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Posted (edited)

February 77AD

Vibia glanced around, long white blonde hair falling over her shoulder and to her hips as she studied the world beyond that subtle door in the Gardens of Sallust. An Imperial invitation was absolutely not one she was going to turn down, and bless Marcus Junius Silanus for thinking of her. He'd made it plain she was for the Prince, but he wanted somebody for himself and so she walked, arm in arm with a beautiful dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty through into the villa. They looked like fire and ice, perfect opposites. Where her body was artfully curved and her features were pale and delicate with doe blue eyes and blonde hair, Liana was olive skinned and willowy with striking features. A perfect pair for the wealthy, she thought. 

Slaves, neatly dressed and unobtrusive, milled about before shepherding the two ladies into the villa and the corridors beyond. Vibia held up her hand to halt the men and slipped off the thick cloak she was wearing. Liana did the same. They were both dressed in exquisite Assyrian silk that, depending on how many times you folded it could be utterly transparent or fully opaque. She left it somewhere in the middle for her chiton, revealing the outline of her shape and the curve of her thighs and chest, sheathed in shimmering silk. It would be far, far too immodest for a proper Roman matron but neither woman was that. Liana's was silver. They were both bedecked in ornate jewellery as well, so as they rounded a corner into a receiving room - lamps dimmed and male voices floating to meet them, she grinned. Their dress and preening had most definitely been the correct call. 

Inclining her head just a touch, she pulled her eyes up and surveyed the men. She recognised Silanus from the other one's amusing party, although for that she'd been hired for other skills - which she also thought she might be requested for tonight - hence why one of the slaves carried her cithara. Her eyes drew to the darker haired man and the smile on her lips became feline and suggestive. "Sirs. Thank your the invitation. I hope Liana and I didn't keep you waiting?" 

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sarah

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Tiberius was nervous. Excited yes, cautious yes, but mostly nervous. Many men made something of a big deal out of having sex with a woman, and whilst he didn't doubt it would be enjoyable, based on his own private investigations, he also knew nothing about this woman or indeed anything more than the theory of the act. But there was ultimately only one way to learn.Hhaving decided it was time he'd asked Marcus to make arrangements, and his friend had come through for him.

The two young men were relaxing on couches in one of the villa's smaller entertainment rooms, food and wine already laid out before them. Well, Marcus was probably relaxing, Tiberius was trying to look relaxed. The wine was helping but he wouldn't drink too much, focusing instead on talking with Marcus about not very much. At least, until a slave slipped in with the news that their 'guests' had arrived. A few moments later the guests themselves were led into the room, twin figures in sensuous silk which hinted without fully revealing, designed to entice and far from proper. The effect was only accentuated by the jewellery, all of which complimented the natural beauty of the two women. Both had exotic colouration, one dark and one fair, and they offset each other perfectly. As one with a classical education, Tiberius could recognise craftmanship when he saw it. Somehow that actually made him feel better, more confident, seeing the care with which these two had put together their appearances. All the world's a stage, and all the people in it merely players. He knew all about presenting an image, and it was clear they did as well.

"Marcus, you didn't tell me you'd hired us a work of art." He mock-protested, turning to offer the women a smile. He recognised the pale woman vaguely from the party, and since she'd introduced the other as Liana, she had to be Vibia. He wasn't certain if her calm confidence was enticing or intimidating; time would tell. "Not at all, we were just enjoying a light cena." He gestured to the spread of fine foods and wine. "Would you care to join us?"

He glanced at Marcus, not sure if he was doing this right but trusting his friend to back him up.

@Atrice@Sara

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Still a bit gloomy over the fact, that he wouldn’t be the one to bed Vibia this time either, Marcus was still here attempting to do the best for his friend. It was about time Tiberius lay with a woman, he was older than Marcus and had not done the deed yet. Marcus lost his virginity years ago. Was it to a whore too? He thought it was. It hadn’t been a big deal, except for him finding out how good it was and that he wanted more of it. And now Tiberius would learn too. Then maybe he’d pull himself together and bed that girl he really wanted.

 But for now, he was relaxing together with Tiberius, having a bit of food and wine and he could see that Tiberius was tense, although he tried to look like he was relaxing. But he grew up with Tiberius, more or less, and he knew him. They were talking about less important things, when footsteps came in their direction and he looked up to see a slave entering, telling about their guests’ arrival. And then the ladies appeared, beautiful women both of them. The dark-haired woman was rather nice to look at too, Marcus would have no problem doing her.

 The women looked them both over and then Vibia thanked them for the invitation. Tiberius commented on their beauty and then asked them to join them for their light meal.

 “Yes, please join us.” Marcus invited with a grin and shifted a bit on his couch, looking at Liana, “There’s room for you right here, if you’d like.” He said to her and she came towards him. Yes, she was very fine. Vibia was too, just look at her lovely assets. One day, she would be his. But tonight was all about Tiberius finally getting it done, so he should have the best of the best, of course. Assuming she was, but rumor on the street was, that that was the case…

@Sara @Sarah

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Vibia knew how to play the game, she'd been playing it since she was a slave girl in her masters bed and now, a decade later she knew just the right sort of smile and laugh and slight narrowing of her eyes that played well to different types of men. Marcus was a known quantity - he'd made no secret of the fact he wanted her, which was fun, but couldn't distract her tonight. Tiberius had been utterly known until she'd clocked him as she walked in. Nobody had explicitly said it was his first time but as far as she was aware nobody from the Venus had been hired for him before, and she doubted he would have had a simple slave girl for his first. Not when he could afford the best. 

"You're too kind, really we rolled out of bed looking like this, this morning. No effort at all." She said with light amusement as the women wove their way in between the couches and she sat herself a slightly discrete distance away from Tiberius, mentally running through which approach would work best. She almost envied Liana the easier job of Marcus - his desires seemed fairly plain to see. Settling on a softer approach she gestured for the slave to set her cithara down at the end of the couches so she could take it up if necessary, and thought some conversation would probably help settle his nerves. She glanced at Tiberius with a soft smile. "You've recently moved from the palace I understand?" She arched a brow and took up a cup of wine, sipping it gently. "And what, might I ask, prompted two young men move from luxury to this nirvana?" 

As she spoke, she curled one leg up under herself and leant onto the arm of the couch furthest away from Tiberius, accentuating the long line of her body and the curve between her chest and her hips. Nobody could ever say Vibia wasn't a professional.

 

TAG: @Sarah @Atrice

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You're too kind, really we rolled out of bed looking like this, this morning. No effort at all.

Tiberius chuckled softly, in spite of himself. This Vibia clearly knew how to put a man at ease, and if she was a wit as well then that piqued his interest, despite his nervousness. Vibia settled herself onto his couch but at a distance, lounging in a way that showed off her lithe figure but didn't impinge on his personal space. He watched her do it, quite certain that not one single move was accidental, rather he was seeing a very careful performance. Marcus had assured him, perhaps a tad wistfully, that Vibia was the best, and was rapidly becoming clear to Tiberius that he was watching a consumate professional. Somehow that made him more comfortable. At least one of them knew what they were doing.

She asked about the move from the palace, something that was becoming a familiar question, though she didn't seem to fall into the collective of people who thought he was mad. "Space." He said simply, glancing at Liana as she settled in with Marcus, before returning his attention to Vibia. "The opportunity to have my own household, and to give my brother room to have his." Both were still young men, under twenty-five, but suddenly thrust into adulthood by Quintus's abdication. "Which in turn gives us space and freedom to run the household as we see fit." He gestured to Marcus as well. That included having prostitutes visit, though frankly Tiberius suspected that Titus wouldn't care as long as he was discrete. Yes, sometimes he missed being closer to Titus and Drusus and Rutiliana, but he could enter the Palace any time he liked, and he still spent quite a lot of time there. "I trust you find it comfortable." He added, a little cheekily. The Palace might be the epitome of luxury, but the Villa Sullusti lacked for nothing.

He glanced at the cithara as it was placed carefully by a slave, remembering that Ovinia had wanted to learn. But he suspected that Vibia would not be appropriate to suggest as a teacher. "You played beautifully at the party last September," he recalled, "can I ask where you learned?" He was genuinely curious. And talking was helping to settle his nerves.

@Atrice@Sara

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Vibia was all blonde hair, smiles and the right words at the right moments with Tiberius. Meanwhile Liana had settled down with Marcus, who’d turned over onto his side and her back was towards his front, as she was sitting. He slid an arm around her, while Vibia continued to gently interrogate Tiberius. She was getting to know him, he supposed, figure out what he was all about and what he would want from her. She shifted, settling on her couch in a perfect position. Marcus thought that maybe he would be fine with Liana for tonight. Tiberius would obviously fall for Vibia too, but she was almost too perfect, wasn’t she?

 And yes, Tiberius chuckled at her words and then replied to her question about why they they moved in here. Marcus gave a smile, when Tiberius gestured towards him, but then continued to speak to Vibia. Why did Marcus have to be here, again? He could just have made the arrangements for Vibia for Tiberius and that was it. Of course he would be happy to get some pleasure and satisfaction out of it too, but he kind of felt he wasn’t really needed now. And learning where Vibia learned to play the cithara did not really interest him all that much. So maybe he should just focus on his, Vibia wasn’t for him anyway. Liana however, was.

 “Liana…” Marcus tore his eyes from the others and spoke to his companion in a low voice, “Come down here. And… tell me what you will do to me first. Whisper it.” He said and she shifted to lie down beside him on the couch and leaned her head towards him, whispering very sweet words and Marcus smiled at them, while his one hand explored the curves of her body. She was very fine. Maybe the light cena would not last very long for him and her.

@Sara @Sarah

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She glanced at Marcus as Tiberius gestured to him, a smile on her lips and nodded. She understood the need for space although it was at a premium in this city, even in somewhere as glamorous as the Venus. "Very comfortable." She nodded with a feline smile and sipped her wine. It was excellent"Although missing a woman's touch, I think." It was probably - to most - bold to crictisie the furnishing of an Imperial villa but she trusted Tiberius not to take offence. Her whole role, whilst mostly a charade, was to live on the fringes of respectfulness and politeness. She had said far worse to almost equally important men. Some even liked it.

She flicked her eyes over the scene opposite her, Liana revelling in Marcus' touch and words. She was a sweet girl, and pliant, and likely suited to her role less so than the wily Vibia but for somebody like Marcus she was perfect. But Tiberius asked her a question and her gaze drew from the couple on the couch opposite to her cithara next to them. Her smile was genuine, but slightly amused. "I haven't always been a freedwoman." She explained and drew herself up to sit a little more, a touch closer to him. "It behove me to learn skills other than sweeping or dusting or serving at a cena." She cast a brief glance at the slaves in attendance tonight, "But now I get to play for pleasure. I'm pleased you enjoyed it, and only sorry we didn't get to meet at your gathering." Placing her wine cup on the table she glanced back to the cithara and then at Marcus and Liana pointedly. "Would you like me to play for you? Perhaps somewhere more private?" He didn't seem the type for an orgy in the triclinium.

 

TAG: @Sarah @Atrice

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Tiberius was trained to be a politician, and could maintain a cool, calm facade, even when he was nervous as hades. Which he was. Part of the reason for having cena with Marcus whilst they waited was to draw a measure of reassurance from his friend, and also so that Tiberius could take his cues from Marcus if needed, having never hired a prostitute before. But Vibia and her companion Liana seemed to effortlessly slide into the scene, settling themselves and making themselves comfortable, so perhaps he need not have worried. His friend really had come through for him in arranging the best for tonight. Perhaps he should see to it that Marcus got a night with Vibia, as thanks; that he wanted her had been plain. But he could consider that later. 

Meanwhile, Vibia was asking about their new home, and he explained the reasoning behind the move. 

Very comfortable. Although missing a woman's touch, I think.

It was, from Tiberius's point of view, a fairly obvious observation. "Just two lonely young men." He confirmed. OK, he'd probably had a little more wine than he usually would, but could you blame him? "Though far less lonely tonight." But then, if there'd been a matriarch of this place, they'd at least have been more subtle about inviting Vibia and Liana. He was curious about her though, knowing from her presence at his party that Vibia was more than just a whore, so he asked where she'd learned to play. 

I haven't always been a freedwoman.

"I assumed not." He replied, mildly amused. "No one is born 'freed'." Free yes, freed no. To be a freedman or freedwoman, you had to first be a slave. He listened with interest as she described having worked to increase her skills and thus her abilities, to the point where she had obviously earned her freedom at some point. And he noticed that she deftly avoided answering his actual question. "An oversight." He agreed, on the subject of them not meeting at the gathering. "But one now remedied." And frankly he preferred the privacy tonight, in public he shouldn't be seen to pay too much attention to one of her profession. Vibia asked whether she should play for him, perhaps in private, and Tiberius glanced across at Marcus. "Are you done with cena, Marcus? Would you like to show Liana the view from the west wing?" Meaning Marcus want to take his lady off to his room? Tiberius was not after an orgy on his first night, but didn't want to seem to just abandon his friend. "I'd like to hear you play." He agreed. "We can go to my rooms." Assuming that was alright with the other two. Training in social niceties stopped him from just up and leaving with Vibia. 

@Atrice @Sara

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Marcus tried to focus on his own companion, since Vibia and Tiberius seemed very occupied with each other and their conversation. Which was sweet and needed, especially for Tiberius, since Vibia was to be the first woman he’d take to his bed. He didn’t seem so nervous, but maybe he was. Not that he should be. Once he learned how good it was and how easy it could be, well, he’d want more, Marcus was sure of it. Maybe he’d even want the little lady he’d fallen for. Poor girl, having to wait while Tiberius was free to bed anyone he pleased. And now he would.

 Vibia commented that their home missed a woman’s touch and Marcus smiled, when Tiberius told her that they were just two lonely young men here. Not tonight though.

 He paid more attention to Liana though and it was just with half an ear that he heard, that Vibia suggested they went somewhere more private. Tiberius then spoke to him, seeming to decide it was about time to move on. Marcus smiled, “There’s nothing I’d love more. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I will, Liana.” Marcus said to her and she chuckled, as he ran his hand down over her side again, stroking the part where almost all women were a little ticklish… “I’m very sure I’ll enjoy it if you say so.” She replied to him and Tiberius seemed ready to leave too. Marcus shifted and Liana slid off the couch and he followed her. Took her hand to lead her away.

 “Enjoy your… privacy.” Marcus said to Tiberius, “And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He added with a wink to them both and dragged Liana with him away from the triclinium. If Tiberius wanted to speak to him or needed his help with anything, he knew where he could find Marcus. But for now, they’d part ways and Marcus would look forwards to seeing Tiberius later tonight or perhaps in the morning, to hear about how it was like with Vibia.

@Sara @Sarah

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Vibia's lips quirked in amusement. No, nobody was born freed. She'd worked hard for her freedom...and paid for it, dearly. Her life was not her own - not even now, so many years later. The fee she'd paid to the Collegium was a heavy one and it often felt as if she'd gone from one form of slavery to another, although this one perpetually felt more worrisome. She was working for one gang and spying for another. If the Syndicate ever found out...she shook the thought from her head and plastered that utterly convincing smirk on her face.

She watched the exchange between Tiberius and Marcus with light amusement. The latter was clearly more adept and as he upped, with a wink to her own company, she chuckled and watched them depart. She presumed Tiberius was nervous and so decided, not for the first time that evening, took the initiative. She pulled herself up to stand and gestured for a slave to pick up her cithara. She swooped down to pick up her cup of wine (flashing a purposeful eyeful of cleavage as she did so), and raised it to her lips. When she pulled it back she gave Tiberius a gentle smile. "After you, sir. And you'll have to point out the various beautiful parts of your home on our walk to your rooms. If the rest of it is as majestic as this..." 

 

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Tiberius suspected that Marcus's imprecation to not do anything he wouldn't did not leave much. But as his friend left with the admittedly beautiful Liana, the young Imperial's attention was focused on Vibia. She was the one his friend had recommended, and in that area Tiberius trusted Marcus's judgement. 

She certainly seemed very professional. Every movement was graceful, like a dance, and showed off her assets to their best advantage; he didn't doubt that it was deliberate. But he appreciated professionalism. It meant at least one of them knew what they were doing. Glass in hand, cithara held by a slave, Vibia was suddenly ready for a tour of the Villa on the way to his chambers. It was an easy enough distraction and Tiberius was happy to oblige, pointing out interesting architecture, sculpture or decoration, and relating what he knew of it's history as he led the way through the eastern peristyle. She was probably bored but if she was, he couldn't see evidence of it. Vibia seemed the perfect companion, interested and attentive. 

"And this is the master suite." He said at last, though that would be fairly obvious from the way the rooms were appointed. The mosiac floor was intricate, the door curtains ornate, the small table in the corner beautifully carved and it matched the trunk and large bed in the cubiculum itself. The wall plaster was brightly and skillfully painted, with scenes of rural landscapes framed by paint that was meant to look like carved marble. The bed itself, a lectus genialis with room for two, was made of several different woods, highly polished so that their different colours and grains gleamed, and inlaid in places with mother of pearl. Tiberius didn't normally need a double bed of course, but it was there. He felt a little awkward bringing Vibia into his bedroom, but that was rather the point. "I trust it's to your liking." He joked to cover his awkwardness. 

But he shouldn't be awkward about it, right? Men did this all the time, and apparently enjoyed it. Certainly his own private investigations had been enjoyable. And he'd hired Vibia, so she should do what he asked. He just had to... ask? Tiberius took a steadying breath, and offered the poised and beautiful woman a slightly wan smile. "I don't know how much Marcus said when he asked you to come." He began simply. "I... haven't taken a woman to my bed before, and he recommended you." He said, trying to be very matter of fact about it, whilst feeling far from it. But what good was political training if he couldn't keep a straight face and a steady voice? "He spoke very highly of you, in fact." He added, showing a flash of genuine amusement as he remembered his friend's interest in Vibia. He'd have to arrange for her to have a night with Marcus too. 

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Vibia smiled and nodded and asked relevant questions on the artists or landscaping as she was led through to his chamber. She genuinely wasn't bored, it was a beautiful home - and that said something given the (many) artful, immaculate domi she'd been in during her time in Rome. The cubiculum was something else though and she turned on her heels in the middle of the room, taking it in. As he joked, she rejoined; "It will do." But a smile tugged on her lips and her brow was quirked to show she was jesting. The poor lamb, he seemed so unsure. 

The wan smile he offered her belied all the nerves he was evidently hiding and she studied him carefully. She knew she had to be careful - plenty of men were more sensitive than they let out and despite this one seeming a cultured, cool and collected sort of man, she couldn't be sure. So she paid it safe and softened her smile, shrugging her shoulders a little. "Marcus is very sweet and I'll say I'm flattered for his recommendation." But unless he could procure a great deal more gold than he had, he'd not be getting anywhere near her. "We do not have to rush it." She offered, banking on the fact he would rather be led than do the leading, and so she took a seat on one of the couches at the foot of the bed, leaning down to slip off her sandals. "I genuinely can play music," She glanced up with a wry smile on her lips. The flash of her clevage that the pose gave Tiberius was incidental...but purposeful, "If you'd rather we start there. Or,She said as the slave set down the cithara and then moved back out of the room, "Perhaps we could talk of what you're most curious about?" She quirked a brow and sandals off, reclined back on the couch. 

 

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