Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#11
Ette had plenty of reasons to be upset at her own misfortune, or even to blame God for her circumstances, but it was difficult to even think of herself when another person needed help, especially a woman bringing another innocent life into the world. With more than half of her life spent at Repit Doux taking orders and giving, giving, giving until her back was sore and she could barely stand, she still enjoyed assisting others.

“My name is Ette,” she said smiling. She could share details that she was a true Winchester, that Thomas had given her that name when her slave papers were updated, and she had been freed by him, but the surname would have sounded unusual since she was not a relative, nor Lord Winchester’s wife.

“I have tried it, but not until I was older. I’m from the caribbean and I grew up on beans and rice. Sometimes chicken and definitely fish, though meat was not as prevalent where I lived. When I lived in London that’s when I tasted chocolate and European pastries and treats. Like you, I grew up rather poor.”

If anyone didn’t judge it was the House Matron, though she did wonder if Gian would end up marrying the woman. That was the right thing to do, but in her experience men didn’t always do the right thing. Certainly her relationship with Lord Winchester was a testament to that.

“You let me know if you get hungry. We have both chocolate and biscotti here. In the meantime the tea should refresh you a bit.”

@Bella Maria Martinelli
word count: 271

Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#12
"You are Ette Winchester?" She really needn't have asked that... After all, what are the chances of there being more than one "Ette" in the Winchester residence... But she figured out that though the woman acted like she was the Mistress of the house, she probably wasn't. She knew nothing of slave or servant culture and now wondered if Ette was a freewoman or a servant at the least... She hoped she wasn't a slave, for no person should be a slave. "Gian actually asked me to come to you... He wants me to buy some clothing, fit for the Lady of a Palazzo..." She recalled the look in his eyes on that day that he thought she was going to walk out. It had hurt for her to see, her mouth kind of flattened at the thought of his face in anguish. He hadn't asked right then for her to be his wife... That had hurt too.

The expression on her face shifted as she came back to the present, shook her head a little at herself and then said, "Perhaps I can take you up on your offer... I know I probably could eat something." She actually kind of drooled at the thought of the treat, and so, apparently, did the babe, for her belly growled loudly again at the thought of something so delicious. She would not want, however, to be an imposition, and she had already felt odd about having taken the gown as she had.

But it was hard for her to accept gifts in general... After all, it was a new concept for her, growing up the way she did... She did not get gifts, she was given things out of need. Like her clothes... The nuns gave her clothing because she needed them, and they were far from fancy. "Grazie... You are very kind to do all of these things on my behalf, Ette. I am not so used to this."

@Ette Winchester
word count: 334
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Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#13
“Oh?” she exclaimed softly and then, “Gian is a smart man who knows that he has no place picking out clothing for a lady. Especially one that is connected to this household.”

She did not mean to sound snobbish, and hoped she did not give off an air of superiority, but it made her chuckle to think of Signore Foscari attempting to dress a woman.

Bella’s quiet charm and gratitude assuaged Ette’s perpetual anxiety over being an African woman in a white household. Was she ever going to shake the feeling that she was some kind of outcast in this European-centric city? Bella certainly helped to get her closer to seeming less like some kind of undesirable to be shunned by the community at large.

When the lady admitted she wanted something to eat, Ette rose and kindly whispered to Ianthe’s servant and while the maid turned away with a sharp pout, it seemed not to phase the House Matron. She only said, “Coming right up.”

Sitting down again and smoothing her skirts around her she said, “Thank you Signora. I am very lucky myself to have met Lord Winchester who freed me from my bonds of slavery. But I try not to take it for granted.” She turned to the window as though the memories was painful and difficult to recall but when she faced back to Bella, her face had the same calm smile.

“I know exactly what it’s like to have nothing. And to not know my family.” With one graceful nod of her head she finished: “If you are with Gian and bringing another Foscari into the world, you are part of our family now.”

If there were any rumors of Thomas Winchester’s ruthlessness, Ette Winchester was certainly a testament to his most honorable side.
@Bella Maria Martinelli
word count: 308

Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#14
"I... honestly do not know what to look for, either. I am used to dressing for practicality, I never imagined I would be marrying someone like Gian." The statement still kind of left her breathless when she thought about his proposal and how he did love her. "Oh! A gown for marrying! Oh my goodness..." She started to fan herself. The whole thing was still new and a shock to her, for it had only been a short time since he declared his intentions... after confusion, anyways.

Bella didn't think of Ette as being a snob at all. She was in awe at the kindness the woman was showing; she felt a warmth growing within her for the dark beauty who was so lovely to her during her indecision about food, even. Her patience made Bella feel better and start to relax over time.

"I hate the thought of someone as lovely as you having endured slavery. It's barbaric!" Her voice raised a little in dismay that her new friend had, at one time, BEEN a slave. It kind of angered her, actually. "Lord Winchester is a kind man, indeed, to free you from those wretched shackles." She would probably be surprising when in such a state of mind. With her soft spoken and sweet nature, Bella was not one to grow passionate about political or ethical issues.... But if any would piss her off? It was cruelty from one human being to another, especially in the physical sense.

And then Ette said something that caused Bella to stop breathing. Family? She was part of a family? Oh my... This was all so much to take in! Of course, she would have a baby soon, and a husband... She did not know he brought with him an instant family, however, and her expression spoke volumes again. Family...

Bella couldn't help what she did next. She got up and moved over to the woman the way a daughter would a mother, and embraced if Ette did not stop her.

@Ette Winchester
word count: 343
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Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#15
“I have this feeling that Gian would marry you if you happened to be wearing a grain sack, but that’s just me. Don’t fret. You’ll have a beautiful gown on your wedding day.”

Ette smiled at Bella’s outrage over her having been a slave. “If only the world was filled with such kindness, Bella. Sadly, it’s not. There are many in Venice that would be satisfied to see Africans like me back in bondage.” She nearly admitted that even Lady Winchester seemed to resent Ette's freedom, but the House Matron was extremely careful of talking poorly of Ianthe - too many eyes and ears, even with Daniel gone. Plus, it’s not up to me to poison the well, she thought. Ianthe does that far too well on her own.

“Lord Winchester is a kind man. You may hear things about him… about his reputation, his temper… I caution you to keep an open mind. He is very kind to Gian and has shown me nothing but respect.”

At the warm embrace from the woman who nearly trembled with emotion, she squeezed her gently, rubbing her back with a maternal hand. “Oh Bella,” she laughed. “I have hardly done anything to warrant such affection, but I’ll accept it just the same.”

She shooed Gian’s paramour back to the sofa as cicchetti was served by Ianthe servant, a wide variety of meatballs, artichokes, eggs, polenta, fruits and cheeses. Ette helped herself to a spritz of champagne and pomegranate juice, topped with an orange slice. She was a Winchester after all and they did enjoy their cocktails.

@Bella Maria Martinelli
word count: 275

Re: A Quiet Intermission at the Winchester's

#16
"Do you?" she asked, her eyes dancing merrily as she thought of wearing a grain sack in front of Gian. Of course, he would love her regardless, but she knew he wouldn't be happy if she was dressed poorly, he'd already stated he wanted the best for her. But still, the thought was quite amusing and it made her laugh a very pleasant sounding laugh.

Then she sobered up when it came to the slavery thing, and she muttered, "God did not intend for man to own man." Bella flattened her lips. "I could go on and on about how the bible says things, but I am sure you have heard it," she continued, then sighed.

As far as the gesture went, she said, "You don't know... I was abandoned as a child. I had never had a family up until Gian found me." Her eyes were serious as she settled down for food. And then she eyed said food with her belly interjecting eagerly, dictating what she chose and when. She took a bite of the food and then sighed happily at the flavor of olives. She had never tried those before, and they were amazing at that moment in time.

After chewing and swallowing a few bites of food, she said, "I do not judge anyone, for I would not wish to be judged. I am sure Lord Winchester is a fine man. I know he has done things to help Gian."

@Ette Winchester
word count: 249
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