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Sin

It is quiet inside the wooden booth. Outside, the breeze has stilled as the sun warms the dirt, only the sounds of birds and sheep make their way across the courtyard and through the open doors to the church. It is the middle of the day, Wednesday, a day for trade, not prayer and so I have little worry of being overheard. The breathing of the old Padre next to me drifts through the screen, patiently waiting for me to begin. His breathing is even, interrupted only by the occasional yawn – I had caught him sleeping on the pews when I first entered after the midday bells. I fiddle with my rosary, the old wooden beads beginning to chip and crack with age and wear, not in prayer but simply because it is the only thing nearby for my hands to work with. It has been many days since I left home, more than enough time to worry the shine from the beads in anticipation.

I sigh lightly, still unsure how to start. I had been thinking of the right words all morning, through breakfast and the ride over, but the words never came. I had no choice but to come regardless, not knowing when there would be another chance to sneak away from Eduardo’s constant watch during the trip. No choice, still, now that I was finally sitting in the confessional.

“Padre, I have sinned.”

The rustle of old cloth drifts through the grate, followed by a rough cough. I believe he had fallen asleep again.

“And what is your sin?”

“Lust.”

38. Touch

The lamps extinguished to save gas, I let my hands feel their way along her back in the dark, her breathing dictating their direction. A small gasp of air and her heart beats hard under me. It had become a game for us, finding the place between relaxation and arousal, one I chose to lose often.

Another gasp, this one sharper.

"Here again?"

"There was a play today."

I click my tongue at the silliness of it, of all of them, and she laughs softly into the pillow and starts to say something. My hands move lower, cutting her off.

92. Christmas

She wanted to be here, Willa reminds herself, as the carriage rumbles along uneven road, clouds threatening rain. She glances once over at her sisters talking animatedly of fabric and ribbon and returns to the window.

“Oh! Look at all the people! I wonder if there’s a party?”

Nina leans over at the exclamation. “Hm, Mr. Fezziwig’s annual Christmas party I’d wager. And where there’s a party…”

“There must be dancing.” Her sisters share a look half glee half mischief and as the carriage pulls to a stop, any thoughts of India are chased away by the candlelight and music.

01. Beginnings

I should be sitting nicely by the door while the man repairs father's clock, instead my doll is charged with keeping watch as I look at the balding man mutter over gears and screws. He looks up suddenly, freezing me.

He makes to shoo me away, reconsiders. Pointing at a box of tiny tools near me, “Ballpin hammer.”

Heavy in my small hand, I walk closer with the tool, sitting cautiously next to him. He shows me the clock, exposed and fragile.

“Where is the problem?”

I point at a small piece of rusted metal and he smiles at me.

88. School

 I have to blink twice to keep the glaze from my eyes.

He uses such large words.

Pietro points enthusiastically at drawings of stars and moons and I nod false understanding. We have been here for over an hour.

Maybe the moon will be full tonight.

“The red moon was pretty.”

He stares at me and I realize I’ve spoken aloud.

Quick. Think. “Is that… normal?”

He is puzzled by the abrupt change, but moves smoothly on. I try to follow, as I do each lesson, but there are fewer pictures now and my mind wanders.

When can I go?

62. Spring

 I crawl a little further between the bushes and settle with my knitting in the garden, questing for just a moment of solitude. I look up, annoyed, at a noise and watch as Paolo sits by the fountain with a few sheets of paper. Muttering to himself, longing looks at the papers, his voice breaks the stillness in the air with a painful sweetness. It is the first time I have heard him sing since the snow ended. A warm breeze rushes by, a young bird cries out, and I realize that he had brought spring with him to Firenze.

67. Snow

My breath puffs in short bursts as I hide further into my cloak, huddled around the warm bundles of bread. As I reach the doorway and pause to shake the flakes from my skirts, I hear her rich peal of laughter race across the grounds. The light is long hidden behind darkening clouds, and yet I see the sun in all its glory as I watch Donna Maddelena throw a snowball at Rosina. I stand watching as they begin to roll a large ball of snow, two mischievous smiles, before moving inside.

Perhaps it is not so cold after all.

25. Strangers

I think he hates me.

He rarely looks at me, and what words he speaks I can hardly understand for his accent. My own words catch in my throat from his icy gaze.

He approached me this morning as I sat spinning and I could hardly keep my fingers from shaking. Twice I broke the lead as he stood there watching before leaving without a word.

A servant enters the Household rooms bearing a small box. Recognizing his seal, I hesitantly open it to find three balls of heavy wool, its staples long and greasy. Yes, he must hate me.

The next night.

 (OOC: Originally posted 4/29/09.)

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