Caecina agreed that the Poppina was a nice place to come and she enjoyed sitting and watching people. Marcus smiled, "You can definitely watch plenty of other people here! High and low! Although the lowest aren't here, of course." They were in the other part of the Poppina, reserved for lower classes and slaves. That their personal slaves got to sit here was a bit of a feature, but he knew that especially Caecina's slave would not let her out of her sight.
Marcus told her he'd not done anything out of the ordinary lately, not until today. And Caecina chuckled and teased him, before suggesting they came back sometime.
"If you want, I'd be happy to come here again with you." He said with a grin, "And I definitely don't bring all the girls here... just you." She meant something more to him, after all. But how to find out how much more that was?
It was indeed very unlikely that Marcus would enjoy a military camp, especially during the cold and wet winters of the North. He enjoyed the luxuries and entertainment that Rome offered to the son of a Senator, but he also knew that all boys had to move on eventually. He couldn’t keep on doing this here forever… no matter how nice it was. Then he would certainly never regain his fortune! Longinus promised to think on it, if it was something Marcus really wanted. He nodded, “I’ll think on it too then.” He replied with a smile and then he had wondered what Britannia was like, because he barely remembered it.
Longinus spoke of how there were now bath complexes in the South, but that it did rain a lot and that was cold too. Then he said it was beautiful and that the men who served in Britannia were some of the best.
“So you make it sound like it’s both a good and a bad place. I don’t think I’ll like the cold and the rain much.” Marcus said and then smiled again, “What about the women?” He knew Longinus just spoke of a wedding and that he’d been married before, but still… he doubted a man as handsome as Longinus would stay true to a wife that was in Rome, while he was far away in Britannia. So that bit interested him!
Sometimes, Marcus would be just like any other teenage boy and forget to think, but then there was usually a great deal of alcohol involved. Other times, he got to think a little too much and that’s how it often was lately, when he thought about Caecina. Maybe the crush thing was foolish though and not real, just a spur of the moment thing. He wasn’t sure. But he knew he liked her and he knew her and they had fun together. And he wanted to show her a good time, no matter what their future would be like.
Caecina seemed to like the idea of going shopping or at least looking at shops and the idea of a honey cake was of course good too. She thanked him and he smiled, “Of course I’d bring you here, you sounded like you wanted to. And it’s nice.” He said and drank a little bit more, leaning back a little to look around the Poppina and he’d asked if Caecina had met anyone interesting lately. She then spoke of meeting a praetorian in the market, who had seemed interesting.
“A praetorian? Off duty at the market, I imagine.” Marcus said, he’d seen them around on the palace, but he never really interacted with them, “I haven’t been doing much, since that day. Nothing out of the ordinary anyway… until today.” Bringing Caecina here was out of the ordinary, after all. He kind of wanted to find out if the kiss was just a spur of the moment thing or more than that, but how? They still had the slaves and the guard with them. Maybe they could escape again somehow? That could be fun.
Marcus could be a sweet kid when he wanted to. And he didn’t like leaving a woman here on her own, even if she was older and probably more experienced than he was. It just didn’t look good, he thought… and he also worried about what Juliana would say. Aia coming here on her own, seeming tense and all that. There was still something off about it, he just could not figure out what it was.
Aia said Juliana would not find out about this and she’d be safe… she could sleep here and return tomorrow morning. He sighed.
“Alright… if you’re sure. I suppose I’ll see you next time we have lessons, then.” Marcus said and stood, "Stay safe, alright?" He said to her one last time, before he followed Silvanus out to the litter waiting for him outside. He was a bit drunk, but it didn't feel as bad now and besides, he was thinking now. There was something he didn’t buy about Aia’s story for being there, but maybe he was wrong and it really was as she said. Maybe one day he’d find out… maybe not.
Longinus seemed surprised to hear that Cynane the Briton bodyguard saved Claudia’s life and said she had not seemed a huge fan of Romans last time he saw her. Marcus arched a brow too, “Maybe it’s just certain Romans she likes?” Or maybe the fact that the bodyguard was a slave made it so she had no other option. If the princess was harmed or killed and she was meant to protect her, surely they would not keep the Briton on as a bodyguard anymore. They would want her gone. That’s how it was with slaves and not protecting her princess would definitely be seen as disobedience. Not that Marcus knew anything about that. He only had his thoughts on it.
His companion had then asked about Marcus’ body slave, that had been given by Longinus and Marcus explained what he was like. Longinus confirmed that being stubborn and having a temper was a trait of Britons, unlike other slaves. And apparently especially the women could be difficult. Marcus chuckled, “I’m glad then that mine neither cries nor tries to take my head.” He said to Longinus and noticed his wine was sinking in the cup again. Maybe he should try and not drink too much, it hadn’t been evening yet when he went into the thermae, although to be honest in here… he had lost track of time. Still, better not get too drink in front of Longinus!
Longinus suddenly began speaking about Marcus’ career and Britannia again and suggested a Tribuneship, which he could arrange apparently. Marcus knew that Juliana’s husband was the proconsul up there, but honestly… they didn’t see much of him though, if he was at home at all, he was busy. Marcus had no close relationship with the man and Caecina didn’t speak much about her father either. What Longinus offered here could be useful.
“You’re very welcome to, if you think I should step right up that way and skip a step in the course of honour.” Although he hoped he would not be stationed for long in other countries and it would be weird to go back to Britannia… “What is Britannia like? I was born there, but I barely remember it.”
Marcus gave Longinus a look, when the other exclaimed how such girls could not be out of his league because of his heritage, “I know… and I want to honor him. No one knows what will happen.” No one knew when a backstabbing slave would kill you and then your brother would kill the slave… not that he remembered much of it, but he knew Lucius had been very brave back then. Everyone knew that.
He mentioned which girl could be interesting to him, Claudia would be aiming high, but you never knew what he’d do in the future. Then he mentioned the Briton bodyguard, although he never met her in person. But he remembered the day Claudia and her group had been attacked and came to Juliana’s villa… and he remembered the story Aia told him about how the Briton bodyguard saved Claudia’s life. Longinus however grinned and said to not mention his name to the Briton woman, because she was one of his spoils.
“Really? That’s… interesting. She saved the princess’ life, you know. She has some skills.” He said with a little smile, finding it interesting that the Briton didn’t like Longinus. He had always thought everyone would like Longinus and especially the women. But maybe not a Briton he enslaved? Longinus however went on about flirting and that Marcus would not do anything more than just talk. He let out a little laugh, “Yeah I’m not stupid. I don’t go that far with such girls.” Although others… that was different. Longinus then wondered about Silvanus.
“We get on fine enough, I guess. He is a bit stubborn and has a temper sometimes. I guess that’s a trait of their people? But so far, I’ve managed to control him. And it’s nice to have my own body slave.”
It was still so strange to think about how she’d have a husband in the future… and Marcus would have a wife. And it would most likely not be each other, even if he liked her and he’d kissed her. He had admitted that he might have a crush on her… and she agreed to let him kiss her, which had to mean something. But she would marry another man, who would do things to her that Marcus didn’t want to think about with her. It felt odd to think about another man with her. Any man, really. He grew up with Caecina, after all. She just laughed at his suggestion that her future husband could be here.
He had suggested then that after she ate, they could go out in Rome and look at shops and so on and this caused her to smile, saying she’d love it. And she would look at jewelry. Of course she would, she was a girl.
“Then that’s what we will do, I guess. Maybe get a honey cake somewhere too, I love those.” He said and glanced to the slaves. Marcus didn’t need them to follow around everywhere, maybe they could lose them in the crowd. Especially Caecina’s slave, she was a bit… strict. Silvanus just knew better than to speak up against his master, at least in public.
“So… have you met anyone interesting since our day in the woods?” He asked her while picking up his drink again.
Well how could you not be fascinated by the story of that odd Briton female bodyguard, who was both good looking and apparently very deadly! That she threw a knife that just straight out killed the bandit, that was fucking amazing! Marcus would have loved to see that. Maybe he should ask Claudia if she could get her bodyguard to show off her gladiatrix skills sometime. Put on a show of sorts for them. That could be interesting!
Meanwhile Aia said that the man was definitely dead and the princess had been drenched in blood afterwards. Marcus tried to imagine it and didn’t know if it was sexy or disgusting.
“Yeah obviously she did. No thanks to her bodyguard!” He was still amazed and was definitely going to think about it next time he ran into that woman in the palace. He didn’t really consider much what some women could do when angered. But he might have some hot dreams about her.
Then his body slave appeared and had found a litter for Marcus. Well he better leave then… but leave Aia here alone? He didn’t like the idea of that and gave her a look. She seemed a little bit tense, which was odd, before she said he could go and she had to chat to her friend and would not be lost.
“It’s not you getting lost I’m worried about. It’s… Rome at night.” Marcus said. He had a litter to travel in and Silvanus, who could fight if he had to, but Aia… she was sort of skinny and… well she was not a bodyguard, that’s for sure! “You sure you’ll be alright? We better hope then that Juliana won’t find out I left you here alone.”
Marcus would write a letter to his brother, once he had the time to concentrate on it. Which would not be right now, with a drink in his hand and apparently good company, although his companion was a great deal older than he was. He was kind of surprised though, when Longinus suddenly asked if Marcus was courting anyone, because he wasn’t and he tried to explain why, the best he could. But then the question got him thinking… and he wondered if Longinus thought it would be smart to already consider it!
Longinus laughed and said that Marcus was too young to court anyone seriously. Did that mean Longinus thought it was not an entirely bad idea to have the flirts and the flings Marcus did? The other continued about how it did not hurt to look and that he’d known his new wife in many years, but he had not made sure she remained true to him back then.
Marcus nodded thoughtfully, “It never hurts to look, does it?” He said with a little smile, looking out at the girls in this odd place for a moment or two. They were really nice looking, some of them. Really nice. He sipped his wine, “But I don’t know if any of the noble girls I know are anyone I could marry. I mean… it would be nice. But I am pretty sure that girls like Claudia Caesaris or any of those girls are probably out my league. Especially with my current situation.” He rolled his eyes and then thought he better explain himself, “Not that I am courting her. I mean, she’s good looking. And very nice. And she has the most arou… I mean the fiercest Briton bodyguard I’ve ever heard about. But she's a princess. And besides, I don’t know what she’d think.” Damn. Maybe he’d had enough wine? Or was there something in the air in here?