Twist Of Destiny
I gasped and let him go, feeling my cheeks blush and burn. We had grown up together. We had been friends. We had played together and talked to each other about our projects and fears and dreams. We had been close as young adults, closer than many pairs of real siblings are and we had never seen each other as girl and boy. We had never reacted to each other as male and female. And, even if time had changed my perceptions and I was now aware he was probably the most attractive man I had ever seen, the idea of Maximus hard as a rock was so alien to me that I felt confused as I had never been when I was an untouched maiden.
"Leave me alone," said Maximus once more but this time he was not shouting. He was imploring.
I closed my eyes as my mind rushed through the possibilities, listing the hints of odd behaviour I had perceived since I had entered the room. My eyes snapped open. "Maximus, we have to talk..." He squirmed and avoided looking at me. I refrained from looking at his groin.
"Maximus, did you drink or eat something before coming here? Did somebody serve you something before Proximo sent you to me?" He swallowed hard, then forced himself to turn around and look at me. His eyes were aquamarine pools of intense misery.
"I... I had dinner... in my cell... as usual.."
"Did you notice something strange tasting in the food?"
He concentrated on his memories, and it seemed to be too great an effort. "The meat... the meat was too salted and the wine...."
"It seemed ...bitter... but I was so thirsty..." My eyes closed again as I understood what was going on. Then I cursed Proximo. I cursed him with the vilest words I could remember. So vile that Maximus winced despite the fog clouding his mind. I grabbed his hand and he weakly tried to snatch it away but gave up and let me keep it in mine.
"Maximus," I said as softly as I could, desperately trying to ease the blow he was going to receive while my mind raced trying to find a way out of the mess Proximo's greed and my own foolishness had brought us into. "You were given a drug... It was in the wine... It's not your fault..."
"A drug?" he asked and his voice sounded slurred. "Poison?" I shook my head.
"No, not poison, no. They call them 'harem drugs'; the locals use them to... loose the new girls they buy as concubines... to gain their co-operation when they... take them to bed..." Maximus' face went blank. I forced myself to go on talking. "Proximo had you dosed with one of those drugs to... make sure that you... you would oblige.... my wishes..." I darted a quick glance at him and went on talking before courage failed me.
"It's all my fault, Maximus! I told him I would give him more money if you ... satisfied me... It's my fault! I was a fool! I should have planned something better... b-but I had no time and I needed to reach you before they took you to Rome!"
"I will go to Rome... I have something to do there..." mumbled Maximus and the look on his face was one of utter confusion. The drug was quickly getting him but he was fighting both for control and focus. "This thing... how do you know about it..."
I ran my hands over my face and hair in desperation. "You live here for as long as I have, you learn a lot of things... Besides, some Romans use them too - men and women - they want to put some thrill in their lives; Zucchabar is a boring place for those who come from Rome..."
Maximus swayed slightly. I cursed again. I could give him some salt and have him throw up till there was nothing left in his stomach, but it was already too late. I rubbed my eyes nervously, desperate to bring back all I knew about poisoning and drugs and I cursed a third time for not having paid more attention to the gossip at the baths. It's there where rich matrons exchange experiences about their sexual dealings with the slaves they purchased out of their sexual promise. After a moment or so, I turned on my heels and went to the table where I grabbed a silver jug and a cup.
"Here!" I said offering them to Maximus. "Start drinking water while I call for more and a chamber pot!" He looked at me quizzically but did not move to take the jug I was offering him.
"In this climate, you get food poisoning easily," I explained as I poured water into the cup. "When you do, you drink water till you cannot drink anymore and even then you go on drinking to flush the poison from your body. You need to urinate as much as possible and as soon as possible!" Still Maximus did not move. I grabbed his hand and put the cup in it. It was a mistake.
He flung the cup away and grabbed me in his arms, bringing me against him. His body heat burned me through his tunic and my robe and when he ground his pelvis against me I could not but gasp. Maximus buried his face in my neck and rubbed his bearded cheek against my skin, the rasping hurting yet oddly arousing and when his big hands grabbed my buttocks and he pressed my lower body forcefully against his, I felt myself go damp.
It ended as quickly as it had started. Maximus freed me and pushed me aside, then turned his back towards me, his breath coming in ragged gasps. I stumbled and crashed against a chair, barely managing not to fall. My heart hammered wildly in my breast and my nipples had hardened like pebbles from the unexpected assault. Maximus' scent flooded my nostrils - an exciting mix of musk, sweat, leather and horse which smelled like the sum of all that's male - and his heat seemed to have scorched my skin like the African sun did when one was not quick enough to find shelter.
I looked at his broad and muscled back, at his deeply tanned arms and legs, at his biceps shining under the lamplight, his head slightly bowed and his nape exposed by his shortly cropped hair and I felt dizzy. Too much was happening too soon. What had started as a desperate plan to rescue him from slavery had quickly become something completely out of control. He had been drugged on my behalf, his wine dosed with a powerful aphrodisiac to guarantee the satisfactory stud service I had demanded from the man who called himself his master. The drug was burning in his veins, taking away his restraint and dignity, quickly turning him into a male animal in the peak of heat. A beautiful male animal whose body demanded relief with single-minded determination.
I told myself I was only doing it to help him.
I told myself that I just wanted Maximus to recover enough to be able to mount the horse I had prepared for him and ride away from Zucchabar and slavery while there was still time.
I told myself that we were childhood friends and if it had been the case, Maximus would have done whatever - even risked his life - to help me.
I told myself that I could not call for one of my maids, that I could not impose on anyone of them the burden of taking a man they did not even know. That slaves or not, they did not deserve to be given to a man who was beyond himself with uncontrolled lust.
I told myself I was a free and adult woman and one who had the necessary experience to take the situation in her hands and bring Maximus out of the undignified situation I had inadvertently brought him into. That doing it would only start to make up for the mistake I had made.
But I know now I was lying.
Lying to myself.
I wanted to do it.
I wanted him.
I walked towards Maximus, took him gently by his shoulders and turned him around. He did not offer resistance. Without a word, I started unbuckling his belt. It had many buckles and my hands trembled badly but I managed to open them and I let it fall to the mosaic floor where it landed with a clink of metal. Maximus seemed to have fallen into some kind of trance but he weakly protested when I grabbed his tunic and started raising it.
"W-What are you doing?" he mumbled.
"Shhh, Maximus. Let it go," I whispered and managed to have him raise his arms. "I just want to help you..."
"It's hot in here... so hot..." he said as I tugged at his tunic. He was bathed in sweat and the coarse fabric adhered to his skin.
"Yes," I said conversationally. "It's hot in here... I will give you a sponge bath and you will fell better... then, you are going drink some water..." With some more tugging and grunting I managed to take the tunic off and threw it to the floor. Then I looked at him.
Words died in my suddenly dry throat. They had brought him in barefooted as an extra measure to prevent him from escaping. Now, he was standing in front of me, clad only in his loincloth and his black leather wristbands, a leather thong around his neck and two curved animal teeth hanging from it.
He was beautiful.
The most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
He looked like a statue made of old, dark gold. Broad shoulders and an equally broad chest gave way to a flat belly, while the heavy muscles of his powerful arms were replicated by those of his thighs and calves. The sun of Africa had darkened his tan and bleached the hair that covered his body and the heavy perspiration made his skin shine like polished metal under the golden light of the oil lamps.
As hard as I tried, I could not take my eyes from him.
As hard as I tried, I could not prevent my eyes from straying to his groin.
I swallowed when I saw what his loincloth barely contained, his manhood engorged and begging to be freed. Maximus followed my eyes and let out a strangled cry, then brusquely turned his back to me and threw himself into the nearby corner, pressing his head and hands against the wall as if he wanted to force it to open and swallow him. To offer him refuge and hide him from me and from himself.
"Leave me alone!" he repeated and this time he was sobbing. I felt my heart break. I could not stand his pain, his humiliation, and his shame. And I could not stand my own guilt for being the cause of his distress... but most of all I could not resist the wave of lust that had already engulfed me at the sight of his nearly naked body and that now threatened to drown me. Unlike him, I had not taken the drug that made him burn but, like him, I felt that if I could not satiate the raging need that flooded my loins, I would simply die. I tugged at the sash of my robe and opened it.
"Maximus, look at me," I said and I barely recognized my voice, hoarse as it was with desire. I saw his broad back and shoulders shudder but he did not turn around. After a moment or so, I slid my robe down my shoulder and let it fall. It was my turn to shudder, even if the night was warm.
"Maximus, look at me!" I repeated in a louder, firmer voice. He shivered more visibly but remained immobile. I padded towards him, my bare feet making no noise on the mosaic and carpets, then gently placed a hand on his back.
"Go away!" he said, desperation barely concealed in his voice. "Please... go away..."
I did not pay heed. Instead, my hands moved softly over his flanks searching for the strings that tied his loincloth then loosened them with a firm tug. Maximus moaned.
The scant piece of cloth fell to the floor and landed between his feet. I took a couple of steps back to give him room when he turned around as I knew he would do.
My heart skipped a beat. Two. When I thought it would skip the third and I would die, Maximus turned around...
It was a slow, deliberate movement very much like those I had seen him perform at the arena. And his face was a mask of absolute determination as it had been when I had seen him fight. But at the arena he had been determined to fight and win and live. He had been resolute to kill as many as were required to reach his goal. Now, his face showed another completely different form of resolve, the resoluteness to live no matter how- not through death but through mating.
He remained immobile for a moment, only his hands rhythmically clasping and unclasping at his sides, the black leather wrists glistening with the sweat running down his powerful arms. Perspiration dripped from his tanned torso and pooled to his navel only to slide down and dampen the thick nest of dark brown curls that surrounded his straining manhood. Restrained by his loincloth, he had looked particularly well endowed. Freed from it, he was even bigger than I had guessed and so hard and thick that I thought that there was no way I could take him, that he would tear me apart...
I turned around and tried to escape.
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