Random place, Ancient Rome, sometime a very longggg time ago.
So yeah, I was beginning to get the feeling that Falling was always going to hurt like hell. If I end up with brain damaged thanks to think I'll sue... well I don't know who I'd sue, but I'd find someone! Once again, I landed flat on my back, only just managing to protect my head from smashing against the stone floor. My back just about screamed at me for putting it through this pain again – perhaps I would have to start wearing a cushion strapped to my back at all times...
Opening my eyes, I found myself staring at the blue cloudless skies... Oh, and a brown haired girl who was staring back at me in joy.
"It's you! Isn't it? You've no idea how long I've been wanting to meet you!" she squealed. All I could think? 'Great, more creeps.'
And what a fabulous creep she was. Kneeling down beside me, she lowered face until it was right above my own. Then, she did the unthinkable.
She poked me.
She poked me on the nose.
I couldn't even react. I just stared at her in either horror or confusion – I'm not sure which. And she stared back, looking perfectly happy with her action, possibly even proud. I must just attract people like this... people who are just plain weird.
"Mater! Mater! Look who I've found!" The girl yelled loudly, pushing herself up and jumping over my body. I sat up and just stared after her opened mouthed as she ran inside some kind of ancient style house (confirming the fact I was back in good old Ancient Rome). For a split second I had a chance to search for an escape route – but apparently I'd landed in some sort of inner courtyard, and I was surrounded on all sides by the house.
Returning outside with a woman in tow after her, the girl skipped over and stood beside me, pointing proudly like a cat that'd just brought back a dead bird. The woman looked somewhere between shocked and happy.
"O! What a coincidence that she landed in our garden!" the woman smiled.
"Isn't it just! She's just so interesting! Look at her clothes!" the girl laughed, pulling at my t-shirt.
"I'm right here you know!" I yelled back angrily – a little annoyed they were treating me like some sort of object that didn't have thoughts.
Both of them gasped in shock, before the girl clapped her hands together with a grin. "Mauris! You speak Latin! Forgive us, we didn't think you would!"
"No... you're speaking English!" I grumbled, though not loud enough for her to hear – they were both deep in discussion as to what to do with me, apparently not getting the message that I had a mind of my own.
"First things first, we need to get her out of that odd outfit and into something more acceptable. Go have a look in my wardrobe, Tullia, I'm sure there'll be something that will fit her," The woman waved the girl off before moving over to me and holding her hand out. "My name is Antonia; can I help you up Laurie?"
Blinking, I shook my head slightly. I could have sworn she'd just called me 'Laurie'. Antonia looked a little confused as I didn't take her hand and just sat there looking puzzled.
"How... how do you know my name?" I asked, feeling once again creeped out.
She giggled a little – she was really pretty when she smiled; deep brown hair was held up in a plaited bun, but little curly strands fell out to frame her small and delicate face, big green eyes almost sparkled as she looked at me. "Oh, how silly of me! We've heard a lot about you, dear, from Julius."
"You know Julius?" I asked – suddenly becoming a lot more interested in what she had to say.
"Of course! Hasn't he told you about us? I'm offended! I'm his mother."
Well. Wasn't expecting that. Though perhaps I should have been. She moved her hand closer to me, so I just let her take mine and pull me up. We walked inside and I was amazed at how... real everything seemed. The idea of an actual Ancient Roman house wasn't something I thought about much, though I'd always assumed it would be cold and made out of stone. However, I was so wrong. Everything was brightly decorated and full of plants, with rugs and throws and even sofas. It was worlds away from the caveman-style live I'd imagined – though now that picture seemed stupid.
"Here you go!" Tullia announced as she suddenly appeared by my side again – I couldn't help but notice how she looked exactly like her mother, but she was a good deal shorter than me. (That made a change, since I was always the short-ass out of my friends).
She handed me a pile of clothes, and pushed me over to a separate room that I assumed I was meant to get changed in. A young girl was in the room making the bed, but quickly ran out passed me when Tullia gave her a sharp look, before leaving me to get dressed alone – something I was glad for after my previous experience.
The first item that I pulled on was a floor length strapless white dress that seemed to be the closest thing to an undergarment I could find. Over the top of that went a deep blue toga fastened over one shoulder. As soon as both of those were on, Tullia reappeared carrying some other things.
"I'm sure you want to look your best for when my brother gets home!" she smirked.
"Wha... what?" I exclaimed, feeling my cheeks blush a little. What the hell was she trying to do?
The first thing she added was a swirling golden band that wrapped itself around my arm. Next came two golden wristbands – yes, like the genie off Disney's Aladdin wears... though I didn't mention that to her for obvious reasons. Imagine trying to explain to a Roman who Aladdin is? Or even worse, what Disney is?
The last thing she added was a headband of pretty pink petals, perching it on the top of my head so carefully that I was surprised how stable it felt. She took a step back as if to examine her work.
"Perfectum!" she finally announced with a grin. "Now come on! Pater and Julius will be back soon! We need to get you in position!"
I found myself being dragged back out of the room and through the house, passing a few other people cleaning or cooking (I'm going to make an educated guess, and say they were servants). Pulling me to a stop in front of – what I guessed was – the front door, she quickly brushed down her own pale green toga.
As the door opened, Antonia smiled and quickly embraced a man who stepped inside. My mouth almost dropped open; he was just as attractive as his wife, looking much younger than he must have been, plus... he looked almost exactly like Julius! Just a few years added to his features.
His dark eyes fell to me, and his eyebrows narrowed in confusion. "Tullia, who is this girl?"
Tullia didn't answer; she just smirked and looked to the door out of the corner of her eye. Sure enough, right on cue, Julius stepped into the house – looking every bit as gorgeous as always, but seeming even more at ease in his own era.
Now it was Julius' turn to be surprised. As he spotted me, his eyes widened in disbelief. The man was looking between the two of us – apparently wanting answers to what was going on in his house.
"Laurie!" Julius finally cried, running towards me to throw his arms around me. I lost my footing briefly from the surprise, but soon found myself sinking into the hug and smiling just from his presence. I felt immediately better, elated to be back with my counterpart.
"That's Laurie?" the man cried out, a smile now appearing on his lips.
The voice of his father seemed to panic Julius, and he leapt away from me like I'd burnt him or something. His face flushed a red I didn't know was possible on a human being, making me burst out laughing at his expression. Though I was soon distracted by the fact the man had grabbed both my hands and was looking at me with bright loving eyes – awkward...
"I am Neleus, it's brilliant to finally meet you Laurie. I feel like you're already my daughter –"
Wait. What was that about daughters?
"- though I'm well aware we have to get the wedding sorted first!"
"Oh yes! How exciting!" Antonia grinned.
"Mirabilis!" Tullia added.
No. Seriously. What the hell was going on?
My eyes flickered over to Julius as Neleus get shaking my hands with no signs of stopping. He was avoiding making eye contact, and just stared at the floor looking rather sheepish. That wasn't a good sign. That really wasn't a good sign.
"Hang on!" I screamed, pulling away from Neleus' clutches. All stopped to look at me. "W... wedding? What the hell are you on about?"
"Well, Julius has been talking about the lovely Laurie since he was eleven years old! To start with we thought he was just imagining things, but when he saw you again by the aqueduct, all these years on, we figured you'd make the perfect bride for him!" Antonia smiled from behind her husband.
What. The... GAH! Why did I promise myself I wouldn't swear here?
"I... I can't marry him! We don't even live in the same country... wait... that's not important... WE DON'T LIVE IN THE SAME TIME PERIOD!" I wouldn't have been surprised if the whole of Rome could hear my panicked yells. It took me a moment to realise how crazy I must have just sounded, and my hands flew up to cover my mouth.
Neleus just burst into hysterical laughter, as did Antonia and Tullia, even Julius looked amused. "We know that! I believe what my son tells me!" Neleus chuckled, walking over to throw his arm around his son's shoulders. "That doesn't mean you're not the perfect wife for him! He's at an age that means I need to start looking for a girl for him, and if you lived here you'd be counted as much too old to still be unwed. Plus, I'm a man of science! I love the idea of my son marrying a girl from the future!"
"Pater! Please stop it... you're freaking her out..." Julius mumbled shyly. Thankfully it looked like I wasn't the only one opposed to this whole marriage idea. I mean sure, Julius was sweet and kind and funny and polite... and really hot... but that wasn't the point! These people were utterly crazy!
"I'm not marrying anyone!"
"Aww... but Julius said he would never marry anyone but his Laurie!" Tullia said with a pout. Now it was my turn to blush as I looked over to him – I couldn't work out if he was red with anger or embarrassment now.
"I never said that!" he yelled.
"Yes you did! You always say it!"
"When I was little, yeah, but I... I didn't say that!"
"You just admitted you did!"
"Filiorum!" Antonia yelled. "Stop arguing in front of our guest! We shall finish this discussion later, for now, why don't we let Julius and Laurie have some privacy – I'm sure they'd prefer not to hang out with us boring lot." She sent a smile my way and led Neleus off into a different room – he looked rather upset at leaving, and Tullia stormed off in a huff.
Leaving Julius and I standing at the door. In a really, really awkward silence.