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She sank into his arms, a gentle smile on her face and nerves genuinely evaporating with each passing moment. His patience was paying off in that regard. 

Cautiously, she twisted in his arms so she was facing him and reached a hand up to his shoulder again. It didn't feel...allowed that she could touch him, even though it was of course perfectly sanctioned now she was married. The shoulder seemed a compromise for her desire to run her fingers through his hair; she didn't want to seem like some wanton girl who couldn't control herself, even if she didn't really have any notion at all of what she was controlling. The feeling in her chest and between her thighs was completely new to her and confusing and exhilarating in equal measure. 

She leant up on her toes, although he was significantly taller and she had to gently urge him to bend his neck so she could whisper in his ear, as if it was some sort of secret she couldn't say loudly; "I've never felt like this before," she flushed and released her hand so he could straighten up if he chose to. Her hand moved from his shoulder to his chest and she bit at her lower lip. She wanted to ask if they should undress, as that had  been the plan before her hair became an issue, but decided that was too forward (too forward! On her wedding night! Hah!) so instead she followed his lead from earlier and reached up again to kiss him. 

 

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"Well, that's good, I think," Aulus replied, allowing her to pull his head down so they could kiss again. "Would it help, if I said that you can touch me - we're married, it's fine."

She seemed nervous of letting her hands come into contact with him, and all he could think was that she was somehow worried about doing so without being told she could. He was being silly, of course, but saying the words couldn't hurt if he was wrong, and if he was right, well...

"Can we take this off?" he asked, tugging gently at her white gown. They would have to move to the bed soon, and that was best done after they were undressed or they'd just have to get up again.

 

@Sara

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He wasn't being silly, and she would have told him thus if she had been able to hear his thoughts, that permission was exactly what she needed to hear. Tentatively she moved her hands to his face and her thumbs swept wide circles over the arch of his cheekbone. It still felt...wrong, illegal almost to be this close to a man. That's what a lifetime of chastity and modesty being drummed into a person did, she supposed. 

At his question, she gave the most minute of nods. Slowly - and with a lingering touch - she moved her hands from his face to the ties that held together the tunica at her shoulders. She felt embarrassed - what if he didn't like what she looked like?  She didn't have any blemishes on her skin and she was fashionably slim but in one of the stories she had read in an attempt to prepare, a husband had walked out on his wife after marriage as - in the authors words - she had none of the pleasing comforts of a woman. What if that was her? 

But if she hesitated too long she'd be too nervous to actually do anything and so with nimble fingers she worked the ties loose at one shoulder, and then the other. The tunica was supposed to be plain and loose beyond the belt that had already been discarded, nor was she supposed to wear anything under it so as the knot came free, the whole lot fell into a heap at her feat and she stood there naked. The flush that came to her cheeks was as red as her hair. 

 

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Her hands on his face sent sparks coursing through him, though she gave the smallest of nods at his suggestion, her hands moving to the ties of her gown. The fabric came loose and slithered down into a heap at her feet, leaving him speechless - in the best way.

"Beautiful!" The word left his mouth in an awed whisper he didn't even realise he'd uttered.

Even in the light of the oil lamps, he could see that her face was crimson, and he took her hands in his, pressing them to his heart. "You are truly beautiful, columbina mea. I suppose it's only fair if I take my tunic off, too."

He let her hands go and stepped back to give himself room before pulling his own tunic over his head, and then unwinding his subligaculum, leaving him in the same state of undress as she was in.

 

@Sara

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She felt the thrum of his heartbeat under her fingertips and it thrilled her. She felt exposed, but not afraid. This was the way of married life, and at this present moment in time it was equal parts nerve wracking and wonderful. His patience astounded her, the insinuations she'd heard throughout her life suggested that not all men were similarly restrained. 

As he undressed she averted her eyes and when he was finished, judging by the heap of clothes she caught on the floor from the corner of her eye, she finally dragged her eyes back to his face. She'd seen bare chested men before, she'd been to the games after all, but never anything more than that. She supposed she'd have to look eventually, but for now kept her eyes on his face with an anxious smile. 

She returned her hands to his throat and to his chest, feeling the contours of the muscle beneath soft fingertips - as if she was tracing a newfound statue, one she'd never seen before. The flush still sat on her cheeks as she did so. She never wanted to leave this moment and tried to savour it; the discovery, the feeling deep in her core that she'd never experienced before, the shortness of her breath. Swallowing away any nerves she arched herself up onto her toes so she could reach up and kiss him again, and this time when she did and pulled him close by the hand on his neck, there was nothing between them and the feeling was peculiarly exhilarating. 

When she pulled back, a little breathless, she glanced up at him, naively asking; "W-what next?" This was quite unlike any lesson she'd experienced before.

 

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"Well, for what comes  next, we ought to be on the bed," Aulus said, looking down into very blue eyes. Her fingers were tracing over his chest in a sensual erotic way that was leaving him weak at the knees (not that he would ever admit it!).

He laid down on the bed, propping himself up on his elbow, and held his hand out to Horatia, inviting her to join him.

 

@Sara

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Blue eyes met blue eyes and she nodded at his words. He was being gentle in his instruction, it sounded like a reminder rather than a request. 

She watched him move to the bed, hands slipping from his body as he moved. She still kept her eyes from anywhere below his chest - tempted though she might be to look. She fought the urge to cover herself and instead padded over to the bed, taking his hand and allowing herself to be pulled down next to him. Finally, she glanced down (figuring she couldn't avert her eyes for the rest of her married life), and the colour deepened on her cheeks. She'd seen the graffiti of course, and the pendants and such and was irritated to find it didn't really bear any resemblance. At least not from this angle. She swallowed and glanced back up to his face, nerves beginning to swell again.

Tentatively she leant in to kiss him again softly, that had worked to dispel her nerves before and hoped it would now.

 

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He wrapped an arm around her, kissing her even as he pulled her closer to him, bodies touching. Perhaps if he wasn't looking at her, and if she wasn't looking at him, she'd be less embarrassed, if not less nervous. He let his free hand stroke gently down her back and side.

"You are beautiful, I hope you know that?" he told her, lifting his hand before it went anywhere she would not appreciate yet, and wrapping his arm around her shoulders again.

 

@Sara

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She tried to move in time with his own movements, a hand tentatively sweeping over his back, over his sides, and moving under and up his chest. His own hands ministrations sent an unexpected shudder through her. 

That he was pleased with her, and how she looked relieved her and she smiled softly against his lips as they lingered on the edge of a kiss. Her and moved, sweeping up from his chest to his jaw, where it danced along in a featherlight touch. She wanted to compliment him back, say he was handsome but in her head it sounded weak and...saccharine. Instead she whispered against his lips, "You are perfect." Because in that moment he was. 

The nerves were not his fault, she suspected she would have been just as worried on her wedding night no matter who her husband was, moreso probably if they didn't possess his seemingly infinite patience. They were close to one another, and she rested her forehead against his. "This...is not all it is, is it?" 

 

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He couldn't help chuckling. "No, it isn't all, not by any means."

He slipped his hand down between them, keeping his eyes on her face to judge the results of what he was doing, whether it was too much, not enough, or even if she was just uncomfortable beyond the fact this was the first time she'd ever been with a man.

 

@Sara

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She smiled against his lips as he murmured more was still to come. She knew that (although only an outline) but his amusement sent something through her, the way he smiled only compounding that. 

She felt his hand snake between them and exhaled, trying to keep the worry from her face. She needn't have bothered though because almost immediately her nerves and her senses were alight with a sensation she'd never felt before. She let out a little choke and moved her hand on top of his in instinct to stop it.

It was only when she caught her breath and looked at him with curiosity bordering on worry that she allowed him to continue. Evidently this - whatever this was - was normal. Her hips arched and her head rolled back a little as she let the sensation take her. It was only after a few long moments that she opened her eyes, blinking at him. She didn't want him to stop whatever he was doing but she couldn't help but ask; "Wh-what should I-I be doing?" 

 

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"Just enjoy yourself," Aulus told her. He would get his own pleasure soon enough, and thought she might just expire of embarrassment if she had to actually help him along - she didn't need to, anyway.

He waited for a little longer before adjusting things. "I'm going to -" he said, and shifted until she was fully on her back and he was kneeling astride her. This would likely hurt, a little, but if he didn't do it now, the moment would pass and she would be far too tense.

"You're beautiful," he said, lowering his head to kiss her, pausing to let her get used to the new sensations.

 

@Sara

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Just enjoy yourself - there was little chance of anything else and she gave him a breathless smile as the pleasure rolled on for a few more moments. When he stopped, as he moved her to lie on her back and he knelt over her she felt her breath catch in her throat. This was what she had been expecting. 

As he moved and entered her she let out a little gasp of pain and screwed her eyes tight shut, angling her face away from his. It hurt and the sensation was...odd, and not pleasurable - at least not compared to what she had just been feeling. She could feel all the muscles of her body, tensed and on guard but she tried to relax herself, moving a hand to softly push his hair out of his face as she broke the kiss. She focused on her breathing and felt herself relax slightly, until the pain became an echo rather than a forethought in her mind. She tried to give him a smile but was sure it look strained, as she moved her arms to loop round his neck. No going back now then. 

 

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He could feel her tensing under him, which wasn't unexpected, and he gave her time to adjust. She slipped her arms around his neck and he nuzzled her neck, which she had left accessible when she'd turned her head away.

Eventually she relaxed under him again, though he thought there was some residual tenseness or nervousness there, even as he began to move. Her smile did look somewhat strained, and he kissed the corner of her mouth.

"Ah, Horatia, my dove," he murmured, and found the soft skin below her ear, leaving another kiss there.

 

@Sara

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The pain was dissipating, or at least starting too. No longer a sharp discomfort - even as he began to move - but an ache, somewhere deep and untouched.

She managed a more relaxed smile at his kisses and found her fingers moving to his hair. It was a sensation like no other, and she found herself relax at the thought. She understood enough to know that this first time would be the least pleasurable - or should be - of any future couplings and if this was as bad as it was to be, she would take it enthusiastically. 

She felt herself move instinctively, hips arching to meet his at his movements. She felt breathless and leant up to kiss him deeper this time, her arms still draped around his neck. Hopefully this didn't seem too...wanton, but in that moment she found she really didn't care if it did.

 

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She was relaxing into it, enough that he felt her begin to move under him, meeting him. He had not really dared to hope, before this evening, that he could make it pleasurable for her - far too many women merely endured the marriage bed, leaving their husbands to find solace elsewhere if they wanted a good time. Horatia was, perhaps, unusual in this as she was in her tastes in literature, but Aulus did not mind - he appreciated her slightly unusual view of things.

And she made him smile, which was always a positive.

Eventually he couldn't hold back any longer, and reached his climax with a shudder, finally rolling off her, breathing heavily as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him

"You are an astonishing woman, Horatia Justina," he managed, smoothing hair away from her face. How had he managed to get so fortunate?

 

@Sara

 

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And it was over. She blinked and tried to steady her breath as he moved from her. She didn't know what she had been expecting...or no, that was not quite right, she had been expecting a little pain and an act as unfamiliar to her as growing crops, but she hadn't expected it to feel as it had. She felt as if she had been on the precipice of something but what that something was, she didn't know. 

She smiled breathlessly at him at the feeling of his hands on her face, smoothing her mussed hair. This moment of intimacy was worth the ache between her thighs and the embarrassment she would have otherwise felt for being so...vulnerable, so improper with anybody else. 

She reached up to pull a hand away from her hair and left a soft kiss on his knuckles. "Thank you." She meant it, earnestly. "I don't know what I was expecting, but it was not...that." She felt colour come to her cheeks and aware of her nakedness as the moment passed, reached down to grab the sheet to shield herself. 

 

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"You're welcome," Aulus replied, a little out of breath himself. He adjusted his own position, letting her pull the bedclothes over them to hide her nakedness, though he found himself on his side facing her.

"I hope that whatever you were expecting, the reality wasn't a disappointment," he said, and had to hide a yawn - good sex often left him feeling sleepy afterwards and it had been good sex, whatever her expectations had been.

He rubbed her cheek softly with his knuckle.

 

@Sara

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Horatia curled herself under the sheets as her heart rate finally slowed and her breathing steadied. She managed a gentle laugh at his words and shook her head, "Not a disappointment." She could honestly say that, "But different...to what I'd imagined." Not that she had a particularly  good imagination on...marital things, given her limited exposure to anything about it. 

She contemplated saying that she was looking forward to next time, when hopefully any residual discomfort would be banished, but she stopped herself. She didn't want to sound crass. Instead, she sunk into his touch and shifted her head to kiss the knuckles that dragged across her cheek. 

"You should sleep," she said softly and then corrected herself, "We should sleep. It's been a long day." Longer for her, she suspected, given the preparations had started well before dawn. 

 

TAG: @Sharpie

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"A long day, but a good one - a very good one," Aulus said, and wriggled further under the covers. He really was very sleepy by now. He sought drowsily for Horatia's hand; there was a corner of his brain that didn't really want to find himself alone in the bed in the morning - he had never married before, and had more than once found himself waking alone despite having gone to sleep in bed with a prostitute he'd hired. Not that Horatia was on that level at all, but he wasn't quite sure what to expect she might do in the morning, or even right now once he wasn't awake to see it.

"G'night," he murmured, unable to stay awake any longer.

 

@Sara

(End thread there, or timeskip? It's been fun!)

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