Chapter 2 Part 14 – A Changed Honeymoon
The day of the party arrived. Marie’s hosted event was quite grand, seemingly inviting all the aristocrats in the capital, with participants presenting a colorful spectacle.
“Greetings, Count and Countess Chain”
“Thank you for the invitation.”
The couple exchanged light pleasantries.
“Is this your first hosting a party in the capital?”
It was Iana, who had originally been the Viscountess Kiab but was now the Countess Chain.
Even though Ruby had witnessed Iana’s confession, she pretended not to know. Glancing at Eli, she noticed he was also in the midst of exchanging greetings with Count Chain.
“I’ve always wanted to meet you. When I heard you were hosting a party, I came gladly.”
Ruby was curious about the meaning behind her words, especially when Iana firmly grabbed Ruby’s hand.
“I think your husband is truly remarkable.”
“What do you mean?”
“In various ways.”
Iana openly looked at Eli. Maybe it was her mood that made her gaze seem more irritated than affectionate.
“You can always write to me if you’re having a hard time. A tea, walks, anything is fine.”
Rather than looking at Ruby, Iana’s eyes seemed to shine brighter when observing Eli.
Ruby awkwardly smiled in response.
“My Lady, shall we go inside?”
“See you later.”
After the brief exchange with Eli, Count Chain’s words prompted Iana to head toward the party hall alone
“What did you talk about?”
Eli, seeming curious after their departure, asked Ruby.
“She invited me for tea if I happen to have free time.”
He nodded slightly, not pursuing the matter further.
“It’s been a while.”
The next guest, arriving shortly after, greeted them with a warm voice.
The visitor who came next greeted with a cheerful voice, “Long time no see, Lady Miles.”
There was no way Marie would leave out Lady Miles. There was no one better to stroke Ruby’s inferiority complex.
Thinking back in time, it was the first time since the party Ruby last hosted in Shuban that she had seen Lady Miles. Nevertheless, Lady Miles greeted her warmly.
“Nice to see you here in the capital. Eli, I mean, Lord Grit, it’s been a while.”
Eli offered only formal greetings. It was a contrasting reaction to Lady Miles’s friendly salutation. Ruby suppressed the urge to laugh at her consistent mistake in calling his name,
To Ruby’s surprise, Lady Miles’s gaze lingered a bit longer on her than usual before heading to the party hall alone.
“Oh my, Lady Miles! Welcome!”
Marie’s lively voice welcoming Lady Miles echoed from the entrance of the hall. Ruby glanced briefly in that direction.
Marie seemed to be energetically talking to her while gripping her arm, a situation that might have bothered her a lot in the past, but now she was relieved that it didn’t bother her at all.
As Ruby turned her head to welcome more guests, her eyes met Eli’s.
“Just, You look more beautiful today.”
Although it was a familiar compliment, it felt different each time she heard it. However, as she gazed at Eli without revealing her emotions, he also locked eyes with her.
“It’s been a while, My Lady.”
The unexpected voice that disrupted their private moment belonged to Sorvan. Ruby had not anticipated Sorvan’s presence here, he was neatly dressed as she had suggested.
“Long time no see, Lord Sorvan.”
Ruby naturally accepted the greeting, wondering silently if Marie had purposely invited him. Glancing around, she noticed people curiously observing the figures involved in the rumored gossip. Ruby was bothered by the attention.
Sorvan, who had to continue his activities in society, had a heavier burden than she did. The realization weighed on her, making her feel uneasy about unintentionally causing trouble to an innocent person.
“Welcome, Viscount Del.”
At that moment, Eli greeted Sorvan loudly enough for the surroundings to hear.
“Thank you for the invitation, Lord Grit.”
Surprisingly, Sorvan also accepted Eli’s greeting with ease. As someone who remembered Eli and Sorvan’s last encounter, Ruby found it truly astonishing.
“Since you’re an important guest, Let me guide you inside .”
Ruby, despite questioning the suddenly intimate relationship between the two, looked at Eli, who didn’t reveal her confusion through her expression. His gaze seemed to suggest he would explain later, and Ruby nodded slightly.
Ruby entered the party hall arm in arm with Eli, followed by Sorvan. The appearance of the three immediately attracted attention. The host, who was personally guiding the guests, conveyed the significance of their presence, making their combination captivating.
“Oh my. Look who’s here?”
The first to speak was Marie, accompanied by Lady Marie.
“Thank you for the invitation, Lady Grit.”
Sorvan, who under normal circumstances wouldn’t even be acknowledged by a noble like Marie, was an exception today.
“You’re more ambitious than I thought, coming all the way to the party”
Marie thought, scanning Sorvan with her eyes. Otherwise, why would he appear at the party of the Marchioness Grit with whom he shared a scandal with? Marie mentally sighed at Ruby, thinking how the latter must feel meeting someone like Sorvan.
“Well, Marquis Grit invited me, and the Dowager herself sent another invitation, so I came gladly with a grateful heart.”
Sorvan spoke with a smile.
“Oh my. Did he? Well, if you had such a close relationship with him, you should have told me.”
Marie looked at Eli with a bewildered expression upon hearing this new information.
“I couldn’t tell you because it was related to the urgent trip to the capital. Except for Ruby, of course.”
Eli looked at Ruby and spoke. The corners of Marie’s mouth twitched slightly at his words as if he were assuming a relationship between Ruby and Sorvan.
“Fortunately, Ruby was in the capital, so I could ask Viscount Del for help.”
“…Is that so?”
Marie looked at Ruby to confirm if it was true. Although it was the first time Ruby heard such a thing, she had no reaction, keeping her composure.
She had a suspicion that there was some sort of backroom deal between Eli and Sorvan. Ultimately, it was based on the idea that it wouldn’t be bad for both of them. Eli and Sorban need to stay in the social circle, so they’ll figure it out.
The surrounding people interpreted Ruby’s indifferent reaction differently. It seemed appropriate to say that they were starting to perceive the scandal with Sorvan in a different light. Rather than fully agreeing with Eli’s words, they were closer to understanding that it might be the case. Eli’s open handling of Ruby and Sorvan’s scandal began to unravel a new narrative.
It was more like they had concluded that it was none of their business. When things didn’t go her way, Marie greeted Sorvan with an awkward smile.
“Hi My Lord, I’m Arlen Miles.”
Arlen, who had been quietly observing the situation next to Marie, greeted Sorvan first. Sorvan paused for a moment at Arlen’s natural gesture of extending her hand. His gaze naturally turned towards Ruby.
Seeing Sorvan’s clearly flustered expression, Ruby reflexively raised her eyebrows, signaling that it was okay to greet her.
“It’s an honor to meet you, Lady Miles.”
Only then did Sorban lightly kiss the back of Arlen’s hand. Eli looked down at Ruby, who was relieved. His eyebrows were slightly furrowed.
“As expected, Eli has a wide network of people”
Arlen playfully retorted.
“Anyway, It is a pleasure to meet you as well My Lord.”
Arlen’s voice, greeting Sorvan, was affectionate.
“Thank you, Lady Miles.”
Relieved by her warmth, Sorvan greeted her with a comfortable smile.
“Oh my, Look at me taking so much of your time. Well then, enjoy the party, Lord Del.”
After being lost in thought for a while, it seemed Marie quickly left when she saw a familiar face entering the party hall alone. On her way out, she only glanced at Eli and Arlen for acknowledgment.
Once she was gone, Sorvan visibly breathed a sigh of relief.
“You seemed nervous.”
Arlen’s voice contained a small laughter that found Sorvan cute.
“I guess I was nervous because it was my first time meeting the Dowager Marchioness Grit.”
Sorvan replied with a wry expression.
“There are indeed many people who have not met the Dowager in person yet. In reality, she’s a kind person.”
Arlen looked at Eli and asked, “Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, she’s your mother. If you react like that, what does that make her?”
Arlen playfully teased Eli, who had a nonchalant response. Arlen didn’t seem to have a hard time dealing with Eli
“I need to step away for a moment. Can you wait for me here?” Eli asked Ruby without responding further to Arlen’s words.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Oddly, Eli seemed more concerned than Ruby, who was left alone.
“You should come along to greet as well,” Eli said kindly to Sorvan after hearing Ruby’s response.
“Oh, yes, I should.”
Although his words were clearly affectionate, perhaps it was just the mood, Sorvan felt a chill in Eli’s gaze while following him, Sorvan thought to himself.
As Eli and Sorban disappeared, Ruby was left alone with Arlen. The two of them, in an awkward silence, exchanged glances.
“How about a drink to pass the time?” Arlen suggested.
Accepting Arlen’s proposal, Ruby thought that having something to drink would make it less awkward to converse with her. The area with beverages was not far from where they were.
Arlen had champagne, and Ruby opted for red wine, taking a sip to break the ice.
“Rumor has it that things have been going well between you two lately.”
“Yes. People were whispering that I must be falling behind.”
Why would she casually say something like this? Ruby, who had been responding nonchalantly, looked at Arlen without answering, silently contemplating.
“Oh, whenever Eli goes to a party in the capital, he always attends as my partner.”
Arlen added as if to justify himself under Ruby’s gaze.
“I reluctantly agreed every time he asked because it’s more appropriate for married couples to go, right? So people misunderstood our relationship.”
She laughed playfully.
Ruby repeated the word Arlen casually threw out, chewing on it in her mind. As the wife of Marquis Grit, Ruby rarely used that term.
“Do I need to express my gratitude?”
Ruby asked, staring at Arlen.
Her question sounded as if Ruby understood it as Arlen doing her a favor because she wasn’t fulfilling her responsibilities as a Marchioness. She might be sensitive when it came to Arlen but that’s how she perceived it.
“Oh, no, I didn’t mean for you to thank me.”
Arren clasped her hands and it seemed like there was an intention behind it, In the past, Ruby might have expressed gratitude to Eli for being there when she needed him, like a fool. But now, she felt no gratitude and saw no need for it. So Ruby simply responded,
“Okay” and said nothing more.
Observing Ruby turning her head away from him, Arlen sensed a change in her demeanor and actions. She seemed less anxious and more composed than before.
“But why did Eli ask me to be his partner instead of his wife?” It was a question Arlen wouldn’t have asked under normal circumstances, but seeing a different side of Ruby made Arlen curious.
While Ruby looked at Arlen, she warmly called Eli, as if Arlen had never asked her a question.
When Arlen turned his head later, Eli was approaching.
However, it was Ruby who greeted Eli first.
“I found you.”
As if it were a matter of course, Eli lightly kissed Ruby’s forehead and placed his hand on her waist.
“I was thirsty for a moment.”
Seeing the wine in Ruby’s hand, Eli nodded approvingly.
Even though Arlen’s gaze didn’t leave Eli, he nonchalantly tasted the wine in Ruby’s hand.
“If you want to drink wine, it’s over there.”
“I’ll just get you another one in case you’re still thirsty.”
“It’s been a while, My lady.”
Following them, Kane waited for the right moment and greeted Ruby.
At his sudden appearance, Ruby’s eyes widened in surprise, and her voice slightly rose.