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Following that, the doctor asked a few more questions before finally dismissing himself from the room.
Not long after that, my older brother and sister came.
"Lily! And even Onii-sama too—!"
My husband and the maids were behaving in a rather strange manner, making me terribly uneasy. As such I felt unimaginable relief on seeing my siblings whom I had not seen for a quite a while.
Then again, now, why had even Lily called me 'Anne Marie'?
Until earlier, Maria has been called …No, until just now … what did they call me?
"Anne, look at this~ Gerbera, don't you like it?"
"It's lovely. But Lily, how could you've mistaken the flower I like most?"
It isn't just my name, but she had also misremembered my preference in flowers. Is not my older sister being a bit of a bully right now?
"Anne…? What are you talking about?"
"Lily, what have you been babbling about? Isn't the flower that I like the most the rose?"
Ah, but, then again, the roses' fragrance is much too strong to be presented to someone who was ill. So Lily was just being her usual caring self…
As such I apologized to her, but Lily still looked dissatisfied.
"Anne's favorite color is?"
"It's pink! That's why I'm always dressed in that color."
"Between the sweet and sour cake and the sweet cake—which one do you prefer?"
"The sweet cake, obviously! You all have been asking me strange questions for a while now! Besides, I keep telling you, I'm not 'Anne'!"
Who is this 'Anne Marie' they kept on referring me as?… How cruel, mistaking your own little sister's name. Even if it was a joke, it was a terrible one.
"Has everyone forgotten that I am Maria?"
For some unknown reason, the air in the room went still.
Immediately afterwards, Onii-sama declared in a loud voice; "We are going home—!"
I still don't understand what actually happened, but if my Onii-sama, who is always gently smiling, suddenly turned that vicious-looking, then maybe I should go back home…
My husband had been quiet for awhile now.
It might be because I've gotten injured, and he hated my scarred body.
If so, how unfortunate of me!
Even though I loved my husband dearly…
That was why, when I nodded toward Onii-sama's plan to take me home, my husband's sudden, "Wait—!" as he clung to me came as a surprise.
At the same time, I also felt happy.
'So you still regard me as your wife', I thought.
Although because of that, my older brother turned even scarier;
'It's because of your disrespectful behaviour toward my little sister!'
'It's because of how you always treated her like Maria's substitute!'
'Shame on you!'
My Onii-sama, unlike his usual gentle self, was enraged. However, I still couldn't comprehend half of the things he was saying.
What are you all talking about?
"Good afternoon to you, Duke Westin."
"…Uhm, aah, yeah…"
Ever since I returned to my family's home, my husband often came to visit me.
Because Onii-sama was really mad and kept urging us to "Just get divorced already—!!", I could no longer casually call him 'My husband'. Thus I opted to just call him by his title, 'Duke Westin'.
To be honest, I didn't want a divorce, but I was also deemly aware of the scar on my body. Moreover, it seemed like my husband still hadn't moved on from Anne Marie.
Poor Anne Marie!
Pitiful Anne Marie! When I was small, I always kept clinging around my knowledgeable husband and listened to his talks with glittering eyes.
Although I couldn't clearly remember when she passed, I remember having felt sorry for her dying so young.
If that was indeed the circumstance behind the marriage between me and my husband, I regret lamenting for her.
Because now, my husband kept on calling me Anne Marie, and so on.
Well, let him then. No matter how many times he would repeat it, Anne Marie won't ever come back.
No matter how coldly my Onii-sama treated him, my husband still returned to visit our house everyday.
Because he was a busy person, the days ranged from one where we could chat in leisure like this to ones where he could only give a simple greeting and present before returning home.
Still, it was very strange.
Since I was four, I was clear with Onii-sama and the others about those things that I liked.
When they brought me flowers, it would be Gerbera.
When it was dresses, they would be a blue dresses.
When it was tea time, it would be a sweet and sour snacks.
I am still glad though. A present is still a present after all.
But it also saddened me for they had forgotten about my favourite things just like that.
Indeed, 'Marie' was now how everyone called me.
Even after I kept on insisting that I, myself, am 'Maria', everyone still wanted to call me 'Anne Marie'. So in the end, we settled with 'Marie'.
It was Onii-sama's idea. How smart of you, Nii-sama!
"Marie, today I brought this for you. Are you willing to put it on?"
"Wow… What a fair necklace! It has a transparent color."
The transparent and slightly tinted with blue gem resembled the lake surface.
"Don't you remember? Back in childhood, you and I loved to sit in front of the lake and read books together. Often while gazing at the river you would say things like, 'When the rays of the sun reflect off the lake's surface, the water looks so dazzling that I wish to take it home with me'. I couldn't bring you the lake, so please accept this instead…"
"Did I really say that, I wonder…?"
I racked my brain hard, but I still couldn't remember anything resembling what he had told me at all.
I knew about how the little Anne Marie used to tail behind my husband everywhere, but did I also do such a thing?
Now even I was unsure about my memories.
It had been like that ever since the day everyone started calling me 'Anne Marie'.
As if an insect had gnawed on it, I couldn't remember anything.
Everytime I tried to remember something, I would recall being on top of a bed while a voice calls me 'Maria'. The memory brings so much pain to my chest that my heart aches, almost to the point of suffering. As such I gave up on remembering.
When I decided to stay that way, everyone looked a little bit sad although the atmosphere was less tense.
"I'm sorry. It sounded like a romantic conversation, but I can't remember much about it."
"No, it isn't your fault at all—this is my own punishment."
'I'm truly sorry, Anne Marie.'
He said it with a pain-ridden smile.
"That said, pardon me, Duke of Westin…"
"My name is Maria. The things I like are roses, bright colored dresses, and sweet flavored snacks."
"Please remember it well this time."
I said it all while smiling cheerfully so as to sound like I didn't blame him for anything; The Duke however looked even more in pain than before.
…I wonder why.
***T/N : Hehehe today along with this part, I introduce to you my new editor!! His edit were magnificent and thus this can be posted wayyy earlier.
At the same time, this also conclude the story from Anne Marie's pov. Take note that it isn't the end yet, since there's also story that is narrated from Gilbert's pov! I will totally translate it in the near future!