b'64LISA E. BETZcases Curio had assisted on, but theyd kept that fact well con-cealed.) For Father to choose Avitus as a son-in-law must be like throwing vinegar on an open wound. Served Gemellus right for all the grief hed caused Curio.I can make no promises until Livia is ready to discuss the is-sue. If, at that time, she wants to hear your offer, I will contact you.Youre as pig-headed and unreasonable as your father. The best weapon against insults was often an indifferent si-lence. Curio leaned a shoulder on the wall and crossed his arms. His uncle simmered, face twitching, for several breaths. Then he jerked the door open and stormed from the room. Livia appeared as soon as he was gone. What made him so angry?Gross injustice. He cannot stand the idea of your marrying Avitus. He asked me to cancel the betrothal negotiations in order to promise you to a rich merchant named Volusius. I refused, of course.Why would he suggest a betrothal? Especially now? Sounds a little desperate.Yes, it did. What was that villain really up to? One more thing to investigate, on top of everything else demanding Curios at-tention. No wonder Father was always irritable, with petitions and problems bombarding him from every side. There were mo-ments when Curio wished his father were still alive and he was back in his role of outcast son. It was a far easier existence.'