“So,” Raicha started. “Sahmin Bahlaru.” It was the first time since the wedding that she’d had the chance to talk to Camilia privately, and her curiosity was killing her.
Camilia smiled a little, and took a sip of her wine. A bead of condensation ran down the side of the glass. “Charming, isn’t he?” Camilia’s head turned toward where he was standing by the fountain, talking to one of her half-brothers.
“He is,” she agreed dubiously, looking at him. He was, certainly. Pleasant, acceptably good looking, of excellent birth, entirely appropriate in every respect. Camilia’s choice had relieved and disconcerted the nobility in equal measure, depending on how well they really knew her. She could see out of the corner of her eye that Camilia’s nose was wrinkling in amusement.
She recognized that expression. Her suspicion deepened. “Camilia, what are you up to?”
Camilia’s mouth turned up, but she shook her head. “Raicha, really.” She motioned lightly for one of the servants to adjust the awning above them where the sun had moved around the edge.
One of the late Emperor’s lesser wives swept past, looking as pinched as she had ever since Camilia’s coronation. A sudden thought struck Raicha. She put her head back against the chair, and touched her sweating wineglass to her cheek. It was probably marring her paints, but it felt good all the same. She tilted her head. “I’m told Aila Sino is taking a second husband to administer the estates she just inherited.” It wasn’t common for a woman to take multiple husbands, but…
Aha! That earned her a slanting glance from those sharp green eyes, pregnant with mischief. It was as good as a confidence, that look. Raicha started to laugh softly. “To your wedding, my dear.” Camilia, still twinkling, solemnly clinked her glass against Raicha’s. Raicha subsided into her chair, grinning. They lay in companionable silence while Raicha began to review all the scandalously inappropriate men of their acquaintance in her head.