Happy first Sunday of October! I plan to post Sunday snippets and random musings on this blog more regularly. Here’s a little taste of the next chapter. Alle’s point of view. Unedited and subject to change. 😀
Seated on the bench beside Maximus, Alle had just swallowed the last bite of his morning meal when that crotchety, balding slave with the permanent sneer entered the common room unannounced. His twitchy eyes darted about until they settled on Allerix. He flicked a piece of papyrus towards Alle’s side of the dining table and left without saying a word. The note fluttered in the air before landing next to Bry’s folded hands. Simon scooted closer to peer over Bry’s shoulder.
“Bathe and report to my bedchamber.” Bry smirked through the last syllables. “Romantic prick, isn’t he? I assume this is for you, Dacian.”
Allerix snatched the note from Bry’s fingers. Had Gaius written these words? The sturdy strokes were aggressive, each letter practically gouged into the sheet. No fancy curls or wasted ink. No hesitation.
And no affection.
Max stole a glance and said, “You’ve managed to avoid your chores again. Off to the baths, then. I’ll escort you to Commander Fabius’s suite.”
After he’d washed thoroughly—a more rigorous bath than that quick splash at daybreak—Alle slipped his best ivory tunic over his head. He propped a polished brass plate against the wall and stared at his distorted reflection while braiding his dark hair and checking for food between his teeth. His chin was smooth enough; whiskers wouldn’t erupt again until midafternoon.
He hardly recognized himself anymore. His hair now was always washed and combed, his face always clean-shaven. He missed hiding behind his thick, noble beard. He missed the proud, brave young man he’d once been.
When Max gave permission, Allerix crossed the threshold to Gaius’s bedroom, convinced he’d spend this sunny, crisp autumn day warming the man’s bed, satisfying the man’s cock. What else was there for him to do? Exercise in the yard? Clean the horses’ stalls? Swim in the damn pool? Except for that strange, sad disaster of a day at the Guards’ camps, he hadn’t left this enormous house. Not once. He was trapped in a luxurious, spacious cage surrounded by tall walls of stone and brick.
A prisoner. A Roman’s concubine. A fucking shameful insult to his gods and his people. To his father.