Jump to content

Innocents abroad (Modern day AU)


Recommended Posts

Spring, 2021.

When in Rome, pretend you know what you're doing.

This was not Lucius' first time in Europe. Or even in Rome. Having a wealthy family had its perks, as in, taking family vacations in places outside the good old US of A. Lucius, being the kind of guy he was, also took the gap year his parents believed was the highway straight to moral decline. It wasn't, but it had been great fun, and it included about three days spent in Rome halfway between Florence and Naples as he and some similarly ambitionless youth burned their way through the continent. Rome, in the end, left and impression, though, and how he was back for a senior year study abroad scholarship. Living in the city, instead of just visiting. Probably putting off graduation for another year or so. What was the rush, anyway?

Lucius had been in the city for a few months now, and he was feeling mighty local. Especially since his university pass granted him access to most of the archaeological sites. Right now, he was lounging under the orange trees on the Palatine, surveying the view of the Forum and the Capitoline Hill, and the tourists making their way all around the scenery. All of this place was definitely Instagram-worthy. Lucius folded his arms, pushing his sunglasses to the top of his head, and watched the people. Equally interesting to the ruins. It was fun to make silent bets on which one was going to tumble down the hillside, or lose a selfie stick to a seagull.

@Sara

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Camilla basked in the warmth, relishing the spring sunshine that contrasted so deeply with spring in New York which was, at best, unseasonably hot and at worst resulted in piles of snow on the ground so deep she could barely wade through them. Rome had many things she loved; espresso, gelato, the pasta, but the seasons ranked among the best of its virtues and as she dawdled on the way to the top of the Palatine she took in the view with a smile on her face. How was it fair that she only had two terms left before she had to pack up and head home? 

She had a free hour in between classes; her composing seminar had been moved to the late afternoon and so, armed with a horribly unfashionable and American takeaway espresso ('You don't want to drink it at the bar, signorina?') she had come to one of her favourite spots to work on her composition...and catch a few snaps for the 'gram. Dylan1 hadn't responded to her last few - not even a fire emoji - but being older, she suspected maybe he'd prefer to see some of the scenery of Rome rather than just her face. 

There was a problem though. Somebody was in the spot she'd scouted out earlier. She frowned and fidgeted, hand on her hip, waiting to see if he'd move. No dice. Clearing her throat she glanced at him and arched a brow, trying in her heavily accented, terrible Italian; "Can you move? I need picture of this." She gestured to the orange tree he was lounging under.

 

TAG: @Chevi

1 modern day Decimus 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He'd noticed the girl a little bit before she noticed him. Or rather, the tree he was sitting under. She was taking pictures and carrying takeaway coffee, which was a dead giveaway for a tourist. Lucius narrowed his eyes as he played the usual game. French? Could be French. Maybe Spanish.

"Can you move? I need picture of this." 

Nope. American. 

"This particular tree?" the pointed up at the tree without moving. He also had an accent, but his Italian was passable. "Most people take selfies in the other direction." he added, waving a hand in the direction of the Forum.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah. Another foreigner. American? She couldn't be sure and it didn't really matter, she got his gist and rolled her eyes dramatically. "I've got enough pictures of myself and the Forum." she said in English before a sly smile crossed her lips. "You understand me, yeah?" 

She flipped her hair over one of her shoulders and adjusted her bag from where it had caught on the thin strap of her dress"It's a pretty tree, ruined by the tourist  underneath it." She said with a shrug and then pulled out her phone, lining up the shot waiting for him; "Are you going to move or am I going to have to retouch you?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I've got enough pictures of myself and the Forum. You understand me, yeah?" 

Lucius grinned. Two Americans, meeting in Rome. How ordinary. It was not quite tourist season yet, but he was pretty sure he'd hit at least three others if he started throwing oranges.

"Not really. But I do speak English" he noted, tilting his head. Most people never had enough selfies.

"It's a pretty tree, ruined by the tourist  underneath it. Are you going to move or am I going to have to retouch you?" 

"I..." Lucius held up a finger "... am gonna let that slide, because I'm a tasteful person. But I am not a tourist. And I am pretty sure I would be Insta-worthy" he added, stretching as he stood up and leaned against the tree.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Camilla rolled her eyes impatiently and withdrew her phone into her hand, anchoring to her hip in a stance that said 'I'm bored of you'. American then, and an obnoxious one at that. Probably from some backwater town nobody had ever heard of nor cared to visit. 

Not a tourist? She frowned and adjusted her bag again, wishing she had somebody else to carry its weight. The only American's she'd met in the months she'd been here had either been tourists or the seldom few other international students at her school, that was it. Tapping her fingers against her hip she stared him up and down as he stood, but made no move to get out of her way so she could take a picture. "If you're not a tourist then I think you can wave your job goodbye, lounging in the sun on a Tuesday afternoon doesn't scream 'hard worker' to me." She pulled out her phone again and tried to line up the shot. "And insta worthy for some, not for me." She gave him a sardonic smile, "I have high standards you see."

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If you're not a tourist then I think you can wave your job goodbye, lounging in the sun on a Tuesday afternoon doesn't scream 'hard worker' to me."

Now this chick would have gotten along splendidly with dear old Mom and Dad. College was mandatory, but so was breaking your back working before you were 25. Lucius looked down at the girl who was shorter than him, arching an eyebrow. 

"And insta worthy for some, not for me. I have high standards you see."

"Oww" he grasped at his chest in mock pain, land leaned back against the tree "Spoken like a true Italian. Oh wait." Calling him a tourist. Pot. Kettle. "So is it spring break back home yet, or are you traveling on business?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Pfft." Was her retort before she stopped herself and stared up at him with an annoyed frown, tossing her hair imperiously. "Are you suggesting I look old and haggard enough to be travelling on business?" Fucking rude"I'm nineteen, so watch your answer carefully." Maybe it was the wine. That she could drink here legally was a revelation and between the vino rosso and aperol spritzes she had been enjoying herself. Maybe her hours in the gym and time she spent tanning hadn't unpicked all the damage?

"I'm in college." She said after a pregnant pause and glowered up at him, fingers tapping out a rhythm against her phone case - indicating very clearly her patience with this interloper was wearing thin. "I presume then, that you're unemployed?" She gauged his reaction but continued on anyway, "And lounging about  here to pick up helpless, less picky girls?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Pfft. Are you suggesting I look old and haggard enough to be travelling on business? I'm nineteen, so watch your answer carefully." 

"Nope. I just assumed you work as an influencer." Lucius deadpanned. Nineteen. And making comments about tourists. That was precious. He remembered his gap year with fondness.

"I'm in college. I presume then, that you're unemployed? And lounging about  here to pick up helpless, less picky girls?" 

"Nope. But pro tip, if a handsome Italian offers you champagne at the Circus, don't take it." he smirked, looking at her phone and back "And I'm in college too. What are the odds?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"And whose the judgemental one now? It's just a hobby." She shrugged thin shoulders and stashed her phone in her bag. The moment had passed, the sun was passing behind clouds and she'd missed her opportunity. Great. 

"And why's that?" She queried with a frown, folding her arms across her chest defensively. She really had no idea what he was getting at. She really had no sense of the dangers that Rome posed - and even being mugged in her first week hadn't shaken some sense to her. She felt secure and safe in New York - she knew the best routes, the shortcuts, the places to avoid after dark, but Rome - especially with her shitty Italian - was some giant enigma to her. 

"Studying what?" She demanded imperiously, "How to tan? I didn't know that was a major." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"And whose the judgemental one now? It's just a hobby."

Sure.

"And why's that?" 

He'd made a comment about the men with the champagne.

"Because they are there to try to pick up helpless, less picky girls?" he reiterated, quirking an eyebrow. He had seen those men around. They usually just conned women for the money, but sometimes they did get lucky. It was better to stay away from them. She needed to know that. Lucius was an ass according to reliable sources, but he was not cruel.

"Studying what?" How to tan? I didn't know that was a major." 

"Checking out my looks, are you?" he grinned as she finally put the phone away. She'd started this banter fest, but now he was invested in it. It was kind of fun. "Let me guess..." he tilted his head as he looked her over. "Art history? With a minor in Creative Writing?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Camilla rolled her eyes but said nothing. He didn't need to know that she'd already been left wanting by a man who called himself Mario who had sent the night and promptly taken off the next morning before she woke up. She'd chalked up her missing earrings as a coincidence. 

"Checking out the tree." She clarified with a wry smile and a shrug. She couldn't help the scoff that left her lips though at his presumption. She said nothing that her closest friend here was an art history major from LA and preferred to spend her time travelling to the Amalfi coast with her Italian waiter boyfriend and Daddy's Amex than getting to grips with Renaissance art. 

"Music." She shrugged. Contemporary performance, to be specific - majoring in voice (singing), minoring in piano. Rome didn't have the best study abroad program but compared to freezing to death in dull Glasgow or dealing with British people in London, she'd opted for the sunnier climes and history of the Romantic Italian city. Besides, she'd been rejected from the Paris school, her first preference. "This is the point you  tell me about you."

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Checking out the tree." 

"It is a very handsome tree." Lucius agreed wholeheartedly. He patted the tree in an affectionate manner before he finally stepped away from it. They turned the conversation to college (or lack thereof). He guessed, and apparently, he guessed wrong.

"Music. This is the point you  tell me about you."

She was a musician. Go figure. Not that far from the arts. He wondered what kind of music she played.

"Curious?" Lucius smirked, glancing at her as he turned to admire the view of the Forum. It never got old. "Tell you what. You guess right, and I'll show you the staff entrance to the Temple of Apollo." Usually closed to visitors, but not especially interesting to anyone not immersed in Ovid, the Temple was a prime spot to be off the beaten path right in the heart of the city. Lucius had learned of it a few weeks before from a classmate.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'm only human." She offered a mocking smile to him, "And meeting a mysterious American is always intriguing." She shrugged and kept her arms firmly folded as she turned to look at the view over the Forum. It was beautiful, truly beautiful. The bleating tourists below them were ruining it a touch, but she still felt grateful to be standing where she was. Company included, not that she'd admit it. He was handsome. 

"I'll tell you what," She narrowed her eyes, "You tell me your name and I'll text it to my friend so if I'm murdered down a secluded back alley, they'll know, then I'll take a guess." Camilla was hopelessly naive but she wasn't that dumb that she didn't see that going off with a stranger to a secluded spot in a city she didn't know well was...well...risky. 

"And my first guess is..." She tilted her head to the side, "A business major. Whose come from some...party college?"

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'll tell you what. You tell me your name and I'll text it to my friend so if I'm murdered down a secluded back alley, they'll know, then I'll take a guess." 

"Smart" Lucius nodded. It was only fair. He did not want to end up being one of those guys that lured women to questionable places. And she couldn't know whether he was or not, so safety measures made sense. "My name is Lucius. Lucius Roscoe. You can tag me on Instagram for your friends." he added with a grin "You get three guesses."

"And my first guess is... A business major. Whose come from some...party college?"

"Is there any other kinda college?" he asked with an innocent expression. Party college, indeed. "Business, no. Although it would make my parents extremely proud. Also, you didn't tell me your name."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She held a finger up to him, bidding him wait as she tapped out a message to her friend Nia; met cute guy, American, tall, dark hair, says his name is - "Lu-c-i-us Ro-s-coe" she said out loud as she typed, and then finished her message; We're gonna go for a walk - I'll meet you in the seminar in an hour. Before he could say anything or protest, she reached out to take a picture of him and then clicked send. Her phone played the familiar whoosh sound as it sent and she returned it back to her bag with a smug smile. "Gotta have a photo, you know. Lots of tall, dark strangers in Rome."

She chuckled. Imagine having parents that would be proud of you. She couldn't relate; her father was already irritated enough that she'd gone off to Rome for the year when he'd made perfectly clear that her place was at home. Not even using 'getting over Dylan' had softened the blow for him. He sent her periodic texts at least, including (most recently); Vanderbilt boy asking about you, says he's in Naples this summer. Said you would meet him for dinner. Joy. 

"Camilla." She responded, "Camilla Birch. The old surname was Camil, you see - but over on Ellis Island the great-grandparents thought it sounded a bit foreign so...all the girls get it as a name instead, in our family." She had no idea where 'Birch' had come from, it was probably just chosen because it sounded vaguely American. She was just lucky she had no sisters - she'd been dreading the day she was referred to as 'Camilla 1' and her hypothetical sibling as 'Camilla 2'. 

"Now...my next guess." She sipped her espresso as she pondered, "...history, Archeology? Why else would you know the staff at the Temple of Wherever?"

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She took a picture and sent the message. Lucius let him. He just hoped she would not get into trouble later on, with her last message being about him. But hey, at least she thought he was handsome!

"Camilla. Camilla Birch. The old surname was Camil, you see - but over on Ellis Island the great-grandparents thought it sounded a bit foreign so...all the girls get it as a name instead, in our family." 

"That's a cool story" he noted with a nod. Camilla was a nice name, and it came with a story. Those things always made people interesting. "Nice to meet you, Camilla Birch."

"Now...my next guess. ...history, Archeology? Why else would you know the staff at the Temple of Wherever?"

"Temple of Wherever?" he gasped, shaking his head "How long have you been in Rome again?... Also, no. But I do hang out with a lot of archaeologists. In fact I'm sharing an apartment with some of them. Hence the secret knowledge. Although it is less impressive now that you don't know what I'm talking about." he added with a mournful look. "One more guess."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Camilla frowned, "Since September," So sixth months. God had it already been that long? How was she halfway through already?! "And I've been to the sights!" She protested, "I've seen the Forums and the Temples but...after the first few don't you agree they start to look a bit...samey?" She shrugged. They were just piles of rocks with an overenthusiastic tour guide telling them all the glorious history of each one. It was a little dull. 

"Are they cute? Your roommates?" She grinned and quirked her eyebrows teasingly but then rolled her eyes. One more guess...right. What would bring somebody to Rome if they weren't into history? Well, in her case, it was for the pictures and the romance of it and such but he didn't seem as inclined to that sort of lifestyle as her. No, he seemed an odd mix of serious and...well...relaxed. It was odd. 

Shifting on her feet she gave an exasperated sigh and then unfolded her arms. "You've got to give me a clue here." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 "Since September. And I've been to the sights! I've seen the Forums and the Temples but...after the first few don't you agree they start to look a bit...samey?... Are they cute? Your roommates?" 

"Yes. But I'm not introducing you to them. You talk about the ruins like that, one of those poor guys is gonna get a heart attack." Lucius folded his arms and looked at her rather amused. She still had one guess. He kind of hoped he would be right. Maybe he could salvage his reputation of coolness if he actually got to show off the secret knowledge.

"You've got to give me a clue here." 

"I find people fascinating." Lucius noted "Like, young American women who study in Rome and photograph orange trees."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ah!" Camilla grinned, sure she had it. "Anthropology? You find people fascinating but you don't look like you like science," No offence intended to the scientists in her life of course, "And you seem to like immersing yourself in others culture." What anybody would do with an anthropology degree was beyond her1 - it was probably of less use than her own music degree. 

"Am I close? If not, I think you owe me another guess given that you ruined my photo."

 

TAG: @Chevi

1I did an Anth undergrad so I feel entitled to say that haha!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ah! Anthropology? You find people fascinating but you don't look like you like science. And you seem to like immersing yourself in others culture."

Lucius smiled. She was getting close. "I'll take that as a compliment."

"Am I close? If not, I think you owe me another guess given that you ruined my photo."

"Very close. And fine, you get one more guess. But only because I want to show off." He allowed with a grin, turning around and heading across the Palatine. She was probably going to guess right the next time anyway. The walk was delightful this time of the year, all flowers and greenery and birdsong, before summer descended on the city. He headed for he far side of the hill, the one facing the Circus.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Close to anthropology, but not science...or not hard science at least..." She narrowed her eyes almost comically as she followed him, not even paying attention to what she was doing. It just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do - this is why she always got into scrapes. 

"Not psychology...but I think another ology...She followed him and dodged the tourists that were traipsing heavily up the hill, their faces flushed in the warm Italian sun and misery in their expressions. Clearly dragged here by a more energetic partner. Poor souls. One last guess...she didn't quite know why she was so invested. A few moments ago she'd found this arrogant American an irritation, one that had almost spoiled her mood entirely, but she was intrigued. Didn't hurt that he was nice to look at, and reminded her of home. She rarely got homesickness but the American accent was soothing even when she didn't realise she was craving home. 

"Okay...final answer..." She slowed to a stop and considered him, adding with a wince..."Sociology?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She kept musing as they walked on. Tourists were making their way up the hill, but then they dispersed into the Palatine gardens, heading to the Palatine museum. Lucius took a slightly different route, heading to the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.

"Bingo" he grinned at Camilla as they walked. "Senior year. Give or take a few. But as long as it makes mom and dad annoyed... I also have an internship, but I'm off this week. Good job. Let's go see about this temple?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Aha!" She grinned, beaming up at him, oddly proud of herself that she had guessed it. A Senior as well? She frowned. She hadn't known of any seniors upping sticks to move across the world, but that wasn't to say it didn't happen. After all, she only had a limited circle of friends to draw on as examples. 

"You can't hide all this information for an entire conversation, reveal interesting bits and then assume I'm ready to go and look at some dull temple," She rolled her eyes and drew to a firm stop - rooted to the ground and unwilling to move. "So, what does Lucius Roscoe want to do with his sociology degree?" What did anybody do with a sociology degree? "And what's your internship?" It sounded like an interrogation, which she didn't mean it as. She just very rarely met genuinely new people, and usually those she did meet bended to her whims and plans.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a sound of triumph as she guessed his major right. Lucius was not particularly passionate about his choice, but it was interesting enough, and it got him where he needed to go. Or at least he thought he needed to. 

"You can't hide all this information for an entire conversation, reveal interesting bits and then assume I'm ready to go and look at some dull temple. So, what does Lucius Roscoe want to do with his sociology degree? And what's your internship?"

"Nah, princess, we're not there yet" Lucius shook his head. He was not ready to talk about his... internship yet. For all the happy-go-lucky attitude he had about his time in Rome, the work he did for that one... that was different. "And it's totally my turn to ask. What do you want to do with a music degree?... And what kind of music anyway?"

They made their way to the Temple of Apollo. Or rather, what was left of it. The foundations and some of the columns were still standing, but it looked like a large pile of bricks and marble amidst a sea of wildflowers more than anything. A low fence surrounded the temple on the side facing them, while the other side faced the Circus. The view was pretty good at least. "Here we are, by the way."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...