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Chevi
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Early September, 74CE

"How about that one over there?" Aia ventured, leaning against one of the columns of the Basilica Iulia. It was a busy day at the Forum, people buying and selling like there was no tomorrow - which was pretty much every day in Rome. The hustle and the bustle was fun to watch, and also fun to completely get lost in (as long as that was what someone wanted). Today was one of those rare times when both Decimus and Aia happened to have some hours off duty at the same time, so they met at the foot of the Palatine, just to... walk around and talk. In a public market like this, no one looked twice at the praetorian and the interprex strolling along.

And possibly shopping for potential wives for Decimus. Of course he did not agree to that, it was more of a spur of the moment thing, but it would have been a pity to let an opportunity go to waste.

"She is not a slave, and she has nice clothes" Aia noted, looking at the curvy, dark-haired girl carrying a basket of various goods on her arm "And nice hips. What do you think?"

@Sains

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Decimus would roll his eyes as he kept pace at her side. Sometimes he didn't know if she only meant to annoy him about the topic of women. To him, at least, the prospect of approaching a complete stranger in the middle of the market seemed like one of the last things he truly wanted to be doing. The last thing he wanted to known as was the strange vagabond roaming endlessly about the streets bumping into well respected women to start conversations with them. 

"I think you should leave it be. None of them want to be bothered on their way back from the market, anyhow."

The very thought of it all...

"'Sides, there's more too it than hips and clothes."

And he knew that she was quite aware of that as well. Dis, if there were anyone around who knew about that sort of thing it would be Aia. Ever since arriving in the city she'd seemed to indulge herself more and more in the life of women and the different types that strolled about the streets. Wouldn't be too long before she'd run off and become a match maker...

@Chevi

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Decimus was clearly not as enthusiastic about his matchmaking prospects as he should have been, at least according to Aia. As fearless as he could be on a battlefield, talking to women was a whole different kind of game. Especially to refined and sheltered Roman girls.

"I think you should leave it be. None of them want to be bothered on their way back from the market, anyhow."

"Venus bless you Decimus, sometimes women want to be bothered by a handsome praetorian. The trick is to believe them if they tell you they don't."

"'Sides, there's more too it than hips and clothes."

"Now you tell me" Aia grinned, looking over the crowd. "I said clothes because it means they come from a good family. As for hips... you know, this would go a lot easier if you told me what I'm looking for. Or rather, you are looking for..."

What was he looking for, really? Other than a decent wife to make a home with?

@Sains

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Decimus could only shrug at first. After all, it was hard to define himself what he was looking for! There was always the vague idea of what type of girl he'd like to meet, and it never seemed like any of the ladies of Rome were ever just right. There was always something about them that was always a put off. He, perhaps wrongly, always assumed that one need only wait to find the crucial flaw in any one of them.

With a sigh, he decided he might as well make an attempt at describing something. 

"One that isn't afraid to dirty her hands... I don't want a dainty woman of the baths. Tempting as they are to the others."

It must have been so easy for that lot of his comrades; the ones who cared little for a woman beyond the act of penetration.

"Honesty is crucial, I can't have one that hopes to gain something from me at the very start of it all... I guess she can ravage my purse after we're wed."

That sort of tragic humor made him smile as he finally came to rest against a plain column so that he could take a look for himself. He'd given Aia a very sparse set of parameters partly because he couldn't think of anything else to say and partly because he was hoping he might frustrate her into giving up this fruitless crusade of matchmaking, but he had a sneaking suspicion that she would only carry on.

 

@Chevi

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Decimus was not wholeheartedly into this game, but honestly, that just made it more of a challenge. Aia did not honestly believe that she was going to find the love of his life right here on the Forum today - but it was too much fun to watch him squirm about it.

"One that isn't afraid to dirty her hands... I don't want a dainty woman of the baths. Tempting as they are to the others."

He didn't want dainty. Go figure. At least most respectable Roman women were clean, and there Decimus goes, wanting a little dirt in his life.

"Honesty is crucial, I can't have one that hopes to gain something from me at the very start of it all... I guess she can ravage my purse after we're wed."

"Oh, well why didn't you say that sooner? Wait, I'll see if I can find a woman who's wearing some expensive honesty today..." Aia rolled her eyes and chuckled, teasing him. Of course, things on the inside were much more important than those on the outside, especially to someone like Decimus. But inner values were a lot les fun to shop for at the Forum. Honestly.

"You want dirt and honestly, huh... Decimus, I don't know how to break this to you, but you might be looking for a man." she snorted, looking over the crowd. Rome had no shortage of pretty women, and also handsome men to look at. Just like with the rest of the world's goods, there was something there for everyone.

"There, how about that one? I kinda like the freckles, and she haggles like a professional merchant." she nodded at a curvy, curly-haired young woman at a pottery stall "Go, offer to carry her basket for her. That's a nice way to start a conversation."

@Sains

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Decimus thought about what he might say to wiggle his way out of going on over to this woman and making an utter fool of himself once Aia had suggested doing just that. He could feign illness, recalling the piece of sour fish he'd been given at the castra a few hours earlier. He could say that his feet were ailing him and that he really should go and rest up for a bit before his shift began the next day. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all was the fact that she'd immediately have some sort of witty retort ready to knock him back into line and send him in her direction. If it weren't today it would be some other day, and so on and so forth...

He looked at her, glaring with all the menace that a man like Decimus could muster. He wasn't angry at her. Of course he was annoyed that she was forcing him out into the wide open world that he hardly understood, but he supposed he was the one that was always griping about not being able to break into this world of courtship that everyone seemed to be so keen on. 

He was about to say something. Whatever it was would be lost to eternity though as he suddenly pushed off towards the woman that Aia had pointed out, grumbling something to himself as he went. 

It would be a time for Aia to observe the interaction, and he could certainly feel her determined gaze watching over him with each step he took. In the distance, she'd see the woman stand up suddenly from tending to her basket full of various groceries and other vessels that she seemed keen on purchasing. There was Decimus standing near her and saying something that was obviously very witty, for she laughed, before he'd point at the items on the ground and speak of them for a few moments. The conversation only seemed to decline from there, and with a wave of her hand, he was on his way back to the column with a look of not grief, but of confusion. With no explanation he posted back up on the frame of the column and hoped that would be the end of it all. 

 

@Chevi

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It seemed to be going so well. Aia watched like a hawk as Decimus marched over to the woman with a look of determination and mild panic, and then... something went wrong. Or not wrong, really, wrong would have involved screaming and slapping, but something definitely did not go right either. The conversation ground to an awkward halt, and Decimus returned to his post, trying his darndest to act like nothing happened at all. Aia arched an eyebrow at him as he leaned against the column. There was a certain tone in her voice as she decided to ask. 

He knew she would ask, he probably just hoped she wouldn't.

"Decimus. What did you say to her?..."

@Sains

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He could only scoff at the question. 

"What one 'ought to say... She said that she wasn't interested in anything that I was selling, wouldn't have any more of me!"

All at once he'd begun to laugh; the idea that she'd thought that's what he'd been after! Of course it was one of the more natural reactions he hadn't counted on, doing this in the market as they were. There must have been hundreds of vendors and con-men that bombarded women with special offers constantly, all finding ground in the common tactic of flattery beforehand. 

"Perhaps the market was a mistake, unless that was a fluke."

 

@Chevi

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"What one 'ought to say... She said that she wasn't interested in anything that I was selling, wouldn't have any more of me!"

Decimus laughed at the idea, and Aia chuckled too. At least he was taking the rejection in stride. Being mistaken for a crafty merchant would have ruffled some praetorians' feathers, but Decimus was not the kind of man to take offense. Aia rolled her eyes, looking at the young woman who was now walking away with her basket.

"Well, it's her loss."

"Perhaps the market was a mistake, unless that was a fluke."

"My other idea was to go into the basilica and see if there are any fresh widows in need of a man's support" Aia offered with a grin, nodding in the direction of the legal buildings behind them "I mean, widows probably know what they want and they take no bullshit, right?"

She was joking, but it was too much fun to stop just yet.

@Sains

 

Edited by Chevi
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He'd smile at the idea out of politeness but he did truly hope that she didn't intend to send him off into the basilica to prey on those who'd lost their husbands, especially if the loss had been recent. The idea of flirting with the widow of one he'd served with in a previous life would eat away at him before he could make anything meaningful of it anyways.

"Ah, an honor i'd do the fallen, to take their wives before the ashes have settled."

There was nothing in it, he knew many men who'd taken widows from previous marriages right after a death in the family. Even though it was commonplace, however, the thought still didn't settle well with him. He'd hate to learn that a woman he'd taken to was the wife of some lost legionary he'd once known. It would just be... Odd. 

Sighing, he rested a confident arm across her shoulder, looking out towards the varied stately buildings that they'd been milling about and offering some sort of reassurance. 

"The search will go on, but I dont think wandering about in the street and talking to strangers is anything that i'm good at... As you'll recall the courtship rituals in Britannia were somewhat different."

 

@Chevi

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"Ah, an honor i'd do the fallen, to take their wives before the ashes have settled."

"It would be a shame to let a perfectly good widow go to waste." Aia chuckled. Decimus was not going to hunt for recently bereaved women and she new it, but in theory, by Roman standards, it wasn't the worst possible idea.

Decimus rested an arm around her shoulders. If Aia had been a more decently educated Roman maiden, she would have tensed up at such familiarity... but since he had basically seen her half naked before (not to mention sleeping in the same bed), it was nothing out of the ordinary between the two of them. She chuckled, and leaned against his side.

"The search will go on, but I dont think wandering about in the street and talking to strangers is anything that i'm good at... As you'll recall the courtship rituals in Britannia were somewhat different."

"A lot of things were different in Britannia" she agreed, glancing up at him "Wait... did you leave someone back there?"

@Sains

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