The Adriano

"Marco! Thank God you're alive!"

Marco didn't turn to face her. She had been crying. He could hear it in her voice, and he hated it when she cried. She stopped short behind him, probably noticing the floppy ears for the first time. Maybe he should have left his helmet on, but there really was no hiding what he was.

"You really are a pig," she said with a note of wonder and not the usual disgruntlement Fierrali said it with.

"I've always been a pig," he flicked his cigarette into the water, "now I just look like one."

He wanted to tell her that he was sorry, that he had tried, but that was a lie. If he had tried, she would have been wearing black for him and not Belenldi, and not shedding nearly so many tears.

"Marco," the faintest hint of exasperation entered her voice.

Good, he thought. She could be exasperated with him, she always was; she could be angry with him, that was normal. Anything else he didn't think he could bare.

She squared her thin shoulders, and he finally turned to look at her. She didn't react at all to his flat nose. She was hidden in a black coat, and her eyes were red from crying, but she was resolved.

"Come have a drink with me," she said, "and we'll talk. I'm still going to buy the hotel."

"What are you calling it?" he asked, following her down the dock.

"The Adriano," she said, as if daring him to disagree.

He stopped with his voice caught in his throat. Why that? Why not something sensible and befitting a woman in morning? But that just wouldn't have been Gina. Instead, she had to pick something that would only hold meaning for her, a pig, and a dead man.

The Adriano. The first plane he had ever owned, and even then, he had owned it jointly with Belenldi. He had honed his skills in that plane and used it to teach Belenldi how to fly. He had taken Gina up for her very first flight in that plane, and the moment her feet had touched the ground again she had announced that she would never be able to fall in love with a man who didn't love to fly. He and Belenldi had both turned bright red at the bold announcement, then he had doubled over laughing while Belenldi had stood gapping.

Until the start of the war, that plane had been his sky and his horizon, his whole world held aloft.

And she was naming her hotel after it.

Why could she not be sensible and name the damn hotel after her late husband?

"Marco?" she turned back to look at him, cocking her head to the side.

"Why are you naming it after that heap of junk?" he shoved his hands into his pockets and began walking again.

"Marco, I loved that plane and so did Belenldi," she sighed in exasperation. "and so did you."

He opened his mouth to protest, then closed it again.

"Do whatever you want," he shrugged. "You always do."

"Thank you," she waited for him to catch up to her, then threaded her arm through his. "Come on, I've got the offer all drawn up, and I wanted you to look at it to make sure I didn't miss anything."

He nodded and let her pull him along. He couldn't bring Belenldi back, he couldn't break the curse on himself, he couldn't mend her broken heart, and he couldn't mend his own broken heart, but he could at least do this, and maybe it would be just enough for one of them.