6

Meanwhile Eros, almost torn apart with longing for Psyche, had decided that nothing in the world was worth being away from her, especially not his pride; so he searched for her intending to beg for her forgiveness. He had been to her house and the supermarket and everywhere they had ever been together but couldn't find her. Eventually he sought his mother, to ask if she had seen Psyche.

"Why should I tell you?" Aphrodite replied angrily when Eros asked her about Psyche's whereabouts. "You disobeyed me Eros. I told you to make her fall in love with the ugliest creature you knew, and although your beauty is no match to mine, you are by no means ugly."

"So what if I did?" Eros snapped a scowl fixed on his face. "The schemes of jealous witches are hateful and pathetic to me. You will tell me where she is and when I find her you'll forgive her just as I know, in her infinite kindness, she'll forgive you." So inflamed and determined were Eros' eyes Aphrodite herself felt a little afraid. She nodded and then told her son what she had made Psyche do, though she deliberately neglected to tell Eros about the poison. Eros left at once to the realm of Hades, but when he got there his beloved had gone. Distraught and enraged he demanded information from Persephone. Quaking at Eros' fury, Persephone told him that Psyche had been taken to hospital.

Eros journeyed to the hospital so fast it was as if he had flown there. At the hospital, in a cool and quiet ward, Psyche lay perfectly still on a hospital bed attached to monitors and drips completely unaware of what went on around her. When Eros saw her, looking half dead, his heart broke into a thousand shards. He rushed to the bed where she lay and ran his hands softly through her hair and then down the side of her face. He whispered to her that he was sorry and would love her for eternity despite the harsh words that had been said. But his words, as sweet and loving as they were, fell on deaf ears. The doctors explained to Eros that they thought Psyche had been poisoned but they could not isolate the compound nor find a cure. Eros in turn explained this to Psyche's family when they arrived, he also explained to them who exactly he was, keeping his identity a secret seemed so trivial now.

Eros stayed by Psyche's side for days and nights as she slept. The nurses tried frequently to persuade him to go home and rest, but he refused. Instead he spent his time doing all that he could to make Psyche comfortable: he fluffed her pillows, brushed her hair, gently washed her and told her as many stories he could think of. And when he had to sleep he slept in the chair by Psyche's bed and spent all his dreaming hours praying that she would wake.

One day, after weeks at her side Eros was losing hope that his darling Psyche would ever wake up. He was dead tired with bloodshot eyes and an unshaven face and resting his head on Psyche's bed. He raised his face to look at her, and upon seeing her beautiful sleeping face tears pricked his eyes.

"Please wake up Psyche," he whispered, "I miss you so much. I want to hear your voice, see your smile and feel you kiss me; I want more than a memory of those things." He leant towards her and softly kissed her frozen lips. As he kissed her he noticed something strange. He raised his face from hers and looked at her closed eyes with a puzzled expression. He leant close to Psyche again and smelt her skin. There was a strange honey-sweet smell laced with her own delicate scent. The foreign fragrance that tainted Psyche's own perfect scent struck a bell in Eros' mind. It smelt like the faint aroma that surrounded a person who had taken one of Eros' Golden Arrows. Cogs ticked and turned in Eros' head...He knew that in a large enough dose the drug in his Golden Arrows could put a person into a coma, perhaps that was what Psyche had been poisoned with, if so he had an antidote! He jumped up at once and rushed home to get it. If Psyche had been poisoned by a different chemical then his antidote would do her no harm, but Eros knew that smell so well that he was certain the antidote would work.

He returned from his home with the antidote in hand and prepared to give it to Psyche. He administered the drug and then sat back down beside Psyche, smiling charmingly at the passing nurses so that they wouldn't ask any questions. He wasn't sure how long the antidote would take to work as usually the effects of the Golden Arrows wore off naturally after a few days so he hadn't used the antidote many times before. He observed the many machines that monitored Psyche and they appeared unchanged. He took a deep breath and decided not to move from his seat until Psyche was awake. He watched Psyche for hours until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer and he fell asleep with Psyche's hand held tightly in his.

He was asleep like this when Psyche's eyelids flickered. She felt so sleepy still that to open her eyes took more than a minute. When she finally did open them it took several minutes more to remember what happened. And then even longer to work out where she was. Eventually Psyche became aware of the male hand that was wrapped around her own. She looked down at it and recognised it immediately. She looked up at Eros who was frowning in his sleep and her heart flooded with joy. She thought for a long time about how to wake him, for she didn't know how long she had been sleeping and it might be a terrible shock. In the end she closed her eyes and pretended to still be asleep. She squeezed his hand so that he woke up, then she pretended to be waking for the first time. When she opened her eyes she saw Eros looking at her, his eyes wide with surprise.

"Am I dreaming?" He asked her. "I dream so often that you are awake."

"Judging from my previous experience of being awake I feel that I'm truly awake now." Psyche said, her voice quiet and weary. "How long have I been asleep?"

"Four weeks." Eros replied, then his face flushed with rage. "You were poisoned, by my mother. I realised today what the poison was and knew she was responsible."

"I know, I realised too before I fell asleep." She said. "But I don't feel angry. What Aphrodite did doesn't matter to me, the only thing that matters to me is being with you."

And Eros said, "I love you." Then Eros kissed Psyche's face again and again memorising every part of it. She wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly, knowing that no-one had ever loved anyone as much as she loved Eros.

Zeus was one that understood love, and he knew that nothing Aphrodite could do would stop Eros and Psyche loving each other, so to prevent any more unhappiness he expressed his approval of Eros and Psyche's partnership and decreed that Aphrodite and Psyche forgive each other. Aphrodite, despite her ill-tempered manner, also understood love, perhaps even better than Zeus himself, and so she forgave Psyche and eventually approved Eros' decision to marry her. And when Eros and Psyche had a daughter they called her Hannah which meant bliss, because there is nothing quite so blissful than being loved by the person you adore.

THE END

Okay, this is that last chapter I hope you liked this short story. I don't like to request reviews generally, but if you have any particular comments, like you thought Psyche was irritating, or you thought the character of the narrator was too poetic, or not poetic enough for a myth, or if you thought some bit was particularly funny or whatever, I would love to know. Thanks for reading.