Welcome back to the Renaissance Legacy… This is the first chapter with Piero as the head of the family and generation three makes its appearance! Anyways…enjoy this next part!
The first of May day dawned fair and bright. Piero, dressed in his father’s old finery, and Giulietta, dressed in her mother’s wedding dress, stood under the sun to exchange their vows. They had opted for an outdoor wedding, so a rose-covered arch had been set up that morning. However, the church agreed and a priest arrived promptly to perform the ceremony.
Giulietta’s mother, who was rather fond of the English style of dress, wiped the corners of her eyes delicately while she watched her oldest daughter’s wedding. Gina, Giulietta’s little sister, smiled, happy her sister was marrying the man who had saved her life less than a year ago. As for Giulietta’s father, he stared in open disbelief as he watched his little girl become a woman.
Piero had gone to Giulietta’s father the day after his rather sudden promotion and asked for her hand formally. Pleased that his daughter had found a husband, albeit surprised at its suddenness, Signore Rizzola had said yes. Piero worked diligently in his new apothecary shop for months until he had amassed enough money to be able to support his aging parents and a new wife for quite some time.
I, Piero Moretti, take thee, Giulietta Rizzola, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth. Giulietta repeated her vows and the couple exchanged rings, binding them for eternity.
Piero and Giulietta walked back down the isle hand in hand, pausing so Piero could throw his wife’s garter and Giulietta, her bouquet. Gina caught the bouquet and blushed amongst the cheers, for custom dictated she was now the next to wed, before joining her mother at the wine table. Antonio caught the garter and gave it to his love, Isabetta, which, according to legend, promised faithfulness in return. Isabetta cringed at the gift and quickly went to the wine table, too.
The rest of the guests went inside for cake and other treats. Piero sat at the head of the table with his lovely new bride to his left. Bianca and the priest were engaged in conversation about the bible while Cadence was attempting to get her words across to her son. “ Piero! I said that it was a lovely ceremony!” she said for the third time. The priest and Bianca stopped talking and stared at the boy who was so lost in Giulietta’s eyes.
Seeing that there was no chance of penetrating the starry world the two young lovers were lost in, she gave up and turned back to her cake.
“ I wish to offer my congratulations, Giulietta.” Bianca told her new sister-in-law. “We have waited a long time for this day and I’m glad my brother has found such a wonderful wife.” Giulietta blushed and thanked Bianca for the compliment.
“ There you are!” Piero said as he grabbed Giulietta and kissed her. “Your father just opened a new bottle of wine in the parlor and wishes to make a toast.” “ Eew. Piero, do you have to do this in front of me?” Bianca said sarcastically and made a face. “ Of course I do!” he answered, pulling Giulietta towards the parlor. “Why don’t you come too, Bianca?”
“ I wish you many years of happiness…and many grandchildren for you dear papa.” Gerado Rizzola finished with a wink. Piero smiled and Giulietta blushed as they sipped their wine amid cries of ‘hear hear’ from the rest of the wedding party.
After several rounds of toasts were made, Giulietta’s mother, Maria, made her way to the chess table where her other daughter was sitting. “ I guess now it’s your turn to get married, Gina.” she smiled and sat down. Gina was considered the beauty of the family with her blonde hair and fair skin. She would have no trouble finding her a suitable match. “ I know, mother.” Gina said excitedly. She had heard this many times from her mother and was looking forward to the prospect of marriage.
Soon enough it was getting dark and the guests had to leave. Giulietta made her rounds saying good-bye to her family. “ Good-bye, sister.” she said, holding Gina tight, sad that she was leaving her childhood home. “ Don’t be sad, Giulietta!” Gina said cheerfully, “Take good care of that husband of yours and I’ll see you soon enough.” Giulietta nodded and walked her sister to the door. Telling her sister to have fun tonight and giving a suggestive wink, Gina hopped into the waiting carriage with her parents.
Giovanni and Cadence kindly took a room at the local inn that night, not wanting to intrude on their son’s honeymoon.
“ Have I told you just how much I love you?” Piero asked gently, pulling his wife close to him. “ I believe you have.” Giulietta said with a smile. “But I never get tired of hearing it.”
“ And whose birthday is it today?” Isabetta cooed at her daughter. Netta opened her eyes and cooed up at her mother. “ Come on, dear.” Isabetta picked up the squirming baby and carried her downstairs to the waiting guests. Today was her birthday and a party had been thrown just for her.
Only a few people had come, Bianca was too busy to leave the church, Piero and Giulietta were still on their honeymoon, and Marco was off somewhere gallivanting with his new bride. Toasts were raised, good food was eaten, and a good time was had all around.
By the end of the night, Netta was exha usted. Antonio carried her to the kitchen to wipe the cake she had smeared all over her face. “ Are you ready for bed?” he asked gently, stroking her hair.
Netta responded with a yawn so Antonio carried her up the stairs and tucked her into bed.
Since she had had her baby, Isabetta had finally been able to do what she had longed for all along- go to parties, dances, dinners, and participate in society. Nearly every night she dragged Antonio to some soiree or another, leaving Netta home with the wet nurse. Although she had thought the rich life was all she ever wanted, Isabetta soon found herself tired of staying out so late and hardly ever seeing her daughter.
“ Good evening, Marie.” Isabetta said late one night after returning from a gala in town. “ Good ev’nin’, signora .” Marie set her knitting down to address her employer. “ I though I’d come in and say goodnight to Netta.” “ Of course; she’s sleepin’ in her crib.”
“ Goodnight darling.” Isabetta said, stroking her daughter’s hair. Netta stirred a little and turned over, but didn’t wake up. Looking at her peaceful expression made Isabetta regret all of the time she spent away from the little girl.
“ A bit warm in the house for the coat, don’t ye think?” Marie asked. “ Oh, Antonio and I just got back. I came right up to see Netta and haven’t taken it off yet.” “ Aah. Out on the town yet again. And where did ye go this time?” Marie asked disapprovingly. “ What’s that supposed to mean?” Isabetta snapped.
“ Oh nothin’. Just that Netta sure misses her mother when you’re gone all night and sleepin’ in all morning.” Marie answered. This woman sounds like my mother! Isabetta thought. “Well. I am perfectly entitled to spend my time as my please. As for Netta being lonely, that is what we have you for.” “ I didn’t mean to offend, signora. I was just thinkin’ that it’s be good for the babe if she was able to spend some time with her mother once in a while.” Isabetta didn’t answer, just walked out of the room. While she was mad, she couldn’t help but realize that had been thinking the same exact same thing.
Good morning, dear. No, I’m heading to work. I’ll be back tonight. I love you. Piero gave his wife a kiss before leaving for his apothecary shop. He hated to leave her alone all day, but there wasn’t another option.
While her husband was gone all day, Giulietta fell into a routine. She would practice the piano, eat lunch with Cadence (Giovanni was at work too), read a bit, clean, and sew some.
An hour or so before Piero was due back, Cadence and Giulietta would start dinner. It was nice for Cadence to have a pair of young hands to help around the house.
When dinner was on the table, Cadence and Giovanni would start eating, but Giulietta would wait for Piero to return. When he did, he was greeted by a rather enthusiastic wife.
After eating dinner, the two would head up to their room and…catch up.
Their routine continued for a month before Giulietta realized she was in the family way. As she lost her breakfast the umpteenth time that week, all she could think about was telling Piero the good news. How excited he will be!
She sat at the table that night with dinner on the plate before her. Cadence and Giovanni had long since finished their meals when she heard the door open and Piero call out to his wife. Scooting the chair back, Giulietta stood quickly and rushed to the parlor.
“ Ciao, mio dolce cuore .*” Piero said, spinning his wife around and planting kisses up and down her arm. “ Come stai ?**” For a second, Piero’s kisses almost made her forget her big news-almost, but not quite. “ Sono eccellente!*** ” * Hello, my sweetheart. **How are you? ***I am excellent.
“ Eccellente ?” he asked, “Do you have news?” “ Sì, Piero. Excellent news! Let me be the first to tell you that you are going to be a father in just a few short months…” Giulietta said with a smile.
“ A father?!” Piero echoed excitedly and Giulietta nodded in response. “ You have made me so happy!” Piero pulled his wife in for a kiss to prove his point before they headed into the dining room for dinner.
“ Do you think it will be a boy or a girl?” Giulietta asked Piero as he patted her stomach. “ I cannot even begin to guess, my dear.” he answered. The months that had passed had been the happiest of his life as he watched his wife grow larger with child. The entire household was waiting in anticipation for the day the child would be born.
“ Come, let’s sit.” he said, taking his wife’s hand and leading her to the chess table. As of late, this had become a common event for the two of them. They would play chess late into the night, each trying their best to outsmart the other.
Cadence would entertain with the piano and Giovanni would go back and forth between the piano and the chess table, playing duets with his wife and acting as referee when the competition between the young couple became heated. All in all, it was a very peaceful, happy time for the four, soon to be five, of them.
One morning, Giulietta was waddling out to the garden when she felt a dull ache in her abdomen. With each step she took, it became stronger and soon enough she was doubled over. Even though it was a Saturday, both Giovanni and Piero were in town this morning, so she called for Cadence to help her inside.
Cadence helped her inside and up to her bedroom before penning notes for the neighbor boy to deliver to Giulietta’s mother, Isabetta, Bianca, and, if he could find them, Giovanni and Piero.
Marie and Isabetta were over in a flash, both ready and eager to help. Bianca couldn’t make it and the boy was still looking for the men. Florence was a large town and there was no telling how long it would take to find them. The three women were experienced in childbirth and helped Giulietta through it without complication.
That afternoon, Giulietta was delivered of a healthy baby girl who had her parents’ dark hair and her father’s eyes. She was bathed in warm water and, just as Cadence was going to swaddle the babe, the three girls heard the front door open.
A very winded Piero threw open the bedroom door and stood, gasping for breath, at the end of the bed. Goodness gracious! thought Giulietta He must have run all the way here! “ What did I miss?!” He demanded.
“ Your wife has been delivered of a healthy baby girl.” Cadence announced, not bothering to swaddle the baby before placing her in her father’s arms. “ She has my eyes!” he exclaimed as the infant began to squirm. Crossing the room to the stone table where the clean linen was, he sat her down on top of it, supporting her in a sitting position and declared that she was absolutely perfect .
Soon after her birth, the baby was christened Maddalena Cadence Moretti, named partly for her grandmother. She grew like a weed and, one year later, she was taking her first wobbly steps across the nursery.
“ Say nonno! ” Giovanni encouraged the toddler. He had been trying to teach Maddalena to say ‘grandfather’ for a while now, but wasn’t having any luck. “ Sorella! ” she shrieked instead, giggling and turning to point at the crib behind her. “ Yes, I know you have a sister, Maddalena. Now won’t you please say nonno for your grandfather?” “ No!” she said and grabbed at a toy that was just out of her reach. Giovanni hung his head, giving up for the day and handed her the little pony.
What Maddalena had pointed at was indeed true. Just three months after she was born, Giulietta fell pregnant once more.
Again, she was delivered of a healthy baby girl who was christened Lucrezia Rachele Moretti. Maddalena loved having a baby sister and, even though she was barely two weeks old, took every opportunity to try to play with her.
Leaving Maddalena to play with her toy by herself, Giovanni wandered outside to see Cadence who had been working in the garden all afternoon. “Would you like some help?” he asked as he kissed her hello. “ Oh, no thank you. I had just finished and was about to come inside for supper.” she bent down to grab her trowel and a few leftover seeds before pocketing them.
“ You know…I was thinking.” Giovanni said as the sun slid even closer to the horizon. Pink and orange rays interrupted the otherwise blue skies as the day turned to dusk and he lowered down onto his knee. “ It’s been so long since we married and I wanted to tell you just how much I love you still. Marry8ing you was the happiest day of my life and, if I had to do it again, I would not change a thing. You have made me that happiest man alive and I love you so much more for it.” Giovanni finished his speech and all Cadence could do was stare at him with tears in her eyes.
Giovanni stood as the sun finally dipped below the trees and cast shadows about. Cadence looked up at the sky and smiled. “Giovanni,” she said quietly, “you have made me just as happy and I thank the Lord for the time I have spent with you on this earth. I love you, too.” A faraway look came into her eyes and Giovanni’s heart began racing. “ Cadence! What’s wrong?”
“ It’s as I feared, Giovanni.” Cadence’s face fell as the Grim Reaper, along with some rather strangely dressed women appeared in front of her. “My time on this earth is up.” The women began moving their hips in a rhythmic fashion and the Reaper moved foreward.
Cadence Moretti. Your time is up. It is now time for you to leave the world of the living and meet your maker. Heaven awaits. The Grim Reaper spoke in a raspy voice that sent shivers up and down Giovanni’s spine.
Tears poured from Giovanni’s eyes as he watched his wife disappear before him. I will see you in heaven, my love was the last thing she said before leaving this earth forever.
Cadence was laid to rest the very next night with all family and friends in attendance. Poppies were planted over her grave and a gold and marble headstone that had been quickly commissioned that morning was placed at the top to mark her grave.
Giovanni wiped his eyes a final time before taking a deep breath. Cadence’s death had taken its toll and he often found himself needing to be excused for a moment or two to collect his thoughts. He dearly missed Cadence but found himself plagued by the thought that he was next to go.
Exiting the storeroom, Giovanni made his way back to the parlor only to find that his family had already gone upstairs for the night. He started to leave, but froze dead in his tracks when he thought he heard something behind him.
Giovanni Moretti… The Grim Reaper called out in his gravelly voice, causing Giovanni to nearly leap out of his skin. It is time… The same young females, still clad just as scandalously as they had been a few days before, appeared behind the Reaper and began swaying their hips.
“ Father! What’s going on?” Piero cried as he rushed in from the kitchen, a friend from work following close behind. Giulietta, already dressed in her nightgown, barreled down the stairs in a rather unladylike way. “ Don’t worry, children; it’s my time to go. I am finally to be reunited with your mother.” Giovanni reassured the grieving family he was leaving behind as he faded away. Giulietta left to comfort her two daughters who, no doubt, had heard what was happening but Piero could only stand in shock as he realized he was now head of the family.
“ Tina!” Netta exclaimed as she hugged her best friend tight. She and the nursemaid’s daughter, Leontina, Tina for short, had become the best of friends in the two short years they had known each other. Netta had been away at her grandmother’s funeral and had missed her companion dearly.
When Netta wasn’t playing with Tina, she was spending time with her father. Antonio loved his little girl with all his heart and spent every spare moment he had playing with and doting on her.
Isabetta, on the other hand, had conflict raging within her. Since Antonio had returned from his long visit, he had hardly left her side. Being with him so often made her realize just what the wish she had made so long ago had cost. There he was, devoted heart and soul to a wife who was nothing but a fraud. He was in love with a woman who had nothing to offer him in return other than a greedy soul who had entered their marriage in the first place solely for money and status. She had thought she did the right thing in the beginning, but as Isabetta realized just how wrong she had been, her visits to Antonio’s chamber dwindled until they stopped entirely.
One night, several months after her last visit to Antonio’s chamber, Isabetta found herself dressed in the nightgown she had worn on her wedding night, knocking on his door. Come in. Antonio called from inside. Ignoring the feeling that she was going to regret this later, Isabetta entered.
“ Aah, my lovely wife has returned at last!” Antonio’s face lit up when he saw Isabetta come through the door. He had been lounging in front of the fire, not tired enough yet to go to sleep.
“ I was beginning to think I had done something to offend you, my love. Why have you waited so long between your visits?” he asked, pulling Isabetta on to his lap. “ I- well…I’m sorry.” Was all she could think to say. “ No matter.” Antonio ended the conversation by pressing his lips to hers fervently.
“ What ever is the matter?” Antonio stopped kissing his wife when he realized she was crying. “ My maid just delivered a note. It said- it said that my father is dead.” Isabetta spoke through her sobs. “ My poor dear!” Antonio replied with genuine concern. “ Both my parents-dead within a week of each other!” Isabetta cried out. “ Hush, now. Dry those pretty eyes of yours. I know how to cheer you up.” Antonio said as he stood.
Antonio scooped up Isabetta and carried him to his bed. Laying her down gently, he laid next to her and met her lips with his. Isabetta let her mind go blank as she let Antonio try to soothe her aching heart.
Isabetta kept her eyes closed as the early morning sun filtered in through the windows. Antonio had been awake for a while but Isabetta pretended she was still sleeping. Antonio had been right- he had been able to make her forget her sadness, if only temporarily.
As she laid next to Antonio, Isabetta’s thoughts flitted to her daughter. As much as she hated to admit it, last night had also done something else. It was proved to her once and for all that she had to do something about the spell- nay, curse- she had wished upon Antonio and there was only one thing she could think to do. She had to make one more wish- one that would undo her previous mistake. Then Antonio would finally be free of her and able to live his own life. The only thing she worried about was what it would do to little Netta.
That afternoon, Isabetta took Antonio and Netta to her brother’s house for Giovanni’s funeral. He was laid to rest next to his beloved wife. He, too, had poppies planted his grave and a gold and marble headstone placed at the head. And, just like that, the first generation of the Moretti family, was gone, leaving their children behind to carry on their legacy.
Unfortunately, this chapter ends on a rather sad note. I hope that this picture from Netta’s birthday party cheers you up at least a little bit… Ciao for now!