Sakura smiled and twirled her parasol. Emishi turned puppy-dog eyes on her, but she merely chuckled, holding one lace-gloved hand up to her mouth. Her cheeks were redder than usual. Emishi suspected makeup. "You look beautiful," he told her. "Magnifcently so. Like a rose at the height of its bloom."
"Why, thank you."
"That's the idea," Makubex interjected, and handed Emishi a tiny sandwich. Emishi gave it a suspicious look, then took a bite; it turned out to be some kind of jam. "Hmm. You know what would make it even more perfect?"
"Oh, it's fine," Sakura said, with a small laugh. "I wouldn't put you to the trouble - "
"No trouble at all. You need a tiara," Makubex told her firmly. "A tiara of flowers. Clover, I think - nothing too extravagant; it would only distract from your beauty. I'll be right back," he added, and got up, striding meaningfully in the direction of the lawn.
Emishi smiled after him. "At least the boy knows how to spend a Sunday afternoon," he murmured to Sakura. "The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the setting is marvellously period. Where did you get that dress, anyway?"
Sakura twirled her parasol again. "Well, when we were here yesterday, I said I felt like I should be holding a parasol and wearing lace. It is that sort of garden, isn't it? Like something Monet would have done. And he said that could be arranged. Wasn't it sweet? Not," she added firmly, "that I would wear this ordinarily. Far too easy to damage."
"Beautiful things often are." Emishi sighed and took another jam sandwhich. "All lovely things wither in time; the sakura flower falls to the ground and the winds of autumn scatter it to dust. Except you. You, my dear, have the strength of a mighty tree."
"My, that was quite poetic."
"I've been practicing," he told her proudly.
At that moment Makubex returned, cradling a circle of clover blossoms in his hand. "For you, my lady," he told Sakura, and carefully placed it on her head. She beamed. He was right; it suited her wonderfully. Then he took her hand and kissed it. Internally Emishi winced; that was the sort of elegant gesture he could never pull off.
"You know," he told Makubex accusingly, "I have just one question for you."
"You make this lovely, elegant garden ..."
"And put together this rather classy little luncehon for the three of us, and find Sakura-san that lovely Victorian dress ..."
"And you're wearing a t-shirt and jeans."
"So why did you borrow my maid outfit?"
Makubex smiled serenely. "Purely to confuse and disorient you, of course. Could you pass the cupcakes?"