(2018-05-19) Family Planning
"A question for you, my possible future sorella. Do you feel you have it in you to be Contessa?"
livino elizabetta 
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Summary:
The Arbore siblings discuss changes coming to the family.
Related:
Misc Info:
rossana 

Amongst the myriad hallways of the Arbore palazzo, Elizabetta strides through them at a crisp, business-like pace. She doesn't even look up from the parchment she's holding, instinctively navigating the maze of corridors and deftly dodging and sidling around the servants, proteges, and scions who go about their daily business. When she finally gets to the central hall, she looks up and about, and lifting her voice, calls out in sing-song tones, "Fratello Viiiiiiinoooo!"

*

It's always a wonder how the Arbore's are able to navigate about so easily - it's years of practice. Which is why, in deference to Rossana's addition to the family in short order, Livino is at one of the tables in the study area, currently sketching out a map to provide to his wife to be so that she will not get.. too lost.. in her new home. However, when he hears his sister calling out, the young engineer lifts his head and then rises to greet his sister with a kiss on the cheek. "Hello, Betta!" he greets in warm tones, gesturing to the seat across from him. "Out for a daily stroll?"

*

"That too," Elizabetta says agreeably, and moves to sprawl in a seat, with little care for decorum. She saves decorum for when it's required. "I have a trade offer from House Necchi that's…interesting. Hanno's got his head in his clouds, but I won't sign off on it until I've consulted with one of the authorities in the family. It might provide us with an opportunity to diversify, but it's not without risk."

*

There's a lift of a brow as Livino sets aside the map for the moment and reaches for the glass of wine. "Necchi. Grains and foodstuffs." he recites from memory. He considers for a moment. "We are on rather neutral terms with them, if I recall?" The engineer takes a sip before sliding the bottle over to Elizabetta to make herself a cup as Livino turns thoughtful. "What is the offer and terms?"

*

"They want us to review, innovate, and produce new farm equipment for them." Betta says, regarding the parchment in her hand. "Refining their threshing equipment, that sort of thing. In exchange, they're willing to provide us with one of their farms or vineyards." She looks back at him. "I took the liberty of securing some stipulations; they would give us our pick of a handful of properties so we'd be able to see what we're getting into in terms of soil quality and condition of the estate, and they would provide us with some of their own experts to help acclimate our people in the proper running of the farm or vineyard."

*

(>-------<)
| Livino (Suspicious) |
| -----— |
| Critical Success! Suspicious |
| -
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| Suspicious |
| Trait: 11 Roll: 11 |
(>-------<)

*

"Are they allowing us to tour their properties before we make the decision? I would not want to go into this with just a list and not knowing exactly what it is that is being offered - doubtless of their reputation of making grapes bloom in desert sand." Livino offers in response. "If you know of the areas, I will trust your decision, however - I would like to know that we are being provided something of use. Land can be fickle." The engineer reaches up to rub at his chin in thought. "Though I have to admit, the challenge of turning plowshares into better plowshares is rather exciting." he finds himself admitting. For all of his skill at the siege, he does enjoy his construction. "And I trust you already have someone in mind to steward this new acquisition?"

*

"Yes, according to the Conte. We're free to inspect them to make sure they're viable. I do admit, the notion of owning a vineyard seems like an intriguing challenge. But it's a decision we should make as a family, as we can assure our quality while a venture like a farm or vineyard is a calculated risk. But I will say that I did not feel any air of deceptiveness from Vittorio."

*

Rossana has arrived.

*

"I do not expect duplicity. But I do admit, that we are not a family known for our farming expertise. Is there an offer for us to purchase their staff as well to maintain this property? Do we know who is currently in charge of it?" Livino offers thoughtfully. "I know the thought of a summer vineyard can be intriguing, but I want to make sure we have the means to maintain, if not better. I am sure there are things we can do with the winemakng technique to improve it, but without the ability to grow proper crop - remember, Betta, our thumbs are hammers, not green." He winks at her as he is still mulling over the idea. He and Betta are sitting at a table - Livino has a partial map drawn out, but it's set to the side as the pair are discussing business.

*

Elizabetta lets out a soft chuff of a laugh, as if she'd ever forget the nature of their family. "I was thinking we could invite the Conte for dinner so we can discuss it. It is an opportunity to diversify, and if he answers your questions to your satisfaction, well then." She's sprawled on a chair, barely on the edge of lady-like.

*

Rossana has partially disconnected.

*

Rossana is shown in with a small package in hand and her usual cheerful smile. Her eyes dance around the room before snapping to the pain at the desk. Dimples on display she approaches the table and says, "Good afternoon, Livino. Signora Elizabetta, it is good to see you again. I'm not interrupting I hope? I brought Livino something." And the package, which looks soft and squishy, is held out to him. Her blue eyes are bright and there seems an air of joy to her today.

*

He never doubted that Elizabetta doesn't know the family better than he might himself. Though he does blow out a soft breath at a thought. "…perhaps we should discuss our brother for a moment, Betta." he says quietly, thoughtfully. "I agree.. it is often.. impossible to get him to speak of events in the house, or of decisions of the house. It was admittedly you that did most of the work for our arrangement with Gaspari. Which.. so you know.. I have no words to express my gratitude. Signoria Rossana is loveley, passionate.. and a match I could have never have hoped for." he comments quietly.

"The vineyard is an opprotunity to diversify. But perhaps, that is not all we should change. I fear that other houses may start to wonder about the state of our affairs if the Conte is always.." his hand flits for a moment in thought, as if trying to find the right word. "Distracted?" However, the words are brought to silence. Speak of the devil, and an angel appears? Is that how this works? Rising to his feet in the wake of Rossana's arrival, he offers a chagrinned smile and a blush that touches his cheeks. "Rossana.." he starts to greet, before lifting his hands to take the offer. "For me?" he asks in confusion, feeling the package. "It's not a puppy, is it?"

*

"If you give him a puppy, you most also give me a puppy. Or just give me the puppy, because Livino won't know what to do with it." Elizabetta must be joking as she straightens in her seat and flashes a smile at Rossana. "Welcome home, or what is soon to be your home. Remind me to take you around at some point; it's easy to get lost in our palazzo if you do not know the best ways." Looking back to Livino, she says frankly, "I'm the next in line after Hanno were he to abdicate. But I don't want it. The House's Conte should be one of its innovators." Her mouth purses in amusement. She has a sense of where this is going."

*

"No, not a puppy," Rossana says with a girlish giggle. "I'd have to take care of a puppy too after all." The package, which feels suspiciously like clothes, is handed to Livino. A seconds hesitation and then she darts in to press a fairly chaste kiss to his cheek. "You gave me a betrothal gift, so this is mine," She says as she trails a fingers across the rough muslin wrapping the rest. "Well, I learned the other day to be careful where you sit, in the courtyard. So I imagine the place is as expansive as our own, only more imaginative." The talk of Hanno has her frowning for a moment in puzzlement.

*

The kiss causes Livino's blush to darken as he brushes his hand against Rossana's for a moment before he draws in his breath. He considers not carrying the conversation further, however, Elizabetta's comment rings true. This will be Rossana'a home, and she is a major player in this. Setting aside the package, he's not going to open it yet. "I was in the midsts of making sure you had a map to the major areas." he starts to say, and then draws in his breath.

"I am aware of that." Now it's Livino's turn to remind that he hasn't forgotten Betta's place in all of this. "Which is why I am talking to you. Because I know your value.. and I would not trade that away, no matter how lucrative the offer is. I want this to be your home as long as you want. However, for that, even if you married, you would end up leaving the home." He frowns a little. "Or we end up with someone that doesn't understand our ways and passions." he continues, before drawing in his breath. "I have been placed in a position for.. well." he glances to Rossana. "..to continue our family, and make sure that Arbore has a future. But if I am the only one to marry. Perhaps I should assure that our place is also secured."

*

"I'm going to marry eventually, but there's no rule that says I have to leave home when I do it. My wedding should be to the benefit of our House, 'Vino. There's no getting around it being a business transaction, and I accept that." Betta's surprisingly relaxed about her fate. If you're asking for my support for you to transcend, you have it. If you need me to sign a formal abdication of position, I'm happy to do that, as well." She looks over at Rossana with a resigned smile. "A question for you, my possible future sorella. Do you feel you have it in you to be Contessa?"

*

Rossana seems a bit surprised when said she had a major place. It makes her blink and look between the siblings. Yes she can sometimes be slow in putting some things together. "I am?" She asks with one raised brow. Then the reason becomes clear and the confusion clears and she offers them both a return of her smile. "Oh…well…yes?" Her eyes dart to Livino and then back. "Though I admit my focus and training has taken me from house management. I can lead an army, but I've no clue how to turn an invention into an investment…I'm willing to learn though." Hands freed of their burden she takes to rubbing her thumb and forefinger together. It is only a little bit of worry in her smile that gives away her nerves.

*

"We do not have to be copies of the other to make this work, Rossana." Livino reaches to take his betrothed's hand and lead her to a seat next to Elizabetta. "As for you, sorella, I am no rush to lose you or your expertise in this house. It is not something I am well trained in, but I know I can handle the production facilities to carry the House into the future. I need your economic senses, you know a good deal when you see one. You know you didn't have to bring this offer to be, and I'm pretty sure you already have asked all the questions I've asked, if I'm correct?" he asks with a chagrinned smile. "Agree to the contract in principle. Make it contingent on the tour, the decision and the offer to provide their staff to us for at least the first three growing seasons. Sound fair?" he asks her, before he nods. "I did not ask to step up into this role, Betta.. but it is one I will take seriously and to heart."

*

"I've already done so." Betta says, adding, "Besides, if we gain an estate and Hanno wants peace and quiet, we could always install him there. I'll include you in continued correspondence with the Conte and see if everyone's obligations make time for a dinner, arrange the tour, all that sort of thing."

*

Rossana manages a little smirk at Livino's comment. "It would be awkward if we were copies," She tells him with amusement. As he settles her into a seat she turns her attention on Elizabetta. "Seems we both have the same feeling on marriage. It will happen sometime, and when it does it will be to better our families. Hopefully when your time comes it is as positive a match as you've made for Livino and I." The young woman glances at Elizabetta's brother and then back. "So what is this estate bit about? I fear I missed some vital piece of information."

*

There's a playful smirk that suggests Livino knew the deal was already there. "Just hand me the proper form to sign. Keep me aware of it and future contacts as well. You are already established, I'm not taking that from you. And I will keep you informed as well when I am approached?" he suggests with a splay of his hands, before he nods. "Only if we want the vineyards turned into a engineering complex." There's a wink at that, before he explains to Rossana. "The Necchi family has made an offer to us of trade. In exchange for one of their vineyards, we will assist with upgrading their production and farming implements."

*

"A vineyard estate, or a farm. I of course, favor wine." Betta chirps sunnily to Rossana. Looking back to Livino, she nods. "I'll arrange the paperwork and post the declaration once Hanno's signed off as well. Which won't be difficult to get him to do; I think he'll be relieved."

*

Rossana reaches up to tuck a wild bit of hair back behind one ear. "Your brother does seem a bit of a hermit, though I don't mean any offense by it. I know some of the best minds were those that hid themselves away." For a moment she seems to consider and then says, "It sounds like a good deal to me. But as I said, some of this stuff goes over my head. I hear wine and go, Yes please?" She blushes as she admits her own foibles, but still she is all smiles and cheerfulness.

*

While the pair of them are sunny and cheerful, Livino has a more serious air. "Either or. Check the prior history, make sure it's not had just a few recent upturns and has been historically poor." he smirks slightly. "Perhaps I should let the two of you handle the tours - after all, Rossana and I will most likely be married by then, and it will give you a chance to introduce the new Contessa around."

*

"This one," Betta sighs melodramatically and waves her hand with a flourish at Livino, "Has me to do the job, then tells me how to do it, Paragons bless him. He forgets I used to swaddle him." (She did not, she was like, two or three when he was born.) "I'd be happy to introduce Rossana around, but you may have created a monster. She and I may spend more time sparring in the courtyard, hey?" A grin is offered to Rossana.

*

Rossana shifts in her seat slightly when that word 'Contessa' is bandied about again. That is not something she ever saw for herself in all those childhood make believe sessions. Getting married? Oh sure that she took fairly easily, but this seems to be making her much more nervous. It also means she is taking it seriously as it should be. Elizabetta manages to soothe the worry away with her comment and she giggles. "I…do believe Livino is nervous and trying to be efficient?" As she says it her eyes are on her betrothed. It's how she would feel, anyway, in the same position. "Aheh. Well, you are far from any monster I have met. And I'm always up for a sparring monster, as long as it doesn't try to eat me."

*

There's a blush from Livino. "I know you have done this longer than I, Betta.. I apologize.." When Rossana speaks up, he nods. This is is his first time at the controls, and it's obvious. "I have always trusted you, sorella." he finally manages quietly. "I did not mean to suggest.." Blowing out his breath, he considers his words and tries to make a little light. "As long as you ease up when she's…" and he can't even say that p-word, it makes him blush too much.

*

Elizabetta bursts oyt laughing. "Vino, Vino, mi fratello, I promise you, I am kidding. You know that if I'm truly irritated or resentful, I will make it clear. You're trying to find your space with this new order of your life. I understand." Looking over to Rossana, she slyly adds, "With child?" There's a wink for Rossana as elder sister mercilessly teases younger brother.

*

Rossana watches Livino fumble with his words and there is an obvious fondness in them now. "I do believe that is what he was going to say. That or pregnant," She admits and while her own cheeks may redden, she remains smiling and cheerful. "We'll have time to get the feel of the others swordplay before then though. Oh! Have you settled on a dress yet for the wedding? Pick something that you can switch into leathers. We're going to have a miniature little tournament for entertainment. Livino was going to make little siege weapons so our guests can fling grapes and berries at one another."

*

"I have already been making them." Livino responds, but his hand reaches to squeeze Elizabetta's for a moment, sharing a moment of fondness for his sister. "I have been in your wrath before, though if I recall, last time, I was bald for a good six months before my hair grew back." he says with a small smirk for his sister and he nods. "I'll try to adjust, swiftly. But not embarass our family. As for you two.. I hope.. holeheartedly, that you two are like sorellas."

*

Elizabetta claps her hands in pleasure. "I haven't. But I promise I won't embarrass either of you. If ther's a fabric or color you want to see me in sorella, let me know and I'll have it made, given enough time. I want you happy in all aspects of your wedding feast." She flutters her lashes at Livino with an air of faux innocence. "I do not know what you speak of. You have a broad imagination." Liar liar pants on fire.

*

"Oh! That…oh my," Rossana falls to her giggles as the length of Elizabetta's ire is revealed. "I shall make an attempt to not anger you. I've not had to cut my hair in a long time and have no wish to lose it," She says, pulling it over one shoulder to stroke. It may be the one thing she is prideful over, her hair. Every girl has something don't they? "Well, my dress will be silver and turquiose with black accents," She says. "If you come to the new clothes shop I can show -you-. It's almost done, and I bet we could find you some fabric that would be perfect for a dress."

*

"She just wants to show off her cousin's designs." Livino says with a smile before he chuckles at his sister. "Oh, give her a couple of weeks, you two may be peas in a pod - and that terrifies me." he winks at the pair before he rises from his seat. "I'll have to rethink that marriage thing, maybe I can get a good bottle of wine for you." he winks, clearly teasing her as he starts to go, offering his arm to Rossana. "May I give you the tour of our home?"

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