Chapter 2 Part 5 – A Changed Honeymoon
“It would be best to schedule the party when the ordered items arrive.”
A few days later, Ruby was still at Del Estate.
“Considering the time needed to organize everything, ten days from now should be good. How does that sound?”
Upon Sorvan’s approval, Ruby focused on writing the invitations.
As she thought about the content, she jotted down the details, imagining the wording and tone that would be most suitable.
“I think this is enough for today.”
Since the guest list had already been prepared, Ruby only had to write the content, leaving Sorvan to add his signature.
“Would you like me to help you pick out an outfit?”
“An outfit?…Never mind. I don’t want to be teased again for no reason.”
As Ruby finished her tasks and prepared to leave, Sorvan seemed a bit anxious.
Ruby looked at Sorvan for a moment, then his face brightened as he quickly added,
“I’m just kidding, I’d actually appreciate that.”
* * *
Sorvan was excited and presented his choices of outfits for Ruby to consider. However, Ruby had the final say on what he wore.
Even though everything at the party was intended to be extravagant, Sorvan needed to appear the most refined. This would ensure that the guests perceived him as the dignified host. Only then could the true intentions of the party be revealed.
Eventually, the simplest, most basic attire was chosen for Sorvan.
“Is my proposal still on hold?”
Sorvan asked as Ruby adjusted his clothing.
“Marsha would listen to you well.”
Only then did she realize that he had been referring to Marsha, as her etiquette teacher
“Let’s see how it goes on the day of the party. I can’t predict how the nobles will react, even if I can anticipate the results.”
There was a hint of worry in Ruby’s voice that they might not succeed with their plan.
“Does it matter so much to you, even if the party’s success is uncertain?”
Sorvan asked, intrigued.
“Regardless of the outcome, I just want to do my best for you.”
She was curious about her reasons.
“You see, up until now, all the etiquette instructors have merely ignored me. It felt like I was being ignored despite paying, so your sincerity is refreshing and reassuring.” Sorvan added
Sorvan would strive to become a noble, but Ruby was the first one who made an effort to truly understand him. She gave him a feeling of reliability.
“Once it’s done, I’ll answer you. So, make sure to do well until the end.”
“I’m very confident in exams, Ruby.”
“Let’s see how it goes.”
Ruby said with a small smile.
* * *
Ruby arrived at Del Estate well in advance.
She needed to check everything before the event began and avoid running into people who might recognize her.
When she entered the main hall, it appeared even more extravagant under the new glass candelabra, and the silverware on the side tables gleamed brightly under the light.
Iced showers had been arranged for the wines, and ice dishes were placed nearby to keep them replenished. Tables were decorated with exquisite dishes made from ingredients sourced from various regions, a luxury most people couldn’t easily enjoy.
“Everything seems to be ready. It’s almost time for the event to begin.”
Ruby commented, her voice echoing through the hall.
As she finished speaking, the sound of carriages arriving outside was heard.
“Let’s quickly go to greet the guests. I’ll go as well.”
“I should stay where you are near.”
Sorvan looked at her earnestly.
Ruby glanced at him, her face filled with a mixture of emotions. Sorvan seemed like a child searching for his mother, and Ruby’s heart went out to him.
“Right. You should be close by.”
Ruby nodded, and Sorban smiled in response.
“We’ll see how it goes.”
Ruby whispered and left to greet the arriving guests.
When the hall became crowded, Ruby re-entered the main hall
Sorvan was talking to the Marquis of Eaton. The Marquis of Eaton, being the wine lover that he is, seemed to be enjoying the side table that had been purchased for this party.
“Cold wine is so much better to drink,” Lord Eaton remarked.
“We prepared it to enhance the flavor of the wine, and I’m glad you like it,” Sorvan responded, following the advice he had received from Ruby.
“Yes, it seems you know how to appreciate wine.”
Lord Eaton seemed satisfied with Sorvan’s response and nodded repeatedly while sipping his wine.
Ruby quietly observed the reactions of the others from a corner of the room. Not just Marquis Eaton, but the other ladies and gentlemen couldn’t take their eyes off the exquisite tableware and decorations. It appeared that their interest had been piqued to some extent, indicating a successful start.
Ruby was relieved to see their reactions. She was attentively monitoring everything from her vantage point.
Suddenly, Sorvan and Ruby made eye contact. Sorban gave her a sly greeting when he found a moment where nobody was watching.
Sorvan didn’t appear tense at all, and Ruby found it impressive. She smiled broadly and nodded in response, conveying her approval.
Then, a commotion erupted at the entrance of the hall. The growing murmurs and buzz in the crowd were gradually getting louder. Some were expressing disbelief, saying that he was supposed to be out of town.
“Oh my, Marquis Grit?”
Amid the chaotic scene, Eli Grit entered the hall. People cleared a path for him as he walked in. His gaze was entirely unfazed by the attention and scrutiny of the crowd.
“Marquis Eli Grit?”
Sorvan momentarily hesitates, trying to remember his relationship with Eli Grit. However, the unexpected appearance of Eli, who wasn’t invited, stirred confusion among the guests.
“Oh my! It’s Eli Grit!”
Eli Grit walked in alone, ignoring the collective gaze of the onlookers. Sorvan realized that he had to act as the host.
“Excuse me for a moment.”
Sorvan, taken aback by Eli’s unexpected presence at the party, needed a moment to collect his thoughts.
However, Eli Grit proceeded to walk towards the corner of the hall rather than heading to Sorvan. As he approached, the crowd’s attention shifted along with him.
“There you are.”
Eli spoke in a familiar yet hushed tone.
Turning her head, Ruby found Eli Grit standing before her. The people in the vicinity, who had previously paid her no mind, suddenly became alert and exchanged puzzled glances.
As Marquis Grit called out to Ruby in a friendly manner, the crowd looked on with increasing surprise. Among the onlookers, it was Sorvan’s expression that displayed the most shock. Everyone watched the two of them closely.
“How did you get here?”
Contrary to her bewildered expression, Ruby asked in a surprisingly composed tone.
“Because you said you were here.” Grit responded.
It seemed that she had received his letter and came in haste, causing Ruby to nod in understanding.
“I was invited, and I was just going to say hello.”
In an attempt to ensure that he remained unaware of her contributions to the party, Ruby deliberately mentioned that she had been invited.
Since it was already afternoon and she couldn’t proceed with the divorce procedure at the Imperial Palace until tomorrow, it wasn’t particularly urgent for her to leave early today.
Eli Grit agreed more easily than expected, as he decided not to delve deeper into Ruby’s reason for being there.
Ruby averted her gaze from him and scanned her surroundings. His mere presence had attracted the attention of many guests. She sighed softly, knowing she wouldn’t be able to stay for long.
While surveying the room, Ruby noticed the surprised expressions on Sorban and Eli as they looked at each other.
“Let’s just say hello to the host of the party.”
Ruby turned to go to Sorvan, but suddenly stopped.
“But first, let’s stop by the break room.”
“You said you were only going to say hello.”
Eli said, as if saying she didn’t need to fix her makeup, responded.
“Except it’s for you, not me.”
Ruby’s words left Eli baffled. She appeared to be sending him a meaningful message.
“Given the haste with which you arrived…”
Grit realized what she was getting at and exclaimed, “Oh!”
Ruby and Eli left the main hall and headed to the lounge. As they did, many of the partygoers watched their interactions with keen interest.
Grit hesitated to raise his hand, and instead of adjusting his clothes, he asked Ruby for help. He leaned a little closer to her.
“You can do it,” he said to Ruby.
“You can just go to the break room and……”
“Or we can just leave.”
Eli tried to turn away again, as if he was really going to do this.
“Then come here.”
Ruby said, and Eli obeyed.
Eli tried to turn away again, as if he was really going to do this.
Ruby tucked in his slightly untucked shirt and smoothed out his collar and
shirt, smoothing them out as well.
“Was there something urgent?” she asked.
Eli, who usually maintained a clean appearance, looked somewhat distant, not like his usual self. Ruby recalled that Eli’s schedule was flexible and could be adjusted at any moment in response to a summons from the Crown Prince or the Emperor. She had experienced such changes in his plans when she used to accompany him.
“Yeah,” Eli replied.
Ruby had only heard brief mentions of Eli’s schedule during the time she didn’t accompany him. She didn’t inquire about the details of his work, and she wondered if it was the same now.
Ruby finished adjusting his attire.
“Do you know them?”
Eli asked as he kept his eyes on Ruby, trying to understand her question. Ruby looked at him directly as if to confirm her question.
“The host of this party.”
Ruby averted her eyes and answered.
“Are you close with them?”
“No. I got to know them when I arrived in the capital.”
“All of a sudden?”
“Yeah. Now, let’s go.”
Ruby finished making the final touches on Eli’s attire and tried to withdraw her hand. However, Eli took her hand and held it firmly.
“Do not just trust anyone,” he advised, speaking as if consoling a child.
Then he took her hand, not releasing his grip, and encouraging her to make a fist.
“Ruby. You can’t just trust anyone.”
His expression made him seem uncertain, as if he were questioning her in earnest.
“He didn’t approach me first.”
“Really?” Eli asked, casting a glance at Sorvan instead of Ruby.
“Well, if we’re being precise, I initiated it,” Ruby replied. She had been the one to suggest that they have dessert together with him and his sister, after all.
“You?” Eli inquired, his expression growing more serious.
Ruby nodded, and Eli’s expression became grave.
“That’s just how it happened. Let’s go.”
Eli asked further questions, but Ruby provided no additional information. All she said was that it had happened and urged him to leave.
With Eli and his now perfectly arranged appearance, Ruby approached Sorvan. Up until that point, Eli had been lost in thought.
Sorvan, too, could not take his eyes off them as Eli and Ruby came toward him, arm in arm. Their eyes met as Eli waited for Sorvan to acknowledge him.
Despite the lengthy silence, Eli appeared to have no intention of offering greetings to Sorvan first, who remained somewhat awkwardly suspended in place, waiting for Eli’s words.
Yet Eli continued to watch Sorvan, showing no intention of starting a conversation. The prolonged silence led Ruby to look at him, and again their eyes met. However, this time, Eli averted his gaze first.
“Nice to meet you,” he finally responded reluctantly.
“Nice to meet you, too, Lord Grit,” Sorvan replied, and Ruby breathed a sigh of relief.
After the initial greetings, the conversation came to a halt.
“The party is truly splendid,” Ruby, feeling inadequate, offered a shallow compliment.
“And your estate as well.”
Although Sorvan felt somewhat embarrassed to accept her praise for the party she had organized, it was better than silence. As Ruby tried to figure out what to say next, her eyes met Sorvan’s, and he responded with a somewhat awkward smile.
This awkwardness wasn’t limited to Sorvan, other nobles in the vicinity also cast curious glances in their direction. After all, she had attended very few parties with Eli since their marriage. Therefore, Ruby had gone largely unnoticed by the noble attendees.
Sorvan, Eli, and Ruby exchanged a few more words before parting ways.
“Then, we shall our my leave.”
At that moment, Eli bid Sorvan farewell and left with Ruby. The sudden departure left Ruby with no chance to say goodbye.
Ruby turned to Sorvan, clearly flustered, and he too appeared somewhat taken aback.