Without a dance partner, Ilya raised her hand, placing it on her imaginary partner, and she began her dance.
It's hard to believe that today was her first lesson.
If she would dance with an adequate partner, she would easily be able to capture quite a bit of attention from the debutante.
Elegantly spinning for the last time, she gracefully held onto the hem of her skirt and bowed.
Ilya's movements were perfect, exquisitely executing what she'd learned so far.
“That is perfect.
It took me a long time to learn this dance.
Miss Titonsser is a fast learner.”
Her honest compliment made the young lady blush as she shyly hid her rosy cheeks on the palms of her hands.
“I tried really hard to memorize the steps so I wouldn't forget them.
The ball will be soon, right?”
“Yes, the day of the debutante ball is drawing closer.”
I wonder, the debut should be two weeks from now.
While thinking back, Rose examined the young girl who practiced seriously.
“Do you have a partner for your first dance?”
A young aristocrat's first dance was extremely important.
It signals their first steps into the social world.
It would be the preliminary to choosing your future fiance and the social standing of you and your family.
As Ilya did not have a fiancé, she would have to dance with one of her family members.
Namely, Baron Titonsser.
In her past, the baron had arrived in time to dance the first dance with his beloved daughter.
As if predicting Rose's thoughts, Ilya nodded and replied readily.
“Yes, father sent me a letter.
He will be in the capital in time for my debut.
What a relief, I can have my first dance with my father!”
The events are flowing exactly as they did in the past.
Rose held back a sigh.
Some events occurred differently, while others followed the timeline established at the time.
If only Elliot behaved as he did in the past.
She could say the same for his behavior at the Imperial Palace.
He could've just made me see myself off or gotten another knight to escort me to the carriage.
How could he have willingly escorted me back?
Rose pressed her fingers against the throbbing at her temples.
When she thought of Elliot Proud, she no longer felt butterflies in her belly.
Instead, her heart would ache and her complexion would darken.
Ilya immediately ran to her side.
“Lady Rose, are you ill?”
Hearing the worry in the voice of the young lady, the daughter of Honeywell lowered her hand and forced a smile.
“I am well.
Do not worry.”
“Your skin is pale! Lady Rose, why don't you rest?”
Before Rose could argue with the girl, she was led to the side and urged to sit on the couch.
“I'll call for the butler.”
Without waiting for a reply, Ilya grabbed her shawl and tried to leave.
Urgently, Rose reached for her sleeve.
“I am alright.
Please don't worry the butler over this.
I really am well.”
“…If that is what the lady wishes.”
She worried that the young lady would be determined to leave, but fortunately, she agreed and stopped any further actions.
However, her expression still expressed her concern for Rose, so Rose tried to brighten her smile to ease her worries.
Only then did the baron's daughter comply and sit beside the daughter of Honeywell.
For a moment, no one spoke.
Rose herself could not think of a topic to start with, so she nervously pinched the stitching of her dress.
When the silence became nearly too much to bear, Rose decided it was time to suggest they return to their respective quarters.
Ilya beat her to it.
“Yes, Miss Titonsser?”
Am I uncomfortable to be around?”
Rose was unable to speak.
As she hesitated, Ilya continued with a pitiful laugh.
“It has been a while since I've entered the Honeywell Manor, but I still would like to be close to Lady Rose.”
“You may not believe me when I say that Lady Rose is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
Rose wanted to admit that she knew Ilya had told her the same thing in her past life.
How could she truly hate the Ilya who always looked at her with sparkles in her eyes, wanting to spend time with her.
Rose smiled bitterly.
“I want to get closer to Miss Titonsser.”
She couldn't tell what kind of expression Ilya was making with her head down, but Rose was sure of one thing.
Right now, her face shone brightly like a blooming flower.
She glanced up.
I knew it.
The baron's daughter smiled eagerly at her and drew closer.
“Are you sure?”
“Honestly, I've never interacted with young ladies my age, so I didn't know how to treat Miss Titonsser.”
The corners of Ilya's mouth curled up.
“Me too! Growing up at home…
Haha, you and I are the same, Lady Rose.”
The young lady could barely conceal her joy, feeling a sense of kinship with the fact that Rose, the one person who Ilya believed to be perfect, had no friends like her, causing Rose to lower her head sheepishly.
“Miss Titonsser—no, Ilya.”
The baron's daughter's eyes widened dramatically at her voice.
Unable to meet her eyes, Rose avoided eye contact.
“Ilya is my first friend, so I need to make a request.
No matter what happens, please don't betray me.”
She tilted her head and repeated it confusedly.
She debated whether it was a good idea to talk about it or not.
“I can't go into detail, but I have been betrayed by someone I've trusted before, and…”
Gasping, Ilya covered her mouth, astonished.
Clearing her throat and realizing her mistake, she panicked.
“It hurts me, and I couldn't get close to anyone anymore, and I always fear that maybe Ilya may betray me.”
She didn't want to look at the baron's daughter; she wanted to keep the hurt and pain hidden from the eyes of others.
Looking into the eyes of Ilya, she could see the pity contained within.
Why do I hate this sympathetic feeling?
“Ilya, are you going to betray me like he did?”
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