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October, 76AD

 She had been in Rome a few months now and only had a brief encounter with her cousins when they first came to Rome. She really should spend more time with them, her brother said so too. Especially since she knew so few people in Rome. Plus, her cousin Horatia would be a good relationship to cultivate, because her husband was one of the current Consuls of Rome. So a date had been decided and Sosia was placed in a litter and sent across Rome to meet with Horatia Justina. It didn’t take too long though and a slave gave her his hand to help her out of the litter. She thanked him gently and reached to pick up a small package, a present for her cousin.

 Dressed in a light yellow chiton, with a light purple chiton and with purple flowers stuck into her hair, as she liked it, she entered the beautiful home of Horatia and Aulus and waited patiently in the atrium for her lovely cousin to appear. Everything seemed so calm and nice here, she thought. As if the home was bathed in a soft and soothing light. Her cousin had been lucky to marry such a good and ambitious man. She only hoped she could do the same one day.

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Horatia gasped, wincing as her bodyslave tried to work out the tension in her back. She heard a mumbled apology and Horatia merely waved her hand, indicating for her to stop as she tried to straighten her spine, willing the ache to go away. It had been some years since she'd last been pregnant, and over a decade - not since Calpurnia - that she'd carried a child this long. She was now just over five months along and her bump had rounded out, bringing with it the aches and pains she has so willingly forgotten from her previous pregnancies. 

But she had a role to fill and that wasn't possible sequestered in her rooms, wincing and shuffling about until the tension eased. She knew her young cousin was visiting and besides a very brief conversation with the rest of her family when she'd first found her way to Rome, she hadn't taken the measure of the girl yet. This was her opportunity to though, and she'd arranged for a light lunch in the gardens - a brazier warming the two seats and small table she'd instructed be brought out that morning. 

Wrapped in a pale blue stola and a darker blue tunica underneath, forgoing her palla in the comfort of her own home, she glided through into the atrium at the appointed hour, showing no hint of the pain she felt at the ache in her back. She was struck, almost immediately, by the beauty that stood waiting for her. Wrapped in yellow and looking like sunshine incarnate, Horatia offered a beaming smile and moved to embrace the younger girl, "Sosia," She smiled as she withdrew. "You look beautiful. I can't quite believe you're the same young woman I saw toddling around my Uncle's feet all those years ago." She chuckled and extended her arm for Sosia to follow her through into the pristinely manicured gardens. "I can only apologise it's taken this long to invite you to our home, it's been so busy." She said, shaking her head, "But you're here now and I want to hear all about how you're finding the city." 

 

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Sosia had almost forgotten that her cousin was with child, until she saw her - despite the comfortable clothes, it was impossible for a young woman to not notice the bump, even though it wasn't that big yet. But it would be, she knew that. Sosia could not imagine what it would be like to have a child growing inside you, but she knew she'd get there someday too. Maybe her cousin could tell her more about what it was like. For now though, she smiled warmly at the older woman and returned her embrace. She blushed under the compliments though, "Thank you, Horatia. You're too kind." She replied and followed her cousin through the house to the most beautiful gardens. She took her time, looking around, taking it all in, while her cousin was talking.

"I have been busy too. Or, well, kind of. Sometimes. Apparently it takes time to find the right men to introduce me to, father seems to be very picky." She said, glancing at Horatia. Maybe it was her fault he was so picky, because she had married so well and her husband had such great success. 

"The city has been kind to me so far, everyone I've met have been very friendly. You as well, I was so happy when you invited me. And how are you doing? Our family is going to expand again." She said with a smile, thinking about the new child. It wouldn't even be her nephew or niece, because Horatia was not her sister. But she was one of the closest things she had to a sister, because she had none of her own.

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Horatia gave the girl a knowing smile as she settled into one of the chairs, smothering a pinch of pain her back expertly, so it didn't show on her face. "I'm sorry," She shook her head, a little amused, "I know I must seem ancient to you but it feels like just yesterday my own father was sourcing me a husband. It's never easy." She shook her head, "But it's right he should be picky." At least for a first husband. She was almost a novelty amongst her friends that she'd only been married the once, whereas several of her peers were on their second or third husbands after divorces or deaths. 

She met Sosia's smile with one of her own, and placed a hand on the bump. It still didn't feel real, nor did it feel right but she hadn't shared that with anybody - not even her husband, and she wasn't going to with a cousin she barely knew. Instead, she nodded her head. "I know, I've been blessed with this surprise, it's been so long since Calpurnia that I'd rather forgotten what it felt like." Thirteen years, in fact. Shifting to a more comfortable position and determined to divert the conversation away from her own issues, she gave the girl an appraising look. "So, you said people have been friendly?" She took a cup of very watered wine from a slave and sipped it gently, "You've made friends then?" 

 

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Sosia smiled when Horatia thought she must seem ancient to the younger woman, but she agreed with Sosia's father being picky about the husband for her, "I suppose he should be. It's just he brought me to Rome to find me a husband. I didn't know how long it would take." She said with a laugh, not having much of an idea of what to expect of marriage or a potential husband. Her parents seemed to get along fine, but they hadn't had a lot of children and they gave each other space. Like now, where Sosia had followed her father and brother into Rome, but her mother was still in the countryside because she preferred it there.

Naturally she wondered how Horatia had been doing and she had to ask into the fact, that the family was going to grow. She noticed how Horatia placed a hand on her belly. She said she'd been blessed, even though it was long ago. Sosia nodded, but she didn't know a lot about pregnancies. Unless you counted those of the cattle and the cats. But human babies weren't the same, she knew that of course. Horatia shifted and then wondered what friends Sosia had been making.

"I have, well, a few anyway. It's hard when father won't let me out much on my own." She said with a roll of her eyes, "I met Ovinia Camilla on my way to Rome. We were also both at a party at the palace too. Tiberius invited me... Caesar's cousin! I met him after I'd visited a temple. He's been very kind to me." More than kind, she thought with a blush, but wasn't sure she should tell that to Horatia. Her father didn't even know. And shouldn't, either. She reached for a cup of watered wine too.

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She chuckled. Sosia was sweet. And naive. She wondered if she'd ever been thus but shook the thought from her mind. She might have been unused to men and romance, but she'd always had a wise head on her shoulders - been considered serious and bookish by her peers and her family. "I would imagine a good while," She grinned and shook her head, "I remember your position well. Every man seemed unsuitable in some way and then..." She shrugged lightly with a soft smile. Aulus hadn't even been an option and she'd only been in Greece after a failed round at finding her somebody suitable. Fortuna had her ways though.

She listened to her younger cousin talk with interest, interjecting softly; "I've never met the woman but my father knows hers well, a good friend to have." Well-connected young women had more influence than they often thought and aligning herself to the daughter of a praetor would only be to Sosia's benefit. But not as much as her next friend. Horatia's brows rose in surprise and her smile widened, utterly intrigued. "First name terms?" She chuckled and considered the woman before her. How fascinating. The blush was too. "I've heard he's a good man - Aulus thinks highly of him," She sipped her own wine lightly and rested a hand on her bump. "How has he been kind to you?" she asked, gently probing.

 

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Horatia had been lucky, finding a man like Aulus. Sosia admired them and maybe she hoped for the same... finding a husband she'd actually like. One who was good looking and likeable and not just thinking of her as a mother to his kids. But time would tell if she would find such a man. She felt she kind of had, or she found someone she thought was perfect. Yet unsuitable, as Horatia said. She just smiled at Horatia's words and then mentioned some of the people she'd met in Rome. Ovinia. Tiberius. Although the thought of him made her blush and pick up her wine and take a sip, hoping to distract her mind from thoughts of that night. That party. It was as if her heart beat faster just by the thought of it. And trying not to think about it didn't help. She had tried it before too, so she should have known.

And then of course Horatia asked about him. Sosia nodded at the first question, "Of course... I couldn't very well call him Domine, right?" She said with a grin and Horatia continued her questions. Of course she knew him. And Aulus did, her husband. Why wouldn't he? Tiberius was so unsuitable for her, she knew that. And yet... so very kind... "He is just... very friendly. And he's promised to show me the Gardens of Sullust and such things, here in Rome." That, she could say at least. It wasn't a lie. It already felt like the party was a long time ago. When would she see him again? He did promise he would see her again.

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"That's very kind of him." Horatia agreed with a small smile and a nod of her head, but something sat underneath it that she couldn't shake. Sosia seemed far too sweet, far too young and far too naive to be a friend of an imperial. She'd heard the man himself was of good character, and smart but if history taught women of their class anything, it was that men of rank could and would do anything to a girl like Sosia. 

"I would be cautious though," she smoothed a hand over her bump and gave her cousin an assessing look; "I'm sure Tiberius has nothing but good intentions but one can never know with a man, and you're far too sweet cousin, to fall prey to their baser desires." She gave the girl an encouraging look and let out a little sigh, wondering if her parents had told her anything or whether she'd been left to the wolves in Rome by herself. She remembered vividly, being in that position herself - almost quite literally a lamb to the slaughter. "You are seeing him again then?" 

 

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Horatia agreed that Tiberius seemed very kind and Sosia smiled, sipping her watered wine a bit more. Yes, he was very kind. And handsome. But luckily, before her mind could venture any further, Horatia looked at her and warned her to be cautious. She claimed you could never know with men, and she didn't wish for Sosia to fall prey to their desires. What was that supposed to mean? The kiss? But it was only that, a kiss.

She didn't know why Horatia sighed though, surely Tiberius was a good man. Horatia even just said her husband thought highly of him too, right?

"You are very sweet, for being so concerned. I don't see why he should have any ill intentions though. We just enjoy each other's company." She replied and Horatia had also asked if she was going to see him again. Sosia nodded, "He said that he would. I guess he's just been busy." She barely noticed her own little sigh. Waiting for the time where she could see him again wasn't very much fun at all. And she'd rather see him again than some of the other men her father had presented her to. He had visitors for the evenings sometimes, friends of his, and she had noticed that a few of them were either widows or they were just not married. There could only be one reason why she should meet them. And they were not like Tiberius, not at all.

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Horatia gave her younger cousin a small smile and sighed, shaking her head. She had been ignorant of the wills of men when she was Sosia's age, and thought it a disservice to the women of their class that they so often went into society so ill-equipped to deal with the advances and desires of men. She wouldn't let her daughter fare the same and intended to be far franker with her than her own mother had ever been. She knew it was not her place though, to do that for Sosia. Not unless she asked. 

"I'm sure it's not ill intentions," She countered smoothly, "But you are beautiful and young and charming, what sort of man wouldn't wish for you?" She smiled warmly and set her wine cup down with a little sigh, "And I'm sure he'll call on you soon. But you know you can always ask for my advice," She gave Sosia a considered look, "If you want a female perspective. I'm not going to go running to your father, or mine, you needn't worry." She likewise knew what it was like to be a woman alone. Her own mother had been so distracted that she often felt cast adrift with nobody  to turn to for female guidance. 

 

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She noticed how Horatia gave her a small smile, then said that men would wish for a young, beautiful and charming woman like Sosia. She found herself blushing a little bit by the compliments, and then her cousin went on, supporting her, saying she could ask for advice if she needed it. Sosia was quite sure she should not do that though. She knew she was not supposed to go around and kiss handsome men like that. But Tiberius was so much more! Yet her father might be angry, if he knew. So it's best he didn't know. And she honestly wasn't sure if she knew Horatia well enough to trust her with such... special knowledge. Horatia said she wouldn't tell Sosia's father though. But she barely knew her cousin. Horatia seemed very kind and sweet, but she felt that the secret with Tiberius was hers to keep alone. At least for now.

"I will make sure to remember your kindness, should I need advice at any time." Sosia then said and tilted her head, looking at her cousin, "How was it like with you and Aulus? When you first met? Were you in love?" She knew that was far-fetched, Patricians like them rarely married for love, her mother had at least told her that much. But she could hope for it, right? 

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Horatia chuckled at the question, a fond smile coming to her lips and a wistful expression on her face. "It was...unusual." Where to begin? She didn't wish to give the girl false hope that she might similarly be blessed in her marriage as she had been with Aulus, but nor could she lie. 

"I was in Greece after a failed engagement. I...saw all my friends around me getting married, becoming mothers and I was convinced I'd end up an old spinster," She shook her head at the idiocy of it, "So after my betrothal was called off my father took me to Greece to spend time with my brother who was out there as a Tribune. That was where one of his colleagues came to visit the house one day, but instead of my brother he found me." She smiled and sighed in pleasure at the memory that felt so serene it was like it had come directly from the pages of one of her scrolls, "He proposed marriage that first conversation. Although the finer details weren't worked out for some time, naturally." 

She sighed and set down her cup of wine, taking in Sosia. "I think he loved me, or at least...he thought he did. I...liked him, he was kind and clever but it wasn't love. Not at first. I...don't think I knew I was in love until I saw him hold our son for the first time." And that was a memory she'd treasure until her last breath. "Love grows in marriages," She offered, "It's so very rare to start one with it." 

 

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Horatia's story sounded so interesting! Sosia listened with great interest, thinking that her cousin was such a good storyteller and this story, it was worth listening to. She did indeed think it sounded like something she read once, and even more when Horatia said that Aulus proposed marriage the day they met. Tiberius hadn't done that, but there was a good reason and Sosia was a bit sad about it. Men often waited until they were older, with marriage. While Sosia was just the right age to be married. And with her and Tiberius almost the same age... it wasn't going to happen. But he was still so sweet. And she'd daydream about him and his lips. 

As she did now, but Horatia brought her back. Saying that it wasn't love with Aulus to begin with, but instead it would grow in marriages.

"I hope you're right... that it'll be the same for me. I don't know what'll happen to me. I just hope my husband will be kind to me." And that he wasn't ancient, but she tried not to think about that. Instead her mind drifted towards love again and there was another question on the tip of her tongue, "What if love does not grow? I know that is common too. And what if you marry one man, but love another? There's nothing to do about that, is there?" 

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Horatia gave the girl an encouraging smile. The maternal side of her wanted to wrap her in a hug and assure her that she would find kindness, but she couldn't make that promise or guarantee. Many men in Rome were less than suitable, she knew that through hushed whispers and discrete words at the book club. Sosia was just as likely to end up with a brute as she was with a man as generous, personable and kind as Aulus. She sighed and rested a soft hand on the the girls shoulder, squeezing gently. 

"There is divorce." She offered, and then released her hand, sitting back and taking a sip of wine. "And you do not need to give your consent to a match if you truly think the man unkind or unsuitable." She knew how pressured such things could be though, and whilst there was ostensibly a requirement for the girls to agree to a match, in practice familial (paternal) pressure made that almost a given. "But love...is a fickle thing. I thought I loved a handful of men when I was a girl, but it was just a crush, an infatuation. Real love is different than catching somebody's eye, I promise you." She felt wariness creep up on her, "Your question is pointed, Sosia." She shook her head, speaking plainly, "You think you're in love with a man?" 

 

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Sosia found it easiest to not think too deeply on whomever she'd marry, because then she would not worry so much about it. All she could hope for was someone like Tiberius - handsome, clever, friendly and kind... and with lips as his. Horatia just smiled at her then and when Sosia asked what you did, if love didn't grow. Or if you loved someone who was not your husband... what did you do then? Horatia spoke of divorce and the possibility to deny a match. That would be easier said than done. Sosia did want to please her family and honor them. If her father thought a man was a good match for her, he probably knew more about it than she. So how could she deny it? And it wasn't like she could just... wait for the one she thought she loved.

She didn't say anything to it and Horatia said it wasn't always love you felt, but infatuation. Real love was different. But how did you know? 

Sosia blushed when Horatia clearly knew what she was talking about. She felt her cousin's eyes upon her and didn't feel she could lie to her. It wouldn't be fair! But oh, if her father knew she'd never go to any parties again... "I... maybe... yes, I think so..." She said, her voice dropping and she looked up at Horatia then, feeling almost fearful, "Please don't tell anyone. Please, cousin..."

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Horatia immediately reached a hand and left it softly against the younger woman's hand, squeezing gently. "Oh Sosia..." Her voice wasn't pitying merely comforting and she offered the girl a gentle smile. She had never thought she'd been in love, but she'd certainly had her own youthful infatuations and daydreams when she was a teenager, what girl didn't, when they saw a handsome man from afar? Even women as sensible as Horatia fell prey to it!

"I won't," She cast Sosia long look, "As long as you remain careful. I know you would be, of course, and I won't tell your father but...you need to guard yourself Sosia. I...don't wish for you to do something you'll regret." She gave the girl a meaningful look and squeezed her hand again, "You promise me you'll be careful?" Before she finally released the hand again and sat back, picking her wine up again. Lecture over, she gave the girl a conspiratorial smile; "Tell me about him?" 

 

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Sosia wasn't sure she could tell the difference between an infatuation and being in love. But maybe Horatia would help her and guide her. Maybe it wasn't bad at all that she came to see her cousin, as long as said cousin would not tell Sosia's father that she'd fallen for someone. She was grateful for the hand that squeezed hers, while she was now afraid that her father would find out. Horatia promised she wouldn't tell, as long as Sosia remained careful. She said Sosia should guard herself and not do something she would regret.

"I'll be careful." She replied as she nodded at her cousin. She felt her cheeks burn a bit again when Horatia picked up her wine and asked about the man, "I already did tell you." Sosia said, "But I suspect you already guessed, before I said anything at all." She added with a small smile, "I really like him. But I know it won't ever be a match for me." She sighed and picked up a cup of wine too, sipping it. The whole thing with Tiberius was hopeless. But he kissed her. And she couldn't just forget that. He liked her too.

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She gave the girl a little smile and shrugged; "I have a sharp mind for such things, I had guessed, but I appreciate you being honest with me." Some of the young women she knew were so adept at veiling their emotions and thoughts that it set Horatia on edge. She was an excellent judge of character and feelings (the product of a life on the sidelines), so when she came across somebody she couldn't get a read on, it troubled her. She was glad Sosia wasn't such a woman - she seemed to wear her feelings and her thoughts plain on her face. 

"Maybe not," She sighed alongside her cousin - knowing full well that Aulus had gently told her he might, one day, be a match for their own daughter, "But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy his company now - properly and chaperoned of course. A friendship with an imperial is just as important as a relationship, Sosia. It will serve you well in the future to keep on his good side." she felt like she was dishing out so much advice and yet not really giving the girl a chance to speak. "Why do you like him? Perhaps I can help your father find a more suitable man that is similar?" 

 

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Gods, why was she telling Horatia all this? But she found it hard to lie to her cousin, she had such a soft and gentle smile and her touches were the same. Her voice was the same. Everything about her was just kindness, to Sosia. So unlike her own mother, who could sometimes seem so cold. Of course she could be caring too, but she had not been young when Sosia was born and it had been hard for her. At least that's what Sosia told herself. Horatia was a different sort. Maybe like the big sister Sosia never had. 

She shared whom she was in love with, and that she was aware they'd never be matched. Horatia said Sosia should still enjoy his company though, but with a chaperone and that it could be a friendship. But how could she be friends with him, when she'd already kissed him? She couldn't forget that. She couldn't pretend it never happened. Everything had felt so right with him, that night, at that party. The lights of Rome that they were looking at, so far from the rest of the party, him behind her, so close. His lips on hers. She felt her heart beat faster just by the thought and drank a little more wine.

"He has been kind to me, from the start. The day we met... it was at a temple. I lost my palla and he picked it up for me. And then he invited me to the party at the palace. He's promised to show me some interesting places in Rome." She explained, her tone soft, like she was talking about a dream or something. But it all happened... yet it did feel like a dream, didn't it? 

"I don't think any man in Rome can be similar to him." She paused, as if she came back from the dream and she looked up at her cousin, "I must sound like such a fool to you." 

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Horatia managed to suppress any retorts by sipping her wine, instead listening to her cousin with a neutral face and a calm gaze. Inside, however, she was storing all of this information in a carefully organised filing system inside her mind. It was useful to know who liked who and such, if only to draw upon later. She wasn't doing it maliciously, not at all, but she was a hoarder of information. It was why she read so much. 

"Not a fool Sosia," She frowned and shook her head, "Just like a young girl who has met a boy she liked." She gave the girl an encouraging smile. "Would it console you if I said I had a man like that, before I met my husband?" She sighed and set down her wine, smoothing a hand over her bump. "I knew I didn't love him, but he was kind and charming, and...I had begun, slowly, to picture what our lives might have been together. We'd been engaged," She offered with a smile at the memory before shaking her head, "But we couldn't marry. There was a disagreement over the dowry and my father cancelled the pre-contract. I...was devastated. I thought I was a failure, and more than that I didn't know if any man would compare." The former was true, the latter was a lie designed to make Sosia feel better. She had liked Lucius Ranius Latus - he had been kind and she had tentatively been thinking of what being his wife would be like, but her upset at the failed engagement had been because she thought of herself as a failure, unable to secure a match, not for the thought of losing him though. But a white lie told to Sosia, to make her feel better was worth it. "But then I met Aulus," Her smile genuinely brightened at the words and she grinned, "And he has been...everything I ever wanted. Even our years apart." Which were...trying and painful to say the least. 

"It all works out in the end, I can promise you that." She had fallen deeply, madly in love with her husband and Lucius Ranius Latus had died in disgrace in the civil war. It had all worked out. She sipped her wine. "Is there anything else, you wish to ask me cousin? You know you always can." 

 

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With large and fascinated eyes, Sosia listened to her cousin, telling the tale of a man she once knew and had imagined a future with. Sosia had not dared to try and imagine a future with Tiberius, because she knew it wouldn’t happen. But what if, by some miracle of the gods, it was suddenly possible and she could be his wife? She would love nothing more. But she listened to Horatia. How did she know she didn’t love the man she’d been engaged to? If she thought him kind and charming?

 She felt sorry that they didn’t get to marry after all, but at the same time, she wasn’t sure if it was the same. Her cousin had not been in love with the man. She had just liked him, a lot. And then she met her husband and he was all she wanted.

 “You are lucky to have a husband like him… to think he’s everything you ever wanted. I know not everyone are that lucky. But I hope I will be.” But how could she hope for that, when there weren’t any other men in Rome to match Tiberius? She sipped her wine and Horatia did too, before she said Sosia could ask her whatever she liked. She thought it over, her cousin was obviously very a very wise and mature woman, who was way more experienced with… anything, than Sosia was.

 “How is it like, to have a husband? Do you spend a lot of time together?” She then asked, very curious about all of these things, because that was her future too. And she had no idea what to expect except for her own dreams. And they probably didn't match the truth at all.

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"I'm sure you will be," She assured her younger cousin with a nod of her head, "Not everything is always there at the start but marriages grow, and work is required." Life couldn't always be a love poem after all, and patience and effort were needed just as much as passion and fun. 

Her question was sweet though and her smile widened, a little amused as she sipped her cup of wine. "Aulus is very busy, with his role." She started but wondered if that was the wrong approach, and circled around swiftly; "But we try and take cena together everyday, at the very least. And I see him in the mornings and greet his clients before he leaves," She was making it sound like she barely glimpsed him, which was not what she meant to do at all! "I see him a lot," She said more plainly and chuckled, "I like time to myself though so he leaves me up in my study sometimes because he knows I crave the peace and quiet, but I can always hear him in the house when he's home and...that's a comfort I can't explain." She sighed with a soft, slightly sadder smile. "He was gone for a little under six years during the Civil War and after it, with roles and appointments in the provinces and so to have him home again is..." She trailed off - lost for words, which was an utter rarity for somebody like her. 

She sipped her wine and glanced up at her cousin, "Having a husband is a gift Sosia, if they are a good man." And if they're not, then you'll divorce them. She added in her head. "And a husband means a family, and children to continue your line. And that...is love itself." 

 

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She really did hope she'd be as lucky as Horatia was, once she was married. Horatia seemed to hope the same, of course she did, she seemed like such a kind cousin to have. Sosia would love to spend more time with her, she thought, while listening to her cousin's clever advice on how marriages grew and work was required. She nodded quietly and then she'd asked more about how it was like to have a husband. Horatia told her how much she saw her husband, which was apparently 'a lot', but she also enjoyed time to herself. And seemed to like just hearing her husband being in the house somewhere. She told about how he'd been gone and seemed speechless, thinking about how it was like to have him back. She must really love him, Sosia thought to herself. How lucky for Horatia. And they even had kids and now they'd have another. She really hoped her future would be as good as Horatia's had been.

"I hope I'll know how to have a family, when the time comes. I never had any younger siblings. I think my parents didn't even expect me, my brother is so much older than I am." She said, "Do you just know, when you have children? What to do with them?" Thinking about children made her think about how you made them, but she didn't really know. All she knew was that you had to sleep with your husband. She kind of wanted to ask more about that, but didn't know how, it was kind of a private thing. Maybe that's why people didn't talk about it.

@Sara

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Horatia grinned and shook her head, amused at the naivety of the girl but also endeared. She was so sweet - nicer and more affable and more confident than Horatia herself had been at that age, she was sure. She felt it a duty, however, to school her in things her mother clearly hadn't. For what reason Horatia didn't know, but she considered it (briefly) neglectful. She'd certainly not been instructed on how one made children, but her mother had given her every opportunity to help with her younger two siblings. It had helped enormously in Titus and then Calpurnia's early years. 

"You have help," She said gently with what she hoped was an encouraging smile, "Slaves and nurses but...a lot of it is innate. You're just presented this bundle and then...you seem to know what to do." Her fingers were absently trailing over her bump as she spoke. Remembering the positives also drew her mind back to the deeply terrifying times as well which was not helpful. Over the years she'd tried to blot out any trace of Calpurnia's birth from her memories, but it always crept back. "And the love you feel is...indescribable. I couldn't do it justice to try and explain it." She took a sip of wine, "I was only married a month before I fell pregnant with Titus though so...it was a quick adjustment. The Gods blessed us early, and in some respects I still think I was too young, even at eighteen, to be a mother." She shook her head, "But that is with the benefit of hindsight. This time around will be very different." Over fifteen years since her first pregnancy to this one. So much had changed. "You're so curious," She chuckled, "It's nice to be asked. My daughter hasn't started the questions yet." 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Sosia never had younger siblings to take care of. In the villa in the countryside, she had her animals, her pets... of course the slaves had children too, but they raised them on their own and her parents did not consider it suitable that she helped the slaves. Even if she considered them her friends. So she didn't know what to do with children, not really. Naturally she asked her cousin, who explained it to her. How you'd know what to do and how much you would love the children. Horatia mentioned she was eighteen when she fell pregnant first and Sosia's eyes widened briefly. That was her age. She could not imagine having a child right now.

Horatia said she was very curious and her own daughter had not asked anything yet, "I imagine she will soon." Sosia said, her age was closer to that of her cousin's daughter than her cousin, "And how can I not be curious? There's so much I feel I don't know. And I have no one else to ask. My mother didn't come with us to Rome." And her mother had always been a bit... strange, when it came to such matters. Her parents had agreed that Sosia should not interact with men or boys, after that incident with the slaveboy at the villa... and her mother never told her much. As if she was afraid of her daughter's reaction, or what she'd do, if she knew more. Horatia was much easier to talk to.

"I hope I will figure it all out. What to do with children, what to do with... a husband." She blushed a bit. She could only imagine it, she'd seen the animals at the villa, how they made their young, but surely people didn't do the same way? And it was nicer? At least she hoped it was. If it was Tiberius, she knew it would be nicer. If only that was possible.

@Sara

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