The morning sun streamed in through the window, waking the young couple. After such a night of bliss, neither one wanted to get up quite yet so, snuggling closer, they closed their eyes once more and fell back asleep.
Three weeks later, Cadence was losing her lunch for the second time that day. Maybe I'm not as great a cook as I thought! she laughed a little as her stomach heaved once more. Standing up and wiping her mouth, Cadence turned and left for the house.
"I assure you dear, the food tastes fine!" Giovanni urged his wife to stop worrying. As of lately, she had been fretting over her cooking, saying that it was making her sick. "Are you sure? I have been taking much care, but, somehow I always feel ill!" "Stop worrying, dear. Dinner is delicious and you are a wonderful cook. Now let's eat!"
"Oh!" To Cadence's surprise, she found out that she hadn't been feeling ill because of bad food. Instead, it was because she and her husband were expecting a child.
The next morning Cadence pulled her husband aside to tell him the good news. "My dear, I have a surprise for you." "Oh? Well, what is it?" Giovanni was curious.
"Well... you remember our wedding night.." Cadence blushed immensely. "Well, you are going to be a father!"
Needless to say, Giovanni was over the moon.
The next several months carried on rather peacefully. Giovanni worked hard to make more money to support his growing family while Cadence worked around the house, cooking, cleaning, and creating a nursery. Both Cadence and Giovanni couldn't wait to be parents.
Early one April morning, Cadence woke Giovanni with a start when she suddenly hopped out of bed and began to shout. "Giovanni! The baby is coming!" "Eh." he mumbled, still half asleep.
"Just a moment, dear. I'll back in a moment after I take a quick trip to the privy." Giovanni mumbled, stumbling out of the room, not yet fully awake. "You get back here!" Cadence screamed but Giovanni kept on going.
"Fine! Leave! It's not like it matters to meeeeeeeeeeeee!" Cadence screamed into the night.
Giovanni yawned as he stepped out of the privy. Even from out here, he could hear his wife yelling at him I suppose I should get back to the househe thought, not particularly keen on the idea of returning to so much yelling.
By the time he had returned to the house, the noise had stopped so he assumed that he baby had already been born. Running up the stairs, he froze dead in his tracks when he saw...the door! "Cadence, is this really the door you chose for the nursery?" "Giovanni! Turn around and meet your new baby!"
Turning around, Giovanni gasped when he saw the infant on the floor. Scooping his child up, he was amazed when their eyes locked. "Cadence! Look! It's our baby!" "Yes, Giovanni, it is. But it's not just any baby. It's our daughter." Cadence answered.
'What should we name her?" He asked, hugging his daughter tight. "Well, I was hoping we could name her Isabetta. After my mother. Her name was Isabetta." Cadence said softly. "Isabetta it is, then." Giovanni's heart melted as he looked into her eyes.
"You're growing like a weed! Aren't you, my little angel?" Cadence cooed as she tucked her daughter in to bed. She was the apple of her parents' eyes and had been doted on nonstop since she was born.
"Happy birthday, little Isabetta!" Cadence cooed while Giovanni stood to the side, watching as Cadence helped their daughter blow out the candles on her cake for her first birthday.
“Papa!" Isabetta shrieked as Giovanni tickled her. She has grown so much and is getting so old! He thought. He couldn't believe it. It seemed that it was just yesterday she was born.
That night, Giovanni and Cadence both decided that it was time for them to add to their family.
"Come on, Isabetta! You can do it!" Giovanni encouraged his daughter. Lately, he had been spending his free time at home teaching his daughter to walk and talk. She was a quick learner and was already toddling around, getting into everything.
Soon, Cadence began to feel ill and she knew this time that it wasn't because of bad food. She and her husband were expecting another baby.
Sadly, the Moretti's peaceful world was interrupted one night when an intruder was caught sneaking around their home. It was a woman, dressed, rather shockingly, in boy's pants.
She worked quickly and had nearly everything of value stashed away in a sack before anyone knew she was there. Hearing something in the nursery, Cadence woke with a start and ran in to check on her daughter. She screamed when she saw the robber and hastened to take Isabetta out of the room. Now that she had been discovered, the thief decided that it was time to make her getaway and was gone before Giovanni had even made it out of bed. With her, she took the toy box, the potty-training bucked and even Giovanni's collection of books they kept downstairs.
After recovering from the robbery, they days went back to normal and Isabetta grew more and more in to her personality. She learned how to sneak out of her cradle and, in the middle of the night, could be found wandering around the house, causing all sorts of mischief.
While her parents worked in the garden, Isabetta would sit off to the side, entertaining herself with leaves...
…and, sometimes even garbage. She was quite the playful child.
And with each day that passed, Cadence's due date also grew closer. "Do you think it will be a boy or a girl this time?" Cadence asked her husband one night. "I wish we could know but, since there is no way to find out, I suppose the only thing we can do is wait." Giovanni answered. "Yes, and pray that he or she will be strong and healthy." Cadence smiled as Giovanni patted her stomach.
One sunny morning in May, Cadence was picking fresh flowers for the dining room table. Suddenly, a sharp pain went through her and she knew that her second child was ready to be born.
"Cadence?" Giovanni asked softly, not taking his eyes off his new daughter. "Yes dear? Have you a name for our daughter?" she answered, holding their baby tightly in her arms. "Yes, I do. I think that we should name her after my mother this time. Bianca-Maria; Bianca for short." Cadence nodded to her husband, smiling, and cooed down at her daughter, "Hello, little Bianca."
"Blow out the candles, sweetheart!" Cadence coaxed the toddler. "Candles!" Isabetta shrieked as she half blew, half spat in their direction. Today was her birthday and she was set to become a curious young lady.
After discovering a whole new world in books, Isabetta spent her time poring over them. She spent hours reading, neglecting her other duties around the house.
A while after Isabetta's birthday, Cadence found herself pregnant again.
However, this pregnancy was different for Cadence. She was exhausted and dizzy all the time and was worried that things wouldn't turn out very well. Sharing her fears with Giovanni, he told her to relax and take it easy.
He said that he would take on more work around the house (no matter how much it drove him up the wall) so she didn't put too much stress on herself.
"Betta!" Bianca shrieked, toddling towards her older sister. She had grown in to a social toddler who loved to follow her family members, especially her older sister, from room to room. "Yes, Bianca. I see you." Isabetta said, rolling her eyes. "Play with me?" Bianca asked hopefully. "Not now, Bianca. I'm busy reading." Isabetta said, leaving the room.
Although she had had quite some time to get used to the idea of being an older sister, Isabetta wasn't very keen on the whole idea. She preferred to stay out of the way, reading, while Bianca played with her parents. Call her mean, but she didn't particularly enjoy playing blocks with one so much younger than her.
One crisp October morning, the third Moretti baby decided he or she was ready to be born. "Giovanni." Cadence said rather calmly. "Please take Bianca in to the other room." Giovanni scooped up their daughter and took her up to the nursery and waited with her for the baby to be born.
Piero Moretti, named for Cadence's father, was born that day without any problems or complications, much to the relief to his parents.
I have a son! Cadence's heart leapt with joy. Someone to keep the family name going! It was a comforting thought to know that they finally had an heir to the Moretti name and Cadence couldn't ask for more.
"When you get older, son, I'm going to teach you how to walk, to talk, and so much more!" Giovanni promised as he stroked Piero's fuzzy head. When Piero only gurgled in response, Giovanni smiled and kissed his son goodnight.
Time flew and soon it was time for Bianca's birthday once more.
And soon after that, Piero was due for a birthday too.
"Come on! Can't we play, Isabetta?!" Bianca wined, trying to tickle her sister. "No! I don't want to play! I've told you a million times that I don't feel like it!" Isabetta went off in a huff. She didn't like spending time fooling around and would much rather find something new to read. Bianca left in the opposite direction, wondering why her sister never seemed to want to spend time with her.
Wandering back to the house, Bianca was greeted by her brother's smiling face "Play, Bia?" he asked cheerfully the second he saw her. "Of course, Piero! Let's go!" Bianca said, her voice just as cheerful as her brother's. Even if she had been ignored by Isabetta a hundred times over, there was always one person she could count on to want to play with her: Piero.
"Make a wish!" Giovanni told his oldest daughter. Today was her fourteenth birthday and the family had gathered to celebrate. Isabetta stood in front of her cake and thought of her wish. She could wish for anything. Anything in the entire world... I wish for...love. Lots and lots of love! she decided Oh, and money couldn't hurt, either.
Now that Isabetta was a beautiful young lady and her mother busy with little Piero, most of the household chores had fallen to her. Chores that she was thoroughly sick of three weeks later. Sighing, she picked up the dishes one night after dinner, wishing she could have the carefree days of her childhood back. Why me? I've been doing nothing but chores, chores, chores!
Dumping the plates into the sink, she picked up the sponge and began to scrub the counter. When the door opened, she looked up to find Bianca standing there, already dressed in her nightgown. "Aren't you coming to bed?" Bianca asked. "I'm cleaning, Bianca. Still cleaning." Isabetta said impatiently, turning back to focus on her work. "But its bedtime! Can't you do it later?" Bianca persisted.
Dropping the sponge back in the sink, Isabetta turned around to face her sister. "I can't do it later! If I don't do it now, it will never get done! This is my job." Isabetta retorted. "Just like I have to do everything else around here!" She mumbled under her breath. "Fine, but you should go to sleep soon. It's getting late." Bianca advised innocently.
"I said I'll be up when I'm done! Now you get to bed!" Isabetta nearly screamed. "Fine." Bianca said, turning on her heel and leaving the kitchen. "You don't have be mean about it." Isabetta turned too and began to scrub the dishes in the sink angrily, thinking of how great it would be to get away.
After a rough night of sleep, Isabetta was walking outside to the garden the next morning when she spied something sparkling in the bushes. Bending down, she saw it was an exquisitely crafted lamp of gold. Picking it up, she was startled when it began to shake and dropped it.
A small scream escaped from her mouth as a large, purple man floated out from the opening. "Greetings!" he said in a loud, booming voice, "It is I; the Genie of the magic lamp and I am here to grant you three wishes! "Really?" Isabetta was shocked. She could not believe her luck. "I can wish for anything?" "Anything!" He boomed. "Wow...this is perfect!" Isabetta mused over what she should wish for first.
"Have you seen your sister, Bianca?" Cadence asked her youngest daughter. "She went outside this morning after breakfast and I don't think she's come back in yet, Mother." Bianca answered. "Will you please find her? I need you two to run to the market for more flour. Please take this money and get your sister so you can head out and be back by lunch." "Yes, mama." Bianca pocketed the florins and strolled out the door.
After finding each other, the two sisters set out on the cold walk to the market. Stepping into the store, Isabetta sighed in relief. It was warm, as bakeries usually were. "Wait here. I'll just grab the flour from the back and then we can leave." she instructed her little sister. "Alright." Bianca said, stepping to the side and rubbing her hands to warm them up.
After purchasing the flour, Isabetta found herself eyeing the sweet pastries displayed along the wall. If only we had enough florins left over to buy some of these! She thought to herself as she smelled their delicious aroma.
"Pardon me, miss." A man said smoothly behind Isabetta, "If you would be so kind to hand me one of those pastries there on the middle shelf, I would be very appreciative." he said, pointing to a small strawberry tart. Picking up the pastry, Isabetta turned around and gasped. Standing before her was one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. "Er, here you go." she said, handing him the pastry. "Thank you very much, Miss..." "Isabetta. Isabetta Moretti." She filled in, blushing. "Enchanted, signorina. My name is Antonio Costa. It is a pleasure to meet you."
Costa? Isabetta's mind raced, Where have I heard that name before? "Do you live around town? I haven't seen you before." Antonio asked. "No, I don't live in town. My home is actually on the edge of Florence and I don't get the opportunity to come here often." "Oh, that's too bad. Florence truly is an amazing city. I've just returned from business in Rome and I can't tell you how happy I am to be back."
Business? In Rome? Now I know where I've heard the name before! The Costas were a prominent banking family with a large house and a large fortune. "Oh yes. Florence is a wonderful city. Business in Rome, you say?" Isabetta urged Antonio to go on. Handsome and wealthy? This could work out very well... she thought as Antonio began to describe his recent trip.
Still standing in the corner, Bianca winced when she heard her sister's conversation. By the look on her face, she was definitely up to something...
And that's the end of this part! I hope to get the next one up soon, but I can't make any promises... Here is one last picture of Isabetta and Bianca actually playing together...for once.