I was here, but not really. I had just experienced the most blissful soak and was still feeling a bit misty when I sensed his presence. As I climbed out of the tub, he took the towel from my hand and tossed it to the floor. He drew closer, his lips gently caressing the back of my neck. Turning me around, he continued to worship my body with his, dissolving every bit of my reluctance. I was his willing courtesan. This he knew, only wanting me now. I wanted him for myself, forever just us, and nothing else. Amber? Aeaea? Suzanne? Why was I here? The woman in me had consented to giving it all up.
How could I not? Brady was fiercely gentle. As he held me against the shower wall, his hands firmly pinning mine above my head. With moss beneath our feet and water cascading over our bodies, we were lost in the wild. I had no idea what excited me more, his method of capturing what he wanted or the sensational presence of nature. Our bodies united, yet somehow, it became more than just us. This moment was expressive and uncharted. I was experiencing unrenowned awareness. This woodland shower represented a portal for everything I desired and more. Who knew? I knew. He was my consort. What else was there for me to do but surrender to his steamy demands?
Bewitched by our lovemaking, Brady invited me with his eyes as he hungrily turned and pressed my breasts against the black stone wall. I was his captive. I have been since my temporary detention in jail. But now, this was my chance to enchant him. From the way I understood mortal relationships, the more a person gives in to their partner, the greater the balance of power. Who was I kidding? I am the goddess in this relationship!
Tantalizing him like warm, savory butter, I knew Brady was mine. As our rhythm eased, he placed his forehead on the back of my shoulder. Heaving and whispering his affections in my ear, I couldn’t help but notice a bite mark at the base of his thumb. This was not a mark of passion from me, nor was it a dog bite. Just like that, that feeling of bliss vaporized with the steam. This was too easy. I had to ask. “What happened?” I deliberately played coy because I knew I was being played.
“What happened,” he sniggered. “We just had some amazing sex! What do you think just happened?”
Trying to keep it playful, I giggled and said, “I know that! I meant, what’s happened to your hand?”
His lips no sooner started moving when I knew he was trying to outsmart me. Peering at me through slick, sodden hair, he blushed as if he was an embarrassed wet puppy. “While you and Amber were out the other day, a strange dog came into the yard.”
“Yeah. I was concerned that our dogs would get into a fight. So, I did what I could to lure it away with a piece of meat. That’s when it bit me.”
Damn! He really thought his virility was that blinding! There are some things you can stroke and others you can poke, but the intuition and wisdom of a goddess can withstand most, if not all, pricks.
“You don’t say. The neighbor’s dog?” I did my best to hide the aggravation, but…
“Circe, what’s going on with your eyes?”
There he was, stark naked and wide open. The time had come to give this mortal his due.
I could hear Amber chatting away in the sunroom. Who was with her? I would figure that out soon enough. I was more interested in grabbing a hot, steaming cup of tea first. I shuffled towards the kitchen, throwing my hair up into a loosely placed top knot. I actually sucked at hair styling. It was one reason I liked having Amber around. She loved playing with hair. Although, this time, I couldn’t care less what it looked like, and it matched my attire, unkempt and relaxed. Nothing beats an oversized shirt and baggy bottoms. They screamed cozy and comfortable!
She was certainly going on about something in there. “Hey, Amber! Everything ok?” She didn’t hear me. How could she? She wasn’t pausing to take a breath! What was she going on about? At this point, I knew she was alone. Brady was occupied, and Suzanne wouldn’t put up with being bulldozed like that. She must still be upset over our little scuffle earlier in the day. That would explain the lit candles softly illuminating the room and the kettle of hot water on the stove. It was her way of easing the tension and apologizing for being upset with me, even though I happened to find her in my room.
None of that mattered any longer. She had given me the time I asked for, and if I neglected to say so, the candles were the perfect touch. The entire kitchen was reminiscent of my synergeio on Aeaea. Living in an earthship made it easy to design a room without windows that could be used as both a workshop and kitchen. My favorite part about this lab was the thickly glazed countertops that bedazzled the room with candlelight. Dare I say, the light that bounced off of them was wickedly lustrous.
I happened to enjoy the many different colors of tea and loved watching the brewed infusion swirl about. So, I grabbed a clear glass kettle along with my favorite cup and went to the sunroom to join Amber. I walked in to find Amber sitting on the floor in front of a tall window, chatting with a golden orb spider. She was clearly distressed, and I stopped to listen.
“As the protector of esoteric wisdom, I only teach when the student is ready.”
Confused by this statement, Amber asked, “How do I know if I’m ready?”
The spider inquired, “How do you know you’re the student?”
Bowing her head, Amber conceded, “Touche’.”
“It’s not up to you,” said the spider. “I will tell you when you’re ready.”
Not pleased with the answer, Amber went on to challenge the spider. “So tell me, Miss Weaver. How will you know?”
“This is not your concern. If growth and understanding are what you seek, you must unlearn what you think you know and align yourself with the unknown. This takes great courage and faith on your part. The wisdom you seek does not require my presence. It requires yours.”
The spider scurried further up the web as I inched closer to the conversation. “Amber?” I quizzed. She heard nothing. This was a very unusual experience I was witnessing. It was almost as if she was in another world.
Miss Weaver continued, “My purpose is to remind you that the past, present, and future are one. Lives are woven together with individual cycles. What you live today has already happened and will be again. Do not fear the fallout. Lean into it. Learn from it. Use it wisely and make the most of it.”
With that, the spider vanished through a crack in the wood trim. Curious about what I had just observed, I called out to Amber again. Reluctantly, she turned her head in my direction, and with tears in her eyes, she responded, “Yes?”
At this point, I could see she was holding several colorful stones. “Ooh, those are pretty! Where did you get those?” I asked.
Nearly catatonic, she just stared ahead and said, “I’ve lost one. Somewhere, I’ve lost the smokey quartz.”
I couldn’t stand seeing her like this and felt the need to offer a bit of reassurance. “I’m sure you have nothing to worry about. If it was lost in the house, it will turn up. Tell me what we’re looking for. How big was it?”
Curiously, Amber suddenly snapped out of her stupor and remarked, “Speaking of turning up, where’s Brady? I haven’t seen him since this morning!”
And wouldn’t you know, our newest wet dog came bounding into the room, as if on cue.
Disconcerted, I turned and walked away. The last forty-five minutes was more than I anticipated. I expected to watch the sunset with an exquisite cup of tea and my newest friend, Amber. Instead, I found her consulting with a spider while crying over a missing stone, which was surprisingly interrupted by Brady running in and making a mess of things.
“Circe! Check this out!” Amber shouted as she ran up to me in the hall. “I found the smokey quartz! Well, I guess you could say the dog found my necklace. Believe it or not, it was stuck in his coat.”
“Really. Where do you suppose he picked that up?” I asked.
Red-faced and shaking her head, she replied, “I wouldn’t know.”
Amber prevented me from asking another question by asking one herself. “Where did this mutt come from, and how did he get to be so wet?”
With a smidge of remorse, I said, “I wouldn’t know.”
Right then, Brady feverishly shook the water from his coat, showering Amber and me as a testament to the secrets about to be exposed. Instinctively I threw my hands up and shouted, “Stamato!”
With that, everything froze in time. I needed a moment or two to sort my thoughts and set shit straight.
Amber was talking to a spider. How was this even possible?
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