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What a Coincidence


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April, 77AD

The stage was set and the plans were in place and now all that had to happen was for Lucius not to be late and Sosia to be her perfectly charming, bright, sunny self. Ovinia smoothed out the silk of her chiton over her knees as she sat in the garden, waiting. She'd sent a letter to her friend a few days prior asking her round for a drink and a catch-up. Entirely innocent. Entirely a ruse. The slave was ready and prepped to come in claiming some emergency via a letter that she had to deal with right away...just as her brother showed up to keep their guest entertained for a few moments...or potentially longer. It depended how Ovinia felt the conversation was going. She hoped well - her brother was the sweetest of them all, and relaxed enough that she thought he might appreciate a woman with the vibrancy and well...happiness of Sosia. 

That was if she wasn't still mourning the deceased Senator she had rumoured to be engaged to. Ovinia shoved the thought, the man and the memories of the night of his murder far, far from his mind. Instead she absently rearranged the fruits and other treats laid out on a small table before the bench she was sitting on. A slave came through not long after informing her that Sosia was here. Ovinia nodded and bid them to bring her through into the gardens. It wasn't the warmest season by a long shot but the weather was sunny and pleasant and Ovinia had spent far too long cramped up indoors of late. She stood as her friend approached, a wide smile on her face and moved to embrace her. "You look beautiful." She said as she pulled back, grinning. "I hope you're in the mood for wine and gossip?"

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sarah

Edited by Sara
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So much had happened since last summer, when she was on her way to Rome for the first time. Or, she'd been a few times before, but she didn't really know Rome. She did now and she even had friends in the city. Among those were Ovinia, whom she met on the way to Rome back then. They'd met a few times since, and while she thought Ovinia was quite different from herself, it didn't matter. She seemed to always be sweet towards Sosia, so how could she not adore her beautiful, darkhaired friend? If only she could find a husband here in Rome. Sosia was on the lookout again too, or rather, her father was. She had actually been engaged. In December, she'd met a man. Atratinus. And while he was older than her, he did seem friendly enough and he had even agreed with her father, that he would marry her. That was the plan. Next year. In the springtime. And while she had been looking forwards to her marriage, it was kind of hard to shake Tiberius out of her head. And the more she tried, the harder it was. But she would be a good wife to her husband. Her father said he was very agreeable and the perfect match for her.

That's until he wasn't a match at all, because he was dead. Dead! Her father had told her the strange news, that her husband-to-be had been murdered one night in Rome, in a public street and people had found him. Sosia was stunned! Not that she felt she'd been in love with him, not the way she felt with Tiberius, but she had liked him and she had looked forwards to being married and finding out what that was like. And then... then he was murdered! She needed time to recover to those news, it was horrible, to think that he'd been stabbed in a street of Rome. She didn't ever want to know where. Even though they told her that the murderer had been caught. It was still scary. Why did Rome, the city that could be so beautiful, also treat her like this? Did she really have to be here?

But then the invitation came from Ovinia and Sosia of course gladly showed up. Wearing a lovely light yellow chiton with white details and spring flowers among her curls in her hair, she showed up for Ovinia's... whatever it was. Meeting. Friends spending time together. The house was lovely and so was Ovinia, greeting her with a smile and an embrace, that Sosia gladly returned. And she felt she almost blushed at the compliment, "Thank you, Ovinia. You look stunning as always too." She said with a warm smile, "And... I suppose I am. Not that I have much to tell. But perhaps you do?" She replied. This was a nice distraction from everything else.

@Sara @Sarah

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He felt oddly nervous. Ovinia had, as promised, managed to wrangle a time when her friend could come over, the one she thought Lucius would like, and she could manage to introduce them. Not only introduce, but give them some time together to talk. His sister was quite the schemer, and she'd carefully arranged everything and explained what she wanted him to do. Seriously, she should have been a son, she'd make a better politician than he ever would. If their father could appreciate women's intrigues, Lucius was certain he'd be proud. 

Not the uniform; Ovinia had insisted. Lucius had been a bit deflated at that; he was comfortable in his uniform and it meant not having to think about what to wear. Anything that saved what he viewed as unnecessary pondering was good in his books. But meeting a possible future wife candidate was something worth pondering for. Since he was supposed to be home and relaxing that ruled out a toga, so he went with a dark blue tunic, his good sandles and a leather belt with brass bosses and buckle, which he'd had a slave polish. He felt a bit underdressed for a first meeting without either the toga or his armour, but it would do. His bodyslave wet a comb and ran it through his short hair, flicking it fashionably forward, then showed him in the bronze mirror he'd borrowed from his sister. He smiled widely in the mirror, checking his teeth for stray bits of ientaculum, then nodded to the slave. It would do. 

Elsewhere in the house, the heavy door to the atrium opened and closed, and he heard his sister's voice, though not the words. Then another voice. She was here. This Sosia girl. The one Ovinia thought he might be well suited to. He could only hope, but she knew him better than most so was probably the best judge. Of course, there were plenty of other girls in Rome, he kept telling himself, so if it didn't work out he'd be fine. But it would be terribly convenient if it did. Plus it would be nice to marry someone he got along with, rather than someone his father just picked out. Still, she'd have to measure up to Gaius Major's standards as well. He'd have to find out who here family was.

For now though he figured it would be best to wait a few minutes and let the girls chat. Then the set up might not seem so obvious.

@Atrice @Sara

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She grinned, a wide smile that stretched her lips and she tossed her long hair hair over her shoulder. She'd miss it when she had to pin it up when she wed. "Why thank you," She chuckled and gestured to the dark green chiton she was wearing, "Eastern silk. From Teutus Quinctilius Varus - have you been to his warehouse?" She asked as she moved to sit. The vase she'd also bought was on prominent display, but in the atrium and so far from Sosia's eyes as they sat in the serenity and tranquility of the garden. 

Ovinia waved her hand as Sosia dismissed that she had nothing to say. "Nonsense. I want to hear all about how you've been finding Rome," Dead ex-fiancees aside. She flicked a hand and a slave hurried to pour two cups of sweet, cold wine. Ovinia took one, "And I, sadly, have very little to update on. Festivals and walks and parties and well...you know what it's like." She chuckled and sat back down on the couch, reclining and gesturing for Sosia to do the same. She gave her friend a slightly more earnest look and sighed, her smile softening. "How have you been? Really?" 

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sarah

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Sosia was completely oblivious to the ruse she'd walked right into. She knew nothing but the fact that Ovinia had invited her over to catch up and apparently gossip. Sosia didn't mind that, although she wasn't very good at talking like that. It felt wrong, discussing people who weren't there, behind their backs. She didn't want to be such a person. And it wasn't like she experienced much anyway. But Ovinia, she was always lovely looking, with her stunning dark hair and her vibrant eyes. How could Sosia not admire her friend? And Ovinia grinned at the compliment, thanking Sosia and explained where she got the fabric for the chiton from. 

"I have not been to that warehouse, no... but it sounds like it's worth visiting." She replied with a smile, following Ovinia to sit down. She wanted to hear how Sosia was doing in Rome and claimed she had little to update on. Sosia chuckled, although she did not quite know what it was like with festivals and walks and parties. She knew the walks, she walked her dog, but she was still a bit shy at the parties and wasn't so used to the festivals. But it felt like it wasn't right to admit that to Ovinia, who knew everything here. And everyone. Sosia reached for a drink and Ovinia then seemed to soften a bit.

"I've been... alright, I suppose. I imagine you heard about my betrothal. And why I am not betrothed anymore." She said, it wasn't like it didn't get out that a Senator had been murdered in the street. Everyone seemed to know. And Ovinia knew for sure, right? "Father said I should mourn him. And I am sad about what happened. But I didn't know him that well." She added with a sigh and sipped her drink, "So it's not that exciting. But you... must have interesting stories to tell. Parties? Festivals?" 

@Sara @Sarah

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She smiled and nodded; "I'll give you his details before you leave, and you can convene with him about a time to visit. He has the most beautiful silks and glassware, some really quite special." She had no qualms about talking up Teutus' business - he was a friend, in an odd sort of way, and besides his wares really were beautiful and reasonably priced, at least to her mind. As long a she still got first dibs on his best products, sharing him with the world was fine. She was generous...but not generous enough to forgo her right of first refusal. 

And then poor Sosia spoke her truth and Ovinia sighed, moving a comforting hand to the girls forearm. She looked upset as Sosia spoke, and hoped it just appeared as if she was deeply concerned for her friends wellbeing...and not reliving her own pain at the hands of the man that had killed Sosia's betrothed. She swallowed an apple sized lump in her throat and squeezed Sosia's hand. "I had heard, and I am sorry for you. And...mourning..." She sighed again and shook her head, withdrawing her hand to her wine cup - from which she took a hefty sip, "Well...you can mourn what might have been, if not the man himself?" Sosia was evidently trying to lighten the mood and Ovinia was only too glad to follow her lead, nodding with a little smile; "Oh the parties...well, I went to Nessenia's a few weeks ago and she had organised this dance troupe from Hispania who...well...I rather think the men enjoyed the spectacle more than the ladies present but I-" 

She heard shuffling a few paces away, and wondered if it was Lucius. Clearing her throat she sipped her wine; "Besides that, it's just been considering my options for suitors really, the same as you I imagine. Does your father have any ideas for you?" 

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sarah

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The girls were in  the garden, a comfortable place to chat on a warm day. Once he'd heard them head that way and their voices fade, he'd followed at what he deemed was a safe distance. Perhaps he could catch a glimpse of this girl, and run for the hills if he didn't like what he saw. But Ovinia wouldn't do that to him. Would she? She'd told him this girl - Sosia - was both pretty and charming, so he had high hopes. As he drew nearer to the garden he could hear their voices drifting in through the window, on the warm breeze. Something about mourning a betrothed? Eeeh, he wasn't certain if that was a good start or not. It might make her keen to find a replacement, or it could mean that every other man was compared to the one she'd lost. Oh well, there was no sense worrying about it really, what would be would be, the Gods knew. 

Ceasing his creeping, Lucius strode the last few steps towards the gardens. "Ovinia! Did you send Caturix to the market? I can't find him anywhere." He called out before he'd even reached the doorway, then paused as though only just realising that his sister wasn't alone. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realise you had company." He smiled apologetically at the other young woman, taking in her dark hair with little flowers woven through it, and wide, dark eyes in a pretty, pale face. She certainly was striking. Perhaps he and his sister did have similar tastes after all. 

@Sara @Atrice

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Sosia smiled and thanked Ovinia for her kindness, when she promised to give her the details for that warehouse. It certainly did sound interesting, so she would just have to visit. And if she let the man know Ovinia had recommended her to come there, maybe it would all be very good? She hoped so. Ovinia was a kind friend, she thought. But then Ovinia asked into how Sosia had been and she had not really talked to anyone about it. But she felt she could be honest with Ovinia, so she was. She could trust her, right? She spoke of her betrothed and how she was supposed to mourn him some, even though she barely knew him. She didn't want to sound ungrateful or like a bad person, but... she didn't have any feelings towards him. They were only betrothed. Not married.

Ovinia touched her forearm in a caring manner and was sorry about what happened. She suggested that Sosia could mourn what might have been. Sosia nodded, that was an idea at least, "I can do that. Maybe he would have been a good husband. But I'll never know now." And although he might have been a good husband, he would never be Tiberius, she thought. But that she wouldn't dare telling even Ovinia. It was her secret, hers alone. Instead she listened as Ovinia described a party she'd been to and spoke of suitors.

"Maybe he does, I don't know. I do want to get married, it's just..." She was cut off, hadn't heard the shuffling of feet and now suddenly a handsome man walked into the gardens speaking to Ovinia. Sosia immediately stood, that was only good manners in the presence of an unknown man, right? 

"Greetings." Sosia said softly, feeling a little shy and even more when she felt his eyes upon her. It caused her to cast her eyes down and she felt a bit of heat in her cheeks. Maybe this was one of Ovinia's brothers? She had several, apparently. This one apparently a bit clumsy, but that didn't have to be a bad thing. She felt clumsy too sometimes. Quietly Sosia waited for Ovinia to introduce them.

@Sarah @Sara

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And as if on cue...there appeared Lucius. Mercifully not in his uniform. She flashed him a small smile and took her time to stand as Sosia did so immediately. Well, she had very good manners at least - even if she had grown up in the country. Although the latter - she imagined - was more of a selling point rather than a detraction for Lucius. She chuckled and rolled her eyes, playing her part perfectly; "I did, I needed new beads and oh, where are my manners..." She cleared her throat - the signal for the slave she knew was listening just out of sight - "Brother, this is my friend Horatia Sosia, daughter of Gaius Horatius Justinus and cousin of our dear ex-Consul's wife. You know, the one that gave birth in mother Juno's temple? Oh Sosia you have to tell me all about it." She grinned, "Sosia - my brother, my middle brother," She leaned in just a touch to Sosia, whispering behind her hand; "My favourite brother," Before she cleared her throat again, "Recently returned from service in Hispania, Lucius Ovinius Camillus." 

The slave had entered as she'd been speaking, holding a note and Ovinia huffed - glancing her way; "Yes? What is it?" The woman cleared her  throat - they'd been through exactly what to say - as Ovinia scanned the made up letter; "Domina, my sincere apologies, a letter from one of your fathers clients about a dinner this evening. He is requesting a response immediately - his slave is waiting in the kitchens and I would wake Domina Matia but I thought..." Ovinia sighed and nodded, faking a frown. "You thought right. I can deal with this." She shot both Sosia and her brother an apologetic look in turn; "I...I'm so sorry  this requires my attention. I run the household when my mother isn't able to I..." She feigned embarrassment and awkwardness, as if not knowing what to do before she turned to the slave with a bright smile; "Lunia, fetch a writing table and ink and I'll write here - " She gestured to small stone bench a respectable distance away, "Sosia my sincere apologies but you shall have to suffer my brothers conversation whilst I deal with this - if he doesn't object - I shouldn't be long." She smiled at them both and then moved away to take a seat as the slave hurried out with writing implements. From here she could watch and listen - so nothing inappropriate could happen - but she'd given them enough privacy and opportunity to talk. She just hoped her brother would seize it.

 

TAG: @Sarah @Atrice

 

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