"I have ordered a Kathite guard to keep watch inconspicuously on the shop and inform me the minute she returns. I don't want to intrude on her home, that will only make the resistance flee, I want to talk to her as if I was one of them."
"One of the resistance?"
"Not necessarily. Just a Durman."
"How? Your eyes would give you away."
"No. I have developed lenses which change your eye colour. I can blend in easily."
"You would still have to fill the profile."
"I will. I have experience."
Kristiana smiled at me over the dinner table. She had invited me to take lunch with her and I had accepted. I needed good food after a day of waiting for news.
"I see this situation is in the right hands."
"I hope so."
"I know so. Have you spoken to Celeste yet?"
"Are you concerned that she will deny you? Because let me tell you, you're more pleasing to the ladies than you think..." I blushed and she chuckled. "Or is it that you are unsure of whether you wish to be married to her?"
"I have doubts..."
"Do you love her?"
"I am fond of her."
"So not love then. But where will you find such a beautiful, intelligent woman again? You are the two most eligible people in the city. Marry her before you lose her."
"I wish you would not call me that."
"Yes Kristiana." He smiled and offered her some more food. There was a knock at the door.
A Kathite soldier appeared.
I was shrouded in the clothes I had worn to follow her the first time, but now I wore the lenses, making my eyes the colour of all Durmans as part of my disguise. I wandered towards the shop, taking care not to stride to obviously, or too powerfully. I was a Durman, beaten down by society... I knew the mind set all too well.
I was concentrating so hard on my profile that I didn't even notice the girl until I walked in to her.
"Hey!" She yelled, pushing me.
"Sorry... I'm so sorry." I muttered.
"You!" I looked up. It was her. Safiya.
"Excuse me?" I asked, hoping to cover for a while. I hadn't thought she would recognise me, but then of course, I had told her I was marrying her sister.
"You! What... you're no Durman." She looked around wildly. "What are you doing here? Are you spying on me?"
"What? Girl you're insane." I replied, acting affronted. "I don't even know you but I know I'm definitely a Durman."
"Oh yeah? Well how come you look exactly like the Selvite my sister is marrying?"
"Look lady, you may not have heard of this thing called identical twins, but I'm afraid that I happen to be one of a pair. So you're probably talking about my brother, and you're probably talking about his marriage to 'the perfect selvite' Celeste right?"
"Twins? You're- sorry I just, you're so like him." She peered closer and saw my eyes. "Oh. sorry. Yes, I'm talking about that. Celeste is my sister."
"Well then I'm glad we've cleared that up. Sorry for bumping in to you, but if you don't mind, I think I'll get on with my business now."
"Yeah... I'm sorry I-" The guard knocked her off her feet before the rest of her sentence could be finished. I caught her, looking up outraged at the Kathite but he and his guard buddies had already gone, chuckling. If I had not been undercover I would have reprimanded them. I looked down at her in my arms and was surprised to see how big and beautiful her eyes were as they stared back at me.
"Are you alright?" I asked, helping her to stand properly and checking her over.
"Yes, I'm fine... thank you."
"Well, I did owe you, for bumping in to you. I'm sorry I was so... rude. It's been a bad week. I'm Dmitri, by the way." I stuck my hand out to her, hoping she would believe me.
"Safiya." She replied smiling, shaking my hand. "Would you like to come in for a drink?"
"Um... yes, thank you. I would like that very much." I followed her in to the shop, pleased at myself for reacting so well in surprising circumstances.