Adrianna felt so disappointed when she couldn’t find Matteo again. She couldn’t say she was surprised though; the way Lady Lagana had spoken to him would have put almost anyone off seeking Adrianna out again. So Adrianna spent the rest of her evening dancing with various eligible suitors and playing stupid in front of many of her father’s friends.
It felt like the evening would never end and Adrianna was quite glad when her father reappeared to tell her to get her cloak and meet him in the entrance hall.
She quickly excused herself from the conversation she was having with Baron Dorian, who had taken quite a shine to Verenia’s latest debutant. Unfortunately, he was also the dullest person Adrianna had ever met with an unhealthy interest in the building of ships, which he wouldn’t stop talking about.
She said a quick farewell to Countess Novia, still unable to find her husband anywhere, before leaving to collect her cloak.
Ten minutes later, she was in her father’s carriage, bumping along the slightly uneven road and heading in the direction of home.
“Did you have a good evening?” The Duke asked from the semi-darkness of the carriage.
“Yes,” Adrianna replied with no emotion. “I spoke to some rather interesting people.”
“Really? Anyone I would know?”
“Not anyone special; mainly the people I met last night.”
“I see. I did notice you spending a lot of time listening to Baron Dorian. What did you have so much to talk about?”
“He was telling me about ships,” Adrianna informed him.
“I didn’t know you had an interest in the subject.”
The conversation stopped dead, neither passenger in the carriage knowing what to say to the other. Adrianna’s head was filled with thoughts of Matteo. Why was Lady Lagana so keen to get her away from him? She had said he was dangerous but Adrianna couldn’t imagine what he could have done. She assumed it was to do with his political views or why else would Lady Lagana have thought she would be easily led?
These thoughts continued to fill Adrianna’s head as the carriage pulled up outside the Giordano residence and she was helped down from the carriage and led up the front steps to the house. She bid her father good night and followed her maid, who carried a candle, up to her bedroom and remained in silence while she was undressed.
Adrianna’s maid clearly wasn’t in the mood for talking either as she simply undressed her mistress, loosening her corset and putting her dress over the chair by the dressing table.
“Is that all?” She asked once this was done and Adrianna bid her good night also and dismissed her.
Her head was swimming with Matteo as she climbed into bed. He fascinated her, not just because of his surprising interest in Adrianna’s political opinions, but because she couldn’t comprehend why he was concerning himself with the rights of women. His argument that Verenia was falling behind many other countries was a valid one, but she was sure there must be another motive for him to take such a keen interest.
Her mind then wandered to Countess Novia, an old friend of her mother’s with a curiously absent husband and who had told Matteo all sorts about Adrianna, then proceeded to invite them to the same party. She was sure something wasn’t quite right.
If Countess Novia had been such a good friend of her mother’s, why had they stopped seeing each other after Adrianna was born? And why was Countess Novia taking such an interest in her dead friend’s daughter?
There were just too many questions to answer, so many things that were unclear. Adrianna thought that her father’s world of politics was murky and complex, but she was slowly discovering that the rest of the world was just as confusing and unclear.
Adrianna couldn’t sleep so just lay staring out into the darkness of her bedroom, her mind going over and over everything that everyone had said to her that evening that might help her mind stop wondering what Matteo and Countess Novia were plotting.
The obvious answer was that they were trying to find new recruits for their movement but Adrianna didn’t think it could be that simple. Surely if that’s what they wanted then they would have just asked her outright if she was prepared to fight for the cause she believed in.
But on the other hand, if they were caught trying to incite rebellion then all of their necks could be on the line. There were too many different possibilities for Adrianna t come up with a clear and definite answer to her mish-mash of thoughts.
Her brain refused to stop working so it wasn’t until the sky began to turn pink as the sun came up, that Adrianna’s eyes became too heavy to remain open and she drifted off into sleep.