Chapter 2 Part 13 – A Changed Honeymoon
“My Lord, the Dowager would like to speak with you for a moment.”
Damon spoke quietly to Eli, who had come downstairs after Ruby had fallen asleep.
“She’s waiting in the study.”
“In case Ruby wakes up, tell her I’m in the study and to come to me right away,” Eli instructed Damon.
“Yes, My Lord”
Eli, hastily putting on some clothes, headed toward the study
“I see you haven’t slept, Mother,” he remarked.
“What kind of manners was it back then in the tea party”? Do you really have to embarrass me like that?
Marie scolded him, shooting a disapproving look as she greeted him as usual.
She couldn’t raise her head throughout the tea party, feeling embarrassed for staying behind and with his son not wearing decent clothes.
“What about your attire? You couldn’t even dress properly while everyone was watching, and so you had to rely on that girl?” Mary continued.
Mary didn’t hide her displeasure as she looked at Eli, who was quietly listening to her words. She believed that her son, who always prioritized her words when it came to manners and etiquette, would understand her nagging.
“To think that a posthumous child, who grew up in a small estate, is teaching manners to a child born from a well-mannered household..,” she began.
“Ruby is the mistress of Grit Manor, the Marchioness, mother,” he stated as if he were teaching a child, syllable by syllable. It was certainly a well-mannered tone, but his expression didn’t match it at all.
“You were quite reserved for someone who talks about honor,” he added
“What do you mean?”
“You remained silent even when people made disparaging remarks about the wife of your son.”
“It seems like your sense of etiquette varies depending on the person.”
Eli, who had chuckled at Marie’s words, momentarily wiped away his smile and gave her a sharp look. It was the first time she had seen that expression on him since she came to Grit Manor in the capital
“Mother, you invited Ruby to the tea party without saying a word to her. It doesn’t seem like you’re concerned about etiquette.”
Eli waited, but Marie couldn’t say more. She had nothing more to say.
It was true that what she emphasized so strongly about etiquette had been violated. And there was no way he wouldn’t know that there was another intention behind it.
“Did you talk to Ruby about this as well?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m curious if you spoke to Ruby in the same way.”
“Why? Did she complain to you about it?”
Marie laughed incredulously as if she couldn’t believe it.
“I just corrected her improper behavior. How could you talk to me like that?”
Marie spoke as if she felt unjustly accused.
Eli called her quietly, “Ruby didn’t say a word.”
“I just feel that seeing your current demeanor, you might have treated Ruby the same way.”
Eli’s words seemed to have struck a chord with her.
“Don’t do that in the future. If you still feel the need to say something, say it through me.”
“And you should apologize to her for today’s incident.”
Marie didn’t respond, she simply turned her head abruptly. Her actions clearly displayed her emotions.
However, she didn’t fully commit to apologizing.
“You’re still the same,” Eli’s soft-spoken words made Marie slowly turn her head back.
“I guess changing my mother’s people didn’t work out.”
It took Marie a little time to understand Eli’s casually spoken words.
But then she realized what it meant and looked at Eli in surprise.
Eli smiled at her as their eyes met, and his son’s smile felt unsettling to Marie.
“Since the lady of the Grit household has changed, it’s only natural that the people in the household changes too.”
“How could you…! How could you do such a thing!”
Marie couldn’t hold back her anger.
Recently, the authority over the people inside the manor had been peculiar. Even without any significant events, the number of people who used to come to impress Marie had decreased. The party invitations were no exception.
Later, Mary heard that the influential figures with whom she had been close had stopped participating in social activities within the estate. When she asked for reasons behind their sudden decision, no one would answer. It seemed her own son was behind this change. Feeling betrayed, Marie’s body trembled.
“Mother, Ruby is now the lady of Grit Manor. So, you should be good with her.”
“You make it sound like you’re going to do something to me if I don’t behave.”
Marie opened her eyes and tilted her head toward him.
“If you’re curious, go ahead and try. I’ll show you what I would do.”
Unperturbed by her reaction, he calmly finished speaking and left the parlor without any regrets. It was evident in his brief actions that he wasn’t concerned about Marie.
“Oh my, the two of them are still newlyweds.”
“I didn’t know the Marquis Grit was a romantic person.”
“He seems to be quite fond of his wife.”
After Eli and Ruby left the tea party, the women each made a comment.
“That’s right. Marquis Grit seems to cherish his wife a lot.”
The last person to speak was the Viscountess Starlet, and her gaze was directed at Marie. Her gaze carried the question of whether she was aware of this fact and also implied potential difficulties if this continued. Smiling as if the gaze meant nothing was the best Marie could do.
“This can’t just stay like this.”
Marie muttered anxiously, biting her fingernails.
Contrary to their conversation yesterday, Marie visited Marquis Grit’s residence the very next day. She had informed Eli beforehand that she wanted to apologize to Ruby, so he did not restrain her.
“I’m sorry about what happened at the tea party yesterday.”
Marie apologized to Ruby as soon as she saw her in the parlor.
Surprised by Marie’s apology, which she hadn’t expected to receive, Ruby didn’t know what to say.
Should she say it’s okay? She had accepted the apology, but things were not okay, so she didn’t want to say that. Should she tell her not to do it again next time? But she didn’t want to assume that there would be a next time.
As she pondered over various thoughts, Ruby ended up not saying anything.
“Are you not going to answer ……?” Marie, who had been waiting, became crestfallen.
It was Eli who stopped her.
“Ruby is the one in the position to forgive, so it’s up to Ruby to decide whether to accept the apology or not.”
Eli held Ruby’s hand and made eye contact with her.
“You don’t have to respond right now.”
Ruby did not answer, and as she continued to make eye contact with Eli, he conveyed a different meaning to Marie and spoke to her.
“Since you’re done, it’s better for you to go back. Mother,” Eli’s dismissal, which Ruby usually ignored, now faced directly in front of her, making it more humiliating.
However, Marie restrained herself.
“I heard you haven’t hosted a party yet.”
Even when Eli’s gaze fell on her, Marie didn’t flinch.
“If you want your wife to be recognized as the rightful lady of Grit Manor, it’s only natural for the lady of the house to host a party.”
“That’s something we’ll decide.”
Eli interrupted her, but Marie, who had anticipated his reaction, didn’t easily back down.
“Now, when everyone is in the capital, wouldn’t it be the best time?”
Marie’s gaze was precisely aimed at Ruby.
She was provoking Ruby’s desire to be acknowledged as the lady of Grit Manor. Marie had always used Ruby in such a way.
Despite the obvious intent in Marie’s words, Ruby chose not to respond and maintained eye contact with Marie.
Ironically, Eli seemed more affected by Marie’s words.
“What are you planning again?” Eli asked her mother with a hard tone
It was the moment to reject within his boundaries.
“Would you help me?”
Ruby, seemingly hesitant, asked. Eli called Ruby but pretended not to hear.
“As you know, I’m lacking in many aspects.”
Ruby answered meekly, even smiling slightly.
Marie scrutinized her with a suspicious gaze. Although Marie had initiated the conversation, she was slightly taken aback as Ruby willingly accepted it.
“I hope you can help. Otherwise, we won’t be able to host the party.”
The nuance of Ruby’s unspoken words after stating her main point was apparent.
In any case, Marie had only one choice.
This party was Marie’s last opportunity, and even with her hidden agenda, she could handle all the preparations herself.
“Well then, it’s your first party in the capital. How could I stay idle? It’s something I can’t let you do without me.”
Marie flashed a bright smile as if to say when was the last time she felt bad.
Ruby was confident that this was the brightest smile Mary had ever shown her.
“I feel reassured.”
She responded as if she didn’t know anything about Marie’s intentions.
Now, she didn’t need the approval of anyone in front of her, including Marie.
Oddly, it was Eli who became uneasy. Ruby, smiling at him as if to say not to worry
“How about not doing it?”
Marie received the answer she wanted and left. It was when Eli and Ruby returned to their room.
“You don’t like parties. I’ll talk to Mother about it…”
“As your mother said, I’ve never hosted a party before.”
Ruby’s nonchalant reaction made Eli even more uneasy.
“You don’t have to do it just for me.”
“Just the fact that you’re accommodating Mother at the estate shows a lot of consideration.”
He spoke as if acknowledging her efforts. Eli, silently watching her, took her hand.
“It’s not because of you, I want to do it.”
After saying that, he lightly kissed her fingers.
“So you don’t need to think I’m being considerate.”
He replied obediently, but strangely, it felt like his sincerity didn’t reach her.
Marie insisted on handling the difficult tasks herself, taking charge of all the preparations. It sounded as if she were genuinely doing it for Ruby.
Ruby went along with what Marie wanted. However, Eli was different. His wife, who always wished to escape from him, seemed to find an opportunity in Marie. So, unlike Ruby’s calm demeanor, Eli became restless.
“The guest list, provisions, decorations, and other order details.”
Leton placed a stack of documents on the desk for Eli to review.
Eli meticulously inspected everything to alleviate his unease. Despite the apparent calmness of Ruby, he became more agitated.
Contrary to the face that seemed to indicate the presence of a scheme, it appeared ordinary.
“That’s why it makes me more anxious.”
“It will be fine.”
Leton’s words were likely intended to reassure Eli, but the unease did not easily dissipate.
Despite Eli’s thorough reexamination, the anxiety lingered.