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Vibia

Another Day in Paradise?

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Early evening, early July, 74CE

Vibia yawned, stretching out on a rich couch in the entranceway to the Domus Venus. She had been up most of the previous night with one of her regulars, a man with about as much wit as her left thumb, but he was good natured and tipped generously. Not to mention he was at least somewhat satisfying. She had no particular plans for the day and so was enjoying simply resting. The early summer heat had become intolerable in her room and at least the main rooms had some of the coolness thick walls and a lack of windows could offer, and so here she lounged. 

In the year she'd been in the brothel she had come to know most of her peers relatively well - but her status as a freedwoman often left her at odds with them. That wasn't to say she didn't socialise, but she supposed her (hypothetical, or presumed) ability to be able to just up sticks and walk out if she so chose, irritated the slaves that also services the nobility of Rome. If only they really knew what she was doing there. Smiling a little to herself, she let her eyes flutter shut. There were fewer clients when the heat was up - nobody wanted to couple when they already felt the sweat roll off their faces it seemed - and so she figured she had at least a few hours before she was to prepare for the evening. 

Wearing a loose fitting tunica, but with her hair immaculately pinned and a gold necklace around her throat, she looked the very picture of contentment. Unfortunately it wasn't to last. A sound in the room disturbed her and she snapped her eyes open, irritated. If the girls and men of the brothel wanted to talk, why couldn't they do it where they wouldn't disturb her? Fire in her eyes she gracefully moved to sit, her voice loud and authoritative. "Can't you see I'm trying to get some peace?" She blinked into the dim light of the evening in the direction of the noise. She had no authority, not really, not here, but the domina was nowhere to be seen and Gods she wanted some sleep.

 

TAG: Open to anybody at Domus Venus!

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Justinia was exhausted. The night just didn’t seem to end. She had men coming in waves (both figuratively and literally), and by the time it was over, she was completely worn out. Justinia had great stamina, but the evening had worn her out. She wasn’t used to working as hard as she was, and though she was thankful she wasn’t thrown in the mines, the job was still trying at times.

She spent most of her time off by herself. Justinia was a meek girl. She hated bothering others and often feared the other prostitutes. Not for any reason in particular, but she felt they all had more experience and were more attractive than her. She always avoided any kind of confrontation unless it was absolutely necessary. The time at the brothel was lonely for the girl, but she was used to it. She was also exhausted by the interaction from her clients, so any time alone was a good time for Justinia.

She was walking back to her room after cleaning up her wine jug. Justinia knew she would nap when she got back, something she really looked forward to. The girl wasn’t paying attention, and to the side of her, one of the slave errand boys came out of one of the rooms quickly and bumped into her. The force was so much and so quick that it knocked Justinia through the curtain into the room across from the one the boy ran off. He looked at her and ran off quickly.

Justinia sighed, and she noticed one of the prostitutes sleeping—or was until she crashed onto the floor. When she sat up and practically yelled at her, Justinia looked at her like a deer in headlights. Maybe she was right, the prostitutes were scary here. Justinia knew of her as Vibia, one of the freedwomen. She knew everybody’s name despite never talking to most of them.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, her voice trembling as she got up quickly, brushing herself off. “It was an accident. I’ll leave you to sleep.”

@Sara

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Vibia narrowed her eyes, sweeping over the other woman who hastily dusted herself off. "You should be more careful, daydreams don't serve any purpose for anybody." She snapped, still sitting but her irritation flared in her eyes. She'd seen plenty of girls, both in her old domus, and now here, whose eyes and minds were filled with silly dreams. It only caused them trouble, and Vibia had learnt better. 

With a frown, she stood gracefully and walked a pace to draw nearer to her company. The other woman was smaller, and seemed younger. Pretty though, Vibia mused with a slow smirk. She was also a new face to the freedwoman, who largely kept herself to herself - particularly amongst the slaves. Whilst she did the same job, she at least got paid for the task and could up and leave. Social hierarchy was alive and well it Rome it seemed, when one prostitute considered herself better than another. 

Pulling long blonde hair over her shoulder, fingers running through and separating its waves, she arched a brow and asked - with a gentler but still inquisitive voice; "I don't know you." It wasn't much of a question, and so she added for good measure. "You're new...ish?" She could well have arrived at any time over the last six months - Vibia wasn't one to socialise with meek, quiet women. Purposefully, she glanced lingeringly up and down the younger woman. "What's your name, girl?"

 

TAG: @Sydney

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Posted (edited)

Justinia was about to leave when the woman spoke again. She accused her of daydreaming, which Justinia felt a little insulted. She was only trying to go back to her room. “I wasn’t—” she started to argue, but she felt like it was pointless. Justinia never argued, but if someone called her out for something she didn’t do, she wanted to stand up for herself. The girl was terrible at standing up for herself and let it go. 

This was why Justinia hated interacting with the other prostitutes. They terrified her, and though she felt like she needed to leave, she didn’t want to be confronted later. Vibia was older and more experienced than her. Not only that, but she was a freedwoman. If Justinia were free, she would not stay at Venus. But everybody has their reasons. The dark-haired girl felt like Vibia had a lot of leverage over her. She was not her Domina, and yet, it felt like she was in charge. 

When the other prostitute asked if Justinia was new-ish, she nodded. It was hard to make eye contact with her. She felt inferior to her, and that was obvious. The girl was always terrible at hiding her emotions. 

Vibia asked for her name, and she paused for a second. It was like she was so worried about everything else she forgot her own name. Finally, she responded. “Justinia,” she said, looking at her. “And you are Vibia, one of the freed ones.” She added, not knowing if it was rude to address her status or not. 

@Sara

Edited by Sydney
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Vibia rolled her eyes. Was the girl as dim as she was pretty? So much so that she didn't know her own name? "Justinia." She repeated, slowly as if trying out the name for size. "Has that always been your name, or was it not your choice?" She tilted her head to the side. It was a pretty name - nicer than Vibia. A name the young freed woman was still trying to get used to after a lifetime as Mellusa. 

With a little smirk of pride, she tossed her hair back over her shoulder. "Yes. One of the...free ones." Although this life didn't feel especially free. "I take it that means you're one of the..." She arched a brow, "Slave ones?" She didn't smile. It wasn't that she felt bad - nobody chose a life of slavery, but she had endured it and so would Justinia. 

Fortunately for Vibia, her life enslaved had come to an abrupt end, but the same couldn't be said for those bought by the brothel and Syndicate. They'd stay until they were used up and then...well, she supposed she shouldn't dwell on it. With a yawn she gestured with her head back to the couch and turned, resuming her position on it. "Sit with me. I'm awake now," She shot the younger woman a pointed look, "And I like to know who I'm working with." Just in case there was anything useful there, although looking at the pretty, young woman, she doubted it. 

"Tell me," She reclined back, "What were you doing? Before this...here?"

 

TAG: @Sydney

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Justinia noticed the girl's eye roll, looking down in disappointment. She felt so small compared to the woman, both in confidence and in stature. Vibia then spoke her name, something that normally wouldn't bother her but definitely did at that moment. She then asked Justinia a question, and she responed quickly this time. "It has always been my name," she said. Nobody had ever asked about her name before. The smaller girl wondered why the woman had asked about it. 

Maybe her choice of words wasn't the best when she commented on Vibia being one of the free ones. She didn't mean it in a jealous or bad way, in fact, she was astonished that she was free. It gave slaves hope that one day they would be able to make their own choices, just like everyone else. 

When Vibia commented on how Justinia was one of the slave ones, the girl only nodded. It wasn't hard to figure out. The freedpeople in the brothel always seemed to be more cocky and have a better-than-you attitude towards the slaves. But they were better than the slaves, at least by societial standards. Though it still felt strange; if she were ever freed, she'd treat people just the same as she would when she was a slave, just like she always had. 

The woman returned to the couch, which felt like Justinia’s cue to leave. Thank the gods, she thought to herself. She hadn’t even taken a step towards the door when Vibia requested Justinia to sit with her. There was an attitude that she was awake because of Justinia, and she felt like a burden. “Of course,” she said, making her way over to the couch. Unlike Vibia, Justinia didn’t mind not knowing who she was working with. She preferred it actually. But she hated confrontation, and the last thing she wanted to do was confront the blonde woman. 

She asked what she did before Venus. It was a complicated story, so she decided to tell the short version. “I was a body slave to a wealthy man. I considered myself lucky,” Justinia said, her hands in her lap and keeping to herself. She left the part out about how she was only his body slave because he was jealous of all the attention his wife gave the slave when raising Justinia, but she figured that was for the best. “And you? Have you been at the Venus for long?” Justinia was normally terrible at small talk. But Vibia scared her, and she figured the woman would yell at her if it was a one-sided conversation. 

@Sara

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Vibia smiled a little as the younger woman came to join her. She did not much enjoy the company of women - she had always hated the competition they posed and how they prodded and nagged at her insecurities - but she was awake now, and at least finding out who she was working with would be useful. If only to one-up them and take their clients later. 

Still, a small frown creased her brow. A body slave to a prostitute? Narrowing her eyes, she tilted her head to the side and studied the woman. "Why did he let you go?" It was a blunt question, but phrased nicely. If she had been a worse mood it would have been what did you fuck up, for him to sell you? There must have been something she had done, surely. With an impish grin, she shrugged thin shoulders, "Why would a man want to sell a pretty young woman like you? And cheap enough that you'd end up here?" That must have been hard, she thought with brief, unusual sympathy. The life of a body-slave, as she had seen in her previous domus was much more palatable to that of a prostitute - even in a brothel as high-end as the Venus.

Vibia sighed but kept her face imperious and without emotion. "A year or so now. It's fine." It wasn't, but there was little choice for her - she had a debt she needed to pay. "Before that I was a slave, but I was freed when my domine died." She shrugged. She wasn't ashamed of her past a slave, if anything it was a good explainer for why she had ended up here. She didn't have the patronage of another, like most freed slaves. "But I play music so I don't have to deal with the...unsavouries that sometimes come in." She added with a haughty grin. Her skill had kept her out of the beds of some of the more perverse - albeit wealthy - clients that walked through their doors.

"And how do you like it here, Justinia?"

 

TAG: @Sydney

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