Author's Note: I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE THIS CHAPTER DONE! This is the longest chapter I have written in a long time, and the longest one I have written for this story! Forgive me for the wait, but I think it was worth it for what I wrote ;) Also I must warn you that there are probably a few typo's in here since I have not looked it over again.
Psyche sat gossiping with her maids whom were her dear friends. They laughed as they sat around on the cushions on the floor. She loved being able to catch up with Zoe, Theodora, Sophia and Xenia. They talked of all they had missed while eating ice cream. Even in the middle of winter, it was more than warm enough in the palace to eat the frozen treat.
"Tell her!" Theodora encouraged, Zoe blushed as she smiled.
"I am to be married!" She announced.
"Zagreus?" Psyche asked, Zoe nodded.
"When I went to him last night, I thought it would be like every other night." She said, her eyes far away and such a smile upon her face. "Yet as I kissed him, he pulled away and suddenly proclaimed what he felt for me, asking for my hand. All I could do was nod, I was in tears when we kissed."
"Congratulations!" Psyche proclaimed, wrapping her arms around the nymph.
"About time in my opinion." Sophia added with a smile for her sister.
"This does mean I will be leaving your service." Zoe added, Psyche felt a sadness within her soul at the thought.
"Leaving?" Psyche asked, trying to keep the smile upon her face, yet failing to.
"By marrying a mortal, I will be giving up my immortality." She told her. Zoe reached out and held her lady's hand, giving her a reassuring smile. "This is what I want. I have lived for three hundred and twenty five years as a nymph, yet in all that time, I have never felt the joy that Zagreus brings me. I want to be mortal, I want to have a family and grow old with him." Psyche saw it in Zoe's sapphire blue eyes; she would recognize that love anywhere. She felt tears well in her eyes as she nodded and took Zoe into her arms once more.
"I love you, my dear friend." Psyche spoke. "I wish you every happiness and blessing in your marriage." Zoe nodded.
"We can still see each other," Zoe told her as they pulled away from each other. "You and your husband may visit whenever you like. And you know how I will long to know your child." Psyche nodded.
"We will most certainly visit often." Psyche promised.
A conversation then ensued about the plans for the wedding, the date set in a few months time when nature would be in bloom. They laughed, Psyche already missing the company of the dear nymph, yet still so very happy for her happiness.
Eros walked into the room, smiling as he looked upon the sight before him. His beautiful wife, round with his child, glowing as she tossed her head back and laughed. He already knew of Zoe's impending marriage, seeing as how he was the one who lead she and her betrothed to each other as he had so many others. There was no doubt about just how much his work meant to him, being able to share and give love to the world.
Psyche felt her husbands eyes upon her, she looked up to him and both of them were stunned once again that they were brought together in the first place. This love was the most potent, powerful and glorious of its kind. They both smiled as he came over to her.
"My dearest wife," He greeted her. "Your father and sisters are arriving now." He held his hands out for her, she placed them in his and he carefully helped her to her feet, then proceeded to kiss each of her knuckles as she gazed adoringly at him.
The nymphs took their positions as Eros led Psyche into the grand, blue marble entry hall. It was a square room, with a thirty foot domed ceiling. Tall columns of carved, dark stained oak. Fresh flowers decorated the room, accentuating the breath taking architecture. White Lilacs, Glory Of The Snow, Fuchsia flowers and even some Roses here and there; each and every bloom was perfect, thanks to a few nature gods in Eros' family.
Psyche gripped onto Eros' hand, a nervous excitement at seeing her sisters again. On her journey, when she was cold and hungry and alone, there were times she cursed her sisters, she hated them. She blamed herself for believing them, yet could not deny that it was their words that led her to doubt the god she loves like no other. Eros had offered to not invite them to the festivities, yet Psyche refused, saying that they were family.
Sophia and Theodora opened the doors to reveal King Klitos walking towards them. Without thinking twice, Psyche let go of her husbands hand and ran into her fathers waiting arms.
"Father!" She greeted as he held her close. He sighed and smiled.
"Psyche, my beloved daughter." He greeted her, feeling a completeness to his heart now that he held his youngest in his arms once again.
He pulled back, holding her shoulders as he looked upon her glowing face. He shook his head and smiled again. He could not put into words how unbelievably grateful he was that she was safe, that she was alive. He had feared the worst when he heard nothing from her for months. Then that letter arrived from Tristan of Athens, stating that Psyche was safe and sound in his kingdom. Kleitos did not know what to make of that, Psyche staying with King Tristan instead of with her husband.
Of course, by the time that letter arrived it was weeks after she arrived. And a few days after the first letter came, a second arrived by divine messenger, this one from Psyche herself. She told her father that she had done it, she was reunited with her Eros and all was well, all was forgiven. Kleitos had cried when he read those words, a few tears of joy and relief flowing from his eyes.
Now as he looked upon her, all he could do was take her into his arms again and hold her close for a long while more before releasing her from his embrace. Psyche laughed as she wiped tears from her eyes.
"You are looking well, daughter." He said, she nodded.
"I am very well indeed." She told him, then looked back to the man who could only be a god. Kleitos did not miss how she looked at him, how her face glowed even more as he came up and took her hand. He saw how Eros looked upon his daughter, and could only be thankful that the Moirae had brought them together, and for his wife's foresight to allow Psyche to be able to choose her own husband. "Father, allow me to formally introduce you to my husband. This is Prince Eros of the Olympian's, god of love. Eros, this is my father, King Kleitos."
"It is an honor to finally meet you, father." Eros greeted his father-in-law with the upmost respect and a bow of his head.
"The honor is mine, son." Kleitos greeted as he bowed before the god, then rising again.
It was then that Psyche looked at the many others that had joined them in the entry hall. Her sisters stood their with their husbands and children. Lysandra stood beside her husband Crown Prince Hector, their three children, all sons, standing around them. Eugenia also stood near to her husband, Prince Jacob. Their young son and daughter standing near their father. Last but not least, Alexandra stood next to her dear husband King Dorian. Their five children stood around them, their eldest son was ten, the others had a year in between them, the youngest being nearly five.
"Sisters." Greeted Psyche, the three women immediately fell to their knees before her.
"Psyche, great Eros, we must beg for your forgiveness." Alexandra spoke, her head bowed low, though Psyche could still see the tracks of tears rolling down their cheeks. "We did not know… we thought…" She broke down, and the sight broke Psyche's heart.
"Alexandra," Psyche began, but was interrupted.
"We should have known," Lysandra said. "It is true, we were jealous when we saw the luxury you had been given, or at least Eugenia and I were. Alexandra… you know she is not like that."
"We could only think that something must be wrong here." Eugenia went on, finishing her sisters thought. "You had everything growing up, father clearly loved you more than us… in my mind, there was no way the Moirae would be so kind to you, giving you all of this and a husband who loves you even after you had been blessed with far more than the three of us put together. That was when the myth of the Persuader came to me, a story I had heard in my husbands realm from his sister."
"Psyche, you must know that the fear we felt for you was real." Alexandra told her, looking up into her sisters eyes, pleading with her to understand. "Eugenia and Lysandra may have their faults, their vanity and jealousy, but the fear I saw in their eyes when we were told of this monster was real. You are our sister, our baby sister… we truly only wanted your safety."
"We never dreamed you would go through what you did," Lysandra spoke up, Psyche looked to her sisters face and saw more honesty and sincerity than she had ever witnessed coming from her. "I cannot even begin to fathom the pain you suffered after losing him… then to realize you were pregnant… we did not know… we did not know." She cried.
Psyche went over to Lysandra and took her into her arms, then looked to her sisters and held her arms open to them. Alexandra and Eugenia joined in the embrace and they all cried together. Psyche knew that they did not know the half of what she went through. From aching for Eros, to watching those who were sent to protect her, be cut down right in front of her eyes. Seeing Eros again as he saved her, then getting on that horse and having to ride away while Heron died. Then the true journey began, walking through the woods and meadows, growing thinner by the day, her throat hurting so immensely from dehydration that it brought her to tears, that is until her tear ducts dried up.
Yet somehow, her child survived, and so did she. She found her way to that cave, falling into unconsciousness, waking to the warmth of Tristan's body held close to her, telling him not to give her wine. Then she and Tristan grew so close, she grew to love him to the point where she actually considered staying with him. Through every moment with him, no matter how close they were, she always knew he would never be enough. As she told Eros, it was like comparing the warmth of a hearth to the raging inferno of a wild fire, they simply could not compare.
But now she was here, with her husband, and all was well. She wanted to put that pain behind her, though she knew that the pain made her who she is, someone stronger than she ever imagined she could become.
"I forgive you sisters," Psyche cried. "I love you all."
"We love you, Psyche." They said as they continued to hold each other.
They smiled to each other and then helped Psyche to get to her feet. They looked to Eros as he walked over.
"Eros." They greeted with their heads bowed. "Please, forgive us for the pain we have caused you and your wife, our sister." Eros smiled kindly to them.
"Psyche has forgiven you, therefor you already have my forgiveness as well." He told them, wrapping an arm around his wife's waist.
The children then quickly greeted their aunt Psyche, she hugged them close and introduced them to their uncle Eros. He greeted them with a wide, smile, already wondering what their daughter would look like. After everyone had settled in, they ate lunch and caught up, having a truly great time. Psyche's sisters were surprised to find that their father paid them more attention than he ever had. After Kleitos heard Eugenia's words, a great guilt overcame him. He promised himself and his wife's shade that he would try and be a better father to them as well. They were all a part of his wife also after all.
The journey seemed longer than Tristan remembered it. His thoughts were filled with Psyche as he tried to prepare himself for seeing her with someone else. He thought of her smile, the way she lit up the last time he saw her. He reminded himself over and over again that she was happy with this man, this god. Her happiness would have to be enough for him, for he knew there was no chance for them to be together.
A dull ache, one that would sometimes become excruciating , was a constant within his chest. There were times he felt so utterly alone that he wanted to scream. It was maddening, having the woman you love be so desperately in love with another. And now he was stupid enough to go and witness it for himself. He was an idiot, a least a hundred times during this journey Tristan seriously considered turning around and returning to Athens. Each time he could not reason with himself why he changed his mind and kept going on towards the base of Mount Olympus, to Psyche. What could possibly be awaiting him there except for unbearable heartache?
Yet he kept going, camping at night and traveling through the cold winter days. The weather was surprisingly mild, though flurries did appear now and again, no serious storm hindered their journey. When the palace came into view, Tristan felt his heart constrict. This is it, he realized. Gods, do not let me do anything foolish.
As he approached the house, men appeared to take the horses of Tristan and his men. Tristan slid off of his gray stallion and took a deep breath as he walked down the path towards the front door. He was halfway down the long path when the door opened, the figure that emerged, covered in a long velvet fur trimmed coat made his breath catch in his throat. Psyche beamed as she looked at him and began running to him.
"Tristan!" She exclaimed, running into his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck as she laughed in delight.
Try as he might, Tristan could not deny just how good it felt to hold her in his arms again. He held her close, not able to help inhaling the scent of her carefully styled hair. His whole form curved against her and time lost all meaning. It was as if she was back with him in Athens, when there was still a chance for them, before she left him to return to the god she loved.
"I have missed you." He whispered before he could think to stop himself.
"And I you my friend." She told him, his heart sinking at the word 'friend' as she pulled back to look upon him. Her face was still glowing, her cheeks flushed with a rosy red from her happiness. "It has been far too long."
"It has." He agreed, not able to look away from her face. "You look well." She nodded her hands going to her womb.
"We," She said. "Are very well indeed!" She took his hand and began leading him towards her home. "Come, we have rooms ready for you."
"You knew I was coming?" He asked in surprise, for a while, he did not even know he was coming.
"Not at first, but I hoped." She told him.
Eros watched his wife as she led Tristan towards their home, he could not stop smiling seeing her so happy. It was clear how much Tristan meant to her, and Eros felt no jealousy. After tomorrow, if all went as planned, Tristan would not have much if any romantic interest in Psyche anymore. And Eros did not mind his wife having friends of the opposite sex; he trusted her and knew that he was it for her. The very look in her eyes every time they look at each other told him enough.
Eros held the door open as Psyche came in with Tristan, talking and laughing. Her eyes settled upon her husband, her smile somehow growing as she let go of Tristan's hand, going to kiss Eros a devoted kiss, making him laugh softly as she wrapped her arm around his waist and they turned to see Tristan watching him.
"Lord Eros." Tristan greeted with a cool courtesy, bowing his head once in respect.
"King Tristan." Eros greeted, holding his arm out in greeting, a smile on his lips.
Tristan clasped forearms with Eros, doing everything in his power to be civil for Psyche's sake. She loved this god, Tristan would not hurt her by disrespecting her husband.
"Come, I will show you to your rooms, and I can even show you the baby's room!" Psyche said, Tristan nodded. Psyche gave her husband a kiss on the cheek.
She went towards the staircase with Tristan at her side, she wrapped her arm through his, looking at him as they ascended the stairs to the second level of her home. She could not stop smiling, she was ecstatic that he had come, she had truly missed his company. She counted Tristan among her dearest friends and still wanted him to be a part of her life. She saw the sadness in his eyes, he still wanted her to be something to him that she could not be, a lover and a wife. Yet hopefully things were about to change drastically, and then things could be how they were meant to be between her and Tristan.
"Are there many attending tomorrows festivities?" Tristan asked.
"A few thousand." She told him with a bright smile. "Eros' family will be there. I have met many of them already, yet there are still many that I have yet to have the honor of meeting."
"Have you met Athena?" He asked, a true curiosity entering his soul. The goddess was the patron of his city, a deity he worshiped. Psyche nodded.
"I have." She told him.
"What is she like?" He asked.
"Not what you would expect." She told him. "The stories definitely do not do her justice. She is a lot like her mother and her father. She has a kindness and a kind of golden grace and elegance, yet she has her fathers strength and will, and his smile. Though she prefers to go by the name Ennina, since that was her birth name."
"Really?" He asked, she nodded.
"She is incredible." She told him. "She is actually Eros' grandmother."
"The virgin goddess?" He asked in shock.
"She is married." She told him. "Her son Alexander married Poseidon's daughter Dione. Alexander and Dione are the parents of Aphrodite, who is of course Eros' mother." Tristan still seemed bewildered. "I know, it was a lot for me to take in as well." They ascended a second set of stairs, going to the third level of the palace.
"The baby's room is right down here." She told him, going to the third door on the right.
Tristan followed her through the door, looking around at the nursery, something he had built in his own mind back when he thought that this baby might be raised as his. It was not what he imagined, it was far more beautiful. The walls were painted a cool violet, between purple and blue, while the molding at the top ran around the room and the baseboard were a metal akin to silver but much brighter, and embossed with flowers and vines. On the far wall from the door was a picture window, looking out over the lands beyond, the trees and even the beach in the distance could be seen, the ocean lapping at the shore.
Looking back to the room, to the right was a circular crib made from a carved marble veined with gold, more gold climbed up the bars of the crib in elegant designs. Shear drapes hung down from the ceiling, the white silk falling around the crib, held back by elegant loops of that silver metal. The bedding was an iridescent silver silk. There was also a mobile above the crib, nestled in the silk drapery, with white and blue glass figurines of Pegasus', doves and flying gods holding a bow and arrow, obviously representing the child's father.
Psyche sat down on the plush living chair as she looked around, her thoughts far away. Tristan saw the worry on her features as she looked down to where her hands were placed upon her womb lovingly.
"After I give birth, I am going to become immortal." Psyche told Tristan softly, still looking upon her womb. "Yet since this baby was conceived while I was still human, we will not know our child will become immortal or not. That means there is a chance I will have to watch my child age and die, and never reach immortality. Parents are not meant to bury their own children." A tear fell from her eye.
Tristan kneeled down before her, taking her hands into his own, giving her an encouraging smile.
"It will be alright." He promised, she nodded and then smiled.
"I should not be troubling you with this." She said apologetically, he shook his head and smiled.
"Trouble me." He told her, she nodded.
"Eros tells me the same, that all will go well." She told him. "I know he does not want to lose our baby either, I see how hard the thought is for him. He has had half brothers and sisters that he has had to watch slowly die when they reach old age, and others that died in combat or accidents. When our child is born, we will go to the Moirae and they will tell us our child's fate, whether or not he or she will ascend to divinity after their inevitable deaths." He gave her hands a squeeze.
"Have faith." He told her. "The Moirae have brought you this far, haven't they?" She smiled and nodded, taking a deep breath before getting to her feet.
"I will show you to your rooms." She told him. He nodded as she wrapped her arm around his and led him out of the door and back down to the second level.
The third level was simply for her and her husband and what children they will have, the second is for guest and has many suites. The first floor is a kind of common area for entertaining and relaxing. The rooms that were for Tristan were well and lavishly furnished with a grand balcony and glass doors. The entry room went into a sitting room.
"Your bedroom is through there," Psyche pointed through the open doors on the left. "There is also a bathing chamber with a heated bath, and also a closet with some clothing that will fit you well. I will leave you to get settled in, and if you need anything feel free to ask the maids." He nodded.
"Thank you." He told her, she nodded, looking into his eyes.
"I am grateful you came." She told him, he nodded, looking deep into her eyes.
"I did it for you." He told her.
"How have you been?" She asked him.
"I am dealing," He told her, giving her half a smile. "I will not lie, I have missed you, yet my work keeps me occupied."
"You need more than work in your life," She told him. "You need the companionship that I cannot give." He was silent for a time.
"Your point?" He asked.
"My point," She began. "Is that I want you to be happy, and I want you in my life. When the time comes and you meet the woman you are meant for, you will need to let me go."
"Easier said than done." He told her, still looking into her eyes. To his surprise, she gave him a kind of coy smile, leaving Tristan wondering why she, Eros and even Alexander would look at him and smile as if they knew something that he did not.
"I will see you at dinner." She told him, turning and walking out the door.
Psyche woke up bright and early to be prepared for the celebration. She bathed with Eros before they went their separate ways to dress. The nymphs laughed and chatted away with Psyche as they prepared her. Her black, wavy hair was softly woven back and carefully pinned up in an intricate style.
Sophia and Zoe helped Psyche to her feet as Xenia and Theodora lowered the rich red silk of her gown over their lady's head, sliding her arms through the sleeveless straps. Red silk billowed to her feet around her growing womb. as Xenia fastened the dress, Theodora fixing the dress in the front so it fell correctly as Xenia tied the sapphire blue sash around Psyche's waist.
Once the dress was properly in place, the jewelry was added. Psyche always loved this process; she always started out naked, a blank canvas, and slowly she became painted, adorned with colors, silks, jewels, to create a masterpiece, a true work of art.
When she was done, the silk shoes slipped on her feet, Psyche was brought before the enormous mirror in her closet. She smiled as she admired herself while the nymphs left her in peace. The bust of the dress covered her enlarged bosom in gathered red silk that thankfully offered her enough support; thanks to her mother Psyche had been blessed in that department, and now that she was with child, her breasts had grown even larger to prepare milk for her baby. The straps were held together with two identical gold medallions, the figures of unfurled wings with a misty blue gem at their center. Psyche was told the stone represented the soul. Just below her bust, a wide sash of sapphire blue silk went around her torso, tying at the back of the gown. The sash had little pale blue flowers, carved of the same stone as the gems on her medallions, embedded into the silk. From there down, the rich silk went around her womb in soft folds of silk which rustled against the floor when she moved. The hem of the gown had a stunning design in sapphire blue of doves in full flight.
Upon Psyche's head was her mothers diadem, crafted of gold with that stunning sapphire in the center. Her mother had worn it on her wedding day, and Psyche had worn the jewel while marrying her Eros… in that moment, Psyche had a secret hope that she was carrying a girl, a daughter to carry on the tradition. Her wrists were adorned with rubies and canary yellow diamonds, a matching necklace that fell like a waterfall down her chest adorned her neck. Her dark eyes danced next to the gems; her olive skin and black hair stood out even more next to all that majestic color.
As Psyche looked upon herself in the gilded full length mirror, she could not help but think of her mother. The thought brought tears to her eyes, making it difficult to breath. Her eyes slid shut and somehow, she could feel her mothers presence by her side, which only made her cry more even as she smiled.
"I love you mother." She whispered, and could so clearly feel the whispered return of those words from her beloved mother. She knew her mother was proud of her and that alone meant the world.
A warm pair of arms appeared around her, his hands coming to rest upon her womb. She smiled and leaned back against his form, her hands going over his. He leaned his head down to softly nuzzle her neck, she turned her face towards him, raising her hand to place upon his cheek while kissing the one that was closest to her face. Before they knew it, their lips found each others in an unconscious need as he carefully held his beloved wife closer.
"I love you so much, Psyche." He whispered, holding her and their baby close. "So incredibly much."
"And I you, more than life." She told him, looking into his eyes, the power of their love bringing tears to their eyes. He turned her around to face him, their cheeks still touching as they smiled, gaining a superhuman strength to their souls from the power of the bond they shared.
"Let me look at you." He whispered as he took a step back, taking her hands and holding them up as he looked upon her perfection. "Perfect." He said softly, meeting her eyes.
She took the chance to look him over. He wore a long, regal toga of sapphire blue trimmed in gold scrollwork; it hung from his body, fitting his muscular form perfectly. His feet clad in golden sandals of leather. His wrists and muscular upper arms were adorned with stunning armbands of gold, set with rubies and diamonds. He took her breath away; she truly loved how they were dressed to match one another. One more sweet kiss was shared before they went on their way.
Tristan waited downstairs as he spoke with Psyche's father about the state of their kingdoms. That was when he noticed Psyche coming down the stairs on her husbands arms. His jaw unhinged at the sight. Psyche gave him a warm smile, looking into his eyes. She needs to stop doing that, he thought to himself even as he returned the smile.
She sat beside her husband in red throne-like chairs upon a dais as gods and goddesses came to formally introduce themselves. The King and Queen of the Olympian's were the first in the procession. Zeus was a powerful figure indeed, with striking sky blue eyes that were filled with mirth and kindness yet an authority as well, silver curls and a very short silver beard. He was handsome, with strong and striking features and a crooked smile. He wore a toga that wrapped around his waist and draped over one shoulder, showing off his broad, tanned, muscled shoulders and abs. Upon his curls sat a diadem of silver with a single oval sapphire in the center.
On his arm was a stunning goddess, Hera herself. Her elegant features were breathtaking, a slim nose, an elegant jawline, and high cheekbones accompanied by full pink lips. Her eyes were the same gray blue as Eros' own, a trait she passed down to him through her son Ares. She wore an off the shoulder gown of pale blue crinkled silk that hugged her slim, hourglass shape, the silk softly falling from the curve of her hips down to her silver sandaled covered feet. Upon her head was a tiara that echoed her husbands, with a sapphire in the center, only hers was surrounded by pure white diamonds that sparkled like her stars on the clearest night. The Queen had a natural elegance, a mothers softness shining from her eyes along with the strength of a goddess, of a queen.
"Greetings grandson, and you granddaughter." Zeus greeted with a bow of his head, which Psyche and Eros returned.
"Greetings." Psyche said with a soft smile, trying to hide her nerves.
"Welcome to our family, Psyche." Hera said with a genuine warmth to her voice.
"Thank you." Psyche spoke and the royal couple walked away.
Next was the Crown Princess Ennina, Zeus and Hera's eldest daughter, along with one of her husbands, the Crown Prince Cronus. Ennina had her mother's beauty, and hair color, though her brown hair was in ringlets and her eyes were her fathers, that regal, rich sky blue. With her mothers grace and elegance, her fathers boldness and crooked smile, she was quite the goddess to behold.
Her husband Cronus, Zeus' foster father, was a strikingly handsome god. With cinnamon skin, bright pale green eyes, a strong jaw, a slim yet bold nose, perfect full lips, he was quite a sight to behold. His muscled body was mostly covered by his robe, his smile kind, his eyes drifting to his wife now and again and with each look one could see how in love he was with her.
"Congratulations to you both." Ennina spoke.
"We would wish you all the love there is, but I see you already have that." Cronus added.
"Thank you grandfather, grandmother." Eros spoke and Psyche thanked them as well.
Behind them were Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite. The King of the Seas was a striking figure; he stood well over six feet tall, with cropped blond hair and a short blond beard upon his unbearably handsome face, along with piercing gray green eyes that were as wild as the sea. He too was powerfully built and held himself with authority and regality.
His bride was truly a striking woman. Her platinum blond curls hung lose around her shoulders, her eyes were the same color as Aphrodite's own, a blue green like that of shallow waters in paradise. She held herself with a great confidence. She was her husbands half sister, their father being Oceanus.
Next came Aphrodite and Ares, arm in arm. Aphrodite wore a stunning golden gown that perhaps showed a bit more than it should, but the goddess had the confidence to pull it off. They offered their congratulations and their love.
The goddess of the harvest, Demeter, came to greet them. She was a stunning woman, with an oval shaped face, blond hair that was a mixture of honey, wheat and sunshine, and eyes the color of the first leaves of spring. There was an unfathomable sadness in those eyes that Psyche could not understand.
"Congratulations to you both." Demeter said, her smile seemed almost forced. With that, she walked away, leaving Psyche to wonder what had hurt her so much.
Artemis was next to greet them. The goddess of the hunt had her fathers sky blue eyes, with long, silky black hair and pale skin. Her willowy frame held a great elegance to it, and her face showed her mother Leto's beauty.
The god of music and light himself greeted his nephew and niece with a bright, shining smile, one fitting of a solar deity. Apollo wore a wreath of leaves upon his head of golden curls, his eyes were the same sky blue as his twin sister Artemis'. He was incredibly handsome, with golden tan skin and a strong and well built body. On his arm was a stunning woman with strawberry blond hair, a sweet smile and joyful aqua blue eyes.
"Hello my dear Eros! And Psyche, my dear!" Apollo greeted with great cheer, then looked to the woman at his side. "This is my dear Daphne, a water nymph of great renown." Daphne rolled her eyes.
"Hi." The nymph greeted.
"Congratulations on your marriage and your child to be." Apollo told them in all honesty. "Countless blessings upon you both."
"Thank you." Psyche replied and Eros followed suit, though he could not take his eyes off of his wife.
Hephaestus was next, his wife Aglaea was on his arm. The great god of the forge, son of Hera and Zeus, held quite a resemblance to his father, though he had his mothers gentle gray blue eyes and brown hair with his fathers curls. He was built like his father, tall and broad shouldered and well muscled.
Aglaea, one of the three Graces, was incredibly beautiful. With black hair and strikingly brilliant blue eyes, brighter than Zeus', and fair skin. Her face was different from the other goddesses but no less beautiful. Her lips were slightly finer, her nose longer, her cheekbones a little less pronounced on her heart shaped face.
"All the greatest happiness to you." Aglaea told them with a smile.
"I could not have said it better myself." Hephaestus said, giving his wife as smile as they walked away.
A god with sandy blond curls and sky blue eyes that Psyche was coming to recognize as a trait of those related to Zeus, was next in line. Hermes' eyes held a mischievous, humorous glint to them, and upon his feet were winged sandals. Upon his arm was none other than the goddess Merope, his dear wife. She had chocolate brown hair and fair skin, and was quite a radiant beauty.
Dionysus, god of wine and madness, was next. He had golden curls and his fathers sky blue eyes, a wide grin and clearly a jovial personality. He laughed as he offered Psyche and Eros his congratulations, wishing them the very best of luck and welcoming Psyche to the family.
Behind Dionysus was a god that Psyche had yet to meet; he bore a striking resemblance to Zeus, right down to his crooked smile. The god had Zeus sky blue eyes, they were a striking contrast to his cinnamon skin. His face was as handsome as Zeus and even had his curls, only his were black.
"Greetings nephew, and to you Psyche, niece." The god greeted with a bow and his crooked smile. "Psyche, allow me to introduce myself. I am Ariston of the Olympian's, son of Zeus." He had a charisma about him, a natural and easy charm that he obviously inherited his father.
"It is an honor to meet you, my lord." Psyche greeted.
Psyche met countless other gods, even her own family came up to greet her and introduce themselves to Eros. Psyche could not fathom how she was supposed to remember all those names, Eros heard that thought and laughed as he whispered in her ear. "I will help you, just think the question." She gave him a grateful smile.
When all was said and done, the guests gave Eros and Psyche some space to breath, instead going to the enormous tables of fruits and hors d'oeuvres as they made conversation. Psyche looked at their guests before looking to Eros, there was something she wanted to know, something in her made her keep her voice low as she leaned close to her husband.
"What made the goddess Demeter so heartbroken?" Psyche asked Eros quietly, he sighed, glancing around as he discreetly put a shield up around them so that no one else would hear the words they were about to exchange, it was an extremely sensitive topic at the moment.
"Her daughter, Persephone, goddess of spring and rebirth," He told her. "And Hades, King of the Underworld. That is what troubles her. She believes Hades kidnapped her daughter." Psyche gasped.
"Did he?" She asked, he shook his head.
"According to Zeus, they ran off together to wed since Demeter was so fiercely against the union." He told her, his eyes holding a great fear. "Persephone fell in love with Hades, as he fell for her. I could see it each time they were near each other at banquets, there was a spark, a building attraction, something destined. Apparently, Hades went to Demeter and asked for her permission to wed Persephone, to which she refused. A few days later, Persephone went missing and after a few months of searching, it became known to Demeter that her daughter was in fact in the Underworld, with its king.
"Zeus is a good father and a good king, he would not lie about this. He has said that Hades came to him with Persephone and asked for her hand, he agreed, seeing that they loved each other. What worries all of us is what Demeter might do. She wants Persephone back." Psyche tried to wrap her mind around the magnitude of this, not only Life and Death being a destined pair… but what the wrath of the Harvest Goddess could do to the world.
Eros gave Psyche's hand a squeeze, bringing her out of her thoughts as she met his smiling eyes.
"Lets not speak of this today," He told her. "Tensions are already high; this celebration will give everyone a reason to celebrate, a respite from their thoughts. This is our day, a celebration of the fact that by some miracle, not only are we together, we are expecting our first child." She smiled and nodded.
"Kiss me and I will forget." She said with a teasing smile, one he matched as he leaned over and kissed her like there was no tomorrow.
They sat there holding hands as they looked out over their friends and family. Psyche felt happy and content, completely blissful, knowing that all was well. This grand hall had been arranged for this occasion with many sitting area's in the massive space, along with far more fresh flowers and views of the outside, where it had just started to snow.
Psyche took notice of Ariston, the son of Zeus she met earlier. He was flirting a nymph as she blushed and looked up at him through her eye lashes. At one point, he began kissing her as she playfully pushed him away and laughed. A while later, Ariston was sitting with his brothers Ares, Apollo and Hermes, talking and laughing as they drank the wine offered to them. She noticed how he shamelessly flirted with the passing nymphs, holding and kissing their hands while saying words to them that made them blush. Theodora and Xenia ended up sitting on either side of him, flirting just as shamelessly and obviously enjoying his attention.
"Is he always like that?" Psyche asked her husband, he glanced over to uncle and smiled.
"You have to understand, he has his reasons for his being so... free with his affections." Eros told her. Psyche watched as Ariston whispered into the Xenia's ear, then kiss her neck ardently.
"He is not very discrete about it." Psyche said.
"Am I when I kiss you?" He asked, making Psyche blush as she met his eyes. "He does not know the kind of love we know, not yet at least." Eros told her, kissing her hand. "You should not be so quick to judge him, he has not had it easy."
"What do you mean?" Psyche asked, wanting to know the story.
"In short, he was one the king of Thera, back before the volcano erupted and destroyed most of what was there." Eros told her. "During his reign, to save his island from destruction at the hands of a powerful emperor, he married a woman he cared nothing for. She was the daughter of that emperor; Ariston was told that it was the only way to save his land and people. In short, the woman made his life a living hell. They barely got along at first, though after their son Christo was born they were more friendly towards each other.
"Not only did Ariston raise his son mostly on his own, with the help of his own mother, he raised his wife's two daughters from her previous marriage as his own and loved them as such. He did everything in his power to keep his children away from their mothers controlling grasp, those children only had a chance to become all they were because of him." Psyche looked over at Ariston, feeling a new respect for him.
"When he was in his mid fifties, he met his end. A nearby island wanted to expand their holdings and attacked without warning. He fought with his army and won, but took a poisoned arrow to the chest. When his mortal body gave out, he joined the ranks of the gods as he was meant to, as a son of Zeus by a mortal woman his soul was strong enough to ascend.
"That was nearly two thousand years ago. Since then, he has finally been free of that woman he wed. He is happy, as you can see." Eros finished and Psyche smiled.
"What of his son? Christo?" Psyche asked. "Is he a god as well?" Eros shook his head, trying to keep the worry he felt from his face.
"Christo took his rightful place as his fathers heir," Eros said. "He married a wonderful woman, with whom he was devotedly in love with, and they had several children. Yet he was only one quarter a god, his death came peacefully when he was ninety-three, with his children, grandchildren and father surrounding him."
Eros and Psyche's thoughts were on in the same in that moment. He looked down to where his daughter grew, his heart nearly breaking at the very thought of losing her, of only getting a few decades of her presence in his life before she passed on. The thought of losing this precious little baby to old age one day, was about as torturous a thought for Eros as losing Psyche had been. He knew that Psyche would rise and become a goddess shortly after giving birth, seeing as how she was his soul mate. Yet even if they had other children that were immortal after that… the thought of losing his unborn daughter was unbearable.
Eros reached out and placed his hand upon Psyche's womb, then met her worried eyes and gave he a smile. He kissed her lips and then leaned over the arms of their chairs and kissed her womb, leaning his ear against there to hear his daughters little heartbeat. He had to be strong for her, and for her mother. So he took a deep breath and just focused on the moment instead of worrying about the future. He reminded himself that worry and reality were two vastly different things, and held onto the conviction that she would arise to immortality.
Eros leaned up and kissed Psyche, his hand caressing the side of her cheek and making her smile.
"It will be alright, our child will arise when the time comes." He promised Psyche, his words had a profound effect upon her soul, bringing her a calm and a comfort. "I love you both so very much."
"And we love you." She told him, looking into his eyes.
Psyche laid her head on her husbands shoulder as they listened to the music being played. It calmed her and soothed her soul, the feeling of the music and Eros's hand holding hers tightly with his arm wrapped around her shoulders.
Eros knew the moment was soon to come and soon began smiling, knowing Psyche would not want to miss what was about to take place.
"Psyche," Eros said and she looked up to see the twinkle within his eyes. "Watch this." He said softly, nodding his head.
Psyche followed the direction of his eyes, seeing over the crowd, trying to find what he meant. Hundreds danced while others were lost in conversation. She saw Ennina laughing with Poseidon, who was apparently one of her husbands. She saw Sophia flirting with Ariston, and Zeus speaking with his daughter Artemis. Yet with everything going on, her eye was inexplicably drawn somewhere else in that moment. Tristan of Athens stood in the crowd, looking sullen. Psyche's every sense was heightened, she felt as if something monumental, something life changing was about to happen.
Tristan finished off the grapes he had been eating. He did not dare look up to where Psyche and her husband sat. He felt overwhelmed and yet completely alone in this crowed hall. Coming here was a mistake, why in the name of the gods did I put myself through this? He could not even begin to fathom what he thought might happen. He came here for what? Closure? What was the point in closure when he did not want to let her go?
She was married, happily so, with a child on the way… and yet the hold she had over him would not let go. It was as if she had dug a knife into his soul, and every time he saw her with him it twisted further and further. The noise around him suddenly became too much, he had to get out of here.
Tristan began backing up, paying no mind to where he was going as he turned around to head for the exit. As he turned, he felt a slight body bump into his own. He looked down to apologize and in that moment was rendered speechless by the sight that he was met with. So beautiful… His mind echoed through as time seemed to stop.
Her eyes were the first thing he saw, they were a blue green like the crystal clear waters he played in as a child. Her eyes seemed to sparkle just as the waters had and probably still did. Looking into her eyes… he could not quite describe what he found there, he could not completely understand it himself. It was as if her eyes were whispering a secret that only his soul, and not his ringing ears, could understand.
What he felt…what did he feel? He could not comprehend it, all he knew was that he could not look away. Perhaps it was her eyes, they almost made him feel half a child again, carefree and happy. His eyes left hers only long enough to take in the beauty of her face; he found she was half a head shorter than him. Her skin was that of peaches and cream, her high cheek bones and cheeks filled with a perfect pink blush, her hair golden and pulled up behind her head, her lips full and perfect and begging to be kissed as they were pulled up into a smile.
Tristan shook his head softly in wonder and then looked up into her eyes again, still in wonder at what she made him feel. And the way she looked at him, in some kind of breathless fascination and curiosity… something seemed to click into place and two words rang through Tristan's mind, Life changing.
It was only when he saw her lips moving that he realized she had said something to him, and then suddenly the world began turning again, only it was a vastly different reality than the one he had existed in before.
"I am sorry?" He said, she smiled a crooked grin at him.
"Not a very good listener, are you?" She asked, her eyes teasing. It is hard to hear anything over the pounding of my own heart, his thought.
"My most sincere apologies." He told her, trying his best to keep his voice above a whisper. "Who are you?" Tristan asked, not able to look away from her as she smirked, her eyes alight with mischief.
"That was my question." She told him with a laugh, her head tilting to the side just a bit as her eyes shone.
"King Tristan of Athens," He introduced himself as he gave a sweeping bow. "At your service, my lady." She laughed.
"Arise, my king." She said, he did as he was told, looking up to see her watching him with that same smile. She stepped up to him and his heart nearly stopped as she slid her arm through his, the contact with her warm skin on his bare forearm sending a shiver down his spine. "I am in need of refreshments." She said as she led him towards where a servant was carrying a tray.
Tristan was surprised by her forwardness, yet all he could think of was how her delicate arm was wrapped through his, the tingle of her skin… he could not understand what she was doing to him. When they came upon Tristan handed the woman on his arm a goblet of nectar, she thanked him and took a sip as she watched him.
"You do not want any?" She asked.
"I do not drink." He told her, she raised an elegant blond eyebrow.
"And why is that, my king?" She asked, a curiosity in her eyes that made him smile despite himself.
"My fathers influence," He told her, feeling an ache within him at the thought of his departed father. "He taught that drinking can lead to many bad decisions."
"Only if you drink too much." She told him, giving him a wink as she took another sip. Giggling at the look of surprise on his face, she looked into his eyes for a time.
"Please tell me your name." Tristan nearly begged, somehow needing to hear her say it, desperate for the word to leave her lips.
"Melia of Argos, daughter of Aphrodite and Damocles." She introduced herself, giving a little curtsy.
"A goddess?" He asked, wondering if that was why he seemed to be under her spell. She shook her head.
"My father was mortal, so that makes me a demigod." She told him, then looked him over once more, biting her lip in a way that made Tristan fascinated with the action, and with her lips.
A new song began playing that most got up to dance for. It was just the right pace, with just the right amount of drums. Melia began swaying to the music, singing the lyrics she knew well as Tristan continued to watch her. She looked at him and laughed as she tugged on his hand.
"Dance with me!" She proclaimed over the music.
They joined in the dancers, clapping to the music as they moved around and with one another. The grace in Melia's every motion took what was left of his breath away as he moved with her, not able to help the smile on his lips.
The music kept on, one song flowing seamlessly into another. Melia danced circles around Tristan, her laughter surrounding him as other nymphs joined in with her. They joined hands and danced around him as their laughter surrounded him. The nymphs were stunningly beautiful, but only Melia had his attention.
Psyche watched Tristan dance with none other than Eros' sister, Melia if she remembered correctly. Tristan had not smiled like that since… in truth, she was not sure if she had ever seen him smile like that; and Melia's smile was much the same as his as she laughed out loud. Psyche's heart filled with love and pure joy, she glanced at her husband, seeing his proud face.
"Did you arrange this?" She asked, he nodded.
"You asked me to find someone for him," He reminded her. "And it was not all me, my mother had a hand in their match as well. You are not the only one who loves Tristan who asked the gods for this." Psyche shook her head and then kissed Eros with everything she had within her.
"I love you!" She proclaimed, making Eros laugh in delight and kiss her again.
"Shall we join the celebration?" He asked, she nodded.
Eros helped Psyche to her feet, leading her into the dancing bodies as he took her into his arms, dancing as they had in her meadow in those summer days that witnessed the beginning of their relationship. Eros sang to Psyche as he spun her around, her smile beamed back at him as they moved. Psyche danced until her feet were sore, her body too tired to go on.
When it was time for Dinner, both Tristan and Melia's skin held a sheen from the exertion of their dancing. He could not describe what happened during their dance, or how it felt to hold her in his arms during the slow dances, and to lift her into the air by her waist when the beat quickened. Melia stayed by his side for the rest of the celebration, insisting he sit with her at dinner where they made good conversation.
Tristan glanced up to the head table to see Psyche laughing as she spoke to Aphrodite. Eros sat beside Psyche, gazing at her with the most loving expression as he smiled. Tristan glanced back to Melia who sat at his side, watching him. She looked up to Psyche and her brother, then back to Tristan.
"What happened?" Melia asked, her eyes curious. "Why do you look at her like that?" Tristan looked at the table around them, glad to see that everyone was too engrossed in their own conversations to pay them any mind. He leaned back in his chair as he looked into Melia's compassionate blue green eyes.
"I was in love with her, but she met your brother first." He told her. "While they were parted, she ended up in Athens. I hoped to keep her with me, yet she loved him more." Tristan felt a kind of desperation as he looked into Melia's eyes, realizing that these last few hours with her were the first time in months he has felt any kind of relief. He did not know what he would do when the night came to an end.
"She has spoken of you." Melia said, glancing towards Psyche before meeting Tristan's eyes again. "You are a precious friend to her." He nodded, already knowing that.
Melia reached out in that moment and held his hand on the arm of his chair, and that small touch meant more than he could say. He held onto her hand, having a sudden urge to kiss her every knuckle that he had to repress, not knowing how it would be received. Whatever this was between them, it was perfect how it was, and Tristan refused to ruin the potential by making too bold a move.
"Care to walk me to my room?" Melia asked, since the night was at an end and most of the guests had already left. Eros and Psyche had retired hours ago.
"You are staying here?" Tristan asked in surprise.
"The festivities last for the next three days," She told him. "Seeing as how teleportation is not one of my skills, my brother invited me to stay here."
"I see." He said softly, trying hard not to think of the implications of the two of them staying under the same roof. "I would be honored to accompany you." She smiled and wrapped her arm through his again.
They made small talk on the way, seeing as how there was still so much Tristan wanted to know about this enchanting woman. The halls they walked were lit by firelight, and looking at Melia, Tristan could not get over just how beautiful she was, not to mention the look in her eyes. He found his hand resting upon her own that laid upon his arm, the action was so natural that he could not even remember making a conscious decision to touch her.
"What age are you?" She asked.
"Twenty-eight," He told her. "And you?"
"Twenty-six." She told him, looking into his eyes for a time before looking to the door they arrived at. "Here I am."
They stopped and she turned to him, finding that Tristan still held her hand that lingered upon his arm. They stared at their hands, neither one daring to move. Then, slowly, they looked up into each others eyes. Slowly, he began leaning down, looking into her eyes until he moved his head just enough to the side to kiss her cheek softly, lingering there as her lilac scent filled his every breath, making him wish this moment would never end as his head swam with her enchanting scent.
Just as slowly, he pulled back to stand before her, looking into her eyes and wishing he knew what was thinking as her lips parted.
"Goodnight." He said softly, she smiled softly and nodded.
He bent down and kissed her hand before slowly letting it go, lingering for a moment more just to see her face before he turned and headed for his rooms. Melia watched him walk away, turning down the hall and disappearing from her view. She went into her rooms, closing the door behind her and then leaning against it as her heart fluttered out of her chest. She smiled, her head lulling back as the greatest joy filled her soul. One thing was for certain, there was no way she was going to be able to sleep tonight.
No matter how he tried, Tristan of Athens could not sleep. All he could think about was her, that wondrous, mysterious woman he met today. He sighed, throwing his legs over the side of the bed and getting to his feet, slipping on a long robe and heading out of his room. The palace was enormous, though thankfully I found my way to the first level and the living room.
I sat down in the dimly lit room, watching the fire. He did not notice the woman who entered behind him. She stood there, watching him as he sat unaware. She wished she was a goddess, only so that his mind would be open to her. Was he thinking of her? Was she the reason he could not sleep? She finally decided to speak. She had to talk with him, she needed to hear his voice.
"I suppose Hypnos was as unkind to you as he was to me." She said, shocking Tristan as he whipped his head around while simultaneously getting to his feet to face her.
"Melia." He greeted softly, a smile upon his face that made her light up.
"The one and only." She said, flashing that stunning smile for him. "May I join you?"
"By all means." He said, waving his hand to the couch he had been on.
She walked over to him, her heart fluttering in her chest as his pounded at the very sight of her. Somehow, just her drawing nearer to him made his blood run hotter… yet at the same time, he felt at peace. This odd mixture of desperately intense emotions was confusing to him to say the least.
They sat down side by side, looking into each others eyes, not able to help their smiles and the blush that painted their cheeks as they finally broke eye contact. Melia was rarely ever this shy. Perhaps it was not shyness, she soon came to realize that all she wanted was to be in his presence, even if no words were spoken. Somehow, the silence seemed far more important than words… there was something sacred about it.
And so they sat before that fire, looking at each other through the corners of their eyes. Melia turned and looked at him then, just wanting to drink him in. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye and she laughed out loud at the little smirk that was on his face. And of course, her infectious laughter made it impossible not to join in the sound.
"Tell me something about you, anything." He said as he looked into her eyes.
"What would you like to know?" She asked.
"Do you live with your father?" He asked, a sad look came into her eyes.
"I did." She told him, that sadness creeping into her heart. "I spent time with my mother as well, though the gods think that a child could be raised in the world they will live in. Since I am destined to live a mortal life, I stayed with my father once I was old enough. Mother visited all the time though." She took a deep breath. "I was sixteen when my father died. He was in a tavern with friends. A man there kept harassing one of the barmaids, my father stood up for her, and the man beat him to death. My mother came for me as soon as she heard, holding me as I cried as I have never cried before. Then she took me to her home on Olympus, where she lives with her husband Ares. He had always been kind to me, and still is. I have been living there for the past ten years since."
Tristan was shocked at her story.
"My father died as well." He told her. "Four months ago."
"How?" She asked.
"It was simply his time." He told her. "He went peacefully."
"I guess that is something we have in common, the loss of our fathers." She said, he nodded.
"I am sorry." He told her, she nodded.
"As am I for your loss." She told him, taking his hand, feeling that amazing comfort flow through her. She closed her eyes and sighed at the feeling as Tristan gazed upon her in wonder. She opened her eyes and gave him a soft smile as she stood up, pulling Tristan to his feet. "Come on."
"Where are we going?" He asked.
"I am hungry." She told him.
He stood, his fingers still interlaced with her own as she guided him through her brothers halls and to the kitchen. She opened up the door to the cold room, going inside and finding what she searched for. She brought it out and found two spoons.
"I knew Eros would keep this around, it is Psyche's favorite dessert." She said as she let go of Tristan's hand to open the container. "She likes strawberry, but I have always been more partial to chocolate."
Inside was none other than chocolate ice cream mixed with a swirl of gooey chocolate syrup. She knew her brother would not mind, it was not as if it would be all that difficult to acquire more. She carved her spoon into the hard surface and rose triumphant, taking a bite of the delicious dessert. Tristan watched her in fascination, the way her eyes slid shut, and the sound she made as her face turned to bliss when she tasted the sweet, cold treat. She opened her eyes and saw him watching her, she blushed and giggled.
"Try some." She said, using her spoon to carve out another bite. She held it up to him and all he could think about as he took the bite, was that her mouth had also touched this spoon.
He registered the taste, surprised it was so cold. He let the substance melt in his mouth, it was a pleasant sensation. Melia watched him, and as she did so, she felt her breath hitch in her throat from the way he was looking at her. In the next moment, in an action he was only partly in control over, he suddenly leaned down and kissed her full on the lips, and he was certain in that moment that the entire world stopped. The experience was something like the moment a star goes supernova, that explosion of power!
There was no break, no moment after that first kiss where they looked at each other in a slightly shy way as some lovers would do. Instead, that heavenly kiss took on an indescribable amount of passion. Neither of them were sure how it happened, how their bodies ended up pressed together, their hands all over each other. Thoughts of any kind hardly registered within their minds, feeling was the only thing that was real. Tristan found that she tasted of chocolate, a known aphrodisiac, just as the ice cream had, yet there was something different to the taste, something that was somehow uniquely her, something he could not get enough of.
Before either of them knew what was happening, he had lifted her up and set her down on the counter that was closest to them. His lips were at her neck, his hands all over her as she pulled at his robe. His hands gliding hungrily up the outside of her thighs, pushing her robe up. One of his hands went into her hair as the other cradled her backside. His hand slid down her neck and underneath her night robe, to her shoulder.
"You are naked." He whispered in surprise.
She finally got the knot of his robe undone, her hands running down to the top of his pants.
"You are not." She whispered breathlessly, then smiled to him. "Lets remedy that, shall we?"
She suddenly pulled them down, her hand going to caress him as she then began kissing his neck and guiding him closer. Before anything could be said, they were suddenly joined in that most sacred of ways, both of them gasping as a sound of pleasure came forth. He looked into her eyes then, feeling her body pressed up against his, her thighs and legs latched around his hips… and she looked upon him, feeling him inside of her, warm and hard and strong, and they were gone…
When that moment finally came, they both cried out in release, and in that extraordinary moment, it was as if the entire universe opened up for them to see. Then they just looked upon each other, not able to form any thought beyond that they were together, holding each other, and had just made love. She laid her head upon his shoulder in exhaustion as she held him close, the two of them still half clothed. He held her close, cradling her body against his own, while his knees wanted to give out.
"I love you." He whispered, not knowing where the words came from, only knowing that they were the truth. She smiled.
"I know that, silly." She breathed, cuddling her face into the side of his neck. "And I love you."
After a time of holding each other, still basking in the afterglow, he helped her off the counter as they put their clothing back in place and cleaned up the mess they made. He took her hand and led her up the stairs, trying to be quiet as they made their way back to his room, where he carefully closed the door behind him, then turned to look upon her.
"I think that was the most impulsive thing I have ever done." He told her, she laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck, looking up into his eyes.
"Tell me this is not it for us." She said softly, her eyes begging. "Tell me it was not only this once that you wanted me." He smiled, smoothing her hair back.
"I will always want you." He said softly, meaning the proclamation with every fiber of his being as Melia smiled, her soul soaring. "Stay with me tonight?" She nodded.
"Bathe me." She whispered.
"Only if you return the favor." He whispered back in a husky tone and laughed with her this time.
He led her to the bathing tub in his room, they slowly undressed each other form their sweaty clothing, their hands slowly exploring each other as they did so. Melia began kissing Tristan's chest, her hands running over his flat stomach. He made a sound deep within his throat as his hands went to her hips, she laughed and looked into his eyes.
"Do I turn you on?" She asked, feeling just what was arising between them.
"Are you truly asking me that?" He asked, pulling her close and kissing her neck as she laughed again.
He scooped her up into his arms as she held onto his neck, looking into his sapphire eyes as he walked them into the water. He carefully and softly washed her body in the water, treating the task as the sacred gift it was to him. When he set her on her feet, she took the soap and washcloth and began cleaning him, every bit of him.
This kind of heady intoxication was nothing he had ever experienced, not even in the warm kisses he shared with Psyche. No, this was something entirely different, something passionate and powerful. She teased him, knowing just how it effected him, how she consumed him, ridding his mind of every logical thought. All he knew was he wanted more, he wanted her.
Getting carried away, they soon found, was far too easy to do. One kiss led to another, her legs were wrapped around his waist, her back against the wall of the pool as they found themselves making love again as the water sloshed around them. They laughed as they moved together, kissing and holding each other close, not able to believe anything could feel so good, so incredibly right, as this did. Neither of them ever wanted these passions to end, for their bodies to ever part…
They were both thoroughly exhausted by the time they got into bed, yet neither could sleep. As he looked into her eyes, there was something very important he wanted to ask her.
"Was that your first time with a man?" He asked, thinking of their first sexual encounter in the kitchen.
"No." She told him softly.
"Who was he?" Tristan asked, truly curious.
"There were three before you." She told him which surprised him greatly. "You must understand, both my mother and my grandmother are goddesses of love and sex… the did not discourage me from such things. They told me it was my body and my choice whom I gave it to."
"I guess I should rephrase my question then." He said. "Who were they?"
"The first was named Demetrius." She told him. "My father had chosen him as my husband shortly before his death. I cared for him, and when I came here to live with my mother and stepfather, I missed him deeply. Mother allowed me to visit him, and on one of those visits…"
"I see." Tristan said. In truth he did not like the thought of anyone else touching her… yet he kept theses feelings in check, reminding himself that it was before they had met. "What happened with him?"
"I visited him often after that first time." She told him, her mind going far away. "One night, I was missing him more than I could say. I asked my mother to send me to him, and when I arrived… he was with another woman." Tristan was even more outraged at this than he had been at the thought of this man touching her. "He told me she meant nothing to him… and no matter how much he pleaded for my forgiveness… I could not stop hating him for what he did. I spoke to my mother and she canceled the marriage contract between us."
"He was an idiot." Tristan stated, Melia smiled at his words.
"I agree." She told him and her smile calmed his soul. She was here with him, that was all that mattered. "The second man was a god, a son of Zeus by the name of Porus. He has his fathers easy charm and charisma… it was not difficult for him to get me into bed, and truth be told, I wanted it, I wanted him. I needed something different after Demetrius, and he was it. He was passionate and funny, and our relationship was like a shooting star, a quick burst of light that was destined to fly out of sight. After a year together, the passion boiled down and nothing was the same. We agreed to go our separate ways and remain friends.
"The third I was also engaged to. A demigod son of Poseidon." Melia smiled as she thought of him, and Tristan could not deny he was a bit jealous to say the least. "I loved him. He was wild and romantic, and exciting! We were crazy about each other. We had been together for three months when he asked my mother for my hand and she agreed. When I heard the news, instead of feeling the joy I should have… I felt dread, and I knew in that moment that we were not meant to be together. I know I broke his heart when I told him this, and I hated myself for it." Tristan looked into her eyes, he looked more vulnerable than she had ever seen him.
"And are you going to break my heart as well?" He asked softly, she shook her head as she placed her hand upon his cheek.
"Not if I can help it." She told him. "Hurting you would be too much for my soul to bear." She leaned in and kissed him.
"I swear to never hurt you either." He told her as his forehead rested to hers. "I have never felt anything like this. I searched far and wide for a good woman who would make me a good wife. Then I met Psyche and thought she was it, yet by that time she was already in too deep with your brother. When she left to be with him… I thought she was taking my last hope for happiness away." He laughed then at the way things had turned out. "Now I know what Eros meant when he said that attending this celebration would be a life changing event."
"You leave your home with a broken heart, and return with a wife." Melia said as she chuckled. He opened his eyes and looked into her own.
"You would truly want to marry me?" He asked her, his eyes hopeful and yet uncertain. "Would you not want to instead wed a god? Become an immortal goddess?" She laughed once, looking down for a moment.
"It does not quite work that way." She said softly, then met his eyes again. "You have to be the gods soul mate to achieve immortality, otherwise you will stay mortal and grow old and die while they stay the same."
"Oh." Was his simple reply, not knowing what else to say. She looked deep into his eyes.
"I feel like I have known you my whole life," She told him. "The way I feel when I am around you… it is what my mother always described love, true love, to be. If I am what you want, then go to my mother tomorrow and ask for my hand."
"First thing in the morning." He told her, she smiled in an enticing way.
"Not first thing," She told him. "I have plans for you in the morning." He smiled and held her close as her body curved against him. They sighed together in this perfect kind of bliss.
She was not like Psyche. This woman was witty, and teasing, and shameless, yet she held a kind of classic, elegant grace. Her exuberant spirit brought him to life with a frightening intensity. It was as if he had spent his entire life in a fog, not able to see two feet ahead of him, until he met her. And no matter how he felt for Psyche, it had never been this, perhaps close but nowhere near this intense.
How was he to know how much was out there? That what he felt for Psyche was just the beginning? He wondered if in the history of lovers, two beings had ever fallen in love so quickly and completely. He could not comprehend the fact that he had known Melia for less than a day, it felt as if they had known each other for so much longer. His heart somehow knew that they had lived and loved each other before; being with her did not feel the beginning… this was more of a continuance of a love that had lasted throughout all of time. All he knew for certain was that he was here, and so was she, in his arms, her blue green eyes looking into his. Now that they had each other, everything fit together, their lives made sense.
Author's Note: ! I HAVE BEEN LONGING TO WRITE THIS FOR TRISTAN FOR MOST OF THE BOOK! I hated having him missurable for so long, but it was how the story went for me and I knew he would have his happiness :) I am SO excited to hear what you thought of this chapter 3 And thank you to each and every one of you who review, it means the WORLD to me!