For the 'As You Wish' Comment Fic Meme, prompt: Batiatus/Lucretia, First impressions

Summary: 'First impressions'; Batiatus and Lucretia meet for the first time


Like Venus herself, blasphemy as that thought was. Regal and proud. Lucretia was not the most finely dressed woman here today. She was not the youngest. She was, possibly, one of the most beautiful though he'd seen more beautiful in his day. Yet there was an aura about her, a noble bearing, an inner strength that radiated from her.

She wasn't of a noble enough family that his father would approve of his sudden and unexplained attraction to her, but Batiatus paid no heed to thoughts of filial impropriety and the future. He focussed instead on catching her attention, trying to win her with words. He showered her with flowery compliments and made gentle jests at which she laughed politely.

In turn she charmed him; she was intelligent and insightful. A wife would be expected to run his household, but a pretty face could compensate for an empty head, and well-trained staff could manage with barely a nudge from their Dominia. Yet Lucretia would be both charismatic and competent in all the affairs of home and business.

His father interrupted them, finally, and Batiatus left her side reluctantly. He wanted more time to speak with this woman who had captivated him so utterly. He would always want more.

He'd always thought marriage would be acceptable – rather than desirable - when the right prospect presented itself, that he'd be content with a woman not unseemly, one who'd be a suitable wife and, ultimately mother of his children. Now he saw a chance to have something more from the union, a personal connection, a genuine affection, a true helpmate.

Lucretia was flattered by his attentions. Batiatus was from a more noble family than she ought to aspire to marrying into. Batiatus himself - well, he was a little on the skinny side, a little too eager and forthright than was strictly proper, and he wasn't a military man as she'd always imagined she might make a match with.

It was almost too foolish to contemplate it, but contemplate a match with Batiatus she did. She would have to adjust her ideas about the society she would mix in. She would have to be more interested in the Games than she'd ever been before - a brutal world even outside of the arena, or so she'd heard.

He'd spoken to her with wit though, and not underestimated her own intellect. He'd even kept his eyes mostly on her face throughout their conservation. His father – disapproval evident at his son's inexplicable attraction to this woman who ought to be beneath his notice – was another matter.

Still, Lucretia thought, sipping at her wine and watching Batiatus be introduced to some simpering young maiden - his lack of interest was plain despite his outward efforts to remain polite - she could do much worse, and would unlikely do much better. It wasn't as if she'd ever expected to marry for love, after all. And perhaps in time she would come to care for him; only the gods knew the future.