duke of Taran had revisited and proposed a double contract. Antoine was full of motivation for the profit that was guaranteed to be huge. Gold was the catalyst that ignited her soul. Although Antoine couldn’t do anything about the already reserved customers, she turned away all the customers that came to find her lately.
Antoine was aiming to be the exclusive designer of the Duchess of Taran.
“The first visit to the palace is a once-in-a-lifetime event! It ought to be special!”
No matter what one does, the first time was, of course, only once. Moreover, technically, it wasn’t Lucia’s first visit to the palace. Lucia lived as a princess in the palace until marriage. However, Lucia lost to Antoine’s passionate sophistry.
Early in the morning of the palace visit, Antoine was heavily armed like a soldier heading to battle.
“Since it is Your Grace’s first time meeting Her Highness the Queen, a refined and elegant style would be best. Because Duchess looks young, I will have to supplement that. It is elegant but it should express a freshness that is unlike a married Lady.”
Upon receiving inspiration, Antoine finally decided on a light violet dress adorned with tiny sparkling beads.
It gave the effect of a band fastened on the waist, emphasizing the slender waist and it spread abundantly below the waist, conservatively revealing the beautiful curves of the body.
The upper part clung to the shape of the body and the sleeves were made of see-through lace that ran from the shoulder to the under arm. Unlike fashion of late that revealed the cleavage, the neckline was just below the neck but it didn’t look trite or stifling.
Her hair was tied up in a bun, showing her slender and long neckline. Her reddish brown hair was pinned with a small white diamond pin. The finishing touch was Antoine’s magic-like make-up.
The reason Antoine was so popular among noblewomen was thanks to her exceptional make-up that was just as good as her skill with dresses.
Purple pearl was applied to her eyes and eyeliner was drawn on the corner of her eyes to make it rise slightly. Her white skin was emphasized and blush was applied on her cheeks to reveal her freshness.
The Lucia in the mirror gave off both elegance and vigor as Antoine had said.
‘How fascinating. Why doesn’t it work when I do it?’
Lucia did not consider herself a beauty. In her dream, she did not stand out at all, buried underneath gorgeous beauties. But, looking at herself in the mirror, Lucia thought:
‘It looks good. It looks…a little pretty.’
It wasn’t just because of the makeup or the dressing style. Lucia’s look had fundamentally changed.
The Lucia from the dream was passive and intimidated; rather than enjoying a ball, she was fed up with it.
The current Lucia was bright and confident. Her refreshing aura made her stand out.
*Pearl is eyeshadow…I think.