Pleadingly, Marlia looked up.
"Oh Gods" she whimpered, and suddenly a torrent of pleading was gushing from her mouth. "Oh, please. I didn't mean to push you; I honestly didn't mean to push you you're or hurt are you - Domina, please please forgive me I didn't mean to push."
"Oh, shut your mouth" snapped Julia, staggering fully upright in the bath. "You" she hissed "pushed me. I could have broken my bloody neck! You're lucky I didn't, otherwise my father would flay you alive before handing you over to a pack of dogs, you stupid, clumsy little bitch."
Marlia quickly manoeuvred into a kneeling position, hands behind her head, staring contritely at the floor. Julia was right, of course. Had she stumbled, lost her grip and hurt herself badly, Marlia would have been lucky if she had the opportunity to open her own veins before anyone else got to her. Tears blurred her vision. If Julia was still in the mood there was no reason why she couldn't have Marlia dead within the week. She'd pushed her, and the fact that it was a moment's madness due to a sudden panic would make precisely no difference.
"It was an accident" she whimpered, hating the sound of her own whines. "I honestly didn't mean it; you know I'd do anything to serve you, Domina". She looked up; hoping that Julia would take her at her word, just use her like she'd been planning and then leave her alone.
All she wanted was to feel me up a bit and I had to fucking push her away her mind screamed at her. Another part of her muttered that Julia shouldn't be able to do whatever she wanted to her, but Marlia ignored that. She could and would and that was all that mattered.
"Weren't so craven a moment ago, were you? You fucking refused me!"
"Domina, I just panicked" wailed Marlia, aware that she was sounding hysterical and unable to do anything about it. "I...I've been touched before, and I.."
"Stop whining, cretin. You're a slave; its your purpose to be used." Scorn dripped from Julia's voice. "You don't decide anything, and certainly do not fucking refuse me!"
Marlia flinched as Julia humiliated her. She knew her place, of course, and knew that legally Julia was utterly in the right. Still, having it stated so baldly was a rarity; and hurt. She bit her lip miserably as Julia continued.
"Jupiter Optimus Max, Marlia! You must know you have it easy compared to most of your sort." She paused, flicking hair out of her eyes. "You must know how good your life is depends entirely how much you please me."
Marlia sniffled miserably, knowing that the damnable thing was that Julia was right, that she'd known since she could walk that her only chance was to be as obedient and meek as possible, and wondered whether it would be worth trying to convince Julia that it had been a moment of madness, that she hadn't meant to push her away, that if Julia wanted to use her she could.
Surely, she can't think that I'd try and injure her, could she?
"Domina, all I want is to-"
"Shut. Your. Mouth."
Marlia shut it like a mousetrap. Julia looked her over, coldly, not a inkling of warmth in those ice-blue eyes; wrapping a towel around herself as she did so.
"Go to your room, slave" she hissed. "I'll...discipline you shortly."
Marlia fled, scrambling to her feet. Julia listened for a few moments, sure that she was out of earshot, then quietly closed and locked the bathroom door, sat down in a wicker chair, and began to sob.
"Stupid Marlia" she muttered through her cries "why the hell did you have to push me for?". She knew she'd have to punish her for that, and not lightly either. The moment you let her sort get away with that sort of thing, you might as well unwind the whole Empire whilst one was at it. She'd assaulted her...
...except that she hadn't really, had she? Julia frowned as the thought occurred to her. The maid had been telling the truth when she said she had panicked. Slaves lied, of course - it was in their nature, as Father had always said - but the maid had been telling the truth. Julia would be willing to stake her entire fortune on it.
So what to do, what to do? She liked Marlia, she really did; and sometimes she fancied that the feeling was, if not mutual, not very far from it . She was quiet, obedient, sensible, level headed. Gave good advice when asked. Any punishment which seemed to even remotely fit the crime was unpleasantly excessive. But even if one forgave a shove - and that seemed incredibly lenient - you couldn't forget or forgive refusing to serve her. That was the whole point of her, after all.
She sniffed again, chocking back another sob. She rubbed her eye, irritated she was actually crying over a maid. She shouldn't have told Marlia to pleasure her in the first place; should have guessed that Marlia would not only not have been keen but actually frightened. From the little Julia knew of her beforehand, her previous sexual experiences had been less than happy. Having actually given the order, though, Marlia's refusal was simply unforgivable. That had to be dealt with; even if she could forgive the shove.
She bit her knuckles, wishing harder than she ever had that she could travel back an hour, tell her not to indulge her mild curiosity, because the price would be simply too high. After all, she knew several of her friends were more into other girls than men. Marlia, on sober reflection, had been possibly the worst person to ask.
She bit hardly, obscurely relishing the pain. What to do, what to do, what to do? She sniffled, blowing her nose.
"Stupid" she hissed. "Stupid, arrogant, dim witted idiotic girl!"