Flash Fiction (500 words)
Inspiration: 3 words (Rome, rump, house)
Antonia reclined on the couch calmly depleting the tray of grapes and cheese. She was rather bored. Everyone was at the coliseum today watching the gladiators. Everyone except the servants, that is. She had no appetite for blood and guts. It distressed her to see the lions rumps being slashed by swords and left to bleed out in the heat and dust of mid day. Much better to sit here and graze on cool tasty morsels and sip wine while she watched the young male servants going about their daily business.
One boy, in particular, was much more appetizing than the bloodied lions. She often considered what it would be like to have Crispus in her bed. As lady of the house, she could demand it, and he could not refuse. He taunted her daily with his rippling muscles, shining straw-colored curls, and lithe manner. Not on purpose of course. He was completely oblivious of her.
Besides, deep down she had no need of taking another man for her own pleasure. Her husband kept her well satisfied. Antonia knew that Crispus had eyes only for Claudia, her niece. If she were a lesser woman, she might be jealous.
She could do wonders for this boy though. She could see much potential in him. With training he could be in the senate one day. He could advise senators. He had the charm and the brains. If only he could see his own potential.
“Crispus!” She called on impulse.
“Yes, Domina.” He bowed slightly.
“Come here, boy. A word if you please. Sit down.”
Crispus perched himself on the edge of the couch next to her and waited.
Antonia offered him the tray, but he declined.
“What do you plan for when you are no long employed in this house?”
He started. “Have I done something? Are you sending me away?”
“Calm yourself. I simply see much potential in you. Being a trivial house servant is beneath you. You should be sent away — to be educated. Have you thought about being tutored?”
“No, Domina. I have never considered it because I have no money for tutors.”
She quickly switched course.
“I see you with Claudia. You are in love, yes?”
“It’s okay. I have eyes. I can see how you fawn over her.”
Crispus flushed deeply, but nodded ever so slightly.
“I will pay for your education. But, there are conditions.”
Crispus’ eyes widened. “Why would make such an offer?”
“For one simple reason. Actually, two. You must do two things. Marry Claudia. She is keeping eyes on that young soldier that is hanging around. That will never happen. You will become her husband and a senator. You have skills this family needs. We must see certain things accomplished in Rome.”
“Can I think about this?”
“No. You belong to this house and you will do as you are told. I will make the necessary arrangements.”
A slight smile crossed Crispus’ face. He nodded and removed himself from her presence.