Marietta pushed open the shutters to her pretty bedroom window. Breathing in the fresh smell of mimosas and the ebbing of a damp spring morning as the sun began to warm the watered streets.  She sat, as usual on her padded stool and began to brush her long, raven hair, staring over the Venetian rooftops at the washing hanging from balconies across the way.

Tomorrow was her wedding day.  Her Mothers simple, antique white, silk shift dress hung ready on her wardrobe door. Every now and then the breeze would blow through the window and the sheer silk would float around, like the dress was dancing. Maybe her Mama’s spirit had come to wish her well. Marietta's Mother had died giving birth to her and all she had of the woman, who gave her life, was an old black and white portrait photograph, creased at the edges, of a young girl that looked like her twin.  Her Father, Enzio Agosta, was very protective of Marietta as she was his only child and the living memory of a wife he had adored. He never remarried and concentrated solely on making sure his daughter had the best life he could give her by working long and hard at one the Vineyards of the Prosecco region, of which he was a partner.   

It was at the vineyard that Enzio had found the man for Marrietta.  Hugo. A gentle, hard working soul who though 15 years his daughters senior, was a man who would treat her well and be able to provide her with stability and a family home. His daughters future was paramount.  He had brought Hugo back to the house on many evenings after work to try and grow a connection between the two. Hugo had fallen quickly for Marietta.  It was hard not to be transfixed by her beauty and demure character.  Marietta Liked Hugo.  He was sweet and kind to her but she did not feel the same intoxicating need for him as she had for Roberto.  What she had felt for him had smouldered in her loins and promised to engulf her.  Keeping a level head around him had been difficult and terrifying. Marietta’s  heart quickened as she recalled the memories. 

    Her Father had hated Roberto, a local waiter and insisted to Marietta that no good would come of a relationship with a “Farabutto” like him. She had weakened to her Fathers wishes and ended the fleeting romance and when Hugo asked for her hand in marriage, she accepted as she knew it would please her Father.  The man who had dedicated his life to her.  She wanted him to be happy as she loved him dearly and her Father knew what was best.  Hugo would give her a solid life and they would always be good friends. Something, her Father had said, was very important.  

“This is the basis from which love grows.”  He would say. 

Roberto stood in the morning shadows as he watched Marietta brushing her hair in the window as he did most days, on his way to the cafe.  He stopped under the shop canopy, rolled a cigarette and lit it, taking his first morning draw. He watched her with dark, wanting eyes as the nicotine rush hit him and made him dizzy; not unlike she had done when he’d first met her.  There was something between them that he’d never felt with other girls and he’d had his fair share.  She was one ‘ragazza calda fumare’ and though so soft and demure, he knew there was something wild wanting to come out of her.  Something for him.  When he heard she was to be wed to that lame, old guy, Hugo, he’d nearly flipped out.  He’d tried to get to her, to plead with her not to waste her life but he hadn’t been able to.  She was like a little princess, protected by her mad, crazy Father and he knew she wouldn’t defy him because she was a pleaser.

Roberto flicked his dying cigarette across the small bridge into the canal and spat out the tobacco remnants from his mouth onto the pavement.  He took a deep breath and felt the rage inside him growing again; getting stronger and threatening to overcome what little restraint he had.  

He already knew that he could not let this girl be ripped from his life. No matter what it took, there was no way on this earth he was going to let that wedding go ahead. 

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