Disclaimers and Thank You's
Twilight is owned by Stephenie Meyer. However, this story and the characters in it are the properties of pen names ringswraith and Mrs. Jasper Hale.
We would like to thank everyone at the Twilight Lexicon, in particular the forumers and the members of the Twilight Mafia, who inspired us to write this piece of fan fiction.
I would also like to thank Mrs. Jasper Hale for writing this with me. Thank you for letting me into your characters' world; I hope you had just as much fun with my world.
On to the story!
Another day, another dollar. At least, that's what I kept telling myself.
It was just past dusk. I had snuck onboard a ship and found myself in North America in the early nineteen hundreds. I observed the little plaza I was in. There weren't many people about, and those that were, were in a hurry to get home- likely to their families, and to hot dinners to take off the late autumn chill.
The thought of food made me growl. I needed to hunt, and soon.
I weighed my options. I had enough money to pay for supplies and rent for another week, at least. Beyond that… I needed to sell my paintings for anything extra. I needed to paint. I needed a lot of things… Some of which I would just have to do without.
I growled again. This line of thought never got me anywhere. I considered packing up what I had now and heading to my current abode, so I can head out of town sooner. I cast my eyes about the plaza again, trying to determine if anyone looked likely to buy a painting or three.
Then I saw her. She was young- very young- golden-haired with just a tinge of red in it. Short, and frail- she looked like a waif, and I would have thought her one had it not been for the sheer opulence of her attire. I knew not where someone would find a ball around here at this hour, but her pearl-encrusted gown seemed to hint that she knew just where to go.
That, and her… I could only assume the man accompanying her was her father. He was about a head taller than she, slender, dressed finely in black and topped with a like-colored hat. A chain dangled out of his coat pocket- it glinted like gold.
Their appearance confused me. Either they were careless about flaunting their wealth, or… they wanted people to know how rich they were.
I debated whether to ask them if they wanted to buy something, but I froze. Would such openly rich folk even look at my paintings?
Then I noticed her staring at my wares. She leaned towards her father, whispering something, then he too turned his gaze on me. He apparently made a decision, and walked towards me, his daughter in tow.
"Good evening," he drawled. He had an accent I wasn't familiar with.
"Buona sera," I replied.
"Ah- Italian!" he exclaimed. "A little far from home, aren't we?"
I shrugged. "Italy is full of artists."
He laughed. Behind him, his daughter smiled.
"Are you interested in anything?" I asked.
"My daughter here seems to like your landscapes," he said, indicating her with a wave of his hand. I took off my beret and gave her a bow, and she curtsied.
"Mille grazie," I told her. "Which one caught your eye?"
"This one," she breathed, pointing at an arctic scene.
"Ah, Siberia," I nodded.
"Siberia?" her father echoed. "You have traveled far."
"To seek inspiration," I explained.
It turned out that he wanted another landscape as well- something I painted from Asia- and after haggling for a minute we came to an agreement on price. I wrapped their purchases in paper and tied them together with a thin rope, so he could carry it home.
"Many thanks," he said as they left. She gave me one last appraising look before following after him.
"Di niente," I replied. I counted the money he'd given me again. It would be enough to last me a month!
Thankful for the encounter, I packed up the rest of my stuff and headed home. I may have the money now, but money wasn't going to buy my kind of food. I dropped off my items at my apartment, and waited for nightfall.
Antoin held out his elbow and my childlike hands wrapped around it. I momentarily laid my head upon his arm but he shook it off. It wouldn't look proper if I looked asleep while walking and no man would take notice of me.
We made our way down the plaza streets looking like a father escorting his daughter to a party. I was wearing a pale pink gown that made my tiny body the more fashionable shape of the hourglass and to show I was still unmarried. Pearls were sewn into the bodice and skirt which made it fancy enough to wear to a ball worthy of a queen. My golden red hair was pulled up onto the top of my head with curls gently flowing out of the bun. Antoin was wearing the latest fashion in men's suits along with a new hat. Our clothes were the reward from my latest excursion. I had made away with enough to last our family years. Antoin enjoyed flaunting our wealth and I enjoyed making him, my mother, and my brother happy. People would stare at us, some with envy, others with hate, and some just out of shock of our flaunting.
Up ahead I saw someone, an artist selling his paintings. We walked near him and I tugged on Antoin's arm.
"Can we look? Just for a moment?" I whispered as I smiled up at him. I hardly got a response aside from the fact that we stopped in front of the artist.
The man was tall, towering over me like most anyone did. His hair was dark, short, and disheveled. Quite poor from the looks of him. This made me feel sorry for him, which made me want to buy something even more.
"Good evening." Antoin's Austrian accent was coming out. He had never rid himself of it.
"Buona sera." The artist was Italian. This made him all the more appealing to me. Why was he so far from home?
"Ah- Italian!" Antoin replied. "A little far from home, aren't we?"
"Italy is full of artists." The man acted as if it was no problem to be so far from home.
I couldn't stop smiling at him. He was much too poor for Antoin to allow me to go after him but there was something so unique about him. His eyes held many emotions all at one time.
"Are you interested in anything?" he said, and I nodded.
"My daughter here seems to like your landscapes," Antoin said, making my appearance known.
The artist bowed and I curtsied in response. He may be poor but he had manners.
"Mille grazie. Which one caught your eye?"
"This one," I whispered as I pointed to a painting. It was of a snowy place and was very different from the other paintings I owned. I had never liked living in the snow but it was amazing to look at.
"Siberia?" Antoin's voice took on an air of questioning. "You have traveled far."
"To seek inspiration," he responded.
How many artists traveled the world to seek inspiration? He was so poor he couldn't have done it easily.
Antoin chose another painting, one I hadn't taken notice of and then began negotiating the price. I would have helped but I didn't want to cheat him from his money. There was something stopping me.
"Many thanks," Antoin told him as we started on our way again. I turned and looked at the artist again. I wanted to remember everything about what he looked like for I knew this wouldn't be the last time I saw him. I wanted to find out more about the man's travels and history.
"Di niente." I heard him call in response.
"AnneMarie will love the painting I chose, don't you think?" Antoin's voice brought me back to the present. I nodded. "Why did you choose this one? It is so different from the other landscapes you have."
I thought for a moment. "The others are all of spring and summer. I have yet to have one of winter. The next shall be of fall." He looked down at me and I turned my face away from him. I don't think he believed me.
"We shall return these to the house and then we will go to the ball. The faster we find you a man, the faster we can leave this town full of so many poor people."
I didn't respond because right then, I didn't want to leave this place. This artist was too fascinating for me.