Chapter 50 - Ruined Plans
“Did something happen, Lord Rowen?” I asked him with a puzzled expression.
He stood up abruptly. “Please excuse me for leaving me in a hurry, Lady Floyen.”
“What?” It was considered rude for guests to leave before having tea. ‘He already committed a breach of etiquette once, and he’s going to disrespect me again…?’ I stared at him with bewilderment.
“I forgot that I had some urgent business today. It’s all because I’m lacking… Please forgive me,” he said with some struggle.
‘I guess it can’t be helped.’ Although it was rude for him to leave this abruptly, I didn’t want to hold onto someone who looked sick. “I understand. It looks like you’re not feeling well, so please take care of yourself.”
“I wish the kind and beautiful lady happiness, as well as a good partner.” After rambling more blessings, he bowed deeply and left.
‘Well, it’s not a big deal because there are other people who I haven’t responded to yet.’ Not long after he left, Merilyn came back with a cart full of snacks and refreshments. It was actually a blessing in disguise that he left early since I preferred drinking tea alone.
“Merilyn, please set…” Before I could tell her to only arrange the table for me, someone else stepped into the drawing room. “Oh, Father… Hello.” I managed to greet him as naturally as I could. He merely nodded instead of answering.
‘I hope he didn’t overhear my conversation with Lord Rowen, otherwise, he might talk about the marriage list.’ His sudden appearance made me anxious, and that feeling only grew when he slowly approached me.
“Are you drinking tea?” he asked.
He sat in the chair across from me as if it was the natural thing to do. “Good. I’m thirsty as well.”
I looked at the steaming teapot, then at him with quivering eyes. ‘You’re going to drink hot tea when you’re thirsty?’ Nevertheless, I didn’t comment on the strangeness of this.
“The tea is hot, so you should probably drink it when it cools down… or you could just drink some water.”
“I can talk to you until the tea cools down,” my father said.
‘It’s more reasonable to leave and drink water. I can’t believe he’s waiting here to have tea with me.’ As I pondered over this, two cups of tea were placed on the table. ‘I guess I won’t be drinking tea alone.’ My father lifted the teacup gracefully and gazed at me with a warlike aura.
I smiled brightly and picked up a cookie. ‘Now I have to drink in this tense atmosphere.’
* * *
“What did you just say?” a low voice asked.
Madam Fresia smiled brightly and said, “Lady Floyen accepted Lord Rowen’s offer to become her partner.”
Max felt a surge of annoyance at the word ‘partner.’ “I see,” he said, trying to look calm.
“On the surface, he is a handsome and well-mannered young man, but it’s rumored that he’s a womanizer who has reduced many young ladies to tears,” Fresia added playfully.
Max twisted his expression. ‘That woman. I told her not to only look at appearances…’ For some reason, anger flared up inside him. “So, are those two are going to the ball together?” he asked sharply.
Fresia clicked her tongue and said, “I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but he turned the lady down.”
Max raised his voice. “How dare a count’s son reject someone like her!”
Fresia clicked her tongue again and sighed. Judging by his reaction alone, it was impossible to figure out what kind of news Max wanted to hear. ‘If he’s concerned about the lady, he should just offer to become her partner…’
At that moment, Max spoke. “Did you find out who started the rumors about her?”
Fresia’s eyes lit up. “Ah, yes.”
“Who did it?” Max asked with a bloodthirsty growl.
Fresia smiled. “It turned out to be Viscount Droil.” When Max’s expression hardened, she added, “Isn’t it funny? She used to be his lover, but he does nothing while his troubled cousin slanders her.”
Max was deep in thought for a while, then he said, “Find out every weakness of Marquis Hessen and Viscount Droil. I also want a report on the other people who offered to become her partner.”
“What? But…!” Before Fresia had a chance to answer, he disappeared. She sighed and muttered, “That information was already purchased by Duke Floyen.”
* * *
Although the atmosphere was tense, I was relatively calm. ‘Now that I’m used to Father acting like this, I’ve learned to control my emotions.’ I slowly sipped my tea with this thought.
“Did you find a partner?” he suddenly asked.
I had been expecting this question. ‘It won’t do me any good to tell him the truth. I’ll need to buy some time before I can find a different partner.’ If I told him that I got rejected, he might mention the marriage list.
“I’m still trying to choose,” I said calmly, setting down the teacup.
“If you can’t find a partner…” My father trailed off and stared at me. “Be sure to tell me,” he said firmly as if trying to imprint these words into my mind.
‘What are you going to do if I tell you, Father?’
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