She’s early. Of course she is. What did I expect of the ever proper Muse of History? What did Attie see in her? She said she had trickster potential. I don’t see it. I see a challenge.
She’s known me since I was a kid, but that was a long time ago. Now she’s my target. My next conquest. My pièce de résistance. The prim and proper Muse of History. It’s irresistible.
Hmm, maybe I do know what Attie sees in her. The need to corrupt the paragon of purity.
I drop onto the bench next to her, crowding her and far too close to be appropriate. My voice is deep and husky. “Fancy seeing you here.”
She practically jumps out of her skin, smacking my arm. “Don’t scare me!”
I smirk wickedly, settling in next to her. “Why not? It’s so easy.”
She rolls her eyes at me, leaning away as far as possible without scooting away. Her arms are crossed across her chest. The sounds of the play beginning make me glance around. “Where are they?”
Attie and Eris are nowhere in sight. She shrugs her delicate shoulders, still leaning away. “Probably doing something they aren’t supposed to do.”
She’s practically bristling at my continued closeness. Irresistible. I settle in next to her, wrapping my arm around her back, pulling her into my side. Her face burns red, looking up at me. “What are you doing?”
I don’t move, keeping my hand on her back. “Getting comfortable, is that alright with you?”
She scoots away from me slightly. “It isn’t.”
I close the distance between us. “What? Does it bother you?”
Her spine stiffens, but she doesn’t try to move away again. She hates that I make her uncomfortable, and I’m enjoying doing so a little too much.
“Hush, it’s starting.”
When the music starts, I move my hand to her back, trailing my fingers up and down her spine, my eyes locked on the stage. But I’m clocking every breath she makes. I hear her gulp and the way she tries to shift away from me again.
Leaning into her, I take the eyes off the play, growling into her ear, “Scared?”
“N-No.” Her breath is quicker, and I can hear her heart pounding.
“Then why are you scooting away?” I whisper.
She slaps a hand on my chest. “Because you smell.” She smirks, her heart racing.
“You are a terrible liar.”
She’s blushing, her cheeks are red, and her body temperature is going up. If there’s one thing I’m very aware of, it’s sexual attraction. The Muse of History should really be better at this.
She focuses on the stage. “Am not.”
I wonder if she knows that her nipples are pointing through her chiton. “Want to play a game?”
She shivers, even as she’s radiating heat. “What game?”
I smirk wickedly, my fingers continuing to trail up and down her spine. “How long do you think I can touch you before you give in and kiss me?”
She grinds her teeth, hissing, “Easy. I won’t.”
“And you can’t move,” I add.
She gulps again. “I still won’t kiss you.”
I snicker softly. Game on, little muse.
“We’ll see about that, won’t we?” My fingers dance up to her lower neck, moving her hair to the side, baring her nape. “Tell me about the play.”
She shivers again. “You should be paying attention.”
I trail a single finger down her spine, moving her chiton to the side, so there’s nothing between my fingers and her skin. “I’m watching what interests me.”
She grabs my hand. “Eros!”
I tsk and say against her ear, “You are not supposed to move.”
She narrows her eyes at me before moving her hand back to her lap. “You won’t win.”
I press even closer to her, my fingers drawing designs on her shoulder, watching as goosebumps form in the wake of my touch. I pause for a moment, blowing softly against her bare skin and feel her shiver.
I can hear her heart race faster and her breathing escalate. My fingers move down her spine, lingering at the base of it, her back arches ever so slightly.
“You should just give in.”
Even teasing her, I’m teasing myself. I want more than just stolen touches in the back of a theater. I want her to straddle my hips. I want to fuck her while the play goes on behind us with my hand covering her mouth when she screams my name.
She turns to look at me, trying to lean away when she realizes how close I am. Her pupils are blown and her cheeks flushed. Clio’s voice cracks slightly as she says, “Then you’d win.”
I always do, muse. I always do.
But my own breath is shaky, touching her is torturing me. Far more than it should be. This is something I do all the time, but the more aroused she becomes, the more I shake.
“What if we both won?” I blurt out. What wouldn’t I give up to have her? I’ve had a crush on her since I was a kid. Who doesn’t dream of finally fucking their childhood crush?
She relaxes slightly into me, her eyes dropping to my lips, her voice dazed. “H-How would I-I win?”
You’d win when I taste those pouty nipples, that dripping pussy. When you scream my name loud enough to bring down Olympus.
My eyes drop to her lips, licking my own. “I’d bring you pleasure the likes of which you’ve never known.”
Say yes. Say yes, and I can fuck you. Give us what we both want.
Her eyes glow. “Y-You would?”
I nod, whispering huskily, “I’m the god of love and sex, little muse. There is no comparison.”
She breathes before pressing a whisper of a kiss to my lips.
I’m a breath away from yanking her into my lap, but the applause as the first act finishes breaks the fragile spell. I pull away slightly. “Come with me.”
Her eyes widen. “To where?”
She shakes her head, pulling away from me as the audience settles. “N-No.”
She wants me. Why the fuck is she being so stubborn? She kissed me! I could practically taste her arousal. My eyes narrow. “Why?”
She looks up at me as I stand. “You won. You got your kiss.”
This is so much more than just a kiss!
“Why are you being so stubborn?” I snap. “You are attracted to me. I’m attracted to you. Sex. It’s not that complicated.”
She stands, glaring at me. “Are you serious?”
Rarely. This just happens to be one of those times.
“Yes,” I bite out.
Her face contorts in disgust as she sits back in her seat, focusing on the stage. “If you are looking for a quick fuck, then go find someone else.”
My blood is boiling, and if I don’t leave now, I’m going to do something we both will regret. I hiss at her, storming away.
It’s been a week since the play, and I’m still simmering with rage. It’s coiled beneath my skin, a viper ready to strike at any moment, waiting for the next person foolish enough to cross me.
At the moment, it’s likely going to be my mother. She’s invited—read, forced—me to her gathering.
It’s not exactly fair to most mortals and immortals for my mother and me to be in the same room. You think one God of Love is trouble? Try two.
My mother is reclining on her throne, watching her half-dressed attendants dance around the room. I’m at her side, wearing a half chiton, sprawled on overstuffed pillows, enjoying the show.
“You look truly out of your element, my son,” my mother purrs to me.
I raise a brow to her. “What do you mean, Miteras?”
She gestures vaguely to the dancing attendants. “You normally would have picked a partner by now, or two or three.”
Or four or five. I invented the term share the love.
But she has a point. What am I waiting for?
She laughs at my look, picking up a golden goblet and sipping from it. “There’s nothing wrong with being particular, Eros.”
I grab some grapes from a tray, frowning as I plop one in my mouth. “But it’s not normal. Not for me.”
My mother’s head comes up with a smirk when the doors open. “Muse! You’re here!”
My body coils tight, my cock immediately at attention. Fuck, how the fuck did my mother know? I force my body to relax into the pillows, feeling my mother’s identical eyes on me, analyzing me.
Clio keeps her head low, focused on the notebook in her hands. “You called for me?”
My mother smiles. “Yes, come sit.”
She points to the pillows next to me, and I grind my teeth to keep from snapping at my mother for setting me up. Clio’s face goes red when she sees me, and her gulp is audible even as she takes the seat beside me. Her back is stick straight, every inch of her body on edge. Her voice is frosty. “What is it you’d like me to do, Aphrodite?”
My mother leans an arm on her throne. “You’re the Muse of History,” she gestures to the gathering, “record.”
My mother smirks before standing, joining the attendants in a dance. Clio tenses more, taking a few steady breaths, before obeying.
“Are you planning to ignore me?” I snarl, sitting up fully next to her.
She frowns at me. “You’re the one ignoring me.”
Fuck, why is she bringing out my petulant side?
“I am? How? You’re the one who didn’t say anything to me.”
I know you are, but what am I?
She lifts her chin higher, “You’re the one who…who…” she sighs frustratedly, looking down at her notebook. “I have work to do.”
I hiss, “You’re such a coward.”
She almost tears her notebook in half. “A coward?!”
“You can’t even tell me off when I’m being an asshole.”
Her teeth gnash. “I can.”
My eyes watch her face, locked on every twitch of expression. “Then do it.”
She takes a deep breath. “You’re an…an ass!”
I shoot her a droll look. “That’s it?”
She sticks her tongue out at me before going back to scribbling. “Stop distracting me.”
I roll my eyes at her, lounging back on the pillows. “You and I both know this is not an event of historical significance. You are only here to serve my mother’s vanity.”
And because my mother knows me too well. Far more than I ever give her credit for.
She shrugs, forcing a casualness I know she doesn’t feel. “She summoned me for a job, and I will complete it.”
I scoff, picking up my forgotten goblet, “And you do everything you’re told?”
“Yes. I do.”
I take a sip of my drink. “Gods, you never rebel? I wonder what Attie sees in you.”
The statement is almost acidic on my tongue. Too close to a lie.
“I guess you’ll never know.” She goes back to her notes, dismissing me.
My teeth grind, my pride stinging. I’m the God of Love, the fairest of us all. I don’t get dismissed! And certainly not by some…muse!
I stand. “I suppose I should participate since you’re…recording and all.”
Dismiss me? Me!
I grab the closest attendant, dipping her over my arm, kissing her deeply. She moans into my mouth, and I straighten with her, allowing her to lead me into the group. I follow her to a male, and I pull them both to a lounge, kissing each of them deeply. Putting on a show, even as I unclip their chitons, leaving them bare for me to play with.
But the sound of the door slamming shut pulls me away from them, and I stiffen when I find Clio’s spot empty. I shouldn’t go after her.
I shouldn’t go after her.
I shouldn’t go after her.
But I’m outside the gathering, grabbing her arm in the next breath. “What are you doing?”
Her eyes, those beautiful, soulful brown eyes, look up at me, welling tears. A prickle of something that feels close to shame shoots down my spine. That cannot be right.
“Why do you care?” she snaps, yanking her arm away.
Why do I care?
She shoves away, storming off, but I chase her, grabbing her arm again. I don’t chase people. They chase me. “Why are you crying?”
She claws my hand. “Doesn’t matter.”
I yank on her arm too hard, making her fall into my chest. “It matters to me.”
Why? Why does it matter? Why does she matter?
“I…I…” The God of Love, lost for words.
Her eyes water more. “I’m just another trophy for you.”
She shoves away from me, and my mouth opens, but no sound comes out. She runs off, and I whirl away from the sight. I need to fuck. Storming back into the gathering, I lose myself in the attendants, burning through partners. Trying and failing to get the sight of her tears out of my head.
My eyes open and I am staring into Clio’s kaleidoscope eyes. I flinch away from the boiling anger and self-hatred brought on by reliving some of my worst moments. Knowing she saw me at my worst.
I curl in a ball away from her, whispering brokenly, “Why did you make me do that?”
Clio’s body tenses. “L-Lykos…”
“Didn’t I hate myself enough already?” I shouldn’t lash out at her, she didn’t alter my memories, they were only the truth. The truth of what I am.
The cruel son of Aphrodite.
“I…I d-didn’t want to h-hurt you,” she whispers, her voice clogged with tears.
Wasn’t enough to lash out in the past, huh, Eros? You had to hurt her in the present too.
I look back at her. “I’m sorry, it’s not your fault.”
She shakes her head, starting to get out of bed. “It…It is. I shouldn’t have insisted.”
I grab her arm, pulling her back to me, wrapping my body around her. “Stay. Don’t leave me alone with the memories.”
She curls into me, sniffling. “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
I shake my head. “No, you were right to…to push the issue.”
She looks up at me, placing her hands on my cheeks. “I still love you. I love every part of you.”
My eyes water, and my throat clogs. “Why? I’m cruel, vindictive, there’s a difference between being a trickster and being malicious. I was…I was deliberately malicious.”
She rubs her thumb along my cheek, “You were lost, Lykos. It was a dark time for everyone, and you’ve proven to me that you are a better god. You’ve shown me love and kindness. I can’t spend another day without you.”
I break a little more at her words, burying my face against her shoulder. “I hate leaving you, even to go to work. But I force myself to go because I smother you. Yet everything in me is screaming to lock you up and throw away the key. So I don’t lose you again.”
She laughs softly, kissing my cheeks and neck. “We should go on a vacation. Just you, me, and the children.”
“I love you, Aren,” I whisper into her skin. “I’m lost without you.”
She kisses my neck again, sucking the skin softly, nibbling it. She constantly leaves little marks on me. “You’ll never have to go without me again.”
I growl softly at her, “You’re trying to distract me.”
She giggles, pulling away and cupping my cheeks. “I’m trying to express how much I love you.” She kisses my nose. “I am so very happy to be with you, Lykos. No matter the scars and our past. I will love you forever.”
She humbles me. Her faith, her love. I’ll never deserve it.
“Where do you want to go?” I sigh.