Never have you considered yourself the sort of young lady to be given gifts.
You live a simple enough life, working day in day out, a peaceful little existence that pleases you with its uncomplicatedness and its mundane foundations. It is easy enough to wake each day and forget dormant sides and darker thoughts when you are faced with the mechanical tasks of the automaton creator. You are an apprentice — a straightforward position of chores and accomplishments — to your father, the good Herr Amsel.
None who visit the shop know your face or your name. You are the silent shadow in the corners, the one who sweeps up dirty trays and empty teacups and stands by in wordlessness. Your father’s clients make little to no comments about you. All in town know your sister, but most likely have not ever heard of your existence. It satisfies you. You like your mask of anonymity and your peace and quiet. You wouldn’t know what to do if you were faced with its disruption.
Understandably, it is quite a shock when you come in you pick the spares of your father’s work from the front counter and find a rose wedged into the drawer of the counter instead. The flower is a luscious thing, all scarlet and at the peak of burgeoning into a lovely bloom. A note hangs from its slender stem, tied with a red thread; a single word in swirling script has been written upon it.
Ashamed by the extravagance of the flower, you make quick work of prying it out of the drawer. You hold it in your hands a moment longer, unknowing of what to do with it. To throw it away would be the wisest, surely. By the time you come to your decision you realize that something is dripping from your fingers. You look down with a cool interest at the crimson now staining your hands.
You had forgotten about the thorns.