Corruption of Rome Ch. 06
By John Bear Jr.
Weeks passed in relative quiet. Evelyn stopped by occasionally for some kisses. Nadia and Cassia engaged in passionate lovemaking with and without Marius. They schemed about the other girls together. Monica and Taylor enjoyed their acting classes and no longer seemed to mind that they had to kiss on stage. In fact, each of them invited Marius to their play separately. They were very proud of the practice they were putting in and promised that Marius would enjoy the play.
Marius, Nadia and Cassia had taken up the habit of having their breakfasts together in the pavilion. They would sip coffee and eat dessert while they enjoyed each other's company. Though they couldn't be overtly sexual, they emanated pleasant, enjoyable and inviting feelings. Ushering from their presences was a convivial atmosphere that infected the corporate body of the school beyond their presence in the pavilion. Their ritual enjoyment of life, in the form of their dress, their pleasant conversation and their delicious food oozed not only wisdom, but eroticism.
Cassia and Nadia's bodies were well-taken care of. They looked classy but not reserved. Had the male soldiers seen Marius in their company they would have been extremely jealous. Fortunately, Marius was gifted his own oasis. Their mornings together were both his way of celebrating and enjoying this gift, renewing it every day. Though any observer would have assumed that they were sleeping together, there would have been no clue as to why, since Marius was absolutely boring. Yet, in the back of the women's minds was the indelible memory of their experiences with Marius, who was, deep down, a lover. A fantastic lover. The women could tell that he truly enjoyed their company and it excited them. In some ways, he almost seemed like their plaything. In reality he was -- until he took control -- they thought. All of this nibbled at the back of their minds as they enjoyed their mornings. In a way, they were celebrating their ongoing success at thwarting the Ministry by converting Nadia.
Marius was invited to attend the rehearsal of the play. Taylor and Monica did not expect to see him there. They greeted him in their costumes. Monica looked boyish, but still very feminine considering her assets. Taylor wore a lot of make-up and looked extremely feminine. They seem to have grown to like each other as friends as they shared the lead roles in the play. They had the air of very close female friends. The kind who hold each other's' hands, who braid each other's hair and who tell each other secrets. Since they were both somewhat introverted, their bond must be strong.
Marius also greeted Marianne who gushed over the girls' progress so far. They had really come out of their shells, she said. It was a special sight to see. It's the kind of thing that makes teaching worth it, she said. The rehearsal wouldn't take too long, it was only to go through the motions with all of the props, and there a lot of props. Marianne had quite a knack, even an obsession for stagecraft, figured Marius.
Marius was surprised by the twists and turns of the plot. Monica's character raged against Jupiter for making him impotent and asexual. When he went to visit his gran parents for a summer, he caused a stir in the village. The women didn't know what to make of him because he wasn't responding, and Monica's character continually failed to notice their advances. One evening Taylor's character saw Monica cursing Jupiter in the moonlight, on a night when Jupiter was high. Marianna had built a set of mirrors to reflect the light to form a fire onto Monica.
"Curse be upon you Jupiter. You have given me a plate full of food, but no mouth to eat. You have given me a nose to smell the fragrance of delight, but no hands to grab it. What a foul being you are! I live in poverty, though I am surrounded by abundance," she cried.
The clouds poured over the moon. Rain began to fall on Monica. Taylor's character went on "Venus! He's lost. He's only lost his way. What we mistook for arrogance was pitiable, so pitiable waywardness. I will show him the way to his mouth, to his hands," she swore.
What followed was a series of gradual attempts to make her desires known to Monica's character. She made an effort to be near him often, to compliment him and to remain mysterious. She felt as if she were like a man courting a woman. She began to sympathize with the complexity of it all. How could he not see it, she wondered?
During the climax of the play, Monica's character is struck by lightning while running from the party at her grand parents' home. Seeing this, Taylor's character follows after her and cries on Monica's chest that she's died, that she was never able to hold him and kiss him. Monica awakes, almost in a daze and stares lovingly into "This heavenly angel's" eyes and kisses her softly, thinking her character has died. Monica's character is shocked that he is still alive and even more at what he has done with Taylor's character. The play ends with the two holding hands, leaning their heads into each other.
Marius was incredibly impressed with the girl's performance, he almost forgot that he was in ancient Arles and that those women were Monica and Taylor, two shy girls at his school. He was equally impressed that Marianne was able to write such a stellar play about love. He felt that she was a kindred spirit in that regard.
"In my old days it would have been a lot more twisted," Marianne whispered to Marius. "I used to write the orgies for the emperor and his friends. It was a glamourous lifestyle, but, when I boiled it down into what I truly loved about writing, it all came back to innocent love."
"I loved the play Marianne."
"Thank you, no one knows that I wrote it, so let's keep that between you and me. There's just something about not knowing that's so special."
"I guess so."
"Now that they know, on some level, things will be very different. I guess I have you to thank for that," she said slyly.
"Yes, you. I know a lover when I see one. It's about time we had someone like you in our administration. I can tell everyone is feeling more joy thanks to you."
"Thank you, Marianne, that means a lot."
"No problem, now go reassure our stars."
Taylor and Monica greeted him together again. They asked him what he thought, and he told them how impressed he was with their ability to play their characters. They had really taken their roles seriously, he said. They told him that they weren't acting, that it was all real to them, even the kiss. When they kissed, they chimed, they kissed like their characters would have kissed. That's what made it work for them, they explained. It wasn't that they were pretending to be these different people, it was that they were those different people and that those people would have done it just like that. Marius sensed their incredible talent. The girls were pleased and parted to speak with the other actors.
The Minister had received another lackluster report from Nadia. Not only had she found nothing of interest in Arles, her reports were more and more often full of errors. They were minor errors, but there were enough of them to upset the Minister. Nadia was one of their finest agents in this time period, she could not be easily replaced. Though it was rare to do this, the Minister wondered if she might have to surveil Nadia, she was that suspicious. A fine agent leaves to check out a significant alarm, finds nothing and grows more detached from her job? That seemed a bit too strange to the Minister. Since the alarm, the Minister had not been warned of any other event. In fact, her plans were moving along smoothly.
In her present, the world was descending into simultaneous civil war. The proletariat had been mobilized to destroy the last vestiges of indecency. Though they weren't aware, the Minister had molded them into sex-hating and sex-starved mindless techno beasts. In their degraded state, she slowly but surely enslaved them by moving her technological sensors into their bodies further and further. She would unravel their entire worldview before destroying them, she had long since decided. She would steal their God, their basic ideas of right and wrong, and even their ideas about sex. Once she had won so completely: sexually, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and financially, only then would she let them tear themselves to shreds in the frenzy of release. Once fully relieved, she would simply install her tentacles further and claim Earth's crown in silence. Contemplating her inevitable victory, she decided not to bother to track Nadia much longer. If nothing happened soon, she would cease scrutinizing her reports and leave her in Arles.
I have more important business to attend to now, she thought.