SPOILER alert: Don't read if you haven't read City of Masks!
Well, once I was living permanently in Talia, it wasn't only my life that had changed. Arianna was no longer a girl from the islands dressing up as a boy. She was Duchessa of a great city and had to behave with decorum. Another Stravagante came on the scene and I was involved with all kinds of tricky dealing in Remora, the City of Stars. I hadn't seen Arianna for ages and was really looking forward to seeing her. But in the end our meeting didn't go so well:
"‘How was your journey?’ asked Luciano. ‘Very interesting,’ said Arianna. ‘I saw Volana and
Bellona and Giglia. And now Remora. What a fascinating place!’
‘We don’t need to make small talk now, Arianna,’
said Luciano. ‘The others can’t hear us. I missed you. I hate it that we can’t be together without all these people around.’
‘Duchesse don’t spend much time alone, as you are well aware,’ said Arianna.
‘And do Duchesse have so much company that they don’t miss their friends when they are away from them?’ Luciano persisted, smiling.
She smiled back. ‘No,’ she said. ‘Not so much as that. But you haven’t been exactly a hermit. You seem very friendly with the new Stravagante. Has it been pleasant for you to be with someone from your old world?’
‘Not altogether,’ said Luciano. ‘She has brought some painful associations with her.’
Arianna froze beside him. ‘She?’ she said disbelievingly.
‘Yes. Didn’t Rodolfo tell you? Georgia goes to my old school and I used to know her.’
‘So that is how girls look in your world!’ said Arianna with a mixture of curiosity and scorn.
‘Not all, no,’ said Luciano, nettled. ‘Georgia’s a bit different from most girls. And because she wears her hair so short, we decided to pass her off as a boy.’
‘And a good job you made of it,’ said Arianna bitterly. ‘You must have learned that from me.’
It brought back vivid memories of their first meeting in Bellezza, when Arianna was dressed as a boy and furiously angry with Luciano – as she seemed to be again now.
‘Come,’ she said. ‘I must not neglect my hosts.’
And she spent the rest of her time being charming to Gaetano and Fabrizio di Chimici."
I wasn't jealous! Well, maybe a little bit at first. Because I hadn't known the new Stravagante was a girl and she looked so very - different from Talian girls. It was easy to pass Georgia off as a boy. But when I realised her feelings for Luciano, yes, then I did get jealous.
Still, we are good friends now and she is coming to our wedding. If we ever manage to have a wedding.