Odalisque - Chapter 146
“I’ve heard about your visit and have been waiting for you.”
Liv had to stare at her for quite a while before she recognized her as the owner of the boutique.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t recognize the face of someone she had only met once. It was that the boutique owner’s complexion had clearly deteriorated over the past few days.
“This way, please.”
Not even at Hyslop had the owner hurried to welcome her.
Liv couldn’t help but wonder, remembering the envy and jealousy she’d received the day she had visited the boutique. Liv had been prepared for the furtive glances she would receive today, but no one was able to look at her properly, let alone steal a glance.
“You may sit here. We will quickly prepare the refreshment.”
“No, it’s fine. I just need to pick up the clothes I ordered.”
As soon as Liv shook her head, the owner’s face turned pale white.
“Please give us a chance to treat you to a cup of tea, Lady.”
For a moment, Liv wondered if she had strangled the boutique owner with her hands.
Of course, she hadn’t laid a finger on her. However, she couldn’t turn her down anymore when she saw the owner looking like she was going to pass out on the spot if she shook her head one more time.
As she finally took her seat, the owner gestured urgently. A staff member with hunched shoulders set up a table full of refreshments. There were rows of colorful teacups that were hard on the eyes.
By now, Liv had noticed that something was off.
And, in all honesty, she could think of only one reason for this.
“I didn’t ask the Marquis to do something.”
“I didn’t ask him anything, so I can’t change his will.”
The boutique owner stiffened and fell silent at Liv’s words.
Swallowing hard, the owner gestured toward the doorway, and the staff members of the boutique entered the lounge. Liv stared in silence as they bowed their heads in despair.
The face of the trainee, standing in the most visible spot, was like that of a corpse.
“Lady, I made a big mistake the other day.”
“She was still learning, so there were many things she couldn’t do right. I will ensure she doesn’t make that mistake.”
The owner added as she stood next to the trainee. She mentioned that she had fired her, and that she was present today to apologize.
Liv, who had been observing the scene in silence, shifted her attention to the other staff members standing behind the trainee. They, too, had their heads bowed, making it impossible to see their expressions. However, they didn’t seem inclined to step forward and apologize or make excuses like the trainee.
A little scratch from a safety pin… In truth, it was nothing big to Liv. It was the sort of thing that could indeed happen due to a “mistake.”
Perhaps the glances she had interpreted as animosity that day were also simply a result of her own insecurity.
“Are you confessing that you treated me badly by assigning the task to a trainee?”
Nevertheless, Liv understood that this was not a moment to let things slide.
“Sorry? N-no, it’s not that!”
“Lord Dietrion instructed you to make my dress personally, but you delegated the task to a trainee. How surprising.”
The boutique owner looked at Liv with a puzzled expression. Liv thought of the Marquis’ impassive expression she’d always seen, and tried to emulate it. It was quite challenging for her.
“If that’s not the case, is it your inability to have a seasoned full-time employee to step up to the plate and take over for an inexperienced trainee?”
“Are you going to tell me that your staff has been shirking their responsibilities onto the trainee? If you can’t enforce proper leadership to rein in their indulgence, that’s also an issue.”
The owner, her face red, fell into silence, rendered speechless. The lounge was enveloped in stillness, so tense that even breathing seemed difficult.
This atmosphere was uncomfortable. Liv disliked the notion of cornering someone in this manner. It didn’t offer catharsis or satisfaction.
However, since the Marquis had already expressed his displeasure with this boutique for her in some way, for his own good, Liv shouldn’t forgive them so easily.
“I apologize. It’s entirely my fault, as employee mistakes are the responsibility of the boss.”
The boutique owner bowed at the waist. Liv looked away, trying to hide her discomfort.
“I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel jealous. It’s just there’s a difference between experiencing that emotion and actively expressing it. I even noticed your attempt to downplay the situation without clarifying who was at fault. How can your apology come across as sincere in this case?”
The shoulders of the staff members standing there, almost like they were in a state of punishment, sagged. On the surface, they appeared remorseful.
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