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“Do you have any way to control him?” I asked.
Vita thought for a moment, running his tongue slowly around the inside of his jaw. “Temporarily, especially if he is trying to make new ones. I simply deny him what he needs.”
“Will that control him, though?” I thought of the scratch I had seen on Decentius’ arm that he had tried to pass off as ‘nothing’. “Can you prevent him from simply taking it from you?”
Vita snorted. “I am far stronger than even Fabricius. He cannot take it from me.”
Vita was a pleasant conversationalist; subtle in both mind and movement. Quite the opposite of his slave. I went to look in on Diamantina after Vita had departed, both she and Cloelie lay naked, exhausted, and sweating in the crumpled bed clothes of the largest room, save mine.
“Go,” I said, “wash. Vita will be coming again tomorrow, and if he brings Fabricius again you will have to find some way to entertain him that won’t make you sleep the day away. I need you two alert in the daylight.”
He came precisely when Fabricius said. It was fortunate I awoke early that evening, for it meant I was truly ready for his arrival. Bathed, scented, and dressed in a deep red stola that showed only the tops of my breasts, this time.
I smiled as I watched Decentius disappear; there was something about him I couldn’t help but like. Antonius, however, was another matter. I turned back to face him and saw his glare unchanged. You’d think a slave would show a little more respect for his master, especially one with Decentius’ powers. Apparently Antonious didn’t share my opinion. Once Decentius had fully vanished into the darkness, Antonius turned his glare on me.
Cloelie looked at me through lowered eyes, her lips tightly pressed. “And you are not my mother to lecture me about what I can and should do. I ask again, gentildonna, what is it you want?”
I replied as I had before, “To know what you want of Dio Decentius.” This time, though, I peered into her mind. No more being nice about it. I wasn’t going to play games with a mere mortal. Her eyes widened, it seemed she felt my push and tried to push back. Well, the girl was more resolute than Antonius, but equally unsuccessful.
I chuckled at Decentius’ retort. I was beginning to like this man, despite his cold exterior; he was fun to play with. “I believe I have mentioned it. Bring our line, Signore Umbrae’s line, to greatnes.” I sat with my hands on my lap, and crossed my legs causing my decorated sandals to jingle. So much for appearing demure.
Providing my characters cooperate, this chapter should be completely from Claudia Antonia's point of view, giving both me and you readers a chance to get to know her better.
I wondered if Antonius would follow me once he emerged from his trance. I was curious to see how he interacted with Decentius. It was somewhat disappointing when I didn’t hear the pat-pat of his feet following me, but then, it would be easier to get a sense of Decentius alone. I chuckled. If he was alone, perhaps Cloelie was working on him even now.
Teaser for this week:
I decided to take it as a compliment, it would help keep me from beating Antonius where he stood.
Discuss the teaser