DON’T REMEMBER ME
~ 49 ~
“All right, I am not trying to interrogate you… it looks like you went to a dessert shop.”
His gaze belatedly reached the box in Rosé’s hand. All doubts were answered by the cute cake picture drawn on the outside of the box. Of course, he still couldn’t understand why she dared to wear such a suspicious outfit while going to a dessert shop.
“Go to Flitta. She is waiting for you.”
He nodded guessing that perhaps she had gone out to buy Flitta dessert. Then, after Rosé bowed her head to greet him, she started to climb the stairs.
Haven, too, was about to go down the stairs as usual, but suddenly something bothered him and stopped his steps. Then he turned around and called for Rosé to stop her.
Rosé was about to climb the stairs but turned back at his call. Haven, who had been looking at her face quietly, said with his eyes closed.
“Your complexion doesn’t look good. Shall I call a doctor for you?”
“Pardon? Oh, no.”
“If you feel unwell, it is better to seek treatment right away. Let’s go, I am going to call for a doctor right away.”
Rosé hurriedly shook her head at Haven’s words. She couldn’t afford to be amused by the fact that the father and daughter said the same thing him her when they said they would call doctor for her. Shouldn’t she have stopped the maid from daring to see the Grand Duke doctor?
“I already took medicine, so I feel better.”
“Yes, actually, I went out a little while ago…”
Rosé answered with a puzzled expression, then blurted out her words. He clicked his tongue when he finally learned about Rosé’s real purpose for going out. He wondered if she had many things to keep that she was acting suspiciously.
“Where and how did you get sick?”
“It’s just, uh, indigestion.”
She had already told three people the same lie. Flitat, the head maid, and Haven. Rosé swallowed a bitter smile at the thought of becoming a liar.
“If that’s the case, you don’t even have to go outside…”
He said this time, squinting as if he didn’t understand, then bit his mouth shut. His gaze returned to the dessert box in her hand. Recognizing that gaze, Rosé smiled awkwardly.
“… All right. Go see Flitta. The kid will like it a lot.”
He smiled, then turned away. Rosé watched his back for a moment, then breathed a sigh of relief. He seemed to think she’d gone out to get Flitta some dessert and stopped by the doctor’s office.
“… Thank god.”
She muttered to herself again and again, relieved, then suddenly remembered something and blushed. She remembered that he saved her from falling down the stairs a moment ago.
To be more precise, she should say his strong arms wrapped around her waist and the sound of his heart beating vividly from him.
「 “Rosé.” 」
The voice of a man who called her gently, sometimes warmly, as he hugged her affectionately, lingered in her ears. Rosé slowly climbed the stairs, feeling the tip of her nose frown.
「 “You are really pretty.” 」
She remembered the way he used to stroke her cheeks with the back of his hand and talk to her in a laughing voice, the way her body turned hot like a fever flower wherever he touched her, and the way her senses used to come alive wherever his hand passed. Memories are vivid, but people in that times are gone.
After climbing to the top, she looked back at him, but he was nowhere to be seen. He must had been gone down the stairs, nevertheless, her gaze wandered somewhere in the middle, as if pursuing his remnant.
* * *
“Wow! Rosé, look at that! Pu, puppy!”
While Flitta held Rosé by the hand, she spotted a vendor selling puppies and immediately grabbed her and dragged her. Rosé smiled as if she would not be able to overcome Flitta and moved her steps along with her. Inadvertently looking back at him, Haven followed them with an awkward expression, and her eyes met hers.
“Dad, hurry up! Hurry!”
At that moment, Flitta called to urge her dad, so he took his eyes off Rosé, and he moved towards them. Where Flitta showed her interest, a street vendor was selling newborn puppies.
A mongrel puppy whose pedigree can’t be guessed at all.
That is why puppies that nobles and wealthy commoners would not even pay attention to were being sold for a few pennies.
“Wow, it’s cute.”
Flitta squatted in front of the puppy and admired it.. At that time, a puppy who couldn’t even open his eyes came to her, sniffed her, then pushed his nose to her.
“Uh, uh… Can I touch it?”
As the puppy’s black nose almost reached her fingertips, Flitta was at a loss for what to do, then cautiously asked the vendor Then the vendor laughed heartily and nodded his head.
“Of course, little lady. It seems that this guy liked the lady. He wants her to be petted by you.”
The vendor repeatedly urged Flitta to pet the puppy, then quickly scanned Flitta’s clothes from top to bottom. He then glanced at the two, Rosé and Haven. He thought the two were Flitta’s parents.
It must have been a family of wealthy commoners who came out to enjoy the festival. It’s a mongrel puppy that wouldn’t normally pay attention to it, but it’s such a wealthy family that the child shows such interest that it can live impulsively.
‘I should rather target these types of people rather than the noble aristocrats.’
No matter how festive it was, nobles wouldn’t watch mongrel puppies on the roadside like this. The vendor continued to speak more actively with the determination to sell even one.
“There, Dad and Mom come closer and take a look. Your daughter really likes puppies.”
Haven and Rosé, who were standing in the back and watching Flitta play with the puppy, both opened their eyes wide in surprise at the same time. And it was the same with Flitta. The child let the dog lick her fingertips, and she widened her eyes in fright.
“Why are you all surprised, also you, little lady? Aren’t you two her Dad and Mom?”
The vendor thought he had done something wrong, so he looked at them cautiously and asked Flitta. Flitta looked at him with round eyes, glanced behind her, then nodded her head vigorously.
“They are my Mom and Dad! He is my father… And she is my mother!”
“Right? I could tell just by looking at them. You look like your parents, especially your mother. She’s so beautiful so is this little lady.”
The vendor happily laughed, and trembled. Flitta also smiled and nodded her head again.
“Yes, I am pretty because I look like my mother.”
Rosé, who saw this, panicked, and tried to call Flitta. But before she could do so, Haven grabbed her arm, slightly shaking his head. She looked at him in surprise then he said in a low voice.
“I guess Flitta doesn’t want to know that she is motherless…. Just leave it alone.”
“Bu, but I….”
“Are you going to call her ‘Your Highness’ here? There will be uproar soon, though?”
Haven laughed and asked in a voice so low that those around him couldn’t hear it. Rosé tried to call her with that, but hurriedly shut her mouth.
It was as he said. There would be an uproar if she calls Her Highness, the princes, here. In order to prevent this and enjoy the festival comfortably, didn’t they pay attention to their clothes and come out dressed like commoners?
Even if they’re wealthy, they did their best not to look like that.
Just like those wealthy commoner families who spend money well.
“Ro, Mom! Mom, come here too!”
Flitta watched the pup and gestured towards Rosé. At first, Flitta almost called her Rosé but she quickly changed it to mother, brightly smiling at her.
Rosé’s chest throbbed unconsciously, and she grabbed the front of her clothes tightly. She heard the title ‘Mom’, which she thought she would never hear, directly from her child.
“Rosé, why is that?”
“no. I just…”
As Rosé hesitated for a moment, unable to control her choked throat, Haven looked at her with a puzzled look on his face. Rosé hurriedly shook her head and approached the place where Flitta was.
“Mom, isn’t this puppy cute?”
“I know, right… No, it is.”
Rosé inadvertently showed respect and corrected her tone. Fortunately, the vendor didn’t seem to notice that her tone was strange at the thought of selling his puppy.
“You can come here too, father of this little girl. How can this family be so pretty? It had been a long time since I saw a family that gets along ever since doing business here. You’re not from here, are you?”
“Yes, I came here on purpose because there was a festival going on.”
When Haven was taken aback by the sudden question and couldn’t answer right away, Rosé hurriedly answered. The vendor looked at her like that, then looked at Haven again, putting a mischievous expression on his face.
“Your wife and daughter are so pretty I couldn’t help but look at them. Aren’t they?”
“… What, hmm.”
Haven cleared his throat, unable to find words to respond to those words. Seeing that, the vendor grabbed is belly button and laughed.
“Ha Ha Ha! Your husband is surprisingly shy. If you were like me, you would be bragging about it all over the world and all over the neighborhood. Saying, ‘Look at me, a man with a pretty and beautiful wife like them! Look at someone who has a cute and pretty daughter like me!’, like those.”
Instead, something tickled in the back of his mind.
‘Haven might be feeling offended by now…’
He had been mistaken as a married man with a maid, at that. So Rosé struggled to control her happiness, casting glances at Haven.
To her surprise, he didn’t seem offended. Maybe it was just her imagination, but the corners of his mouth seemed to turn up slightly.