I, in no way endorse any type of faith or religion. I acknowledge and respect all faiths and beliefs and do not intend to insult or pay any disrespects to any individual person.
All I own are my characters and everything else is property of Ubisoft.
The heat was almost unbearable. The air felt thick and I was covered in a thin layer of sweat no matter what I did. Even though the sun had already set, the heat had not subsided. I'd opened the door to my balcony and hoped the waters of the Arno would send a cool breeze through the house.
I thought about retiring to bed but the temperature made me uncomfortable. I even changed my thick sleep chemise to one that was made of thinner material and much shorter. It was extremely immodest for me to be wearing something like this, but then again who was going to see me?
Through my open door I heard Marco groaning and crying in his room, no doubt from the discomfort of the heat. A minute later or so I saw his blanket fly from his room into the hall. I heard our housekeeper, Rhona, cursing to herself about the temperature as she snatched up Marco's discarded blanket.
Once she passed my room I shut the door and finished preparing for bed. As I was undoing the braid in my hair a noise came from the roof. Curiously I stepped out onto my balcony. I expected to find a small animal of some sort but I found nothing but shadows from the moon's glow. With a shrug I reentered my room and returned to my vanity, taking a brush to my wavy hair and humming a tune to myself.
I let out a yell of fright, jumping out of my skin. I spun around and saw Federico and Ezio walking into my room from the balcony. I noticed that Ezio had a cut on in forehead and held his shirtsleeve to his nose to stop the bleeding. Before I could question them someone knocked on my door.
"Piccolina? Bella - bambina, are you alright?" It was my father; I searched my mind for an excuse. As much as my father loved the Auditores I doubt he would love the idea of two of them being in my room unannounced.
"Uh, just a spider, Papa, it is gone now." I heard him let out a large sigh, then his footsteps travelled down the hall towards the stairs. I spun back to the brothers.
"What is the meaning of this?" I threw my arms up into the air. "Barging into a lady's room like this!" I pointed to Ezio, "And you, what have you done this time?" Although my voice was quiet, they could tell I was angry.
The two brothers continued to stare at me, and after a few seconds I finally figured out why. My nightgown covered very little. Mio Dio! I felt my face flush and tried to remember where I put my robe. Once I was properly covered in the silky material of my robe I turned back to them.
"I want answers."
Ezio wobbled slightly on his feet, and his face was pale. I sighed and grabbed his shoulders and helped him sit down on my bed. "You should have brought him to see a dottore." I placed my hand on the back of Ezio neck and slowly bent his head downward "Pinch here, you sciocco."
Federico looked around my room and picked up a small box I kept near my bedside. I quickly grabbed it from his hands and placed it back in its place, muttering a quick, "don't touch that."
"Don't tell me you two wasted all your florins on easy women and wine!" I reprimanded as I continued to mop Ezio up.
Federico shrugged. "What can I say, we like to indulge ourselves."
I just rolled my eyes. "Oh yes, wasting money, getting into fight is a magnificent way to live your life." I slapped him on the shoulder. "Wait here. And don't touch anything." I wagged my finger at the two brothers. Federico grabbed Ezio's shoulder and gave them a quick shake.
"Nothing to fear, Bella, I'm heading home. I don't feel like getting a verbal lashing from Father. Enjoy your night, Ezio!" With a grin, he walked out onto my balcony and hoisted himself back onto the roof.
"Troublesome boys," I muttered to myself before leaving my room and as quietly as I could making sure I closed the door. I had a small medical supply stored in the kitchen in case Papa, or one of his workers, injured themselves. I also grabbed some leftover food from out supper and some water.
When I had returned to my room the door was wide open. Papa was still downstairs and Rhona retired to her quarters for the night. Marco stood in front of Ezio in his undergarments. His hair was sticking up at odd angles. Even though it was an hour after his usual bedtime he spoke fast and threw his arms in the air as he told Ezio a story.
"Marco, what did I tell you about coming into my room?"
Both boys looked up at me. Ezio's nose had stopped bleeding, the once crimson liquid drying and leaving muddy brown marks all over his handsome face. The wounds on his lip and forehead however were still bleeding.
"Bella, esso è caldo, I can't sleep." My younger brother watched as I placed my supplies on my vanity. "Why is Ezio here?" I gently placed my hands on his shoulders and ushered him out of my room. "He has a lot of booboos," my little brother observed. "You should kiss them better! It worked when I fell and hurt my hand!" He held up the tiny appendage that had some healing scratch marks.
I was glad my back was turned to Ezio, as my face flushed scarlet at my brother's naïve comment. I tucked Marco back into bed and ran my fingers through his hair and placed a kiss on his brow.
"Dormire e sogno piccolo fratello."
He smiled at me and rolled over in his bed falling asleep instantly closed his door and went back to my room and did the same. I was surprised at Ezio's quietness but attributed it to his injuries. I grabbed the water and wet a small rag and walked over to the bleeding teenager. Ezio smirked as I began to wipe the blood off.
"I think your brother had a very charming idea. I'm sure a kiss would make all my pains disappear. And I think this," he pointed to the cut on his lip, "needs the most medical attention." He smirked widened as my face went red again.
"Oh I don't think it's that badly injured." I averted my eyes, not daring to look at him directly.
"Maybe, but it never hurts to try though." He grabbed the hand that I was using to clean his face and held it against his cheek. I glanced over and caught his gaze. Though it was only for a second it felt like an eternity. He had eyes like an eagle - very still yet aware of everything around him. It was odd; I had seen his eyes almost every day of my life, yet only now was I taking the time to appreciate them. They were beautiful.
After that brief second, I remembered how to breathe and my mind was my own again.
"I don't think so you, frocio." With my free hand I pinched the wound on his lip causing him to hiss and release my other hand. I kept pinching until he leaned away from my touch. Once I released his lip fresh blood dripped out of it.
He scowled. "Just like every other beautiful woman - scratch the surface and you're all harpies!" He wiped the blood on the back of his hand. Now I was the one smirking for a change as he let me finish doctoring him.
Once he was no longer bleeding and the bowl of food lay empty he made to leave. I followed him out to the balcony. "Promise me you'll go straight home." I pointed my finger at him. "If you don't I will find out and I will tell your father!"
Ezio laughed and grabbed my hand and kissed it. "For you, Bella, anything."
I pulled my hand away and glared at him as he climbed onto the roof.
"See you tomorrow Bella!" With that he was off.
"Piccolina, why are you acting like I've just asked you to drain the Arno using a thimble?"
In the morning Papa insisted that I spend time outside the house. He even went as far as arranging a 'play-date' between myself and one of the workers daughters.
"I'm not trying to be difficult, it's just… I'm not like other girls, Papa."
I wasn't about to tell him that I was the black sheep. The other girls thought I was high-strung and snobbish because I was quiet and never gossiped with them. Boys fight with their hands but girls use words and body language, and that can hurt just as much as a slap to the face.
"Not to worry, Andrea is such a nice sweet girl, very much like you. She's Paulo daughter."
I sighed, knowing I was not going to win this battle. "If it will make you happy, Papa..."
He shook his head sadly. "I do this because I worry for you, Bella. You spend all your time alone, you need a friend in this world." A light tap on the door caused him to perk up. "Ah that must be Andrea!"
She had very fair skin and hair the color of fire; she wasn't pretty, but she wasn't ugly either. Papa practically pushed me out the door, shoving an envelope into my hands.
"Before you beautiful ladies enjoy your day, could you please drop this off at your padrino's?" We both nodded and the door was abruptly shut in our face.
"So…" Andrea started rather awkwardly.
"So…" I responded. I had a feeling I was not going to enjoy Andrea's company.
"Um, shall we go deliver your letter?"
I shrugged and began walking in the direction of the Auditore Villa. "Your name's Bella yes? I'm Andrea." She looked at me expectantly.
"I-umm yes, very nice to meet you." Dear Lord, talking to Claudia wasn't this awkward.
As we walked I watched her expression change from happy to bored. "Is there something you would like to say?" I questioned her.
"No, not really. I mean no offense but you're not the company I would like to be spending my time with."
I bit my lip and looked away from her. "Whose company would that be then?"
She sighed. "Cato, my fiancé… Are you engaged?" She eyed my ringless fingers, giving me an odd look like I was an undesirable who lived in the gutter.
"No. Well, here we are." I stopped the conversation and told her I would only be a minute inside the house.
I handed my godfather the envelope, waiting to see if he would ask me anything about Ezio and his injuries - but he didn't say anything, so I excused myself. I don't know why I was surprised to find that the bench I left Andrea was empty.
"Good job, Bella, you scared away another girl," I muttered to myself and I very ungracefully plopped myself down onto the bench. Truthfully I wanted to cry as I thought about Papa's words.
I didn't want to be alone, but very few people in this world were…interesting. Someone sat next to me on the bench, but I was too engrossed in looking at the ground to notice who it was.
"Would you like to talk Bella?" It was Ezio. "Such a sad look is very unbecoming on you," he continued.
I sighed. "Nothing that you should worry about." I saw that his wounds were healing nicely; the one on his lip was going to scar, however.
"Come on," he pulled me up off of the bench "I want to show you something."
Ezio dragged me through a dark alley behind his home. "Here we go!" Ezio lifted a discarded ladder and placed in against the wall of the alley, making a pathway to the rooftops above.
The wooden ladder made a frightening creaking sound and Ezio climbed up halfway. Ezio noticed my hesitation and motioned for me to follow. Climbing in a dress as well as soft-soled slippers was difficult. On the third rung my foot slipped and I let out a small surprised yelp.
"Come on Bella, I feel myself growing old!" Ezio had already reached the top and was now looking down at me.
"You try climbing in a dress!"
He offered a dazzling grin. "I'm not sure it would suit me."
When I reached the last step of the ladder Ezio offered me a hand and helped pull me onto the rooftop. It was dizzying, not having the solid earth beneath my feet. I barely had time to gather my bearings before I was dragged along the rooftops.
I did not let go of his hand, the constant fear of falling playing through my mind. Thankfully, Ezio didn't tease me about it. He helped me as we ascended higher and higher into the Firenze skyline. We stopped when we ran out of rooftops. Before us were the waters of the Arno. It was a marvelous sight - one I would have to draw about later. For the first time that morning Ezio let go of my hand and sat down on the edge of the roof, letting his feet dangle. I carefully took a seat next to him, my hands folded neatly in my lap.
"Thank you, Ezio," I said quietly.
"For what?" he inquired, arching his eyebrows.
"For…" I bit my lip, unsure how to continue. "For always being around when you don't have to be. Even if it does annoy me sometimes."
He chuckled and wrapped one arm around my shoulder. "Ah, you know me!" he sighed, his trademark smirk appearing on his face. "I can never stand to see a pretty girl sad."
I rolled my eyes and shrugged his arm off. "I'm trying to say something nice to you, and you are ruining the moment!" That roused a loud laugh from him. I sighed and stood up.
"If you're just going to make fun of me, walk me home," I said rather angrily, crossing my arms and looked down at him.
"No, no! Make fun of you? Never, Bella!" He stood up and uncrossed my arms and held my shoulders. "As you so kindly said, I will annoy you. But never ever treat you like that."
"Then why do you laugh?"
Whenever Papa would arrange outings for me, I would always return home in a worse mood then when I left. At some point, one way or the other, the girls would brush me off like a poverty-stricken commoner. There is always a lack of interest, or clash of personalities. Most of the time they think I am odd. I know I am, but hearing it from another's mouth is always…upsetting.
There really was no reason I was giving Ezio a hard time, just me being upset about how that fuoco capelli Andrea.
"I understand that you are upset about that girl, but let me tell you," he paused, "she is easier than a brothel whore, or so I've heard." He was trying to make me laugh and as always, it worked.
"Come on, we have all of Firenze to see."
We talked as we moved around the rooftops. We made our final stop at the Duomo, and by then the sun was beginning to set. "I love Firenze," I thought out loud. "I hope I will never have to leave this place."
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Ezio nod.
"Hey! What are you doing up here?" The foreign voice caused the both of us to turn around. I felt my face pale as I noted the metal armor and sword.
"I was wondering when the guards would show up," mumbled Ezio.
"You are not supposed to be up here!" The guard was now in a full out run trying to get to our location.
"Looks like it's time to go!"
Before I could react Ezio grabbed my hand and ran away from the guard, dragging me behind him. Once I regained my sense of balance I began moving my feet to help speed up our escape process. We both laughed as we heard the guard yelling curses at us but that didn't deter us.
I looked back to see how far the guard was - about five rooftops away but his pace was slowing. When I turned back I rammed into Ezio back. We had stopped moving. We had stopped at the very edge of the rooftops. If we fell it would most certainly be the end of both of us. Ezio released my hand and moved as close to the edge as possible and glanced down.
He turned to me with a serious look on his face.
"Do you trust me?" he asked simply, holding out a hand for me to grab.
"Not when you stand that close to the edge I-"
He cut me off. "Do you trust me?" he asked, more demanding this time.
I tried to read his face, unsure if this was some kind of joke. There was no mischievous spark in his eyes though, and he was not smirking or grinning. He looked at me with the most sincere look I'd ever seen him wear.
How could I not trust you, Ezio? I grabbed his hand and he pulled me as close to him as possible.
A small spark glimmered in his eagle like eyes. "Don't scream!"
We toppled over the edge of the rooftop and I squeezed my eyes shut as the air rushed past us as we left the skyline. That's it, I'm dead.
"Bella, I know how much you desire me, but please can you get off of me…?"
I opened my eyes and saw fresh straw. And I was in fact, on top of him.
We had jumped off a building, and now we were in a haystack.
"Do you treat all women as nicely as this?"
I felt his chest vibrate as he laughed. It gave me a tingling sensation from my head to my toes. "Only for you, Bella."
I tried my best to maneuver myself off of him as he poked his head out of the hay. "Ha! Looks like we're in the clear!" With ease, he hoisted himself out of the wooden cart our hiding space was in. I myself stood up and let most of the stray hay fall off my clothes and hair.
"Here let me help you out."
I wanted to puff out my cheeks and tell him I could do it myself, but he already grabbed me by the waist so I quickly grabbed onto his shoulders. With one pull I was out the cart and back on solid earth. I tried to get the remaining piece of hay out of my clothes and hair.
"Here." Ezio stopped my nitpicking and removed a single piece of hay from my hair. Instead of withdrawing his hand he let it linger, brushing a piece of hair that had escaped from my braid away from my face. I felt my face flush when he lightly traced the side of my face with a finger.
"There, bella bellisima." He handed me the single piece of hay. "For you, my lady."
"Don't boys usually give girls flowers?" I didn't take his gift just yet.
"Ah true, but who says you are a usual girl?"
I tried to hide my smile as I took the 'gift' casing him to smirk. "I saw that! And besides, last time I gave you flowers you punched both me and Federico in the face!"
I smiled as I twisted the hay in-between my fingers. "Walk me home?"
"But of course, Bella." We both walked in the general direction of my home, laughing and smiling all the way.
"Thank you again, Ezio. Today was surprisingly enjoyable." I placed a hand on the handle of the door.
Ezio took my free hand and placed a light kiss on it. "Anything thing for you, Bella."
My face grew hot again. "Well, goodnight," I said awkwardly as I opened the door slightly.
Ezio flashed me a smirk and a small wave. "Ciao, bella."
I rolled my eyes but then smiled slightly. "Ciao, bello."
Oh my, why did I just say that?
Ezio said nothing but held his usual composure and set off for home with a smile on his face. Not a smirk, but a genuine smile.
Once inside my home I closed the door and leaned against it. I must have had the oddest look on my face because my papa questioned me about it. "Ah my piccolina has returned! Did you have a good day with Andrea?"
I smiled and twisted the hay in between my fingers. "I suppose you could say that."
Hnnnnnn oh my its been wa while eh? Anyway I would like to thank the amazingly wonderful The-Lady-Isis for taking up the job of being my Beta. Simply put, I love you.
AANNND to everyone who was patient an reveiwed and added this story to there favorites and/or alert list. I love you too :D
I will try,DESPERATLY, not to have such a long wait inbetween chapter this time. Oh and Brotherhood comes out soon so i'm super excited!
Until next time my lovelies.