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By Alana Church
Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2017 Alana Church
~~ All characters in this book are over 18. ~~
Our Story So Far…
Far back in the mists of time, following the fall of Troy, the great Gods and Goddess - Zeus, Athena, Hades, Apollo, Aphrodite, Demeter, and the rest of their immortal kin - decided that their presence on Earth was too disruptive. Rather than entangle the mortals in their unending schemes for power and preeminence, the immmortals decided to withdraw to Olympus, the ancient home of the gods.
But, lest their worship cease and the gods fail (for, as all know, for gods, the worship and faith of mortals is necessary as bread and water is for mortal kind) they each of them left a seed, a tiny fragment of their divine will, in a chosen priest or priestess. Through them, prayers could be answered, small miracles accomplished, and the worship of the Olympians would endure.
And so it did, as the long slow centuries rolled by.
But, as was fated to be, two Olympians quarreled. Ares, and Aphrodite his lover, who had borne his children, Phobos and Deimos, reached an impasse which no one, god or mortal, could bridge. Tiring of his cruelty and lust for violence, she spurned him, never to return. Her children, true sons of their father, the god of war and strife, left her, cleaving to their immortal sire.
But the actions of the immortals have repercussions in the world below. When war came again to Earth, the chosen emissary of Ares stalked and slew Aphrodite’s vessel. Her high priestess was shot down in her very temple, as if she were no more than a dog.
But the high priestess of Aphrodite had foreseen that day, and had laid plans of her own. Placed in limbo by her priestess, the spirit of Aphrodite survived, captured in a bronze effigy. For seven long decades she endured in a statue - blind, deaf, and mute.
But, when chance came, when a mortal who worshiped the ancient Olympians laid a hand on the statue which was both Aphrodite’s salvation and her prison, the goddess escaped. She took up her place in the mind of Phaedra Laskaris, a mortal woman who honored the Gods of Greece.
Phaedra was a scholar, skilled in the knowledge of ancient Hellas. Thin, timid, scarred, and sexless, nevertheless Aphrodite chose to use her. With her heavenly power, Aphrodite healed the scars on her body and her soul, remaking her in her own image. Phaedra emerged one fateful evening, a true daughter of the goddess, beautiful and lovely and filled with holy passion.
Desire which found its match in her foster-son, Nikephoros Antonopolous. Drawn by Phaedra’s unearthly beauty, guided by Aphrodite, the young man, fifteen years Phaedra’s junior, became her lover. The love which had been the fondness of a kind young man for the older woman who had taken him in when his parents had died blossomed into sexual desire, undeniable and uncontrollable.
Nick and Phaedra became lovers. One, Aphrodite’s vessel; the other, Aphrodite’s lover.
Our story resumes, nineteen years later.
Titania frowned at the computer screen, absent-mindedly chewing on a strand of her hair. It was all well and good for her mother to tell her to write a history of the goddess Aphrodite, and how she had rejoined the world. It was another thing to make it actually sound credible! Who would believe that a tiny fraction of the goddess of love and sexual desire had been bound in a statue for three quarters of a century, only to be freed by a woman whose grandmother had raised her in the worship of the deities of ancient Greece? And that the goddess had, in turn, gifted her with a beauty which transcended the mortal?
And that she and her foster son had fallen in love, had wed, and had, barely nine months later, given birth to a daughter.
There was a faint sound on the edge of her hearing. She smiled as she caught the sound of her parents returning from work. Their voices, light and teasing, carried up to her bedroom on the second floor of the house.
“Hey,” she called, walking out of her room to lean over the balustrade of the staircase that led up from the ground floor.
“Hello, sweetheart,” her mother said, unbuttoning her silk blouse as she skipped lightly up the stairs. She sighed happily as she shed the garment and her bra, her hands next finding the zipper of her skirt. “I’m glad to be out of this damned thing.” She gave her daughter a quick hug.
“Hedonist,” her husband teased, only a few steps behind, pulling his wife into an embrace.
Even at over fifty years of age, Phaedra Antonopolous (formerly Phaedra Laskaris) possessed a beauty which would have made her the envy of women half her age, had they been permitted to see it. But her immortal companion Aphrodite cloaked her in an illusion which mimicked the scars she had borne for over thirty years, the vestige of a night of terror when her family had been all but wiped out in a house fire. Only Titania and her husband saw her true form, with long black hair, only faintly threaded with silver, which fell to the small of her back; dark, olive-colored skin; and a body which somehow combined the ripeness of youth with the allure of a mature woman. Her legs were long and shapely, her waist slender, and her breasts would have seemed almost too large for her body had they not been as perfectly proportioned as they were.
Now she laughed, her head tilted back to smile up at her foster-son and husband, the son of her best friend, who had died in an automobile accident when Nick was only a small child.
“You know me too well.” Her hand dropped to caress his buttocks. “But why are you still wearing these silly clothes? We’re home and we aren’t planning on going back out this evening. The goddess,” she said, her voice dropping a register, though she lost none of her teasing tone, “demands that you dress appropriately. We have plans for you.”
“Help me, Tania,” her father said, looking up. “I’m being nagged to death by beautiful women.”
The CEO of Aphrodite, Incorporated wasted no time in loosening his tie and shrugging out of his suit jacket, however, following his wife and daughter into the master bedroom. “You know, it’s really fun being rich. I just wish it didn’t mean I had to spend so much time dealing with a bunch of corporate jackassery.”
“It’s a new word. I just made it up.” He unbuttoned his dress shirt, revealing a well-muscled chest and flat stomach. “Seven vice-presidents who took three hours to tell me something that Aphrodite told us last week.” He sighed. “I’m just glad they came to the same conclusion she did. That way I can take their advice and not overrule them. It’s nice to have a reputation for infallibility, but sooner or later someone is going to notice.”
~And do what? Who is going to suspect the truth?~
“No one, most likely.” He flipped a hand at Phaedra, though the gesture was meant for Aphrodite, who had joined the conversation. “But still. People get a little weirded out when you never make a mistake.”
“Which is why you’re so careful to make small ones every once in a while.” Phaedra pulled him close with an arm around his waist, reaching up to kiss his cheek, while a full breast pressed against his side.
Titania had barely known a day when her parents were not wealthy. A few months after Aphrodite had merged with her mother, the two had married. In order to hide the somewhat taboo nature of their relationship, they had moved from St. Louis, the home of their birth, to Boston. Shortly after his graduation from Boston University, Nikephoros Antanopolous had, with his foster-mother’s support and with the goddess’ guidance, launched a new on-line dating site.
Aphrodite.com had been spectacularly successful almost from the moment of its inception. Using the goddess of love and desire as a resource had been a stroke of genius. In mere months Nick and Phaedra had grown wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. The website was now the undisputed ruler of matchmaking and dating apps. The money had enabled them to buy a beautiful home and engage in a lifestyle which neither of them would have believed possible in the penny-pinching years of the past.
“Oh, that’s so much better,” Phaedra sighed, pushing down her panties. In moments, she had wrapped her hips in a close-fitting white chiton which left her breasts bare and allowed her legs free and easy movement. “One of these days I’m going to show up at a stockholder’s meeting like this, just to see the look on their faces.”
“Promises, promises,” her father replied. “Sweetheart, turn around, will you? Or leave the room.”
“You don’t have anything I haven’t seen before, Daddy,” she teased. “Lots of times.”
Her father colored and she giggled. The goddess and her mother laughed outright. Her father had never gotten quite used to the fact that his foster-mother (and wife) was playing host to an immortal sex goddess. Despite nearly two decades living in close proximity to Aphrodite, he had not quite lost all of his sexual shyness.
“Listen, Titania. You know the rules. I don’t ask you about your sex life, and you don’t tease me about mine.”
She stuck out her lower lip in a mock pout. “Really, Daddy. You’re getting to be a complete bore.” Nevertheless, she turned her back, though she kept speaking to the wall. “It’s not as if I don’t know what you and Mom do in here.”
~Not often enough.~
Her father let out an exasperated sigh. “Aphrodite, holy goddess, mistress of the maiden’s allure, six times a day wouldn’t be often enough for you.”
There was a silence, which sounded decidedly grumpy.
Aphrodite was, to a large extent, responsible for the change in the family fortune. As well as advising Nick and Phaedra on how to bring lovers together on their website, in recent years she had branched out into writing a blog (using Phaedra’s hands for the typing), which had morphed into an advice column which was carried by newspapers worldwide. “Ask Aphrodite” was read by millions of people every week. Her frank, no-nonsense prose (filtered of course, through Phaedra) addressed issues ranging from sexual hang-ups and kinks, to relationship questions, to investment advice, to ways to spice up life in the bedroom, to the best ways for women to assert themselves outside the bedroom. It was rumored that her endorsement alone was worth hundreds of thousands of votes in national elections.
It was then no surprise that this led to an interesting family dynamic. Aphrodite was immaterial, but still bore a large amount of power, both economically and with her influence over Phaedra and (to a lesser extent) Nick and Titania. On those infrequent occasions when she and either Phaedra or Nick quarreled, the mood in the house went beyond tense, into some unexplored territory which Nick had once referred to as “DEFCON Two.” The arrogance of a goddess who had watched dozens of generations be born, sire their own children, and then die was not lessened, even though she was forced to share space in Phaedra’s mind.
In the quiet of the bedroom, the sound of the zipper being raised was loudly audible. Titania took that opportunity to break the mood, spinning back to face her parents. “So what was the big meeting about?”
Her father huffed a laugh, pulling a gray t-shirt down over his head. The movement barely mussed the tight black curls. “They wanted to expand again. Russia, this time. Your mother and I shot them down. The capital expenditures would be too great, and I think we’re overextended financially. Let the effing russkies get along without us for a while.”
“And what have you been doing all day, daughter mine?” her mother asked.
She shrugged, frowning. “I did some work on the project. But I don’t know if I got the tone right. When I was writing it, it sort of came out all…old-timey. Like I was reading from the bible, you know?”
A mental snort rang through the room. ~The bible? I hope you haven’t been reading that nonsense. What a load of tripe! How can a god who let himself get nailed to a tree be worthy of worship?~
The three of them who were in physical form met each other’s eyes, grimacing. Aphrodite’s antipathy towards Christianity sometimes bordered on parody. Nothing was more assured to draw her fury than a mention of Jesus. And if any of the Roman emperors who had done their best to stamp out the worship of the old gods and goddesses of Greece, Rome, and the barbarian tribes of Europe were brought up, they were in for a rough night indeed.
“Yes, goddess,” Phaedra soothed her. “But you must admit, the more ancient the language, the more hold it has on mortal hearts. We are trained almost from birth to revere the cadences spoken by men and women who have left this earth.
“Besides,” she said with a sudden smile. “It’s not like you and your kin were above playing with mortals.”
“True that,” Nick put in. “Hornier than a flock of goats, from what I recall.”
Aphrodite tried to hold a dignified silence, but could not help herself. ~All the more reason to believe. What better way to keep the hold on a young mortal’s mind, than with the tempting thought that Aphrodite or Demeter might grace him with her presence? Better that than Jesus, who never had an impure thought. Or laughed, as far as I can tell. The most interesting thing he ever did was die.~
“So, no one came over here to keep you company?” her mother teased. “Aaron? Blake? Eric?” She slanted a look at her husband. “Lois?”
“You can’t get a rise out of me that easy,” he replied. “If Tania’s lesbian, that’s fine. I still love her.”
“I’m not. Stop teasing him, Mama. It was just the one time. Though I liked it. A lot.”
~I will never understand humans. What does it matter if the child prefers women?~
“Less now than it used to, thank goodness.”
Titania’s eyes narrowed. Sometimes it seemed that her parents, and Aphrodite as well, were taking an unhealthy interest in her sex life.
Which was silly. She had never had the slightest doubts where her own sexuality was concerned. She had discovered masturbation at an early age, and had lost her virginity, smoothly and easily, at fifteen. Since that time she’d had several boyfriends, though none had captured her heart with the soul-searing love that her parents claimed they shared.
“No,” she replied, answering her mother’s question. “Just hung out.” She sighed and stretched. “I’ll be glad when classes finally start. Having the summer off was nice. But I’m ready to get started with school.”
“Well, maybe you’ll find yourself a nice young man there,” her mother said. “Of course,” she said with a wicked smile and a toss of her head. “I had to raid the local high school to find someone who could satisfy me.”
Nick laughed and pulled her into an embrace. She tipped her head up, and he kissed her with casual thoroughness.
They’re so beautiful.
Her heart ached as she watched the two of them. To see them together was to witness a love both startling in its purity and a carefree lust which could stir the blood of the most dried-up stick of a priest. Her mother moaned slightly, her mouth parting as she returned her husband’s kiss, and her hands rose and tangled in the close-packed curls of his head. As Titania watched, her nipples rose and tightened, peaking into hard, wine-colored nubs on the tips of her spectacular breasts. Her groin rocked back and forth, rubbing slowly, sensuously, against her husband’s bulging crotch.