I woke the next morning to a feeling as if someone had been holding me in muscled strong arms. Not remembering the words that had been spoken, only the sensation that the voice reminded me of chocolate, which totally confused me. How strange, the sense of the arms that had enfolded me were not someone I feared but connected to, then the loss of grief hit me harder than it had since I had been here, a pain in my chest had me gulping for air.
I lay on the bed, hot tears falling across my face to the pillow, not wanting to move until the sensations and hurt eased. Who are you? I wrapped my arms around myself trying to hold on to the feeling of being held. A new round of sobbing attacked me until I gasped for air. I have to stop doing this to myself.
Throwing my legs over the side still gasping for air as my feet touched the floor. With a deep breath I stood unsure if I was going to collapse, it didn’t happen.
I dressed and made my way to the kitchen to find Leonardo had gone out early. Solai told me that he had business to deal with. I sat in the chair as Solai laid a plate with fruit, honey and bread in front of me.
“How are you feeling this morning?” Solai asked pouring me a cup of milk.
“Fine I guess.”
“You look a little drained did you sleep ok?”
“I think so, but I woke with some strange feelings, well not strange as such I have had them since I have been here, but they were more intense this morning, and someone in my dream was holding me.”
“You were captured then?”
“No, not captured.” I thought back to the feeling of the arms. “No, it was more like someone I was connected to…someone I loved.” That was the only way I could describe it.
“Ah, so perhaps that was your husband, yes? You are remembering what he felt like when he held you, yes?” Solai said with a smile.
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“I think your memory is on the verge of returning. This is good, I hope that your friend, husband…or lover is safe.”
I nodded at Solai not wishing to talk any more about it. He must have understood and began chatting about Leonardo once again. The plays he had written and staged, extravagant sets he had created and the weapons he constantly drew. He talked with love in his heart for his maestro, I had to agree the man was an extraordinary human being, not just talented in so many ways but kind, compassionate and empathic.
Leonardo had mentioned previously that he had no great love for painting, which at first, I found inexplicable, he was an amazing artist. Solai had pointed out that many of Leonardo’s paintings were unfinished. He preferred to draw and sketch weapons, most not new types of weapons, though there were some but tweaking existing ones, whether they were far bigger than those existing or had embellishments added to make them more efficient and deadlier.
Leonardo also had a love of knowing how the internal of a body worked, blood circulation and muscle movement. I had gotten lost in conversations with him when his passion for how the human body works rose during the discussions.
He could have been a doctor, his knowledge was as exceptional and outstanding as everything he put his hand to. Much of what Solai talked about was how well Leonardo could sing, write plays and poetry, and told stories that no one found boring.
I felt blessed that it was his house that I had appeared in. Solai was also a wonder, even though at times he could be a little strange and childish, he was also a decent artist, but more than that he had been a good and caring friend in the few weeks I had been here.
Leonardo returned late afternoon, looking tired evidence he hadn’t slept at all last night.
Solai went to say something to him but Leonardo put his hand up and went to his desk to write something in one of his notebooks before coming to the table and sitting down.
“Bella.” He said turning to face me. I have been to see the Romanian gypsies, and some are leaving tomorrow morning early. I have paid for your journey to go with them.
“But…I don’t want to leave you or Solai.”
“I know Bella, but it has become too dangerous for you to stay, now that Lord Sforza has you in his sights, not to mention Cesare Borgia. There is also whoever it is that is looking for you, they will surely find you, if you go to court. It was the only option open to us, and I would rather you be safe.” He took my hands. “Bella you can trust the gypsies they won’t let anything happen to you. I am just sorry to see you go, you have brought light into the shadow, and I am honored that you found your way to us.”
Tears whelmed in my eyes. I felt safe with them, but I understood to some degree what he was saying. I had thought several times that I needed to leave if only for their safety.
“Why the gypsies though?” I asked trying to keep my voice from wavering.
“The Romanian gypsies have been ordered to leave Milan before the end of the first month of the new year. Lord Sforza does not care for them, and neither does the Pope, and he is far more dangerous than Lord Sforza. A war is coming, and it will be safer for you if you are out of the country.
“What about my pendant?” I didn’t want to leave it behind and I knew that once I had left with the gypsies I would probably never return.
“I will keep looking for it and if I find it, I will get it to you somehow. Trust that I will do everything in my power to do so.”
Solai leaned across the table to take my hand. “When you get your memories back, I hope you will not forget us Bella.”
I couldn’t hold the tears back flooded down my cheeks, like a broken dam wall. I hadn’t been here very long but with not being able to remember where I came from or what my name was, these two men had come to mean everything to me.
Leonardo pulled me off the chair and sat me on his lap and Solai came to sit next to us. He wiped the tears from my face, I thought I wasn’t a crier, but I must be with the amount I have cried over the past few weeks.
“Hush now Bella, Solai and I will always remember you and I will have the painting of you, our La Bella Ferronnière to remember your beautiful face.”
We all jumped when a fist pounded on the door. Leonardo motioned for me to go to my room, with a little pushing from Solai. I went but left the door open, so I could hear who was there.
Two guards demanded entry and when Leonardo let them in they ordered to know where I was. Holy hell what’s happening now. I could hear Leonardo and Solai telling them that I was unavailable at the present, but the guards took no notice and searched the house to find me with my back to the wall.
“You are to come with us at the order of Lord Sforza.” One guard said as he grabbed my arm. I could perhaps fight them, but the consequences could be harsh for Leonardo and Solai.
“Why does Lord Sforza want me taken, what did I do?” I tried to keep my voice calm. The guard simply shrugged.
They each held an arm and marched me down the hall.
“Where are you taking her, she has done no wrong?” Leonardo pleaded.
At least one of the guards bothered to answer him while the other just grunted.
“Lord Sforza wants her in the blue room as there have been some…unrest near the castle. It is for her safety.”
“But she is safe here with us.” Solai shouted at them. Leonardo put his hand on his shoulder to calm him.
I was dumbfounded why I was being taken although I believed it was all because Mr Suckhand wanted me in his private chamber.
“Bella everything will be alright, go with the guards, we will see you very soon.” Leonardo said to me with a wink of his eye, not though so the guards could see him do it.
Ok I knew Leonardo was up to something, I didn’t think for one minute that he would let anything happen to me. I took a breath and let the guards lead me through the door, and down a hall way.
Glancing at the two guards they were perhaps in their late twenties, both much taller than I. The one on my left had a solid build, while the one on the right was much leaner, but still had the wide shoulders as the other one. The grasp on my arm was painful. I turned to the one on the right.
“You are a very handsome man you know. I bet you have to fight the girls off with a stick.” I didn’t really think he was that handsome, but it was worth a shot to at least get him to ease up on his grasp. I knew I was going to have bruises from both of them by morning. The hint of a smile curved his lips, the other one huffed.
Turning my head to the one on the left I said. “Well you are not as handsome as he is, but I bet you can fight well, I would say that you are not respected for your abilities as you should be, you should be sergeant at arms if only they could see what potential you had.” His chest puffed out a little to the chuckles of the other. Their grips eased on my arm, not enough to let me walk unaided but enough that the pain eased significantly.
After climbing several staircases, we came to a door that was being held open by a third guard.
“You will stay in this room until his Lord comes to see you.” The guard holding the door grunted.
“Well you are neither handsome nor I imagine very good at fighting like these two fine guards.” I scowled at him. He took a step closer and raised his hand as if to lash out. I stood my ground, though the strike never came as the two that escorted me to the room grabbed his shoulders and pulled him back. The handsome one reached around and winked at me before closing the door, and the click of a lock on the other side told me that indeed I was locked in the room.
Leaning my back against the door I looked around at this blue room, and blue it was. A large canopy bed stood to the right with deep blue velvet curtains clasped at the corners. The duvet was a patchwork of beautiful floral squares, all in blues of course, intersected by gold braid work. Even the carpet on the floor was blue with gold and white flowers patterned at a hand space. There were no windows, I thought was unusual. Why would you have such a beautiful room, although maybe a little too blue and without a window.