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Valeria had purposely made it be known that she had a surprise in mind, offhandedly as if it were an afterthought, as if a surprise was as easy as a roll of the tongue. She rapped her fingers and had a devilish grin on her face, a look more appropriate for the wake of a devious murder plot rather than anything that might resemble normalcy or even innocence. But beyond ‘I have a surprise for you’, she had said very little else to her husband, not what time, whether it would be that day, or what the nature of what she had in store. If it left him anxious or shivering with anticipation, then she derived more pleasure from it. She often felt satiated by watching others squirm, whether it was Landicus’s foul written word or her own love of a little mischief.

Something was clearly being planned, however, and even in the days ahead of her little slip of an announcement, she had to keep not only the preparations out of Titus’s attention but her children’s, although Sulpicia might’ve come to some level of conclusion, being that she was reaching the age to grow suspicious of any degree of ‘alone time’ between their father and mother. Of course, there was perhaps the occasional overhearing her mother’s burst of laughter and “you call that a penis?” through the walls when Titus wasn’t home.

But if there was anyone that had a closest idea it was Vibia. After a back-and-forth, she arranged for the courtesan to arrive at their home in the evening and be met by a servant that was definitely not Nymphias until Valeria was able to join her. When the same servant had come into the chamber that Valeria had been in, reclining in candlelight with Titus, she leaned over to observe who it was and gave a quick “thank you, so-and-so” before they could stop, catch their breath, and open their mouth.

At that moment, Valeria seemed to grow a sudden amount of energy as she drew up to her feet. “Are you ready for your present?” she asked with excitement carrying through her voice.

@Liv and @Sara

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Valeria announcing she had a surprise was nothing out of the ordinary; that said surprise was for Titus was a tad less ordinary, but perfectly explained by context. His birthday had come, celebrations had been held and presents had been received, but by the looks of it Valeria had yet something up her stola sleeve. How long it had been in the making was unknown and unimportant to him: he just wanted to find out what it was!

Titus had been terribly excited the day of, but as the hours passed and nothing that could be considered a surprise by his wife's standards happened his enthusiasm dwindled. The following days were more of the same, and eventually he reigned in his disappointment by reasoning to himself that perhaps this surprise was nothing but a practical lesson in patience, however out of character it may be for Valeria. Even she had bouts of seriousness every now and then.

So when what had thus far been a quiet candlelit evening was interrupted by an unexpected guest and a sprightly Valeria leaping to her feet, Titus knew something was up. Her question only confirmed it, and he felt his heart start racing like when he was a little boy and couldn't wait to get his grubby little hands on a new set of tin soldiers. "Of course I am," he grinned genially. "About time too, any longer and it would be your present." He remained in his reclining position, watching the guest from his vantage point.

The seductive musician from Praetextatus' party was as delightful-looking now as she had been then, but the question of when and how Valeria had come across her was just as intriguing. However, Titus was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and he raised an eyebrow inquisitively as his gaze flitted from Valeria to the fair-haired courtesan, not quite daring to confirm his suspicions. Was the woman going to treat them to a very private music and dance show? Unable to hold back a sly smile, Titus hoped she would use hee fingers for more than plucking at cithara strings that night.

This was a surprise, all right.

 

@Sara @Joaquin

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Vibia had not expected a request from the indomitable Valeria Flacca quite as swiftly as when it had arrived. She had, equally, not wholly expected what the request precisely was until she heard the words herself. She had half-imagined a call to play at a party for demure matrons and she imagined herself sat dull and bored in the corner as her fingers burned as they plucked at her cithara. Then again, another part of her mind had recognised the woman's...singular passions almost immediately that night they had met. She had seen the glee in her face when she had described that giant cake of tits (the image of which, still made her chuckle), and of course her evident delight at the thought she kept her poor sap of a husband chained up in their domus. 

It's why she had been actually fairly delighted to accept the offered sum and all of the requisite requests. Escorted by one of the many men that guarded (and gawked at) the workers of the Venus, she had set out into the night wrapped head to toe in a thick woollen cloak to conceal her modesty. The man, as always, nodded as she was admitted and took up his spot in the kitchens - waiting for his charge to finish her duties. 

Unwrapping herself to reveal her true form evidently startled the poor slave who immediately backed out of the small room she had been given to prepare herself. She was dressed in a flimsy, virtually sheer white chiton (with obviously nothing underneath). Around her waist was a band entwined with myrtle, interlaced with bright white swan feathers and gold ribbons. Her  blonde hair was left long although an intricate few braids were lavishly braided with bright white and pink roses, more sprigs of myrtle and feathers. If Valeria and her husband had wanted the Goddess Venus incarnate, they were going to get her - complete with all of her signs and symbols.

Adding a dab of red to her lips, and picking up the ornate cithara the lumbering guard had carried for her, she smiled - satisfied at her appearance in the small mirror. Moving out of the room she dutifully followed the slave through the domus - ignoring the somewhat dumbfounded stares of the slaves. When she finally was allowed to enter the dimly lit room she offered a sly, feline grin and inclined her head at Valeria. 

"You sent for Venus, domina." She eyed Valeria lasciviously before flicking her eyes to her husband. Oh! It was him! She remembered him from that party - albeit vaguely, the wine had been good and bloody strong that night. Her grin widened at him, "Well," Her voice was heavy with flirtation, "...she has arrived."

 

TAG: @Joaquin @Liv

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