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Didia Nonia

Anybody for a Peach?

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Mid July 75AD

The sun was hot today, blisteringly so and as always it impacted the passing trade of her stall. Few ventured out at this time, and if they did they were always in a foul mood - rushing to get this or that for dinner based on a change of their dominus' whims - nobody wanted to be out in the midday sun if they could help it. Her included. She swatted a bead of sweat from her neck and adjusted the strip of linen that held up her dark hair into a loosely piled mass of braids. She was out here alone today; Appius was trying his luck with a small stall outside one of the thermaes, selling fruits to those citizens desperate for something fresh. It wasn't an oddity to see her alone selling their wares, and nor did she feel particularly troubled by it; she knew her fellow stallholders either side of her well, and as chance would have it her apathetic ex-husband was just across the way; trying and succeeding in not paying any attention to her. They'd have her back if she needed it.

Her stall was piled high with an abundance of produce; both savoury and sweet although nobody seemed to want to touch the vegetables that were on offer and most flocked to her to buy a lone apple or a solitary peach. Cheapskates, she thought but tried to brush it aside. 

Being midday at the height of summer in Rome, foot traffic was low and she paused to sit down on one of the stalls she had convinced Appius to pack for her. No point making her feet blister and ache if there wasn't any custom to be had. She stifled a yawn as she sat; she'd been up since well before dawn doing deliveries to her regulars and the markets were a tiring affair - even if not busy - owing to the fact that it meant lugging various fruits and vegetables up and down all day, and putting up with the riot of colours and smells that invaded the senses at every opportunity. She fiddled with the edge of her plain tunica and hummed to herself, bored out of her wits as more people came and went - idly eyeing the peaches placed proudly front and centre, yet nobody stopped. Not until a shadow loomed and she blinked up, to greet her customer. 

 

TAG: Open!

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Rome was starting to recover from the earthquake, the rubble had been cleaned away and building were being worked on to be brought back to their former glory. The Venus was included in all of this, perhaps paying a little more than she normally would have for the pace she demanded. Her clientele was already sniffing around and while she wasn't sure how bad the Elysium got hit, she wasn't about to lose her big spenders due to a little earthquake. And while they weren't reopened just yet, as the plaster and paint was still drying, her husband had allowed her a generous budget for new curtains and such for the building. Which would eventually lead her to the marketplace, flitting around the various fabric stalls to price things before she would set off one of the men with her to haggle once she was certain they had the quality she wanted. 

Then she was off looking at the others, purchasing a few bangles before heading over to where most of the food stalls were laid out. The sounds of merchants calling out to potential patrons were barely heard over the chattering sounds of the people she moved by. She normally didn't stop for food, but the kitchens at the Venus was pretty much in use to feed only the workers, and didn't provide what she normally liked daily when she arrived to oversee things. And then the fresh fruits and vegetables caught her eye. And she paused, a few feet away from it as she scanned the items. Before finally approaching the stall and picking up a peach. A smile playing at her lips as she focused on the succulent fruit in her hand. 

The worker moved, and she saw the movement just beyond the peach and she glanced up, a playful smile still playing on her lips. "How much?" She asked, holding it up. She would wait once she knew the price of one before asking how much a basket would be, her mind instantly going to the goddess among them that would often visit the Venus and Gaia's love for peaches. "And do you deliver?

@Sara

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Didia quickly slipped off of her stool and stood in front of her wares, a wide grin on her face in return to the other woman's sly smile. "Afternoon, mistress." She inclined her head and rattled off a price for the peach; "It's cheaper than Secundus' over there," She gestured to a stall a little way off and then leant in conspiratorially, "And you get less unwelcome hands here too." Stupid Secundus didn't understand why he kept losing female customers. Didia had tried politely to explain that nobody enjoyed being groped by a sweaty, middle aged pleb but he just stared at her bemused. She dropped the conversation shortly after. 

Nodding, she continued; "We do. We make deliveries to some of the finest homes in Rome in the morning - but we can do afternoon or evening deliveries if preferable, for an extra cost." She glanced the woman up and down; pretty with that feline sort of grace she'd never have with her round youthful face. She looked to have money as well, judging by the jangle of bangles on her wrist. Ever the saleswoman, Didia pressed onwards; "Is there anything else that interests you mistress? We've had some lovely lemons and limes imported recently which go lovely in wine." Although Didia didn't know that herself...she was lucky if by the time she got home at the end of the day half of Rome's wine stock hadn't been drunk by her parents. 

 

TAG: @Anna

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"Ah, yes." She said glancing at the other stall as it was pointed out, "I've had run ins there. He tends to overprice and his product doesn't hold for long. It's surprising he still has customers to claim." More like the man had run ins with her husband after crates of near rotten produce had been delivered at their domus in the recent month. He seemed to be the only vendor she had issue with when it came to purchasing for home or the Venus. And even if her expression soured a bit as she once more stole a glance to the other stall before plastering back on her smile and glancing at the young woman. 

Ah good, they delivered. Perfect. "For now I will take half a dozen of the limes and lemons. I will have to talk to the cook at my place of business first to see what she'll need on a day to day or weekly basis, but for the peaches." She paused, glancing at them again. They were quite large,  as she was barely able to fit her hand around the one she had, and she hoped they were as juicy as the promised. "I would like a dozen of them, and if I could set up a delivery of the same amount weekly to be sent to the Venus I would appreciate it. I have special friend who is a lover of peaches and I'd like to surprise her. But I fear she lives too far out of the city to ask you to deliver them to her personally.

@Sara

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Didia nodded and moved to fetch a cheaply woven basket in which to place the produce. Plebs were expected to carry their own but for the more discerning customer her Pater had insisted they carry bags and baskets of their own. She loaded up the limes and lemons as she listened to the woman and nodded her head with a soft smile. At least, the smile was on her face until she mentioned the word Venus and it fell into a frown. "Venus?" She inquired gently before it dawned on her. You absolute bloody idiot, Didia. "Oh! The Domus Venus, mistress?" What other Venus could it be? Not that she knew much about the place at all, besides the fact that it was full of the most beautiful whores money could buy - which, if you asked Didia - was a sincere waste of coin. A hole was a hole, no matter what kind of pretty face and body it came attached to. But then, perhaps she was more of a pessimist than she realised. 

Finished putting the lemons and limes into the basket, she started to arrange the peaches atop of them - counting as she did and trying to keep her head down so the woman couldn't see the flush on her cheeks at the discussion of a brothel. She wasn't a prude, nor was she naive, but she certainly hadn't ever imagined meeting the owner of the most well-renowned brothel today. "It depends whereabouts she lives, mistress, for the right price we can make the trip." She neglected to say it would cost an arm and a leg, but then again - it was likely small change to somebody like her. 

Having stacked up the items she scribbled down onto a wax tablet her own rudimentary markings to remind her father and herself later, of the arrangement for the peach delivery at the Venus.  Appius would be delighted to visit on their rounds, she was sure of it. Her blush deepened. "For the weekly delivery I'm afraid you'll have to remind me where your place of business is, mistress, I can't say I've visited before." She grinned impishly and arched a brow.

 

TAG: @Anna

 

 

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