Vibia grinned against Aurelia's kiss and moved to tangle a hand through her hair, hoping that this would be the last of the game. She only had so many false secrets, after all. Unfortunately for both of them (given what Aurelia was paying for an afternoon of her company, Vibia estimated she really wasn't getting her money's worth), the older woman pulled back. Vibia arched a brow, moving her fingers to stroke softly over her cheek - feigning interest; "Oh? New rules?" She grinned and offered a girlish giggle, as if this was the most entertaining thing she'd heard all day.
It was an interesting proposition, she'd give Aurelia that. She sold secrets on her clientele to no fewer than three people; her handler at the Collegium, Titus Aspanius Lupus and Titus Cornasidius Sabinus - although mercifully the latter hadn't been around in a while. But Aurelia was different; better in character than the others but ultimately - she suspected - far less discrete. Even with the Titi she felt they understand what could and could not be said, and wouldn't repeat it. Aurelia's loose lips held no such caution. Impishly, she wriggled under the woman and allowed her fingers to be kissed. "Oh you must try much harder sweet Aurelia." She chided lightly, "If you think my secrets so easily bought - I'd have no clients at all." Half of the depraved things she'd done in her time in the Venus were to married men whose careers were most definitely going to be ruined if said secrets ever got out.
She continued to stroke at Aurelia's cheeks, every now and again brushing strands of hair behind the other woman's ear. "You wouldn't want me to risk losing my job, would you? I'd end up on the streets if I told and somebody found out, and what sort of place is the streets for somebody like me, hmm?"
Vibia choked as she was pushed down onto the couch and Aurelia gazed down upon her. She could feel her breath, warm and smelling of wine and something indefinably Aurelia-esque. She moved her hand to the other woman's hip - although every now and again it trailed down to the curve of her backside. "Cock suffocation?" She grinned and arched an eyebrow up, "You're with the wrong whore for that, sweet Aurelia." Of course she had items that could double up should Aurelia be interested, but it was crude to mention it and whilst she was a prostitute she wasn't so cheap.
"I couldn't imagine anything worse than being a mother." She wrinkled her nose at the thought. That one was at least honest. With the amount of contraceptive tisanes she took, fortunately (as far as she was aware at least) nothing had taken root in her womb and the Gods had smiled on her in that regard.
"Hmm, my turn." she said and moved her trailing hand back from the woman's rear to her face, lightly brushing dark hair from her face and tucking it behind her ear tenderly, "I could tell you all sorts of naughty secrets about all the dirty things the Senators like but it's supposed to be a secret about me, huh?" She wracked her brain for a suitable secret and as she settled on one, she grinned. "Do you know why I do what I do, my sweet?" She intoned as her fingers moved to brush Aurelia's lips, "I'm not a slave - I could walk out of here tomorrow if I so chose, oh no, I do it because I just love to fuck." An absolute, bare-faced lie but one she'd used hundreds of times before on saps that were intent on 'saving' her, or sweet, silly fools like Aurelia who just wanted to be outrageous.
She pushed herself up on her forearms so her face was just a hairs breadth from the other woman. The smell of her own perfume mingled with Aurelia's own and it was an overpowering scent of roses and lavender, mingled with the wine and the heat in the air. "Is that the sort of secret you wanted to hear?"
She grinned at the explanation. Oh she had a raft of stories to tell in instants such as this, and only about half of them were lies. Lucky Aurelia. She dutifully guided her hand underneath the tunica, her fingers featherlight as they traced circles over her thigh. Very lucky Aurelia.
But the woman brought the young prostitute out of the moment almost immediately with the story of her husband, and Vibia spluttered into her wine. After checking she was fine to laugh at it - which she was judging by the effortless tone of her client - she grinned and laughed. "Anybody would laugh. So," She narrowed her eyes and sunk into the other woman's hand - letting her interject for a moment before continuing; "That was husband number two of three...and you think you're the woman that should be fearing for their life, hm?" She moved to kiss the other woman's palm before retreating with a little grin. Her other hand still traced over Aurelia's thigh and knee.
"Hmm, stories, stories..." Her eyes lit up on a particular one, locked in the back of her mind, "Before I came here I was a silly little slave you know, and my old dominus took me to his bed. Although he was much, much older than me and I'd never fucked before so I did't know what was normal." She grinned, "For the first year of my sexual awakening, before I fucked a stable boy and he asked me what on earth I was doing, I thought it was normal to put something up a mans arse whilst we did the deed." She grinned and chuckled, shaking her head and taking a hearty sip of the wine. "Men," She shook her head with a reproachful tone, "They're all animals."
Her fingers worked up Aurelia's thigh gently, teasingly, before she withdrew them back to her knee. She knew just what her client liked.
"Your turn, my sweet."
Vibia had fallen asleep a little after midnight; satisfied after an evening with one of her favourites, and pleasantly stupefied by the obscene amounts of the middling wine she had consumed. She was so deep into her drink and sleep that as the earthquake rumbled around her, she barely woke. Groaning, she flipped her pillow to try and resume her sleep until the trembling intensified and some of her perfume cases tumbled to the floor in a rattle and the voices of other women and men filled her ears. "Wh...what the fuck?" She mumbled to the empty room. A loud, guttural groaning as the building shifted snapped her attention awake and she finally realised what was happening. Oh fuck.
She stumbled from her bed and pulled on a tunica, trying to pin the shoulders as she stumbled from the room into the mass of naked or near-naked women and men that crowded the hallways. It was a rush of people and she found herself jostled and pinned up against the side as the whores stormed out to the street. She glanced their madame, flustered and barking orders. She managed to pin one of the sides of her tunica, the other flapping aimlessly as she finally made it out into the street - doubled over and breathing heavily from the exertion.
She glanced up at the building with a deep wince and glanced across to the others, speaking to nobody in particular. "D'you think it'll hold? The building?" She should have swiped more wine for the wait until they could go back in. Her head was already pounding from her hangover.
Vibia preened herself in one of the back rooms of the Venus, as usual. Private clients were a benefit of a freedwoman and she had a series of regulars that meant she didn't have to do the humiliating line-up for middle aged men to gawk at her; their eyes thick with lust and their cocks already standing to attention under their tunics. She liked Aurelia as well, which helped. The woman was fun albeit demanding, but she generally enjoyed her female clients more than the male; with women at least they were washed and perfumed. The downside, of course, was that the appointments were generally longer but for Aurelia, she wouldn't grumble about that too much.
She moved back into her room; finely appointed in luxurious fabrics and found the woman already waiting for her. Vibia grinned that feline grin and inclined her head in thanks, although couldn't help but chuckle at her words. "That's no hardship, your boy is fine but you're better." Should she be nauseated that she'd had them both? Probably. But at the end of the day, a cock was a cock and a cunt was a cunt and she didn't really mind who it belonged to or how they were connected.
She drew near her client and let her fingers trail gently across the skin of her shoulder, featherlight - before Aurelia bounded away to fetch them wine. Vibia took the opportunity to array herself on one of the couches, no need to rush to the bed just yet after all. She brushed out the wrinkles in her flimsy tunic - held up by two gold broaches at either shoulder - and tossed her long gold hair out of her face. "Of course domina," She grinned and took the cup of wine the woman poured for her, moving to stroke a hand over Aurelia's leg as she returned to sit, "Ladies first, of course. You can start."
Vibia kept her arms firmly crossed as she eyed him. Judging from his silence he was revelling in whatever she had told him, which seemed to her, to be nothing of any consequence whatsoever. How odd, that he'd be so fascinated by a singular Senator's trip to a perfectly respectable and legal brothel? One which he, himself, had frequented not a few days before? Men were are a different breed, she thought to herself (and not for the first time that day).
"I will consider it." She offered with an inclination of her head. How much choice she really had in the matter was questionable at best, and obvious at worst; none. How had it come to this - she thought briefly - beholden to not only two gangs, but two equally impossible men; both Titus Aspanius and Titus Cornasidius (she'd done her due diligence to learn the latter's name). When had her life pivoted so badly to have to sell herself and her secrets to four different people? She tried her best not to dwell on it, lest her head start swimming more than it already was.
"Are we done?" She said abruptly in a terse tone, eyes full of fury and the faintest touch of fear as she glanced sideways to the two men that lurked just beyond earshot. She had no intention of sticking around in his presence any longer than was strictly necessary.
Vibia choked in shock as he back collided with the pillar, the coldness of the stone shedding shivers up her spine. His breath hot against her ear and the sensation of his lips against her ear and throat only intensified the shudders. Be careful. She warned herself. This man was not a Marcus Falco; a man to be feared, for sure, but one easy enough to wrap around a finger. No - he was something darker, more deadly, and the realisation that he shared a Praenomen with the other Titus1 that controlled her life, treated her like this, only made her turn her head away. The feeling of his fingers on her thigh made her want to run, but she didn't. She couldn't. She just had to be more careful.
As he pulled away she let out a deep breath she hadn't realised she was holding, exhaling deeply to steady her nerves. She hated how her fingers trembled as she pushed down the fabric of her chiton. What an absolute prick this bloke was. She mused to herself. She couldn't stay completely silent, compliant though and shrugged; "I won't fuck with you. It was a genuine offer if you wanted another of my services." She held up her hands in surrender and tried to leave it at that.
Back to business then, almost as quickly as he'd been roused to anger (or was it lust?) he wanted to return to digging in her knowledge mines. Fine. "Not that evening." She shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest protectively, as if trying to shield herself from him. "I was busy with another of their friends, but he's been to the Venus a few times, always a bit drunk, but nice enough." She shrugged her shoulders, "I haven't seen him for a few months though, mind, although one of the girls swore she saw him in the Suburra - round the corner from the Venus - not a few weeks back...but probably just a handsome pleb that had his likeness." She shrugged again and bit her lip. This information was worthless and she knew it. She glanced down at the coin purse, hoping he wouldn't take it back.
Arms still firmly crossed, she offered; "They don't generally tell me things unless I ask. Is there...something particular you want to know?" Better ask now than just reel off a list of their bedmate abilities and particular fancies and irritate him again.
1 Vibia is also beholden to Titus Aspanius Lupus - Beauty's evil character - who knows she's working for the Collegium and is taking a cut of her money, and using her as he sees fit rather than telling the Syndicate.
"Mhmm," She affirmed with a frown, trying to place the name and finding that it fitted. "The very same." A ridiculous name, she thought. Far too long. Although her real name of Aemilia R. L. Mellusa wasn't much better. Ahhh. She though and curated that feline grin upon her face, so this was who he was interested in? She had too many wits about her to try and smother the truth, and it was no skin of her nose if a Tribune found out that a Senator hosted an orgy. Yet it was interesting nonetheless that he should be so intrigued by a man she felt was as rigid as a stiffened cock. She could't help but wonder why.
Shrugging and brushing a wisp of hair from her face she tilted her head and studied him. "He hosted an orgy for some of his friends. Packed off the wife and kiddies as far as I can tell, and then hired in all sorts from the Venus and other places of ill-repute ." She wished she had some wine, it would make being around him less nerve jangling, and moisten her mouth which was as dry as the sands of Egypt after the amount she'd drunk last night.
"I didn't touch him myself," She had other men who were more interested, "And I can't be sure if he had somebody else but I mean...it was an orgy, he must have had someone." She scoffed and shook her head, "Who was there, who was there..." She frowned to herself trying to recall names; "Some I didn't recognise, but I knew two of them; Titus Sulpicius Rufus and Lucius - something - Longinus; I've had both of them at separate occasions." She shrugged and then narrowed her eyes, taking a pace forward closer to him. "Are you sure you don't want to know the sordid little details? You seemed to enjoy acting them out last time we met..." She smirked.
Vibia was not a woman that hid her emotions - at least not when she wasn't on her back or her knees with a client - and she frowned, her mouth falling open in shock. She equally couldn't help the chuckle of disbelief that left her lips and she stopped counting her coin, turning those vivid blue eyes up to him. "You want me, to work for you?" She repeated, arching a well-shaped brow. "You want me to cross the Syndicate and sell their secrets to you?" It was no great secret that the Syndicate ran the Venus and the Elysium. It was a far darker, deeper secret that she was currently acting as a spy for the Collegium and reporting back the Syndicate's secrets. This would mean she was beholden to three masters; all would slit her throat at a moments notice. Her slender fingers tightened around the coin purse.
She couldn't very well say no though, could she? The Syndicate, nor her true employers the Collegium would mourn the loss - if Titus took his hands to her throat and choked the life out of her - of a whore who - when all was said and done - was nothing special, nothing they couldn't replace. But she equally needed some sureties. Sureties that he would not tell the Syndicate, that she would not be beholden to him for life, that she would be well compensated and that one day, he could get her out. She knew more and more that her time was running out. The secrets the Collegium wanted wasn't gossip about Senators; they wanted to know the inner workings of the Syndicate and she had come up empty handed. It wouldn't be long before that last trip to the Tiber for her, if she continued down that track. No, she needed a route out of this mess - but he was giving her time, and she needed it, to formulate a plan.
Lost in thought she only nodded and added; "I'll think on it, and yes," she tied the coin purse to her belt and glanced down at it. "It suffices for now."
What was there to say? She had intimate knowledge of all of the Senators and their various oddities and perversions, but she doubted that was what interested him. "I hope you have a tablet." She offered with a faux grin, still feeling unnerved and reeling from his earlier request. Trying to brush it off and affect the air of somebody was utterly non-plussed by this betrayal she started; "I have a few Senatorial regulars that come most weeks," She grinned at the accidental double entendre, "Decimus Attius Natalinus, Servius Hortensius Buteo," She watched his face as he reeled off the names, continuing with the names of three more aged senators - all in their fifties and sixties and all equally bland and dull in bed.
"Then there are those that hire me out for parties and orgies and the like," She waved a hand, "I don't always get their names. There was a Gaius Veranius something who hosted about twenty of us from the Venus," She chuckled, "And an Aulus...something, a stupidly long name, that did likewise." She shrugged and then rolled her eyes - feeling a little more confidant now they were back on more even footing. "It might be helpful if you give me names and I can tell you if I've fucked them, no?"
"A whore always gets payment first." She chided in a tone matching his own and clicked her tongue, eyes narrowed on him but her resolve quickly dissolved and she chuckled, holding up her hands in defeat; "But seeing as my employer knows exactly who I'm meeting should there be a non-payment, and you were so very generous last time, I'll make an exception." She tilted her head to the side and dropped her folded arms, moving away from him to lean against one of the columns - unaware that he had exactly the same image in his mind, albeit for different reasons.
The temple was deserted today besides a few lowlifes who skulked in the shadows looking for guidance and mercy from Diana. Vibia had never been particularly pious - she'd done far too much in her twenty-four years on the earth to be anything but apathetic to the wills of the Gods. No woman orchestrated the murder of her own Dominus, took up sex work and crossed into league with two different Collegia and feared the wrath of the immortals.
"No, not familiar." She said in a sing song voice and eyed him. "I thought you wished to discuss my client list, not stories?" She countered.