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THE nymphet wandered the streets of Verona alone. Covered in the soft pastel blue fabric of the cloak her father had made her, she gracefully skimmed through the city, yonderly gaining the attention of many wondering eyes. Her eyes, however, were filled with pure curiosity and excitement. It was not everyday her father let her out into the city to run some errands for him. Alone, at least. She was ecstatic. Remembering her father's words of the list of foods she needed to find in order to feed her father, brother, and herself, she skipped over to Antonio, the friendly baker who always greeted the girl with a bright smile.

    "O! Bluebell, my dear! How nice of you to visit me. Would you like the usual, my sweet?" the man asked softly, as if speaking to a small child. She grinned, showing off her pearly whites in the process.

    "Yes, Please! How's your wife, signore?" she said, causing the baker to smile at the thought of his wife and two children.

    "They are very well, thank you for asking. And here are two loafs of pane for the bella," he said handing the loafs to the small creature in front of him. She took a sniff smelling the freshly baked goods and took out her payment for the baker.

    "As always, you are the best baker in this whole city!" Bluebell laughed and skipped off, but not before giving the man a soft peck on the cheek. He just laughed and watched the female move towards the city.

    After a mere three minutes, she reached the stand of the farmer's wife, who sold berries, fruits, and herbs. This was by far Bluebell's favorite stand. She loved seeing the colors of the fruits and the smell of the herbs enveloping her senses. She looked at the pretty lady behind the stand, and found her reading a book. She had not noticed Bluebell yet.

    "Excuse me miss, could I have a bundle of strawberries and one of basil, please?" The lady just nodded and started gathering the things asked for. She gave them to the girl to put in her small basket and sent her off with a smile. Seeing as she finished getting the things her father had told her to get, she once again wandered the streets, but this time, without a purpose. She walked and walked, occasionally smiling at the citizens, or waiving at some of her father's friends. Her father was a well known man, everyone loved him. He was charismatic and kind, but after her mother's death, his eyes wouldn't shine as bright, that is until he was with his precious daughter. That was the only thing keeping him from giving up on life. His little girl.

    She was not so little now, at sixteen, with long raven hair, doe eyes, plump pink lips, and soft curves. Sure, she was little in height and still acted like a sweet child, but her body was that of a nymph or goddess. She never noticed the lustful eyes of men directed towards her. She was naive and thought nothing bad or sinful existed in the world. How wrong she would be about that.

    By the time she had been through out all the city, it was almost sunset. She was close to the woods, on her way home. She suddenly stopped when she saw white fur jump behind the trees. She followed it, and what she saw behind the tree warmed her heart. It was a small rabbit looking up at her from the ground. She tried to reach her arms out to carry it without dropping her basket, but the animal sprinted away, but the girl was determined to feel the rabbit's soft fur between her fingers, so she ran off after it. She stopped after a while to catch her breath. She was facing the ground holding her stomach to try to control her breathing. Once she looked up, she was simply breathless, yet again. This time, however, was not due to running, it was due to the beautiful manor before her.

    It's wall's were an antique white color with many windows. There were vines with the most delicate blue flowers growing near the base. The entrance was huge, similar to a castle's. In fact, the manor itself looked like a castle. It was giant, with marble pillars and a grand staircase leading towards the main door. Rose bushes were neatly trimmed and lined in front of the manor. The grass was the greenest she had ever seen. Everything looked straight out of a fairy tale. As she looked into the windows, her ebony eyes met onyx ones.

    The owner of the dark irises looked like a god, staring down at her from high above. His nose was straight and long, making him look elegant. Lips light red reminding her of raspberries. A slight stubble covering his strong chin. She felt something foreign coming from deep within herself. They kept staring at each other for what felt like centuries, but were actually seconds. Their staring was cut short when the girl heard her name being called from the woods behind her.

    "Bluebell! Bluebell, are you hiding here? Come out! Padre is extremely worried!"

    It was her brother! She faced away from the strange man and turned around, finding her brother a couple of feet behind her, his back towards her.

    "Marcos!" she called just loud enough for her brother to hear her. Her brother turned around and faced her. She saw her brother walk to her with an angry face. She was scared. Her brother rarely got angry at her. Once he finally reached her, he took his sister's wrist in his hand a bit roughly and pulled her towards him.

    "What the hell were you thinking, Blue? You could have hurt yourself out here in the woods! Or worse, someone could have taken you. What you just did was stupid, you hear me!" Marcos screamed at her face. By now she was teary eyed. She hated when yelling was directed towards her. She felt so small and weak, like she couldn't do a thing. She burried her face into her older brother's chest, trying to find comfort.

    "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to worry anyone. I just saw a rabbit and wanted to pet it! Please forgive me, fratello!" she sobbed into her brother. She heard him sigh and wrap his arms around her. He reached a hand to pet her hair and gave the crown of her head a little kiss so she would calm down. He backed up a little so they were face to face. He took her face in his hands and made his sister face him, wiping the tears from her eyes with his thumb.

    "It's alright, dolcezza. It's alright. You just had us worried for a minute. You are safe now. Let us go back home Blue, we've had a long day," she nodded and took her brother's hand. She turned to look at the man once again, but she had been too late, as he was already gone. She yearned to see him once more but without a word, she followed her brother to their home.

❀ ❀ ❀

    Hand in hand, Bluebell and Marcos arrived at their home. Marcos knocked on the door and gave his sister a smile of reassurance. They heard strong footsteps and then their father opened the door with a worried expression. But that soon turned to relief when he laid his eyes on Bluebell. Taking her into his strong, warm, arms, he ushered them inside and continued to hug his daughter.

    "My little ragazza. You had your padre worried sick! I'm so glad you're back in my arms" he said while slowly taking the breath of the fragile nymph.

    "Papá, I cannot breathe!" she laughed, while attempting to push her father off. He pulled away after a few seconds and gave her a loving kiss on the forehead.

    "Sorry, sorry. Go get cleaned up and ready for bed, little Blue. It's getting late. Goodnight and sweet dreams. You too, Marcos, get into bed, my boy. I'll too go in a bit." He announced to both his children with a small smile. They kissed their father goodnight and each went to their rooms.

    Once in her room, Bluebell gently took her clothes off and walked over to her dresser, where she pulled out a light pink nightgown. She pulled it on and headed to bed. Once her head touched the pillow, she thought of the onyx eyed man she had seen earlier today. She hoped her 'sweet dreams', as her father said, contained the man who took over her thoughts.

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