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“Mistress, your guest has just arrived and waits in the study,” the young nymph-like slave whispered, her eyes lowered in deference.
Roxanna rose from the dining couch smiling down at the two men she had been entertaining. “You must excuse me, gentlemen; there is some minor crisis in the kitchen.” She turned to the young slave with a smile, “Felicity, fetch more wine for Lucius and Sextus.” The smile never left her lips as she gradually withdrew from her guests, stopping here and there for a short word and usually a laugh with the more distinguished visitors. “I am not to be disturbed, Ajax,” she said quietly to the former gladiator standing guard in the corridor.
She stepped into her study to find a tall fair-haired man perusing her scrolls, his hands clasped loosely behind his back. “Senator Gaius Julius Caesar, your visit does me great honor,” she said.
He turned to face his host, fixing an intense gaze upon her. The darkness of his eyes was a vivid contrast to his fair coloring and light hair. He was strikingly handsome in his plain tunic, which displayed his muscled arms and shapely legs. She found nothing lacking in his appearance, though his expression was impossible to read.
“I am Roxanna. Welcome to my home.” She gestured toward a deep comfortable chair.
He sat, watching as Roxanna busied herself at the elegant table that served as her desk. Marcus’ description had not done her justice. Her hair was red and her eyes green, but his friend had failed to mention that her hair formed a soft halo of curls around her face, or that her eyes were large and almond shaped, flecked with yellow that gave them the radiance of jewels. She was tall with long delicate limbs. Her gown was the same shade as her hair and clung to her body as she moved, so that each new pose revealed an enticing curve or hollow beneath the soft fabric. Her movements were as graceful as a dancer’s as she uncovered a tray, revealing several small bowls and platters containing fresh fruits, small honey cakes, cheeses, bread and oil. She poured two cups of wine, one of which she offered to him before she sank into the chair opposite his own.
“Please, take some refreshment, Senator.” She took a fastidious sip of her wine, watching over the rim of her cup as he drained his own immediately.
“I thank you for your hospitality, Roxanna. I am not hungry, but this wine is truly excellent,” he said.
His voice was deep and rich. She had heard he was causing something of a sensation as an advocate in the courts; with his looks and that voice, there was little wonder in that. Roxanna smiled as she refilled his cup, “It is one of my favorites and the only I simply refuse to water down.”
He sipped from his replenished cup and appraised his host. “I am surprised there is no servant present to pour such a fine vintage.”
“Your message requested ‘utmost discretion;’ most people behave as if their servants are blind, deaf and mute. I am not most people.”
“I appreciate your consideration.” He took another deep drink of the wine, sat the cup down and leaned forward in his chair. “I have heard that you are not like most people. That is the reason I am here; I require a delicate service.”
Roxanna raised her brows and inclined her head to indicate her attentiveness. This was not the first time a man of noble birth had sought a private audience with her; she was familiar with such requests. Some wanted young boys. Some wished to be serviced by the lady of the most exclusive brothel in Rome. Others wanted her to poison their rivals.
She had a remarkable talent for matching slaves to masters and had procured many boys for the elite of Rome. She had come out of her early retirement one time only, and had won twenty-five talents of gold in a secret wager with the wealthiest man in the city. She had never dirtied her hands with murder.
Instead of revealing his purpose, he sat back in his chair. “What have you heard about me, Roxanna? Be perfectly candid.”
“As you wish. Gaius Marius was your uncle. You married the daughter of his supporter, the Consul Cornelius Cinna. Marius made you the high priest of Jupiter. When Sulla defeated the Marians and became dictator, he was eager to do away with the nephew of his enemy and expelled you from the priesthood so he could add your name to his proscription lists. Your life was spared through your family’s close ties with the Vestals, but Sulla demanded that you divorce your wife. You refused and fled the city. Without your head on a spike, Sulla had to make do with stripping you of your inheritance and your wife’s dowry. You joined the legions in Asia. You were sent to Bithynia to raise a fleet. You returned to camp with the Bithynian fleet, as well as the fleets of Cyprus and Rhodes, giving rise to the rumor that, for his fleet and his influence upon Cyprus and Rhodes, you ‘paid’ King Nicomedes with sexual favors. You were awarded the Civic Crown for foresight and bravery at Mitylene. You returned to Rome when you received news of Sulla’s death, and immediately claimed your right beylikdüzü escort as winner of a Civic Crown to enter the Senate, becoming the youngest of that august body. You are a gifted orator and legal advocate. The only hindrance upon what could be a stellar political career is your lack of funds.”
He grinned and shook his head. “I’m surprised you do not know the name of my horse.”
“Bucephalus,” she declared grandly with a broad smile as she lifted her cup. His eyes narrowed with suspicion. Roxanna laughed aloud at the expression on his face.
“I would very much like to know where you came by that piece of information,” he prodded.
“I was speaking in jest,” she explained with an unwavering smile.
He reached for his cup and flashed her a sardonic smile. “You have little right to mock the name I gave to my horse, Roxanna,” he said, emphasizing her name.
“We share a similar taste in historical figures; only the best will do.” Her flippantly humorous reply brought a smile to his face. The two shared a moment of laughter.
When the moment passed, he continued, “Do you find anything unusual about my life’s story?”
Roxanna considered his question briefly before giving her answer. “Love rarely blossoms in marriages of political alliance between noble families.”
He knit his brow as he gave an infinitesimal shake of his head, “Explain, please.”
“There is only one reason a man would risk his life to continue in a marriage without political influence, monetary gain or offspring. You love your wife.”
He nodded, a true smile lighting his face. “You have great insight. I do love my wife. Now I shall tell you an even more shocking secret, Roxanna. I have never been unfaithful to her.”
Roxanna nodded her head slowly, allowing her eyes to drift away from her guest as she took a sip of her wine. She placed her cup upon the table and sat back in her chair before responding. “I see.”
“What do you see?” His eyes bore into hers as if he would snatch the answer from her mind before she spoke it aloud.
“Your life is a series of provable facts marred by a single rumor that can never be disproved.”
He nodded, “Go on.”
“This rumor places a further hindrance upon your political career.”
“Roxanna, you have no idea how relieved I am to hear these words from another person.”
“I am happy to be ease your mind, Senator, but…”
“Please, call me Caesar.”
“How can I help your situation, Caesar?”
Caesar refilled his cup and drank it in three quick swallows before meeting her eyes. “You must teach me to be a great lover.” He refilled his cup again.
Roxanna’s expression was one of bafflement. She finally shook her head, “I am at a loss; please explain.”
“There is no way to prove my behavior with Nicomedes; attempting to do so would only fuel the rumor. The best recourse is to dismiss it completely and cast it in the shadow of a greater rumor, one in direct conflict. Unlike the current rumor, the conflicting one must be imminently provable. The great women of Rome have always been paradigms of virtue, but that is no longer the case. I could easily gain the favor of two or three such ladies right now, but their discretion would force me to begin the gossip and that would give the appearance of overcompensating for the current rumor. It is not enough to bed them. I must dazzle them enough to discard their discretion. I must make such an impression upon them that they cannot keep it to themselves. My skill will be a testament of my dedication to women. I need you to teach me that skill.”
“I see,” Roxanna said, giving a slight nod of her head. She looked away from him for a moment, deep in thought. “Caesar, you are young and handsome; surely this skill is something you can easily pick up from any number of willing women.”
“You suggest that I make my wife a laughingstock as I work my way through every woman in the city, then? How much do you think I shall learn from the nameless masses? One highly skilled and honest woman will teach me more in a single hour than I would learn in many months of nightly debauchery. You know this is true, Roxanna.”
She rested her elbows upon the arms of her chair, intertwining her fingers before her. “What makes you think I am so highly skilled? I have played no active role in that aspect of my business for some years.”
“A very astute friend sent me to you. He says you possess twice as much skill as the rest of the women in Rome combined.”
She shook her head and looked down. “Your friend is very generous, but he speaks of a time long past.”
Caesar laughed. “This friend has been called many things in his life; generous is not among them. He spoke of a fairly recent event- one that apparently cost him a great deal of money. He possesses an excellent memory for substantial monetary losses.”
Roxanna narrowed her eyes at Caesar, “Does he?”
Caesar’s smile was not triumphant, though it was close. “He does. He will vouch for my debt to you.”
She beyoğlu escort chose to ignore the last statement, as she had agreed to nothing. “Did your ‘astute friend’ explain how he suffered this substantial monetary loss?”
Caesar recalled exactly, though he was surprised at the realization that his friend’s words did not disprove Roxanna’s insistence that her favors were no longer for sale. He watched for her reaction as he spoke. “He said he lost it in a wager.”
Roxanna raised her chin and flashed him a haughty smile. Caesar laughed.
Having proven her point, Roxanna rose from her chair and slowly paced from one side of the study to the other, considering her guest’s strange request. When she had reached the point in her career where she no longer had to live a lie, she had discovered she could not tolerate lies of any kind, especially those she told herself. Young Gaius Julius Caesar had piqued her curiosity. She had been without a lover for far too long. The prospect of personally training a man to cater to her desires was appealing. She stopped pacing and faced him.
“How old are you, Caesar?”
“I am twenty-two.”
“How many women have you had?”
“How frequently do you make love to your wife?”
He paused to consider the question. “Two or three times a market interval.”
“How long does your lovemaking typically last?”
“Five minutes, perhaps ten.”
Roxanna nodded briefly and continued pacing. He was five years her junior and had much to learn. He had a great deal of self discipline and a strong will to succeed in life. He was unafraid to take daring risks. She faced him again and looked into his dark eyes.
“There is something of great importance that I must know before I make this decision. I would prefer to address that issue in a more congenial environment.”
Caesar followed Roxanna down the corridor. They passed through a small peristyle with a fountain composed of three cavorting dolphins. All was quiet in this portion of the house.
“You need not worry about discretion here,” she explained. “These are my personal quarters.” She stepped inside a well-appointed room dominated by a large bed. He followed her inside, walking to the middle of the room as she closed the massive wooden doors.
“Please, make yourself comfortable,” she motioned toward a cushioned bench at the foot of the bed. He sat, arranging himself comfortably, his long legs stretched before him, ankles crossed. If he was anxious, neither his posture nor his expression betrayed it.
Roxanna stood before him, her feet only inches away from where his heels rested upon the fine mosaic of the floor. She focused on his feet and then worked her way up his legs ever so slowly, up his thighs to where they met, up his flat stomach and his muscular chest; back down his arms to the tips of his fingers. Up his neck, across his ears, his chin, his lips, his nose. When her eyes came to rest on his eyes again, she immediately recognized the change in them. A twinge of desire fluttered low in her belly.
When she next spoke, her voice sounded like a sacred instrument in an ancient temple, some mixture of honey and incense. “Do you ever desire women other than your wife?”
He dropped his eyes for a moment before answering, “Yes.”
“Do you interact with any of these women?”
“Only if I must. Sometimes my advocate duties and my social status require me to spend time with such women.”
“You say ‘only if you must,’ as if you do not enjoy being in their company. But you do enjoy it, do you not?”
She caught the trace of a tremor in his voice when he answered. “Yes.”
“Are you enjoying my company?”
“Yes.” He had not hesitated. He had met her eyes and then dropped his gaze to her lips.
A hint of a smile played upon her lips as another flicker of desire fired in her belly.
He watched, mesmerized, as she untied her belt and shrugged her shoulders. Her gown fell into a puddle at her feet. She wore nothing beneath it.
Her voice was low and husky, more incense than honey now, “Do you desire me, Caesar?”
Caesar swallowed as he took in the vision before him. Roxanna’s skin was alabaster except for the small pink nipples gracing her full breasts. The fiery mane atop her head was mirrored by the neatly trimmed hair upon her pubic mound. It was groomed into a narrow strip that began just above the cleft of her womanhood. His body responded more quickly than his voice, which sounded hoarse in his ears, “Very much.” His eyes were busy lower down and he did not raise them.
Roxanna smiled. “How long have you known Marcus Licinius?” Caesar’s eyes were still longingly roaming over her body, and it seemed the weight of his stare was in itself a light caress. She shivered.
“A year, maybe more,” he breathed, distracted, shifting his weight upon the bench.
“It was almost a year ago when he and I made our wager. I won twenty-five talents of gold.”
Caesar’s eyes flew to hers, “Twenty-five?”
“Yes. bomonti escort Would you like to know how I won?” Roxanna raised a hand, running her fingers through Caesar’s thick, blonde hair.
He closed his eyes at her touch and whispered, “Yes.”
Roxanna caught both of his hands and drew him to his feet, slowly untying his belt. “Then remove your subligaculum,” she purred.
Caesar reached beneath his tunic and the loincloth fell between his feet. Roxanna rested her hands upon his broad shoulders and gently nudged him to sit back down. Before he could cross his ankles, she placed one foot between his legs, stepping as close to him as possible without being in direct contact with his body. His breath caressed her nipples causing them to harden.
Roxanna ran both her hands through his hair, then slowly down the sides of his face before dipping both down the neck of his tunic, one in front, one in back. She stroked his shoulders and his chest. He closed his eyes as she began speaking. “Crassus wagered that I could not bring him to climax without touching him.” She lightly grazed his flesh with her fingernails. He shivered.
She withdrew her hands from the neck of his tunic and stroked them down his arms to his hands, which were splayed out on either side of him. She had to lean forward to do so and one pebble-hard nipple brushed against his smooth cheek. She traced his hands with her fingertips. “You have wonderful hands, Caesar,” she whispered directly into his ear. “I want to feel them upon me.”
He caught one breast in each hand and she stood, watching him touch her. She released a ragged sigh. “It has been almost three years since I’ve been touched; it feels unbearably good. Oh, yes, pinch my nipples again. Mmm. Harder. Yes. That drives me mad! Do you like handling me, Caesar? Do you the weight of my breasts in your hands, the hardness of my nipples beneath your fingers?”
“Yes,” his voice was still a whisper.
She writhed, her hips swaying, “I want your mouth now.” He caught one nipple between his lips and sucked it violently, still working both breasts with his hands. She moaned as he grazed the sensitive flesh with his teeth before focusing his attention upon her other orb. Roxanna continued undulating her hips and encouraging him with sighs and moans before she suddenly pushed his head back. “Stop!” Her breathing was fast and heavy. She looked down at him and shuddered at the size of the erection clearly outlined beneath his tunic, a circle of dampness darkening the material over its head.
“Forgive me, Caesar. It has been so long and my breasts are so sensitive. You almost…” She shook her head, her voice trailing off.
Caesar groaned. “I almost, what?” he demanded, running his hands along her sides to the curve of her hips, which he grasped, unconsciously thrusting his hips as if he was inside of her.
“You almost made me come. Do you want to make me come?”
His eyes fluttered closed for a moment. “Yes.”
“You almost did. I am wet and throbbing for you.”
He had never been with a woman who talked this way. He found it beyond erotic and squeezed her hips even harder, thrusting his cock up against his tunic.
“I want to feel how wet you are,” he almost begged.
Roxanna demurred, biting her lip.
“I have to feel it. I must touch you,” there was a trace of hysteria in his voice. The wet spot at the front of his tunic was growing.
Roxanna, still standing before him, spread her legs. He grabbed her just above the knees and slowly ran his hands up the smooth flesh of her inner thighs. She threw her head back and whimpered when he touched her.
Caesar’s breath caught as he slowly slid the fingers of his right hand back and forth along her slick slit. “Gods beneath us,” he swore under his breath at her tightness around the finger he pushed inside her.
Roxanna grabbed one of his shoulders to maintain her balance. “Oh…that feels so good.”
He slid two fingers in on his second stroke.
“Yes, yes. Gods, that is perfect. Fuck me with your fingers, Caesar!” She squeezed his shoulder, bucking wildly against his hand.
He looked down, watching his fingers slide in and out of her, feeling the tight heat of her and seeing her wetness glistening on his fingers.
She peeled his other hand off her hip and pushed it to the crown of her sex, directing his middle finger to her swollen clit. “This is the key to every woman’s pleasure. All you have to do is unlock it.”
“Rub it. Stroke it. Encircle it. Flick it. Massage it. Oh, just like that… Yes, just exactly like that. Oh…oh. I’m going to come for you, Caesar. I’m going to come all over your wonderful long fingers… I’m going to do it right now… Fuck me with them! Harder, harder, harder! Yes!” She grabbed his other shoulder, bunching his tunic in her fists as her body was caught in the first spasm of her climax.
“Gods,” he groaned, “I feel it! I feel you squeezing my fingers!”
“You’re making me come so hard, Caesar!” she cried.
She watched him through her veil of pleasure. He was bucking his hips in perfect rhythm with the fingers he pumped in and out of her. Roxanna knew the tunic drawn tight over his massive cock was rubbing against his sensitive head with every thrust. His breathing was shallow and quick.
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