9. Fate of the Engagement (3)
Stepping into the majestic building—which was famous here, in the capital city—sparkling chandeliers greeted the guests.
The stone pavilion, where five hundred people could fit, featured well-balanced arches. Beautiful embellishments and sculptures of many colors enhanced the place even more. The marble floor—which was flawlessly polished—reflected the chandeliers’ light in a way that could only be called phenomenal.
Tonight, the Southwell Family was invited to an evening ball hosted by the Spencer Family.
Marquis Spencer was known not only as an aristocrat, but also a famous jeweler.
As of late, it seemed like the Marquis had been busying himself in said business, leaving the management of his land to his three sons.
Marquis Spencer frequently held evening balls which displayed his business goods—whereas his intent was further business opportunities. This evening ball, too, was no exception.
Amelia walked into the hall after her parents.
Her presence incited whispers of malice and jeer almost immediately.
—“Hey, look who has decided to come. How rare~”
—“Gee. Can’t wait for her to start another mess.”
—“Sshh. You’re being too loud. Ugh, I can’t stand her already. I’m going to get some wine.”
—“But… don’t you think something seems… peculiar, about her atmosphere today?”
They were too inaudible to be heard by Amelia’s parents. But Amelia could hear them clearly. As she turned towards the source, she saw three noble girls, who seemed to be close to her age. They were sitting on a sofa, which was propped to the wall, with several other people.
They all hid their mouths with a fan, eyeing Amelia’s overall appearance. The moment they noticed her stare, they flit their gaze away with scorn.
Amelia’s expression didn’t change. As if she hadn’t heard anything, she smiled beautifully towards those girls. At the same time, a familiar voice could be heard from behind her—calling Amelia’s name.
That voice was none other than William’s.
Amelia gracefully turned around. Joy crept on her face, in form of a blush.
William was surprised. Certainly, the Amelia he knew would never show that kind of expression.
“…So, you’ve decided to come, I see.”
Embarrassment could be seen on his features.
William didn’t know Amelia would be present in this ball, nor was he informed. He truly didn’t expect her to come—or, rather, her not attending was already common knowledge.
He knew Count Southwell and his wife were invited this evening, but for Amelia, whom was infamous for hating any kind of social events, to also come…
This party’s host, the Marquis of Spencer, was going to be William’s uncle-in-law. For William, attending this evening ball was a must.
“Ara, would you rather I didn’t come?”
Amelia looked a little hurt—
—right at this moment, William’s heart was already in her grasp.
That William didn’t expect her presence at all, Amelia knew about it, too.
Amelia also noticed her. The girl standing half a step besides William, aged about fifteen to sixteen. After curiously staring at Amelia, the girl asked William with a pretty smile;
“William, this girl is?”
The girl didn’t know Amelia. Maybe this is the girl’s first social debut. Other than that, Amelia also didn’t recognize the girl at all.
But, she noticed some familiarities between the girl and William. Her maroon hair, her jade eyes, her prim and proper look, and gentle airs were similar to William.
Oh, yes, she addressed William so casually, too…
—there’s no mistaking it, she is…
After figuring out the girl’s identity, Amelia turned toward her and bowed, raising the hem of her dress while lowering her face.
“I apologize for my late greeting, Marquis Spencer’s daughter. My name is Amelia Southwell. To be invited to such a wonderful event brings me much joy, I’m thankful.”
Amelia smiled even more, surprising William. But then, he remembered something. Meanwhile, he kept his composure and smiled his usual gentle smile.
“Lady Amelia, this is Lady Carla, daughter of Marquis Spencer, and also my cousin…”
William glanced at Amelia a little awkwardly. For a fleeting moment, he was confused on how to introduce Amelia to Carla.
“—and this is the daughter of Count Southwell, Lady Amelia …the one I’ve been giving my earnest to court.”
Even though William’s words weren’t directed at her, Carla’s cheeks involuntarily turned red. She couldn’t help it, looking at his serious expression. Not to mention, his words—those were unmistakably a love confession, right?!
William’s voice was loud and clear, and they spread in an instant, like wildfire.
The entire hall became noisy—endless chattering and muttering, mostly consisting of heartless remarks were directed at Amelia. Yet neither Amelia nor William cared. They stared at each other, turning a deaf ear to their surroundings.
William wondered how Amelia would react. Remembering her attitude at the tea party, he knew he couldn’t miss a moment.
Amelia also stared at William.
—contrary to his expectation, her cheeks were dyed red.
Bashful, yet joyful—Amelia’s eyes gleamed.
She truly looked like a maiden whom was embarrassed after receiving a love confession from a person she liked in public—
—no matter how he looked at it, finally, William realized the presence of a feeling in the back of his mind. A feeling that something was wrong. A feeling of incongruity.
Amelia looked down …and then lifted her face again.
“Me, too—I, I also yearn for you, William-sama!”
Amelia’s expression was glossy, like a rose petal. It was neither cold nor ruthless—neither the signs nor traces of an Ice Queen could be seen there.
William held his breath—is this another one of her charades? Is this expression of her’s a lie? No, most importantly, these feelings of Amelia couldn’t be real. They weren’t her actual feelings…
Yet, even if such was the case, Amelia was his at last—this easily… this simply…
William thought to himself—you’ve come this far. Even if this was another of Amelia’s cruel trickery, there was no turning back—he couldn’t anymore. In the first place, there was no loss, only gain.
…Could this be a trap?
If it is, so what?
Amelia said she yearned for him; the person she actually hated—to think that he wouldn’t notice such an obvious, blatant lie.
She could also be using him …but he didn’t care.
William slowly approached Amelia.
He kneeled, and gently kissed Amelia’s right hand.
**T/N : *the sounds behind Translator’s head “Lewis don’t fck this up, don’t fck this up, don’t fck this up…”