A/N: Sorry I took so long to upload! I wrote the first chapters quite a while ago, so I uploaded them at at once. I promise I WILL finish this story, no matter how long it takes. Reviews help me think, though! Since this was written after the first three, I hope that it doesn't seem inconsistent or confusing. I realize we may have some name difficulties in this chapter. If it bothers you, let me know and I'll see what I can do to fix it.
I hope we can meet the Paris in the next chapter! Should be fun to write...
Also, thank you so much to the two lovely people who have reviewed and subscribed to my story! I crave reviews... Please tell me if you liked this chapter, what you liked, what you don't, what confused you. I promise to answer any questions asked in the next AN.
Just a reminder, I'm not Shakespeare and this is his world I'm playing with. Now on with the story!
A week later, Rosalind arose, singing.
"It's market day, it's market day….." She spun around the room, happy to be able to explore again. Nurse had promised that, because she was so well behaved, she would be allowed to go to market every time, as long as—
She came to a sudden halt, her nightdress swirling to lay straight again. As long as her mother agreed. The girl sighed and began getting dressed. If she wanted Mamá to agree to anything, she'd have to look her best. Finding a green ribbon that matched her eyes, Rosalind pulled her hair back into a horse-tail, then hurried into her favorite dress, a dark blue. Looking into the mirror, she decided the girl—no, the young woman—she corrected herself, seemed very responsible, certainly capable of going to the market. Satisfied with her appearance, Rosalind turned toward the door, right as Nurse walked in.
"Hello, dear," the old woman said, mischief in her eyes. "And what has you up so early, I wonder? You don't have any lessons until this afternoon. And you aren't doing anything else today, except perhaps working on your embroidery..."
"Nurse! You promised I could go with you to the market this morning! That is, if Mamá allows it." Rosalind finished dejectedly.
Bustling over to her, the nurse pulled the ribbon from Rosalind's haphazard bow and took up a hairbrush. "Oh, I'm sure she'll agree," she chattered, plaiting the girls hair much more neatly. "But not with your hair like this! Land's sakes, child, you're a woman now. You should be able to care for your own hair. Why when your mother was that age…."
As nurse chatted on about Juliet when she was a young woman, Rosalind started fidgeting. Yes, she knew how perfect her mother had been, but she wasn't Mamá! She wasn't good at everything, she didn't have lovely golden curls, nor did she have men jumping over themselves to suit her. She supposed that fact should have worried her, but it really didn't. Did it?
"—And her cousin Rosaline is here, did I tell you?" The question jolted Rosalind's attention back to her nurse. "Rosaline is visiting?"
"Joining your mother for breakfast, I think."
Rosalind could have leapt for joy. In addition to being her favorite cousin and namesake, Rosaline was Mamá's favorite relative. They would chat about old times, back when they were girls, and laugh together. Surely her godmother would put in a good word for her, the girl decided.
Despite all that, Rosalind felt quite a bit of trepidation as she walked down the hallway to her mother's boudoir. Steeling herself before the thick oak door, she said a small prayer before she knocked.
Her mother's maid, Arianna, opened the door and stood aside, allowing Rosalind a glimpse of the two ladies lounging on couches inside. Stepping forward, she curtsied to the slighter of the two women, a delicate, almost frail-looking woman of about thirty. "Hello, Mother," she said quietly.
Distracted from their chatter, both women looked the girl over. Enough alike to be sisters, although Rosaline's hair was a darker blond, starting to go a bit silver at the temples, both the women had the same blue eyes and heart-shaped face. "Darling, how is my favorite goddaughter?" Rosaline spoke first, smiling. "You look lovely in that color, you know."
Biting back a retort—was fashion all anyone thought of these days?—Rosalind murmured a thank-you as she turned to her godmother. "I'm doing quite well," she replied, deciding to seize the opportunity. "Nurse says she'd like my help on market days. It's getting hard for her to carry everything. Of course, only if you agree, Mother," she added, turning to Juliet.
"Well, I don't know, Rosa," her mother said. "You're so young… I don't know if the environment of the market would be beneficial to such a young girl…"
"When you were my age, Mamá, you were already married and managing an entire household!" Rosalind protested before she could help herself. "It's completely safe at the market. Nurse always takes Marco with her."
"But Rosa, our family has enemies, you know that. What if some ruffian tries to hurt you in revenge for a judgment the Paris has passed?"
He was always "the Paris." Never "my husband" or "your father." For the umpteenth time, Rosalind wondered why. Arranged marriages were common, and she knew her parents' had been… but why was her mother still not happy? Father wasn't abusive or rude to her the way some men were to their wives. He wasn't around very often, however. Maybe that was it.
Rosalind looked up guiltily, realizing that she had stopped listening to Juliet's worrying. "…People can't be trusted, you know that. In addition to any enemies the Paris may have made, my family, the Capulets, have enemies as well. And while they may not be as powerful as they once were, they could still hurt you, Rosa."
"Oh, nonsense," Rosaline protested, leaning forward in her chair where she'd been watching the argument unfold. "The Montagues are next to finished. Ever since their heir died after fighting against the Paris, they've had nothing go right for them."
Rosalind saw her mother turn away, her face etched with some long-seated pain. Of course, she realized. She had been there for that fight. She must have been worried sick about Father. Didn't they get married the next day? Nurse was fond of that story; she thought it was romantic.
"Please, Mother," was all she said now. "If it makes you feel any better, we can take one of the younger footmen. Armed, even, if it helps."
"Oh, all right," Juliet said, finally worn down. "I just worry about you, Rosa. You know that." Rising, she pulled her daughter close to her, suddenly teary-eyed. "You're growing up so fast."
"And so beautiful," Rosaline added. "You take after your mother, I think. Not much of the Paris in you."
Straightening, Juliet bustled around to a table near the back of the room, pouring herself another cup of tea. "The Paris will be back tonight, Rosa. So make sure you're back from the market in time to dress for dinner."
"Yes, Mother. Thank you so much! May I go? Nurse said she wanted to go early."
"Go, go," she said, concentrating on not spilling her tea as she crossed to her seat. "Be careful."
But she was speaking to the air and her rather amused cousin only; her daughter had already raced away.