Olivia stared at the woman coming in, welcomed by everyone.
She is a beautiful woman with dark blonde hair. Now that she thinks about it, she was the woman in the green dress who was smiling next to him at the last Imperial Palace banquet. Why didn’t she notice it?
Olivia blamed her own stupidity.
“Thank you so much for such a deep hospitality, Your Excellency.”
Olivia looked at Leon, who walked past her and approached the woman who was in front of them. As he kissed her hand, she smiled at that polite kiss.
What a beautiful woman. And, her attire was more sophisticated than anyone else’s. A lemon-colored dress and gold-colored pearl earrings. Brilliant blonde hair was like sunlight, and it was dazzling.
The woman glanced around, and then she found Olivia and smiled at her.
“Oh my goodness! Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.”
At Olivia’s greeting, she smiled even more.
“You’re Olivia Claudel, aren’t you?”
“I am Henrietta Grande. My father is Dolace Grande, the Duke.”
She wasn’t too surprised when she heard her title ‘Princess.’ However, she was intimidated by Henrietta’s majesty.
“Let’s stop the greetings and come in.”
Leon held out his hand, and Henrietta placed hers there. Unlike Olivia, who was always hesitant, she was natural.
The maids followed Henrietta in unison. They had always been pretending when with Olivia, but they seemed to think they should look good to the future Duchess, Henrietta.
Even though it was expected, the taste was bitter.
It was early for dinner, so they had tea time with a light snack. She uses some excuses to get away, but Henrietta says it was difficult in a place with no other woman other than her, and she asks Olivia to be with her for a little while.
Besides, Leon was also staring at her, so she couldn’t say she wanted to go in because she didn’t want to show her pettiness to him.
Henrietta, seen while drinking tea, was quite cheerful. She skillfully elicited a conversation without getting frustrated with Leon, who did not actively respond to her chatter. Looking at it, she thought Henrietta’s smile was just like gold.
“I was very happy that the Duke of Deorc is my fiancée. I don’t know how my father has been hiding it all this time.”
Today’s topic was their engagement…
Olivia quietly takes a vanilla madeleine, and she chews it for quite some time.
“I didn’t know either.”
“Later, the Duke returned, and I was told that my fiance was the Duke, how happy I was… I immediately understood why my father hadn’t said anything about my betrothal.”
While Henrietta smiled like a flower saying that, Leon drank the tea without saying a word. And, after having the maid bring more of the madeleines, he looked at Henrietta, and said,
“Because my father and Duke Grande had a very special relationship.”
“That’s right. Though every time I saw you as a child, I never dared to imagine.”
“The same with me.”
It seems that the two had already met when they were young.
Olivia quietly drank the tea.
“Oh, Kevin. How is brother Kevin?”
“He is currently on an inspection.”
“His Majesty seems to find him quite trustworthy.”
“After his accession to the throne, His Majesty works hard to keep talented people close to him.”
“Oh my, I heard my father say that it is difficult to understand the intentions of His Majesty the Emperor. If such an Emperor appreciates brother Kevin, do you know what standards he is?”
“There are no specific standards. Having managed this Duchy well during my absence, His Majesty must have appreciated it.”
“Obviously, it would have been because I believe in him.”
Olivia closed her eyes painfully at those words. She knew it, though when she heard it from Leon’s mouth, she grew even more bitter. Leon trusted Kevin, as his older brother. As siblings.
“It’s good that brothers have trust in each other.”
At that moment, Henrietta’s blue eyes twinkled meaningfully. When Olivia looked into her eyes in response to her bizarre reaction, she hid her true intentions with her smirk. Is it because she was too sensitive?
She chewed on madeleine again.
“Oh. Miss Claudel.”
Then, Henrietta’s gaze turned to her.
“Does Miss Claudel have a specially appointed fiance?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Hey, don’t keep it a secret, tell me. Whom did you decide to marry? Kevin?”
Henrietta tilted her head and asked as she kept her silence by gripping the hem of her skirt.
“Then, are you going to stay here without getting married? Miss Claudel is twenty-one, as far as I know? I think you’ve passed your marriage…”
Olivia realized what she was trying to say. Will she be living here without going out until she’s old, that’s what Henrietta was asking.
However, she had nothing to say, so she could only grip her skirt.
“I have been thinking about Miss Claudel’s marriage.”
At that voice, Olivia opened her eyes wide and looked at Leon. Did he think of her marriage?
Leon glanced at her and smiled.
She knew all too well that that smile was a fake.
“Oh, my, which family is she supposed to marry? If it was a beauty like Miss Claudel and a quiet personality, then it must be a good family, right?”
“It will be within the family.”
“Oh, my gosh, I’m going to be a member of that family, too.”
Despite Henrietta’s urging, Leon only smiled. He had a frustrated look on his face. But, in this situation now, no one would be more frustrated than Olivia.
Did he decide to marry her off?
He… He did?
It was natural for the head of the household to decide on the marriage of the family member. Nevertheless, can he at least discuss it once with her? So, why did he ask if she had anyone to marry in the first place?
Besides, Leon and herself have mixed bodies. How could he be so arrogant as to decide whom she would mix her body with for the rest of her life?
…Is she a person who doesn’t mean that much to him?
Henrietta said she would not return to the Duchy of Grande, and she would like to stay in the mansion for a few days.
Olivia wanted Leon to refuse, but he gladly accepted.
Staying at the fiancée’s house even before marriage was at risk of becoming a gossip, though it was also proof that the marriage was so close. Realizing this, Olivia said she was skipping dinner on the excuse that she was not feeling well, and she went into the room.
She entered the room and suppressed her desire to cry. It was because she did not know what the maids would say to Henrietta if she cried.
Olivia held her breath for a while as she continued to try to control her emotions, but she failed. Her lover married her off, and that lover had decided on another man to marry her.
Could she have been more miserable than this…?
At that time, she heard a knock.
When she told the person to come in helplessly, the door opened and Leon came in. Why did this person enter her room? Shouldn’t he have dinner with Henrietta?
As she gazed at him with a half sulky mind and half puzzled mind, he sighed.
“Are you all right?”
There was no way she wouldn’t be okay because it was a fake sickness anyway. The only thing that wasn’t okay was the mind.
Olivia avoided Leon’s gaze as if ignoring him.
Looking at her, she pulled up the chair and sat down next to her.
“Well, if it’s not that your body is hurt, it’s that you feel upset. That’s understandable.”
Olivia was stabbed in the head and lifted her head in surprise. Leon studied at her with a subtle expression.
At his gaze as if observing, her anger slowly rose.
She was upset? Did this person know that? Did he do it even knowing it?
For the first time ever, she clenched her fist and opened her mouth.
“Have you decided on my marriage?”
“Of course, Your Excellency has taken care of me, so I know you have the right to do that for me. I know it’s rude and shameless, but it would have been better if you told me about this first.”
As she spoke, she started to get angry. The hopeless melancholy turned into anger. She took her breath and spoke her words.
“Even so. How on the spot… To hear the story of my marriage on the spot. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind, but…”
“I have not thought about your marriage.”
“That’s my future… Yes? You don’t have anything in mind?”
When Olivia opened her eyes wide and asked, Leon grinned and replied
“I lied out of fear that you would be in trouble. That way, there won’t be any annoying questions. If someone asks you such a question in the future, answer it like this.”
She puckered her mouth. In an instant, she lost the reason to be angry. Nevertheless, the already burning anger did not go away immediately.
“Then, you should have been able to tell me beforehand! Like an idiot, I…!”
Stop it! Stop getting mad! Her reason had deterred her like that, although it had been a long time since she had already heard an angry voice coming from her mouth.
“Princess Grande made a sudden visit today, I didn’t expect that she would ask such a question, and before I could share my thoughts and have a conversation about it, we…we were a little busy.”
Olivia blushed as she recalled yesterday’s love affair.
Her anger, which had risen to the top, turned into shame and disappeared.