Special Side Story 3: Drama
It was a beautiful autumn day.
As I leisurely rested, my eyes widened upon reading the contents of the letter that had suddenly arrived.
When I let out a small sigh, Lisa, who was beside me, also asked in surprise.
“Is something the matter, Lady Laria?”
I couldn’t help but suppress a chuckle and replied, “It’s about the business with the Elando Kingdom, in which we invested alongside the Savinet Merchants. It seems to be going very well!”
Lisa clapped her hands with a beaming smile.
Observing her, I couldn’t help but think that she was indeed a veteran in the maid world.
Because, in reality, a successful investment like this was nothing compared to the scale of the Duchy Icard’s wealth. Therefore, it was okay not to react with such a celebratory response. However, regardless of that, I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of pride.
After all, it was proof that my insight was correct.
Moreover, aside from the money, the fact that something I touched was successful would spread in social circles, which would also be beneficial for my standing.
To be honest, the overshadowing influence of Duchy Icard was so strong that unless it was a significant event, my own achievements didn’t stand out. Even the Duchy Orlando had collapsed, Duchy Icard was so great that there might not be a noble house to compare it to.
‘All of this… is because Father played the role of a villain so well for so many years. Well, of course, I played a part in dismissing Duke Orlando… but no one knows about that.’
Anyway, it was good news.
Honestly, the money earned from the business investment wasn’t necessarily essential for Duchy Icard, but because of that, there were more things I could plan.
“Since we’ve made a substantial amount of money, we should spend it generously, shouldn’t we?”
I excitedly spoke to Lisa.
“Tell Evan. Let him clear his schedule for the evening. With Father and Lady Olivia here, we don’t need to worry about the kids. We can have a date after a while.”
A few days ago, Evan had endured some mental stress, even if only for a short time, and considering how much I had received, I wanted to do something for him this time. Even the timing was quite good since Lady Olivia and Father had come up, saying they missed the children.
The children liked Lady Olivia and Father so much that they didn’t look for us when the two of them were around.
“Yes, all right.”
Lisa smiled and responded.
That was how the sudden date and the surprise event I planned were decided.
* * *
Evan unexpectedly looked excited, getting pulled into the sudden date. And the place I took him to was the dressing room.
“This winter, short-collared coats like this are in fashion. And here, with jewels like this…”
“Ah, great. Evan, try them on and come out!”
Along with the dressing room, Madam, I selected clothes for Evan familiarly. He appeared with his face painted in a bewildered expression, wearing the clothes I had chosen.
Actually, he wasn’t particularly interested in clothes, so he had ordered custom-made outfits for each season from the exclusive dressing room with which he had a contract. He roughly picked something to wear from among them.
Of course, with his good looks and demeanor, he always looked sophisticated, even if he chose something without much consideration.
“And this is a new shirt with velvet buttons…”
“Good, good. Let’s try this one, too.”
I flipped through the catalog, selectively choosing what seemed decent, and after trying on a few sets, Evan spoke with a serious face.
“Laria, tell me honestly.”
“Am I possibly going around looking like a beggar? Are you expressing indirectly that you don’t like the way I dress?”
I laughed at Evan’s reasonable suspicion and extended my hand.
“I just wanted to try something I feel like doing.”
I stood up, tapping Evan’s shoulder, and answered somewhat seriously.
“Our Evan, with a face and body like yours, anything suits you. It’s too wasteful to choose just one outfit.”
With a smirk, I confidently declared to the Madam.
“Give me everything from here to there.”
After pointing out the clothes Evan had tried with my fingers, I grinned and added.
“The investment was successful.”
As I spoke, I found myself so cool that admiration almost slipped out.
From the dialogue to the expression, everything was perfect. Honestly, it was an expression of immense love for myself. From here to there, declaring a sweeping purchase without even looking at the price tags.
Evan, who was looking at me like that, chuckled as if surprised before he whispered softly.
“…Did you want to stage a drama?”
I wanted to deny it, but in a way, it seemed like the perfect phrase. After all, grabbing a few outfits from the dressing room was such a trivial expense for Evan that it couldn’t even fit into the category of spending money.
Before I could respond, Evan embraced me tightly and lifted me up.
“Thank you, Laria. I love it so much.”
He even lifted me in his arms and spun me around. Due to our significant height difference, I swayed like a child, easily spinning several times.
“I’ll cherish it and wear it well. It’s great to have a talented wife that I can indulge in such luxuries.”
His response was perfectly aligned with the situation.
His red eyes sparkled mischievously.
Fortunately, the Madam in the dressing room was a professional who heard our conversation but pretended not to, enabling us to continue freely. After quickly preparing the receipt, the Madam handed it to me with a pen.
I gracefully signed it and winked at him.
“If you want anything else, just let me know.”
Since we were already in the midst of a performance, I decided to go all out.
Evan responded quietly.
“Yes, I’ll think about it.”
Normally, he would just say that having me by his side was enough, but now he looked excited. Frankly, Evan lacked nothing, so it was a playful response suited for the situation. However, as soon as we left the dressing room and got into the carriage, I could hear his response.
“Laria, there’s something else I want.”
“Oh? What is it?”
I thought he was still playing along with the drama, so I responded willingly.
“Tell me anything. Since I’m in a good mood today, I’ll indulge you.”
Evan approached me with a smile, kissing my forehead.
His voice was slightly husky, and his eyes were full of temptation.
He slowly leaned back, lifting the edge of my skirt slightly. Kissing me again on the arch of my foot, then whispered,
He looked up at me from above like a predator. The next moment, he added playfully, slightly arcing with his red lips.
“Give me everything.”
I silently looked down at him, then burst into laughter. During the carriage ride to the next destination, I had no choice but to fulfill my promise to him.
* * *
In the meanwhile, as Evan and Laria enjoyed their date, Lisa found herself in an unexpected and awkward situation.
“You, you called me, Previous Duke?”
Kallaudin called her with a very serious face. He stared intently at her with hands clasped together.
“I’ve heard that you have the keenest insight in this mansion.”
“Well… a little.”
Lisa hesitated to display humility, then decided against it, nodding her head slightly. The memory of losing the title of ‘Laria’s closest aide’ to Serena after attempting to be humble still lingered and left a bitter taste in her mouth.
If she had anticipated Serena’s arrival, she would have emphasized her qualities to Laria multiple times. She would have portrayed herself as the model servant, capable in every aspect, someone trustworthy in the mansion.
Lisa was actively recommended to Kallaudin by the chief maid, who had attached himself to Laria as the most insightful person in various aspects.
However, she couldn’t bring herself to talk about her qualifications, dwelling on the day Laria fled. She regretted not firmly asserting her worth at that time. If she had highlighted her value, perhaps Laria might have taken her along.
Regardless, since that day, she decided to give up on false humility and chose to be a maid who didn’t hide her strengths.
Lisa cautiously spoke to Kallaudin.
“I’m well-versed in all aspects of the household, with a keen eye and quick grasp of the situation… The chief maid is considering me as the next in line for the position.”
As Kallaudin nodded with a persuaded look, she swallowed dryly, lightly biting her lower lip. Despite living a tranquil life in the countryside after stepping back from the noble life, there was still a certain chill emanating from him that made people feel uneasy.
“Then, I’ll ask you one question.”
“Actually, I first asked the nanny about the situation, but she was trembling and said she didn’t know. If I pressed further, she might have resigned on the spot.”
Lisa took a deep breath to compose herself.
Arianne and Setin’s nanny was a fairly strong-willed and experienced person.
Since Evan had interviewed her himself, she was already immune to dealing with somewhat intimidating individuals. Nevertheless, whatever question Kallaudin had asked must have been so difficult that even the nanny reacted in such a way.
Lisa tensed up, waiting nervously for Kallaudin’s next words.
“What…what is it—?”
Kallaudin, unable to conceal the distress on his face, spoke with a pitiful tone.
“…Why do the children like the Aunt more than me?”