b'32LISA E. BETZBadly? How will I explain that to Gemellus?Maybe you wont have to. Since you dont want her anyway, why dont I keep her and let you have Agneta instead?Aunt Porcias eyes flitted to Agneta. Back to Livia. Youre serious? The two look similar enough in height, age, and coloring. Do you think Uncle Gemellus will notice?Not if I dont tell him.Then we have a deal?So long as Gemellus doesnt find out. Porcias brows fur-rowed. What is it you want in return?Ah yes, Porcia must think shes getting the better end of any deal, so what else could she ask for?I was hoping I might borrow your amber necklace to impress Avitus. Did you know hes asked Fathers permission to marry me?Now Porcia looked smug. The heavy necklace was one of her favorite topics of conversation. Ill consider it, although I dont understand why youd want to impress that awful man. Gemellus was furious when he heard your father was considering him.That was one of the few favorable things regarding Avitus, thefacthehadrecentlyopposedUncleGemellusinacourt case. Some issue over a contract. Avitus had proven soundly that Gemellus claims were fraudulent and hed been forced to pay. Come to think of it, the case was likely what had brought Avitus to Fathers attention. He considered his younger brother a devi-ous, self-serving parasite, and was pleased to see him caught out in his lies. You know Avitus is horribly disfigured? Porcia gave a dra-matic shudder.It was a gross exaggeration but Livia only nodded. What else have you heard about him?I cant repeat most of what Gemellus says about him. Avitus uses all sorts of underhand tricks to win his cases.'