Grapes of Italy by Remmy Meggs

For those of you that do not know my work, I grew up hearing stories from other boys about self-exploration and sexual partners with other boys and girls. I have not had any such experiences in Real Life as some of us call it. However, that does not mean I do not think about it and wish that things turned out different than they did.

IF the laws in your country make it illegal to or read fantasy stories about minors, or if you are under of age of eighteen or have someone in your presence under the age of eighteen, you must stop reading and leave this site immediately. Copyright 2012 Remmy Meggs I reserve all rights. This file cannot be upload to any site unless I have uploaded it myself.

Remmy Meggs

 

Grapes of Italy Chapter 02

Lothario ran up to the veranda and looked at the boy sitting there. "I have to take my bath now Emilio."

Emilio stood and they walked into the house together. Emilio had already cleaned the baths. He took his clothes off and slowly stepped into the hot spring water, then reached for Lothario to help him in. Lothario always thought two baths a day was too much, when by the smell, most did not take one for days at a time. He sunk into the water up to his neck and leaned back against the not so cold marble. Emilio looked at him and asked, "When will I be able to take care of you like the girls do?"

Lothario was tired of the same old question that he put up with every morning and every night. "You do take care of me. You wash me, dress me, you take care of my room. What more do you want? Emilio I really am tired of you asking that."

Emilio frowned, "You know what I mean master. When do I get to service you like other boys do to their masters?"

Lothario frowned, "I don't know that other boys do that to their masters. They have girls and women to do what they want to do. I am sure of it."

The slave boy came over to Lothario and began washing him, "Well you are missing out on something then."

"You are two years older than me and that is all you have talked about for the last year. Besides, what if father found out you were between my legs with your mouth?" Lothario, as far as the baths were concerned, trusted Emilio. Lothario also didn't understand, just yet, why Emilio was so interested in his body. Not that Lothario was ugly by any means, but he didn't understand Emilio's insistence on putting Lotharios boyhood into Emilio's mouth.

"Someday you will let me, and you will love it." Emilio smiled.

"Where do you learn such things Emilio?"

"Before your father bought me for you, I was trained for the baths. I know you picked me out. You were standing next to him. You didn't pick any of the boys before me. Then you pointed right at me when I came up, and said I want him. Your father hesitated because he thought I was too old for you. Don't you remember him fussing about it?"

Lothario grimaced, "Yes and you were too old for me. I just didn't know you were two years older. I should have listened to father. Who knew you were going to get so much bigger... everywhere than I would so fast."

"Sooner or later your father will take you to the city. You will see how boys take care of men. Then you will understand. I would like to be with you though. I don't want those boys making you tickle. It is not fair!" Emilio said without thinking, just as Don Nico walked into the room.

"Emilio watch your place, how dare you talk to Lothario like that! Should I have you whipped?" Nico shot out.

Emilio shrunk as close as he could to Lothario. Weakly he answered, "No Don Nico, please do not have me whipped."

"I told you before Emilio, when he is ready for such fun, he will let you know, and we have both told you not to keep bringing it up." He turned to his son, "Dry off and get your oil on and get dressed. Riders are coming up the road."

Nico started to walk out, then suddenly turned and looked at the two boys, "Now!"

Lothario grumbled, "Now you have made him angry at me for not scolding you!"

"Did you hear him Lothario?" Emilio asked.

"There you called me by name again! When are you going to learn?" Lothario stood so the boy could wash his behind and privates, "And don't be messing around or father will get more upset than he already is."

Emilio new better, but stuck his tongue out anyway, "Yes master Lothario. Did you hear him though?"

"Of course I heard him he was loud enough!" Lothario spread his legs.

"I mean about when you are ready for such fun. You did hear it?" Emilio sighed.

Lothario giggled, "Stop tickling me down there, and yes I heard him, but he didn't say what I would be ready for." Lothario walked out of the baths.

Emilio grabbed the scented lotion and began rubbing it all over Lothario. "He meant playing with you. Tickling you and you know exactly what he meant."

"You are not supposed to play with me. Someone might see, especially mother."

The boy sighed, "He meant with your pretty boy part."

Lothario looked down while Emilio put the oil on his feet and legs, "He didn't say that at all, and even if he meant that, I am not ready."

Emilio looked up, "That is why it grows so hard whenever I put oil on it?"

Lothario looked down at himself, "That is because you purposely tickle it when I am not paying attention!"

Emilio giggled, "Yes master." He stood up and started to put Lotharios subligaculon (brief cotton loincloth barely covering one's private parts similar to a modern day thong) on the boy. Then he fetched the boy's white and purple tunic, and slid it over Lothario's head. "Do you want your sandals on or go barefoot?"

"Sandals." Lothario answered, "It is okay to wear nothing on my feet outside, but you know how my parents are when we have guests. Why do you insist on asking me questions you already know the answer to?"

"If I do not ask, you get upset. If I ask you get upset, so I ask, then you don't get upset as much." Emilio smiled.

Lothario squinted his eyes as his sandals were being put on, "That doesn't make any sense at all!"

The slave ignored the comment and put the purple belt around Lothario's waist, "There you are ready!"

"My necklace Emilio and you have to get dressed. I can't go out there without you, you know that. This time don't start answering their questions either, I will answer for you." Lothario reminded him.

They made it to the front entry before the riders dismounted. Lothario's mother checked over her son, and pulled up his tunic just to make sure he was covered. Lothario frowned but said nothing. When the door finally opened the family was ready to greet the guests. Each one of those guests washed their hands in rose water as they stepped in, and then dried them on little towels. The first was a bald man, not fat, but getting there. He still had black hair. He hugged Lothario and reached under the boy's tunic and patted his behind. Lothario kissed the man's cheek, "Welcome grandfather."

"It is good to see you again Lothario." The man stepped in front of Emilio, and put his hand under the front of the boy's tunic, "I nice growth of boy you have there. Lothario. It is such a shame to let it go to waste. Why don't you let me buy him Lothario? I will give you your choice of boys your age to choose from, and with no charge?" He asked Lothario.

Lothario sighed. Just about everyone that would come would make the same offer, "As always it is something I will have to think about grandfather."

The bald man smiled, "Always the diplomat, just like your father." He laughed.

The next man was his father's age, He wore a white toga, a sign of someone well to do, as his father. "Little Lothario, it is good to see you again, and don't you dare call me grandfather I am still young enough to be your father." Then he tickled Lothario's ribs.

Lothario squirmed and kissed the man's cheek, "Yes uncle, did you say I could have a male and female sheep last month?"

"Yes I did, and they are on their way here now, they don't walk as fast as horses. Now you can have your own herd, "I brought a shepherd with them, can you afford to buy him for let's say fifty?"

Lothario smiled, "I am sure I have that much uncle. The gift of the sheep is enough, and with a sheep herder at that price, I thank you." Lothario then kissed the man's ring.

The man grinned ear from ear, "Give me a hug my favorite nephew."

The two hugged for several minutes. Then the man turned to Emilio, "You have been taking good care of my nephew? He is at that age now."

Lothario frowned, "Uncle please!" and then he turned red with embarrassment. There was no doubt in anyone's mind, including Emilio's that Lothario understood what was being said, but Lothario always denied knowledge of sex of any kind.

The man looked back at Lothario and leaned over and kissed the boy's cheek, "I wouldn't be a proper uncle if I didn't tease you, now would I?"

"Of course not, but why are you teasing me like that? You never have before."

"Because Lothario you embarrass so easily and you are getting older!" The man laughed and went to Lothario's father.

Emilio looked at Lothario and stifled a giggle. Lothario glared at him, "Don't you dare!"

It took until lunch time before all the guests arrived. The men sat or lay on cushions at the big long table, and the wives sat in another room. Paid freemen sat outside in the shade, while the slaves including the women and girls and boys ate in the back yard. Personal slaves, such as Emilio ate quick and joined their master's in case they were needed. Citizens took care of waiting on the visitors, until the slaves ate.

Emilio poured a cup of grape juice for Lothario and stood back up. When he did, the man next to Lothario pulled up Emilio's Tunic and grabbed his privates, "Very nice boy you have here Lothario, in another year this boy will be twice the size here, and a year after that he will maybe start to become a man."

Lothario turned on his back to see what the man was talking about. He saw him fondle Emilio. Lothario shrugged, "I think that happens to all boys."

"I will give you 2500 for this boy right now!" The man smiled.

Lothario shrugged, "Father took 4500 from my allowance to buy him."

"But that was over a year ago!" The man said.

"Yes, so he is worth twice that much now." Lothario smiled.

"I will give you 9000 for him right now!" The man grew louder.

Then others started bidding. Finally they stopped at 30,000. Then the grandfather spoke, "Lothario, you said that if you were to sell him, you would sell him to me for my grandson Dino. He has never had his own boy and he is of the right age for this boy."

Nico looked at his son. Lothario had no emotion at first, and then he sat up, "This is true grandfather. I cannot continue with things like they are Emilio aggravates me constantly. He is older and wants more than I can give, he is also mouthy and doesn't mind his place. He is yours grandfather at the 6,000 you offered. But before you take him I want to choose the replacement you promised."

Lothario listened to the others complain. Then Don Romano stood up, "I have not been a real grandfather to Lothario, but yet, he has always treated me as such. He has always kept his word, as I have mine. This day, he was offered way more than a common slave is worth, yet he kept his promise to me. My grandson Dino, will love this boy, he has watched him from a distance when he has visited Lothario." He looked at Lothario. Lothario stood up. Don Romano walked around the table and hugged Lothario, then pulled back, "Because you have honored your agreement, just as your father would have done, I cannot stand by and watch you be cheated out of so much money. This boy is not worth 30,000 to me, but he would be worth five times that to Dino. I agree because of your goodness, to give you your choice of boys, and give you the 30,000."

Lothario's mind started to reel. What would his father say to such an outlandish offer? The boy sighed, "We agreed on a price grandfather I could not accept such a generous offer."

The men in the room got louder with disbelief and what they heard from one of their own. Don Romano patted Lothario's shoulder, "Si, I knew you would say that. Therefore, the difference will be made up as a gift to you, so that you can have the sheep and cattle herds you have been saving for."

Lothario looked at his father, not knowing what to say. His father nodded as the table even still became louder. Lothario looked at Don Romano, "Grandfather such a gift I must accept."

Romano hugged the boy tightly. The old man looked around the room, "This is a good boy, one that knows value and friendship, we should all be so lucky to have children as respectful and kind as this one."

Emilio shouted at Lothario, "You cannot do this!"

The room was aghast. Don Romano looked at the boy and spoke softly to everyone, "Let me tell you about these two boys. Lothario begged his father to buy him and from day one, the slave has belittled, aggravated, smarted off and shown no respect to little Lothario. Don Nico bless his heart, listened to the pleadings of his little son not to whip this slave. I have seen these things with my own eyes. This outburst is a small sample of how he returns the love and care Lothario gave him. For months I have tried to buy this slave. This week happens to be the celebration of my grandson's birth; he will have gone fourteen years without a boy. He asked me, long before I approached little Lothario to have this slave. Dino is a good boy, but he will not put up with this insolence. Now, Emilio, go to your quarters until I send someone to fetch you. Not another word."

Emilio immediately left, knowing he overstepped the boundaries he was taught. Don Romano looked at the tear making its way down Lothario's face. Romano wiped the boy's face, "This will be better for you Lothario, you will have someone that is right for you. I promise you this, as I would my true grandson."

They hugged again and Lothario turned to his father, "May I be excused?"

Don Nico stood and walked over to his son and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "I am very proud of you. I couldn't have handled this as well as you did."

Don Romano turned to one of his slaves and spoke in a whisper, "I want every good boy between eight and ten that has been trained to be here by tomorrow morning. Make sure they are healthy and good looking. Master Lothario has honored me well today, so when you choose, make them the best. Then have someone go to the slave traders and bring a wagon load of boys trained in the baths. This is a precaution in case young Lothario does not like the ones we already have."

"But Don..."

"Just do it. I can't have anyone think I have cheated Lothario, especially his father. But I cannot lose face with the other Dons either."

The slave nodded and left the house. You could hear a horse gallop away into the distance. It was almost four hours by horseback to Don Romero's home. To get a wagon for that many boys would take time and to be sure the boys were inspected before leaving would take more time. The rider would have to be awake all night to be sure the boys arrived my morning.

Lothario looked out past the veranda outside his room. He felt bad, but he was also relieved not to have to put up with Emilio. He had two things on his mind. Would he chose the next boy wisely? And how many sheep and cows could he get and still be able to feed the people he would be responsible for? These are things he had not learned so far, and his father would be busy for a couple of days. It would take him time to learn. Lothario sad and yet excited. He went to bed early and tried to sleep, even with his mind reeling.

The boy's mother woke him gently the next morning, "Lothario, the slaves have arrived, everyone has been fed. You need to wake up dear."

The boy smiled, "Good morning mother. I had strange dreams last night."

"Were they nightmares?"

"I am not sure mother. I was dreaming about sheep and they turned into boys. Then the boys turned into sheep. It was very strange." Lothario giggled as he sat up, "Really strange."

"You must have been counting boys and sheep in the same dream. Life is confusing that way." She smiled and kissed his forehead, "Esta will bring in a plate of fruit, you do not have time for a bath, but you can wash your face and bottom."

"Yes mama." He stood up and stretched and went to the wash basin. His mother stood, kissed him on top of the head and left.

Esta came in, "Master your father and the others are waiting for you. I told them you had to eat something, but they are insistent."

"Well if they are that insistent then I won't have time to dress!"

She watched him eat a few bites, and then she pulled his tunic over his head, "You can eat more when you pick your boy. Pick a good one this time."

"Funny Esta since when do you know everything?"

"Since you were little and let him get away with everything." She swatted his behind playfully, "Now get out there!"

Fedele was standing there waiting. He was obviously upset it was taking Lothario so long. Fedele took care of, and helped choose slaves for the farm, if anyone was an expert he was, but Fedele was much more than that to the Praetorian family.

The Dons of the area sat on cushions in front of the forty slave and indentured boys. Lothario walked over to Fedele and his father. Lothario had been at the slave markets watching the two men all his life, but he did not understand the process. Fedele smiled, "Are you awake enough for this?"

Don Nico looked at his son, "Did you stay up late?"

"No father, I just didn't sleep well." The boy answered.

Feldele had the slave boys take off their tunics. With Lothario and his father walking beside him he started checking the boys teeth as the trio walked down the line. Fedele showed Lothario what he was looking for. Two boys were pushed out of the line. Then he had all the boys bend over, and he began checking them for worms. He pushed twelve of the boys out of the line. Don Romano began to fidget and spoke to the other Don's, "I didn't know Fedele would be out here."

The Don's laughed. Satisfied Fedele turned to Lothario, now we check for scars, boils, bugs and other malignancies. Fedele checked each boy over closely and pushed another two out of the line. As before he showed Lothario exactly what it was that made the boys unsuitable. He was loud and verbal about why each boy was turned down. Twenty four boys were left, but Fedele wasn't finished. At each boy he asked what Lothario wanted, but before Lothario could answer Fedele would already decide and push the boys back. "How is this one? You are right too skinny. How is this one, yes he is too tall." That went on until there were ten boys left.

Don Nico was grinning at his son. He knew what the boy was thinking. Lothario looked at Fedele, "Now can I choose one?"

The Don's behind them started laughing. Fedele turned red and stammered, "You must pick one that is not afraid, but not aggressive, one that knows softness and caring but not so much you are not taken care of, and you must choose one that is cute and makes you ridged down there."

Lothario closed one eye and looked at Feldele, "Don't you start that too!"

Behind them Lothario heard laughter. He tried to ignore it and went down the line. Slaves were taught not to look up at their masters, but Lothario pulled up their chins and looked into their eyes. In some he saw shame, in others he saw fear, and in others distain, but there were two whose eyes showed hope. Lothario pulled them both forward in the line. The boy looked at Fedele, "Well?"

Fedele turned to Don Romano, "Master, are these both your property?"

Don Romano, who was proud at least one of his boys were picked answered, "Just the one on the left. He is a freeborn with twelve years of indenturement."

Fedele turned to the Roman trader, "And yours?"

The Roman smiled, believing he had the upper hand, "True slaves."

Fedele nodded to Lothario, "It is your choice master, and both will fit you well."

Lothario stepped up to the first boy and took his hand, "Would you want to come and live with me?"

The boy almost looked up, "I would be honored you are beautiful and I know you have a good heart."

Lothario let loose of the hand and stepped back. He wasn't ready for the beautiful part. He walked over to the other boy, "Would you want to come and live with me?"

"Yes. Please master, please choose me, I will always be by your side and take care of you." The boy answered.

Jolted by what was said Lothario stepped all the way back to his father. The two spoke for several minutes. Don Nico raised his hands several times and at one point you could almost hear what he was saying. Fedele could hear them, and so could the other boys, but those who were placing bets behind them could hear nothing.

Finally Fedele walked up to his master, "What is it?"

"He wants both of them." Don Nico sighed."

Fedele smiled, "That is a good choice he has made Nico."

Nico looked at the man, "But he was to choose one special one!"

Fedele whispered to Don Nico, "They may not be looking up, but they are looking at him, and they both want him, how lucky could a boy be? The one is freeborn, he will leave in twelve years regardless, but yet he wants to be with Master Lothario. The other is well trained in the baths, not only does he see a chance to love someone his own age, he is already infatuated with the boy. Of course you can always tell Lothario no. he is a good boy, he will understand."

"That is the point, he understands too well, he never demands. If I say yes I feel like a fool, if I say no I feel like I let him down." Nico gritted his teeth.

Fedele smiled, "This time give him what he wants without fighting with him."

Nico hardened his jaw and went over to the trader in low tones he asked what he wanted for the boy. The trader smiled, excellent choice, I was going to keep him for myself, say 6000?"

Don Nico frowned, "If you want to keep your head attached to your body you better make a fair offer."

The trader swallowed hard, "I drove all night to be here, say 2000?'

Nico turned back to see his son standing in anticipation, he turned back to the trader, "300"

The trader looked passed Nico to Lothario, "Ah I see now, he isn't for your pleasure he is for the boy, 600!"

Nico walked around for a minute, "Three hundred, and I let you auction the rest of your boys off to the other dons."

Don Romano was beside himself. It was obvious that Lothario had picked the slave boy. He was wondering what that was going to cost him. The men started exchanging money seeing that Don Nico was buying the slave. Fedele turned and looked that them, "I would wait to see what is going to happen before you decides who wins."

The trader smiled, "Done."

Nico walked back to his son, "You really want both?"

"Are you going to yell at me if I say yes?" Lothario asked.

"No, you make me proud, you do want you want today." Nico grabbed his son's shoulder and Lothario turned and hugged his father tight.

Smiling happily Lothario told the boys to come close together. He took the hand of the boy on the left, and took him over to grandfather, "Grandfather," he said kissing the man's cheek, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I heard all of you betting against grandfather, but both sides lose."

Don Romano looked oddly at the boy, "How is that Lothario?"

"I wanted them both." Running back to the other boy who was almost in tears Lothario grabbed his hand and brought him to grandfather as well, "I bought this one on my own. Both are the best of the lot."

The men grumbled and started giving back monies to each other. Don Romano smiled and looked at Nico, "For once the two of you didn't fight?" He nodded toward the boys father.

Nico waved him off, "I told the trader he could auction the other boys off you were interested."

All of them agreed, they had an hour before lunch and they might as well outdo each other while they had time. It wasn't so much that they needed boys it was the fact that only one could be the best and wealthiest trader.

Lothario turned to the boys, "What are your names and ages?"

"I am Giulio, I am eight." One boy said. The other said, I am Paolo, I am nine."

"Come we will bathe, you both are dirty from the road trip, then I will show you where you will sleep." Lothario was almost too happy for his skin. He quickly and excitedly pulled them along. He thought to himself, I can take care of them, they can take care of me, and a happy family we will be."

Then suddenly something picked Lothario up and threw him into the air. He came back down above the head of Dino, who was laughing. Behind Dino were two of his friends and three horses. Lothario yelped, "Dino!" The almost fourteen year old kissed Lothario on the lips and Lothario returned it. Then they hugged while Dino twisted and turned Lothario in the air.

Dino was smiling but he was trying to keep from crying, "I have missed you so much, and when I found out grandfather was here, I came as soon as I could."

Lothario leaned back, "He doesn't know you are here?"

"Well no, he left before I did." Dino grinned hugging the boy again. Then he put Lothario down, "These are my friends, Marcus and Raffaele."

The boys hugged Lothario. Lothario said, "You have road dirt all over. We were going to bathe, you come with us and we can get you some clean tunics. You don't need all that leather on."

Dino looked at the two little boys, "Who are they?"

Lothario dazed from all the excitement turned to see who he was talking about, "Oh them! This little one is Giulio. Some rich guy gave him to me, and this one is Paolo, I just bought him."

Dino frowned, "Now you have three boys?"

Lothario frowned, "No, just the two."

"Where is that one boy, Emilio?"

"The one that you were always looking at and thought I didn't notice?" Lothario laughed as he teased.

Dino's face turned red, "Yes that one."

"I sold him to some rich guy. Why does it matter?" Lothario teased with no intention of telling Dino what happened to the boy.

"Oh I see. I wish I would have known. I would have tried to buy him."

Lothario hugged Dino, "I am sorry but I was just offered 30,000 yesterday. I had to take it."

"Wow!" The five boys said.

"Yes, I hated to do it, but I really had no choice. They are going to have an auction out there in the side yard, let's get cleaned up and maybe you can find another you like." Lothario giggled, "Maybe one for each of you!"

"What makes you think we need one?" Marcus asked.

Lothario stepped off the veranda and onto the grass, and feinted looking around for someone else "Probably because you three rode here without anyone else with you."

Marcus looked at Dino, "You didn't tell us he was a smartass!"

The boys laughed and went to the baths. The slaves washed each other first while the nobles talked. Once they were done. They started on the nobles. When they got to Raffaele, Giulio found that the boy had an excited protrusion. Guilio stopped, he knew what he was supposed to do, but did not want to do it in front of his new master. Raffaele frowned, "Why did you stop? You know what to do."

Dino looked over at the two of them, "Stop it Raffaele. Lothario just got them this morning; let them get trained before you scare them to death."

"Well I will just wash myself them; they are little farts if they can't take care of me." Raffaele grumbled.

Lothario was still smiling, "What do they need to learn?"

Raffaele stood up, "How to take care of one of these." He shook it so everyone could see."

Lotharios eyes widened like a hammered golden gong, "Um, how do they take care of it?"

"They put it in their mouth until it goes soft!" Marcus looked at Lothario, "You didn't know that?"

"I guess so, maybe, I think, but that is huge you would kill them!"

"Let's just get cleaned and dressed so we can go watch the auction." Dino said.

Lothario looked at his two boys and tried to whisper, "Don't you ever do that stuff to anyone. You both belong to me. If they want someone they can go get their own."

Raffaele looked at Dino, "He doesn't share too well." And the three older boys started laughing.

Dressed, they finally made it to the side yard where the men were looking over the boys. Dino hugged his grandfather and introduced his friends to everyone. They teased the three by saying they were almost too big to be wearing Lothario's tunics.

The boys sat down and watched what was going on. Raffaele looked at one of the men, "What does the bidding usually start at?"

"Usually around ten, but it can go up into the thousands. It depends on what you want one for."

"Well, that counts me out then." Raffaele sighed.

"Me as well." Marcus stated.

Lothario smiled, "If you do not bid too high, I will loan you the money."

Dino threw in, "To be paid with your next allowance!"

The boys smiled and shook Lothario's hand.

Esta came out with wine and saw the two slave boys standing around, "You two come here and help me. Make sure everyone has a cup and then pour them wine, and keep their cups filled. You can't be around here being lazy you know."

They looked at Lothario. Esta sighed, "Okay I see, you belong to master Lothario. Master Lothario, can I have your boys help me?"

The bidding started. Lothario looked at Esta, "As long as I can see them."

Esta nodded, "Come boys help me."

"Don't bid on that one." Lothario whispered to the boys. "Let's walk over there and I will show you the nice ones." And so Lothario showed them the ones that Fedele had picked out, even if they were skinny or heavy or even tall for that matter. The boys were impressed.

From a distance Fedele was watching. The boys sat again and waited. When one came up that was good, the bidding started rising. The one boy that Marcus wanted was already at 200. He swallowed hard. By the time it got to 300 he was looking at Lothario for guidance. Lothario turned to Marcus, "Too much."

The next boy one was one that Raffaele wanted. The bidding got to 150 and it stalled. "Why did they stop?"

"He is really skinny so they are worried about it. He is yours. Bid 200 and everyone will back down, I think." Lothario smiled.

"200" Raffaele shouted.

The men all looked at Raffaele. One man frowned, "You will be lucky to get that one home alive."

Raffaele shuddered and looked at Lothario, "Are you sure?"

"He is fine; Fedele said he was, he just needs proper food."

The trader called for Raffaele. Lothario gave him the coins and Raffaele ran up and took his boy. He pulled them back to where the others were. He was excited. When Paolo came near he asked him to get the new boy something to eat. Paulo ran off to Esta.

Three more boys were auctioned off before Marcus and Dino both decided they like the same one. That was something that Lothario wasn't ready for. The bidding started and the slave boy was surprised when it went to 100. Even more surprised when it went to 200. Lotharios problem was that they were bidding against each other with his money.

The bidding stopped at 200. Dino looked at Lothario, "No more, let Marcus have this one. I just got a look from your grandfather that he doesn't want you to bid on anyone else."

Dino looked at his grandfather who was waving a finger back and forth and saying no more. Dino's head fell to his chest, "I will never get one."

"Probably not." Lothario said, "But sometime we will be together and no adults around to stop you."

Dino smiled, "You would really do that for me?"

Lothario grabbed the older boy's strong arm. "You have no idea what I would do for you."

Thirty minutes later all the boys had been auctioned off, including Dino's grandfathers boys. The men started breaking up and stretching, giving orders to their new charges. Then Esta came out and told everyone it was time to eat. She looked at all the boys who didn't leave with the trader, "Oh my. I didn't expect this!" Resigned to her fate she called the boys to her, "You to need to wash, Paolo you and Giulio take them to Master Lothario's bath, and make sure they clean it up afterwards. I will come and get you four and take you to eat." She turned to the rest of the boys, "You follow me if you want a good meal." And they followed quickly.

Dino, Rafaele, Marcus and Lothario sat together while they ate with the rest of the men. Don Romano stood up, "It occurred to me... just a minute." He turned to his slave and said something. The slave ran off, "It occurred to me that today worked out perfect, at least for me. All of you received something you wanted, and emptied your purses a bit too much. The boys... Raffaele and Marcus got something they wanted as well. My grandson did not."

Dino interrupted, "Not true grandfather, I get to be with you and Lothario, who could ask for more?"

Don Romano smiled, "Thank you from us both. However, this week you celebrate the day you were born. And I am sorry to say I cannot be there. So with Lothario's prompting, I am going to give you your gift, from me, to you now."

Dino sat up and wondered what it could be. Lothario was trying to keep from giggling. The slave came back with a naked Emilio. Dino lost his smile and dropped his cup. He stood up. He looked down at Lothario and tried to kick him. Lothario turned in time and started laughing. He smiled, "One of the most expensive and beautiful boys in all of Italy is yours Dino, from your grandfather."

Dino's eyes watered a waterfall, "He is as perfect as I ever imagined." He ran to his grandfather and hugged him, burying his head into the man's stomach.

"There there Dino. He is yours with all my love."

Lothario saw the smile Emilio had as well. The two were suited for each other. They both had muscles; they were both smart and athletic. Yes Lothario had done things right, and he was proud of himself. While the men at the table applauded Dino and gave him their best wishes, Dino went to his new slave and touched him all over. Dino stood and whispered to the boy, "Don't try with me what you did to little Lothario. I won't stand for it. If you can respect me, and do your job, we will be friends for a long time. Now put your tunic on, and get me a fresh glass of juice."

Emilio kissed Dino's cheek, "Yes master."

The men started applauding again as Dino and his Grandfather sat once more. Guilio was the first to return. He grabbed Lothario's cup and filled it up. He asked if he needed to do anything. Lothario waved him off, and Guilio sat on his legs behind his Master just like the other servants did.

The men had quieted down somewhat talking about the shape of their new slaves. Fedele wearing his leather over his tunic and his sword stood silently trying not to laugh at some of them for their purchases. Paolo ran into the room followed by Raffaele's boy and Marcus's boy. Paolo slipped and fell on his face. He immediately screamed, which brought the women into the room. His mother got to the boy first. Lothario stood and knelt down next to him. "Is he alright mother?"

"Esta, bring me a wet cold towel! He will be fine, but he will have a fat lip for a few days." She answered.

Guilio brought over a couple of cushions, one so Lothario could sit and another for Paolo to lay his head on. He then sat quietly next to Lothario. Esta came back quick and Lothario's mother tried to nurse him. It wasn't working, so Lothario grabbed the boy's arms and put him in his lap and held him tight. One of the men called out, "Lothario, you are going to spoil him doing that."

The men were obviously not used to seeing such a thing. Paolo settled in Lothario's arms and the woman got the bleeding to stop. Esta cleaned up the floor where blood was spilled, "I can take care of him now Misses."

Don Nico's wife stood up and looked at the men, "First, if Lothario wants to spoil his boys that is his business. And secondly gentlemen but for the grace of the gods, our children could be in the same position and let's not forget, some of the children that are slaves at one time belonged to families like our own. Boys and girls need special attention when they are hurt or sick." She turned and took the women back to their area and continued, "As soon as he settles down, you finish your lunch Lothario!"

"Yes mother."

"I knew to shut up when I saw my wife glare at me for my comment, you just know when you are in trouble." Don Moretti frowned.

The other men laughed, "Most of us knew better than to say anything, but she got us all good."

After lunch Don Nico looked at the boys, "If you are all finished, we would like to retire and have our afternoon meeting."

Guilio grabbed Lothario's plate and cup. A few minutes later all the boys had left to go outside.

Don Nico sat quietly, and waited for someone else to talk. Don Moretti smiled, "I do not want to bring this up again, but some of the villagers in my area are not showing respect."

Don Romano pointed a finger at the man, "That is because you are a pompous ass Don Moretti! You can't go around treating the freeborn and Citizens like you do your slaves. You have no respect for them, so why should they respect you? No one expects you to be like little Lothario, but at least you could have some kindness for your slaves and the townspeople. And we are here to talk about the empire not your village."

"Don Romano, true or not that is enough. Don Moretti has taken care of his duties well." Don Nico turned to Don Moretti, "You have been whining for months while we make our plans for the senate, Exactly what is bothering you so much that you can't handle it on your own?"

Moretti was disgruntled, but happy he was at least recognized at last, "Don di Francesco is selling his grain, olive oil and meat way below what I can afford to sell it, the townspeople are buying from Don di Francesco, instead of me. We all offer the same, or near the same prices, if this continues, di Francesco will be selling in your towns and villages as well, while we go broke. So yes I am upset with the freeborn, and yes I am not as giving right now, because I have nothing to give." He stared at Don Romano, "You are only a little north of me, and they will be hitting you next."

"How many towns and villages are we talking about?" Don Nico asked.

"I have forty-five, and all of them are now being serviced by Don di Francesco. I have given the drivers warnings. My men have even beaten two of them, but they keep coming back." Moretti frowned, "I need Francesco to match our prices, or I need to kill him."

The room murmured. Don Romano wiped his bald head and turned to Moretti, "What I said before is still true; however I wish to offer my apologies for not listening to you before. Since most of you were just little ones when something like this happened the last time, I would like to take care of this myself, and take Dino and Lothario with me, so they will know how to handle such things later on."

Don Nico shifted uncomfortably as the murmuring grew louder. Don di Gothi leaned forward, "Dino is man enough to learn these things. Lothario, he is but a child, what does he know of business or murder?"

Don Rico frowned, "Francesco is not a member of the senate nor is he a noble or even a citizen, he is a freeborn that has done well. I think we should send someone to talk to him before we start a regional war."

Don Romano shook his head and pounded his fist, "No! None of you has had to kill for the family. We have had peace for thirty five years! There was no one to stand up to us, including the emperors. Don Nico Praetorio, please. You are a warrior, you have lived in Rome and done the bidding of three emperors, you know what I say is true."

"Yes but to do things like this takes trained assassins. We have been discussing the attitudes of Emperor Claudius for months and what we should do about him. This would be a good time to learn firsthand, what is needed to be done. So no, the children will not be involved. However, we all shall participate; we will get our hands dirty before we pass it on to our children and grandchildren. We will understand and protect our own family's interests. Then if we wish we can teach our own." He paused, "Lothario must be clean of crimes such as this when he gets is commission for the legion."

The men nodded agreement and Don Nico continued, "Because of all the children and ears at my residence, we will need to meet someplace else." Don Nico finished. When the men were satisfied they turned their attention to the emperor who was killing landowners and taking their land to give to his friends. However before they could continue their conversation, they heard running horses coming closer. Don Nico went outside to meet the seven Roman soldiers.

The commander dismounted and ran up to Don Nico and knelt, "I have a message from the Emperor. Pray Don Praetorio, care for my men and their horses."

Don Nico opened the scroll, and as he read he smiled widely. He called for Esta, "See to the Capos men and horses. They will spend the night before returning to Rome."

The commander bowed his head, "Thank you Don Praetorio."

Don Nico stopped the man, "You are Citizens?"

"Yes Don Praeorio." The commander answered.

"According to this, you are to help me build a militia for my personal use?"

"They are for the Emperor, under your command Don Nico."

Lothario and some of the young slaves watched the teens dance, pretend to fight and celebrate their new possessions. Lothario spoke to no one, but he was plainly heard by the young boys around him, "Teenagers, they act so stupid sometimes, and think they are so cool. You would think they just met the emperor the way they are behaving." When he heard the boys laugh and giggle, he turned to them, "Those of you that are leaving in the morning, go play in the back yard. Guilio you and Paolo find Esta and tell her to show you... ask her to show you what your duties are." He turned to Emilio and the other two boys, "You stand by in case the guys need you for something."

"What will you do master?" Paolo asked.

"I am going to lie in the grass and watch them look stupid so I know what not to do when I get old like them." Lothario laughed.

Guilio frowned, "What if you need something?"

Lothario took off his tunic and lay in the grass. He looked up at Guilio, "If I need something I have three boys standing around, and Emilio knows where everything is at." As the two ran off Lothario turned to the three remaining slaves, "The three of you can sit. Just don't get too comfortable, Fedele is watching everything."

Dino looked over at Lothario. He took off his tunic, and Raffaele and Marcos followed suit. Then Dino got a big smile on his face, "Hold him down I will tickle him!"

They were on top of Lothario before he had a chance to react. He began screaming and giggling like a little girl, from the attention. Fedele shouted, "Don't bruise him, his mother will have your heads!"

The boys ignored him of course, but they were not the kind to play rough with a friend. Then they heard the riders and Fedele stopped them from playing so he could hear well. Fedele ran to the front of the house hurriedly in case there was trouble. The boys helped Lothario up and followed Fedele. The boys listened to the rest of the conversation the soldiers and Don Nico were having.

Don Nico grinned. He turned to the men behind him. "We now have a small force to protect our interests. Many things will have to be done, but first, I will need ten freeborns from each of you, and at least one citizen, that will serve in the new guard. With a force of sixty-six men... he looked at the commander, seventy three men, we can protect our citizens."

The commander stood and bowed his head, "There is more sir."

Don Nico continued reading. His jaw dropped. He called Moretti and Romano over to read the scroll. Moretti smiled, "It seems I am not the only one to complain to the Emperor."

Esta came out of the house, "Commander I have a food and bath ready, if you will take your horses to the back yard, the stable boys will care for them. The commander started to move when he saw the four naked boys in front of his men. He turned and looked at Don Nico, then back at the boys. Fedele stepped in front of the boys, "All of them, even though they are not dressed, are the sons of nobles."

While the Dons of Don Nico's area went over the scroll, Fedele and the commander spoke. The commander smiled at Fedele, "Don Fedele, there is no doubt. Men this is Don Fedele, one of the most famous fighters in the tenth division."

Fedele frowned, "Don Nico has that honor. However, I did my duty and stayed alive."

The men laughed nervously. The commander spoke, "Nevertheless, it is an honor to be here with you. Will you be joining the Praetorian Guard?

"Praetorian Guard?" Dino asked.

Fedele explained, "Whenever a band of soldiers protects part of the homeland their unit is named after the leader, in this case Lothario's father."

All Lothario could think of is how the older boys didn't cover their privates while he was doing the opposite and felt naked, since he was naked. "They are showing off their bodies to soldiers. They can be so embarrassing." He said to himself. Maybe it was because they were almost men and liked showing it off to say `see I am a man' but it still made Lothario uncomfortable. It is one thing for boys their age to see each other, but to flaunt it to everyone around was just not the way Lothario felt it should be.

The three older boys walked with the soldiers to the back of the house. Lothario stepped up to his fathers friends, "Father these soldiers don't mean us any harm, but why are they staying the night?"

"They will help build a guard for the area Lothario." His father looked down, "And no you may not join. When you are a man you will receive a commission for the tenth legion."

"I wasn't thinking of joining, I was just trying to understand what they are doing here."

Don Romero smiled, "The Emperor has given your father a great honor. Except for a few patrols, we have never had a Roman guard in the region. Now we will have one, and your father is the General."

"And our enemies will be vanquished." Don Moretti added.

"Enemies?" Lothario's head turned, "Father you said we haven't had enemies since before you were born."

Don Romano grabbed the boy and lifted him up, "Rome always has enemies Lothario, but recently men have decided to ruin the establishment of the noble leaders. The Emperor wants the rebellion squashed."

"You don't need soldiers for that. You just need to go tell them that the Emperor wants them to stop." Lothario decided, "Just like when Dino and I play when he gets to rough I just say Dino stop before you hurt me. He always stops. That will work on the rebels I am sure."

"We will see Lothario, for now you go play with the other children." His father urged.

Don Nico and the men walked back into the house, leaving Lothario alone. He walked to the side yard and sat on the stair of the veranda. He put his elbows on his knees, folded his arms and laid his head on the folded arms, "It will be more exciting now I suppose, but I still will be lonely without father to play with."

Esta was walking by with Guidio and Paolo, "Hear hear Lothario! What are you pouting about?"

"Always being alone." Lothario sighed.

"We are here now!" Paolo tried to say with his fat lip.

Esta looked at Paolo, "You can only play with him in his room. He is talking about the freedom of having friends around. Unless Dino or a couple of others come over with their families, Lothario has to wait for his father to have time for him." She bowed her head, "Even we as slaves can have friends and play when we have the time. That is not so for noble children."

Guidio frowned, "So the boys running the streets are not nobles?"

Esta smiled, "They are freeborns, or citizens' maybe, but not nobles. Usually boys like that are just troubles the soldiers have to deal with." She patted their heads, "The two of you can see to the soldiers, make sure they have enough wine and food."

Lothario grimaced, "And don't let them touch you all over like you were a piece of meat."

Guidio and Paolo smiled. They bent over and kissed Lothario's head, "Yes master." They said as they skipped to the back of the house.

"Why are they always kissing me?"

Esta laughed, "For the same reason you kiss master Dino, because they love you for caring about them." She sat next to Lothario, "Things will change soon, much for the good, and some for the bad. I will not tell you to not be in a hurry to grow up, but I will ask you to make every day count to have fun. Your mother and father love you, Fedele and I love you so much, and most of the slaves, freeborns and citizens love for you just to be nearby."

"Yes but the freeborns don't come here to play and the Citizens are afraid to come."

Esta started giggling, "For one so smart you do not see anything around you. Lothario, all the overseers are citizens! The household staff has several freeborns, but they take care of your mother and father mostly, and clean the house. They are all around you. Remember the last festival your parents took you to in the village? Everyone, including the children were all over you. Fedele shouted about it for days because he wouldn't watch over you and your parents at the same time."

"I didn't know. Still, but here, I do not have anyone my age."

Esta grabbed the boy's hand, "Let's see if we can fix that in the next few weeks. With your father as busy as he is, maybe if we do it right, we can have him change things."

Lothario looked up at her, "Would that be possible?"

"It would probably mean a couple of arguments along the way, but yes I think it is possible." Esta grinned.

"Well if you mean arguments with father, I have already lost. And if you mean arguments with mother, I get in worse trouble. Anyway I don't like to argue, I just get sick all week"

"Leave it up to me Lothario; I will get Fedele to help me." Esta smiled.

Lothario frowned, "That doesn't make sense. I know for a fact that Fedele is a Citizen, a great warrior, a Noble, but mostly father's best friend. He will fight against me wanting children around, not help me with it."

Dino and Emilio walked up to them, "Yes Lothario, lots of friends. The more friends you have the more fun you have." He giggled as he touched himself.

Lothario looked up, "Some of us think of more things that our bodies."

"In six months you'll be begging for sex." Dino laughed, "Come, get your boys and let's go riding. Maybe you will let them play milk the goat."

Esta smiled, "You boys are a bad influence. I have work to do."

Dino curled his lip at her and turned back to Lothario, "Yes they have to learn to milk a goat and a cow. I will be the cow and you can be the goat. Raffaele and Marcus can take turns with us. So our families, especially you, have fresh milk every morning. So we will teach them how to milk the cows and goats. We may as well get the other boys to learn too."

"Well okay. We can do that." Lothario was happy that they wanted to do something worthwhile.

Dino's eyes glimmered. He turned to Emilio, "It doesn't take much when they are that young."

Lothario was happy about the excursion and he followed the boys.

 

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