trigger warning: mentions of suicide, suicidal ideation

There was this phrase in a book I once read – ‘People need other people, but in contrast, they cannot understand each other completely.
Thus, misunderstandings tend to lead towards discord in all relationships.’

And I thought that this truly made sense.
Theodore Valentino wouldn’t understand me.
I don’t understand him either.
We were extremely different people.

“…What you said just now.”

“……”

“The reason why you took these pills every day…”

He must be misunderstanding something here.
I’ve been taking those pills really only because I couldn’t sleep.

If I couldn’t sleep well, then my migraine would get worse.
It was the kind of migraine that had pain so unbearable that it felt like my head was being split into two.
So, I just took the medicine to get a good night’s sleep.

I knew that this particular medicine was harmful to the body in the long run, but I just did not care.

I’d always been afraid of trying to take my own life, even though I personally thought that dying was better than living.
As these sleeping pills could remedy my pain while also reducing my life expectancy, taking them regularly was hitting two birds with one stone.

Even with that in mind, it’s not like I was taking the pills every day with the solemnity of a melodramatic play where the protagonist would say, ‘I will take these pills and then die.’

All I wanted was to sleep without feeling any inconveniences, and it’s an added bonus that this life could end faster through the pills as well.

“Don’t misunderstand.
I did not drink this medicine with the intention to die.
It’s just that the side effects are of no consequence to me.
Even if my life span becomes reduced, I don’t mind.”

“…That, just what…”

Theodore muttered back with a look of incredulity.
I didn’t expect him to understand in the first place.
He did not know what I had experienced throughout my life, and it was the same vice versa.

I once hoped that our lives could be interconnected at some point, but I’d long since abandoned that anticipation.
I decided to no longer expect anything.
That way, I wouldn’t be frustrated, I wouldn’t be hurt by anything, and I could protect myself better.

“Lily, you’re…”

Agonized over questions he couldn’t utter, Theodore’s lips opened and closed several times without saying anything.
In silence, I waited for him to speak.

However, Theodore instead sighed heavily instead of saying what he wanted to say.
As he looked up at me, his eyes were filled with confusion.

“…I know that I was cruel to you before I lost my memories.”

“……”

“It’s something that can’t be brushed off just like that, but… From now on, I would like to improve our relationship.
I will do my best to make this happen.”

His words made me laugh.

As he heard my sudden burst of laughter, Theodore looked at me with his eyes wide open as though he was utterly surprised.
I leaned back against the wardrobe and laughed long and hard.

It was so funny that I couldn’t stand it.

“…Lily.”

“Improving this…”

I shook my head and opened the wardrobe’s doors.
It was obvious what would happen once he regained his memories again—he would regret it all.

You’re going to do your best?

Then I’ll do my best to avoid you at all costs until you’ve regained those memories.

“That…”

I took out a large box from the wardrobe and held it out to him.
After receiving the box, Theodore stood there dazed just looking at me.

Then, he opened the box.

It contained dozens of unopened pill bottles.

“…This…”

As he stood there, bewildered, Theodore’s gaze soon changed completely.

The next moment, he set off a large blue flame and burned those numerous pill bottles at once.

After exuding the strength of his elemental spirit, he ruffled his hair roughly.

“Is there more?”

“That’s all of it.
Truly.”

“……”

He buried his face into his palms for a moment.
After which, he swept his hands over his face, then stared at me with a conflicted expression.

I didn’t want to make eye contact with him, so I walked away and went towards the sofa again.

I sat down and habitually took a sip of tea from the cup earlier, but the tea had gone cold already.
Theodore walked back as well.

Instead of sitting in front of me as he did earlier, he was standing some ways away, just staring at me.
I took a sip of the cold tea and, without looking at him, spoke.

“Duke.”

“…I would like it if you called me by my first name.”

“What do you think we should do to improve this—”

I smashed the teacup in my hand on the table.

With the loud crashing noise, the shards flew across the table.
The air around us froze right then.
I met Theodore’s gaze and asked.

“If it’s shattered like this, can it still be fixed?”

“……”

Theodore stared blankly at the table with a shocked expression.
His gaze seemed to shift to the side, then he paused outright.

In a faint voice, he murmured.

“…Blood.”

“……?”

“You’re bleeding! What— just what the hell are you doing…!”

He crossed the distance between us in an instant, then grabbed my hand and lifted it up.
I tried to pry my hand out of his grip reflexively, but he held tight.

With a sudden sense of fright, I struggled to take my hand back.
But in my fierce resistance, Theodore pulled me closer and held me in his embrace, then he took a closer look at my hand.

“…The cuts on your ring and pinky finger are both deep.
You should be treated immediately.”

As soon as he finished saying this, as fast as he had moved earlier, he carried me in his arms.
As if in a trance, I could only look at his side profile that came close.

At the same time as my heart leapt from my chest, I immediately struggled out of his hold.
But the more I tried to get myself away from him, the tighter his embrace.

“Lily, don’t move.”

“L-Let me go.”

“We should have you treated before the injury gets worse.
Let’s head to the clinic.”

“I said let me go…!”

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