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The Curia was slowly emptying of people after the most recent session of the Senate, and Aulus found that he was one of the last to leave, having been waylaid by some ancient senator who must have been twice his age if he was a day, who only wanted to talk his ear off about taxes, the grain dole, the cost of games these days and other inconsequential things. He turned to head from the august chamber, pausing before he emerged into the sunlight and the presence of his lictors (Horatia had a point about them, even if Aulus wouldn't admit it - they did rather get in the way when you wanted to be a private citizen... on the other hand, part of the thing about being Consul was that you weren't a private citizen for the entire time you were in office. It was rather the point, after all!) There was someone else taking a momentary breather in the shade of the Curia's colonnade, a young man who must be just starting out on his political career. At first Aulus thought it was his son, but Titus was still a few years short of joining the Senate. "Claudius Sabucius," he said, once he caught a better look at the other. "Good afternoon - I trust you didn't find today's session too tiresome?" @Sarah
Late August, 76AD Summer was drifting to a close and Horatia was grateful. There was a breeze through the domus that she sorely needed as she hesitated for a moment in the gardens, letting it blow the edge of her palla and the hem of her stola. She'd been out that morning and hadn't bothered to undress again into something more informal now she was back home. She fluttered her eyes shut and took an inhale deep in through her nose, filling out her lungs until she couldn't take in another gasp and then she exhaled, trying to straighten her thoughts, trying to make this work. She had always been a woman of great composure, and even now she found that she couldn't cry - she attributed that to the shock more than anything else. She did another long, languid breath to try and draw in some of the serenity from the gardens and then when it did nothing to help the beating of her heart against her ribs, she turned on her heel and strode through to the open side of Aulus' tablinum. She lingered on the edge, choosing to lean against one of the pillars. "Do you have a moment?" It was rare he was in at this time of day - usually he was at the senate, or seeing clients or otherwise engaged with their new Caesar at the consilium. She chose to see that as a fortuitous sign from the Gods, rather than the coincidence it was. She had been unwell for weeks. It had started with a tiredness that she couldn't shake; she'd wake up in the mornings and be so exhausted she had to return to her bed by noon. It was unlike her, but she'd convinced herself and her family that it was just some ague going around that she doubtless picked up from some of the women she saw at her book club, or the new charitable endeavour she was researching with one of Tiberius' clients - a man who ran a slew of boarding houses (which Horatia had a mind to turn into something solely for women). Then, of course, the nausea had started. Foods she had used to enjoy turned her stomach but again - she had pushed aside concerns from her slaves and instead insisted that it was a consequence of the tiredness. It was only when she fainted because she'd not eaten anything until cena, that Aulus had insisted she see a medicus. The news had torn through her like an arrow to the gut. 'And your menses? Regular?' 'No,' She'd replied - because the silphium she religiously took made them erratic. 'When was the last time you bled?' 'Two...perhaps three months ago.' 'And nothing since then?' Nothing. Usually there was...something, but for close to three months there had been nothing. And the kindly old man with his gentle smile had tapped her on her hand and chuckled. Exhaustion, nausea, tenderness of the abdomen, no bleeding. She was pregnant. She was thirty-three years old, with a Consul for a husband, two teenage children, a lifetime supply of silphium stashed in her bedroom and she was pregnant. She had thrown up in the middle of his office. He'd merely laughed. She felt like she would wretch forever. Despite the precautions she'd taken, and every single fibre of her being being filled with dread at the prospect of another birth, it was happening. There was nothing for her to do. Besides tell her husband. She offered a wan smile and spoke again; "I can come back, if you're in the middle of something." TAG: @Sharpie