Chapter 18 – A Remedy for the Scars of the Past
“Yes. Your help is absolutely crucial to this plot,” she nods.
His eyes widened in prominent surprise. He must have thought his help would not be needed; however, the person who could proceed the wedding was none other than Lucius’ own maternal grandfather, Marqui Calbino. In the main novel he becomes Lucius’ official supporter in his quest to usurp the throne. Even though he was a royal of the same rank, he found Edwin to be an eyesore; hence, he would hasten Tiana and Lucius’ marriage in order to hold something against Edwin—like a tip of a dagger threatening to pierce his neck.
Once he finds out about the postponement, he is bound to start pressuring the Duke. And there is only one solution: to offer a proposal that he would find satisfactory, one that would reassure Edwin and satisfy Marqui Calbino. But to do that, it would require Lucius’ help.
She continues with eagerness, “I will do my best to convince father. It’s not a reckless alternative so I’m sure he won’t object.”
“Why would you go this far to marry me? I’m not trying to blame you or anything but if I think of you from the past, you wouldn’t even talk to me and you definitely didn’t want to get married so… why?”
She stares at him blankly as her brain short circuits. He had asked a sensible query inspired by his own confusion and it rendered her speechless, frozen as she ransacked her mind for a reasonable excuse that would explain her peculiar fervor. But luckily, he retracts his words as he apologizes, “I’m sorry. It’s not right to ask you when you’ve lost your memory but it’s just even talking to you right now feels so unreal, and here I am bringing this up right after I said I would pretend it never happened…” He looks tormented as his frown deepens and he turns his head away slowly to avoid her blank gaze.
She found it difficult to speak when he exhibited hints of doubt. Even if he had decided to forget the past, this situation must feel so foreign and so strange to him. Transforming words into actions were harder than it seemed and a miracle wasn’t going to suddenly happen either.
A memory forged in the mind cannot be easily forgotten; the behaviours and actions of the previous Tiana would need to be overridden, or else Lucius could never move on, daunted by the past. Cursing her would not be enough—her feelings of hostility had inked his being. Perhaps after their marriage, things were a little less sour, but that was not set in stone. The shadow of the previous Tiana still lingers, and her best attempt to remedy the trauma is to outweigh her existence with hers, the present ‘Tiana,’ gradually burying the bitter past with fresh, painless memories.
She approaches him slowly, mustering enough courage, and opens her hand to show him the petal that lay peacefully on her palm. “I want to be with you Lucius,” she says softly while a smile ghosts over her lips.
He stares at her silently as she gazes upon the petal.
“Isn’t it amazing?” she questions, “I have no memory and this is the first time I have met you. But you feel very close to me.”
“What do you mean?” he responds, a bit skeptical.
“I want to marry you.”
He takes a step back in surprise and a breeze begins to whisper from behind him. She quickly covers her palm lest the petal sways along with the wind, and steps towards him. “You might think it’s crazy, but it’s true,” she says.
“Why?” Genuine confusion colours his voice.
“I remembered how happy I felt when I met you before. I’m not sure when the memory is from, but even right now, I’m very glad that I met you.”
A faint memory from the previous Tiana flashed across her mind. An odd deja vu hit her: it must have been the previous encounter between Lucius and the other Tiana. The surprise on Lucius’ face makes the memory even clearer—the memory of their first rendezvous. Lucius had offered the same petal.
“Nice to meet you, I am Tiana Quinn Celeste.”
“…Lucius Eyal Rederick.”
The memory, almost faded, reveals Tiana with a wide smile gracing her lips as she greets Lucius, who accepts her curtsy with a warm gaze.