So the sweetheart contract was established…… But, Elsa and Luca were somewhere detached from the real world. For once, they intended to use the common sense of aristocrats, but how is it? For the time being, they decided to try and go on a date but there, Elsa noticed a problem.
“…… Hmmm. What should I do?”
She had nothing to wear. She only had formal dresses for trials, conferences and lectures and most of them were brown, black or indigo blue. Elsa also thought, “This is a lie”. However, woman who focus solely on studying wouldn’t have any fashion sense.
“Yup. There’s nothing I can do……”
Elsa muttered and began preparing to head out. She didn’t want to resort to this but she had no other choice. It’s off season but she’s probably still in the royal capital.
Elsa picked a relatively outgoing blue dress and a wide white brim hat from her wardrobe before heading out to the city. She picked up a carriage ride outside and informed the coachman of her destination. She had sent out an announcement letter once she’d noticed, so it was probably okay.
The destination was an aristocrat’s residence. She gave the coachman her thanks and paid him. She informed the residence gatekeeper of her name and a butler immediately came out to escort her inside.
“Elsa-sama. How rare of you to come here.”
“Yes, I’m sorry that this is such a sudden visit. Is Alesia here? If she’s busy then I’ll leave.”
“She is home. The Madam has also been looking forward to seeing Elsa-sama.”
“…… I see.”
Elsa had some mixed feelings about that.
When she entered the premises, Alesia was waiting for her at the entrance.
“Elsa! How rare! I was wondering what had happened when I received your letter.”
Alesia was Elsa’s younger sister. Elsa was the second oldest out of six siblings and Alesia is the third. However these two were born within a year of each other so it was almost as if they were the same age. They had the best relationship out of all their siblings.
“No, my bad. I could have also asked mother or older sister but everyone is in their territories at this time.”
“Oh yeah. I just happened to be here.”
Alesia said. Alesia was obviously, married. This was the residence of Marquis Marquisio, the family that Alesia had married into. This year Alesia’s husband, Marquis Marquisio was summoned to the royal court so Alesia returned to the royal capital earlier than she usually did.
“Good afternoon, Auntie!”
The ones who had greeted Elsa cheerfully were Alesia’s children, a boy and a girl. The eldest one entered boarding school last year so he wasn’t here.
“Good afternoon, Miranda, Carlo. You’re full of energy today.”
“Yes! Auntie, will you tell us more stories?”
Carlo’s eyes shone with a boyish curiosity as he spoke. Elsa smiled wryly and answered, “That’s right”.
“Hey now you two. Your auntie came here because she has business with me so you’ll have to wait until we’re finished.”
Alesia scolded them as their mother. They replied with, “Ye~s”, before going out into the garden while holding each other’s hands. Alesia shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s troubling how mischievous they are.”
“But as expected of you, you act like a proper mother.”
“Are you jealous?”
“Nope. I wonder what it is?”
Alesia returned Elsa’s same old answer with a bitter smile. Elsa pulled Alesia’s hand and went up the stairs.
“Even so Elsa, you look boring as always.”
“I wore the best thing I had but truthfully, I came to consult you about it.”
Elsa said. Alesia stopped her feet that were just about to step into the room, looked back at Elsa and exclaimed, “Eh!?”
“About it? The dress? What? Are you finally interested in fashion? Ah, are you finally getting married?!”
“It’s a little disappointing but I somewhat understand how you feel.”
“Huh? No way! Seriously?!”
Alesia had conjectured correctly and Elsa was somewhat angry.
“Elsa, you’re getting married?!”
When Elsa replied immediately, Alesia raised a voice in disappointment, “What the ~”. They entered the parlour, sat down onto the sofa and Alesia told her.
“If it’s someone who’s remarrying then even Elsa can do it, too.”
“Mind your own business. So about the consolation.”
Elsa asked Alesia, who looked like she was listening one way or another.
“What do you wear when you go out with a man?”
Alesia was flabbergasted and waited a few seconds before asking in confirmation:
“Elsa you’re going out with a man?”
“It’s not a university professor or someone like that?”
“It’s not one of the university’s faculty members.”
“Then a chaperone?”
Elsa wanted to rebuke as was in her nature. She didn’t always rebuke people but it was part of her personality.
“Then, who’re you going with?”
“I’m going out with a male friend. Someone I’ve been with until university, Alesia you should know him.”
Alesia didn’t look interested in Elsa’s reply and sighed deeply.
“Oh my ~. I thought you’d finally gotten yourself a sweetheart.”
“I’d be surprised if I could find someone with my personality…… Is what I want to say but you were half correct.”
Alesia was once again interested and Elsa roughly explained the situation.
“He proposed that we pretend to be sweethearts and I accepted.”
“What’s up with that? Go and refuse it right now.”
As one would expect of Alesia. Alesia was like Elsa and said exactly what was on her mind.
“Well in exchange for that he’s going to fund my research.”
“You were brought over by money. Anyway you don’t have money problems, right Elsa?”
“Well yeah but researching is a money pit.”
She had said it many times but research required money. Technical books are expensive.
“Which reminds me, I haven’t heard the vital part yet, your partner’s name.”
Elsa thought, “Oh right, I didn’t tell her”, and readily replied.
“It’s Luca. Duke Inglacia, Luca. I told you that he was my friend, did I not?”
“Duke Inglacia?! Isn’t he the number one bachelor in high society marriage markets?! Elsa, how did you do it?!”
What’s with that ranking? Well, she knew that there were marriage markets.
“He said 『Marry me』as he barged into my study……”
“What’s with that? Why don’t you just get married then?”
“You, you’re saying something completely different from before.”
Elsa ended up rebuking her after all. Or rather, the story had strayed.
“Well, so that’s why I decided to go out with Luca but I don’t know what I should wear.”
“Elsa…… Well, you did spend most of your adolescence studying……”
“You, don’t look at me like I’m pitiful.”
Elsa was saying that she was doing as she liked so it was none of Alesia’s concern. But what Alesia had said was the truth.
“I also think I’m insane so let’s just leave it alone.”
Leaving that aside, back to the matter of going out.
“I get it. You’re going on a date with Duke Inglacia.”
“From an outsider’s perspective, that would be what it would look like.”
“Don’t you feel shy at all?”
Alisa said to Elsa, who was calmly nodding her head. Elsa said, “Because it’s just pretend after all”, not understanding what Alisa meant. But Alisa didn’t hear her.
“That means you’re not nervous even when you go out with your sweetheart. Alright, I got it. Leave it to me!”
Elsa felt a little uneasy but she couldn’t think of anyone else to rely on so she was going to leave it to Alisa.
“And it’s social season so you’ll probably be attending an evening party. It’ll be better for you to place an order in for a dress. Also, you should brush up on your mannerism and dance, just in case.”
Alesia suddenly made a decent point and Elsa nodded her head in bewilderment. Manners were also necessary at academic conferences so she didn’t have to worry about that but her dancing could certainly be hazardous.
“We’re going to need to take measurements for the dress. It’s an outdoorsy dress, right? So a one piece’s would be too light, a two piece dress might work out.”
Alesia said as she gazed at Elsa, who didn’t understand what was going on and said, “I’ll leave it to you”.
“Ah, that reminds me, what will you do about the expenses? If you tell mother and father about your date, I have a feeling that they’ll be happy to pay for it”
“Oh, yeah. Well, I can’t deny that but for the time being, please do it within my budget.”
Given that her parents have been troubled and worried over her, they’d be happy if they knew about the date but it was only a pretend date so there was no need to tell her parents about it.
“Alright. It’s time for me to shine.”
Alesia said as she puffed her chest out. Elsa suddenly thought that she had made a mistake in choosing who to consult.
“By the way, did you have anything in mind?”
“If possible, I want something that doesn’t stand out.”
Elsa immediately replied with a different answer when asked if she had anything in mind and Alesia was shocked.
“What are you saying? You’re already plain as it is.”
Elsa felt a stab at her chest when being told something like that by Alesia, a gorgeous and beautiful woman. No matter how much people said that Elsa threw away her femininity, she still had such feelings.
“…… Don’t say that…… I wondered things like if it was alright for someone like me to stand beside Luca.”
“Ah, Elsa also feels conflicted.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Alesa, the younger sister who’s always rude.
“Well, let’s leave the jokes aside for now.”
“That was a joke?”
Elsa, who is always rebuking.
“Elsa, are you free from now?”
“Yeah. I took leave in the afternoon.”
“Then, let’s go shopping for a while. Elsa, you’re a little bit tall but well, it should be fine.”
Elsa thought that she might have been too rash, but it was already too late.