The cabin that I shared with Lily was dark. When she returned from her shower, she turned the light off and got into bed. There were no windows or port holes. It was darker than Vincent’s dungeon at the villa, and louder. The incessant thrum of the engines stopped me from drifting to sleep. I hand no what time it was. All I knew was that with the constant noise, I doubted I would sleep.
I guessed Lily must have been used to it. All the maids and stewards were used to it I supposed. It still didn’t seem fair that everyone else had huge cabins, with huge beds and bathrooms. Bathrooms which were the same size as the room I was now in.
That wasn’t to say I wanted to go back to my cabin. It just made me realise how much I didn’t belong with the luxury that the Marchesi’s seem to take for granted.
Having said that it appeared that Lily took the fact that she had so little for granted. I didn’t doubt for one minute, if she was offered what I had, she would have grabbed it with both hands.
But that luxury had a price. Maybe I was stupid, but that price was more than I was prepared to pay.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when the door was opened, without a knock. After all, the room belonged to a servant. A lowly maid. Why should they expect the courtesy of a knock to let them know someone was coming in.
I pulled the flimsy blanket, around my neck.
When the light turned on, Lily was still waking. When she saw who it was, her eyes widened. Especially when Roberto glared at her.
“Miss Ryan, what are you doing in here, why are you not in your cabin?” he questioned.
I glanced at Lily then at Roberto.
“Don’t blame Lily, I made her let me stay. I don’t deserve to be in that cabin anymore than Lily deserves to be down here. If I have to be on this boat, then at least I’m going to work to pay my way.”
Roberto looked at me and rolled his eyes, and sighed.
“Signor Marchesi was worried, when you didn’t join them for dinner, and you couldn’t be found. He wishes to see you in his study.”
I stared at him, and didn’t move.
He sighed again.
“Now, Miss Ryan.”
I climbed out of the bed, and looked across at Lily. I mouthed the words ‘sorry’ as I followed Roberto out of the cabin.
He looked at the nightdress I was wearing, disdainfully, which annoyed me even more. It was ok for Lily to wear it, but not me. We weren’t so different. If I was back home I’d probably need to get a job in a diner. I wouldn’t be able to afford designer clothes, or posh nightdresses.
I followed Roberto to Armando’s study, in my bare feet, and flimsy nightgown. I felt slightly self conscious, only because it hadn’t been my intention to wander around the boat in night clothes. It didn’t matter if they were cheap or expensive.
Roberto knocked on the door, then opened it. I didn’t hear Armando’s voice, but then I wasn’t really listening. To be honest, he was the last person I wanted to see.
I followed him in, and saw Armando sitting behind his desk. He looked relieve to see me, I’m not sure why.
“L’ho trovata negli alloggi della servitù. Aveva lavorato in cucina.” Roberto huffed, as Armando looked up. [I found her in the servants quarters. She’d been working in the kitchen.]
“In English please, Roberto,” Armando scolded, “Rosie doesn’t speak Italian.”
Roberto clenched his jaw. He seemed pissed off. I wasn’t sure if it was at me, or at Armando. I figured it was probably me.
“She was in Lily’s cabin. One of my staff found her in a maids uniform, and assumed she was here to work. He took her down to the kitchen. She didn’t explain who she was,” he huffed.
I rolled my eyes, and wrapped my arms around myself.
“Maybe it’s because I look more like a servant than a privileged brat,” I huffed, “besides my dad always told me you cant expect to be handed stuff for free. You need to work for it.”
Armando stood up and let out a heavy sigh.
“Thank you Roberto, I’ll take it from here.”
Roberto nodded, then glared at me before leaving the room.
Guess that’s another enemy I’ve made.
Armando pointed to the chair in front of his desk.
“Sit down Rosie, I think we need to have a talk.”
I sighed, but did as I was asked.
Once I had sat down, Armando walked around the front of the desk, and perched on it. His hands, gripping the edge.
“You aren’t happy here, are you Rosie?”
I wanted to give a sarcastic retort, but I had better manners than that. Besides, my anger from before had subsided somewhat.
“No, I’m not. I don’t belong here, I can’t...I can’t be my mother, not for you and not for Vincent,” I sighed.
Armando shook his head.
“That was never my intention, nor if I’m honest was it Vincent’s. I...we, just wanted to try and make amends for what happened to you.”
I said nothing, what could I say. Was he talking about the kidnapping, the near rape. Or the fact that his other son tried to groom me and keep me as some sort of trophy.
I just looked at him and waited to see if he was going somewhere with this.
“I’ll make a deal with you Rosie,” Armando began.
“What sort of deal?”
He smiled, the sort of smile someone makes when they know they have you over a barrel. He was probably used to making high flying business deals. I on the other hand, wasn’t.
“Go back to your cabin, wear the clothes I bought for you, go to Gianna and Christian’s wedding. In return, I’ll arrange for you to go home, return to school, find you a place to live. I’ll pay the rent and utilities for a year, you’ll just need to find a job to pay for your food,” he concluded.
I narrowed my eyes.
“That’s it, no strings?”
Armando smiled and shook his head.
“No strings. Just take some of the clothes I bought, you’ll need stuff to wear. Gianna was upset that you weren’t going to her wedding, so that’s for her.”
I stared at him, was it really that easy.
“What about you...and Vincent?”
“It was Vincent’s idea. He would rather see you happy without him, than miserable with him. He knows you aren’t your mother, as do I. Do we have a deal?”
Armando held out his hand.
I swallowed down the lump that was rising in my throat. For the first time in my life someone was actually listening to me. Listening to what I wanted.
I took his hand and shook it.
“Deal,” I whispered.
Armando smiled and nodded.
“Now go to bed, and get some rest.”
I pushed myself from the chair, and headed towards the door. As I reached it, I turned to look at Armando.
“Can I ask you a favour?”
“Of course, what do you need.”
“Can you ask Roberto not to punish Lily, it wasn’t her fault,” I concluded.
“Yes, I’ll talk to Roberto.”
“Thank you, Thank you for everything. I’m not ungrateful, it’s just...”
He smiled sadly.
“I know, Rosie. Just go to bed.”
I closed the door quietly behind me, and walked back to my cabin. It was later than I thought. Removing the nightdress, I changed into the pyjama’s that Armando had bought for me, and slid underneath the covers.
Without the noise of the engines, I soon drifted off to sleep, with one thought in my mind, I was finally going home.