Chapter Three: A Forceful Promise
As a result of Dr. Morgan’s examination, it was determined that my husband suffered temporary amnesia due to his head trauma. There was certainly a big bump on the back of his head. The impact must have been considerable.
According to the doctor, it was unknown how long would the memory loss last. The brain was a very delicate, complicated, and yet fickle thing. Therefore, he could regain his memory in a heartbeat. At the same time, he might also not recover his memory for the rest of his life. If he were to try to remember it forcibly, a serious illness might occur due to the rejection of the brain. The doctor sternly advised to not to do that.
Fortunately, other than memory loss, my husband suffered nothing but a minor headache. Thankfully, he didn’t become blind or paralyzed. However, my husband, who was known for being a workaholic, was strictly advised to spend a week on the bed.
The other employees and I knew that he had been overworking for a long time. When I personally requested him to take this opportunity to rest, he was happy. I was grateful that he was understanding.
Since he needed to rest, I visited him for a bit in the morning to have a chat with him. However, it seemed that my husband’s recovery was progressing nicely. He ate a lot, slept well, as such, his complexion had improved considerably. His skin had also regained its luster.
For some reason, after my husband had gotten permission to get out of the bed for the first time in the week, the first thing he did was to visit my room.
I never saw it coming. All my husband ever did was ask for Dr. Morgan’s permission to get up. He never said anything else. Therefore, I couldn’t hide my surprise when my husband suddenly visited me, who was embroidering. It was my daily routine after lunch.
My husband immediately told me to continue with my embroidery. However, he sat on the sofa opposite me. The entire time, he didn’t engage in any conversation, and only opted to keep staring at me instead. I lifted my face several times to gauge the situation, and our eyes met each time. My only salvation was Elsa, who stayed in the corner of the room.
I had embroidered cushion covers, accessory cases, headdresses, and ribbons for a bazaar that was to be held a week later. I didn’t think it was that fascinating to see them. Regardless, my husband showed no intention of leaving. Since my husband was amnesic, I knew not any topic I could bring up to amuse him.
“My husband… Shouldn’t you be resting your room…?”
“Does Liliana like embroidery?”
My words were swiftly dismissed, while my question was answered with a question.
My husband was staring at me, waiting for an answer.
“…I like embroidery because it can make someone happy.”
However, only Cedric and Elsa had ever received an embroidery from me. Cedric was so pleased with the scarves and handkerchiefs I embroidered. It was also the reason why I was in love with embroidery. Meanwhile, Elsa was so regretful when she accidentally stained her red ribbon. Therefore, I lied a little, told her that I made the extra ribbon for my accessory case, and told Elsa that it was perfect for her. I embroidered a lily flower on it. Elsa was very pleased when she received the final product.
She praised me. “You have such a wonderful talent. Everyone would be happy to receive this.”
My husband proceeded to pick up the cushion cover on the table and gazed at it.
The embroidery was designed with the theme of summer in mind. The sunflowers were the main design. I was inspired by the collection of embroidery motifs in the library. It could also be considered my masterpiece.
Then, I remembered that I hadn’t thanked my husband for the sewing box and the embroidery threads. I stood up with the embroidered handkerchief beside me. Towards me, who stood up, my husband tilted my head.
“M, my husband.”
“I’m very happy to receive the sewing box and the embroidery threads. I’m truly grateful to receive such wonderful things, despite not having done any role as a wife. I apologize about that.”
I bowed down and said it all at once. A sense of accomplishment filled my heart, for I managed to say them without stuttering until the end. I was convinced that the lady education, conducted under Elsa and Arthur’s guidance over the past year, was steadily producing results. Otherwise, I was confident that I wouldn’t be able to talk with my husband in the first place.
However, contrary to me, who was immersed in the sense of accomplishment, my husband then told me—
“—Raise your face.”
Sensing the slight impatience in his voice, I lifted my head.
“There’s no need to thank me for the sewing box and the embroidery threads.”
My husband smiled bitterly.
“No, that’s not true…”
I immediately shook my head.
“Back in my parents’ house, I was never be able to use such a beautiful thread freely. Even my sewing box was passed down from my maid. As such, the needles were either a little bent, or broken. On the other hand, my husband gave me such an excellent sewing box.”
I turned to gaze at the sewing box next to me, and caressed the delicate flower design. I thought that the craftsman carved it with great care. The softwood grain and the colorful flowers were very lovely. I couldn’t bear to use it for about three days after I received it. I kept looking at it every day. When I opened the lid, I was impressed by the colorful embroidery threads lined up like a rainbow. Then, for another three days, I kept looking at it. I could only use the needle a week after I had received the sewing box.
“Just looking at these beautiful threads is enough to make me happy every day.”
My cheek naturally became loose while caressing the threads lined up in a row.
There were five types of red threads. They all had slightly different shades. Embroidering while ruminating about the delicate color differences was entertaining for me. In addition, Elsa would always keep an eye on the threads, and replenish them whenever they were about to be depleted. As such, no color was lost.
I once again expressed my gratitude with all my heart.
“Thank you very much, my husband.”
“A, as long as you’re happy…”
My husband’s face became red as he turned away.
Did he force himself to come here despite having a fever?
As I thought, it must have been impossible for him to recover in just one week…
“My husband, your face is red. Did you have a fever? Let’s return to your room so you can take a rest right away.”
“That’s not the case; I’m fine. I don’t want to return to my room yet. I want to converse with you a little more.”
My husband said in a strangely vigorous manner.
“It’s alright, Milady.”
Before I realized it, Elsa was beside me.
“Because of the beauty, he falls in love immediately.”
Elsa smiled and said so.
“Sure, this thread is very beautiful, but I wonder if it’s alright…”
Dr. Morgan said he shouldn’t overexert himself, so I wondered if he was alright.
Then, Elsa gently put her hand on my shoulder and shook his head.
“Even if someone were to kill him, your husband wouldn’t die, so it’s alright. On the other hand, if he dares make you sad, I’ll kick him out of the room right away.”
“—As Elsa said, I’m fine.”
My husband said, interjecting Elsa. I felt like Elsa had another slip of mouth, but I might be wrong.
My husband cleared his throat and regained his composure. All he needed to do to regain his previous aura was correct his posture. It seemed that he wanted to talk about something, so I also straightened my back, and faced my husband.
My husband seemed troubled. His bright blue eyes wandered as he tried to say something. He kept closing and opening his mouth but never said anything in the end.
Did I do something rude without even realizing it? My kind-hearted husband might be trying to admonish me. I was sure he was trying to sound nice about it.
“I’m sorry, my husband.”
I stood up and bowed deeply. A little surprised, my husband asked me. “Liliana?”
“It seems that I have done something unpleasant to my husband…”
“Huh? Eh? No, no, definitely not—!”
“You seem to be trying to say something. Your expression appears to be difficult, hence…”
“As I said, that isn’t the case, uh, I, right! I want to ask you what this is used for…”
My husband picked up a headdress with floral decoration, made of lace and cloth. Not only that, the oval dark blue background was lined with a rhombus pattern and white threads. The corners were decorated with glass beads. Elsa and the maids praised it for being nice.
My husband was a man, so it was no wonder he didn’t know. I was sure it was embarrassing to ask the younger girl what that was.
“Look, you didn’t do anything wrong. Sit down.”
I rubbed my chest in relief, and sat back down on the sofa.
“This is a headdress. It’s similar to what Elsa uses for work, although hers is simpler. I thought of making something suitable for dressing up or outing, so…”
“…I see, then, did you also make this floral cloth?”
“Yes, Elsa gave me some cloth. I made the cushion cover with sheets that I don’t need anymore. I also embroidered the ribbons that are to be donated to the children by the maid.”
“My lord, you may have forgotten, but your wife used to make all of these for the bazaar of our orphanage.”
Elsa explained to my husband in my stead.
As soon as I was about to get up, Elsa, who guessed my intention, went to the bedroom next door and fetched me a box of sweets placed on my bedside. After thanking her, I put the box on top of my lap.
“It’s the symbol of gratitude of the children. They packed a lot of presents for me in the box of sweets that I received as a donation. For the first time, I received a letter from someone other than Cedric.”
The box of sweets itself came from a reputable candy store in the royal capital. The design was so exquisite, I couldn’t find it within me to discard it. Once the lid was opened, finely pressed flowers, pictures drawn by children, handicrafts made of yarn, and some letters could be found. The children’s homemade cookies and muffins were also included. They were still as delicious as the day I received them through Elsa.
“Sir Arthur told me that the Lutherford family orphanage housed a lot more children than any other orphanage. Every time I see the letter or flower, I believe the said fact. I’m sure they are kind-hearted children.”
Arthur had suggested I go see them in person. However, I had never been there because I hadn’t received my husband’s permission.
However, considering my husband’s position, that was careless of me. Elsa told me that my husband was very popular in social circles. He was a young successor of an influential family who was good-looking, tall, and had an outstanding style. What was more, it was no wonder that my husband, who had great achievements in the war with the neighboring kingdom seven years ago, would become more and more popular within his rank as his career progressed. The crown prince also trusted him a lot.
However, at the same time, my husband was famous for misogyny. He hardly danced, and his interaction with the opposite sex was kept at a bare minimum. Therefore, it seemed that many ladies wept when they heard that he had married a dubious count’s daughter out of nowhere.
Thus, many aristocrats—especially the ladies—were eager to know the marquess, who had never attended a single ball, or a tea ceremony. Despite being married, I had never made my debut in social circles. I had also never attended any tea party back at my parent’s house. As such, rumors began to circulate.
I wished I was a beautiful and impeccable lady like my stepmother or stepsister. Nevertheless, my actual self would definitely tarnish my husband’s reputation—for I was just a little girl who couldn’t do anything. It was obvious that I’d gossip. As such, even after I married the marquis, I had never stepped a foot outside of that mansion. That said, I was never troubled by it. As of the present, I was more free and happier than when I was at my parents’ house.
“Liliana, you and I are a married couple in the family register of the church.”
My husband eventually interjected.
That was indeed the fact. I affirmed with a yes.
“But, we barely know each other. As of the present, I barely know myself, even.”
Regret bled from my husband’s comely face. It had been a week since my husband lost his memories. To him, it wasn’t just a week.
“Don’t force yourself, my husband. Sir Morgan said that you shouldn’t overdo it.”
“…Thank you, how kind you are.”
“No, it’s my husband who’s very kind. Thanks to my husband, I can live a comfortable life.”
Then, my husband murmured a little and lowered his face. A few seconds later, he raised his face immediately. After slowly standing up, he approached me, and knelt!
“M, my husband!?”
My husband took my hand and squeezed it with his big hands in a hurry. I was mesmerized by my husband’s blue eyes, which bore into me.
“However, that would make me unfit as a husband. Arthur told me that I’m ignoring you for my own reasons. It isn’t you; it’s me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t recall the reason. However, until now, I’ve only caused you pain.”
The way my husband spoke was as if he truly regretted it.
My husband was truly generous. I wished that my husband’s burden would be lightened as much as possible by putting my palm on top of his.
“Don’t blame yourself so much, my husband. I’ve never felt hurt because of you. If I had, I can’t recall it. We’ve only met three times. As such, it’s no wonder that I have no place in your memory. Even God can’t remember something that never happened, so please don’t blame yourself.”
As I felt his grip on my hand tightening, my husband seemed about to cry. When I beckoned to him, he buried his face in my knees. Still, it didn’t seem like he’d let go of my hand. For some reason, Elsa was glaring very coldly towards my husband. However, I could be mistaken, for Elsa was a gentle person. Not to mention, when she noticed my gaze, Elsa reverted to her usual gentle expression.
“If you stroke that empty head of his, I think he’ll return to usual.”
“H-he might be feeling sick. We should call Dr. Morgan…”
“No, your husband is just a fellow who can’t stand an unexpected situation. He doesn’t even have the qualification to confess to you. Milady doesn’t need to concern herself at all. All you need to do is pat his head, and it’d already sufficed—actually, it’s a luxury.”
I didn’t quite understand the meaning of Elsa’s words. However, there was no way Elsa could be wrong. My maid was so competent that I wanted to brag about her to everyone.
I gently caressed my husband’s amber hair. My husband’s hair was firmer than Cedric’s soft hair. It was probably because Cedric was still young. Still, my husband’s hair slipped through my finger. I checked it in secret, but the big lump on the back of my husband’s head had vanished.
Afterward, I patted my husband’s head for a while. Then, my husband ceased all his movements.
“Elsa, what should I do? My husband… Did he perhaps faint? Perhaps, it isn’t working?”
I was anxious about my husband, who showed no movement and looked up to Elsa.
“Nonsense. If you don’t cease this, I’ll go call Arthur, my lord.”
Elsa’s words caused my husband’s shoulders to jump.
What a relief, it seems that he didn’t faint…
Almost at the same time as I exhaled, my husband vigorously raised his face.
I was a little surprised due to the abruptness.
“Why don’t we go to the upcoming orphanage bazaar together?”
His unexpected words confused me.
“You and I are married couples. I think we should give ourselves an opportunity to learn about each other better, for death is the only thing that would separate us from now on. We should talk more. Every day from now on, I want to take some time to spend with you. So why don’t we go to the upcoming orphanage bazaar together?”
My husband didn’t seem to be joking. He was staring at me with a truly serious expression.
…What happened to my husband?
Before, he didn’t even want to see my face. It came as a shock that he wanted to spend time with me.
…Nevertheless, he had lost his memory. He barely understood everything. He probably was so lonely, he turned to his wife, who was merely a trophy.
“I don’t mind us talking; as for the orphanage, I don’t think I can go…”
I wished to meet the children of the orphanage. However, it was much scarier for me to damage my husband’s reputation.
I unknowingly put my hand above my scar.
“Do you hate going out with me?”
As if afraid, my husband asked me. I hurriedly denied.
“…The reputation of the marquis will be tarnished if my husband were to go out with someone as clumsy and ugly as me.”
Saying it hurt. I wanted to cry. If only I were more beautiful—like my stepmother or stepsister. That way, I wouldn’t have inconvenienced my husband as much. Without realizing it, I had clenched my hand, which sat above my scar.
My husband had a look as if he had only heard of that word for the first time. I thought that my husband only lost his memory, not basic knowledge. Apparently, he also lacked that.
“…I’m referring to someone like myself.”
I sadly told my husband the meaning of my words.
Then, my husband tilted his head. His mouth was agape. Confused, I also tilted my head.
“Wait, did I hit my head again? Or, has the meaning of that word been reversed?”
“I don’t think that’s the case. I mean, my husband and I can converse normally…”
“…Then, clumsy and ugly… Did someone say something like that to you?”
“My stepmother and stepsister did. They are very beautiful, unlike me.”
“There’s no way a beautiful woman would say that to her daughter or her sister. You’re misunderstanding something. Liliana… You’re beautiful.”
The words that came out of my husband’s mouth only convinced me even more—
—perhaps, he indeed had hit his head, and it messed with his vision.
As I thought, we needed Dr. Morgan.
As I concluded that and turned towards Elsa, my husband suddenly took the initiative.
“Let me tell you, my eyes and sense of aesthetic are definitely normal. My head trauma did nothing to them. Elsa.”
“I agree with this blunder of a man only on this matter. I’ve been aware of it for some time, but you’re still making such a misunderstanding. Milady is very beautiful.”
Elsa might have hit her head when I wasn’t looking.
“I haven’t hit my head.”
Elsa, who read my mind, also interjected.
“…Liliana, you’re very beautiful.”
My husband didn’t appear to be joking. His beautiful blue eyes stared straight at me.
Still, I couldn’t believe those words. I looked down to escape from my husband’s gaze. I noticed that my right hand was still holding my scar. Even if my face was acknowledged as permissible for a person through a leap of faith, there was definitely something ugly and terrifying underneath my right hand.
“Liliana, now that we’ve cleared things up, let’s go to the orphanage bazaar.”
In a compelling tone, my husband squeezed my hand and declared. Elsa, at the back, also nodded.
It was unlikely that I’d be allowed to refuse. As such, I could only nod.