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She reminded Achilles loving Briseis and Briseis loving Achilles back. It all couldn’t end like in the Iliad. It couldn’t end badly. She didn’t want to be Briseis, even if it was her favourite character in the wonderful, unique story. She envied Briseis for being loved and for the power of emotions that Briseis was able to percept. In that moment, Julia wasn’t sure anymore whether love was a good feeling. If she wouldn’t love Marcus Lucius, she would ignore his proud look as he begged her for a promise a moment ago. It wouldn’t matter to her. She would smile and pretend to care, but she would stay icy inside the same way she pretended for weeks to be a good wife of Maxentius after he brutally slugged her body and soul the way nobody saw. If she wouldn’t love him, it would be so much easier to come back to her father. If he wouldn’t love her, he wouldn’t ask her to give any promise. He would be already far, far away from here. He could save himself and live his life somewhere else. He didn’t. He was there, even if he was on the run. He cared and she wasn’t sure whether their pretending to not having a relationship didn’t attract more interest than keeping it all the way it was.

Achilles sculpture