This week on Trifecta, the word was
scan·dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\
1 a: discredit brought upon religion by unseemly conduct in a religious person
b: conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith or of religious obedience in another
2: loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety : disgrace
3 a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
I was baffled that the definition that would normally occur to me would be the third definition, but I try not to look gift horses in the mouth. Seriously – gift me with a horse, and I promise not to look it in the mouth. I’ll be too busy squealing in delight and riding my horse.
Despite the fact that I didn’t need to write something related to religion (as in the first definition), it was immensely difficult to come up with an idea. I wrote three different first paragraphs of boring and uninteresting scenes in the Which Witch plotline, along with one in the Necessary plotline. Not pretty.
I turned to my sister, Doodle, to give me inspiration. I would have almost thought she was already working on this particular plot, considering how quickly she came up with the idea (once I cleared up that I wanted a suggestion based on scandal, not just a suggestion.), and thought up some plot points for it.
The painting below is by Jenny Dolfen. Click on the image to see more of her work. It’s all got a great fantastical feel to it, and this one in particular is done in watercolour, which just blows my mind. My attempts at watercolour look like a child’s fingerpainting that got soaked in the sink for a few days. Some people get all the talent.
“Oh, my beloved Francesco!”
The dulcet shrieks of the elegant Lady Alfreda Moretti preceded the clatter of the lady’s slippers as she dashed across the cobbles.
Francesco gaped at the vision before him.
“S-signorina?” he stammered, cap knocked askew as she flung her arms about him. He feared his secret being revealed.
She held him firmly in place as she showered him with kisses, far stronger than she appeared.
Francesco vaguely recalled having once bowed to the lady during an afternoon spent painting in her father’s beautiful gardens.
Sagging under the lady’s weight, Francesco looked desperately for help.
A nun walking by signed the cross and began uttering prayers.
His fellow apprentice, dubbed “The Fat Francesco”, when Maestro’s suggestion of “The Ugly Francesco” had been deemed too cruel, stared at them, frozen, by the fountain. The look of horror on the boy’s face did nothing to improve his features.
“Signorina, please, I fear you are mistaken!”
The girl paused in her affections, moving one hand to clutch at his shirt front, fingers tucked into the linen wrapped under his shirt.
“You are Francesco, Maestro Alfeo’s apprentice?”
Lady Alfreda beamed with happiness. “Then there is no mistake. We made love by the willows on the night of the masque.” Her smile turned coy. “You kept your mask on, naughty boy.”
She clasped his hands. “I am with child. We must beg my father at once to be married or risk scandal and ruin.”
Something of the confusion in Francesco’s eye must have sunk in to the vapid girl’s understanding because she released him warily, taking a step back.
“You compared me to a summers’ day in your poems!”
“Signorina. That is the Francesco you seek.”
He caught her as she swooned, and passed her to her ill-favoured swain.
The Fat Francesco shrugged sheepishly. “Don’t tease me, Francesca. I could have left you to be married.”
“Now that would have been an awkward wedding night!”