Virgilia ran her hands over Marcius’s scars. One from an angry farmer, a thin line that ran from his neck to his right shoulder. Two small punctures from an enemy dagger on his left flank, three or four more from a shield peppered on his right ribs.
The five lashes from her grandfather for his insolence. Virgilia wrapped her arms around him, thinking of the day they’d met.
She was running a water pitcher to her grandfather when she encountered a giant. Nearly a head taller with dark brown curls, he was Eros come to life. And from the twinkle in his eye, he knew it. She avoided his gaze, but the ever observant Lucian did not approve of the young man.
He was from a lower tribe, thus unworthy of her hand. Yet, it didn’t stop him from stealing a kiss (and her heart) in front of the court.
She cried when the general lashed him, and begged his mother to allow her to tend his wounds.
Volumnia refused and shook her hands at her.
“Witch. You may fool my son, but not me.”
He healed and began to petition her grandfather daily.
Something in his manner softened the patriarch, perhaps the death of her older brother. With no heirs left and a dwindling estate, Virgilia was betrothed to marry the young upstart.
Marcus covered her hands with his own, breaking her reverie.
“You remember?” He asked. “You’re mine.”