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Juliette's Folly

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She never liked her own name.

To tell the truth — admittedly, not her best thing — but to tell the truth, that's where it started. Her parents had chosen poorly when it came time for the christening, and she'd never liked her own name.

She'd tried out any number of naming schemes over the course of years — Shakespeare's heroines, royal women, actresses of the RSC. Very few had stuck with her over the course of years.

Well, it was as accurate to say that she had stuck with very little over the course of years. Every new context demanded a new name.

One might as well say that every old context had its own, old name.

Charlotte was an older name than most, one that she had lived in for a long time, one that had been less like an overcoat she put on to move in certain circles, and more like a pair of pants, which age and repeated washing had worn soft, comfortable, and full of holes.

But aside from her parent's poor choice, she'd been Sophie Deveraux the longest. Sophie Deveraux functioned as a calling card among those who understood her special talents, those who knew her as a grifter and a thief.

And in some ways, being Sophie was brilliant, because being Sophie included being so many other people, becoming Ann and Julie and Nihal and Saraswathy and Tia.

And it was good to be other people while being Sophie, because no one trusted Sophie and few liked her. Admired her, yes, liked her, no.

Until that changed, and there were four people in the world who trusted her, maybe even loved her. And it was amazing and freeing and terrifying that these four people really needed her. But it chafed, that they needed her as Sophie. Because, honestly, Sophie Deveraux had no soul. Or, she'd only gained one in the last couple of years.

She told them her name (even Nate, eventually, after he'd been punished enough), shared the name her parents had given her, the one she'd grown up with, the one she could always call herself in her head and know of whom she spoke.

Nothing changed; they needed and trusted and loved her (she now felt comfortable using a word like love) just as much.

And so she let Sophie go, let the veneer of sophistication and mystery and avarice drop away from her like a poorly secured sarong.

For the first time, in a very, very long time, Verity thought of herself as a good person, with a mission in life beyond telling lies and stealing money.

(She still did not like her name.)