The first day she was back at the castle, that man told her exactly what her job was with an expressionless face.
“Act like normal.”
“And report every move she makes.”
“Don’t talk unnecessarily in my presence.”
Although his voice was low, she felt a chill run down her spine.
There was no punishment, no interrogation over what she had done, unlike what she expected; Killian – the Duke of Devonshire – had utterly missed her expectations.
Contrary to her expectation that he would act now, nothing had changed so far.
Rowena, who had been staring at Melissa’s darkened face, suddenly asked.
“Are you troubled or have any worries”
If there is anything, I can help you with….”
The look in Melissa’s wavering eyes indicated that something was up.
If what Joanne said was true, Rowena thought she could discuss the matter with Killian.
However, as she waited for Melissa’s reply, the answer she received was a denial.
“No, I don’t.”
“Of course not; it’s just that I haven’t been sleeping well lately.
But it has been better than the day before yesterday.”
Melissa, who quickly dismissed the matter, changed the subject.
“It’s time for us to leave now, isn’t it”
Melissa held Rowena’s arm and urged her to walk.
* * *
With the news of his marriage, which was printed in large letters on the front page of the most influential newspapers, the social scene in the capital of Ethelwood was filled with buzz as this was a scandal for the first time in a long time.
He was a man who had been abroad up until now under the guise of an extended honeymoon upon his marriage.
The mere fact that such a man was now returning home after a divorce was enough to make headlines, but the fact that he was accompanied by the same mistress he left with five years ago was just like adding fuel to a roaring fire.
And the best place for gossip to travel was by far the ladies’ lounge in banquet halls.
“Rowena Philone, you know.
I heard about this from a relative who lives near the Devonshire estate.
It’s truly amazing.
How can she still look the same as she did five years ago!”
“Yes, that’s right.
I was so surprised too! She smiled and went out to the banquet as if what happened five years ago never happened… It was amazing, and to be frank, a bit terrifying.”
“Yeah! Don’t you think so The Duke is quite similar to a tall tree, where the top of the canopy cannot be seen let alone approached.
Despite the fact that he is the man she was with for three years before he dumped her miserably, and then she shamelessly seized the opportunity of his divorce, without an ounce of pride, to go back to his side just because he held out his hand to her…”
“Oh my god, so true! No matter how good money and power are, I would never take that hand…”
A subtle voice intervened among the wives waving their fans.
“So this is just my opinion, I heard that the former duchess was infertile, so maybe she has secretly given birth to an illegitimate child and raised it.”
The thought of a child, though unconfirmed, was almost a public secret shared among people in private settings, but no one dared to bring it up in front of the Duke.
But when it was brought up now, the crowd buzzed at the unexpected word.
“An illegitimate child”
“Oh my god.”
“No, she has a point.”
Baroness Estelle, who had been sitting quietly the whole time, was the one who brought up the dangerous topic.
Usually, she would be reluctant to interrupt, but as everyone listened to her talk, she shrugged her shoulders, and encouraged by their interest in her for the first time, the Baroness cleared up her throat and began to explain.
“Think about it.
It’s not uncommon for that to happen… She secretly gave birth to a bastard child and raised it.
After his divorce, the Duke went to find the woman he abandoned once, and then, the woman, with no sense of pride or anything else, came right back to being the Duke’s mistress.
It might be a way to rise in status as the mother of the future Duke…”
This was when the noble ladies exchanged meaningful glances with each other instead of words.
“Ho ho ho!”
Countess Rachel, the organizer of the meeting and the center of the group, erupted in laughter while fluttering her fan, making the Baroness’s eyes flutter in anger.