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Aia

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July 75CE

Rome was freaking hot in the summers. Gods above, how did people handle it?... It was a question on theory, obviously, because anyone who could left the city for the summer months, and anyone who stayed probably had no other option. Even Flavia Juliana and her household visited less often these days, preferring the villa to the city, which was sad, honestly, because Aia had a lover in the city, and she was very displeased by how infrequently she got to bang him. Hopefully, this would only be temporary, until they got permission to marry. Then she could bang him all the time.

But right now, he was on duty, and she had some errands to run, errands that took her to the Forum Holitorium for some spiced olive oil and other delicacies. Aia covered her head with her light palla against the sun, and walked slowly along the market stalls, examining produce as she went. This place was stinking much less in the summer than the Forum Boarium close by; in fact the spices and herbs and oils had kind of a nice, if strong, aroma that tickled one's nose. Aia stopped to smell the scents around a spice stall, when she caught sight of a familiar face out of the corner of her eyes...

@Sara

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Charis felt sick to her stomach. The nausea of the first few weeks of pregnancy had long since passed (replaced by other maladies of; exhaustion, back ache and irritability) but every now and again something would set off that sinking feeling in her stomach and make her want to run to the nearest latrine. The visit to the markets at the Campus Martius had been harmless enough so far; she'd sourced what she needed for Rhoda but her real reason for venturing to the cities edge was to pick up a little baby's rattle with her saved up peculium which she'd squirrel away. She didn't wish to be seen to be buying it by somebody at the Emporium Magnum, and Tertius had given her leave to come here (under the guise of better ingredients for Rhoda). She had no doubt, if her hopes came true, that Tertius would buy his son every toy known to man - but she wanted to get the baby something from her. She possessed no skills at all in carving or whittling, and so had bought the baby a gift instead. The sentiment was there though. 

Yet as she passed by the Forum Holitorium, the nausea came in a wave. Perhaps it was the smell of some spice, or the heat, but she felt that familiar sinking feeling and her face lost all colour. She couldn't very well vomit in the middle of here, and she could make it to the edge if she walked quickly enough. She pushed through the crowds, feeling vaguely repulsed by the sensation of sweaty skin touching her own, and brushed passed a spice stall - making a beeline for a fountain. She made it just as Aia turned round, not  that she noticed. She cupped her palms in the water and splashed her face with it - ignoring judgemental looks as she did so. When thoroughly cooled, she turned round to lean against it and moved one hand to her bump, now significantly showing at almost seven months gone - as if chiding the child well thank you very much. So entranced by her inner thoughts, she didn't see Aia walk up to her. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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Aia was about to greet Charis, but the woman brushed past her without stopping and hurried to the fountain. She looked pale... and also heavier than she had before. Aia followed her with her gaze, staring in surprise, watching as she splashed water on her face. Was she feeling sick?... The reality only dawned on her when Charis turned around and leaned against the fountain, her belly suddenly obvious.

Oh.

Aia walked over, ignoring the looks some people were giving to the pregnant woman. Get a life, idiots.

"Erea" she smiled in greeting "Fancy seeing you again!"

@Sara

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Charis blinked as she heard her name and peered up, her face wan but the nausea mercifully subsiding. "Aia?" She asked, frowning for a moment as if confused. Past faces were reappearing in her life at an alarming rate, just as she needed them not to. Still - she couldn't deny that she was pleased to see the woman and offered a wide smile - albeit one that didn't meet her eyes. 

"It is a small world," She inclined her head but made no move to stand up. Her legs felt wobbly and she wasn't convinced that if she moved her stomach wouldn't roll again and she'd be retching on the poor woman's sandals. Best to sit still, ride it out. "What...what are you doing here?" She blinked - trying to feign a natural conversation whilst the elephant in the room lurked at her midsection. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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Erea - Charis? - recognized her, and Aia smiled. Last time they had met at the baths, and talked about their past, but then they lost touch for a long while and... well, things had apparently changed. Erea was not standing up, so Aia took a seat next to her on the edge of the fountain.

"It is a small world. What...what are you doing here?" 

"Shopping" Aia answered, it was kind of a non-answer, but the obvious one, given where they were sitting. "Are you... feeling alright? You are looking a little pale... wait, are you about to have a baby?" The thought just occurred to Aia, and she was not entirely sure what she would do if the answer was yes.

@Sara

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"I-I'm fine I," She blinked as Aia continued and glanced quickly between Aia and her bump and back again. She couldn't help it. It had been so long since she'd found something genuinely funny that she laughed. Joyously. Her cheeks flushed and a couple a little way off glanced in their direction with a quizzical frown on their faces. When she finally composed herself, she had to dab the back of her her eyes with her hand. 

"No...no not for a while, not for another couple of months at least." Her hands moved awkwardly to her midsection. It wasn't so much as an elephant in the room anymore, as a very obvious talking point. "I just felt sick, that's all. It happens less now but spices set me off." She wrinkled her nose and glanced back at Aia with a half-smile, feeling far more awkward than ever. "So...you have my news...how have you been?" It sounded so...awkward and false, but she wasn't really sure how to have normal conversations anymore with faces from her past.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"I-I'm fine I..."

Erea burst out laughing. Aia blinked in surprise; she'd genuinely asked if she was about to drop a baby by the fountain, because fuck if she knew how these things worked (she should probably find out, though, a small voice said in the back of her mind). At least she was laughing now, and looked a lot less pale and dizzy. Aia smiled too. 

"No...no not for a while, not for another couple of months at least. I just felt sick, that's all. It happens less now but spices set me off... So...you have my news...how have you been?"

Oh, good. No dropping babies just yet. Aia chuckled and leaned back, placing her basket on the ground.

"I have been... well. Pretty good, actually." she tried to remember all that had happened since their last meeting. It was a lot. And mostly called Decimus. "Getting used to living as a Roman woman, I guess." she tilted her head at Erea "Did you ever... get news of your brother?"

@Sara

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Relieved that the conversation had detoured, Charis breathed a sigh of relief (that looked to be shared by Aia now she was aware the child wasn't about to be born here in the marketplace). "Pretty good?" She queried with an impish smile and an arched brow. Something in the woman's manner was intriguing, but she'd figure it out eventually. 

"No...not yet. But my sister," She smiled broadly and truthfully, "She's a slave in another Senators house in Rome and my dominus is going to allow me to see her tomorrow." She couldn't wait, and yet every time she thought of it she had that same uncomfortable sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. What if Nymphias was different? Hurt? Maimed? She swallowed and shook her head, trying not to dwell on it. 

"A-and what have you been doing? To get used to living as a Roman woman?" She gently pried, a twinkle of amusement in her eyes.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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