Charis offered a sly grin and nudged her friend. "You do...so you can thank your Fortuna for letting us cross paths today." Since she had felt better, more herself, her Gods had been kind to her; putting Cynane in her path and now Aia. She only needed Alexius so she could apologise and she'd have her trio of close friends to confide in, even if it was rarely, at least until the child was born.
"Oh..." She blinked, "I...I...don't know." She swallowed the lump in her throat. She needed to be careful, who knew who was listening? "It depends on my dominus. The child may be freed," She tried to keep the hope out of her voice, "And remain in the h-house, or may not be freed but remain a slave there with me or..." She felt her heart judder and ache against her ribcage, "Or...or it may not be with me for long." Was all she could manage to say. Tertius hadn't mentioned taking the child from her the last time they spoke, but there was no predicting what he'd do. "But Dominus has agreed, at least tentatively, to allow my friend Cinnia with me for the birth which is generous so...I won't be alone, you don't have to worry."
Charis' eyes widened and her lips parted in surprise. For being a worldly sort - having travelled all over the Empire, lived with men, intent to marry one of them in fact, how on earth could Aia be so...naive?!
"You haven't thought of it?!" She asked in a high pitched voice, filled with shock, "Aia you must...all it takes is one time and that's it, you're with child! I...has...have you both been trying to be careful?" Knowing Roman men as she did now (read - intimately) she doubted Aia's lover would be much impressed with the idea of pulling out before his seed was spread. But if he wasn't willing to be cautious, then Aia should have been!
"You..." She sighed, realising that perhaps her advice wouldn't be welcomed, "If you want my advice I would go and visit a midwife...to check you're not already..." She winced, "A-and then get some herbs to make sure it doesn't happen. As I said...yarrow root didn't work but I've heard there is an expensive one...silpha...something, that is supposed to be very good."
Charis smiled gently, although it didn't quite reach her eyes. Good man and solider were opposites to her, but she was glad that Aia was happy. She deserved it, after all she'd been through - and despite their differences, Charis had always liked the woman - even back in Britannia.
She let out a proper chuckle at the description of her domina and arched a brow. "Ahhh I see, but I'm sure you can be...creative, if the situation calls for it?" She chuckled again and as Aia apologised Charis shook her head, "I am...which is why it's nice to talk of other things, but," She placed a hand on her bump, "This one reminds me to warn you to be careful...an affair is easy to hide, falling with child? Not so much." She would hate for Aia to be cast out of her dominas. What if she was? Before her man could marry her? Then she'd be an even less enviable position than Charis was, and that was saying something indeed...
"I...don't recommend Yarrow root...I was taking it religiously and this one still appeared..."
Charis frowned. "Praetorian?" She bit her lip, embarrassed that she couldn't remember what it was. She also bit harder to snap back that Aia could do better than a solider. If she'd known the man in the legion, then that man would have been one of the many faceless bastards who decimated her country, killed her people, enslaved her family. "I..." She swallowed, feeling a little awkward, "Is he...nice at least?"
She did manage a smile though at Aia's words and arched an amused brow, "Ahh yes, the joy of the newlyweds...or...soon-to-be...weds." She chuckled and reached down to scoop a palmful of water up, before splashing it over her face. "I remember it well." She cast Aia a knowing look, "But i thought Roman women had to be all good and meek and wait until marriage? Use their slavegirls until then, of course, for some fun but..." She rolled her eyes, "Your mistress must be in the dark?"
Charis smiled ruefully and glanced across at Aia. "You're the second person I know to have offered that, I'll most definitely keep it in mind." Between Cynane and Aia, and she was sure she could rope Alexius and Thessala in as well - should her dominus ever cross another line...well, she was sure there would be hell to pay. At least in her imagination.
She was relieved, however, when the conversation took a lighter turn. Purely because every time she looked down she was reminded of what happened to her by virtue of the bump, it was a small miracle that she could be distracted into thinking about happier topics. As Aia looked sheepishly and muttered, Charis grinned and gripped her friends hand with excitement. "Love!" She exclaimed. Gods. She'd not felt love in years. How depressing. No Erea, get over yourself. A frown creased her brow though and she glanced at her friend, "Why can you not marry? Is...is he a slave?"
Charis smiled softly and shook her head. “Not hungry, but thank you domine, this was very generous of you.” She uncurled herself from the couch she had sat on and pushed herself up (which was harder work than before, she begrudgingly thought!) until she was standing in front of him.
”I may lay down a little, thank you. The heat impacts me more now than it did, but I will be working again in a little while once the heat from the sun dies a little.” With a smile she set down her cup on the table and with a little inclination of her head, walked from the room. She left, however, with more hope than she had when she had entered. She just hoped she could keep her head down long enough for him to come around to her once again. She needed him to.
Charis chuckled and arched a knowing brow, "You're Cynane the fearsome warrior - you can't always be good. And he'll want to talk to you but..." She narrowed her eyes, "He might enjoy talking to somebody from the Palace, I think he is intrigued more than anything." Because how often was it when one met the personal bodyguard of an Imperial princess? She merely nodded at Cynane's agreement she wished to meet more often. Charis did too - she craved it, in fact, but she couldn't risk doing it covertly at the moment - not with everything at stake.
She merely offered a shadow of a smile at Cynane's sweet words. "But...he might not be freed," She shook her head, "Domine hasn't confirmed it at all and one wrong move and he said he'd take the child from me..." Her voice sounded hollow as she mentioned it, before she continued - already on a dark track; "A-and if something were to go wrong, at the birth, I've heard such horror stories and I try not to think about it b-but it's hard...he'd be all alone, no mother, no father and..." She cut herself off with a little pained choke and shook her head, "I...I'm just scared." She glanced across at her friend, "W-hen you were back in the arena, or before a battle, h-how did you stop yourself? Feeling so terrified?"
She nodded to herself, smiling a little at his comment. It was true - how could she not think of the 'before' when she wore it so visibly now? Her dominus' sudden fascination with Hector made more sense to her the more she endured pregnancy. She hadn't quite understood it at first; the man was intolerably vain and cruel but she now understood that he'd never have to endure...this. Tertius would never have to worry about another illegitimate, slave-begotten child with the blonde fool in his bed.
Her thoughts were scattered, however, at his final words. What could she say to that? She only nodded mutely with a "Yes domine. I...am sorry." Because she was sorry. She had ruined it all, jeopardised her life - but more importantly jeopardised the future of her child and for what? Some spiteful barbs in his direction! That was all! She sad nothing more, he was obviously thinking of her past transgressions and she was in no mood to repeat them by speaking out of turn. Instead, she sipped her wine and kept her eyes dutifully down, spare hand folded on her lap and silent.
Sorry for Charis being quiet and good - let me know if you need more to go off!
Charis sighed and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. She felt a bubble of irritation in the pit of her belly - what else could it be? But she swallowed it down, she knew Aia meant no offence although had it been anybody else (or at least, any other slave, Charis would have had a firm word or two).
"In a roundabout way." She admitted and then moved a hand to cup her bump. "I...didn't wish to fall with child, not his child but..." She shrugged. She wasn't keen on airing all her dirty laundry in public but she was only being truthful. "The Gods had other plans for me and this one so...I'll make the best of it, I always do." She offered a wavering smile to her friend and tried to brush off the discomfort she felt.
"And you? Any Roman men to hate at the moment?"
Charis nodded meekly. A lot to think about indeed. She wanted to talk of what would happen if things went wrong, but equally she couldn't stomach the conversation. How was she to say that she wanted to be buried rather than burned, as was her peoples way? How could she say she wanted her sister there? She blinked back emotion that she wouldn't let him see. Maybe she would write it down. In secret, on the tablet she still had and keep it. If the worst should happen somebody would find it.
His next question caught her off guard and she looked up at him with curious eyes. Did she think about it? Of course she did. How could she not when she bore the fruit in her growing bump? She nodded her head slowly and fluttered her eyes back down respectfully. "Y-yes, domine. I do." She swallowed and fiddled with the stem of the cup she was sipping from. "I...miss it." She admitted, candidly. It should have been a lie but it wasn't. She didn't miss all of it of course. There were large parts which had almost broken her. But in an odd way, yes. Yes she did. She missed the freedom and the lack of guilt she felt, and how...simple things were, even if they were painful simple; lie on your back, let him fuck you and you can do what you wish.
"Do you...? T-think of it domine?"