Juan Atkins - Rebound
@irtis @down-but-not-out @deathlyhall0ws @sgeorgas
Night was arriving at last, streaking the sky with dark blues and purples, rather than the oranges and pinks that had been painted on the blue canvas just an hour ago. There we were, atop the rocks, equally heaving to catch air after out encounter. I could feel sweat still drenched on my body, my heart racing inside my chest. I could feel Cassia's gaze on my body, her own sounds of catching air still prevalent in my ears. Yet a silence remained between the two of us, only tainted with the attempts we made to steady our breathing. It was always a peaceful silence between the two of us, never a silence we would try to speak over to fill a void we thought existed when silence overcame us. The sounds of waves rolling to shore was enough for us, especially as we both seemed occupied with thoughts that made our minds drift elsewhere.
“We should probably get back to the shore,” she whispered reluctantly, gazing over to me as I lounged on the rocks, “I can run ahead and get Lucius to start a meal for you?”
“I should probably track down the travellers first, there are some matters I must speak with them about.”
I didn't feel like getting up and confronting them, as this moment was so serene and surreal at the same time. I wanted to exist in it forever,
“I’ll help him to prepare the meal for your return, in that case…”
I gave a simple nod, then standing up and moving to where she was still outstretched upon the rocks. I extended my hand so that she could get a firm footing on the ground. We were both slightly weak from the looks of things, but I had to be the better of us and pull the girl I'd just made love to up to her feet. She quickly grasped the still soaked fabric of the robe I'd worn into the water when we had first waded out to this destination.I dove in ahead of her, whereas she slid her petite body into the water, swimming back to where I'd resurfaced.
“Are you tired?” I asked, pushing my dark hair from my view.
“More than I had imagined,” she whispered.
“Come on then,” I announced, swiftly pulling her petite body on to my back by her small hand that I had taken into my own. “Hold on.”
She wrapped her arms loosely around my neck as I began to use my legs and arms to glide us through the water and back towards the shore. When the water became shallow enough for me to walk through it with easy, I pulled her legs up and around my waist, holding her frame with relative ease.
My feet met the sand sooner than I thought whereas she handed me my still very sodden robes. We started our trek back to the inn as we passed through the beach front, the ocean and skyline receding.
“Do you miss Rome?” she asked in a whisper, looking up at me with her wide eyes.
“I don’t think I miss Rome as a city. Surely there are a few things about Rome I miss. But it wasn’t where I was born, so I don’t believe I could ever miss Rome in the way those born in Rome could. What about you, Cassia?”
“…I miss the wine.” she whispered, the two of us sharing a smile in the faint light. Surely we were both in the process of imagining the taste of the sweet summer wines that Rome had to offer.
“As do I. The exotic spices they use here in their wine could never stand to the taste of the wine of Rome. But it will have to do for now.”
We made our way back to the inn, the silence returning, aside from the noise of the city filling our ears. The giggling of women attempting to lure customers to the brothels, pedlars trying to sell the rest of the goods they had on their carts, and the laughter of men who made their way around the city.
Upon returning to the inn, my thoughts drifted elsewhere...
In the back of my mind, as much as I suddenly cared about her, I had to realize that she was in a way using me to get to Fortuna. That was indeed a fact, yet our relationship had taken a mysterious,strange turn immediately after she'd become my ward. I'd suddenly taken into account her needs and desires by slightly giving into my own. I wasn't myself around her, and in a sense I'd been lying to her the whole time about who I really was. She knew me as the proud, mighty Centurion who was taking her to Fortuna. That was all she needed to know.
Or did she? Why would she proclaim in the slightest sense that she would want to be in my company post the expedition? It was no doubt a way to secure a world for herself if things went awry. She didn't want to struggle anymore and I'd been so willing to have her, take her, and let her do the chores that Lucius once had the burden of doing.
In fact, he'd been in her shoes before albeit that he wasn't a prostitute. He was a prisoner of war, a son of an intellectual who happened to be murdered in the greater confines of the former Greek state. Servius had taken him, possibly to serve as a lover in the midst of slave hood as he'd taken many boys before, boys who were unlike Lucius. I'd taken Lucius as my ward after Servius had been away on an expedition to the Asian lands, and soon Servius forgot all about him and all about him being my temporary ward. In fact, I doubt that he even remembers having him as his own.
Lucius needed me in way, yet not exactly. I found myself extending my hand out to those were not my immediate family for the sole purpose that I didn't have any immediate family in Rome. I was alone, emotionally desolate, and askew in my behavior. Nobody needed to be under my reign. Yet she asked for it. I had no idea what to do with myself, so I just wandered off. I think she knew what was tingling in my mind by the way she looked to me as I walked off.
I walked into the inn, pushing past a few of the other guests and ascending up a tall, wooden shaft of a staircase and up to our suite. Lucius was present, glaring out of a prodded open window whereas Numerius was nearby. I looked to him, cautionary over what he'd need to be here for.
"What's going on?"
"Well, hello to you too Manius," Numerius chided with a laugh,"You're in late."
"Nevermind me, what are you doing here so late?"
"Servius sent me to tell you that the travelers wish to speak to you again very soon. Serivus also has told them about the casualties in the valley of Gaul."
I groaned,"We are still in the territory of the Gauls so to speak although this is Roman occupied land. What is it to the travelers?!"
"They've said that word has gone about that our armies have slaughtered their people."
I paused before I started to speak. Another blood bath was mentioned among a very insidious people, yet that meant nothing to me. Surely the travelers knew what had happened at that banquet if rumor got out so quickly...The leaders had attacked us as predicted, roaring their righteous indignations about our armies and the empire before drawing the first sword in combat. We slayed them and slayed their people, which had occurred in a violent ease with the patricians and wards present at the banquet, but it should have absolved to nothing. I rubbed my temples, even more impossible amounts of mental annoyance rushing in quickly.
"What has been surveyed about these people? Do you believe that they'll revolt again?!"
"Not quite," Numerius said,"This land has been occupied by the Roman Naval Fleets for 2 years now. They've started families with our men, mulattoes so to speak. However, I have observed some strange behavior from Amus."
"What has he done?!"
"He came by looking for Cassia, I don't know what that was about, yet he's been about all day chatting with the travelers about you."
"A gossip. Ha! It doesn't matter what he says about me."
Numerius raised a brow, inquisitive none the less,"But Manius..."
"Don't trifle yourself with such information. My, your brain must be filled with better thoughts than that. You think about me and me only, which is admirable, yet think of me in other ways why don't you?"
He looked to the ground, the darkness of the room slightly obscuring his blush. I smiled wickedly at him, patting Numerius on his armored shoulder before taking my seat at a wooden bench like table.
I noticed Val on the corner of my eye, her frame propped up against the door frame of a room that she'd possibly taken up as her own. I didn't even watch her as closely as I used to as she seemed to take care of herself, yet that was honestly beyond me. She was a last minute addition to my troupe of guests, the last and least of my concern. I looked to her, her face slightly revolting at the sight of my dark gaze penetrating her eyes.
"What is it, Val?"
"Hm? Me? I'm fine. How was your day?"
I shrugged, thanking Lucius quietly as he brung me my wine,"I had an immensely pleasurable afternoon. I explored the highest and lowest planes of the shores. They were wizened yet relatively untouched."
The thought of the beach made me think of Cassia, my loins slightly stirring at the thought of penetrating her lithe body on the rocks.
"Master, your clothes! They're all-"
"Damp? I know, I know. I'm filthy, so go prepare my bath."