After that, my mother quickly got into action.
Despite the confusion, she gave instructions and soon proceeded to prepare for the arrival of the Duke who would come here shortly.
Meanwhile, I was being groomed by skilled maids.
My face in the mirror was in terrible shape due to the effects of the hangover and recent stress; my chestnut hair was damaged like hay as a result of neglect; and dark circles hung beneath my emerald-green eyes.
Until yesterday, I didn't care how I looked, but today I felt miserable and ashamed of my disheveled appearance in the mirror.
Perhaps the prospect of hope had given more room in my heart, seeing that I could afford to feel this way.
So I ordered the maids to do the makeup carefully and choose my favorite dress.
It was not that I wanted to be liked by the Duke or show off.
I just wanted to like myself a little more.
I didn't think that putting on makeup could completely cover up my bad complexion, but it would be better than doing nothing.
I managed to get myself ready and took a breath when I heard a yellow scream coming from the gate.
Without delay, the butler came to me.
He said, “My lady, the Duke of Lambert has arrived.
When you're ready, please greet him.”
“I'll go now.”
I thought the Duke had already arrived, but it seemed that the panicked maids had mistaken the advance envoy for the Duke
Thinking that he had been kept waiting for a long time, I hurried down the stairs to the hall at a brisk pace to greet him, taking the curtsy of a lady.
I couldn't see my sister, but her late return was not unusual.
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“It's been a while, Countess Rosebery, I'm sorry for visiting at such a time.”
“N-no! I am rather flattered!”
The Duke who showed up was very stunning.
His blue and white formal wear suited his silver hair well, and his ice-blue eyes, like the sky, were sweetly narrowed.
…I couldn't help but think that a young man who looked like he had come straight out of a fairy tale couldn't possibly be misogynistic.
There must have been something in his past.
As I was staring at the Duke, admiring him, our eyes met.
I quickly averted my gaze, but something felt strange.
(Despite seeing the Duke up close for the first time, why do I have a strange sense of déjà vu…?)
Wanting to clarify my unease, I looked back at the Duke.
“I came today because I have something I want to talk to Miss Amalia about.
I won't hurt her, so please allow me a moment alone with her.”
My always calm mother had been completely enchanted by the Duke's face and had permitted without hesitation.
Then, pushing me, who was slow to react, into the reception room, she hastily went elsewhere.
By the time I regained my senses, the Duke had already relaxed with a suspicious smile on his face.
“You are looking at me so passionately,” he said.
“I feel like I'm going to melt.”
“Oh, no, that's not it.”
“Hehe, have you fallen for me?”
“I admit that you have a good appearance, Your Grace, but…
have we met somewhere before?”
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With those words, the Duke froze.
After a long silence, he smiled very nicely at me, who was puzzled if he had said something rude.
“I'm going to make use of what happened today.”
“You can escape from marriage.
I can become closer to her.
There's nothing to prevent you, the one who can inherit the earldom, from getting married.”
“That, that can't be.”
“As I said earlier, if you don't trust me, you don't have to agree.
Well, I think it's a strange hobby to deliberately cause yourself suffering.
I couldn't possibly do it myself.”
“Hold on, are you lying…?”
“I'll see you tomorrow.”
It was a promise made between me and Ilvis.
The Duke, who repeated it word for word, made me feel like he was quite similar to him…
“May I ask for your name, Your Grace…?”
I didn't expect that a lady from the earl's family wouldn't know the name and face of a nobleman, especially a Duke.”
“I'm very sorry…”
“I am Ilvis.
Ilvis Lambert, Amalia Rosebery-san.”
He called out my full name as if to chastise me for not remembering him.
Rather than being surprised or happy, I felt uncomfortable with the majesty emanating from Ilvis' radiant smile.
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