Face claimMichelle Ryan
She chuckled at how he arched his brow at her comment, the drama of it amused her, especially seeing as at this point neither of them should be suprized by anything the other had said.
“I would also prefer to do something more meaningful, Domina. I could be tending to the horses. I could be making plans or seek information. I could read something useful and interesting."
She wondered what he ment when he said "making plans or seeking information, " she was no stranger to scheming, though she wondered exactly what it was that he was aiming to do. He mind immediately started whirring as she imagined all sorts of possibilities, perhaps he wanted to learn information on opposing teams? Or there were rumors about the races having fixed winners, maybe he was a part of that? It could be something more personal that she couldn't possible guess. No matter what it was he was after, he needed to watch himself, Rome was a ruthless place and if he wasn't careful he could get himself killed; though she was sure he didn't need reminding, he seemed smart enough to cover his ass and not go looking for trouble.
"May I ask your name, Domina?”
"Marcella, Marcella Laelia" she answered, knowing full well that he was called Caeso, anyone who frequented the races knew. Though of course it would be rude to not ask, even if it was just a clarification "Ceaso, wasn't it?"
It was refreshing to know that she was not the only one who found no joy in attending parties like this, it was not often that Marcella came across people who thought like her. She was quite enjoying this conversation, even if all the honestly was unusual.
“So you settled to entertain yourself with me. I hope I am not boring you yet, domina. I am aware that I am probably not what you expected. Most people tell me that.”
She felt flusted when he accused her of entertaining herself with him while she waited, it was somewhat true but she still genuinely was interested and invested in this conversation. "It's true that you are not what I expected, but you're not boring me in the slightest." She had expected him to act much more extroverted than he appeared to be and that he would have excused himself to mingle with other guests by now, but here he was, still speaking with her. From what she could tell he had intelligence, a simpler slave would surely be indulging himself with food, wine, and attention. But he seemed uninterested in all of that, choosing instead to quietly observe the other partygoers, until she approached him of course.
“Is there something else you’d rather do, than go to parties? Most noble ladies seem to enjoy them a lot.”
"I would prefer to spend my time doing something more... substantial. I feel like I'm wasting my time whenever I attended events like this," she responded. "Is there something or somewhere you would rather be or be doing right now?" she assumed there was, or perhaps he just disliked parties regardless of what he could be doing instead.
He seemed suprized when she answered so honestly and then questioned his own willingness to being there. She found his suprize rather amusing, and slightly smiled before he answered her question.
“Actually I do... No offense to you, of course. But you see all these people… all they want is to gossip and who knows what later. That doesn’t interest me. Yet on the other hand, it would be weird to not come to a party that celebrates my team. So here I am.”
She had not expected such an honest answer, though she did appreciate it, she saw no reason for lying as a means to merely spare feelings, but she saw it happen quite often. What he said made perfect sense and was precisely the reason that she didn't often attend parties such as these, though she did feel a bit disheartened when he said that, as he put it, "who knows what later", did not interest him.
"So here you are" she echoed, and took a sip of her wine, his explanation certainly proved that he had a valid reason for being there. She did however wonder why his other teammates were not present, perhaps they all shared his attitude on parties and drew straws to see who had to go, but that was extremely unlikely in this city.
“Why are you here then?”
"I'm a fan of the races, and when I heard there was to be a party after I decided to attend in hopes of meeting a recent acquaintance, but he doesn't seem to be here, or at least not yet." Apon saying this she did a quick scan of the faces in the room, looking to see if he had arrived while she was engaged in conversation.
“Thank you, domina... I’m glad to hear you thought us excellent"
Marcella matched his smile with the same level of enthusiasm that he displayed, or rather a lack of genuine enthusiasm. She couldn't exactly blame him, she reasoned that he must have conversations like this one at nearly if not every party he attended; she didn't just want to be just one more on a list of people he had meaningless chats with though, she had always wanted to be remembered by everyone she willing conversed with.
"Are you enjoying the party so far, domina?”
"I can't say I am, no, though I can't say I'm the best judge as I'm not much of a party-goer." She looked him over and thought for a moment before asking, "I presume you feel the same?" It was quite the assumption to make, but she had resin to believe it: he seemed utterly disinterested in the provided entertainment, wasn't seeking out conversation, and had chosen to stand apart from the bulk of the guest.
It had been and excellent day to watch the races, though she hardly found the time to go, Marcella thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Circus Maximus to see them. Watching the teams of horses dart past each other was always a thrilling sight, and today had been no exception. She had been rooting for the white team but she wasn't to upset by their defeat, she had only been hoping for their victory because of a recent aquantince who happened to be on said team; still, she couldn't deny that they had truly been crushed by green this race.
It was because of how eclectic the races had been that she was at this party that she ordinarily would never attend, but there were rumors that one of the winning charioteers might be in attendance. Of course she couldn't miss an opportunity to congratulate on of the men who had won such a victory, even if she was embarrassingly dress in both a white chiton and palla. She waited sipping a glass of wine and watching the entrance as she waited for one of the three victors to arrive, and then he did, she watched as he choose to lean against a pillar rather than immediately begin interacting with the other guests. She studied his face and saw that he looked indifferent, possible even annoyed, to be there. She nearly laughed at the irony, usually she had the same expression, but the one time she was excited to be at a party the reason she was excited looked annoyed. Regardless, she made her way over to him and said "I would like to congratulate you on your victory today, your team was excellent"
Marcella set her empty glass on a nearby table and picked up her purse to leave. She noticed that the charioteer had joined her in standing but thought nothing of it until he spoke.
“Wait, I spoke out of turn, I should have watched what I said, especially considering my position. You are a lady. If I said anything to offend you, I’m sorry and you have every right to be angry.”
She brushed off his apology, while the comment had bothered her he clearly hadn't meant it to and it was a common enough thing to say to a person."Marriage isn't exactly a controversial topic, you have nothing to apologize for, mentioning it was completely appropriate. I just feel like I should be getting home." As she spoke she counted out a few coins to make a donation when she left, it was only right that she did so.
“I understand if you want to leave. But at least, let me see you out as an expression of my regret and make sure you get home safely. It’s quite late. I’ve got no hidden motives. Are your ladies about, to take you home?”
"My body slave is waiting for me, yes. While I do not question your motives but I can't ask you to leave so many guest feeling cheated by your absence." Even he he did have questionable intentions involving her, just so long as he at least attempted to charm her first she wouldn't have minded to much. As scandalous as it would be to be caught with a slave, freedman, plebeian, or whatever he was, at this point on her life she didn't even care, and it wasn't everyday that a man as handsome as this offered to walk her home. But she couldn't afford any distractions now, and this man was certainly a distraction.
“My lady, I think you just plucked my thoughts from my mind,”
She let out a laugh and grined back at him, he certainly was a charmer this one. It was nice to know that she wasn't the only one who disapproved of this event. She found herself relaxing more as she talked with him, the thought of going back to sulking seemed less appealing now.
“I think that is a translation for you needing to get married,”
She quickly tensed back up and slightly frowned, yes she wanted to be married eventually, but no just so that her father would no longer be her main concern.
“Apologies if I spoke too boldly... I hope your father is all right and you are a good daughter.”
"You're forgiven" she said coolly, not caring to respond to anything else he said. Marriage was a sore subject for her, she had been engaged recently only for her fiance to run off to Aegypt without saying a word to her beforehand. She took another drink of wine to distract herself from the memories, she was close to the bottom of her glass now, if she wasn't on her third cup already it would be time for a refill.
"If I am to be honest with you, I, too, would have hoped to be elsewhere than here. I only came because of the invitation. I thought my presence might inspire fans to make donations to those in need.”
She smiled back at him but it was strained, "well, at least you have a good reason for being here." She was beginning to feel antsy again, he had reminded her, even if by accident, that she didn't belong here. She need to be back home, what was she thinking leaving those idiots alone to monitor their father? They had all been preparing for the inevitable but she knew as soon as he was in the ground she would be married off to the first person to want her, if he died under her brothers watch then she would loose her independence. She stood up and straightened her palla saying, "I'm sorry, but I have to go, it was nice meeting you."
She really couldn't get through one conversation without offending the person she was taking with could she? It seemed the moment someone started talking to her first instinct was to scare them off, but miraculously this charioteer (whose name she was still struggling to remember) didn't seem to take offence at all, it was baffling.
You don’t have to be sorry, I think plenty of us feel that same way. It’s only human. For some, the earthquake has reminded us of our poverty and mortality. For others, a party such as this means putting one’s self out there.”
She sipped her own wine before answering, now this was something she could talk about. Discussing how different people might handle trauma wasn't exactly the philosophy that she loved, but it was close enough. "I personally I think celebrating while buildings have fallen and countless familys mourn their loved ones is disgusting, but I can understand why others might disagree. To them, a party like this is about as you said 'putting themselves out there' but I think it's more than that, they're all celebrating that they are all still alive, that the managed to survive even Neptune's wrath. Misery loves company so throwing a party such as this one can give people a sense of togetherness. What are your thoughts?"
She took another drink of her wine before looking at him, trying to think of what his name could be, she knew that it started with a T, Titus maybe? It was certinally a possibility with the sheer amount of Tituses that resided in the city.
“And were you hoping to be elsewhere tonight?”
He asked her gently in a way that made her think that he would understand if she didn't want to answer. "Yes" she was tempted to leave it at that, but there was no harm in her giving him the whole story, "my father gave us a scare during the earthquake, I feel like I should be there with him but my brothers insisted that they could handle it and forced me to 'go have fun'." Her voice dripped with sarcasm when she said the words "go have fun," she had never had much fun at parties anyway, and it was even worse now that she felt obligated to be at home.
She continued to look for the man until the crowd dispersed and she could finally see who it was that had excited the guest so much. When she finally did see his face as he greeted a face she realized that she recognized him from somewhere, but of course that was to be expected, from the people's reactions she could guess that he was a celebrity of sorts. She looked away so not to stare as she tried to think of who he could be, and why she recognized him. She had determined that he must be a charioteer but she couldn't remember his name for the life of her, before she could figure it out he started walking her way, and sat down next to her. She was of course suprized, but she tried to hide it, he probably just wanted to know why she wasn't fawning over him like the rest of them. She turned to face him and arched a brow as he crossed one leg over the other, clearly making himself at home.
“With all their howling, you would have thought they brought in an exotic animal,”
Ah, so he was one of those who knew their worth and weren't afraid to flaunt it, she couldn't exactly fault him for it, after all, she was the same way, just more discreet about it. "That did cross my mind, yes" she answered. Now that she had a better view of him she knew for sure he was a charioteer she had seen before, but what was his name damn it? This was going to bug her all night if she didn't think of it or he didn't offer it.
“You all right?”
She snapped at him saying"I'm fine," she had been testy for the past few weeks and the earthquake only worsened her mood. She quickly corrected herself saying, "I'm sorry, I just didn't expect myself to be here of all places tonight. I'm just feeling a bit anxious." She couldn't help but being worried about leaving her father, even if one of her brothers would be with him while she was as they put it "having fun for once rather than breathing critiques down their necks anytime they tried to do anything." Any other time she wouldn't be wound as tightly as she was now but she had just had a failed engagement that month and her father had had a death scare during the earthquake and she hasn't been there for him, she had never been more tense in her life.
It was true that Marcella need to get out of the house, she hadn't left her domus for weeks since returning from her trip to Naples. If it hadn't been for her brothers pestering she would have even gone to this function tonight. Some matron had organized a party that took donations at the door to raise money for earthquake relief, the donations were probably the only reason no one was questioning her throwing a party hardly a week after such a devastating earthquake. She found it disgusting, all the people here saw nothing wrong with partying while hundreds of people all around them mourned the death of friends and family all the while not knowing where they would be sleeping that night. Still, she has come tonight and therefore couldn't consider herself any better, still she couldn't seem to get herself into the party spirit. She sat alone nursing her third glass of wine, content to silently judge the other guests while not interacting with anyone. She starred down into her wine when she heard several excited voices and looked up to see twenty or do people crowded around something. She cocked her head and squinted, trying to get a better look at what, or who, everyone was so intrested in seeing.