After everything that had happened since Ourea, I was in no mood for any kind of celebration. Sayeh occupied my thoughts every breathing second. But, Hekate and Persephone insisted that I take the time to honor our victory at a costume party. After all, our family fought hard to put the Titans behind bars, again!

If I say that I went to the party to celebrate, I would be lying. I went to the party with the sole intention of spending some time with Selene. I needed to know if there was a spark between us or if it was all in my imagination. I couldn’t help but be drawn to Selene. After all, she helped me recover from my tryst with Ananke. She also fought by my side against Ourea. Most importantly, she was there for me when Sayeh fell. 

She had been my rock, my pillar of strength. And, it was becoming harder for me to ignore the way my heart raced around her and the flutter in my stomach every time I saw her. 

Those feelings only intensified the night of the party. It started innocently enough when we played a silly mortal game called Spin the bottle. I felt the rightness of us sink into my soul when it was my turn and the arrow landed on Selene. Our kiss was electric, and heat coursed through my body when our lips touched. The urgency that I felt in my belly told me that I did not want the night to end with a goodbye. But, I also didn’t want to let false hopes drive me wild. The last time I allowed myself the luxury of feeling something for another, it didn’t go well. So, I bit my lip and walked away from the game and towards the bar. Selene continued to play.

I watched as the game went on, and the arrow landed on Eris the second time Selene spun it. When I saw Eris kiss Selene, my jaw tightened reflexively, and my nails dug into my palms, drawing a trickle of blood. I turned away. I couldn’t bear seeing his lips brushing against hers. Only a neat shot of bourbon would wash down my frustration, so I motioned to the bartender.

He poured the drink and slid the glass across the counter. “Not interested in the game?” he asked, with a lopsided smile.

I shook my head, looking down at my glass. “Not really my style.” 

He smirked. “Him or her?”

I winked and slammed back the drink, letting the liquid burn my throat before turning back around, resting my elbows on the counter. I was relieved to see that the game had moved on from Selene and Eris to the others. 

“I’ll have what she’s having,” Selene said, leaning on the bar and placing her order.

I turned to look at her. She smiled, and I felt my knees weaken. I offered an indifferent nod as my reply. I was trying too hard to bury the desire that inflamed me whenever I looked at her. I needed to get away before I became too transparent. So, I told her that I was calling it a night, using Sayeh as my excuse. She did not reply. She merely shook her head and finished her drink in one swig.

Was that disappointment I saw? 

I was shocked when I heard myself ask, “Do you want to join me?” 

A brilliant smile lit her face. “I’d love to spend the rest of the evening with you.”

I stared at her, blinking, and hoping I heard her right.

Uh…Arty?” Selene waved her hands in front of my face, laughing and pulling me out of my blank stare.

I laughed with her. “Yes, uh…I will need to stop by the cave to check in on Sayeh. I hope that’s alright?”

 “Of course, I figured you might stop by the cave. It gives me an excuse to see Sayeh.”

We said our goodbyes to Hekate and her guests before heading out. At the cave, we walked into the chamber where Sayeh slept. Selene gently rubbed Sayeh’s hardened scales. “She’ll be fine, Arty! We’ll find her heartfire, you know I am here for you, right?”

I looked at her, my eyes shining. “I know, Sel. With you by my side, I know we will find it and soon.”

She stood up and turned to look at me, and I took her hands in mine. “Come, I know the perfect spot where we can talk.”

She arched a brow, a playful grin playing at her full lips. “Talk?”

I chuckled as I pulled her along to the opposite end of the cave. It opened up to a tiny waterfall that overlooked a valley. Silvery beams of light streamed through the dark velvety sky. Its brightness, similar to Selene’s allure. Looking at her, I realized that in the darkness of my confusion and fear, she remained my beacon, my brightness, casting away the shadows of doubt.

“Arty, this view…it’s beautiful! Gorgeous!” She exclaimed, before turning towards me. Her voice softened as her gaze locked with mine, “Just like you.”

The heat rose on my cheeks, turning them a deep shade of red. A coy smile played on Selene’s lips and she took another step forward, one hand resting at my waist. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear, before leaning in to kiss me lightly on my nose. Goosebumps raised on my skin as a shiver ran through my body. My hands instinctively reached her lower back, pulling her in closer. She smiled and pressed into me, brushing her lips against mine, teasing me with a small nip at my lower lip. The slight sting had me pinning her against the wall, locking my mouth over hers in a fiery, demanding passion that yearned for more than a kiss. 

I drew back, admiring her silvery steel eyes and cupped her soft, heart-shaped face in my hands. “Let’s take this back to my place.”

Selene’s eyes twinkled as she looked at me with a longing that matched mine. It was all the encouragement I needed.

I laced my fingers with Selene’s as we walked to the GC Complex. We waited impatiently for the elevator to reach the fiftieth floor, my need to touch her nearly impossible to resist. I cursed the GC security for enforcing the No-Teleporting to Apartments rule. The elevator door opened, and we nearly ran to the apartment. Opening the door, I stepped aside for Selene to go first.

She walked in front of me, the sway of her full hips mesmerizing. I kicked off my shoes and pulled at the end of her scarf, letting it fall off her shoulder. I inhaled, breathing in her scent as I stepped up behind her. I traced my warm hands up her arms to her shoulders, kneading them. Selene relaxed, leaning into my touch. In one quick motion, I unzipped her satin mint green dress and pushed it off her shoulders. She drew in a sharp breath as the cold air teased at her soft skin.

I nibbled at her earlobe lightly and ran my fingers down from her neck, unclasping her black lace bra before continuing to the sensitive hollow of her lower back. Selene quivered ever so slightly at my touch and arched, pressing the curve of her bottom against me in invitation. I stepped back to look at her in the lamplight. She stood nude except for her silk underwear and thigh-high stockings. She turned to face me, and I let out a soft whistle at the perfection before me. “You are beautiful!” I whispered in awe.

Selene sank her hands into my hair, running her fingers through the braid and allowing it to cascade down my back. “It looks sexier like this,” she said in a rhythmic murmur.

Untying the knot of my skirt, she let it fall into a crumple on the floor. I felt the heat of her gaze as her eyes drank in every curve and hollow of my body as she pulled my blouse off. I exhaled with a soft growl as desire blazed through my soul. 

Selene leaned forward and kissed my neck, sending a wave of pure pleasure through my entire being. I closed my eyes and let my head roll back, quivering at her intoxicating touch.

We moved as one towards the bedroom, teasing and touching each other. The air around us filled with needy moans as I gently pushed her onto the queen-sized bed. My hands slid over her silky skin, learning the feel of her and exploring every secret inch of her body. I bent down to pull her stockings and underwear off. Her eyes widened, and she gasped when my teeth grazed against her skin. 

Her toes curled, and she arched her back as I found her sweet spot. I was unable to look away from the feverish intensity of her gaze, watching the inferno rise, and savored the moment that she came undone. Her lips parted, allowing a moan of ecstasy to escape her throat. 

Still panting, she sat up. Cupping my face tenderly, she pressed her lips to mine, nudging them apart to slide her tongue into my mouth, the taste of her something I was coming to crave. Pulling back, she whispered against my lips, “My turn now,” 

All night long, we explored each other, working in excruciating slow designs to learn each other’s bodies, pleasures, and needs. Sometime, in the early hours of the morning, I fell into a comfortable, satisfied sleep in her arms.

Artemis (Rashmi Menon)
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