Understandably, Adrianna was late to rise the next day. When she finally woke up, Adrianna didn’t get out of bed, enjoying the warmth of her covers and gathering the energy and motivation to wake up properly and get dressed.
It wasn’t until there was a knock on her door that she rolled out of bed, putting a dressing gown on over her nightdress before going to the door and opening it a crack.
“Adrianna?” Vittoria asked. “Are you awake?”
“Yes,” Adrianna replied.
“Can I come in?”
“I’m not dressed.”
“I need to speak to you. Please, Adrianna, it’s important.”
With a sigh Adrianna opened her bedroom door and let her sister enter the room. She couldn’t imagine what Vittoria wanted, most likely she was preparing to give her older sister another lecture about how women were supposed to behave.
“What is it?” Adrianna asked, disinterestedly.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Vittoria said, slightly nervously. “I wanted to apologize for what I said before, about your dreams being stupid. It was unfair of me to say it and I have no right to judge what you feel is right.”
“Why did you feel this was so important?” Adrianna asked suspiciously. “You could have told me that any time.”
“I just wanted you to know.”
“Who put you up to this?”
“No one,” Vittoria replied indignantly.
“Come on, I know you Vittoria. You would never apologize for telling me what you think of me.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Because you always think you are right and everyone else is wrong. You think that I should accept my lot in life when I think I should fight back. Should I list any more reasons?”
“Fine, Luisa told me to apologize.”
“And you said you would,” Adrianna exclaimed, shocked.
“I couldn’t get out of it,” Vittoria replied. “She said she’d make my life hell if I didn’t patch things up with you. She really wants us to get along and I don’t think I could live in the same house as Luisa when she wants something that badly.”
“I suppose that means we’re going to have to try and get along, at least on the outside.”
“I guess. We can do that?”
“I hope so. You know I don’t like us fighting, not even when I know you’re wrong.”
“But I’m never wrong,” Vittoria joked. “See, this getting along thing is easy.”
“Let’s see if we can keep it up.”
“I’ll leave you to get dressed,” Vittoria said, turning to leave the room. “And Father wants to see you once you’re up.”
“Did he say what it was about?”
“No, just to let you know once you were up and dressed that he needed to talk to you about something important. What do you think it could be?”
“I don’t know, but I’m not sure I want to find out.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll let Father know you’re on your way down.”
Adrianna groaned as the door shut behind her sister. What on earth could her father want now? She tried to not think about the possibilities as she called for her maid to help her dress. Adrianna focused on choosing what to wear, which mask would match her dress and how she would dress her hair.
Fifteen minutes later, she emerged in an emerald chiffon dress with a matching mask, her dark curls falling loose down her back. She rustled down the corridors of the house, heading towards her father’s office, the place she was most likely to find him.
When she reached the door she nervously lifted her hand and knocked softly on the wood. She prayed that he wouldn’t be in, but her heart soon sank as her father’s voice called for her to enter. The room was gloomy with dark wooden furniture and deep red walls. Because the Duke kept all his important papers in his office he didn’t want to risk anyone being able to break in and steal anything of potential value. There were no windows and the only door was locked whenever the Duke wasn’t working, and sometimes when he was.
“Ah, Adrianna,” he said, looking up from a sheet of paper that was lying on his desk. “Sit down.”
The girl did as she was told, lowering herself into the seat on the opposite side of her father’s desk.
“Vittoria told me you wanted to speak to me,” Adrianna said, breaking the silence.
“Yes, I did. A matter of great importance has come up that I must tell you about as it concerns your future.”
“What is it Father?” Adrianna asked, nerves building up inside her as her mind began to create hundreds of different scenarios that her father could be about to play out in front of her.
“It concerns your future husband and when you might get married.”
“But surely I’m still too young to be married. I’ve only just been presented to society.”
“But you have already made a strong impression. Someone has already shown an interest in asking for your hand in marriage.”