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Dinner Is For Drama


Sydney
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Oriana loved hosting dinner parties at her lavish home. She invited only Rome's finest, whether they were her friends or not. She was a social butterfly to say the least. Most described her as a charismatic, beautiful woman looking for a husband. She had many friends, though most, if not all, were fake friends through the use of politics. The friends would speak about pointless drama, delicacies they ate recently, and their families. For the couple hours they had to see each other, they pretended to care about each other's well being and would leave. That was the nightlife for Oriana when she wasn't up to something illegal. 

The auburn-haired woman had fish sent to her via boat for tonight's dinner, something that was expensive but amazing. She also had wine delivered from the Southern part of the Empire, where the best wine was often made. She invited over a hundred people, loving the attention she got and being surrounded by people. Her father was even out and about talking with guests with one of their slaves watching over him while she mingled. He was usually in bed because of his old age, but it was a lot easier to bring the party to him than for him to go to a party. She would check up on him every so often, hoping he was having a good time. 

One particular guest she would often chat up was the young Caecina Tusca, a girl who was six years her junior. She seemed like most of the naive women in upper class Rome, though she didn't mind her company. Her family was well-respected in Rome, so she invited the girl's whole family. Though if something bad were to happen to the family to lose their status, Oriana wouldn't hesitate to drop them out of her circle. That's just how politics were, and she figured her family would do the same to Oriana's. 

Oriana knew how to put on a genuine smile and outer happiness when it came to conversing, even though she could really care less about most people on the inside. When she spotted Caecine, she smiled. "Hello young Caecina, it's a pleasure to see you again!" Oriana went in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek, the normal Roman greeting of the upper class. "Do you have some wine? I've imported it from down south, it's really amazing. You should try it." 

@Echo 

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Dinner parties were part and parcel of Caecina's everyday life and she enjoyed them quite a bit. Against her nature, which was to gravitate toward the men and listen to them discuss politics, Caecina often socialized with other women more, though she distrusted every other woman as competition for husbands and nothing more. In addition, she found them all catty and prone to harsh judgments toward other women, which was why she always dressed to the teeth in the finest fabrics, jewelry, and cosmetics. Tonight, she wore a pink chiton with a white palla draped modestly but attractively about her head. A bracelet that was shaped like a golden snake twisted around her wrist, and golden earbobs dangled from her ears. 

 

The hostess was a woman Caecina was familiar enough with. They were regularly invited to parties at her family's home and Caecina always had fun with her contemporaries closer to her age as well as Oriana and some of the older women. She supposed there were things to be learned from older women who were still looking for husbands: things to be learned and applied, all in order to find the best matches. 

 

Caecina put on a bright smile as Oriana made her way to greet her and responded with her own embrace. "Salve, Oriana, how lovely to see you!" Caecina smoothed her chiton as the two pulled away. "I see you've spared no expense," the younger woman offered in a teasing voice still smiling. "I have not had the pleasure of trying yet!"

 

@Sydney

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Oriana remembered when she was Caecina's age: she was naive, hopeful, and excited to get married like all of the other young women in Rome. Things had changed a lot since then, with her first marriage coming and going without a trace. The freedom of not having a husband was something she loved, though it wasn't something she could have forever, especially as an heiress. There were always men looking for wives, and she wouldn't be surprised if men had already taken a liking to young Caecina. Sixteen was the normal age to get married; it was the same age Oriana had married her late husband. She wouldn't be surprised if, in the next year, Caecina had a husband of her own. 

She took a sip of her wine. "Well let me get you some, as a host I need to take care of my guests," she said with a smile. One of the slaves held a tray of wine glasses. Oriana grabbed one and handed it to Caecina. "A toast, to life and the prosperity of Rome," Oriana said, raising her glass and drinking it. Wine, like most Roman's, was her favorite drink. She had grown up with it in her home all of her life and only expected to drink the best. She felt the same for her guests. Besides, if she had terrible wine, she would be talked terribly about for weeks. 

"And how are you, Caecina? Is your family doing well?" She asked, making small talk. In her business, she never had small talk. She really didn't enjoy it, but that's what parties were about. They were about knowing who was who and what was going on in their lives. Most of the time it was mundane, but Oriana was there when someone had drama going on in their lives. She always liked to know the juicy gossip. 

@Echo

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Caecina couldn't wait to be married. The life seemed to hold allure to her, as many women her age, and she was thoroughly taken in by it. Of course, her mind had only taken her to the altar and not past that, except for her occasional fear of death in childbirth. Caecina's unanalytical mind didn't often go there, of course, and she could only imagine her wedding day, dressed in her finest clothes and marrying a handsome, wealthy man who would help to improve her family's standing in Rome.

 

Caecina smiled as Oriana offered her some wine, taking the glass in her hand and raising it as Oriana toasted. "To Rome," she replied happily, taking a sip. Truly, Oriana had good taste in wine; it was among the finest she had ever had. "You have fine taste in wine, Oriana," she complimented. "I shall have to copy you for my next party." Oriana queried about Caecina's family and she smiled. Small talk was a honed skill but not one she enjoyed. "My family is wonderful, thank you! We took a few weeks out at our villa in Italy and it was divine. And yours?" 

 

@Sydney

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Oriana almost wished to go back to the naïvety that the young girl had. And though she wasn’t particularly friends with the girl, she hoped she had a husband that treated her right. Those were extremely hard to come by these days, especially with the limited pick that nobles had. Most of the men were either taken or not old enough to marry. Oriana wanted to be picky with whom she married. Her first marriage was a disaster and she wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. When she married, she would marry someone strong, powerful, and ambitious. She wouldn’t have it any other way. 

When Caecina said she had a fine taste in wine, Oriana have a generous smile. Of course she already knew that, but she wasn’t cocky enough to say it. ”Thank you so much, Caecina. I would be glad to help, if you ever need it.” Oriana was always generous to offer her help and would take up on it if they asked. She had better things to be doing with her time but was always spry to bond with other nobles. 

”I’m so happy to hear about your family. I’ve heard the countryside is beautiful this time of year. Vacations are often the best time to relax in the bustling Rome.” Oriana hadn’t been on vacation since her honeymoon six years ago. There was simply no time for it. She also hated being away from her work and leaving her clients in the dark about her whereabouts. 

She took another sip of wine when Caecina asked about her family. Right now, it was just her and her father. ”Father’s illness is getting worse, but he seems to be having a grand time tonight conversing with everyone. It seems like it’s a matter of weeks before he passes.” She had answered this question many times, so she was immune to the emotions attached to it. She figured this might be his last outing, and she thought that he knew that too. Maybe this was his time to say goodbye to everyone. ”But other than that, I’m doing fantastic. I’m surrounded by wonderful people I call my friends with amazing food and wine. There’s not much I could complain about, if I’m honest.”

@Echo

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Caecina was looking forward to having a husband, but as of yet, there were no serious options. Caecina smiled when Oriana offered her help in entertaining. Caecina was quite confident in her abilities to entertain, especially given her tutelage under her stepmother. But she needed to keep her hostess on her side so she replied, "I shall have to take you up on that someday. And you must come to my next party, too! I shall be sure to invite you." Oriana continued the conversation and Caecina nodded. "Oh, yes, we love visiting the countryside and escape the city. The heat can be so oppressive this time of year. And the dust settles in my hair and absolutely ruins it!" Caecina laughed lightly. 

The conversation turned to Oriana's father and Caecina became more serious. "I'm so sorry to hear that." Death made the girl invariably upset as it made her reflect on her mother. But Oriana didn't seem too upset. "I'm glad you are doing so well." 

 

@Sydney

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Oriana smiled when Caecina said that she would invite her. It was always nice to come to other people's parties rather than plan one herself. She was so busy that planning anything took time out of her busy schedule. Yet, she loved hosting parties and seeing other nobles having a good time. Plus, her name would be spoken of for at least a week if her party was fantastic, which is something she always needed. When talking, the two women seemed so alike. They both had small talk, were talking about their families, and loved to drink and party. But they were probably so different outside of the public eye. Oriana learned that everyone was. She wondered what Caecina was like without the comfort of all of these people. Was she just as naive as she appeared to be, or was she mean to her family? Oriana doubted that she would find out, but it was something she liked to entertain. 

Talking about her father's illness always seemed to have the same uncomfortable reaction to others. When something bad was happening to others, it wasn't easy for others to react. Rather, it was something she realized was awkward to others to reply to. She always seemed to see that people wanted to talk about something else when Oriana could go into detail about terrible or uncomfortable things without so much as a hint of sad or unpleasant emotion. But for the sake of others, she always went with the conversation. This conversation was no different either. 

"Well thank you," she said with a smile. "And how about a husband? Any luck with suitors? I bet they're just climbing head over heels to get to you." Oriana said with a laugh, taking another drink of her wine. 

@Echo

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The thought of cherished family members in pain always brought pain to Caecina's stomach, a visceral reaction to the memory of her mother's ill-fated pregnancy. Caecina could only slightly remember that night when she was so young, almost like a shadowy whisper in the back of her mind, but it was always there to make her recall her mother or make her fear childbirth. But Oriana seemed less than upset about her father's illness - perhaps she wasn't very close to the man, or even was hoping he would die for one reason or another. Caecina allowed herself to briefly wonder. 

Caecina permitted a small smile, which grew at the beginning of talk of suitors. Caecina had not met many young men that were worth her time, though she expected that her father and stepmother were always on the lookout for her. She hoped they would let her have some say in the matter, perhaps when there were a few to choose from. But that day had not come yet. "Oh, I don't know about that," she said modestly but with a mischievous grin. "I can't wait to be married, though. And you? I know you have been without a husband for some time now." Her comment wasn't mean-spirited but rather curious.

 

@Sydney

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Thinking of marriage wasn't the last thing on Oriana's mind, though it definitely wasn't the first. She had a lot more things to deal with other than wooing men. She had her needs taken care of and that was the extent of it. She felt like marriage would slow her down, that she would need to tip-toe around a man while he was the one leading the family. Oriana wanted someone with power, where she could live with them and not behind them. She wanted power and status. She wanted her secret-trading business to be more powerful and have leverage over anyone. This was more important to her than most would ever think. 

But she had to play the sophisticated young woman who wanted a man that could start a family with, though Oriana personally hated children. She listened to Caecina, smiling at her words. She couldn't wait to be married, which wasn't a surprise. Most girls her age couldn't wait. "Well hopefully you won't have to wait too long." She smiled at the girl, raising her glass, and drinking it. The girl continued to talk about how she had been without a husband for some time, in which Oriana nodded. She didn't find any offense with the question, as she was asked that a lot. 

"You're absoluetly right, it's been far too long since Atticus died. Though if I'm honest, between you and me, I'm waiting for the right man. I've gotten proposals, but none of them have been to my interest so I tell my father to decline. It's quite possible that I'll be with this person the rest of my life, I want to be selective." Oriana made it seem like she was finding the right person to love, but that was far from the truth. Love wasn't something Oriana wasn't interested in and never has been. She looked at Senators and the Imperial family with wooing eyes, hoping that she might grab the attention of one of them. Whether it was a naive Senator or an ambitious Imperial, she wanted nothing more than to have power. 

@Echo

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Again, Caecina had not thought so deeply about a potential partner as Oriana had. Of course, she knew all the things to avoid; her family would never allow her to marry down, and her suitor must be a man from a family equally wealthy and influential as hers, but as for power, she expected that she would be subservient as she could be expected to be. Her husband would wield the power in the family and Caecina would be responsible for managing the household and the children she would inevitably bear. 

Oriana commented that she hoped Caecina wouldn't have to wait too long and she laughed in response. "I hope so too! Though I expect within a year..." She trailed off tantalizingly. Oriana then continued, saying that it had been too long since her husband had died, then suggested she was waiting for the right man. "Certainly, you are worth the best husband, my friend. I expect my father and stepmother will let me have some kind of choice once they have a few candidates, though of course the final decision will be my fathers. I expect he will choose someone suitable."

@Sydney 

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