Huge thanks to Eilidh for the support! (1/2)
“By the way, what were we talking about?”
“You were talking about the drawing.”
“Why are you drawing dresses all of a sudden?”
“I complained to Derick… I mean Frederick, that my social dress was too uncomfortable because I have to wear several layers of petticoats. He told me to make a dress that I want.”
Gerard’s face darkened as Leila continued with her story. Another story about Frederick.
“I thought he was making fun of me at first. However, he sent the Madame from Bella’s Boutique to my house the next day.”
“Madame told me to draw the dress that I want. I was just doing it. Which one do you think is the prettiest-”
“Leila Stein! What the hell do you think you are doing?”
“Do you really not know what he meant by sending Bella’s Boutique to your house?”
Bella’s Boutique worked for the Hernia Imperial Family. Archduke Anata was one of the main customers of Bella’s Boutique since the founder of the Anata family was an Empress.
However, the Archduke sent that boutique to the young Lady of a Viscount family? It was quite a deliberate act. This was obviously a gesture in which Frederick offered his heart to Leila.
“No, Gerard. Don’t misunderstand. I just want to make a dress.”
“I told you you’d better keep your distance from Archduke Anata. I told you that the rumors about him were bad, and he seems dangerous.”
“Gerard, those are just mere rumors. Rumors say that I’m a knight with my father’s support, and that I’m a vulgar woman who managed to seduce the young Marquis.”
“…What, where did you hear those rumors?”
He had made sure it was all taken care of so that it wouldn’t reach Leila’s ears.
“Don’t listen to those rumors.”
“I know. Just as my rumors are not true, Archduke Anata’s rumors may not be true as well.”
“No, but Leila…”
Leila cut off Gerard’s attempt to refute her.
“I know what you’re worried about, Gerard.”
“However, nothing changes. You will always be the closest and most comfortable person to me.”
Leila said, making eye contact with Gerard. He looked into Leila’s brown eyes, which were filled with sincerity, and nodded.
Leila was right. Leila and him were the closest to each other. There were years of memories between him and Leila that would never be shaken by Frederick or others.
Gerard didn’t know that he had been demoted from ‘the only one’ to ‘close friend’. No, he pretended not to know.
Moreover, Leila’s words were wrong. Frederick gradually took his position beside Leila. And naturally, Gerard gradually moved away.
It was the day Gerard visited Viscount Stein’s residence to meet with Leila, as he promised.
“Oh! Gerard, what should I do? I have an appointment with Derick, so I have to go out now.”
He bumped into Leila, who was getting prepared to leave the mansion. Once again, Frederick had become Derick.
“I’m sorry, I should’ve told you in advance.”
Gerard frowned upon hearing Leila’s words. Since when had they made an appointment?
Gerard grabbed Leila’s wrist. He thought he should hear it today. Him or Anata? It didn’t matter whether she thought he was childish or not. It was no longer a situation he shouldn’t question.
“Don’t go to meet Archduke Anata.”
“…What’s wrong with you? He must be waiting for me.”
Leila was bewildered.
“I’m here to meet you now as well. Is he more important to you than me?”
“Gerard, what’s with you? Did you just ask who’s more precious to me, you or him? However, about the prior appointment…”
“That’s why! Don’t go.”
Gerard’s voice became louder. The servants of the Stein family started to glance at them.
“Uh… but you know, I was actually thinking about when to tell you this.”
“Derick asked me to be his partner at the banquet… I said I will. I didn’t want to refuse because he said the dress I designed matched with the outfit he was going to wear. Actually, I’m going to see the said outfit because it’s already finished. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”
“Ha, what about me?”
Leila, who would stand beside him every time they went to a banquet, was going to someone else. Even worse, the man she chose to go with was Frederick de Anata.
Gerard was at a loss for words.
“There’s still a lot of time left until the banquet, isn’t it? You can go with another girl…”
“What I’m saying is- It’s not like that.”
Leila frowned at Gerard’s loud voice.
“Gerard, why are you so angry at me?”
“I don’t want… No, I don’t want you to be his partner.”
“…Why are you acting so childishly like this? Going to a banquet with someone else doesn’t mean our relationship will change.”
Gerard’s desperation seemed like a child’s tantrum to Leila. He was hopeless.
“What are we?”
“Us? Do you mean what kind of relationship we are in-”
“I like you.”
Gerard interrupted Leila.
“I like you. You’re not going to say that you didn’t know, are you?”
“…I like you too, Gerard.”
However both of them knew. That their feelings of ‘like’ were different.
“No, Leila. I mean, romantically.”
This time, Gerard had no intention of turning a blind eye to Leila’s obliviousness.
“So, don’t go. If I’m really precious to you, don’t go.”
Gerard asked again and urged Leila to answer.
“…I need some time to think.”
Leila pulled her wrist out of Gerard’s grip. Gerard stared blankly at the hand that had escaped. It was right in front of him, but he couldn’t catch it. As though sand fell through the gaps of his fingers.
Leila left the mansion, declaring Frederick’s victory.
Leila, who said she needed time to think, never gave an answer. Time passed by helplessly, and it was finally the day of the Empress’ birthday banquet.
Gerard’s confession didn’t change anything. On the day of the ball, Frederick stood beside Leila, and there was another young Lady beside Gerard. Leila was the star of the banquet. Her mermaid-style dress created a buzz in the ballroom.
“Oh, such a pretty dress can be possible without having to wear a petticoat!”
“Hey, what’s so pretty about that dress? A dress that does not use a petticoat is considered negligee.”
“No, my Lady! You wouldn’t say so if you knew where that dress was made.”
“What? Which boutique is it from?”
“Bella’s Boutique. I heard that the dress was personally made by the Madame there.”
“Yes, that dress!”
“What on earth is the relationship between the Archduke and the young Lady of the Stein family? Did they promise to get married when he introduced her to Bella’s Boutique?”
“I don’t know!”
“What happened to the young Lord of Blanchett?”
The love triangle between the three flared up in society. People’s eyes were filled with fascination and interest that couldn’t be hidden.
They wanted to take this opportunity to sit beside Gerard. Young ladies approached Gerard and greeted him shyly, and their parents attempted to extend their conversation. However, no one could have a meaningful conversation because Gerard was unusually cold.
Whether people glanced at him or not, Gerard’s eyes didn’t turn away from Leila. He didn’t exactly want to see it, but he had no choice but to do so.
From Leila’s smile when she was laughing brightly at Frederick’s words, to Leila’s arm which was entangled in Frederick’s. It all looked stuffy to him.
It wasn’t a pleasant experience at all to see someone else standing beside the person he thought he would end up with. Even though he couldn’t bear the anger and despair that made his stomach churn, he had to raise the corners of his lips to deal with people.
How many times had he exchanged formal greetings with people? He was getting tired.
Then, Gerard’s partner handed him a drink.
“Sir, please have one of these.”
“No, thank you.”
Gerard refused, saying he was fine. However, his partner was persistent.
“You’re not fine. You must have been thirsty since earlier.”
She said it in such a graceful way. His face was a mess, so he had to control his expression.
“Is it obvious?”
Gerard asked awkwardly.
“Yes. I don’t know what you’re going to say, but I’m a little scared.”
It was the first time he heard it. He was confident that he was better at controlling his expression than anyone else, but it didn’t seem like that anymore. He wiped his face with his big hand in frustration.
At that moment, his partner leaned in.
“You can’t do anything at the moment, can you?”
She whispered so that only Gerard could hear.
“Or are you going to drag Leila forcefully with you?”
He couldn’t do that. Gerard Blanchett was a lofty young Marquis. He had to mind the eyes of other nobles.
“I know, don’t bother about it too much because you can’t do anything about it now.”
“…Yes, thank you.”
It turned out to be true. Gerard tried to relieve himself by drinking the drink his partner gave him.
Nonetheless, drinking a cool drink seemed to make him feel more comfortable. He smiled slightly at his banquet partner as a token of gratitude.
However, the effort quickly faded. Leila and Frederick disappeared in a blink of an eye.
Gerard’s face turned pale. Where did they go? The terrace? The restroom? Or… the garden?
He looked around for them and made eye contact with his partner. They looked at each other without a word for a moment.
Gerard wanted to go find Leila, but he also couldn’t leave his partner alone. He felt guilty leaving her alone, so he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. Perhaps she noticed the glint of conflict in his eyes.
“Go ahead, my Lord. I’ll be waiting for you.”
His partner, Chloe Roem, pushed Gerard away.
E/N: Okay I don’t know about you guys, but Leila really upset me in this chapter. I can’t help thinking she’s a little bit of a white lotus >.< She led Gerard on pretty intensely and never even gave him an answer! How terrible is that! Also poor Chloe, she tried to help him with his first love until the end 🙁
T/N: I can’t help but agree 100% with our Editor.
Hi guys, as you know we are a free-to-read website and we only survive on ads. However, ads are not able to help us much longer. If you like what we do and have any spare, please consider supporting us to keep us alive: Link