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

b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>

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?”

“Si, but-“

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.

“A mask?”

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!”

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  1. Oh, you compliment me so 😀
    I hope you do end up making a slightly longer sequel on your own, so that there isn’t a 333 word limit or whatever…
    I like your writing style, so I look forward to if/when you ever end up writing the awkward scene where one character knows something that turns an otherwise normal(ish) situation into giggles 😀
    Also, I’m wondering what profession you imagine Francesca to disguise herself to have… doctor maybe? Would be simple, later in life to put on the beaky mask to hide it 😀 Or maybe some sort of artisan?
    In any case, I love your writing, so I’m glad you do these prompts 😀 Perhaps once or twice a month we should send each other prompts?

    • The awkward “Why don’t you love me, Francesco?!”
      “Ummmm…. because…I… um.”
      … yup, that could be a great scene! or she could throw herself at him at awkward moments, like when ‘he’ is bathing, or getting changed 😀
      Both Francescos are artists’ apprentices to the Maestro artist.

      • lol, in the bath: “What are you DOING HERE? Go away! Go away goaway goaway!”
        XD Many scenes of possibility 😀

  2. Lance

     /  April 12, 2012

    My wife is watching Downton Abbey on Netflicks. I’m struck by how awkward the conversations were during victorian english time. Its like people were unable to read body language. eye rolls sarcasm, and common sense reactions.

    I know that’s not the case, but the proper way of the time really makes me think about how we relate to each other now.

  3. Lance

     /  April 12, 2012

    btw, this was my favorite part: “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.”

    The way that could have turned was exciting.

    great piece.

    • The formality of the time definitely follows a rigid structure. I kind of like it (though I haven’t seen Downton Abbey), since just using a particular style of conversation can bring the era of a scene right to mind.
      Poor Lady Alfreda… not the brightest in the bunch, since she never once questions why her ‘lover’ doesn’t immediately recognise her.

  4. I especially liked the hints of “He feared his secret being revealed.” and the look of horror on the Fat Francesco’s face that did nothing to improve his features. I completely misinterpreted those my first read through, and found them delightfully humorous on the second read through. Really good entry!

  5. Poor Francesco, he was innocent of this woman’s accusations, and left completely unprepared for responding to such an introduction. Meanwhile “Fat Francesco” is also sweating just a bit, while he realizes that his little lie is growing by leaps and bounds in the belly of the woman he ravaged. Great response to the scandal prompt.

  6. Great story and some great dialogue here. Thanks for linking up. Hope you can join us for the weekend prompt which is already up on the site. It’s community judging this weekend, so get your entry in and get voting!

    • The moment the wordcount goes down to 33, my mind draws a blank. my submission would likely be a smattering of words, one from each paragraph I think is absolutely crucial to the plot 😉

  7. Excellent story!

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