After the drinking contest, I retreated to the edge of the firelight and tried to sit down. I kinda just fell down, but it’s okay. Pretty sure that whatever Eros had me drinking, it was more than just alcohol. 

Hate and Jealousy whined when they saw Artemis appear and start dancing with Iain. They kept looking at her, then back at me. They love her, Goddess of the Hunt and all.

“Well, go on. Go greet her if you want,” I scowled at them.

The girls whined again, looked at each other, back at me, then lay down at my feet.

I rubbed each of them around the neck. “Thank you for staying,” I whispered.

The satyrs re-stoked the fire and then the party really got underway. Drinking was happening in earnest and soon the copious amounts of alcohol were being readily converted into song, dance and laughter. The smell of wood smoke wafted around the clearing on island breezes.

Artemis was wearing a stunning beaded gown that was cut down the front, slit up the side and completely open in the back. I watched as she and Iain danced. His hands were on her arms and shoulders. I closed my eyes for a moment and remembered the feel of her body against mine.

Okay, this isn’t helping anything,” I thought.

When I opened my eyes again, Artemis and Iain were smiling at each other and swaying to the music from the pipes being played. Hate and Jealousy had settled down and were now snoozing at my feet.

I watched the dancing for a while. Many of the satyrs and nymphs joined in with the gods and goddesses. Nyx joined them as well. Her sheer black gown clung to her slender form. She also wore a mantle, clasped at the neck, which flowed behind her. All of it was offset by a breathtaking necklace that glittered against her dark skin. Nyx was stunning. She was tall, easily several inches taller than anyone else, but she moved so sensuously. She rotated from partner to partner as she danced. Smiling and laughing, she danced with both men and women alike. Nyx and I were always friendly, sometimes even flirty, but I never saw her as overtly sexual and desirable before now. I closed my eyes again. The alcohol was wearing off and reality was rolling back in. When I opened them, everyone was still dancing. Everyone except Nyx; she was gone. She probably went to mingle elsewhere. I watched as Eros and Nike stood talking off to the side of the bonfire. They were across from me and quite obviously up to something.

A darker darkness moved next to me.

“Nyx,” I said as I jumped, startled.

She sat down next to me, stretched out her long silky legs, but said nothing.

I looked over at her. Exotic, it really is the only word for Nyx. Well, exotic and beautiful.

“It’s been a wonderful party, Nyx. I’m glad your new temple here has been blessed with good cheer tonight.”

Nyx smiled, then answered, “I’m glad it has gone well. Sometimes you never know with this family.” She laughed her throaty laugh. Her voice was smooth and velvety, like what silk would sound like if it could talk. I always liked Nyx. She is upfront and plain spoken. She also possessed an aura of sensuality that I really was experiencing just for the first time tonight.

“Yes, you’re right. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what may happen,” I agreed.

Nyx leaned toward me and said, “Speaking of unexpected, did you not want my gift?”

I stammered, “N-Nyx, I meant it. I’m honored to be chosen, but that was something I needed to do.”

Nyx nodded, then looked me up and down like a predator eyeing her prey. “I was just surprised. After all, you went to such trouble to win.”

That’s when it hit me. “So, you knew, didn’t you? You knew Nike dosed me with victory glitter,” I replied.

“I am older than the universe. Of course I knew.”

I looked back out at the dancing. “That’s why you tormented me. That’s why you kept referring to Iain as ‘consort’.”

She leaned in closer. “You are getting wiser all the time. Surely you know how much I dislike being deceived? You could’ve come and talked to me.”

I turned to look at her. Her eyes twinkled like stars, pulsing brighter at times, then softer. Her skin, a midnight shade of the pitchest black with occasional flashes and movements, seemed to reflect the night sky. It was completely offset by the luminous quality of her hair, which seemed to shimmer and glow between white and silver.

“Will you forgive me, Nyx? I did it for the right reasons.”

Nyx smiled. “Maybe the right reasons for you. You eased your conscience. But you didn’t soothe your ache.”

I continued to stare at the dancers around the fire. There was no need to respond. 

Nyx shifted closer and put her hand on my knee. “But why don’t you see? You’re not the only one who aches.” 

I looked down at her hand, then back up into her eyes. “I expected you to be angry, Nyx,” I whispered.

Nyx smiled and said, “I dislike deception, but I’ve always admired bravado. Not even Zeus would try and pull a stunt like that with me.” She leaned in even closer. Our faces were only a few inches apart.

I kissed her. 

She immediately wrapped an arm around my neck and kissed me back. After a minute or two, she pulled back and stood up. “Come with me,” she said as she held out her hand.

I took her hand and she led me away from the firelight. The girls got up and followed at a distance. We moved away from the firelight and the stars on Nyx’s skin, which mirrored the constellations, became much more visible. After a short walk she turned back to me, and we kissed again. I ran my hands up and down her back.

There was a rustle of her wings as she took on her true primordial form. Her wings pulled in to her body. Despite being an immortal god, I have very little up close experience with wings. I was fascinated as we kissed and I ran my hands lightly along the tips.

“That’s so sensitive,” murmured Nyx as she looked down and shivered, like when someone rubs lightly up your back and gives you a chill. After a minute of stroking, her wings extended fully out to the side. I put my arms back around her neck and ran my fingers up through her luminous hair.

“Would you…would you like to go back to Tartarus?” she struggled to say as I trailed my lips down and around her throat.

“Very much,” I replied. “Is that what you want?”

Nyx folded her wings forward and completely around me. To any outside observer, we now looked like nothing more than a deeper spot of night on the horizon.

“Oh, yes,” she said as she now let her head loll backwards. I took advantage of the opportunity and brushed my lips along her collar and shoulders. She was now squirming in my arms. We needed to take this somewhere more private as soon as possible.

“Stop, stop” she said after another minute or two.

“Stop?” I asked, confused as I pulled back from kissing the side of her face.

She pulled her wings back.

“Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s just…just that I have to give a closing and thank everyone for coming out. Please, walk back with me. Once that is done, we can spend all the time we need to finish what we started here.”

“I’m going to hold you to that,” I said as I looked into her eyes.

Nyx smiled at me as we started walking back.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to hold it to you also.”

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