During the morning of the flower festival, I was clutching my head alone.
“…I can’t give something like this to him.”
The handkerchief that I had embroidered was a mistake. To be honest, I didn’t even dare look at it.
It had been a week since Philip invited me to the flower festival. I found time every day, practiced, and started over and over again. It wasn’t for Philip. I just didn’t want to be ashamed.
As a result, my hands ended up becoming a grievous mess that didn’t befit the title of a noble lady. Despite so, more than anything, I hated my clumsiness.
“Milady, you have to get ready.”
…My best only amounted to that.
There was no way anyone would be happy to receive such a thing.
I considered just throwing the handkerchief into a trash can. When I saw the flower and animal motifs—which only I could discern—I couldn’t take it anymore.
I folded it and pushed it into my bag.
“What is this?”
“It’s a bouquet, and I want you to receive this, too.”
Philip, who came to pick me up on time that day, handed me a pair of cute earrings bearing flower motifs. The embedded jewels shone so brightly, I was tempted to ask how much they cost.
Moreover, he said it was a bouquet, but I could probably open a flower shop with the number of flowers he gave me. By all means, that wasn’t a bouquet, but a flower field.
“…Do you, hate it?”
“No, that’s not it! I’m truly happy!”
Philip stared at me anxiously when he noticed I had frozen. I smiled in a hurry, reassuring him that I was happy, and he smiled in extreme relief.
…It wasn’t like I was unhappy, per say. However, if I were to receive so many flowers and expensive accessories, when the only thing I could give in return was that sorry excuse of a handkerchief…
…well, it’d be uncouth if I didn’t give a gift in turn.
There was no longer anything I could do about it.
Leaving the flowers to my servants, I boarded the carriage alongside him.
After that, we went around the city together. It was livelier and more gorgeous than usual. Merely walking was already exciting.
Not only that, I could also eat while walking, see street performances, and visit various stalls.
Philip didn’t talk much today, but the first flower festival I attended with him was more fun than I had expected. He really paid attention to me. The moment he noticed my attention was piqued by something, he’d invite me to take a look.
That was why, sometimes, I felt guilty. After all, I couldn’t give him anything in return.
During the evening, we were swayed by the carriage again as it took us home.
“To be able to go to the flower festival with you, I’m so happy. Thank you.”
Even though I already said that much, I was met with a long silence.
In fact, why didn’t he mention anything about handkerchiefs?
When I met him the other day, he was appealing to me, seemingly wanting one very much. In that case, it’d be easier to say something directly.
In the end, I was almost crushed by guilt, and spoke without thinking.
“I have embroidered it, the handkerchief…”
Philip then muttered. “For me?” After having a blank expression on his face.
Well, who else?
“But, it’s a massive failure. So, let me thank you again in another way for today.”
“Where is that handkerchief?”
“I brought it, but…”
“I want it.”
He didn’t hesitate to say so.
“It’s truly a massive failure.”
“I don’t care, I want it.”
In the end, I lost. I slowly pulled out the pitiful handkerchief from my bag.
After receiving and unfolding the handkerchief, Philip was seemingly lost in thought for a while.
Eventually, he opened his mouth.
“…I honestly think it’s an adorable-looking earthworm.”
“It’s a little bird.”
As I thought, I wasn’t used to it.
After making a terribly awkward gaze, Philip politely rubbed salt on my wound. “I’m sure it’s because of your amnesia, so don’t be discouraged.”
My memory was fine. It was my embroidering skill that wasn’t.
Please, don’t say anything anymore.
I extended my hand and said, “Forgive me, please return it.”
Philip stared at my hand, his expression was as if he had been wronged.
“But you made it for me.”
He carefully folded the handkerchief and put it inside his chest pocked. Then, he wrapped my wounded hands in his own.
“Thank you very much. It’s the best gift I’ve ever received in my life. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”
He said that with a terribly serious expression.
“I’m being honest.”
“I’m truly happy.”
Philip was just like me—a liar. There was no way he was saying the truth.
But for some reason, I wanted to cry, just a little.
“I will carry it with me every day. I’ll treat it like a treasure.”
“…That’s really embarrassing. Don’t carry it around, and please never let others see it.”
It’d be strange to carry around such a thing every day. It’d be even stranger for such a thing to be considered a treasure.
I understood that.
But, even for a moment, I wished everything he said was true. I wondered what was wrong with me.
***T/N: Karuta – Ichiban no Takaramono is playing.
ALSO HAHAHAHAHA PHIL WHO WOULD EMBROIDER AN EARTHWORM ON A HANDKERCHIEF PHIL AHAHAHAHAHHAHA
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