Before long, the day of the tea party luncheon had arrived. As it was a charity event, Marchioness Marissa Holland kept it relatively simple instead of extravagant.
However, the ladies and gentlemen who attended the tea party were by no means common guests. As it should be. Marissa was a leading member of high society in the south, and though the event was only one small tea party, no one invited would have refused.
As the hour for the tea party approached, magnificent carriages began to flow into the Holland estate. None of those present treated the event casually and everyone was splendidly attired. High society was a small group, but it was still a battlefield.
Outdoor tables and chairs were arranged neatly under the shade of a spacious garden, within it a tree that the Hollands boasted was centuries old. The guests, one by one, began to flock here under the guidance of the attendants as Marissa greeted them.
“I’ve heard rumors about this tree. It’s ancient, isn’t it? That’s incredible, My Lady.”
“I’m flattered. I thought you couldn’t attend today because you had a cold, but thank you for coming to see me.”
“Not at all. My wife invited me to come with her and I couldn’t turn it down.”
Becoming a pillar of high society, where real power lay, was not a position that could only be gained by looking beautiful or having a high position. Of course, both conditions were necessary to some extent, but it was not a title anyone could have. Marissa was now well over forty, and while she was relatively attractive, she wasn’t quite a stunning beauty. Marissa’s main reason for dominating southern society was her dignity. Her excellent leadership and discernment what was right and wrong made her what she was today, and many ladies had begun to follow her. The conversation around the southern social elite flowed around her smoothly.
As the time drew near for the party, most of the people who arrived early were chatting away. Until then, Helen pretended to be looking around the garden and waited until almost everyone gathered. It was only after a sidelong glance did she determine it was time to move into the scene.
Helen, the only daughter of Marquis Selby, was one of the three most beautiful women in the region, with her dark blonde hair that flowed like honey and smooth, unblemished skin. She also had brown, cat-like eyes that matched her perfect heart-shaped lips. It was her signature trademark, and when she wore red lipstick she would kiss a tissue to create a picturesque heart shape. Her dress had been a priority job for this party, a deep green that matched the color of the garden. The unique color dress and the design was so ingenious it would capture the eye of anyone.
Helen made sure she arrived later than the others and was naturally in the center of attention. Like the phrase, “The main character always appears at the end,” the eyes that focused on her were the ones she had waited for.
As expected, some of the young people gathered began to whisper and point to Helen. She couldn’t hear what they said but she could imagine their awe.
Where did she get that dress? Is this my first time seeing that kind of gem? All it was sure to be words of praise for her. Helen could easily read the familiar envy on their faces. Walking her way through the crowd Helen approached Marissa.
“Thank you for your invitation. The garden is as beautiful as your elegant figure.”
She thickly poured out excessive praise. Every action was carefully calculated. As Helen had planned, Marissa spoke to her in a gentle voice.
“Thank you for your words. You are always beautiful, but today you are glowing.”
“Oh, I don’t know what to say.”
Helen blushed shyly. She seemed so humble on the surface in the eyes of the other ladies. She had a good pedigree as the daughter of Marquis Selby, and he had a beautiful appearance. Along with her polite personality, Helen was the ideal aristocrat. Helen smiled like the main character in a story as she basked in everyone’s attention.
Steady footsteps were making their way towards them. Helen, who felt she had accomplished the goal, was elated and indifferent to anything else.
However, she soon realized that the eyes that were looking at her were moving somewhere else. Helen turned her head in the direction the crowd was staring at.
Her mouth opened without her even realizing it. There were two beautiful young women walking into the garden, their pure golden hair flowing in the gentle breeze. One was a tall adult woman and the other was still a girl. Both attracted attention with their beauty, but most of it fell on the older woman. Long blonde hair, skin like freshly fallen snow, and jeweled red eyes. There were no ornaments on her slim, long neckline, and the white and green dress seemed tacky to Helen. In short, everything was well past fashion. The problem was…
Everyone was dazed. Just like the compliment Marissa gave Helen, Elena seemed to glow herself. Helen knew very well who suddenly appeared. A woman who always brought attention to herself in a moment like this.
It was Elena, the eldest daughter of House Blaise.
Helen’s eyes turned towards Mirabelle, who was affectionately holding hands with her older sister. Though Helen didn’t remember her face well, she could recognize her without too much effort. Mirabelle didn’t have the same intense gaze as Elena’s scarlet eyes, but anyone could tell she was her sister with her blonde hair and facial features.
After being momentarily distracted by the two sisters, Helen hurriedly came to herself and looked around. Everyone was looking at them with an awestruck expression.
Helen clenched her fists. Her manicured nails pierced the palm of her hand, but she did not feel the pain. Helen’s eyes began to blaze fiercely as she glowered at Elena.
‘…I was robbed again.’
It had always been this way. When Elena appeared, Helen was outshined like a firefly in front of the sun. It was all the more comparable because they both had blond hair. Elena’s hair was as bright and as golden as if it was bathed in sunshine, while Helen’s hair was as duller and closer to a light brown.
She felt the urge to take a hot cup of tea and throw it in Elena’s face. She would destroy her somehow. She would do anything to get rid of her completely.