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The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
The Renaissance Legacy 3.3
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The Renaissance Legacy 3.3

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A continuation of the life of the Moretti family.

A continuation of the life of the Moretti family.

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  • 1.
  • 2. Renee signed and flipped the blankets back. Pushing herself into a sitting position, she frowned.<br />After hours of restless tossing and turning and a strange sensation in the put of her stomach that simply wouldn’t go away, she had given up on attempting to sleep.<br />She had been exhausted all day, but as soon as she retired for the evening, all she could do was lay there and stare at the ceiling.<br />
  • 3. She pivoted her legs off the side of the bed and sat for a moment, feeling the baby give an odd kick. Renee’s frown deepened as she sent up a silent prayer that everything was alright.<br />
  • 4. Maybe if I walk around a bit, I will finally be able to sleep. She thought and began pacing her chambers. The fireplace sat dormant in the corner, giving the room a chill and the stone floor was cold on her feet as she walked from wall to wall.<br />
  • 5. Her pacing eventually amounted to nothing, though. After several turns about the room, Renee decided it was time for a different strategy. She exited her chambers quietly and went in search of Giulietta.<br />If anyone could know how to make her feel better, Renee knew it was her mother-in-law.<br />
  • 6. “Um. Giulietta? Are you awake?” Renee asked timidly as she opened the door to Giulietta’s room and stepped inside. She gave a timid smile and watched while Giulietta stirred and opened one eye.<br />
  • 7. Giuletta groaned, but rolled over and rose from bed when she saw who was at her chamber door. “Come in, child.” she slurred groggily. “What’s wrong?”<br />Renee came inside and rested the door shut behind her, “I don’t feel well, Giulietta. I can’t quite place it, but-”<br />
  • 8. Renee’s words were cut off by her sharp intake of breath in response to the pain the suddenly shot through her.<br />Not a bad pain, though, she realized.Of course! She felt ashamed for not recognizing her signs of labor sooner. <br />
  • 9. Giulietta stood patiently, waiting for the contraction to pass. It did quickly and she pulled Renee into a hug. “Looks like it’s time for another grandchild!”<br />
  • 10. “Off to your chambers, now. I’ll inform Niccolo.” Giulietta said, pushing Renee down the hall while she went another way.<br />Renee walked along excitedly but Giulietta was more grounded.<br />
  • 11. As soon as Renee had disappeared around the corner, Giulietta stopped and threw up her hands in prayer to Saint Margaret, the patron saint of childbirth. Please, let this all go well. I ask you to guide Renee through her labor.<br />
  • 12. She walked hastily through the halls until she reached Niccolo’s chambers. She didn’t bother to knock, but barged right in.<br />
  • 13. “Wake up, Nic!” she ordered, lighting the sconces on the wall. Niccolo rolled over and grunted, not appreciating the rude awakening.<br />He covered his eyes with a blanket, trying to avoid the light from the candles. <br />
  • 14. “I said get up!” she announced once more, this time in a tone not so nice as her first one. Niccolo grunted again but flipped the covers back and stood.<br />
  • 15. “What is so important, mother, that you must wake me at such an ungodly hour?”he asked with his hand on his waist for emphasis.<br />Giulietta rolled her eyes in return.<br />
  • 16. “I thought you might like to know that your wife has gone into labor.” she said sarcastically, causing Niccolo to snap to attention. His jaw dropped and he seemed instantly awake.<br />“What? Why? So soon?”<br />
  • 17. “Yes, it is a bit too soon, I know, but-” she paused for a moment when she heard Renee call for her from the other room, “the child is coming quickly. I suspect it won’t be long before you are a father twice over.”<br />“Very well, I shall call for the midwife again.”<br />
  • 18. “No.” Giulietta said plainly. “There’s not time. Just go find your father and relax. I can do this.”<br />
  • 19. “But mother, I really think I should call the midwife!” Niccolo coaxed as he trailed Giulietta from the room. “She did a great job last time and it shouldn’t take her too long to arrive.”<br />
  • 20. Outside of Renee’s chambers, Giulietta stopped and faced her son. “I said no.” She offered no more explanation, but entered the room and shut the door behind her.<br />
  • 21. Niccolo had no choice but to go find his father. They wandered down to the sitting room and lit a fire. Piero occasionally tried to make conversation, but his son was too distracted to answer with more than a word at a time.<br />So they just sat a waited in silence.<br />
  • 22. Time passed slowly for the pair. They couldn’t hear anything upstairs, but they assumed Giulietta was handling everything fine on her own. Niccolo had to admit, she was skilled in the area of childbirth. He did had five siblings and many cousins.<br />‘Yes,’ he decided, ‘everything will go smoothly.’<br />
  • 23. After several hours, Giulietta finally came downstairs. “Is all well?” Niccolo asked eagerly, hopping up from his seat as soon as he saw his mother enter the room.<br />His heart sank when his mother wouldn’t meet his eyes. “What’s wrong?” he pressed.<br />
  • 24. “You have a daughter,” she began hesitantly, “but I do not know how long she will survive.”<br />“What?” Niccolo didn’t understand.<br />“She is sickly, though Renee is fine. I’ve put the child in my chambers for now, for I do not know if she will survive the night. Renee doesn’t need to be witness to such a tragedy.” Giulietta spoke softly.”<br />Niccolo stared in disbelief for a moment more before reality sank in.<br />
  • 25. As fast as he could, he ran to his mother’s chambers where he spied the cradle resting in the corner. Peering over the side, he saw his daughter’s swaddled form lying there.<br />Bending down, he caressed her head gently and watched her small form rise and fall with each shallow breath.<br />She was so small, so delicate, it seemed impossible she would survive to see the sunrise. He wanted so badly to hold her, but he couldn’t risk it.<br />
  • 26. Instead he pulled back and began rocking the cradle gently. He prayed to God and every Saint he could think of to keep his daughter safe while he stood sentinel.<br />Eventually, Giulietta came back into the room with a jar of Piero’s medicines in her hands. “This may help her.” she said, nudging Niccolo from his spot and towards the door. “Go check on Renee, will you?”<br />Taking one last glance at the baby, Niccolo nodded and left the room.<br />
  • 27. When he entered Renee’s chambers, he found her to be fast asleep. ‘What to do now?’ he wondered. Giulietta wouldn’t want any interruptions, his father was likely back in bed, there was not way he could focus on work at a time like this, and he didn&apos;t really feel like going back to his rooms alone.<br />
  • 28. Seeing that there was room next to his wife, Niccolo slipped into bed next to her. She may be asleep, but it sure beat being alone.<br />
  • 29. “Niccolo?” Renee asked gently when she felt someone get into bed with her.<br />“Sorry to wake you, Renee.” Niccolo answered sheepishly. He had tried to move stealthily, but apparently he didn’t do a very good job.<br />
  • 30. “It’s alright.” she said, pulling her husband’s arms around her waist. “Did you see Giulietta? What about our daughter? Is everything alright? She wouldn’t tell me anything.”<br />Niccolo hesitated before answering. What was he supposed to say? That their daughter was likely to die? That there wasn’t really any hope at this point?<br />
  • 31. “You can tell me, Nic.” Renee insisted, rolling over more.<br />“She’s…fragile.” was the most Niccolo could say. He didn’t want to cause stress for his wife and there was always the chance it would all end well.<br />
  • 32. Renee shuddered and laid her head back on the pillow as she began to cry. Niccolo pulled her even closer and tried to placate her. He held her tightly until she drifted off to sleep, but even then he wasn’t willing to leave. Instead, he pulled the blankets tighter and spent the night in his wife’s bed.<br />
  • 33. The next morning, he slipped silently from the room, this time not waking Renee with his noises.<br />He dressed quickly in his own chambers and waited to hear from his mother.<br />It didn’t take long before he heard her gentle knock at the door. He let her in and stood with his back to her, braced for the news. “Well?”<br />
  • 34. “I’m so sorry, son.” Giulietta answered sympathetically. “Your father and I tried all we could, but there was simply no solution. She passed on to heaven early this morning.”<br />Niccolo tried to keep calm, but he couldn’t any more; he let the tears fall.<br />
  • 35. Giulietta slipped her arm around Niccolo; it was so hard to see her son in such pain. She had been lucky, never losing a child and she could only begin to guess at the intense pain he must be feeling.<br />“Please, mother,” Niccolo slurred between sobs, “be the one- sob- to tell Renee. I don’t want her- sob- to see me like this. I have to be- sob- strong for her.”<br />
  • 36. “Of course, Nic.” Giulietta said. She rested her head against his and supported him as he cried. No matter how old he was, he was still her baby and it was her duty to be there for him. She could tell Renee later.<br />- -<br />
  • 37. It was almost four more days before Niccolo was able to face his wife again. He had collected himself enough to go through the business of ordering a burial for his daughter. There would be no public funeral since infants died every day, but the family could still mourn privately.<br />Now all that was left to do was to hope Renee had taken the news better than he.<br />
  • 38. “Are you up, Renee?” he asked, tapping the door gently with his knuckles.<br />“Vous pouvez entrer.” was the answer from within.<br />Niccolo gripped the latch and hoped for the best. Renee hardly ever spoke French anymore, so something must be wrong.<br />
  • 39. He was surprised, however, to see Renee standing at her easel, engrossed in her newest painting. Apparently the French had only been a result of her concentration. “What on earth are you doing?”<br />
  • 40. “Painting, what else could I possibly be doing at an easel?” she answered with a laugh and set her brush and paints aside.<br />
  • 41. “You shouldn’t be up so soon after…well, you need to be resting. It is your recovery period.” Niccolo said with a concerned look on his face.<br />“Honestly, I’m fine. Giulietta said I am recovering just fine and I’m perfectly able to walk about.”<br />“At least sit with me a while?”<br />“Alright.” Renee gave into her husband’s request.<br />
  • 42. “So, what were you painting?” Niccolo asked as he stoked the dying fire. To his pleasure, Renee obeyed his wishes and took a seat behind him.<br />
  • 43. “I was working on a piece in memory of our daughter. Something to honor her memory.” Renee answered plainly, staring into the flames as a tear escaped the corner of her eye and ran down her cheek. <br />“Oh.” Niccolo wasn’t sure how to continue. Should he change topics? Should he recognize their loss? Should he even stay?<br />He didn’t have to formulate any more words, though, as Renee saw fit to command the conversation. “Why did you stay away so long?”<br />
  • 44. “I-I didn’t know what to do.” Niccolo admitted.<br />“So you avoided me for four days after our daughter died?” Renee grumbled as the tears flowed more freely.<br />“I couldn’t face you so soon, Renee. I was a mess of emotions and couldn’t bear to see you as upset as I was.”<br />
  • 45. Niccolo put his arm around Renee, hoping she wouldn’t pull away. How was he supposed to know she wanted to see him?<br />“I was a mess, also.” she admitted quietly. “But, I would have rather have been with you to share our grief instead of keeping separate. Promise me you will never stay away so long again.”<br />“I promise, Renee. I didn’t mean to hurt you; I love you.”<br />
  • 46. “Ti amo, anche..” she said, leaning into her husband’s shoulder.<br />They sat together for a while, enjoying the peace until Niccolo remembered what he had originally come to say.<br />
  • 47. “I’m having a grave constructed for her in the family cemetery.” he said, breaking the silence.<br />“Really?”<br />“Yes, it should be finished sometime soon, so I figured, if you’re recovered, we can visit it together a week from Sunday, before Mass.”<br />
  • 48. “I would like that very much.” Renee smiled and took Niccolo’s hand in her own. <br />“To be honest, I wasn’t sure how you would react. I was afraid it would only make you more upset. I can only imagine how hard her death was on you.”<br />
  • 49. “I was upset when I first heard the news, but I’m healing more every day. Having her painting to focus on, knowing that she is safe in God’s keep, and now your support has helped me to get through this.” she explained quietly in his ear.<br />
  • 50. In response, Niccolo leaned her back for a kiss.<br />
  • 51. After that, the conversation died again and they were contented to sit together by the fire until it was almost out.<br />
  • 52. The dying embers eventually caught Niccolo’s attention and he stood, exclaiming his surprise at the late hour.<br />
  • 53. “Come,” he said, pulling Renee to his side, “I’ll walk you to bed.”<br />
  • 54. “Now, get some sleep, dear. And no more painting until you’ve recovered. Your easel will be there long after you’ve healed and one piece of artwork is not worth the risk of losing you.” Niccolo explained firmly.<br />
  • 55. Renee answered with a small kiss and a “yes, dear” before climbing into bed.<br />
  • 56. Niccolo took his leave, smiling to himself over the fact that he had finally reconciled with his wife.<br />
  • 57. Renee, on the other hand, made a great fuss and a lot of noise over pulling her covers back until she heard the door shut.<br />
  • 58. She put the bed back to right and stood quietly, listening for any sign that Niccolo might be returning.<br />
  • 59. When she was sure he was gone, she exited her bedroom, smiling at her own cleverness.<br />
  • 60. Picking her brush and paints back up, she got back to working on her painting. She had slept all day and honestly wasn’t tired. Her husband may have his irrational fears over her health, but she knew she was doing fine. Painting wasn’t harmful. And besides, she had to get the design on canvas before she forgot it.<br />
  • 61. As Niccolo had suggested, he visited their daughter’s grave a week and a half later. It was a lavish marker that had used up much of the Moretti family savings, but Niccolo had felt it was worth it. Renee appreciated her husband’s tastes and was glad to see that their daughter would not go unremembered.<br />
  • 62. After seeing the grave, they went on to the cathedral to attend Sunday mass. They took a spot in the back, preferring not to be the subjects of curious eyes and gossiping mouths.<br />
  • 63. They listened in respectful silence through the service, each taking the words to heart.<br />
  • 64. When the service ended, they wandered down the aisle and found the chapel they had first met in so long ago.<br />
  • 65. They sat together on the bench, not talking, but each enjoying the other’s company. They exchanged a few words every so often, but mostly spent the afternoon in quiet prayer and reflection.<br />
  • 66. They left that evening, feeling better about the ordeals of the past two weeks, but knowing it would be a while before their lives could go back to normal.<br />
  • 67. It was a couple more weeks before Renee was ready to venture back out into society, so she decided her first trip was to visit Caterina, her sister-in-law and best friend.<br />A small snow storm had occurred the night before, but she braved the icy roads without hesitation; it would be good to catch up on the latest town gossip.<br />
  • 68. Caterina invited Renee inside immediately, complaining about the weather. “In my entire life, I have not seen this much snow! It is simply unreasonable!” she said, glaring into the flames of the fireplace.<br />“I am on your side, Caterina! Such extreme weather nearly ruined my plans to visit you today! Luckily it’s already begun to melt.”<br />
  • 69. “Yes, yes. The young girls, Gemma, Bia, and Fia, were able to make it to their lessons this morning- they take them at a house down the lane. Heather is out with her father still. They’ve spent all week in town, looking into various things for her trousseau.”<br />
  • 70. “Her trousseau? Already?” Renee asked in disbelief, “She cannot be of marriageable age already!”<br />
  • 71. “Of course she is! She’ll be eighteen soon enough, a perfectly marriageable age, if you ask me.”<br />Renee slumped over in mock frustration, “she makes me feel so old! One of my nieces already looking for a husband!”<br />Caterina laughed heartily.<br />
  • 72. “Has she any prospects?” Renee asked in all seriousness and straightened up.<br />
  • 73. “Actually, she does! A fairly wealthy Venetian merchant’s son name Cosimo has shown great interest in Heather. Orlando and I are expecting a betrothal any day now.”<br />“Well, I wish to be the first to offer my congratulations.” Renee said, smiling at the news of Heather’s good fortune.<br />
  • 74. The rest of her visit passed quickly with the exchange of rumors and condolences and soon it was time for Renee to head off to another engagement.<br />Renee and Caterina exchanged fond goodbyes with promises to see one another again soon.<br />
  • 75. Up next was an afternoon at her other sister-in-law’s house. Unfortunately, Renee’s husband didn’t approve of their meetings, but Renee felt compelled to stop by and, truth be told, actually like spending time with Lucrezia.<br />Soon after Renee’s arrival, she was challenged to a round of chess.<br />
  • 76. “I’m afraid you’re just too good for me, Renee!” Lucrezia exclaimed when Renee announced “checkmate” for the fifth time in a row.<br />“Niccolo and I play all the time; I suppose he has taught me too many maneuvers.” Renee answered light-heartedly. Lucrezia rolled her eyes at the mention of her brother, but was stopped before saying anything by the entrance of her husband, Chandler.<br />“Mind if I play a round with our guest?”<br />
  • 77. “By me guest!” Lucrezia said, vacating her seat and motioning for Chandler to take it.<br />“Perhaps I will be able to beat you.” Chandler said hopefully, pulling his pieces to his side of the board.<br />“Before you do, husband, perhaps I can borrow Renee for a moment in the kitchen?” Lucrezia asked hopefully.<br />
  • 78. Chandler excused the ladies, saying he would set up the board in their absence.<br />When they arrived in the kitchen, Lucrezia shut the door behind them and pulled Renee close. “My brother and I may not get along at all” she smiled, “but I heard about your loss and wish to offer my sympathy.” The smile disappeared and Renee stared at her feet, blushing.<br />
  • 79. “Thank you” was all she could mutter. Lucrezia was the first person to mention the death and it reopened a wound deep inside her.<br />“I’m serious, Renee. Nic and I can hardly tolerate each other, but nobody deserves to lose a child. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do but bear it as best as one can.”<br />At Lucrezia’s kind words, Renee looked up and felt a smile spread across her face. She thanked the girl again and they walked together back to the chess table.<br />
  • 80. “Are you ready?” Chandler asked when he saw the women reappear.Renee nodded and took her seat, ready for another round.<br />Lucrezia laid down on the couch to listen to the match as well as any cries her new daughter might make.<br />
  • 81. The afternoon passed amiably with continuous rounds of chess, Renee being the victor more often than not.<br />When she left that evening, she was filled with a new fondness for the Platz family.<br />
  • 82. * * *<br />
  • 83. “Hold still!” Renee demanded again when Niccolo began to look about the room.<br />“But this is boring!” he whined like their son, Giac, did when he wasn’t getting his way.<br />
  • 84. “I don’t care if there is a stampede of wild leopards in the next room, this is your portrait sitting and you have to sit still!” Renee smacked a daub of paint onto the canvas for emphasis, making Niccolo laugh.<br />
  • 85. Eventually his laughs turned to yawns when the conversation stopped. He had been sitting on that stool for nearly an hour now and it was beginning to make his legs go to asleep. “How much longer will this take?”<br />Renee sighed, “A while longer, trust me. At least I’ve got the outlines done so you don’t have to hold so still.”<br />
  • 86. Niccolo smiled and stretched his legs. He hummed and looked about for something to entertain him. “Why are you in your nightdress? Where’s your smock?” he asked finally.<br />“I don’t use one.” Renee answered absent-mindedly as she concentrated on getting the contour of Niccolo’s nose just right.<br />“Why not? Don’t your clothes get covered in paint?”<br />
  • 87. “Not if I can help it, no.”<br />Niccolo leaned back a bit on his stool and smiled, “I bet that by the time you finish my portrait, you’ll have spilled some on your gown.”<br />“Oh yeah?”<br />
  • 88. “Yeah! In fact…” Niccolo’s words trailed off when he saw his wife stop painting. “What are you doing?”<br />
  • 89. “Oh, nothing.” she hummed sweetly and she came towards him with a large glop of blue paint on the end of her brush.<br />Niccolo’s eyes grew large and he challenged, “You wouldn’t dare!”<br />
  • 90. Renee did dare, though, and she smeared a large blue streak down her husband’s cheek.<br />He hopped from his stool and began lunging for the palette, hoping to exact some revenge. Renee was too quick for him and flung it into the corner, far from his reach, so he settled for tickling her instead.<br />
  • 91. “Stop! Stop!” she gasped as she laughted.<br />“Say that I win!” he countered.<br />
  • 92. “Never!” she shouted, ducking his reach and running down the hall towards her bed.<br />
  • 93. “Nice move.” Niccolo said sarcastically when he cornered Renee between her bed and the window. “But it looks like I win.”<br />
  • 94. Niccolo leaned in for a victory kiss, but turned his head at the last second and smeared paint down Renee’s cheek as payback.<br />
  • 95. “See?” he smirked, “I told you you’d end up getting paint on yourself!”<br />Renee just stared back, too stunned for words.<br />
  • 96. Seizing the chance, Niccolo pushed Renee back onto the bed, pinning her down. “Do you admit defeat now?”<br />
  • 97. “Fine.” Renee huffed in exasperation. “I suppose you deserve a reward, huh?” she asked with a sly look in her eyes. She pulled Niccolo closer.<br />
  • 98. She made a move to spread the paint across Niccolo’s nose, but he anticipated her move and stopped her movements with a kiss.<br />Quickly and without struggle, she gave into his idea of a reward.<br />- -<br />
  • 99. As a result of Niccolo’s portrait sitting, it wasn’t long before Renee was explaining to Giac that he had another brother or sister on the way.<br />
  • 100. “Are you finished?” Renee asked when she saw Giac playing with the water skin he had been drinking out of. He nodded playfully, so she deposited the dishes on the sink for cleaning later.<br />
  • 101. She sat down across from him and asked if he would like to learn another rhyme. It was a game they enjoyed playing; Renee would sing a rhyme she remembered from her childhood, and Giac would repeat it until he had it memorized.<br />He nodded in excitement and she began:<br />
  • 102. Giro giro tondo,<br />casca il mondo,<br />casca la terra;<br />tutti giù per terra *<br />*Italian equivelant of “Ring Around the Rosie”<br />
  • 103. Giac was about to make his first attempt to repeat it when a loud crash resounded from a different room.<br />Renee stood immediately and warned her son to stay put while she looked into the source of the noise.<br />
  • 104. Renee ran through the halls until she found the source of the crash. She dashed into the front room, hoping it was nothing too serious.<br />
  • 105. However, the scene Renee was met with was enough for her to gasp and her heart skip a beat.<br />
  • 106. Piero had been painting working on a landscape, but now the Grim Reaper poked his bony fingers from the canvas.<br />The crash that had caused Renee to come running had been Piero flinging his palette aside and connecting with a silver candlestick.<br />Renee watched for a moment more until she remembered Giac was still waiting for her in the kitchen. Realizing there was nothing she could do here, she went back for her son.<br />
  • 107. When she entered the kitchen, she was met with an equally disturbing scene as the one she had just witnessed. The Reaper had beat her to her destination and was now telling Giulietta that her time on earth was through.<br />Tears began to glide down Renee’s cheeks, but she fought past her sadness and scooped Giac up into her arms and carried him to the safety of the nursery.<br />
  • 108. After calming his fears, she put Giac down for a nap and set about making funeral arrangements until it got too late to be productive. She passed the rest of her time in the front room, reading the latest avvisio* while she waited for Niccolo to return.<br />* Italian Renaissance form of a newspaper<br />
  • 109. “Hello?” Niccolo called out in general when he came through the door that evening. The house seemed quieter, yet he knew people were still up. He had seen the candles lit in the front room as he came up the walk.<br />From down the hall, he heard Renee’s voice call “I’m in here”.<br />
  • 110. “How are you doing this evening?” he asked when he reached his wife. He patted her stomach lovingly and gurgled nonsense to the child inside her.<br />Renee stiffened and answered with a curt “fine”.<br />
  • 111. “What’s wrong?” he asked, removing his hand and becoming serious all of the sudden. Renee had never looked so grave. Clearly she had bad news…<br />
  • 112. “It’s your parents.” she began slowly, “they’ve both passed on just this afternoon.”<br />Niccolo stared down at his feet.<br />
  • 113. “What?” he asked, his face beginning to fall. Things had finally been going smoothly, but now both of his parents passed in the same afternoon? It simply wasn’t fair! He hadn’t even been able to say farewell.<br />“I’m so sorry, Nic, but it was their time to go. They passed on gently, if it helps to know.”<br />
  • 114. “Not really.” he admitted, looking to Renee for support. She leaned in for a hug which he eagerly accepted.<br />They stood together for but a moment before Niccolo snapped back into his usual frame of mind.<br />
  • 115. “I suppose I should get on to making funeral arrangements. Writing letters and such. Now, please excuse me.” Niccolo’s first instinct was to separate himself to grieve in private, but Renee stopped him before he got far.<br />
  • 116. “I’ve already taken care of that. The family has been notified, the caskets ordered, and the grave markers commissioned, but I figured it best to hold off on the actual funeral until the little one has been born.” Renee said, motioning to her stomach.<br />
  • 117. Niccolo was taken aback at all his wife had done in an afternoon. “Thank you” was all he could find to say, though. He cursed himself for being so thickheaded as to not know how to say more and caressed her instead.<br />
  • 118. “Why don’t we go up to bed?” Renee suggested sensibly. “There will plenty more to get done in the morning and it will be best if you are well-rested.”<br />Niccolo nodded in agreement, asking “How would I get along without you?”<br />
  • 119. “I don’t know, Nic, but I’ll be here for you always.” she said, taking his hand and leading him around the room to blow out the candles and then up the stairs to his bedchamber.<br />
  • 120. They parted ways at the door, but after changing out of her day dress and lying awake for a bit, it occurred to Renee that Niccolo might like some company. She came back to his room and eased into bed next to him.<br />Sure enough, as she slid her pillow closer to his, she saw that his eyes were red from crying. Hadn’t she talked to him before about hiding his emotions from her? Oh well, she was here now.<br />
  • 121. She wrapped her arm around his waist, causing him to wake and turn over suddenly. “It’s just me.” she explained gently.<br />He smiled and took her hand under the blanket. He turned back the way he was facing and closed his eyes, taking comfort in her form pressed against his back.<br />He feel asleep soon, immensely relieved to not have to spend the night alone.<br />
  • 122. Per essere continuato…<br />~ KGcowbelle<br />

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