Written for the August 3rd theme at the 31_days community: "Like Hamlet."
Reinhardt remembered Annerose at fifteen in the rosebuds on her underskirt, modest pink on light green cotton, peeking out from under her apron. She blushed when he caught her admiring the embroidery, twirling this way and that. Annerose had sewn the flowers herself, patiently filling the stenciled patterns with faux-silk thread, mindful of their impoverished state.
The skirt was left behind to fade in a drawer when she was chosen for the Kaiser -- along with Vivaldi and Brahms on the old piano, marked with her small, gracious handwriting. Annerose had always loved little things, accents instead of substance in the space she occupied in silence. Reinhardt's hand was bold and thick, slashing across page after page of letters he could never send.
Annerose always met him at Neue Sanssouci with her hair down, the way he liked it. In the darkness of space, when he allowed himself, Reinhardt remembered blonde hair on a slender back clad in pastels. Blues, greens, pinks -- they were the only colours for Annerose, the only right colours. He saw her once at a ball with the Kaiser, weighted down with velvet and brocade and his arm around her waist.
Jasmine, picked out in silver against burgundy, crawled up her bodice and her neckline, emphasising the pale softness of her breasts. Obscene, he thought. Only Kircheis noticed that the palms of his hands were marked with red crescents from his nails, and left damp prints on his white cape.
The Kaiser grew red roses in his gardens, where maids-in-waiting and courtiers alike circled around Annerose. Reinhardt brought Annerose porcelain violets and pansies, on rare occasions, and did not ask after their fate or their absence from her chambers. He knew there was a cedar box in depths of her wardrobes. She'd shown it to him once, unopened, and their eyes met and he /understood/.
They were close, she and him. Annerose was waiting for him at Neue Sanssouci after the Kaiser died -- she believed, too. Black was wrong for her, he thought, but her smile was everything he knew she was supposed to be. The dark folds of her mourning dress unfurled around him as they embraced, silken and warm from the sun.