Beauty Divine, Pain Be Thine Part 3
If you haven't read the introduction through Chapter 25, please
go to my page and read through parts 1 & 2.
The four friends continue their journey. Chapters 26-30
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Aphrodite giggled. She had gotten a very clear vibe from both Shea and Tristan. She was very in tune with that sort of thing, being a goddess of love. From Tristan she felt a strong yearning. Shea's was more tentative, but it was definitely there. "I can take a gander," she replied suggestively.
Dom was floored. "No way!" He exclaimed. "I mean.. already?? They only met barely over a week ago."
Aphrodite shrugged, which was made difficult by the masseuse kneading her shoulders. "They've been giving off vibes since they met, and they're only getting stronger. And being that he's the only man in Shea's life thus far who has shown interest in her for who she really is, I can't say I'm surprised. Showing him who she really is only seems to have made him more attentive toward her. Besides, she's.. much older than the two of you. Being isolated for so long from that kind of affection takes its toll. They're both adults, it's not as if we can expect them to have a long courtship before taking that step. If they were teenagers going through a hormonal shift, that would be another thing entirely. But we also are not their parents."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Can you feel their 'vibes' right now?"
"Yes, but I'd rather not talk about it," Aphrodite felt her cheeks get hot. Sometimes her affinity made her feel much too intrusive. "If they want to tell us about their business, that's up to them." What she didn't say was that she could feel the tension between the two of them building, peaking, and starting to dissipate.
"Figured as much. Look, for what it's worth, I really think Tristan is serious about her. I've never seen him like this with any other woman."
"I'm glad," Aphrodite said, pulling the sheet around herself and sitting up as the masseuse finished up. The therapists then left the room to allow Aphrodite and Dom privacy to dress themselves. There was a bathroom attached to the treatment room, so Aphrodite slipped in and closed the door.
Dom continued talking through the door as they clothed themselves, "So, when you say Shea's 'older'..? She doesn't age like a normal person, does she?"
"No," Aphrodite responded. "Demigods live quite a bit longer than normal human beings, and the majority of that time, they age very slowly. They can live hundreds of years and look like they're in their 20's and 30's for most of those. I've never asked for her precise age, but I'm guessing Shea is at least 120 years old, judging by the fact that she looks to be about 21." She heard Dom let out his breath in a whistle. Zipping up her sundress, she opened the bathroom door. "Hey. I'm no young girl myself, remember?"
"Right," he responded. "You're like, the worst kind of cougar out there." At her confused look, he laughed. "A cougar is the new slang for an older woman who likes to sleep with young men."
Aphrodite scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Well, in fairness, the only people around my age are all Olympians. You see where that's gotten me so far." She tried to walk past him, but he caught her and gently folded his arms around her waist.
"I'm teasing. Besides, I'm very happy with your choice in men," He murmured in her ear. "Specifically me." He tilted his head to look in her eyes, and then placed a soft kiss on her lips. "Come on. Let's go out on to the deck and get some fresh air."
They left the spa area and strolled leisurely out onto the deck, which seemed fairly deserted. The sun was shining. There were no clouds to be seen, but a soft, cool breeze blew off of the still ocean, keeping the platform at a bearable temperature. The air smelt of fresh seawater. Aphrodite felt more relaxed than she had in a long while, even more so than she had in this past week with Dom. That was saying something. She approached the railing and leaned on her arms. As Dom came up behind her, she watched the water below lapping against the ship in small waves. She turned back towards him as his hands slid back around her waist. "Maybe this is foolish. Maybe I should just stay here, with all of you. Maybe I could live here and just forget about Olympus."
Dom looked at her in surprise. "That's crazy, and you know it. You would be on the run forever, hiding. You would never have your freedom from Hera, or your husband. Olympus is your home, and you deserve to be able to come and go as you please. Besides, what would you do once I was gone, and Tristan, and Shea? We are all eventually going to die. I would be lucky to spend a long life with you, but I'm still mortal. A long life to me is like the blink of an eye to you. I promise to be with you as long as you'll have me, but we can't live for the next 60 years hiding out, fearing for our lives. I know you can do this. You can win and take back your life, and then we can live together however you want."
She knew he was right. She couldn't bring herself to speak; instead, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him like her life depended on it.