Lenny picked up the phone and whispered a hello into the mouth piece. She heard the frantic voice of her grandmother on the other end, asking her if she was okay and if she had been hurt at all. Lenny hadn't known what Benito had said to them, but she wanted to reassure them for fear of them worrying about her. There was one thing that had been plaguing her, since she had returned to the Palace and that was the mystery of her parents death.
"Grand mama, what happened to my parents?" she said bravely.
There was silence on the other end and the sound of a phone being passed around, the next voice she heard was her grandfather.
"Lenora, I had hoped we would have been sitting face to face when I tell you this but of course, with obligations, this is probably not the best of circumstances, so I will begin from the beginning. I hope you have a comfortable place to sit, because we can be here a while," his Imperial began, "What do you know of your parents Lenora?"
"I was told my parents died, therefore being in foster care ever since I could remember," Lenora said on a breathe.
"Your parents did not die, not immediately... the thing is, it is hard to explain on the telephone but your parents were not who you perceived them to be, they did justice to this country but unfortunately they suffered a great injustice in their personal lives. Your mother, my daughter was Princess Clarissa De Luca and she had fallen in love with a man, who was a suspect in a case... we thought he did dealings on the Black market etc, those dealings I will not get into right this minute but it turns out, we had gotten our wires crossed, the man she had fallen in love with was a half of one... he had a twin brother, that twin brother had killed them out of jealousy, rage and we have searched for so long... and now we have found him, together with the evidence we need to put him in a cell," his Imperial said.
"But how... how come I lived?" Lenora said without thinking.
"Your mother found out about what her husband's brother was doing and begged him not to hurt you, he sold you off on the Black Market and you somehow ended up in London to parents that loved you, but they tragically died in a car accident.... we finally tracked you down, after I asked Benito to watch you for some months, make sure you were out of harms way... and then asked him to take you here to us, have you home," his Imperial said on a sigh.
"Right and Benito... how long was he watching me for?" Lenny asked.
"Several months," his Imperial replied.
"So I was being stalked, is that it?" Lenny said fury in her tone.
"No, I wouldn't call it being stalked, he was simply a guardian- to watch over you. You are our long lost jewel in the crown, we had to protect you... you are our link to what was taken away from us," he said with grief in this tone, "I'm just sad that you had to find out this way... that your life has started on such bad ground that we hope you stay here and stay with us."
"I don't know what to think anymore... I just want to not be here..." Lenny began and her grandfather spoke softly, interrupting her.
"Perhaps you should see more of Italy, perhaps it will convince you to stay... that what we have, will fill the void you are so experiencing and enlighten you of the ways of our great nation," he said pressingly.
"I... I don't..."
"Please Lenora, please do this one thing for me and your grandmother," his Imperial pleaded.
"I guess, I'm just going to have to... won't I?" she sighed.
"Thank you, that is all I ask..." and his Imperial smiled into the phone.
He found her sitting by the fountain, staring blankly at the ripples of the water the fish were making as they went up for air. He had been watching her from his bedroom window for fifteen minutes, she had looked so sombre, even Isabella her maid in waiting had mentioned the difference in her. She hadn't spoken a word to anyone since the conversation to her grandfather, the Imperial over the phone and he wondered what they had spoken about. He didn't have to wonder long because his phone had started ringing and the Imperial wanted one last thing from him, before he released him of his duties, that he take Lenora to Tuscany and the surrounding cities. He made it a rule, never to bring business home, but then he'd long broke that rule when he'd made love to the Princess. His gut was tied up in knots, every time he saw her, he had to calm himself down, this was so unknown to him, this feeling.
The Imperial had told him that Lenora wanted to leave Italy and return to her life in London, but he refused to let it end up that way. That acknowledgement made Benito's heart jump into his mouth but the Imperial was adamant that Lenora see what Italy had to offer and he refused to let her go, not without a fight and that was what he wanted of Benito. He wanted him to take her to Italy and show her around Tuscany and it surrounding cities. He wanted him to take her away from the craziness of the last couple of weeks, the last few years of grief... he was putting all of his hard earned searching of his grand daughter and was putting it into the hands of this one man. Benito was far from wanting to disclose to the Imperial that he had seduced and made love to his grand daughter- that information was between him and Lenora and there was just no way, it was going to be made public to him.
He approached her, his hands in his stone linen trousers, his hair tousled and his eyes never leaving her face which was partly in shadow now, as the sun had disappeared behind the Palace building.
"We need to talk," he said simply.
She didn't look up at all but replied sullenly, "What orders has my grandfather given you now... seduce the Princess and make love to her and perhaps leave her in the morning, for her to make up and realise there's a million other things she should be more worried about, like the fact that her past is even more inconceivable then she thought it was?"
"Lenny, that was my un-intention..." he began but he was rudely interrupted.
"Please spare me your lies... I don't want to hear your explanation... everything I thought, everything I believed in was a lie... I've had it up to here with lies..." she said.
"I did not lie to you... yes, of course your grandfather asked me to come out of retirement for my help in getting you here... but this... us..."
She stood up and looked at him sternly, "What part of, I don't want to hear it, did you not understand?"
"Fine, we might not talk about this now... but we will when we get to my Tuscan villa," he said.
"No, I'm not going anywhere with you..." Lenny said with alarm.
"Actually, you are.... you gave your grandfather your word... so I suggest you go up to your room and pack what ever you need, because we'll be leaving first thing tomorrow morning."
"I'm not happy about this..." she said stamping away.
"And at this rate, neither am I!" he said to himself.