Lucrezia had transferred to join her older brother in the last year of her degree. Cesare had spent two productive years establishing a reputation as a reclusive but charmingly sarcastic intellectual with a penchant for ruining the reputations of freshman and cocaine; his party philosophy was one that exclusively followed the go-hard-or-go-home line of thought, and though he often chose to go home - to study the ins and outs of Machiavellian politicking or the economic theory behind manipulating sovereign debt, or some other obscure text - when he went hard, he went very hard indeed.
After those initial two years, he had taken off for a year, disappearing into the abominable aether of South America where there were rumours of revolution building. Indeed, it was whispered that he only came back at all because Luzrezia had promised to come join him at college, moving from her finishing school in Switzerland to be with him.
This was how they both happened to finish their degrees at the same time, and in the same place, despite the disparity in their ages. After Cesare returned from his travels, he was a changed youth, more mad, more wonderful, and more like her, or perhaps she was the one who had always been more like him; her whirling, hurricane child social fluttering a different way of trading on her social power.
With Cesare though, she was wilder, especially after the infamously violent break up with Alfonso.
Because colleges, especially the wealthy ones, are such hotbeds of restless humanity, places where even the most innocent of minds are corrupted by the splendor and squalor of potential scandal, the exclusive, extravagently affectionate closeness of Lucrezia to her brother inevitably gave rise to rumours of a less than appropriate relationship between the two siblings.
They had sleepovers on the open green; more than once being discovered curled up body to body under one blanket and the moon. Old college seniors, when pressed, would delightfully confess to having participated in drunken and naked frolics in the lake with the both of them, or retell stories of the sibling pair leading merry bands of students on adventures ranging from the ridiculous to sublime. Nobody is quite sure whether the one about the chestnuts is true, but what is true – or so they say – is that they have for sure, no question, I heard it from a friend of a friend, have no problem with watching.
Never but never was any sexual indiscretion between them observed firsthand, but the fact of their beauty, their unreserved wildness, the way they were always touching in strange and intimate places like the fine tendon at the base of her neck in the library, or the curl of his bicep on the sports field during a timeout, her feet settled in his lap at coffee, his arm slung around her waist to tickle her hip as they strolled like gods through the campus.
And then there was how they would dance together in the clubs, like no brother-sister pair ever really would, how she was the only one who could insult him without deadly fear of some accidental blackmail spilling out into the general circulation, how she never really seemed to date anyone for very long at all, but spent all her down time in his room, curled up in his imported four poster bed.
All this was more than enough for the damned to damn them.