When I returned to the main room it was to two stunned faces.
“What? do I have it on wrong?” Feeling nervous that I may have gotten things on backwards.
Leonardo strode towards me, his strides defined and purposeful. I was a little hesitant as I was sure I did something wrong.
“Bella you look beautiful, so much so I would very much like to paint you.” I swallowed on a dry throat, not what I was expecting him to say.
“Oh. Oh?” My cheeks fired up and I was sure they were red as a beetroot. For some reason I had a thought that Leonardo didn’t paint just anyone, preferring to draw his sketches of weapons and write plays. I should be extremely proud that he wanted to paint me but unsettled at the same time.
The thought that he wanted to do a painting of me brought to mind what he would name the painting. I guess he could call the painting ‘the girl who dropped in head first’, or ’the woman who can’t remember her name, that’s me the unknown woman. I scoffed at the insane ramblings in my head. I felt fatigued from trying to dig into my thoughts for something other than my likes of color and food.
Solai came to his side one eyebrow lifted as he was inspecting a piece of cloth. “Maestro I think her hair needs to be up, if anyone was to see her, they would take her for a free maiden.”
“What?” I didn’t want anyone thinking I was free. I spun to look at him. “I’m not free and I’m not a maiden, I don’t think anyways.” Something else to think about, damn this was giving me another headache.
“Bella would you mind if Solai fixes your hair for you, he’s very good at it?” Leonardo asked.
Solai waggled his eyebrows again. “Told you, I’m the best at everything.”
“Sure, why not MacGyver do your worst.” I sat in the chair at the table.
“Who?” Solai looked notably totally confused.
“Never mind, I don’t know either.”
Solai twisted and turned, pinned and knotted my hair until it was intricately plaited and held around my head. It felt rather strange having a young man fuss with my hair, at the same time it was relaxing. His fingers were fast and gentle, actually easing the pain in my forehead. Finishing way too soon.
He leaned down to my ear. “I’ve got an excellent brain and great with my hands as I told you.”
When he went to remove my necklace, I grasped a hand to it.
“It is ok, I am not taking it, but it won’t look right with your dress and it being so unusual it could cause attention.” He was right of course, if someone was looking for me to do me harm it would only bring their attention and there was nowhere to hide the thing with the way the dress was cut on my chest. I removed my hand, he unclasped it and placed the pendant on the table in front of me.
A tingle of electricity zapped me from toes to head and then a ripple of air crossed over my body, as if a door had just been opened to a strong wind, lasting only seconds. Now that was strange.
Leonardo picked up the necklace and looked to be studying it.
“This is indeed a very strange item, it is only a half of a pendant, unusual markings. I wonder where the other half is and who is wearing it?” Half a pendant? To think there was another half was another piece of a puzzle, a puzzle that was getting bigger and more complicated by the day. He opened a small leather pouch and dropped the pendant into it, not waiting for an answer. This will keep it safe, but I suggest you put it in your room for safe keeping. I have also arranged for my students to meet in another workshop rather than coming here for the moment, so you will not be interrupted and have nosy students bothering you.”
I spun to face him. “Oh, I am sorry I do not want to disrupt your home and your life. If I’m in the way…”
He didn’t let me finish. “Bella, as I said you are welcome to stay as long as you like. You are not disrupting me. I don’t think it is a good idea at the present to have my students wandering in and out, it will be safer. It is not an inconvenience.”
I quickly added. “If I do then please let me know.”
“As you say Bella.”
“There you are done.” Solai said as he stood back to Leonardo’s nod of approval.
I took the pouch with the pendant and the crossbow and a leather pouch that held bolts obviously for the weapon and I added them to the bundle of clothing under what was not my bed in the spare room. I took a glance at myself in the mirror, Solai had certainly created a very neat and complex hairdo. He was gifted but there is no way I’m going to be telling him that, lest his ego get any bigger. I’m almost grateful for his cheeky personality, it has helped to evade my angst at not remembering anything. That’s not entirely true either I can remember silly things but not the most important, name, age, address.
Sitting on the bed I still had a headache though it had lessened with Solai’s hair dressing ministrations. I felt my forehead a small lump was still there.
There was something missing causing a heaviness to my chest, and not just the information I can’t remember, but something much more painful. A loss of what or whom was damned overwhelming. If I had to try and put my finger on it, it was like my heart was breaking.
Did I lose someone, if I was married did, he die? A million ideas surged through my head and none of them were good. Stop this now, thinking of the worst it’s not helping your situation. I turned my mind to Leonardo and Solai, the clothes not to mention the place and year I was in, it didn’t feel right, it was as though I was utterly displaced.
Laying down on the bed and closing my eyes, shadowed images and people yelling filled my mind, though I couldn’t for the life of me hear the words.
The feeling of wanting to cry hasn’t left me, not because I am sad, which I am, but more of desperation and the feeling of entrapment. I’ve lost my freedom because I don’t have the context that tells me whether something I want to do or say is appropriate or right or even true. Solai had said that my accent was strange and my words at times stranger.
An icy finger traveled up my spine at the thought of what if I stay this way, my memory never returning. Is there someone looking for me, do I have a family, a husband and children? Taking a deep breath to steady myself trying to hold tears back was a fruitless effort giving way to a dam bursting. I was sure I wasn’t a crier but the way I feel, it seems I am, at least at the moment.