“By the way, I've been wondering since earlier, but were you acting differently from yesterday?”
“Well… Um, I was drunk yesterday.”
Memories of yesterday's rudeness flashed through my mind.
(Wait, didn't I say something about not being interested in someone like him because it would be troublesome?)
Moreover, I remembered giving presumptuous advice to the duke.
If he was angry with me now that I was sober, I wouldn't be surprised.
But when I looked at Ilvis, he unexpectedly had a lonely expression on his face.
“That's why you were unusually friendly yesterday…”
“I'm truly sorry…
Please forgive my drunken rambling and just let it go with a broad mind.”
“Oh, I'm sorry for misunderstanding.
I'm not blaming you, Miss Amalia.
It was my fault for not introducing myself properly.”
Even the maids in my house seemed to know who Ilvis was, so he must be really famous.
I also heard the rumors that “Duke Lambert is a misogynist,” but until recently, I had been completely focused on my engagement, so I had no interest in anything else.
(…I really loved him, though.)
I remembered something unpleasant.
“In that case, I would like to be treated the same way as last night.”
“How did you come to that conclusion?! Did you say something while I was lost in thought?”
“Were you thinking about something while I was talking? That hurts, so please stop using honorific language.”
“Why would I do that!? There's no way I could do that to the duke!”
“It's no ruder than what you just said.”
I dug my own grave, and Ilvis was now pushing me harder than ever.
This situation was causing me even more distress and humiliation.
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I could choose not to say anything, but then Ilvis would likely interpret it to suit his own convenience.
“In all seriousness, if we act distant in any way, it will arouse suspicion.
Miss Amalia has a fiance, and I, unfortunately, am rumored to dislike women.
Despite that, we're attracted to each other, so it would be strange if there was no corresponding heat, right?”
“Y-yes, I suppose.”
“Therefore, we shouldn't give off any sense of distance in even the smallest action.
Do you disagree?”
“That's true, I think…?”
I nodded involuntarily as Ilvis said it so seriously.
He was certainly not wrong, but I couldn't help feeling oddly dissatisfied
“Then let's start by addressing each other informally.”
“Why are you making more demands so casually?”
“Should we call each other by our titles as lovers then?”
Even though I was sitting and he was taller, he looked up at me with upturned eyes.
It was a gesture that suited him well, and it was envy-inducing that he had such a handsome face.
“Uh… okay, okay, I understand! But it's difficult to call someone by their first name all of a sudden, so please let me use an honorific at least.”
It's better to gradually close the distance, right?”
I breathed a sigh of relief as Ilvis finally backed off.
I felt a sense of familiarity with him after yesterday's conversation, and I had been calling him by his first name in my head, but I didn't have the courage to say it out loud.
Come to think of it, why was Ilvis so willing to help me?
He said he wanted advice on love last night, but I don't think he needs advice from me.
Even if he did, it didn't seem to be in his best interest.
The stakes weren't balanced.
“Why are you being so cooperative, Ilvis-sama? I'm indebted to you, but you don't seem to gain anything from this.”
“Well, I wonder about that.”
Ilvis responded to my question with a smile.
I was mesmerized by his smile and forgot to speak, causing him to deepen his smile even more.
“By the way…”
“You seem to look at my face often.
Does it suit your taste?”
As he said that, Ilvis leaned forward a little and peered at me from below.
I'd had enough of the handsome overload, and my eyes hurt.
“Of course it does! I mean, it's just too wonderful!”
“Even compared to your fiancé?”
“It's presumptuous to compare you both! Besides, he's not even close!”
Ilvis had been looking at me intently while closing the distance between us, but he seemed satisfied with my response and left with a radiant smile.
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My fiancé was decent-looking for a nobleman, but Ilvis, on the other hand, was much more perfect than any painting or sculpture.
There was still a huge gap between their looks, like heaven and earth, but their personalities were so different that they couldn't be compared.
“Well, that's good to hear.”
Ilvis seemed happy about my response, but the topic had completely changed.
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