"For not telling Grandfather" Clio muttered, walking with her sister. Thalia would have been well within her rights to run screaming to the paterfamilias about what she had seen. But the sisters loved each other, and hopefully they would find a better solution. Or no solution at all. Maybe it weally just wouldn't happen again. She did not want to think about it.
"Alright, I won't tell. If you promise it won't happen again! Because it shouldn't, you know. It isn't right."
Clio let out a sigh. She knew she was going to pay dearly for this, owing her sister forever for her silence, but the moment, she was just relieved that the whole thing was not going to come down on Lexus. How right it had been... that was another question. Clio' cheeks burned as she glanced up at Lexus. Was this really over as soon as it started?
"And I also really think you should return to your work. And I think we need to talk, sister. Come."
Clio threw one last desperate look at Lexus, before she followed her sister. She really had no ground to argue with whatever Thalia wanted. "Thank you" she muttered as they walked through the gardens together.
Clio knew she was losing this fight. But maybe, just maybe, her sister would take pity on her and not tell to Grandfather?
"Something clearly happened, or was that not a kiss after all?"
Clio looked crestfallen at her sister. Yes, it definitely had been a kiss. Lexus decided to speak up.
"Really, that's all it was. A kiss. And don't blame her. It's my fault, I asked to kiss her. I shouldn't have. Please, don't blame her. It won't happen again."
Clio's gaze flickered to Lexus and back. Wouldn't it? She knew it had been a mistake, but she hated the idea of not kissing him again. They were just getting the hang of it...
"I don't want to lose my job..."
"He is really good at his job" Clio reiterated, trying to steer away from the kissing. "And he doesn't deserve to lose it. This was silly." She swallowed. "It won't happen again."
Lexus was not saying anything. He probably didn't know what to say, and neither did Clio. Thalia had always been the more confident of the twins, and right now, she also had the high ground.
"Right, sure he's a gardener and you just happened to meet him. And I thought you were supposed to be the smart one!"
Clio winced, looking sheepishly at her sister. She really did just happen to meet Lexus... not that it was any excuse.
"If you're a gardener, shouldn't you be working? If grandfather hears about this..."
"Please don't tell him!" Now she was scared, realizing all that could happen if Grandfather found out. To her, but also more importantly to Lexus, who did not belong to... a noble family. "Please, Thalia... Nothing happened!"
"Hello... this is... uhm.... a surprise?"
Clio did not know what to say. She knew she had done something wrong, potentially ruinous to her and her family's reputation... even if it did not feel like that big of a deal. Thalia had warned her about this before. And now she looked properly angry.
"A surprise? Really?! What are you doing Clio? How did he get in here?"
"He... works here." Clio said shyly, her cheeks still burning. "He is the new gardener. It's just..."
Kissing Lexus was marvelous. This time Septima wound her arms around his shoulders and rose to her tiptoes, trusting him to hold her steady. She was quite lost in the experience, until the moment when someone coughed next to them.
The illusion crumbled immediately. Clio jumped, letting go of Lexus, turning bright read as she turned around. As if she could hide Lexus behind her back, despite him being taller. "Thalia!"
Oh no. This was not going to be good.
Alright, so kissing was good. Now that she was a bit more bold about it, it was actually great. Lexus seemed to think the same, and they kissed for a while, feeling all warm and fuzzy as they held each other gently. Eventually, they did have to come up for air. Septima was flushed and smiling, and Lexus looked happy too.
"That... was even better. More?"
"More" she giggled, feeling light-headed. If she had known it was this good, she would have kissed him a lot sooner.
"No! I mean... no... not wrong at all. It was nice."
"Oh." At least she had not done something she didn't know was a mistake. Granted, she had barely done anything, the kiss had been so brief... "Alright then."
He leaned in again. Her heart jumped again. This time, his hand was on her waist, and she leaned forward too, determined to explore the kissing a little more. Her hand found his shoulder as they pressed their lips together, and this time, she kissed him back, parting her lips slightly as her eyes fluttered closed.
Septima caught her breath as Lexus leaned in to kiss her. She did not know what to expect. He pressed his lips to hers; they were soft and warm. The kiss was brief; almost as soon as she felt the touch, it was over. Opening her eyes (she did not realize she had closed them), Septima saw Lexus blushing as he looked back at her.
Wait, that was it...? He brow furrowed. That was not in line with what her sister had told her about kissing. In theory.
"Did I... do something wrong?"
"It's not so bad, not anymore. I think your yarrow helped."
Septima looked down at the hand she was still holding, and examined it a little. The bleeding had stopped, and the injury did not look too bad now. That was good. She knew that they both had other things on their mind now, but she still worried for Lexus being alright. All the worry, however, disappeared in an instant when he spoke again.
"Septima I... I like you. I really want to try and... and... kiss you."
Septima's heart jumped like it was trying to break out of her chest. She had never felt anything like that before. She looked up at Lexus again, wide-eyed. She knew she was supposed to say no. Any girl in her right mind was supposed to say no to something like that, because there was no way he could court her, and Grandfather would be furious. Even Thalia would have said it was a bad idea. She wasn't even supposed to be out alone in the garden like this. With him.
But at the same time, the thought of him kissing her made her heart race. She had never been kissed before. Let alone by anyone she liked. She felt torn, watching him, he was clearly waiting for an answer, just as nervously as she was.
"I've... never kissed anyone before" she admitted quietly. Was that bad? Someone was supposed to know what they were doing, and it clearly wasn't her. Did Lexus? She realized her words were not really an answer. She swallowed, blushing. Maybe, for once, she could break a rule. "You can kiss me. If you want."
August, 76 CE
Septima Minor had woken up early, way before her sister (who had participated in a party with some of her friends the night before). The summer was hot in Rome, but the day promised to be just the right amount of cloudy. It was time for Vertumnalia, the celebration of nature and growth and the changing seasons, as well as one of Clio's favorite love stories. In preparation for the day, she rose bright and early, dressing in a hurry and making her way to the gardens to pick flowers and leaves for wreaths and decorations. This job could have easily been done by slaves, but she enjoyed hand-picking the various plants - and she also liked the cool morning air in the gardens.
Making her way to the garden through the doors, she could tell someone was already in there. Her grandfather had talked about hiring a new gardener recently, since the old one had had to leave because of family matters. It was a pity, the old gardener already knew Septima Minor and her curiosity about all things living. He even helped with picking out the flowers sometimes. It seemed like this year, she would have to go about it alone...
So much had happened since the spring, when Clio for the first time told her sister about the boy she met in the gardens. With whom she swapped clothes and wore boy’s clothes for a little while. And he wore hers! It was scandalous, really, but she had kept her promise and not told a single soul about it. They were twins, they’d always been together and Septima believed she would always love her sister and be loyal to her. They were very different apart from the fact that they looked almost exactly alike. But they were still sisters. Clio could trust her.
They’d talked about Clio going to see the boy again and Septima would come along, so it at least wouldn’t be the two of them meeting alone. And maybe she was also a little bit curious about this boy, Lexus. But time moved on and they had not gotten a chance during the first month after and then it was suddenly May and their birthday. And then summer came and parties and events and then an earthquake shattered Rome! While the damages in their home had been repaired, the twins had been sent to spend time with relatives outside of Rome.
And now it was suddenly fall and thoughts of the boy gardener Lexus were far away. The twins had other things to think about. After the earthquake, some people became homeless and some of them had settled in small camps the gardens in Rome - and it was decided in the family that the twins should go and hand out a little bit of food and clothes they had outgrown, to the homeless. Septima held a large sack with bread and fruit and her sister had the other sack with the clothes.
Together they ventured to the Gardens of Sullust to hand out their items. As they came nearer the gardens, she looked at Clio. They spent much time together, but not all time, of course, so she was curious about how it looked like behind the walls to the gardens. She wasn't even sure she'd ever been here at all, “Have you been here since the earthquake?”
Spring was taking its first tentative steps, even inside the walls of the City. The sun was warm, people went about their business with a spring in their step, and Septima Minor had time off her studies to go and do what she liked to do best: observe things. With a wax tablet under her arm and a stylus tucked behind her ear, she wandered the Gardens of Sullust. It was a nice walk, and she was definitely not alone in enjoying the spring sunshine - but she was not purely here for the aesthetic beauty of the gardens.
There were many things to observe in the springtime. Birds building nests, insects waking up, plants unfurling leaves and flowers. All pretty in a springtime picture, but also all mysterious and exciting. Today, Septima was on the hunt for a rare springtime phenomenon mentioned by many old authors: morning dew turning into caterpillars.
In a nice half shaded spot by some bushes she found some promising leaves. They were not anything as mundane as radishes, but maybe other plants could produce life out of dew as well? Kneeling down, Septima pushed her nose close to some dew drops on the leaves, watching intently, hoping to see the moments they turned into a living being. She must have been a strange sight, on her hands and knees among the plants...
15 | 21 May 59CE | Equite | None | Heterosexual | Wanted | Vanessa Morgan
Septima Minor is a kind and friendly soul with an abundance of patience. She is a lot more introverted than her sister, with a quiet curiosity and a keen sense of observation. This does not mean that she doesn't enjoy company or have friends - she just never pushes herself into the center of attention. She enjoys reading, learning, and organizing and cataloging things she finds interesting, such as books, plants, and curiosities. She has a scholar's mind, or so her grandfather calls it. She writes things to her own entertainment, but secretly hopes to write books one day, even if she has to hide her true identity to do so. It would be her only act of rebellion. Apart from her scholarly interests, she also enjoys the company of her cats, which now number half a dozen around the household. Her favorite is a short-eared Egyptian tabby cat named Nefertari. Cats are not the only thing tying Septima Minor to Egypt: She is a devout follower of the goddess Isis.
The only thing that sets Septima Minor apart from her sister is the color of her eyes: Hers are green, while Septima Major's are blue. She has a slight build and brown skin with tones of gold. Her hair is dark brown but grows lighter from sunlight in the summer; she likes to wear it down, or casually pinned up to keep it out of her eyes, but she is not a fan of elaborate hair pieces. She enjoys rare jewelry, more for interest than for value, and flowing dresses of different colors. She doesn't paint her face unless she has to, but enjoys watching her sister to do so; seen next to each other, this is mostly what sets the two Septimas apart. Septima Minor has a shy smile and a quiet laugh, except when she carries a conversation about her favorite topics and forgets herself. In those cases she can get quite animated.
Father: Gaius Septimus Tunisius (deceased)
Mother: Petronia Aquililla (deceased)
Siblings: Septima Major (twin)
Grandfather: Gaius Petronius Aquilius, 70 (he’s like a father to her)
Grandmother: Aurelia Paulina (deceased)
Aunts and other extended family:
Petronia Aquila, 36 and her children:
Gaius Petronius Aquilius Urianus, 15 years old, cousin but more like a brother Uriana Petronia, 10, like a sister, cousin but more like a sister
Petronia Aquila Minor, 34
Petronia Scribonilla, 33
Petronia Aquiliana, 27
Septima Minor was born as the second child of a set of twins, preceded (by mere minutes) my her sister Septima Major, whom she considers her elder sister in every sense of the word. When the twins were two years old, their parents were killed in the civil war, and the girls were spirited away to the household of their grandfather, who raised them with love and care. Septima doesn't remember these events, or her parents, but she carries some deep seated anxiety that she doesn't know how to explain.
When the girls were four years old, the family mover to Rome - aunts, grandparents, the whole household. The two Septimas grew up there, spending a lot of time together, and with their cousin Gaius, who was the closest to them in age from the whole family. Over the years, he became a true brother to them, often mistaken to their sibling or even third twin.
While Septima Major had a close relationship with their grandmother, Septima Minor was always more fond of her grandfather, Gaius Petronius Aquilius. She shares his interest in people, stories, history, and the world around them. She also has an interest in the wonders of nature, and a patient mind that organizes and catalogues things. The passing of her grandmother shook her, but not as deeply as it did her sister, so Septima Minor supported Spetima Major through the painful goodbye the best she could. Since then, she has been keeping company to her grandfather more often as well, sharing moments with him to cheer him up, accompanying him on his walks. She has no daydreams or prospects of marriage yet; the whole thing seems a little strange to her, and she is in no hurry to enter the life of a Roman matron just yet.
Chevi | Central Europe | Discord