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Just One Night [M]


Charis
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December 18th, 75AD

Charis did not look as nice as she had when she had left the domus. The walk across the city with its riotous crowds for the second day of Saturnalia, only to be turned away at the door and directed to an insula not a fifteen minute walk from her starting point had left her flustered and tired. Still! She was out, and even with the jostling crowds she felt relaxed.

She had celebrated the first night of the festival in the domus as was traditional with a meal and that awkward role-swap, and she had tried to ignore the feelings of dread it had brought up. She had conceived her son - she was sure of it - exactly a year ago yesterday and she had spent the evening tense and worried that she'd be summoned in for a repeat, but it hadn't happened. Actually, in the past two months - since the midwife had assured her she had healed and was ready for...life (as she so delicately put it) Tertius hadn't called for her. Maybe he had lost interest, since she had his son? She could only hope (perhaps naively). But then again, they were getting on better and he was being kinder. Maybe things were looking up?

Regardless, the night had passed without incident but given it was a days-long festival she had managed to persuade her dominus to let her out for two of the subsequent evenings. The first was to visit 'Aia' and attend a show, the second would be spent with Cynane - two days from now. How or why Tertius was so generous, she didn't know, but she wasn't complaining. After a few sad goodbyes to her son - dozing in Rhoda's arms, she had left the domus and set off into the night - the first time she'd been out alone in months. She'd worn a plain and serviceable tunica but had done her hair in pretty braids with a few loose strands to frame her face. She felt almost entirely like her old safe - tired more easily, but otherwise returned to her figure and moods as before. She felt at peace. And she wanted to celebrate that feeling.

She finally drew to the exterior of the insula, breathless, with flushed cheeks. It had been over two hours since she had initially set off and her throat felt scratchy and dry from lack of drink, and a chill had seeped into her bones (even she could admit Rome got cold in the winter)! Trying to tidy herself up as she climbed up the stairs, her legs feeling like lead, until she finally drew to the door which she was informed, belonged to her friend. She knocked twice and stood back. She swore to the Gods that if he wasn't home after all of this effort...!

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Saturnalia had always been one of Alexius’ favorite festivals – but then, he had a lot of favorite festivals, actually more or less all of them, since they very often included a lot of drinking and sleeping around and those were some of Alexius’ favorite things to do. Saturnalia lasted for days and nights and he got back home late last night, so it was good with a long sleep the next morning. Then he went to the baths to freshen up and then back home to find out what Lexus would be up to, tonight. They agreed to have a drink and a meal together, before they’d do each their thing. Lexus had his friends to see and apparently one was going to pick him tonight, which Alexius kind of looked forwards to, because he didn’t really know his son’s friends. Alexius had… friends everywhere. He’d find someone when he walked out the door and there was no knowing where he’d end up sleeping.

 They had just finished eating when there was a knock on the door. Lexus jumped up, expecting it to be his friend, “How do I look?” He asked his father and Alexius grinned. His son was dressed more or less like usual, but Alexius had helped comb Lexus’ hair and he looked mighty handsome. Almost like a like young version of himself.

 Lexus then opened the door with a bright smile on his face, only to find an unknown woman on the doorstep. Short and quite beautiful with her braids and sweet face - although she looked a little bit tired. But he didn’t know her. Yet it was only for a second he was confused, because it was easy to figure out why she was here. Good thing he was going out, he thought to himself.

 “Uhm… salve. Are you uhm… here to see my father?” Lexus said with a shy smile and looked over his shoulder at Alexius, who hadn’t said he was expecting anyone. Alexius arched a brow and stood to find out who their guest was.

@Sara

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Charis blinked and took an instinctive step back as somebody who was decidedly not Alexius answered the door. "Salve." She responded with a thin smile, "I was looking for-" Ah! She was cut off by the boy continuing to talk, asking if she was here to visit his father? Charis - mind muddled from months of broken sleep - couldn't recall if Alexius had mentioned a son before! He might have? Maybe? She tried to drag through her mind quickly but was saved when the figure of a taller, broader man loomed into view. 

"Yes." She responded quickly to the younger man with a more genuine, relaxed smile, "Yes I've come to see your father. I'm a friend," She glanced up at Alexius and nervously tugged a strand of hair behind her ear, "I haven't seen him - you -" She glanced up at Alexius now, "For a while so I thought I would visit." She explained awkwardly. It had been months since she had seen him, and the last time she had she had been pregnant, afraid, broken. She was a different woman again now, and although much more jaded and cautious, she was closer to the 'old' Charis that he knew. It was one of the reasons she had wanted to visit - to let him know she was alright

"But if you have plans," She finally said, realising she was standing quietly, awkwardly and she folded her arms across her waist, "I can...go, and we can see each other another time. I don't wish to intrude." She said with a gentle smile to the boy, who couldn't have been more than a handful of years younger than herself. 

 

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Alexius could honestly not remember if he had ever told Charis that he had a son. They’d met a few times, maybe more, but the circumstances were almost always random and he mostly remembered her in their conversation. And his own stupidity a few times, of course. He hadn’t expected to really see her again, after last time he met her. It was in the summer, she was pregnant with her master’s son and she would barely speak to him. Now he thought he heard a familiar voice outside his door, as Lexus opened it. Alexius stood while they talked, because it was obviously not Lexus’ friend here to pick him up.

 “I guessed as much. He’s right here.” Lexus said, sounding maybe a tad bit disappointed, maybe because it was not his friend or because people were always coming to see his father. Alexius came over to the door though, surprised to see Charis there, as pretty as ever in his eyes. Her long hair was done up very prettily and she seemed a bit nervous.  

“It has been a while, definitely.” Alexius said, while Lexus went to sit by the table again. Wait, how did she find him here? Last time she came to visit him, he was still Oriana’s bodyguard. And that was a long time ago now, or it felt like it was. Not that he was not pleased to see Charis, but he was surprised! There was an odd silence that Charis broke. She suggested to go and see him another time.

 “Oh you’re not intruding! Lexus… did I ever tell you about him? He’s just waiting for a friend to pick him up, they’re going out for the festivities. I don’t have plans. Or, I didn’t…” He added, smiling again, “Please come inside. Lexus, this is my friend, Charis. Lexus is my son...” Alexius stepped aside so she could enter his humble home, thinking he could tell more about Lexus once the boy had left, “Do you want anything? Wine, food… anything else?” Oh he could not help it, could he? Although he’d not forgotten last time they met. It was like she was changed, again. Would he ever figure her out?

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"More than a while." She admitted with a shy (so unlike her!) smile. She glanced at the younger man as he moved to seat himself at a table she could see in the dim light of the rooms. As Alexius swung the door open further she let out a sigh of relief that he wasn't busy. She hadn't marched half way over the city and back again, and worked up the courage (through a few cheap cups of wine bought on the way) to be turned away as he had better things to be doing! She laughed a little and stepped in, "No plans on a Saturnalia night?" She glanced up at Alexius - a good head and a half or more taller than her, "You have mellowed!" 

She chuckled and moved into the room, sitting across from the younger man. "It is good to meet you Lexus," She said with a genuine, friendly smile. "What are your plans for this evening?" She was trying to be polite, even if the small talk was a little...awkward. "And yes, some wine would be lovely, thank you." She said to Alexius over her shoulder. She hated the silence and chose to try and fill it, "I...haven't been out of the house much for the last few months but with the festival and the crowds I managed to get a little time this evening and your father was so kind to me, has been so kind when I've seen him..." She quickly clarified, "He saved me when I was lost, it's how we met I thought I would come and see him I..." She was interrupted from her rambling to the younger man as a cup of wine was placed in her hands, which she gratefully accepted. 

 

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Alexius was more than happy to let Charis into his humble home, although he was still a bit surprised to see her. Had it been half a year again, since he last met her? And last time she was so… different, from the woman entering his home now. He closed the door behind her though and she joked about him not having plans on Saturnalia.

 “The closest thing I have to a plan is going out and getting drunk. Something usually happens while I do that.” He said with a smile, “Besides, I have no slaves to switch places with… although… now you’re here…” He looked at Charis with a grin, she was a slave, was she not? Oh he’d be more than happy to have her tell him what to do for and to her. It was a very interesting thought, actually. If she would. If that’s why she was here. But he didn’t know – what he did know was to be careful with Charis, because she had a temper and she could turn on him when he least expected it. She was pretty, she was funny and good to talk to. But she shouldn’t be messed with.

 Meanwhile Charis spoke to Lexus, while Alexius went to find a cup for her.

 “I’m going out with a friend.” Lexus replied to her, “Good to meet you too, I guess. Charis, was it? Have you known my father for long?” Lexus himself had barely known his father for more than a year. Well a little more than a year. And that wasn’t very long, considering he was 16 years old now. But Alexius was all he had.

 Charis also told them both she hadn’t been out of the house much and said Alexius had been very kind to her, when she’d seen him. She explained how she and Alexius met and then Alexius finally handed her a cup of wine.

 “Have a seat, while you tell all about how kind I’ve been to you.” Alexius said with a grin, gesturing at the seats by the table, “You’re out all night then, or what? Your master just let you?” It was Saturnalia, of course, but her master sounded a bit strange sometimes. And last time he met her she barely dared to talk to him. So what had changed?

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Charis arched a brow at Alexius' comment and managed a sly smile. "Ah yes, but I'm not your slave, am I?" She laughed a little, making clear that her firmer words were a joke before diverting her attention back to Lexus who spoke to her with all the energy of a young man embarrassed by his fathers frequent house visitors. "Charis, yes. I..." She frowned, trying to dredge up the memory of when she first met him, "I met him in June, last year so...a year and a half ago?" Gosh had it been that long? Really? "I was arguing with somebody in the street and he intervened." 

She took the seat  that Alexius had offered as she told the story, nursing her cup of wine and gripping it with both hands, "And he was kind. The man I was arguing with," Helios, "Was...is awful, and your father tried to help. And ever since then, we seem to run into one another whenever I need help..." She laughed a little. Alexius was her guardian angel it seemed, if Charis  had known what that was. 

She nodded slowly and glanced across at Alexius, mischief in her big blue eyes for a split second, "And yes, out for the night. My domine wants me home by dawn and I need to go back for my son," She blinked, realising Alexius didn't know - nobody really knew - "I had a little boy," She smiled at Alexius, evidently proud, "But...yes, besides dawn, I am free and with no plans whatsoever." She chuckled and took a deep sip of her wine. Why did she feel so oddly...nervous about being here?!

 

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It wasn’t that he had wanted her to feel like a slave – in fact he almost wanted to take his suggestion about them switching roles after he said it, but then it was said and he didn’t. Charis pointed out too that she was not his slave and Alexius nodded, “You’re right. Let’s just… be people, then.” He said and Charis had come further inside, speaking to Lexus, who replied to her questions and asked his own. Alexius thought his son was being a bit rude to their guest, but Charis didn’t seem to mind and explained how long they’d known each other and how. 

Alexius smiled at her story, not that the memory of Helios though. But he liked hearing that he’d helped her out and that they ran into each other when she needed it. Which reminded him of last time they met, had she really needed him then? She’d been… right, pregnant! And acting strange. Differently than now, actually. What had happened?

 “I do like to help people. Isn’t that right Lexus?” Alexius said with a grin to his son and Lexus looked at him.

 “I suppose.” Lexus replied, mostly hoping that his friend would show up soon because he preferred to not be at home when his father had company – it didn’t matter if they were male or female, he knew what might happen. Unless it was Didia, but she was something else. Somehow, she could do what not many other people who visited his father could do. She could resist his jokes and very obvious flirtation. Was she a goddess of sorts, perhaps?

 While he was thinking, his father and Charis were talking. Alexius wondered for how long Charis was out for and she explained she had to be home by dawn and also for her son. So she was pregnant, he remembered right! Charis explained she had a son and smiled so beautifully. She was proud of her son. And happy too? Maybe her master was kinder now she gave him a son. But he didn’t want to think about her master now.

 “Congratulations Charis! A boy… a son! He’s lucky to have you as his mother.” Alexius said with a smile and touched her cup with his and drank some, toasting to her son, “Is it the first time you’re out then? We must make it a night to remember then.” He could easily come up with an idea or two how to do that, but Charis confused him and he didn't quite know what she wanted. Maybe she'd just come here to spend time with a friend. Who knew with her?

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Charis beamed as Alexius congratulated her. "Yes, and thank you." She flushed a little. She knew she was a good mother, but felt guilt wash over her that she was spending the night apart from him - her first night apart from him - all for such...base and selfish reasons. She tried to ignore the feelings. "His name is Peregrinus, he was born in August, he freed him." She said with watery eyes - elated that she could say such a think, "Dominus I mean, he freed him. So he's a citizen and won't ever have to be a slave." She grinned and took a sip from the cup, revelling in the warmth it gave her and that feeling of lightness. She could see how people became addicted to the stuff. 

Nodding slowly, she set the cup down on the table and fiddled with it as Lexus sat opposite her. "Yes...well," She frowned, "It's the first time I've been out in the evenings. I can go to the baths and to the market in the day but that's about it so..." She smiled at Alexius and then averted her eyes, wondering if he could read her intentions. She'd been so hot and cold with him over the years, she didn't doubt he was confused as to why she was here. "So yes, a night to remember is what I need. I was thinking we could go to a bar? For a drink?" She glanced across at Alexius, "And of course if you're friend will be a while you should come too Lexus." She said with a little smile.

 

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Charis was far from the first mother he'd ever fancied, but he'd not recently really looked at a woman who was so happy and proud to be a mother. She was beaming, it was so beautiful. How could you not admire that and be attracted to that? Charis flushed so sweetly and thanked him for his compliments, then told more about her son. The name was of course Roman and then she told Alexius that her dominus freed the boy. So he would not be a slave. Alexius couldn't help but smile at her grin, "Congratulations on that too! I'm so glad to hear that... I remember when Lexus' mother told me she was having my child, we were both slaves. But then she was freed before she gave birth. So Lexus was born free." He said, looking at his son, "I couldn't be happier about that. Back then I was still a slave, after all." He added. Lexus nodded, he'd heard the story before from his mother and Alexius had probably also told it. When you were a slave, having a child that was free meant much more than anyone could imagine.

"I must meet your son sometime. If he's inherited just half of your beauty, he's going to be a heartbreaker someday." Alexius added with a grin. Lexus didn't say much, but instead finished his cup of wine. Charis said this was her first time out in the evenings, it sounded like she'd never been and then she smiled at him, but looked away a moment later. What was she trying to say? Alexius honestly had no clue. Charis had yet to fall for his charms. In fact she usually slapped him when he tried to kiss her. She went on though, saying she wanted a night to remember and suggested going out to have a drink. She also invited Lexus.

"Thanks, but... he should be here soon." Lexus replied with a small smile. Alexius was kind of glad to hear it, he would prefer to have Charis to himself. And not just because he liked her, but because he felt they ought to catch up somehow. There was so much he didn't know about what she'd been through.

"We can go out for a drink, if that's what you want. There are a few good places near here. You know... or... I hope you know... that I want you to feel good, Charis. Anyway I know you'll let me know if you disapprove of anything I do." He winked, she knew what he meant. Lexus didn't. And Lexus didn't seem to care, as there was a knock on the door and he jumped up to open it. It would seem that his friend had finally arrived.

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Charis smiled, blushing - almost as if embarrassed that she should be so 'lucky' that her son was freed from slavery, "It's just..." She sighed, "It's a relief. That he won't grow up...like this. He has a half-brother, dominus had another son by a slave and he wasn't freed so early and I know he took it hard." Poor Teutus. He'd never mentioned his mother, but Charis had surmised fairly quickly she wasn't at the domus and the thought that a family could be so cruelly separated sent her spiralling if she dwelt on it too long. Of course, that could still happen to her - she could be sold, or moved and separated from her freeborn son but...the chances were slimmer. Or she hoped so anyway. 

She chuckled at Alexius' platitudes and nodded at Lexus as he politely declined Charis' offer. She laughed again, a warm and inviting grin on her face; "I'm still sorry about the slap...it was a natural reaction!" She protested as Lexus jumped up to answer the door. Charis peered after the younger man as he greeted whomever it was with a smile, and it seemed, some relief. "He's a good one, your son." She commented quietly to Alexius in an approving way. "Very polite, bless him." Polite and reserved - two things she wouldn't have necessarily associated with Alexius himself, not that it was a criticism but Alexius was certainly more...exuberant. 

Turning back to the situation at hand she sipped her wine and leant back against the wall, as lightly coy smile coming to her face. "Maybe just one drink here first...for the road, as it were?" She couldn't remember the last time she'd tried to flirt...years ago now, with Immin back in Britannia before her wedding probably, and Gods above was she rusty!

 

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Charis seemed happy that her son was freed so soon, smiling at Alexius’ story about Lexus being born free and then she said she was glad her son would not have to grow up as a slave. She also said there was another son by her master, that wasn’t freed so early. Alexius arched a brow, that kind of reminded him of Teutus, whom he met a while ago and who was also a recent freedman, but then his father had a son with one of his slaves… Alexius gave Charis a strange look for a moment there, but then decided that Rome was a large city and there was no way Teutus and Charis knew each other personally.                                                                                                                                                          

“I can imagine that it’s not easy to be that other son, now. I’ve met people like that before. I’m glad your son is free though.” Alexius just commented, without diving further into the story, because it was obvious that Charis had enough to think about with hers. The conversation continued anyway and Alexius let Charis know that he just wanted her to feel good and reminded her that he knew she’d let him know, if she didn’t like what he did. She laughed, apologizing for her previous actions and Alexius just smiled, “Don’t think about… I just hope I won’t initiate another one.” Alexius said with a wink, while Lexus got up to greet his friend by the door.

 Charis commented quietly about Lexus then and Alexius looked at Lexus briefly too, “He is, isn’t he? Polite… but also a bit… shy? We don’t have so much in common, so it’s a bit hard sometimes. But we try our best to make it work.” Alexius said, maybe he’d tell the full story about Lexus later. Charis suggested ad rink here and then they’d go out and he nodded, “That sounds like a good plan. Are you leaving Lexus?” Alexius asked his son and Lexus looked over his shoulder.

 “Yeah, we’re off. I’ll be back home… tonight… I don’t know when. See you tomorrow morning?” Lexus said with a little smile, knowing that his father might be out all night too anyway. Alexius nodded, “Be careful out there! Saturnalia is crazy… but you know that.” Lexus nodded and then he left Alexius alone with Charis.

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Charis shrugged her thin shoulders and glanced across at Lexus, talking to his friend. "Maybe a little shy, but aren't all boys that age like that? My brother Turi went through an awkward phase, hardly ever talked." But then her younger sibling had always been an introverted sort, even when it was at odds with his great hulking frame. Charis raised a hand and gently waved her farewell with a soft smile, "It was nice to meet you Lexus!" she called after him as he departed and the door swung back on its creaking hinges, leaving her and Alexius alone. 

Almost immediately she felt colour come to her cheeks (the perils of a fair complexion!) and tried to disguise it as she sipped her wine. It was strong and she felt warmth immediately envelop her as she finished the last remaining dregs in the bottom of the cup, ignoring the bitter bits at the bottom. She set down the cup on the table and offered a coy smile to her company. "Just one more then, whilst I'm here." She felt so awkward! She never used to feel awkward in these sorts of situations - she used to be so confident! 

Trying to channel the Charis of old, she pushed herself up from the seat and slipped off the uncomfortable sandals she wore on forays out of the domus. Gingerly, she padded around, inspecting the room. "So this is your place?" She said with a little grin and chuckle, glancing back over her shoulder at him. She arched a brow and tossed her hair over her shoulder so it fell down her back, as she continued her survey of the room. "I like it...it's very...you." Was this how one flirted?!

 

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When Charis suggested all boys at Lexus’ age were shy, Alexius had to smile a little, “I don’t know. I don’t recall I went through that phase, back then.” He never really was shy, was he? It had been rough at the ludus to begin with, especially after he’d just parted with his sister, but he grew into the role and after he discovered what real pleasure was like, there was certainly no shyness about him at all. And that had already happened when he was the age Lexus was now. Lexus was on his way out now though and who knew what he’d encounter this night?

 Meanwhile Alexius was left alone with Charis, who suddenly blushed in the sweetest possible way and sipped her wine as if that would hide it. Alexius couldn’t help but being charmed and Charis wanted another cup of wine, “One more cup for you.” Alexius poured wine for her, looking her over. There was something about her tonight. Something different. Was it because she had become a mother? She did appear more… mature in a way. Which didn’t make her any less tempting. Alexius emptied his own cup too and watched as she stood to walk about in the small and humble flat he shared with Lexus.

 Gods she was a sight for… gods, wasn’t she? And currently for him. Alexius rested an arm on the table while she padded around, “It is very much my place, yes.” Alexius replied with a grin, wondering what she was up to. It was then she tossed her hair over her shoulder. So it was like that, was it? But the problem was, that she’d denied him quite a few times before, so was this really what she wanted or did she just not know how easy it was to tempt him? Because she was tempting. A lot.

 Alexius stood when she continued to move about, deciding to do something about it, because he wasn’t made for just sitting still and waiting around, “There’s more than just this.” Alexius said, nodding at the curtain at one end of the room, the one hiding his private part of the flat, “You’re welcome to see what’s behind there. See if that’s also very… me.” He said with a wink, approaching her. He wasn't sure they'd go out for that drink elsewhere just yet, “You look amazing tonight by the way… did I tell you that?”

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She heard his chair scrape against the wooden floor as he rose and arched a brow over his shoulder at him. Ah. Yes. Gods above why did she feel so nervous?! She felt colour come to her cheeks at his inference and she quickly snapped her head back round to the centre - surveying his little kingdom. She swallowed and steadied her breath.

It was ridiculous really; she had been married, she had a child, and yet she felt so timid now. Maybe it was because it had been years since she had done something like this just for her, not since Immin. Sex since she'd been in Rome had been simultaneously a means to an end, a punishment, and something she endured. All of these negative thoughts and emotions had swiftly become attached to the most  human of actions until it scared her. That's why she was here tonight; she wanted to shake it off. She wanted to do something for her, get over her boundaries, feel free. So why was it so hard? 

As he drew near, she turned on the balls of her feet and faced him. "No, no you didn't." She swallowed and managed a wry smile. Tentatively, she reached out a hand to softly hold his and with the size of his hand hers was almost completely enveloped. She took a steadying breath and blinked up at him, trying to feign confidence she didn't feel. "I might have a suggestion for something we could do instead of a drink you know..." She arched a brow, before pulling away with a sly smile, "But first I need that second cup of wine." 

 

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Charis was more alluring to him than she probably knew. Just the way she’d tossed her hair over the shoulder just before… gods! Look at her neck and throat and consider how the warmth of her skin would feel against his lips right there. And how she’d react. She must know she was at least a little tempting to him. Else she’d not act like that, would she? Hopefully she’d not claim he was wrong and this was normal behavior. Because he had not seen Charis act like this around him before, no matter how he’d been open about his desires for her when they met.

 He told her how amazing she looked. It didn’t matter that she’d walked across half of Rome to find him tonight. What mattered was just how feminine and gorgeous she was. She turned on her heels to face him. She was so short, he thought again. Not that it mattered. He would pick her up and thenjust… gods, no, he needed to slow those thoughts just a little bit! But then of course she touched his hand and he laced his fingers with hers, while she was looking up at him and then she came with a very direct suggestion on what to do. Alexius was all ears and attention, but she pulled back, teasing him!  

 “It’s already poured.” Alexius told her, looking after her with a grin, “Gods! You know you’re torturing me right now, right?” He then added, “I never knew you could be such a temptress, Charis. You better finish that second cup… soon.” It was all said with a playful spark to his eyes and his voice. Really, she was the one holding the cards here. She had him – or could easily have him – in the palm of her hand! With how she was acting, he didn’t know for how much longer he wanted to wait. It felt like it had been forever already!

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Charis grinned up at her host with a dimpled, impish little smile before pulling away and glancing to the table where a freshly poured cup of wine sat. "I don't mean to torture..." She said with a little laugh, but without much conviction. How long had it been since she'd flirted? Since she'd been so coquettish? She moved to the table and picked up the wine before turning back to sit on the edge of it - as Tertius so often did on the edge of his desk. She tried not to draw parallels (especially not tonight) but he was in her mind more often these days than she'd like. 

She sipped slowly at the sweet wine and glanced up at him with those big blue eyes. "I don't know why I came here tonight..." She frowned to herself, "No...I mean...I know why I came here." She said with a nod but a little sigh broke through her lips. "I...you'll think it's silly, if I tell you why." She shook her head with a little girlish laugh and sipped at her wine. Her mother had always said that alcohol was the best remedy for nerves. Generally Charis didn't agree but she was willing to give anything a go tonight for a little courage. She sipped again and felt the warmth seep into her muscles and her bones, sending a delicious sense of peace over her. 

"Why do you think I'm here, Lucius Antonius Alexius?" She said after a little pause as silence and tension swelled in the room.

 

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Look at that little smile on her face, when he said she tortured him! Gods, she knew she was doing and she just kept it going. Alexius had wanted Charis almost since the moment he met her. Not since the exact moment though, because he’d interfered with her fighting with Helios, but then they began talking and he began realizing just how gorgeous she was. And precious. And now she was there, on the edge of his table, with a cup of wine in her hand, looking at him with her beautiful, blue eyes. Alexius drew nearer again, it was almost too perfect. Almost.

 Meanwhile she began talking, stumbling over her words and the reason why she was here. And then she asked why he thought she was here. Alexius stopped moving when he stood in front of her and he placed a hand on the table beside her – but not on her other side, because he knew how she reacted to being trapped and he wouldn’t risk that now. Instead his other hand touched her upper arm, the one she did not hold her wine with, and he let his fingers slide down over her arm towards her hand… and her hip.

 “I think you’re here to feel free and happy. It is Saturnalia. And I think… you’re here for me.” Alexius said and inched his body closer to hers, “What do you want to do? Right now? Because if you’re here for me… then I’m all yours and you know it. Just tell me…” Alexius paused with a little grin, “Or even better, show me.”  

@Sara

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Charis drew a deep breath in through her nose and let it out slowly as tension seeped into every spare part of the room until it felt fit to burst. But it was good tension, it wasn't the kind that usually pervaded her interactions with the opposite sex, this felt different and intoxicating. No wonder Alexius was so successful in his conquests if he could cultivate such a sensation with anybody even in just a few minutes. She tried to steady her breath and keep the flush from her cheeks. 

She felt her heart beat faster, a frenetic rhythm against her ribs as he drew closer an done hand softly skirted the skin on her arm - trailing down. He'd feel goosebumps under his deft touch. His words swam in her head as she sipped from the cup (how had it gone down so quickly?!) and she couldn't help but smile, showing her dimples. 

"You think I'm some vixen who does this all the time?" She chuckled softly as she sipped at her wine - her body leaning into his touch ever so slightly, "You think I know what to do or when to do it?" She arched a brow. She'd been married, and she'd been with Tertius and that was the sum of all of her experience. Neither partner was particularly proficient - or maybe that was a disservice to Tertius given that she didn't want to be in his bed, but either way her knowledge of all things carnal was a great deal less than what Alexius was likely used to. But for somebody as hopeless as Charis - there was something almost...electric about the power he had given her, or seemed willing to give to her. 

"No." She said after a breath, looking up at him through her lashes. "Why don't you show me, just what you can do for me? And perhaps I'll consider it." Her lips twitched into a smile. When was the last time she felt in control? With somebody at her whim - voluntarily there, wanting her, willing to please her? She dared not think about it, she was intent on just enjoying the sensation. 

 

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  • Sara changed the title to Just One Night [M]

When you stood so close, it was hard to not notice the way she was breathing – was she just excited or was she nervous? Alexius didn’t want her to be. He wanted her to feel comfortable and she seemed intent on not slapping him for his behavior tonight. No, she definitely seemed to want to give into his and her desires and he was all here for her, if that’s what she would have. She was so fine. Her cheeks were red and when he touched her arm, there were goosebumps on it. It was almost as if this was her first time, but of course he knew that was not the case. She had a husband, once. And she had a master, who had taken advantage of her. With Alexius, there’d be no strings attached. Just pleasure. A friend who offered very good benefits.

 She smiled up at him, chuckling and leaning closer to him, more or less saying she didn’t know exactly what to do, “You’re a mystery, Charis…” Alexius said with a grin, but he did not move away and she gave him that tempting glance through her lashes, looking up at him, deciding that she wanted him to show her what he could do.

 “I’ll make you consider a lot of things.” Alexius promised with another smile and then he lifted her up to sit properly on the table instead of just leaning against the edge of it. He followed of course, letting his arms continue around her to embrace her, bringing them closer together and then he leaned down towards her to kiss her. He did pause briefly though, “Consider this, for a start…” And then he let his lips meet hers, expecting she would for once not pull back and not slap him for it. If she didn’t, he’d bury his hand in her hair and let the kiss linger.

@Sara

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Charis felt like she was on fire. She'd debated coming tonight; it seemed silly, she'd just be another conquest to him whilst he'd be so much more to her (not that she'd ever admit it), but right now, in this moment, she was elated she'd made the journey to this room, this moment. As he lifted her up the remnants of the wine in her cup sloshed and a dribble of it rolled down the edge of the cup onto her hand. She felt herself become breathless and her grip slackened, sending the cup clattering down onto the wooden floor, spilling the dregs as it went. She didn't care. 

She didn't say anything (what could you say in a situation like this?) and instead let her hand freely roam up his arm to his neck, cradling his jaw with her small palm. She, for once, didn't resist when he kissed her. It took a moment and her self-restraint not to flinch or pull away. Tertius was rarely overtly unkind in bed (back when she had performed those duties for him) but it was never a pleasure and it took a moment for her to shake the image of him, of what they did, from her mind as Alexius wound his hand through her hair. She wasn't there, she was here with Alexius. Sweet, nice, uncomplicated Alexius.

She made a sound, halfway between a mewl and a whimper against his lips and pulled back, embarrassed. One hand still stroked his cheek, her fingers sweeping gentle arches over the curve of his cheekbone. She was trying to act the vixen, the temptress, but it wasn't easy for her. She'd lost a lot of the confidence she once had. She managed a wry little smile, their faces only a few hairs apart and she leant her forehead against his. "Is that all you have Alexius?" 

 

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She was so warm. Her arm was warm and when he lifted her up onto the table, easy as it was, he could feel her body heat through the dress too. So warm and so beautiful, he thought. He ignored the cup she held and which fell to the floor, they could clean that up later. It didn’t matter right now. Alexius didn’t think so far towards who else had kissed her recently, he just knew that he would finally get to give Charis a proper kiss, like he’d wanted to for so long. Her hand was on his neck and his jaw and he inhaled a breath, before he initiated the kiss.

 Her lips were soft and warm and he felt he held her closer, letting it linger until Charis chose to pull back with the sweetest sound. Her hand was still on his cheek and she smiled, wondering if that’s all he had for her.

 “I think you know it’s not. It’s a start…” Alexius said with a grin. She seemed a little nervous still, so careful, like this was new to her. She might need to explore more. Alexius let go of her for a moment, but only to pull his tunica over his head and he tossed it to the bench next to the table. When he touched her again, it was his hands on her knees, hiking up the skirt of her dress. Gods he wanted her so badly, but he also didn’t want to rush it, for her sake! He didn’t want to ruin it and ruin the moment!

 “Let me know if I should slow down. Or if it’s too slow…” He then added with a wink - and with his hands on the bare skin of her legs, caressing her, he leaned down to kiss her again, his mouth opening a bit so that he could taste her and she him.

@Sara

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He was close enough that she could feel his breath gently moving the hair that had fallen in her face, tickling her cheek. Her heart was thrumming a furious rhythm and she felt herself flush in attraction? Anticipation? Fear? A mix, most likely. She wanted to stop and explain why she was doing this, to justify it, but as he stepped back and pulled his tunic over his head she felt the words melt away. She just wanted him, and she wanted to feel like herself again - or more than that, she wanted to feel what other women felt when they were free

She made a sound as his hands pushed up her tunica, inhaling a breath at the sensation. For a man who'd surely bedded hundreds of women he was tender, moreso than she could have wished for. She didn't say anything as he spoke, instead just looking at him, a soft smile on her lips. One hand moved back to his jaw, the other played across his chest until she couldn't take it any longer and she pulled him in for a kiss. There was an urgency and intensity in it, as if she was on fire and he was the only way she could alleviate the burn. Her hand moved to press firmly on the back of his head, pulling him closer until she pulled back breathless, panting. She didn't remember ever feeling like this, as if she was famished. She ignored the waves of memories of when she'd been touched like this before, with Immin, with Tertius...and shook her head to try and rid herself of them. She was here. She was safe. 

She still couldn't speak but as his fingers danced across the skin of her thighs she unclasped the belt she was wearing and then moved nimble fingers to the ties that held her tunica closed at her shoulders. She moved forward to rest her cheek against his as she fumbled with undoing the knots, speaking quietly, almost a whisper in his ear, her voice hoarse; "I want you." 

 

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She was so beautiful, she was warm, she had amazing lips, she was right here and she wanted him! That was more than enough for Alexius, because he’d thought her easy on the eyes and he’d liked her since the day they met for the first time. Not that he thought he was in love – but he cared about her and sometimes, when he was with someone, it was as if he loved them right then and there, in the moments they spent together, at least. No one else mattered but her right now. Maybe that’s why he could be so tender and gentle despite his desire for her. Alexius felt he should not rush it with Charis. He wanted her to feel as good and comfortable as he felt.

 He told her to set the pace, she would decide if it was too fast… or too slow. She breathed when he touched her legs and then she was touching him again. Her hand landed on the back of his head before he could initiate the kiss, this time she did it. A firm, heated kiss and he closed his eyes, allowing it to happen. Gods she was… everything! But then she pulled back, panting, his breaths were heavy too and she let go of him to undo her own clothes. The belt and then the ties at her shoulders.

 Alexius grinned through his breath at her whisper, “It’s no secret… I want you too.” He replied and lifted her down from the table and to her feet again. Now that she’d undone her dress, the action caused it to fall to the floor. Alexius still wore the short breeches he liked wearing, but he undid the ties in a swift motion and then took her hand, “Come.” Alexius tugged her with him towards his bed, pushing the curtain aside to reveal it. Large enough to fit two people, because he knew from the start that he required such a bed. Alexius sat down on the bed and reached out for her, "How do you want me?" Would she want to be taken or did she want to be more active? Her master had probably done most of the 'taking', but with Alexius, she was in charge of what happened. She was definitely safe with him. 

@Sara

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As her dress fell down and pooled at her feet she had to fight the urge to cover herself. It was a natural reaction, she supposed, she did't enjoy being gawked at and felt on show. But as Alexius himself rid himself of clothing, leaving them both in their underwear, she managed to relax, the tension slowly ebbing out of her body. She followed him dutifully, hands winding up his arm as he pulled her towards the bed. As he sat, she moved in stand in front of him between his legs, a sly smile on her lips. When had she ever been offered the choice before? Immin had been kind, she had loved him deeply but he had never been an especially considerate lover and nor had Tertius. Yet here Alexius was giving her all the power. It was electrifying. 

She let her hands move to trace the outline of his throat before moving to brush the muscles of his upper arms, prominent from years of his work. "I..." What did she want? How could she answer that question when she'd never had it asked before? She inhaled, her breath still shaky from trepidation and desire. Gods she wanted him. But how? She moved slowly, cautiously - as if testing the waters, afraid he might react poorly, to push him to his back, her palms flat on his chest. She watched him for a moment, a slight smile on her lips as she moved to kneel over him. She leant down, her hair falling in his face as she left a soft kiss against his lips. "I want you to pleasure me." Her voice was low with desire as her hands moved to his face, keeping him looking at her. Was this what it felt like to have agency? To be in control? "I want you to treat me like I'm your Queen, worship me, pleasure me. I want you to take your time" Her smile played on her lips as she leaned down to kiss him. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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