Amanda looked up from her humanities book.

            "Well?" Jeff Aponte, the humanities professor at the University of Central Florida, asked.

            Amanda smiled, Michelangelo was her favorite, "David is, of course, surprised.  He sees Goliath and is sizing his opponent up.  Michelangelo chose the classical nude of Rome, but not the meek form like previous Davids.  Instead he chooses a well-built masculine adolescent.  I think, in the ideal of the Renaissance man."

            Jeff leaned back folding his arms across his chest.  Smiling at her snidely he responded, "Nice, well thought.  What about Raphael's Sistine Madonna?"

            Amanda sighed.  She loved disputing Renaissance art with her humanities professor. The class, however, was never quite as enthused, unlike them she was a major of the subject. And had put quite a bit of time and patience into learning pieces and evaluating their meaning.

            "Ah Raphael," she thought about the cocky, arrogant artist of the high Renaissance.

            "Why the disturbed look on the faces of Mary and the baby Jesus?"

            "Simple-" she started but he held up a finger.

            "Next class perhaps," he said, "it seems as though we've run out of time today."

            Amanda closed her book and slid it into her backpack.

            "Where'd you learn all that?" Tammy asked tossing an apple to her friend.

            Amanda dropped the book she was reading to catch the fruit.  Tammy sat across the stone bench from Amanda.

            "Ah, I don't know.  Reading, magazines, books, TV…wherever I can get a hold of it, I learn it."

            Tammy nodded, "Ya know for not looking like a nerd, you sure act like one.  You still going to Italy this summer?"

            Amanda nodded, "Yep.  I can't wait.  My Italian tutor says I'm ready to go….completely fluent."

            "Really?  Tell me something in Italian."

            "Why?  You wouldn't understand you uncultured swine."

            "Hey!" Tammy protested.

            "Ah, I'm just messing with you."

            "I think Jeff is really impressed with all you know."

            Amanda shrugged, "I didn't learn it to impress people."

            Tammy nodded, "Sure.  Whatever."

            "Look lady don't mess with me," Amanda nudged her friend playfully.  "Hey are you and Dan gonna bring the baby over this weekend to have dinner with my family?"

            Tammy nodded, "Well, just me and Alex."

            "You and Dan broke up again?"  Amanda asked taking a huge bite from the green apple.

            Tammy hung her head as she nodded.

            "Ah," Amanda scooted closer to her friend, slinging an arm across her shoulder she spouted, "he wasn't worth it anyhow.  Listen let your mom watch Alex, and you can come to Italy with me."

            Tammy smiled brushing a tear away.  "Okay," she rolled her eyes, "I'll just go to Italy."

            "Here, maybe a pit stop in Rome before heading to Florence," Amanda handed her book to Tammy, "we can see the Pieta."

            "Okay Rome first then," Tammy sighed inwardly.

            "That's the spirit."

            "What are you doing tonight?"

            Amanda shrugged, then turned up the corner of her mouth, "Eric is picking me up and then who knows what."

            Amanda lazily looked out the window of her boyfriend's teal blue ford probe.  She watched the raindrops slowly creep down the smooth glass and she was thankful that she was on the inside of the car.  Her thoughts drifted to Tammy and Dan, she thought how many times he had cheated on her…and she still wanted him back.  Then, as always, her thoughts drifted to the Renaissance and Medieval times when romantic love was being born.  She touched the glass as if attempting to reach the moon.  She jumped when she felt Eric's hand slide over onto her knee.  She looked over to him, and his mouth was moving; but she couldn't hear a thing he was saying.  She jabbed out a shaken finger turning off the music blasting form the speakers.  The car instantly stopped gyrating from the overly loud music.

            "What?" She asked.

            "I asked if you were alright?"

            "Yeah, I'm fine," she looked back out the window. 

            He reached out and turned Limp Bizkit back on.  Amanda rolled her eyes.  They had been dating for four years, since high school and now she couldn't help but wonder if they had grown apart.  She turned to look at the punked out man; the boy who used to discuss art with her, and think how far they had come and how close they were coming to falling apart.  She was sick of answering to him, she was sick of following along, she was sick of "playing" the perfect girlfriend, she wanted a man who noticed her, someone who loved her and treated her like a lady.  She sighed as she wondered if Tammy's situation with Dan was worse than her own. 

            "Alright," Eric dropped Amanda off outside her house, "you're coming to my house now right?"

            Amanda nodded, "I'll be right behind you."

            "Good," he winked at her.

            She groaned as she turned away.

            Amanda put herself on autopilot as she attempted to keep up with the probe.  She wondered why she kept herself in this perpetual state of misery when she wasn't in class.  Class was her escape, no matter what class it was.  Museum visits put her in her element, her soul belonged in the world of art, litature, philosophy, education; those things made her happy.  Everyone has their niche, she was just lucky to know hers.

            Instantly she felt something, she wasn't going to follow him.  She decided to break away from the mold.  She turned down a road she had not been down before, knowing Eric would not notice; at least not until he got home and she wasn't behind him.

            She smiled thinking her spontaneous act brave and certainly out of the ordinary.

            Quickly she realized how foolish this mistake had been when her low fuel light came on.

            "Damn it!" She kicked the tire of her car.  She reached in the car and took her backpack from the passenger's seat.  She slung it across her back and started to walk on this secluded street at nearly midnight.  Peeking over her shoulder she got a chill from the cool winter air.  Picking up the pace she began to jog.

            "Where's a pretty little girl like you going at this hour of the night?" She heard a husky male voice ask.

            "Well, I was just…uh…" she stuttered backing away slowly.  She had to cover her mouth and nose from the putrid smell of the drunken man's breath.  As she was backing away she bumped into someone.  At that point she let loose a mortified shriek.

            Instantly someone scooped her up and she began to flail.  She heard a hiss and then blackness.

            "Madam," she heard a distant muffled voice say.  "Madam, can you hear me?" 

            Then another distant voice, this one more softly, "Imagine, being attacked by those brutes."

            "I know, master says he was horrified to find his daughter attacked.  Oh she's awake."

            Amanda looked at the woman before her.  Her eyes bulged in shock, "Where am I?"  She whispered.

            The two women in the room exchanged worried looks.

            "What?" Amanda asked again.  Then it dawned on her, the ladies had been speaking Italian.  She smiled and continued in Italian, "My apologies."

            Both girls gave relieved sighs and one placed a hand on her chest, "You had quite a bout with some ruffians."

            "Did I?" Amanda asked rubbing her head, "It feels like they are running the Texas Derby in there."

            "The what?" The other asked.

            Amanda shook her head, "A figure of speech."  Quickly she sat up, her eyes darted around the room.  The bed was very hard and not very welcoming, but she noticed the hanging privacy curtain around it suggesting style and class, and lovely candles lining the walls.  The furniture was that of beautiful ebony wood, polished and the walls were decorated with, "Botticelli," she whispered.  She slowly stood and went to the only recognizable item in the entire place, her blue and black JanSport backpack.

            "Ma'am, are you quite alright?" The girl asked once again becoming worried.

            "No, where am I?" She asked noticing her dress as she clenched her backpack tightly.  The undergarments of a lady of the court in perhaps the mid Renaissance, she thought.

            "Florence my lady."

            The other girl began pacing back and forth rather frantically, shaking her hands as she spoke, "Oh dear, the duke is going to be furious."

            "Duke?" Amanda asked.

            "Perhaps you should sit," The calmer servant took Amanda's arm.

            "You've forgotten your father?!" The other exclaimed.  "Oh what shall we do Beatrice?"

            "Calm yourself," The woman told her. 

            Amanda looked back and forth between the two girls.

            "Lady Amanda," The lady named Beatrice smiled gently after scolding the younger servant, "I know you have not yet met us, but your father sent for you.  Surely you remember that.  You are of the house Juszkowski, Dukes of Poland?"

            Amanda nodded, "Of course."  Amanda furrowed her brow, how had this happened, and how did they know her name…her whole name and its nationality. 

            "Good," Beatrice smiled gratefully.

            "Beatrice!" They all jumped hearing the powerful male voice, "Mary!  Is Amanda awake?"

            "Yes, My Lord," Beatrice opened the door.

            "Good.  Leave us." Both girls bowed and turned quickly disappearing behind the door.

            The man strode across the room leaning on the window and peering outside.  He was a distinguished gentlemen, perhaps in his late 40's.  He well-defined chest heaved a great sigh.  Amanda stared shocked at the high quality of his garb. 

            "Hello," he told her.  Quickly he spun on his heels and tossed her driver's license at her, "don't be surprised."

            "Oh but I am, what's happened?"

            "I saw you being attacked last night.  My name is John Christopher.  I am a researcher in time travel.  I had no other way of getting you out of there, and I wasn't going to let you die.  This is just where we ended up, I took your name and made us the royal family from Poland so you wouldn't be so surprised when you woke incase I wasn't here."

            "Here?" She asked in a horse whisper.

            "Florence, 1505."

            Amanda leapt up and dashed over to the window, "Really?" She smiled excitedly.

            "Listen it's not so wildly exciting.  It was very dangerous what I've done for you.  And I can't take you back now, it's going to be awhile.  I must come and go.  Acting as Duke and as a scientist.  The research must go on.  I've provided this place for you to stay, plenty of funds and a wardrobe of clothes.  It's very difficult to find your size…you're awfully thin."

            "Thin?" Amanda poked her stomach.  She had never thought of herself as thin, she was never thin; but never overweight.  She as a stocky girl growing up, she was athletic and muscly.

            He nodded with a grin, "For the time, my dear…yes."

            Amanda sighed, "Of course."

            He nodded, "I did a research on your family, you and your life when we arrived so that I might better make a life up around you and see how safe you'd be here.  Fortunately I chose the right period for a person such as you.  You will be self sufficient here, speaking fluent Italian and having ongoing knowledge of the Renaissance."

            She nodded as he spoke.

            "I must go, Mary and Beatrice will remain with you.  Remember that it was not uncommon for a foreigner to have two servants.  Good luck."

            "When will I see you again?" Amanda reached for the man as he mad a dash for the door.

            "When the time is right and safe." He answered, "Oh, and I do not find it necessary to take your school books away, however keep them under tight surveillance."

            "Yes," Amanda paused and then smiled devilishly, "Father."

            "John Juszkowski," He said standing in the doorway.

            "What?" She asked.

            "My name."

            She nodded, "Right, John still."

            He winked and turned.

            "Father," she called.

            He stopped but did not turn.

            "Thank you, for saving me."

            "My pleasure Amanda," he smiled.

            Beatrice and Mary both scooted back into the room once the "Duke" had vanished.  Amanda stared at them for several long seconds, then her face parted in a wide smiled, "Awesome."

            "Pard'me?" Beatrice asked.

            Amanda shook her head and said, "nothing."  She spun on her heels and dashed for the open window once more.  She looked out on the streets of 'modern day' (for the Renaissance) Florence.  Beatrice and Mary looked to one another.  Beatrice smiled, "The land of anew finds you curious m'lady?"

            Amanda nodded, "Oh yes."  She turned to look at them her long dark hair sweeping around her shoulders, "Let's go out there."

            The two nodded, "Yes m'lady, as soon as we prepare you for the day.  Which gown will you wear?"

            Amanda went to her closet and swung the doors open.  Her eyes had never seen so many lovely gowns.

            Beatrice walked up slowly reaching out a hand she touched the lace on one of the gowns, "You Polish have quite an eye for fashion.  I have not seen such lovely apparel, and neither will have Florence."

            Amanda pulled a red velvet and white lace gown from the closet, "This is my favorite."

            Mary disappeared from the room only to appear moments later, "Your bath is ready m'lady."

            "Thank you Mary, I shall be there momentarily," Amanda smiled.

            Mary bowed, "We shall prepare your gown while you bathe then."

            Amanda stepped into the tub and sighed, "Ah, warm water."  John must have made us extremely well to do, she thought, only the richest people receive warm water baths, two servants, and at least twenty beautiful gowns.  My prayers must have been answered.

            Mary and Beatrice had a wonderful time designing Amanda's hair up in intricate swirls and twists.  They tied her corset and put her shoes on for her.  She wondered how long she could handle this waiting on hand and foot, she was definitely not accustomed to it…and it would certainly take some getting used to.

            She finally slipped on the dress to finish off the preparation, two and a half hours after they had begun work.