I’ve Been Invited to an Outing, but Our Distance is Close (4)
What awaited Avril upon returning to the hall was the sight of Dylan being surrounded by ladies.
“Your Excellency Dylan, the Duke of Lancaster, I’d like to congratulate your succession to the title of duke.”
“It’s been a long time since I last met you.
Now that I recall, I don’t get to see you often.
But, for you to appear in such a place is rare…”
“Lord Dylan Lancester, let me introduce you to my daughter.”
In front of such a raucous crowd, Avril found it impossible to return to her seat.
No matter where he goes, Lord Dylan sure is popular.
Now that the villain who was stationed next to him is gone, it’s only natural for crowds to gather…
What Avril failed to see was the look of disgust on Dylan’s face.
Thus, Avril sneaked to a nearby, empty bench.
From there, she could listen in on their conversations.
“Lord Dylan, even before you assumed control over the dukedom, you were well-known in the social circles, and yet… you’ve turned down every marriage proposal offered to you.”
…Ooh, that’s right.
Well, I guess he’s looking for someone’s resilient enough to face the divorce that’s coming his way.
Avril nodded inwardly.
“Why would you choose such a lackluster villain as your fiancée, instead Won’t her affair partner’s fiancée force her to pay off the debt”
…That’s because Lord Dylan is kind.
“Lord Dylan, Avril Allingham is deceiving you.
Someone who constantly partakes in an immoral nightlife doesn’t belong in this place.
As if I’d acknowledge such a person.
Besides, I doubt she has enough sense to appreciate the salon concert.”
I’ve done well cementing my reputation as the villainess.
Avril was filled with a sense of accomplishment.
Basking in happiness, Avril held out her chest.
…Although, the reason why Avril was disliked so much probably had something to do with how affable Dylan was, as proven by how respected he was by his servants.
Upon realizing that, Avril felt… warm.
I… seem to have married into a very good family.
Well, it’s contractual, though.
Before long, the lights dimmed and the beginning of the second act was announced.
Despite that, she could still see Dylan, perhaps due to his aura—and at the same time, the mother and daughter who refused to leave his vicinity.
Apparently, the woman was still keen on introducing Dylan to her daughter.
If it was Corinna, would she march straight to there and shake them off
…But right now, I’m going to let my wicked girl persona rest for a little while, because…
…When she moved her gaze to the antique piano, the boy she had befriended earlier—Samuel Brander, appeared.
At the appearance of the adorable boy, the audience cheered.
During all that, what was placed on the music stand was the sheet music Avril had just written.
A melancholic tune echoed from the piano accompanied with a colorful and enchanting violin tone.
Samuel’s performance was wonderful.
“—Samuel’s performance sure is amazing!”
“Is that the boy’s name”
There was a familiar reply.
But shouldn’t he be engaging in conversation with others
Before she knew it, Dylan was sitting next to her.
“Why didn’t you return to my side”
“Well, I took that you wanted to be left alone for now”
For a brief moment, she thought of mentioning that she was taking a break from acting as the villain.
In response, Dylan sullenly furrowed his brows.
When she looked at the reserved seat in the middle of the room where Dylan was supposed to be sitting, the mother and daughter could be found standing there.
Somehow, she felt kind of sorry for them.
“I should’ve told them that I was on a date today.”
“While it’s certainly a date, everyone has the right to enjoy the salon concert.”
“Did someone say something to you I’m sorry for not accompanying you.”
Where did his usual dignified appearance go
After all, the Dylan in front of her looked to be in a stupor.
Uhm, that’s not the case at all…!
The second act had ended and everyone around them was preparing to go home.
Each person exchanged greetings with the organizers and their acquaintances before leaving the hall.
“Lord Dylan, other than going on a date with me, you had other goals today, didn’t you”
“…Why do you think so”
“I’ve been wondering if there was some kind of reason for why you’d suddenly make an appearance in a place you hadn’t been in recently.”
In fact, Avril felt somewhat uneasy.
She was grateful that Dylan went to such lengths to introduce her as the duchess to the public, but that salon concert was a place of entertainment for especially notable aristocrats.
Revealing the villain with the worst reputation carried too much risk—mainly for the Duke of Lancester.
Towards Avril’s question, Dylan laughed in defeat.
“Indeed, I have another reason, as well.
I desired to deepen my relationship with the Marquis Brandner family who was hosting this event.”
“…I see, it’s work-related!”
“But that wasn’t the main reason.
I’m speaking the truth.”
“I believe you.
After all, when you said that you intended to surprise me, your face was quite honest, Lord Dylan.”
With a wide smile, Dylan muttered.
“Really, you’re…” Before putting his arm around the back of the seat.
That gesture spoke a lot of the handsome duke’s true personality, and Avril smiled even more.
“Lady Avril Allingham, Your Excellency Dylan Lancester.”
Suddenly, their names were called.
Moreover, for some reason, Avril’s name came first.
When she stood up in surprise, there was a beautiful woman there.
Her silver hair was neatly curled, while she was dressed in a sleek outfit.
“I’m Beverly Brandner—the host of today’s concert.”
“…Marquess Brandner, I have yet introduced my wife to you.”
I merely heard the rumors and rushed over.”
…Rumors, as in, the lackluster villain
Just listening to the opening of the conversation gave Avril a bad feeling.