juliette's house

8

SCENE IV: Born to Hate

The two sinners arrived at once. The whore of Babylon and Lucifer himself,Prince Mastino thought as he saw them and then: Why does Capuletti always dress in scarlet? To hide the blood strains?

“Signore” It was Angiola Montecchi who sank to her knees first; not without giving a deadly glance to her foe.

The Prince didn’t say a word. Instead, he faced the high altar pretending he was praying. Later, he turned bag with a dazzling smile to enjoy the suppressed anger in the red faces of Montecchi and Capuletti. Kneel and atone.

“You do us wrong” Odoardo Capuletti cut through the silence, rising without permission.

“Do I?” The Prince was pleased with the direction of that conversation. “But I didn’t tell you any charges, yet.”

“We all know why we are here” Angiola Montecchi protested in unusual harmony with Odoardo.

“So, you admit your family’s guilt?”

Odoardo Capuletti’s nostrils flattered, his finger sharply pointing at Angiola. “Her brood attacked my noble nephew…”

“Your nephew who had drawn his sword first” Angiola fired back.

“A knight defending his houses’ honour”

“How noble of him to defend the non-existent!”

Prince Mastino really started to enjoy that little show. He watched fascinated how the veins on Capuletti’s neck pulsed while his face slowly got the same scarlet tone as his surcoat. Would he dare to draw his dagger against a woman? The prince’s eyes turned to Angiola Montecchi’s clenching fists. She’d rather destroy Capuletti’s face with her claws, he decided.

“You talk about honour when it was your husband who betrayed Verona to the Pope?”, Odoardo asked sharply.

“And who betrayed our late prince’s order of peace by attacking my family with German mercenaries? Within that holy cathedral?”

“Your family needed to be stopped from corruption. But Jews like you never cared.”

“And you and your beloved emperor butchered the innocent outside our city walls!”

Enough!” It was the first time the Prince needed to scream in a long time. No one challenged his authority more than these two vipers. “It is my last word spoken on that subject: The next man drawing his sword against another, I will lead to the gallows myself. No matter if he’s Montecchi or Capuletti. Your noble names protected you far too long. And now I want you to swear upon that holy altar.”

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Scene I: Doomed Legacy

“…requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” the priest was singing for what felt like hours. 

Angiola Montecchi could not wait for her brother-in-law to rise from his coffin and strangle that horrible singer. Ludovico Montecchi never was a man of many words and he hated to wait. But Ludovico Montecchi was dead and Angiola made them read a requiem for his immortal soul.

She was neither desperate nor sad. She expected him to die long ago. Some nephews will claim Capuletti murdered him but Angiola knew better. Ever since her own husband Rinaldo died almost two decades ago, she managed the family’s business with his brother. 

Well, actually she was the one in charge. Bank of Montecchi prospered under her rule and Ludovico never spoke against her.

Angiola’s gaze wandered through the cathedral. Just a few members of the family and some close business partners assembled. 

She observed her own son Romeo leaning against a column.

He came, she thought with relief. He hadn’t been home for weeks. Do I burden him with too much? She allowed herself one moment of doubt. No. He’s the heir and House of Montecchi needs a strong man leading it through the storm. But was Romeo the right choice? A poet and dreamer. Certainly, no banker. And yet, we all have a duty to fulfil…

Glad the mass ended, Angiola sought her way out the cathedral. She must not lose Romeo who already reached the portal. She needed that opportunity…

“My son”, she said with a soft smile. “Where have you been?”

“No place of interest, Lady mother.”

“Please return home. There is so much to do. For me, for, for the family… You must take your rightful place.”

“By what right you mean to force me.” He escaped without looking back.

“It is for grief”, she tried to console herself.

“No, for love”, a voice announced from behind. It was her nephew

“Benvolio?”

“Aunt Angiola. Please, have patience. He struggles with is feelings.”

“Does he…”

“He’s in love.”

“Oh God, not again.”

Scene III: The Rose of Capuletti

“Giulietta! “, Gianna was running through the garden. Well, indeed she was running through the labyrinth which Odoardo Capuletti called a garden. Well, his wife called this a garden. Her lord never cared for such representation, but that was another story.

“Giulietta, where have you been hiding, child?” It wasn’t funny anymore. Gianna’s legs were hurting, She couldn’t catch her breath and she reminded herself that she was past forty.

“Giulietta? Giulietta, please. My lady and my lord will soon be home.”

She found her beneath some hedges, sitting down on the grass, her nose stuck in a book.

“Why do you dally so?” Giulietta asked with an innocent smile. Gianna has been her nurse since the child’s first day on that world. A mother in all but name.

“Oh, I should so hurry till my heart gives out. Your heart is made of sterner stuff than that. Your heart is made…”

Giulietta started laughing.

“…that you should laugh to see me so wore out. What are you reading there by any means?” 

Gianna grabbed the book. She couldn’t read but she knew the stories told by the small pictures. An expansive book but someone had torn out several pages. “What’s that?” she asked. “Your mother’s work?”

“Certainly not! She would have ripped the whole book apart” Giulietta sounded quite amused. “Young ladies shouldn’t read at all, if she’s concerned. It was my father’s doing. And I understand. Some tales are too bloody and frivolous for a girl.”

“His decision. But you miss the best part!” Gianna said. She thought of those stories her own parents told during winter nights. Stories of simple life, hot-blooded lovers, obscene jokes… It would turn Giulietta’s cheeks red…

“So, tell me” the girl insisted

“Only when you are older. Now come with me. We have to dress up for the ball.”
“I hate balls. No one’s there who is of my age.”

“Maybe some young lad will fall with love with you.”

“Thick or thin,

you’re beautiful.”

                                                      - B.P.

@jennathearcher
There wasn’t enough driving in the world that could calm her down from this, Julie decided. The longer Donnie and Gordon went without texting her, calling her, giving her something, the worse the scenarios in her head got. It was like waiting for inevitable bad news from a doctor, and she hated feeling so powerless to do anything.

Was Mal hurt again? Would they tell her if he was? No one had gotten ahold of her when they found him (and she was still seething over that, even if a part of her understood), it was Mal who had left her a voicemail and her panic that had Donnie finally telling her what everyone else already knew. The longer she spent alone with her thoughts, the more pissed off at them all she became. And the more pissed she was the more she just wanted to go over there, see him for herself. What did she even need their permission for? Mal had called her! Screw them, she wasn’t a child that needed protection, definitely not from her best friend.

[Text: Gordon] I’m coming over.

She only sent the warning as a courtesy, in case his parents were around. No need for them to catch her sneaking in through a window, might as well just use the front door as she should be able to by now. The short drive over didn’t calm her much, but it let her pull it all inward, close it off. She wanted to see Mal, she needed to be calm. If he was as bad as Donnie said… She needed to be calm. Taking in a deep breath, she pocketed her keys and made her way inside the familiar house.