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Who Are You?
“Food! Food! Here, Allen, try them out!” Ann energetically took a seat for Allen. Allen was surprised, and so did the others.
Ann’s action was something typical of a man’s, meanwhile the one who’d sit on the seat that their ‘man’ prepared would typically be the woman, which meant Allen…
Nobody dared to let their thoughts escape from their head. Allen was stoned, thinking of the same thing. It was fortunate that nobody blurted anything…
Allen cleared his throat and just went with the flow, thinking inside his mind, ‘Well, consider this my birthday threat to you, Arlea.’
Once Allen sat down, he saw how the food prepared was mostly his favorite.
‘How thoughtful of Gwen and the other workers’, so he thought to himself as he started to take a bite and then…
“…? The taste is a bit different from the usual,” Allen said as he chewed on them.
“Eh? Is it bad?!” Ann stopped chewing and asked with her ears perked up.
“No, it’s not. But it’s not like the usual… Did something happen with the chef?” Allen asked.
“No, Allen-sama. The reason is…,” Gwen started to explain.
“Eh, wait, wait, wait, don’t!” Ann stood from her seat and signaled an ‘X’ to Gwen.
Yet, Gwen continued her explanation anyway, “It’s different because Arlea-sama took a part in cooking them.”
“Aaahhh!!” Ann shouted out of her embarrassment.
“Chirp, chirp!” Birdie was disturbed by Ann’s antics that she flew and pecked Ann’s head a little bit.
If Simone were here, she’d quickly say with a stern voice, “Very unladylike. Point deducted by 1000.”
“You did?” Allen turned to look at Ann as he was astonished.
Never in his wildest dream would he imagine this woman to do such a thing.
“S-so what if I did? I only made it taste off, huh…,” Ann sat down, looking a little bit dispirited.
Hearing the woman admitting it, the corner of Allen’s lips was hooked up in a slight smile.
“Well, I’m just wondering why it tasted different. It’s good,” he said calmly.
“You don’t need to force yourself to eat them if you don’t like them,” Ann replied.
“I never said that.”
“…,” Ann puffed her cheeks and decided to just focus on eating.
Looking at this interaction, Gwen’s heart was warmed.
Just as their food was finished, the lamp was turned off. Allen was about to ask what was the matter, when he heard footsteps and saw some candles.
Faye and several other workers were walking from the kitchen, carrying a birthday cake with candles on it as they started singing, “Happy birthday to you…”
Feeling a little bit embarrassed, Allen said, “There’s no need—”
“Happy birthday to you!”
His words were cut by Ann’s singing voice, accompanied by her claps.
Looking at Ann who seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere, Allen never got to continue his word.
The birthday cake was put on the table, between Allen and Ann. The light from the candle illuminated the two people sitting on the opposite of each other.
Ann continued to clap her hands as she continued to sing, encouraging the one having a birthday to blow on the candles. Her eyes were intently observing the cake that really seemed delicious in her eyes.
Meanwhile, the one who was having birthday didn’t really look at the cake. His eyes looked past the cake, staring intently at the face of the seemingly innocuous girl who was so immersed in the moment. Her face which was only illuminated by the candlelight, for some reason, looked so charming.
Due to their positioning, nobody noticed Allen’s dazed look except for Birdie, who was sitting on Ann’s shoulder as usual.
The moment the song ended, Ann finally shifted her gaze from the cake as she looked up at Allen. Allen’s swift reflexes made him avert his eyes from Ann in an instant—and thus, Ann was looking at Allen, who was looking at the candles on the cake.
Before Ann could say anything, Allen blew the candles and Ann clapped happily.
A butler stepped up and cut the cakes to pieces.
After he was finished, Allen took a piece of the cake that was served on a plate and then passed in on to Ann.
“Huh?” Ann totally didn’t expect it.
“You seemed like you wanted to eat it so bad,” Allen said as he just put the cake in front of her.
“Oh, thanks!” Ann said as she started eating the cake.
Allen distributed the rest of the cake to the residence’s workers before he ate it too.
Calm down, Ann, he didn’t mean anything.
Ann tried to calm herself so bad. In her custom, the first cake was to be handed over to the person that one thought as important. It usually indicated a special feeling, but she knew Allen probably didn’t think of it that way and it was purely a coincidence.
Even so, she was happy.
The birthday dinner was over. Allen and Ann returned to their own rooms to tidy up.
However, Ann quickly found out that she had a guest that night. It was none other than Allen, who had opened the birthday present from her.
Faye quickly served a light tea for the two of them before she stood on standby next to them—when Allen dismissed Faye with his hand gesture.
Faye was taken aback at first, since this was the first time Allen dismissed her, but she snapped out of her astonishment and quickly left the place. Oddly enough, Birdie also flew away from Ann’s shoulder and followed Faye, who was waiting outside with questions in her head.
“Thank you for the gift. It’s unique. Why don’t you help me put it on?” Allen answered before Ann finished her sentence. He took a seat right next to Ann as his hand held the gift that Ann picked for him.
The gift was none other than a simple necklace with a captivating magical stone as its decoration. There were three small magical stones, one round stone in the middle, and two small claw-like stones on the left and right side of the round stone.
Allen didn’t know what exactly those stones were, but he was well aware that they were often used as protective charm, and he was touched that Ann actually got him this.
So, she cared about me, huh?
In truth, Ann simply thought that the design was very suitable with Allen, and the price wasn’t so expensive, so she bought it.
My guess was on point. Even Allen himself liked the necklace so much that he would want to wear it!
…Although the main reason he wanted to wear it was because the necklace was Ann’s first ‘thoughtful’ gift for him.
Before she came to this world, Ann often asked another person’s help in wearing her necklace or earrings, so she thought nothing of Allen’s request and obediently helped him wear it.
While Ann was helping him, a warm sensation welled up in Allen’s chest.
At that time, his eyes was attracted to something that was slightly popping out from a drawer. It was some kind of a cloth, with messy threads popping out from it.
“Alright, I’m done.”
As Ann said that, she was surprised to see Allen quickly standing up and walking away from her.
So quick to leave? Without even saying ‘thanks’?
Ann grumbled a bit in her mind before she saw where Allen was headed to. He was headed to where she stored the failed gift!! The agitated Ann quickly stood up and followed Allen, but it was too late.
Her heart almost jumped from its place when Allen opened exactly the drawer where she left her failed gift.
To make the matter worse, Allen lifted the failed gift she planned on throwing away and turned to look at her as he said, “What’s this?”
It was a piece of cloth—no, it was a handkerchief with some messy sewing.
“It’s nothing but an ugly handkerchief, I wanted to throw it away.”
His name was sewn there, it was clear what it was. A handmade present intended for Allen. Allen didn’t say anything and just showed his sewn name to Ann.
“Ugh, alright, I wanted to give you that handkerchief if it turned out well, but it turns out to be so ugly, so…”
Allen said nothing as he folded the handkerchief and stored it in his pocket.
“Wait, why did you put it in your pocket?!”
“That’s for me, right? So I just took it,” Allen casually said.
“But like I said, it’s ugly and messy, let me throw it away,” Ann insisted.
“Since it’s for me, it will be up to me what I want to do with it,” Allen didn’t budge.
“…Okay, then… Just don’t you go around mocking me with it,” Ann said as she sat down on the sofa again and turned her face away from Allen.
Then, she felt that the sofa next to her was sinking—someone, no, it could only be him—Allen was sitting right next to her and then…
Ann almost yelped in surprise as she felt something touching her shoulder—it couldn’t be Birdie. This feeling…
With her widened eyes, Ann turned to look at Allen who was leaning his head to her shoulder, with his eyes closed.
“What are you—”
“Just who are you? You’re really different from the Arlea that I knew. …If your old memories were to return, will this ‘you’ disappear?” Allen said with a very low and soft voice that forced Ann to quiet down to listen to his words. His voice sounded so sad and conflicted that Ann’s heart felt as if it was being squeezed.
I am Ann. I am not the same person as Arlea, I never was.
If I were to tell you that I was a stray soul that possessed this body in a turn of events, will you even believe me?