< — Duchess Vivian — > (4)
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The day of the coronation ceremony was bright. Following tradition, the coronation ceremony proceeded according to a very solemn customary practice and its participants were strictly restricted in an enclosed area. When the morning coronation ceremony was over, there was a big party to be held for three consecutive days, today included.
For today in particular, which was the first day, a light celebration party would be held from noon till dusk then from dusk till dawn, an excitement-filled ball would be held. The other two days were scheduled to have only a ball in the evening.
It was the first party to be held by the new owner of the country so the scale was enormous and the number of participants was also enormous. The number of delegations and aristocrats that came from other countries was nothing to sneeze at. When compared to the victory party that was held last year, the scale was about the same but the nobles participating in today’s event were qualitatively superior.
The nobles that were absent at the victory party because they disliked the squandering atmosphere would all be present for at least today’s party.
From early in the morning, Lucia’s mind was in a mess as she made her preparations. She had gone to a few tea parties in the meantime but from the looks of it, her state of mind had been light because the setting was light as well.
However, today was the first official party since the previous king’s death and this event was going to be Lucia’s official social debut. She could not help but become nervous. Antoine, who was almost an exclusive designer now, punctually brought her assistants early in the morning and dressed Lucia from head to toe.
For today’s event, Antoine designed a brand new dress with her heart and soul. The image Antoine was going for today was elegance and sensuality.
“Perfection. Duchess is really beautiful day after day.”
The dress was a pink tinged, pearl-gray dress with exquisitely sewn vibrant pearly pink beads. The neckline was wide so the shoulders were slightly revealed and the collarbone was conspicuous. The sleeve was narrow so it clung to the arm and as it went down the sleeve, it had folds that gave it a flair.
The base of the dress itself was double layered with lace but about 1/3 of the upper arm was made up of only lace so the skin beneath the lace could be seen. Overall, it was still a modest style. But, the twist was at the back.
The back of the dress was cut to boldly reveal half of the back. The shoulder blades were exposed and the shallow valley of the spine was conspicuous. The unblemished white skin at the back gave off a peculiar feeling. The back waist of the dress was raised to emphasize the rich folds of the hem. The thin waist was brought to the fore, giving the body an overall curvy silhouette.
Antoine looked with satisfaction at the result she had made with her hands. She felt the impulse to raise her hand to her lips and laugh ‘ohohoho’, like a witch in a child’s fairy tale book. It was worthwhile to design for the Duchess in that the designs always turned out as one imagined. The Duchess was the perfect muse that stimulated Antoine’s creativity.
Lucia was also satisfied. Antoine’s skill was improving day by day. The fact that she could make it give off a different atmosphere every time without any awkwardness was amazing. The design was alluring but not overly flashy and its somewhat innocent side was charming.
“Would you like to take a little walk? Please check if there is any inconvenience.”
Lucia took a few steps around. The feeling of the soft fabric clinging to her upper body was nice. The gorgeous lace shook flutteringly every time she moved. The numerous small diamonds embedded in the lace twinkled and shined. It was an expensive dress made with enormous material costs. Antoine had received a blank check from the Duke of Taran for the production of the coronation dress. Her artistic soul exploded.
“There is no inconvenience. The dress is very comfortable and beautiful.”
“I am glad you like it. You bring out the beauty of my work perfectly. It really suits you.”
Antoine’s flattery was filled with sincerity and Lucia smiled faintly. Even Lucia could see that there was nothing bad to say about herself today.
“Milady. It looks like Master will be a little late.”
A maid quickly came in and reported.
“Mm. So? Madame. Would you like some refreshments? I didn’t feel good about just sending away a hard worker and opportunely, there is some time on our hands. If you aren’t busy.”
“I will gladly accept. Thank you for having me.”
After the Duchess left the tea party, there was a flood of orders to Antoine’s boutique. The commissions for ‘Antoine’s boutique’ were accepted but all direct commissions were rejected. There would not be enough time to focus only on the Duchess.
Even though the main designer was not taking charge, the orders were still overflowing. Antoine was laughing all the way to the bank. She had earned well before but now, it seemed to be pouring out a river of gold.
While Lucia and Antoine were enjoying their tea time and whiling away time, Hugo was just entering the mansion. As soon as the coronation ended, he came back to the mansion to escort her.
Hugo was slightly upset. Because he was held back by people, he arrived later than the time they had scheduled for pick up. The person who became King was someone else so why were there so many dregs trying to hang onto him?
“Milady is waiting inside.”
At Jerome’s report, Hugo immediately went into the receiving room. Hugo saw her sitting there and as he watched her rise from the couch, he forgot to speak. He paused for a moment and fixed his eyes on her. Very slowly, His eyes swept over her, from top to bottom, unhurriedly examining her.
Beautiful. No. It couldn’t be expressed with a single word. His critical gaze lightly brushed past Antoine. The woman didn’t have to do her best to this extent.
‘Damn it. This means I have to show this to other people.”
When he thought of other men seeing her, he was filled with so much regret. There was no one that didn’t know the preciousness of life to dare to come onto a woman that was accompanied by her husband but, he was worried about the future where she would occasionally have to go to a ball by herself.
When they were in the north, it was good. In those days, at least he didn’t have to worry about tiger-like bastards. If he could, he wanted to forget the party, quit everything, grab her and take her to the bedroom.
She is mine.
His intense possessive desire treacherously overflowed. He was afraid she would run away if she saw the darkness in his eyes so he hid it with a soft smile.
“You look beautiful.”
Lucia’s expression flushed slightly and she gave a sweet smile.
“You look amazing too.”
He was dressed in a black tuxedo and looked absolutely splendid. Compared to women who wore colorful dresses like a peacock, men usually wore similar black tuxedos but the look that was brought alive differed according to body shape.
With his tall stature, broad shoulders and nimble body, the simple black tuxedo had transformed into the most attractive clothing in the word. Knowing his firm and rich muscles that was hidden beneath the suit, Lucia felt his attire was much more risqué.
Antoine watched the ducal couple with sparking eyes. The Duke couldn’t keep his eyes off his wife and his eyes were filled with tender affection. In the aristocratic world where marriage of convenience was rampant, it was hard to see a married couple that was filled with affection like this.
“Madame Antoine has worked hard.”
When the Duke of Taran’s gaze fell on her, Antoine bowed her waist.
“You’ve done a great job. Is there still more left to do?”
“No, Your Grace. Preparation is complete.”
Hugo escorted Lucia and climbed onto the carriage. Antoine and her assistants as well as the employees of the Ducal Household came out to see the ducal couple off. Each and every one of them were watching the ducal couple with joyful eyes. Meanwhile, Antoine was making new calculations in her head.
There is one concept that vanishes when it comes to a man that has fallen for a woman. It was precisely the financial sense.
Antoine firmly believed that the affection for the woman was in proportion to the money. In any case, the Duke of Taran seemed ready to spend any amount of money for his wife. Antoine’s eyes shone in determination to get all that money in her skirt.
*Skirt: A way of saying pocket I believe.
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