A brief bit from August, the first story in the second volume of the Dominus Calendar Series.
Gaius muses. Unedited and subject to change.
Happy September Sunday!
Seaside villa of Gaius Fabius Rufus, Campania
By the light of a lone lamp resting on his desk, he pressed his signet ring into the wax and closed the cover of the bronze seal box designed to guard his signature. He’d put off sending his blessings for a fruitful marriage and good health to his younger brother for so long now the damn letter was more likely to be received as an insult rather than fraternal congratulations. By Juno’s cracked nipple, that wedding ceremony in the gardens of the palace had happened nearly a month past. He should have written to Publius sooner.
Gaius hadn’t attended the nuptials on that inauspicious day. He ought to have attended, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t watch Plotina foist pocked-faced Publius on an unwilling but formidable girl. A girl Gaius had once thought he’d loved. A girl who had once promised her heart to Gaius Fabius Rufus in the dark on a bed they’d shared in secret.
Rather than attending his brother’s wedding, he’d left the oppressive heat of Rome and rode down to Campania for cooler sea breezes and playtime with his Nubian concubine. His best friend, Lucius Petronius, had offered to accompany Gaius’s new and unenthusiastic bride, Marcia, to the wedding in his stead.
He shrugged. At least he’d shown up for his own damn wedding. He hadn’t wanted to attend, but he did. A dutiful ward, an obedient soldier.
And he now had a wife, and the race to produce a son had begun.
Pushing the sealed stack of correspondence aside for the courier to deliver to Rome, Gaius sighed with resignation before turning his chair to enjoy the view of the villa’s orchards and pastures from his office window. The grasses were tall this time of summer, swaying in the gentle winds, their tips changed from golden-green to umber. Proserpina’s first sign of autumn’s inevitable return.