The Gods Still Exist

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Growing up I loved stories about Greek mythology. There was something special about the idea that gods and humans led these interwoven lives and the god-like offspring they could have and about the mythical creatures and historical battles of eons past. What would happen if the gods still existed today? Please note that Hercules is a modernized name for Heracles and I chose to use his traditional name throughout this story. Please write a review and I hope you enjoy the story.

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The Gods Still Exist

My first memory was being underwater and the peace I felt being there. I recall watching my frantic foster mother reach for me and how her hands were clear but the rest of her body outside the water appeared distorted. There was something about the water that called to me from the time I was a baby. Perhaps that’s why I found myself writing my final exams in my third year of a four-year degree program in marine sciences. I’d be turning twenty-one this summer and was so excited to be able to finally be on my own and away from my ever growing foster family.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my foster family for taking me in, but that’s all they did. I was a government check to them, one of a dozen checks that arrived each month. My parents made a living off of doing nothing. The foster children did all of the work around the house. Cooking, cleaning, and yard work. I was one of the lucky ones to have good enough grades to get a full scholarship to college. Once I turned twenty-one I’d be left completely on my own and my foster parents would take in yet another to replace me.

They fed me and clothed me with hand-me-downs. I built brotherly relationships with my siblings, but we were never a true family. At least I had not been left in an orphanage. Now, thinking back to my first memory, I saw frantic loss of income rather than the frantic loss of a beloved child. No worries. After today, I’d pack my things and take a trip of a lifetime and likely never see my foster parents and family again. I’d saved a lot through the part-time work I’d found in evenings as a lifeguard and summer work at the local aquarium. I’d earned enough to pay for my trip and enough to cover expenses for the next year of my classes. It’s not like I had a real choice, my foster parents made it abundantly clear the moment I turned twenty-one I was expected to be working full-time and paying them rent or I was out of the house and totally on my own.

Still, it had been with slight misgivings that I closed the door to the house, not home, I grew up in. I’d miss some of my siblings, but I was stepping out into the unknown. Would I be able to make it on my own? Would I find a good job? Would I ever find love? Surprisingly with every step I took further away from the house, I felt better and better about myself. I was looking forward to two months in Greece and promised myself to return to my final school year completely renewed.

***

For my stay in Greece I’d found a family that was happy to receive the extra income from their spare room. Their home was located near the old town of Paphos on the island of Cyprus. The rent covered my room and board and was conveniently located a thirty minute walk from the beach and the Tomb of the Kings, and a ninety minute drive to Mount Olympus. The area, much like the water, had called to me my entire life. I had many options to choose from, but I decided this was where I needed to be and I wanted to have a relaxing time absorbing the culture and swimming in the Mediterranean.

The Milas’ family home was a small, quaint red-tile roofed building nestled in between bustling apartments. Upon arrival, I was quickly embraced by Marta and her husband Hahn. The warmth of their embrace caught me off guard. I don’t ever remember my foster parents hugging me. Marta proved to be an exceptional cook and Hahn had taught Greek mythology for twenty-five years. Both spoke very good English for which I was forever thankful.

It was during our first dinner after my arrival that our conversation turned interesting. Hahn had been telling me about the lovely young ladies on the island and which beaches would be the very best to find them at. Of course I was very interested in these topics but it was when Hahn began talking about all the sights he wanted me to see I perked up with focused attention.

“I’ve always wanted to see Mount Olympus.”

“So you want to meet the Greek gods, Sean?”

“Greek mythology has always held an interest for me. My studies are in marine sciences, but I wish I had a chance to live for a moment in the past to see how people truly portrayed the gods.”

“You might be surprised to find Greek people still worship the gods the very same way as they did in the past. There are many zealots here on the island praying to Zeus and Poseidon on a daily basis.”

“You mean they actually still believe in the gods?”

“Some believe they’re here to witness the return of the gods on earth. These Hellenistic believers have worshiped in the secrecy of caverns under this city for thousands of years. Thankfully these people are few, but they can be very hostile to intruders, even violent at times. You can recognize some by the tattoos on their wrists.”

***

Over the next few days I explored the city and swam several times in the ocean. Marta and Hahn had been so wonderful that I didn’t dare tell them tomorrow was my birthday. Knowing their hospitality, they would throw a party for the entire town to come celebrate it. Instead, I booked a ticket aboard a small tourist ship to take me on a cruise for the day. It was a bit gimmicky, but being out on the open water was a great way for me to relax and enjoy myself.

The all day cruise left the harbor precisely on schedule at nine seventeen in the morning. It was supposed to leave at eight thirty, but schedules in Greece are somewhat flexible. I’d seen most of the beaches around the harbor already so I lay back on the deck and enjoyed the lapping sounds of water against the boat and the heat of the sun. Soon we were far enough away from the island that I could just see Mount Olympus. I was admiring the view and wondering to myself how it all must have looked a few thousand years ago when a freak storm descended upon us. People started screaming as the wind and waves lashed the tiny boat and darkness overcame us. An older Greek man started praying. I grabbed hold of a railing to brace myself as the sea was tossing us like a toy boat in a bathtub. I’d never been afraid of the water before, but I was frightened of the suddenness of the storm.

The old man was staring at me and yelling in Greek. I had no idea what he was saying, but I swear he thought this was my doing. I watched as he pulled a knife and staggered towards me, his face full of rage. I was struggling to keep my grip as the old man approached. He swung his knife towards my hand and I let go, preferring to keep my fingers. I skidded across the deck just as another wave bucked the boat. With nothing to grab on to I was flung like a rag doll over the railing and into the dark turmoil of the sea.

Below the surface the peacefulness and tranquility of the ocean soothed me. I looked around to see the bottom of the boat some thirty feet above me. The waves, from this angle appeared to have abated and the darkness had been replaced by sunshine. I tried to swim upwards, but it was as if an unseen hand pulled me down into the depths. Further and further I went into the deep cold water, the glittering blue rays of sunshine giving way to a murky nocturnal twilight and finally to icy-cold, utter darkness. Still I felt at peace even though my mind was screaming for air.

The darkness gave way to brilliant light and warm sunshine. My hands felt green and lush grass beneath them. I took a breath of air that was so sweet I wondered if I had died. I stood and looked down at myself. I was perfectly dry and I could see no water anywhere around me. I appeared to be in some kind of garden. I started walking looking for an elevated vista to get my bearings. I discovered a large stone building that looked remarkably like the Acropolis in Athens with the exception that this building looked new. I walked into the building noting the enormous pillars that lifted the ceiling to the skies.

“Welcome.”

I spun and faced a vision of spectacular beauty. A woman, calling her beautiful would be an understatement, stood naked before me. Her blonde hair swirled around her body covering her breasts and private parts and her penetrating blue eyes glistened merrily. “Who are you?”

“I’m your mother, Sean.”

“And I’m your father.” I turned around to see a handsome man; his tanned skin rippled with muscles.

“Am I dead?” They came to stand next to each other as they surveyed me. Their presence and beauty causing me to look away for these were not normal people.

“Hardly. Sorry about the boat and the waves, I like a little flamboyance and excitement. I’m Proteus and I’m sure you recognize your mother, Aphrodite.”

“Now I know I must be dead or dreaming. You don’t exist. You’re myths.”

“And yet here we and you are together in the Garden of Hesperides. The people of Earth have long given up looking to us. We hardly intervene in their short lives anymore. What gifts will you bestow upon your child on his twenty-first birthday, Aphrodite?”

I watched as she walked around me, her fingers skimming my shoulders. “This won’t do. He takes after your looks, Proteus. If he is to represent me on earth, he must exude my very essence and Zeus has decreed some changes are necessary. His new name will be Amara.”

Proteus sighed. “You always make beautiful things, Aphrodite. As for me, he belongs to the water so power over water, water creatures, and transformation. I always loved the ability to fly, to swim, and to run wild through the forests.”

“How can I be your son?”

“I swear, Proteus, that man is becoming less intelligent. Has no one told you how when a man and a woman come together they can have children?”

“Of course. It’s just I didn’t know gods were real or reproduced the same way.”

“Twenty one years ago I gave birth to you after having a short-lived affair with Proteus. Zeus frowns upon making new gods so I put you on earth to be taken care of by mortals.”

“Am I immortal?”

“Perhaps one day you could be elevated to join us, but, much like Heracles that’s entirely dependent upon Zeus to decide. In a way, we’ve all been rather bored up here. Watching you fulfill your destiny will provide much entertainment for us.”

“My destiny?”

“You only have three labors. Find my lock of hair and return it to me.”

“Find the third fork of my father’s trident and return it to me.”

“And defeat Medusa.”

I shook my head. “Defeat Medusa?”

“Okay, that was a joke. She’s already dead. It’s just the two labors you need to accomplish.”

“Why do I have to do these at all?”

Thunder and lightning clapped around us. “That would be Zeus. All born of gods must earn their right to exist. We have so little to look forward to these days. Your labors are entertainment for us. If you refuse, you might be turned into a stone statue, or be smote by lightning.”

“That sounds rather callous. If you’re both my parents as you say, then where is your love and compassion?”

Aphrodite opened her hands and arms expressively. “You’re alive and we bestowed our gifts upon you. Is that not enough?”

I sighed, anxious for this dream to be over. “I have many questions.”

“Unfortunately Zeus is a little cranky and we have no time left. Be well.”

The world began to spin in front of my eyes and darkness surrounded me once again.

***

Far from the pleasant smells of the Garden of Hesperides, my first breath upon waking was something rather foul and fishy. I lifted my head and opened my eyes and through the dim light I saw what could only be masses of seaweed. I was covered in it. I pushed with my hands until a small sliver of fresh air came to me which I gulped for. I kicked and pulled to extricate myself from the smelly, slimy mass. My body felt very strange. Finally I slid out of the pile and onto a sandy rock-strewn beach. It was a moonlit night and I could see the city lights of Paphos in the distance.

I stood to my feet finally noticing what had been wrong with me. Long blonde hair was plastered to my back and across my stomach and chest. Large breasts protruded from my chest. My arms were slender and my hands those of a woman. I looked down past my breasts to my perfectly flat stomach and to the noticeable gap between my legs. I could almost hear the gods laughing. What had happened must have been true, either that or I’m still dead or dreaming.

I was about to shout my frustration at the gods when I heard someone yelling. “There!”

I looked up to see a man and a woman running towards me with a flashlight and towels. It appeared to be Marta and Hahn. The flashlight hit my face and the beam slid downward across my body. Marta tried to cover Hahn’s eyes as she held out a towel for me to wrap around myself. “Marta, Hahn?” My voice was soft and sensual, like the touch of luxurious silk.

Hahn pulled Marta’s hand down and stared at me. It was Marta that eventually spoke. “I was cleaning a fish for dinner today when I found a note in its stomach. It said Sean is no more but he is reborn. Find Amara by the sea tonight at nine. Bring something to cover her. There was a map to this spot. Where is Sean?”

“As crazy as this might sound, I’m Sean, the Greek gods of old still exist, and apparently I’ve been changed for their entertainment.”

Hahn extended his hand. “Let’s get you home and cleaned up. We can debate the reality of this all night, but this is no place for a young woman, especially a naked young woman to be.”

***

No one spoke on the way back to the house. For the entire car ride I stared at my slender hand and delicate fingers and their perfection as they rested on my thigh. Marta had shuffled me quickly into the bathroom and told me to stay put until she returned with some proper clothing. I took a few moments to look at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t a clone of Aphrodite, but I was the closest thing on Earth I’d ever seen. My own breath caught in my throat as I looked upon a vision of pure sand and seaweed plastered loveliness.

Marta returned a few minutes later and carefully placed a pink dress and some women’s undergarments on a chair in the bathroom. “My niece has a very good friend named Naomi. They’d come together to visit us a few times every year growing up and Naomi just kept on visiting us. She’s a lovely girl of about your age and lives on the mainland. She’s like family and we’ve kept these clothes for her for when she visits. I suspect the bra might be a little snug, but better snug than nothing. Why don’t you clean yourself up in the bath and then come out and speak with us.

I started the water for the tub as Marta left and I dropped the towel to the floor. I brought my hands to my heavy breasts and felt their suppleness and sensitivity. I looked back at the mirror and just asked “Why change me?” The mirror went black and Aphrodite looked back at me.

“There are rules, Amara. Even for gods. Zeus would not permit you to live as you were and he thought it would be more interesting to see how you would react and survive your labors as a woman. I had no choice, but you turned out beautifully. Would you rather I change you back so you can be destroyed?”

“I’d like to be changed back, but not destroyed.”

Aphrodite laughed. “One or the other, but whatever you choose do it quickly because once chosen there is no going back and your fate is sealed.”

“Life as a woman or death? This is hardly a choice. I choose life.”

“Then so be it, Amara.”

The mirror faded back to my own image and I knew there was no going back to who I was before. I turned off the water for the tub and tentatively stepped in. As I lay in the tub of hot water I looked over at the pink dress and assorted female undergarments and sighed. This wasn’t what I had in mind for myself I’d never wanted to be a woman. At least I didn’t have to walk around covered only by my hair. I closed my eyes, slipped under the water, and let the tranquility sooth my troubled mind. Somehow I felt no urgency to breathe as if my lungs were replenishing my air while underwater. After several minutes I raised my head above the water. Were these the gifts of the gods? Eternal beauty as a woman and the ability to be underwater indefinitely? I’d have to test this out.

As I washed the sand and seaweed from my body I kept picturing the lush gardens, the sweet smelling air, and Aphrodite and Proteus standing there in all their godly glory. Of course I could still be dead or dreaming, but this body and everything felt as real as anything I’d ever experienced before. Death or life as a woman… I ran my hands over my body feeling my velvety soft skin but hesitated to touch myself too much imagining the gods staring down at me. Nothing like knowing you’re being spied on to eliminate sexual desire; a desire I struggled with as I looked down upon myself.

I washed my hair a half dozen times to get the seaweed out of it. Now I finally stood smelling of citrus and lavender and looked at myself in the mirror. If Aphrodite wasn’t pleased by my looks as a young man before, she most certainly would approve now. My golden blonde hair cascaded down my back. It wasn’t long enough to cover my body as hers had, but it reached the small of my back, lush and full. My hair shone like spun gold and my eyes were like sapphires. My breasts were large and full, my hips wide against the slightness of my waist without being fat. Aphrodite was the god of love and beauty and she made sure my body exuded sensuality. I felt her essence flowing through me just as I felt a kindred spirit with nature and water from Proteus.

I should be screaming my anger but what good would it do me. My mind wanted no part of being a woman, but my own eyes lusted after myself. I was repulsed and attracted to the new me at the same time. I wanted to explore myself more fully yet I knew I must face Marta and Hahn and try to explain everything. Just like Proteus to guide them to me the way he had by hiding a note in a fish. Perhaps, in some small way this was their way of showing they cared for me. I slipped on the panties and I examined the bra. It was a C cup. I tried squeezing myself into it and it was clear the cups were too small as all it did was push my breasts up even more. I stepped into the dress before opening the door and heading out into the living room. Marta and Hahn both gasped. Aphrodite’s gift might just prove to be a curse but still better a curse than death.

“By the gods, Marta! She’s the very vision of Aphrodite.”

Marta, being more motherly and concerned, asked me to sit and then questioned what happened to me and if I knew anything about Sean. I looked down past my cleavage to my long legs. My fingers absentmindedly picked at the hem of the dress. “What day is it today?”

“The third of June.”

I’d lost an entire day. “This will sound very strange to you, and I’m still coming to terms with it myself. I really am Sean. Yesterday, June 2, was my twenty-first birthday. I didn’t want to tell either of you as I knew you would have made a big deal out of it. You know I bought a ticket for a tourist cruise.”

Hahn nodded. “We heard stories about a terrible storm and a young man matching Sean’s description falling overboard. The seas instantly calmed and yet they were unable to find him.”

“That was me. The storm came up and in seconds we were threatened by the wind and waves. I was hanging on when a crazy old man tried to cut my hands so I had to let go. I was thrown into the water and try as I might, I couldn’t swim upwards. It felt like unseen hands pulled me down. When I woke, I was in a lush garden. They called it the Garden of Hesperides.”

“They?”

“Aphrodite and Proteus. They met me in a temple and claimed to be my mother and father. For my birthday they gave me gifts, Aphrodite gave me beauty and said my new name was to be Amara, and Proteus gave me attunement of water, control of water creatures, and transformation. They also gave me two labors to perform.”

“How could you be their child?”

“I never knew my real parents. I was an orphan and raised in a foster home.”

Hahn, who still couldn’t tear his eyes off of me, put his hand to his face and scratched his unshaven beard. “If what you say is true, and you certainly have Aphrodite’s beauty, then I need to hear every detail. Everything you can remember.”

***

It was very late that night when I finally went to bed. Marta had found more of Naomi’s clothing for me and Hahn began pulling books from the shelves to try to confirm the things I’d seen. I wasn’t tired at all, but I needed time to be by myself. I stripped out of the dress and confining bra and found a sexy sheer nightgown. I was beginning to wonder what Naomi looked like to keep such clothes here. There were no real options so I pulled the nightgown over my head and lay down on the bed.

I could overhear Marta and Hahn discussing me. Hahn was excited, believing this to be true. He told Marta he had numerous references to similar events happening in the distant past. Marta was more skeptical and concerned that they should be looking for Sean in case this wasn’t true. In the morning I’d do my best to share details about my time here with them already as a way to confirm who I was. This caused me to wonder exactly who I was now and what my future would look like. Was I Greek now? I bet the gods never thought about identification or how these changes would impact my future. “A little help would be appreciated at least in getting me a passport, some money, convincing Marta and Hahn I was Sean, and a new bra. It’s not like the ancient days when I just needed a toga.” I said barely as a whisper.

I rolled over and felt my nipples brush against the silky nightgown as they shifted with me. They became erect and hard at the movement. I reach up to touch them and felt a burst of sexual energy pulse through my body. Was this the gods laughing at me, forcing me to feel myself up in front of them? My fingers squeezed one of my nipples and I gasped at the intense feeling it generated. I’d never felt anything like this or knew a woman’s breasts and nipples were so sensitive. In moments I returned to lying on my back and my hand was up underneath the nightgown and gently massaging my breast. Each squeeze caused me to moan softly as my passion built. I felt moistness between my legs and my other hand slipped under my panties and found my warm, wet vaginal lips. My finger slid easily between the folds and found a rhythm of gently stroking back and forth. Every squeeze and stroke caused my body to rock and my back arch with ever deepening pleasure. Small whimpers and moans escaped my lips until I turned my head into my pillow to stifle my screams of ecstasy.

I lay there basking in the afterglow of what was undoubtedly the best sexual experience of my life. I had to laugh slightly that I had seriously considered death to stay male when I hadn’t even experienced the joys of being a woman. I had no idea what would happen to me in the future or even what my sexual preferences would turn out to be, but at the moment and as the waves of pleasure washed over me, I was blissfully intoxicated with who I was. Would I wake tomorrow feeling otherwise?

***

I woke to the orange glow of the sunrise coming through my window. I quickly noted that nothing had changed and I was still a woman. This both pleased and annoyed me. I got up and dressed then quietly made my way to the bathroom. I sat down to relieve myself, surprised at how little control over the spray I had. I stopped to look in the mirror at the strange beauty that stared back at me. I was still amazed by my looks but also concerned about what happens next.

Back in the living room I noticed Hahn tiredly pouring over his textbooks and a weary Marta in the kitchen making breakfast. Hahn looked up and smiled. “Everything you said can be backed up and verified. You’re walking evidence that the gods still exist.”

“I hope so because otherwise I’ve no response for what’s happened to me.” Marta came into the room and I carefully recalled the events of my life as Sean that connected with them both. Marta just shook her head having a harder time than me that this was all real. I think finally she began to understand I was who I said I was. A knock sounded at the door and Marta found a large box on the doorstep. I helped her bring the box in and we both noted that no one had ordered anything and there was no from address.

We opened the box carefully and looked inside. On top of everything was a note in ancient Greek. Surprisingly I could read it but I passed it over to Hahn. His translation left a bit to be desired, but Hahn did the best he could in reading it for Marta.

‘Amara,

We received your requests and realize we have not been keeping up with the happenings on earth. Zeus believes we are meddling and that you need to get started on your labors. We took the liberty of providing your basic needs in a way we deemed fitting.

A & P’

I frowned. Hahn and Marta looked at me questioningly. “Last night I was frustrated and asked Aphrodite and Proteus for a little help with my identification, money, since I lost my bank cards with my wallet and passport somewhere in the ocean, and with helping you to believe I am, or was Sean.”

“Let’s see what’s in the box.” Hahn was anxious and I was hesitant. He pulled out a picture that looked remarkably like a postcard of me as Sean standing in front of Aphrodite and Proteus in the temple in the Garden of Hesperides. I thought it rather tacky but for whatever reason Marta and Hahn felt it was from the gods and now fully believed everything. I shook my head feeling my mass of hair slide across my back. There were brief moments that I felt normal, but then simple movements and actions like this brought the reality of my new life back to the forefront of my mind.

The next items that were pulled out were two bras and panties. There was one black set, and one white set. Hahn held them up in wonder. They were remarkably sexy and sheer. I sighed and admitted I also asked for a new bra. Beneath these items was a sexy swimsuit, a dress and shoes that looked like they were made from the finest white silk, a bag of pearls and what appeared to be diamonds, and a purse.

Hahn handed me the purse and I looked inside. There was a bank card and Greek driver’s license and passport. The name was Amara Milas. I sat down on the couch and handed the passport and driver’s license to Hahn and Marta. Marta looked stunned and ran into their bedroom where I could hear her rummaging through her closets. She came back holding several pieces of paper with tears in her eyes.

I felt badly about how the gods were playing with us all. “I’m sorry Marta.”

“No… I’m happy.” She handed me the papers and I read through them. These documented that Marta gave birth to a stillborn baby girl on the exact day I was born. The baby girl had blue eyes and blonde hair and they named her Amarala before burying her. I looked up at Marta and Hahn who were both looking at me like I was their long lost… “The gods have given us back our daughter!” I was swept into a fierce embrace by both of them. I felt tears on my cheeks and a warmth in my heart I’d never felt before. I looked up to the sky and whispered a thank you.

In the span of minutes, Aphrodite and Proteus had given me an identity, resources, and the family I never had. Suddenly my being turned into a woman seemed less significant to me. Marta was still clinging to me as Hahn re-read the letter and looked at the picture over and over. “We need to celebrate, Hahn!”

“Yes, but how do we explain Amara?”

“I have an idea. That is if you want me to stay with you.”

Hahn looked over at Marta and an unseen agreement passed between them. “Of course. You ‘re family now.”

“Then we can offer the following excuse for my absence all these years. Upon removal from the hospital I miraculously recovered but documentation following my body was lost. I was placed in an orphanage and fostered by a family from the United States. I managed to track you both down and after testing, I was granted my rightful name and identification.”

“This will work. What are you planning to do about the labors?”

“According to Aphrodite and Proteus I need to complete these labors to prove my worthiness to live. Everywhere I look on a map there are places named after Aphrodite. Where would I even begin to look for a lock of her hair?”

“Perhaps you could start by looking in the Sanctuary of Aphrodite. It’s about a twenty minute drive from here. You could take the scooter.”

***

I quickly changed out of Naomi’s bra and panties and into the black set that I’d been given. They felt so much better. It didn’t feel right to wear the dress from Aphrodite yet. I hugged and kissed Marta and Hahn and promised to return by dinner. Riding a scooter as a woman in a dress took quite the skill, especially since Naomi’s dress was a little short and the hem fell just above my knees.

I headed first to the bank and checked my account with the new card I was given. Luckily it was a national bank and the teller was more than helpful to me. He showed me the balance and helped me set up my pin for the ATM. When I saw that the balance was over a million Euros I nearly passed out. I took out several hundred Euros and struggled to extricate myself from the fawning teller. It was clear my looks might prove to be a problem. I took back roads to the Sanctuary, parked the scooter, and walked around the ancient ruins. It was disheartening to see the fragments of the ruins and the mosaics. It must have been a beautiful place once.

Tourists thought I was an employee, being Aphrodite in the flesh wandering the grounds. Many pictures were taken of me whether I approved of them or not. I was very self-conscious as I walked around expecting people to point at me and say I was a man acting as a woman. I might be a man on the inside, but my body, complete with its bouncing breasts and swaying hips, was definitely all woman.

There was an enclosed building that appeared to be more of a museum and a sign outside indicated a fund raising event would be held tomorrow night. As I wandered through the displays a gentleman approached me. “I never believed I would see the day when the gods deigned to walk the earth once again. To see you here, in your sanctuary, takes my breath away.”

“I’m no god or goddess.”

He reached out his hand. “Please.” I offered mine and he kissed the back of my hand. There was something remarkable about the gesture. Never in my life had I been treated with such honor and respect. I noticed a tattoo on his wrist as he pulled his hand back to his side. “My name is Ianos. I’m the curator of this place.”

“Amara. I’m performing research as I look to find evidence of a missing lock of Aphrodite’s hair. Have you heard of this?”

His eyes widened slightly. “Your name means, eternal and immortal. Very appropriate. I’m aware of a story that I could share with you, but perhaps you could do me a favor in return?”

“What would you have of me?”

“We’re holding an event tomorrow night to raise money for further excavation of the site. Your presence would bring the past to reality and I’m positive it would benefit our cause. Do this, and I will share what I know.”

This was my first lead so following up would be a good idea. “I’ll be here. May I bring my father? Hahn Milas is a well-known professor of the ancient Greek gods.”

“I’ve heard of him. You’re his daughter, you say?”

“It’s a rather long story, but yes.”

“Then by all means, bring him along. You’ll be our special guests. You do have a gown?”

“I believe I have the perfect dress for the occasion.” I said it in a way that made me think I was looking forward to wearing the dress. I almost wonder if Aphrodite and Proteus knew about the event and that’s why they sent it.

“Until tomorrow.” He bowed and left. The guy kind of gave me the creeps. After several more people asked to take my picture I decided to leave. I headed into the shopping district and looked for a few more clothes. Obviously nothing I had brought would fit me and if I was to go for walks, dig around in ancient places, or try to blend in I’d need some jeans and other clothing. I also felt bad wearing Naomi’s clothing.

I entered one store that looked like they had jeans on sale. The sales lady insisted on taking my measurements but I wondered if perhaps she merely wanted an excuse to touch me. She found several jeans and blouses for me to try on. I slipped behind the changing curtain and stepped out of my dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and took a shaky breath. Standing there in my gods-given lingerie I was stunning. I shook my head at my own disbelief and stepped into a pair of jeans. They were skin tight and I struggled to get them around my hips and over my shapely butt however once on they felt comfortable. I turned around and looked at my butt in the mirror. I don’t know why I bothered as it was perfect. I put on one of the blouses and I looked like a model ready for a night out on the town.

The sales lady was pleased to check the fit carefully by running her hands over my thighs. I knew women were touchier with one another, but this seemed to go beyond what I deemed as normal. I bought two pair and two blouses and asked if there was a place I could buy fitness clothing. I bought the items at an insisted fifty percent off as long as I promised to visit again soon. I wondered if all pretty women received such attention and service.

By the time I arrived home it was just before dinner time. On a whim, I’d tried on a short dress and loved the way it looked and felt on me. The phrase ‘when in Rome’ came to mind and I silently wondered if my brain was becoming female as the dress somehow felt right to me. I kept reminding myself I had no choice but deep down I was afraid to admit I was rather enjoying myself.

I could see why so many women had so many clothes. I was enjoying the shopping with the exception of the overly attentive sales staff. I’d found an additional sun dress, some yoga pants and sweater for lounging around in, and an exercise bra to keep my breasts in line as I ran or did any kind of clandestine sneaking. Marta informed me that the celebration would be in a few days and that Naomi would come from the mainland to visit and participate. I told Hahn about the event tomorrow night and he was rather pleased to be invited.

I put my clothes away, changed into something more comfortable, and brought the bag of pearls and diamonds back to the living room. After explaining what I found at the bank I gave Marta and Hahn the bag. I couldn’t see a need for them and I was sure Marta and Hahn could use the extra money they would provide.

***

The next day I wore a pair of jeans and blouse over top of my swimsuit and headed down to the beach. The water called to me and I needed to get back into it and on with my life. Water might just bring a sense of normalcy to all that’s happened and I wanted a few moments where I could turn my mind away from things. Water always did that for me.

I stepped gingerly into the water at first, remembering what had happened the last time I was at the ocean. I swam around for a while letting the warm water caress my new body. I felt absolutely wonderful. I swam further away from shore and dove under the water feeling more comfortable than ever before. I had no need to breathe and felt I could stay underwater indefinitely.

I swam at length spotting an old shipwreck and watched as the fish large and small moved around the hull. I even tried calling out to them and smiled as the fish surrounded me. A dark shadow passed overhead as a shark swam menacingly close. I put out my hand and the shark let me slide my fingers along its length.

I knew I had power gifted to me by Aphrodite and Proteus. I could easily control people by my looks and I wouldn’t dare try to make someone fall in love with me. But as I swam around the wreck I thought about what Proteus said about transformation. I pictured myself as a dolphin and in the blink of an eye I was one. The freedom and ease of which I could move through the water was exhilarating. I explored vast areas of the coastline then swam back to shore changing back to myself and making sure I still had a bikini on. I walked to my towel and stretched out on my back. I looked down past my breasts and to the slight gap of air that formed between my bikini bottom and stomach as it passed over my hips. Just looking at myself I was becoming aroused and I secretly admired the perspective. I made a note to myself to have a nice bath when I returned home.

Home… I’d already begun thinking of Marta and Hahn’s house as a home. I never called my foster parents place home. It was only a house. I rolled over onto my stomach and looked around. I tried to ignore the people that took pictures of me with their phones or walked by a dozen times feigning they were lost but one man was staring at me intently. I’d seen him before the day of the storm. He was the man with the knife on the tour boat.

I was dry so I put my clothes on and walked over to the man. He turned to run but I called after him. He stopped and angrily advanced towards me. “What are you?”

“I’m just an ordinary girl.” I amazed myself at the simplicity of the statement as it rolled off my tongue effortlessly. If I pondered this I’d say that I enjoyed saying I was a girl. It was as if I could get away with something just because I was a woman. “I’ve seen you before on a tour boat two days ago.”

He scowled. “I saw you go for a swim, dive down and not come back for an hour.”

“You think I stayed underwater for an hour? That’s a little farfetched. Have you been drinking too much Ouzo? What’s that tattoo on your wrist?”

“You don’t belong here. Go back to the sea.”

“That’s Poseidon on your wrist. You worship him don’t you?”

He pulled his knife threateningly. “Leave here and never come back.” He put his knife away, turned, and left.

I walked back home and found Marta ironing a suit for Hahn. “How was your swim, dear?”

“It was wonderful. I’ve always loved the water, but today it felt like it was my second home.”

“If you’re going to get ready for the event, you might want to start now.”

“I will.” I headed for the bathroom and paused. “Marta, just because the gods orchestrated things doesn’t mean you have to accept them. I don’t want to be a burden to you or Hahn.”

Marta put the iron up and came and hugged me tightly. “You’ve brought more joy and life to my heart in, I couldn’t even tell you how long. There’s something special about all of this. It’s very healing to have you here.”

“It’s healing for me too.”

***

I had another wonderful time in the bath making it harder and harder for me to consider why being male was ever anything special. Sure, being female was a lot more work. No more wash and go hair. No more peeing standing up. Periods… I wonder when I’ll get mine. However, all those negatives aside, I’ve never felt happier to be me in my entire life. Of course there are expectations to complete the labors looming over my head, but I somehow felt I was more commanding. It wasn’t the god thing, it wasn’t the powers, which were really cool, it was being female. It was as if other people had fewer expectations of me. I didn’t have to be big and muscular, I didn’t have to feel like I was successful or a protector, and I didn’t feel it was up to me to initiate relationships. Which brought me to another topic, what did I want for myself? I could easily fall for a woman, and perhaps the gods were messing with my head, but also a guy.

I pushed that thought away as I worked on drying and brushing out my hair. I slipped on the white bra and panties and noted that the bra was strapless. When I figured out where my body was supposed to be inside the layers of white silk of the dress I was surprised at how nice it felt and how it hugged my curves. A long slit showed my bare thigh as I walked and the white slightly heeled sandals were a perfect match. One look in the mirror and I looked like a very sexy angel. Something clicked in my head as I looked at myself and an unhindered irrevocable smile appeared. I felt joyful and special for the first time in my life.

I left my money and identification in my room and stepped into the living room to see Hahn dressed up like he would for a wedding. He looked rather dashing even when he nearly choked when he saw me. “You look spectacular, Amara.”

“And you look like a Greek James Bond.”

He grinned. “That’s 007 to you.” Marta rolled her eyes.

By the time we arrived at the event, things were well underway. It looked like a gala you’d see at Monte Carlo with beautiful women, fancy cars, and men in tuxedos. Ianos was nearby and upon our arrival made a grand gesture of opening the door for me. That surprised me a little as I was unused to being treated as a woman. “If ever Aphrodite looked as beautiful as you then she was easily the most beautiful creature ever. You certainly don’t disappoint, Amara.”

“Ianos, this is my father, Hahn. You might want to be careful about what you say about Aphrodite. The gods love their entertainment.”

We were led to a small stage that had been erected. Ianos stepped up to the microphone and began speaking. “Thank you all for coming tonight. We’re here for our love of Greece and the rich history we have. Yesterday my heart skipped several beats when I was positive Aphrodite herself roamed the land once again. I’ve invited her here tonight to grace us with her presence. Please welcome Amara Milas.”

I stepped up onto the stage amidst gasps and people bowing their heads towards me. I looked around the room and many men had wrist tattoos. I had an uneasy feeling and hurriedly turned to leave the stage when a man pulled a gun on Hahn. “Not so fast, Aphrodite.” Men from the crowd pushed forward encircling us. I imagined Aphrodite’s power to make people fall in love with her and with each other and pictured these people making love to one another. A dozen or more stopped what they were doing and began kissing each other, but the man with the gun, those that were nearest us, and some of the women continued to press forward. Ianos smiled. “We’ve worshiped you for eons. To protect ourselves from your power we’ve cleansed ourselves.”

Hahn shouted out. “Their eunuchs.”

“What do you want of me?”

“To worship you forever.”

They grabbed me and dragged me off the stage and down into some catacombs. We pushed onward through the depths and further down into a large cavern with a statue of Aphrodite standing at one end. The statue actually looked a little like me. Hahn was tied and pushed to the side and I was dragged to the foot of the statue. My wrists and ankles were chained. Suddenly I wished for the strength of Heracles as I pulled against the chains to no avail.

“I’m not Aphrodite. Let my father go.”

“You say you’re not Aphrodite yet above us men and women are having an orgy. Only Aphrodite could cause that.” I watched as he walked over to a large chest and unlocked it with a key from around his neck. He reached inside the chest to pull out a glass vial with gold endcaps. He held it reverently in both hands. “The hair of Aphrodite. Our ancestor cut away this lock of hair to force Aphrodite’s return to Earth. His sacrifice ultimately has brought our goddess back to us.” He held up the glass vial and the golden hair inside shimmered in the torchlight. He brought it close to my hair to compare the two. “It’s a match! Bring on the sacrifice.”

A young girl was dragged to the foot of the statue. Ianos held her down with one hand and lifted a ceremonial dagger in the other. “A young virgin’s blood will bind you to this place.”

“You think if I was a god I’d simply let you chain me or kill that poor girl? You’re all sick fools! Let the girl go!”

“Those are not ordinary chains, Aphrodite. They were forged in Hades. Not even Heracles himself could break those chains.”

He raised the knife preparing to strike the poor squirming child. If only my hands and feet were smaller. Smaller… I imagined myself to be a mouse and the world suddenly grew larger around me. I scampered away from the chains and imagined myself as a Bengal tiger. With a roar I leapt. I allowed the tiger within me to be released. Guns were fired and people ran screaming. Miraculously I wasn’t hit by any of the bullets. Minutes later I surveyed the bloody carnage. I’d killed at least a dozen people. I became me again and rushed to the girl’s side and held her close.

“You saved me.”

“Stay here.” I grabbed the knife and cut Hahn free who stood in shocked amazement. We turned to face the girl again. She had picked up the glass vial and in a flash of light transformed into Aphrodite.

“You did very well, my daughter, proving yourself amidst difficult circumstances. These people had distorted who I was over the millennia and were willing to kill a poor helpless child. You’ve returned to me the lock of hair that was stolen so many years ago. Name your gift.”

There was a chance I could be returned to being Sean and male. I could be wealthy forever. I looked down at myself in my white dress and realized if I gave up being Amara, I’d lose my new family and my home. How would that affect Marta and Hahn? How would it affect me? Aphrodite watched me with appraising eyes. “A hug.”

“You could ask anything and you ask me to hug you?”

“I have everything I could ever want except the only thing I never had. The love and touch of my real mother.”

“Then come here child.” Aphrodite wrapped her arms around me in a most loving and tender way and held me that way a long time. When we pulled apart I was sure I spotted a tear on Aphrodite’s cheek. “That was perhaps the nicest gift I’ve ever been asked for. You sure you don’t want anything else?”

“Perhaps one thing. To know when I fall in love that I’m being loved for who I am rather than what I look like and to know for certain that it was our choice to love each other rather than the will of the gods.”

Aphrodite held me at arm’s length and appraised me. “Then I’ll grant you wisdom. I can’t promise the other gods won’t interfere, but I won’t direct your love interests. I must get back before Zeus feels I’m meddling too much again.” She glanced at Hahn and smiled and then in a flash of light was gone.

Hahn rushed over and took my arm in his and led me out of the cavern. “I’ve never seen anything like this in all my days. Aphrodite truly does exist, you really are her child, and remind me never to get on your bad side.”

I paused and started to shake uncontrollably. “I killed all of those people.”

“The very same people that would have imprisoned you forever and willingly murdered an innocent child. Had you not done it, I believe Aphrodite would have killed them all anyways. Come on, we need to get out of here.”

We had just reached the surface when we felt a deep rumbling within the earth. Dust billowed out of the opening and we surmised the cavern had collapsed. I looked out over the remaining crowd that was very engaged in amorous activities. We climbed into the car and at the last moment I withdrew Aphrodite’s gift from the people. We watched momentarily as people stood and stared at themselves in disbelief.

Hahn pulled away and we drove towards home. “I’m sorry, Hahn. I never expected any of this. I put your life at risk.”

“Don’t be sorry, Amara. I’ve not had so much fun in a long time. I saw Aphrodite. I saw the power of the gods. Everything I’ve taught and studied over my entire life has now been validated.”

“You don’t think worse of me? I’m not really human to be able to do the things I can.”

“I’m as proud as any real father could be of a daughter.” He reached over and squeezed my hand.

Hahn was as excited as a school boy at Christmas as he shared with Marta every detail of the evening. Marta didn’t flinch, but rather became even more motherly and concerned for me. She was afraid for me, especially in regards to the second labor. There had been many chances for things to have gone very wrong.

Tomorrow was the celebration and there was much work to do. Marta had been slaving away in the kitchen all day. I spent an hour helping her clean up. I was enjoying a new perspective on the sexes. There was a comradery in the kitchen as a woman and while I didn’t agree with stereotypes, I was happy to lend a hand. I was changing by becoming more giving and loving.

In the morning we would pick up Naomi from the airport. Marta suggested I take her out later in the morning to swim or shop. I was anxious to meet someone my own age and to see the person whose clothes I’d been wearing.

That night I dreamt of Poseidon’s trident. I was in a cave that was very wet. Looking around I could see iron bars holding back unseen minions. In the middle of the cavern was a metal object. It was unscathed and unmarked, shining brightly in the flickering torchlight. I went to reach for it, realizing it was far larger than I assumed it would be. The metal was as thick as my forearm and nearly three feet in length. My fingers touched the metal just as an incredible roar rocked the cavern.

***

Naomi turned out to be a pretty dark-haired blue-eyed young woman with a perpetual smile and mischievous glint in her eyes. At twenty-three, she was a little older than me. It turned out she was born in Russia and adopted by a Greek family when she was one year old. I found her simply adorable.

“Marta’s gone on and on about you for the past few days. You’re absolutely gorgeous. You must be a model.”

“I was studying marine sciences, but now I’d like to stay here for a while. Not sure what I want to do anymore. Marta and Hahn are wonderful people and have opened the door to their home to me.”

“Well, you’re their daughter after all and blood ties bind no matter what the circumstances. That’s quite the story of how you all came to be together again.”

Marta, Hahn and I discussed that if the time were right, we could share more with Naomi. I didn’t want to hide things or lie, but who is to say what damage could be done by people knowing the truth. I listened to Naomi catch up with Marta and Hahn. It was wonderful knowing they cared for each other so much.

Once we got back home it was decided Naomi and I would head down to the beach and take in some shopping on the way back. Marta had a few other ladies coming over and Naomi and I were not to help out. We were ordered to go and relax and have fun. I quickly changed, wearing my bikini under the sundress and soon we were ready to go.

Naomi looped her arm in mine as we slowly walked down to the beach. The feeling was so foreign to me. Guys would never do something like this. At the beach Naomi asked if I would apply suntan lotion to her back. It was so normal for her and I was happy to oblige. She was very cute.

I enjoyed watching Naomi squirm as I squeezed the lotion onto her back. “Ohhh. That’s cold.” I began slowly rubbing it over her back and soon Naomi was moaning slightly. “That feels so good. Mmmm. Can I do your back?”

“Sure.”

I lay down and felt her fingers untie the back of my bikini top. The lotion did feel cold but her hands were warm. “You don’t even have a freckle on your back. I’ve never seen anyone so perfect before. Are your breasts real?”

“Completely natural.”

“No Botox for your lips?”

“None.”

“Wow, you’re amazing.”

“Good genes I guess.”

Naomi’s hands lingered on my back, but it felt so nice. “May I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“How did it make you feel when you found out you were orphaned?”

“I always knew. I was never adopted, just taken in by a foster family. There were twelve of us orphans there. It wasn’t a very loving place to grow up, but there was food, clothes, and a roof over our heads. How about you?”

“My parents love me like their own flesh and blood. I was shocked to find out I wasn’t theirs, but after a few days I realized it didn’t matter.”

“What are your plans? Do you work now, go to school, or have any career goals?”

“As much as I want to honor my father by going into accounting, I’ve always been fascinated by Greek history. In particular, teaching the Greek gods like Hahn. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Aphrodite? I mean look at your hair, it’s spectacular.”

I reached back and tied my biking strap again not wanting to forget it was undone. I rolled over on my side and watched Naomi. She was staring at me. “What do you know of the gods?”

“My first classes taught me how the gods came to be. People attributed natural disasters to the gods and then later, people would claim gods to be their own to frighten others.”

“So you don’t believe they exist?”

“Not at all but the history is intriguing. Angels on the other hand… I could believe that. Just need to put wings on your back.”

I laughed at the same moment a shot rang out and the sand flew up around us. “I told you to leave here!”

Naomi and I stood as the old Greek man held a gun pointed at me. “You’re mistaken. I’m not what you think I am.”

More men gathered around and two boats of men carrying guns drifted a short distance from shore. “I think not. We’re Poseidon’s own and you don’t belong here.”

“Let her go.”

“You take this siren with you to the bottom of the ocean.”

“You’re wrong about me. You’ll kill us both.”

“What’s this all about, Amara?”

The old man answered for me. “She’s a creature of the sea and an affront to Poseidon. You’ll go into the sea together. If you show your head above water we will shoot you. If you drown…” He shrugged.

“This is a witch hunt. Either way we die.”

“So be it. Into the water with you both or we’ll shoot you now.”

Naomi was frantic. I grabbed her hand firmly in mine and pulled her toward the ocean. When we waded to chest deep I knew there was a deep water shelf not much further away. The men on shore stood smiling and the boats surrounded us. The old man pointed with his gun for us to go further. I turned to Naomi and whispered. “Trust me.”

A bullet splashed the water next to us. “Go now and never come back!”

“Take a deep breath, Naomi. Swim with me.” We dove under the water and I pulled Naomi deeper and deeper over the shelf and down. She began to panic and pulled against my hand. I pulled her to me and placed my lips on hers and blew air into her. I tried to speak to her. “Stay calm.”

A bullet streaked through the water followed by many more. I gave Naomi another breath and pulled her deeper pausing several times to give her more air. I held her cheeks in my hands. Her eyes were wide with fear. I gave her another big breath. “Hang onto me.” She nodded and I became a dolphin. She screamed losing valuable air so I changed back and gave her another breath. “Trust me. Grab my fin.” This time she nodded and I felt her hand on my dorsal fin after I changed. I swam quickly away from the men and boats, changed and gave Naomi another breath. I changed again and swam to a dock changing only as we reached it. I pushed Naomi up under the dock so she could breath.

“Stay here out of sight.”

“What are you?”

“I’ll explain everything later. Stay hidden, I’m going to take care of you but first I need to take care of those men in the boat.”

Naomi nodded. I changed into a great white shark and rocketed back towards the boats with the men. I called other sharks to me and together we swarmed the waters and bumped the boats. On the surface it must have been frightening as I heard people screaming. I called the sharks away and the men all frantically rowed to shore. Then on a whim I caused bubbles to form in the water and the words in Greek appeared on the surface of the water. ’Poseidon is unhappy with you.’

I changed once again into a dolphin and swam back to Naomi, becoming me again at the last second. Naomi was in shock and I don’t blame her. I looked up the beach and the men had turned and fled. “Let’s get our things.” She nodded but she was shivering as we walked out onto the beach. I wrapped an arm around her to help her. I grabbed her towel and draped it over her shoulders, then collected our things before quickly walking towards a beach shower and an oceanfront restaurant. I had to guide her to rinse off, dry her, and then I slid her dress over top before doing the same myself. We took a booth and I ordered some warm tea for us both.

“Are you all right, Naomi?”

“You ask if I’m all right? You breathe underwater, become a fish, and we had men shooting at us and you ask if I’m all right?”

“You’re right. It’s a stupid question. Marta, Hahn and I wanted to tell you everything, but needed to wait for the right time.” I told her the entire story, including what happened at the Sanctuary of Aphrodite.

“So the Greek gods do exist, and you’re the daughter of Aphrodite and Proteus. You have a rather unique set of powers. You completed one labor and need to finish the other and in the meantime you have crazy Poseidon worshipping zealots trying to kill you.”

“To be fair, I didn’t expect anything to happen with the Poseidon worshippers. You must think I’m some kind of freak. Let me take you home. I’m sorry all of this happened.”

“I can’t believe I kissed Aphrodite’s daughter.”

“When did we kiss?”

“Underwater.”

“I was giving you air to breathe. That wasn’t a kiss. Did you think it was a kiss?”

“The first one. I thought it was a kiss goodbye.”

“That was definitely not a kiss.”

“It was too, you kissed me, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” She slowly started to smile making me feel a little better.

“Do you want me to take you home now?”

“And miss shopping? Not a chance. No crazed god worshippers or a kiss from a goddess can stop me from shopping.”

I hung my head. “I’m not a goddess and I’m really sorry.”

“You’re rather humble for a goddess. I admit it was frightening. Maybe one day you can introduce me to your parents? Come on. We’re wasting valuable buying time sitting here.”

Naomi grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the shops. In an hour it was as if nothing had even happened. I was hooked on shopping for women’s clothing and Naomi had excellent taste. We each bought a dress for the celebration. When we strolled into the house Naomi hugged me tight, thanked me, and went to shower and change.

Marta and Hahn were smiling at me. “She’s a nice girl.”

“Yes. She is.”

“You don’t see it?” Marta stood looking down the hallway after Naomi as she dried her hands on a towel.

“See what?”

“I think Naomi really likes you. Don’t you see the way she looks at you?”

“After all we went through, I’d be happy if she didn’t want to kill me.” I explained the day’s events.

Hahn and Marta were shocked. “At least you’re both all right. Why don’t you go get ready? People will start arriving soon.”

Naomi came out and grabbed my arm in hers. “I left some hot water for you. By the looks of all of you, you must have told them what happened?” I nodded.

“I’ll go get my shower.”

“Hurry back!” I smiled weakly and watched Hahn pull Naomi aside. I suspected he wanted to make sure we keep my talents hidden as much as possible.

I showered and stared at myself in the mirror again when the mirror went black and Proteus smiled back at me. “That was priceless, Amara. When you wrote the words in the water… Priceless. We all laughed up here.”

“I’m glad you’re all having fun at my expense and poor Naomi’s risk to her life.” My anger god the better of me and was immediately feeling guilty for saying what I did.

“She’s fine and I think you make a nice couple.”

“I better not find out you’re meddling with her feelings for me.”

“We all agreed. Aphrodite promised you after all.”

“I had a dream last night.”

“Yes… that was interesting. Could be that father is following your labors more closely than he’s letting on.”

“Poseidon?”

“Of course. I wanted to let you know we’re proud of you.”

“I appreciate that.”

“I also think you make a better daughter than a son.”

I frowned but let it go realizing he was probably right. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Be well, Amara.”

The mirror cleared and once again I stared at myself. I brushed out my hair and put on my new dress and stepped into a completely new world.

There were people everywhere and they all wanted to hug me and welcome me to the family. Food and drink were in abundance and the home was packed full. Hahn greeted me with a giant hug and kiss on my cheek and Naomi snuck up behind me. “You look smoking hot in that dress.” I took her hand and we stepped outside. “What’s up?”

“Are we okay? You and me? I mean after what happened today?”

“You’re mom said you’d probably ask those questions.”

“Marta is pretty intuitive.”

“Not Marta, Aphrodite.”

“You spoke with Aphrodite?”

“She appeared to me in the bathroom mirror. We had quite the conversation. She’s really very pretty.”

“Spill it. What did you both talk about?”

“You, of course. It was kind of sweet. I think she cares about you.”

“And?”

Naomi rolled her eyes. “She told me if I hurt you she’ll turn me into a pierogi.”

I looked up to the stars. “Really?” I swear one of the stars winked at me.

“I told her my intentions were pure.”

“You have intentions towards me?”

“I felt the way you rubbed suntan lotion on my back, how you kissed me, how you let me feel your dorsal fin, and how you showered with me. I can read between the lines. You like me and since I like you too I have intentions.”

“What kind of intentions?”

“This kind.” She pushed my back against the wall and her lips found mine. I could barely breathe. My lips wanted more. Naomi stepped back, smiled, grabbed my hand, and pulled me back to the party.

***

It was late into the night when the last people said their goodbyes. We decided to clean up in the morning. Naomi had stayed close all night, but we never finished our conversation. My eyes never drifted away from her all night. She was exactly the kind of person I would have fallen for before I became a woman. “You coming roomie?”

“Hmmm?”

“There’s only one spare bedroom and bed. We’re bunking together.”

We said goodnight to Marta and Hahn and I changed into my nightgown in the bathroom. Just because Naomi kissed me didn’t mean she was expecting us to suddenly be lovers. I crawled into bed and Naomi climbed in next to me.

“That was the most exhilarating day of my entire life, Amara.”

“How long are you here for? I was hoping perhaps you could help me find Poseidon’s trident piece.”

“I can stay a couple weeks, perhaps longer if necessary. To think I could be like Atalanta in the movie Hercules with Dwayne Johnson, supporting the goddess Amara on her epic quest. It’s the stuff of legends.”

“As you saw today, it’s also the stuff of danger. While I would greatly enjoy you being with me I’d not want any harm to come to you.”

“Are you always so serious? You need to lighten up and enjoy yourself more. If you ask me, it sounds like you’ve always struggled a little with living and loving. It sounds like you were raised with little love, felt forced to work hard to make a life for yourself, and now find your life has been completely turned upside down. My advice to you is stop worrying about other people and start living your life. Stop believing you need to earn love.”

“What do you mean by earning love?”

“It’s as if you’re hesitant to put your heart out there; like you don’t deserve someone’s affections. You can’t control that Hahn and Marta love you so just let it happen and love them back. While you were showering for the party I had a nice discussion with Hahn. You left out a few critical pieces in your story. Why didn’t you tell me about the orgy you caused or what you asked Aphrodite for?”

“They didn’t seem relevant.”

“That’s not the answer and you know it. You’re afraid people around you might feel manipulated to love you.” I turned away from Naomi so she couldn’t see my tears. How could she know me so well? “Hey… Don’t turn away from me. I’m right, aren’t I?”

I turned back, my cheeks glistening in the moonlight as it lit the room from the window. “All my life I felt like I was missing something. Now I’ve been transformed into a pretty young woman and given the power to make people love me. I could force the world to love me and that only makes me more despondent. I could get what I’ve always felt I’ve been missing by controlling the wills of those around me. I withhold myself because I don’t want fake love. And now… look at me… How will I ever know people love me for who I am and not what I look like?”

“First of all, you’re not a pretty woman. You’re stunningly beautiful. A goddess walking the earth. A piece of art that’s so becoming people can only stare in awe at your perfection. There will be people that fall in love with you for your looks. That’s just the nature of people. They fall in love with cars, with houses, with money, and with looks. But what is love exactly? In my opinion, true love requires reciprocation. It requires a melding of personalities and intellect. It also requires sacrifice. To love someone means you willingly put their life before yours.”

“What about your intentions?”

“I saw the way you looked at me tonight and the way you cared for me and protected me today. Any other person given the gifts you have would likely exploit them for their own personal gain, but you seem so humble. I like what I see in you and I think you like me too. My intentions are to let you know I’m interested in you and I have a strong desire to get to know you better.”

It was somewhat of a relief to know she wasn’t merely crushing on me. “What about the kiss?”

She smiled. “You kissed me first. I was just reciprocating.” She brushed some hair from my eyes and kissed my forehead. “Goodnight, Amara.” With that she turned over leaving me both relieved and sexually frustrated at the same time.

***

For the next week we avoided the beach area and travelled to Mount Olympus and visited many shops and sites. Naomi was my constant companion and while we hadn’t kissed again, we were growing much closer to each other. I actually felt like I had a real future with Naomi.

We continued to try to find references to Poseidon’s trident but we were stymied at every turn. Aphrodite and Proteus were silent and more and more I was feeling I must find the old Greek man, as dangerous as that might be. One day Naomi encouraged me to look for the man as a bird of some kind. I think she just wanted to see me transform again but I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea. I made sure no one was around but Naomi and transformed myself into an osprey. The sharp-eyed fast flying bird would be perfect for the task.

I felt Naomi’s fingers stroke my feathers which was a very strange sensation, but flying was incredible. It took me no time to fly down near the harbor and survey the area. I landed in a tree and looked around, spotting the old Greek man easily. I did more surveillance then flew down behind a building and transformed again, walking around the corner to where the man was.

When he spotted me he pulled his knife but I could see his nerves were frail. “If you truly believe what you think I am, then do you really think that knife will harm me?”

“What do you want from me?”

“I’m looking for something. A metal rod about three feet long, purported to be part of Poseidon’s trident.”

“That’s a sacred item.”

“A sacred item that Proteus wants me to recover for his father.” The man looked like he was about to run. “You know where it is, don’t you? Do you really want to go against the gods’ wills to have this item returned to them? You tried to kill me and yet I had mercy on your men.”

That seemed to soften him a little. “There is a ruin beneath the sea. It’s difficult to reach and only the most experienced divers can get inside. Many sharks roam the area and inside the ruin, the trident piece is guarded by a beast of old.”

“Where is it located?”

“One mile southwest of the harbor. There are two stone pillars resting together. Beneath them is the entrance. May Poseidon deal with you ever so harshly if you are not of him.”

I walked behind the building and transformed then flew back to Naomi.

“How was flying?”

“Invigorating. I found the man and got some answers. There’s an underwater temple about a mile southwest of the harbor.”

“Great! I’m coming with you. I have my diving certification.”

“It sounds dangerous, Naomi. Sharks and a beast of old is what the man said.”

“You can deal with sharks.”

Naomi wasn’t taking no for an answer. I could easily go there on my own but in a way I really wanted Naomi with me. “Do you think we can arrange it for tomorrow?”

“Easily. We just need a dive boat and my cousin owns one in the next town. I’m sure he would let us borrow it.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

“I told you already. I’m an experienced diver. What’s really your concern?”

“I don’t want anything to happen to you. I’ve been thinking to myself that I want to explore a future with you.”

“That sounds so clinical. Tell me how you really feel.”

I hesitated as saying the words might trivialize what I felt. “I’m falling in love with you, Naomi. I don’t want to lose you or see you get hurt.”

“I feel the same way about you. I find myself closing my eyes to listen to you as we talk to make sure I’m not being blinded by what I see. You’re kind, smart, compassionate, and to think that you could have any person on earth and yet you want to be with me makes me all gooey inside. I’m falling in love with you too and I don’t want to lose you or see you hurt either. Like it or not, you’re stuck with me.”

***

Early the next morning Naomi and I set out in the borrowed dive boat. We found some shallow water to put down the anchor and I dove into the water and transformed into a dolphin once again to search the area. It didn’t take long to spot the ruins which appeared to be on a rocky underwater ledge. The darkness of the deep water below the entrance was a clear indication of the depth. Luckily the temple entrance was only in about sixty feet of water.

I came to the surface and waved to Naomi who flopped herself into the water and we swam hand in hand towards the giant stone pillars. The old man was right in that there were lots of sharks. I communicated to them to leave us alone as we slipped underneath the pillars and into the entrance. We swam a good hundred feet through a tunnel and then surfaced into a huge underwater cavern.

The air was a little stale, but I could breathe fine. Pulling a tab on a flare the cavern was quickly bathed in a surreal red glow. Several torches ringed the water which I lit as Naomi removed her heavy gear. The cavern was just like it was in my dream. Dark black rock glistened with moisture and slight scraping sounds echoed from deeper recesses. In the walls there were niches with thick rusted iron bars and in the center of the cavern was an altar of black stone. On it rested the piece of Poseidon’s trident. My first instinct was to grab it and run but perhaps it was the Indiana Jones in me thinking that would be too easy.

Naomi pointed to the altar. “Is that it?”

“Just like in my dream. The old man suggested it was protected by a beast and after my last labor, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

We stepped forward towards the altar when the cavern shook and one of the iron prison bars began to lift rapidly. With a triumphant bellow and roar, a Minotaur stepped into the main room. It had the body of a large muscled man, the head of a bull with enormous horns, and it carried a huge axe. It must have been a good eight feet tall. Its eyes were like molten fire and saliva dripped from its mouth. It lowered its head and charged straight for us.

Naomi pushed me out of the way but she wasn’t in time to avoid a horn ripping through her side. The Minotaur lifted her off the ground and tossed her to the cavern floor like as if she were no more than a dried up carcass.

“No!”

There was no time to get to Naomi as the Minotaur turned its focus on me and moved slowly forward slashing back and forth with its axe. I stumbled backwards until my back was to the altar, my fingers fumbling to grasp the trident fork. I wrapped my fingers around the cold metal and lifted but it nearly fell from my grasp from the damp smoothness and its weight. I realized I needed more strength and imagined myself to be a giant gorilla. My now furred fist lifted the fork easily just in time to parry the swing of the mighty axe of the Minotaur, but I was no trained fighter and knew I would lose this fight unless I took a risk. I watched the Minotaur swing and I dove forward with the trident fork extended before me. I crashed into the beast knocking it down and heard its scream. I looked down at my hand to see the fork embedded deep into the Minotaur’s body. Its axe skittered to the side as it staggered to its feet, grasping at the fork and trying to pull it from its body. A quick roll to the side and I found the fallen axe and with a swift move to my feet I spun and swung with all I had. I watched as if everything was in slow motion as the head of the Minotaur fell from its shoulders.

Quickly I pulled the fork from the great beast and carried it over to Naomi. I transformed back to myself only to realize I was too late. Naomi was dead. I screamed my hatred at the gods and wept into her neck. I wasn’t going to accept this. I pulled her to the water’s edge and dragged the trident fork as well. Pulling both into the water I swam hard to exit the temple then used the weight of the trident fork for drop us into the depths. When the feeble rays of the sun no longer could be seen and the cold of the water became intense, light and warmth filled my senses and I found myself once again in the Garden of Hesperides.

I lay there momentarily in the grass with the heavy trident fork in one hand and my other arm wrapped around Naomi. I wasn’t about to find out if any of the gods were around. I merely buried my face in Naomi’s hair and wept.

“Well done, Amara.” Proteus’ strong voice emanated fatherly concern.

I looked up to see Aphrodite and Proteus standing there. “You’re gods. Do something for her! Take my life instead of hers.”

Aphrodite shook her head sadly. “It’s not our place to interfere in the lives of mortals.”

“And yet you interfered in mine.”

“You’re not mortal.”

There was a flash of light and Poseidon stood before me. He looked even more powerful than Proteus and his short curling gray beard gave him an ageless wisdom to his look. His trident was noticeably missing one fork. The fork in my hand dissolved away and melded itself onto his trident. “That was very entertaining, Amara. It pleases me to have my trident whole again.”

“Entertaining?” I stood and lifted Naomi into my arms. “Is this what you call entertainment? That the one person that’s come into my life that loves me for who I am and I love her back is dead?”

Proteus stepped forward. “We can’t do anything for her, Amara. You have earned a gift though.”

“What good is a gift if Naomi isn’t alive?”

“Only Zeus…”

“Then I ask you send Naomi and me to Zeus.”

Lightning flashed and as my eyes adjusted once again I found myself standing before a magnificent throne. My knees quaked at the sight of Zeus before me. He reclined on his throne while his fingers stroked his long white beard. He was four times larger than any of the other gods.

“Who dares to argue with the gods?” His voice was resonating and deep.

I shook as I walked forward with Naomi still in my arms. “I do. I didn’t ask to be born, nor did I ask to have Aphrodite and Proteus as parents. I didn’t ask to have to prove my worth by performing labors, but I do ask for Naomi’s life, even if that means I give up my own.”

“Ahh. You’re Amara. It’s been so long since we have had one of our kind on earth. I’ve even heard whispers that Aphrodite once again moves among the people there. Perhaps it’s time to rekindle the flames of belief. I’ll give you a gift so that you can be better recognized as daughter of the gods.”

“I don’t want a gift; I just want Naomi to live again.”

“And what will I gain from such a transaction?” His eyes bored into me and I quaked with fear.

“Father, might I add something to the conversation?” I turned to see a man who could only be Heracles. Zeus nodded. “I’m ashamed to admit it, father, but Naomi is my daughter. I visited earth twenty-four years ago and had a wondrous time with a Russian woman.”

“Why am I always the last to find out these things? You did not gift her nor give her labors?”

“I was unhappy with my own life on Earth and the labors I had to endure. I didn’t want to impose that on my own daughter.”

“Rules are rules, Heracles.”

“A word, Zeus?” Aphrodite stepped forward and whispered in Zeus’ ear and he nodded.

“I’ve made my decision. Naomi will be recreated in the likeness of Heracles. His name will be Athos and he will have Heracles’ strength. For the gift of his resurrection, I will ask four labors of Amara and Athos, however, I first wish to see them wed. We can’t have a new goddess and an immortal man running around creating more mischief. By keeping them together we can at least control the spread of children.” He looked dubiously at Heracles and Aphrodite. “In one month’s time the wedding will take place in the Garden of Hesperides.”

There was a flash of light and once again I was back in the cavern under the ocean. Lying at my feet was Naomi, now Athos. He was naked as I had been after my transformation and a more handsome man I’d never seen. His eyes flicked open.

“Thank the gods! You’re alive.”

“I had the strangest dream. What’s wrong with my voice, Amara?”

“Take a deep breath. The gods have shown their mercy on us, but not without some mischief of their own. I’ve got quite a story to tell you.”

Athos sat up and looked down upon himself. “I’m a guy?”

A flash of light burst into the cavern and Aphrodite, Proteus, and Heracles stood close to the altar. “There you are, my son! You look very handsome and the two of you make such a lovely couple. Walk with me.” Heracles pulled Athos up and they walked to the back of the cavern. Athos looked back at me with some concern.

Aphrodite and Proteus looked a little sheepish. “One never knows what Zeus might do. That was very brave of you, Amara.”

“She risked her life for me. I love her. I couldn’t see her die on my account.”

“Then you also know in your heart that she loves you for who you are. Zeus thought it only fair she experience what you did with her transformation.”

“And what of Naomi? How will she cope as a man, as Athos? What of her family? Her identification?”

“Zeus took care of that. To her family she’s always been Athos. Just as you had no choice, he doesn’t either and his feelings for you haven’t changed. When he returns to the boat his clothing will have all changed as well. My advice to you is not to get pregnant for a good long time.”

“Pregnant?” Aphrodite smiled as any mother would seeing her daughter realize the ramifications of being a woman. “What happens now?”

“Nothing until after the wedding. I’ll make sure you have a proper gown befitting a goddess.”

“Am I really a goddess?”

“Of course you are. You were born of gods and are a woman, what else would you be?”

“But if I was a goddess I could have saved Naomi.”

“You must live your mortal life before you’re returned to us on Mount Olympus and receive your godly power. Then you’ll both live among us for all eternity. Zeus has already decreed it.”

“Hahn and Marta? Can they come to the wedding?”

“No mortal can be where you have been. I was surprised when you brought Naomi to the Garden and now I understand why that was possible. She too was immortal but without the gifts of Heracles she remained like any other human. As for Marta and Hahn, you’ll have an Earthly wedding as well.”

“What if Athos doesn’t want to marry me?” A thunder clap sounded and I nodded. “That’s not an option. I understand.”

“It’s our time to go once again. Be well our daughter.”

A very naked Athos strode purposely towards me with a grin plastered on his face. He didn’t say a word but picked me up off the ground and kissed me long and passionately before setting me gently back down. “Heracles told me all that happened and how you fought for my life, even risking your own with Zeus.”

“Naomi, I know it must be you in there but I have to ask.”

“It is.” Hearing those words was a relief. “At first I asked why I was changed and wanted to be changed back but Heracles explained it to me. Like you, Zeus believed it would be more entertaining, but it was not a hard choice. It was either death as Naomi or life as Athos. I admit I was a little jealous of you before. You’re so beautiful and I was plain in comparison. You also had such powerful gifts. I was worried one day you would see beyond me and fall out of love. I also feared that it would be hard to be a female couple. While the world is more open to it these days, it’s still not widely accepted. And then there was the idea of family and how we could never have children of our own, at least not without someone else’s involvement. Like you I had to make a choice and seeing you standing here with your parents I realized I’d be a fool to not want to live and be with you. It might take a bit of time to get used to the new me, but I’m still in love with you and want you if you still want me.”

I felt his immense hand in mine and I looked upon his chiseled muscles and handsome face. The gods were obviously laughing at me as I knew Naomi was inside and I still loved her. I slid my hand over his chest and shuddered at his strength and power. My fingers lingered there as I looked up into his eyes. I pulled his face down so my lips could meet his. “I do want you, Athos. You’re very handsome. I only have one question.”

“What’s that?”

“Are we still sharing a bed?”

His fingers drifted lightly along my neck and down to the curve of my breast. There was something extremely erotic in his touch, even more so than with Naomi. I closed my eyes and imagined yielding to his strength. I let out a gentle gasp and looked up into his blue eyes. He grinned as his eyes danced over my body. “I don’t think Hahn would allow that and I’m not sure that small bed of yours could handle the two of us.”

Athos’ massive erection pressed up against me and I realized I had a powerful effect on him. I smiled and batted my eyes a few times and wondered if he’d lose control if I untied my bikini top. “What are you thinking right now?”

“I’m extremely invigorated. I feel so strong and powerful and the added height makes me feel rather invulnerable. I want to explore myself, and yet looking at you in all your perfection makes me want to ravage you. I can’t control this thing.”

“Welcome to being a male. You know you can take anything you want. You have the strength to do so even without Heracles’ might.”

“And yet a short time ago I was slightly smaller than you and remember the fear I had sometimes about being raped. I could never do that to anyone. Do you have any words of wisdom?” He looked down and pointed to his new manhood.

“I can think of many things, but most would not leave me a virgin for our wedding night.” Athos face blushed and I could see him strain.

“Don’t even joke about that. I feel ready to explode as it is.”

“I could help you with it, but if I were honest I’m not sure I could control myself if I imbibed too much of you. I suspect Zeus knew what he was doing when he transformed you as I’m very attracted to you. Some part of me wants to give in to my desires and another part wants our wedding night to be as wonderful as it could ever be. I could give you a few minutes to yourself.”

“I want that for us as well. About the wedding and all, let’s not speak about it again.”

“You don’t want to be married?”

“I didn’t say that. It’s just I want it to be on our own terms.” I nodded unsure what he meant. “Give me a couple of minutes.”

“I doubt you’ll need that long.” I gave him a mischievous smile and watched him walk to the far end of the cavern where the darkness enveloped him. Knowing what he was doing right now made me incredibly excited but I felt I could at least hold off until I had a bath later.

I smiled when I heard a primal growl and a blushing Athos emerged from the darkness. “Is it always like that? That was amazing!”

“I actually rather favor female orgasms over the male ones, but yes, it’s glorious.”

I watched Athos pick up his gear like it weighed as much as a feather and then put it back down again. He walked over to the Minotaur and ripped the horns from its head. “I bet Hahn would appreciate one of these and who knows if the other might come in handy one day.”

I merely nodded in agreement as I was slightly shaken by his immense strength. “You ready to return to the land of the mortals?”

He tested his gear and put on the mask and tank. I dove into the water and Athos followed close behind. I swam ahead a little then turned and waited for him so I could place my hand in his and swim together. I wondered about how much time had transpired as I had lost an entire day last time. When we surfaced by the boat the sun appeared to be an hour from sunset. Was it a day and a half, or just half a day we were down there?

***

We made it back home just after dark and Marta and Hahn were waiting for us with dinner ready. They greeted us as if nothing had transpired and even called Athos by name. Whatever Zeus had done was complete to the last detail. It was as if Naomi never existed. Athos and I decided not to talk about the marriage yet nor did we go into elaborate detail as to the events of the day. Deep down I felt they wouldn’t understand about Naomi. We did share about the cavern and the Minotaur and Hahn carried the horn Athos gave him like a golden trophy. We also didn’t say anything about the additional labors.

I excused myself from the dinner table and took a long hot bath. Being next to Athos all evening was driving my libido wild and it took several self-gratifications to provide some slight relief. I changed into my nightgown and ran into Athos in the hallway. His eyes went wide with lustful passion and I couldn’t resist making him squirm a little. I walked as sexily as possible, wrapped my arms around his thick neck, and kissed him. His hands immediately found my butt. I smiled and disengaged from his arms noticing his rather large bulge. “Goodnight, tiger. Enjoy your shower.”

“You’re a vixen. You can’t just walk up to a guy in a skimpy piece of sexy lingerie, kiss him, and leave. That’s torture!”

“You can have me in thirty days.”

“That’s just mean.”

“You may be stronger now but don’t you recall that pretty women hold all the power?”

***

The sunshine streaming through my window woke me gently. I missed having Naomi next to me to wake up to. I pondered everything that transpired since my arrival. I was now absolutely enamored with being a woman. Given the chance to return to being male, even someone as handsome and strong as Athos, I’d never take it. It had been nearly two weeks since my transformation and everything felt completely natural. I loved my smaller size and the way my breasts bounced. I enjoyed being told I was pretty and wearing sexing clothing. There were a few drawbacks. I had to shave my legs, underarms, and private parts but at least it wasn’t every day and took surprisingly little time as the strokes were so long. I had to pee sitting down and in public washrooms that proved to be a challenge keeping off the seat. I still hadn’t had a period yet and I made note to buy some pads for myself. I wondered if Aphrodite had periods. Yet, for every drawback, there were a hundred reasons I’d choose to stay female.

I thought about my time in the tub last night and was surprised to find my passions and preferences had changed. Don’t get me wrong as I loved Naomi and would have been very happy with her, but last night all I could think of was being the recipient of Athos’ member. Whether this was due to the gods manipulating me or just female hormones I didn’t care. I was very excited about my future and my life with Athos.

I crawled out of bed and went to the bathroom only to find the toilet seat up. I smiled imagining Athos’ new found freedom and caught myself glancing at my reflection. No longer did I feel like I was looking at a stranger however I was still in awe over the beauty I saw. I found myself getting giddy as if my life had just completely found joy and happiness for the first time. I remembered how I made Athos squirm last night and I wanted to look good for him to keep him wanting me. I’d never experienced that type desire before where I wanted to be pleasing to someone else, but I found myself primping and making sure my makeup, not that I needed it, was perfect. Having completed my morning ritual, I headed back to my bedroom and realized I needed more clothes. I wore the short dress I bought earlier hoping Athos would be pleased. I found him waking up on the couch and felt some empathy for him. His large frame barely fit on the old couch, another reminder to me that I was happy with my smaller size.

Kneeling down next to the couch I placed my hands on his face and kissed him. “Good morning.”

“Now that’s a way to wake up. You look fantastic.”

I reveled in the compliment. “I think some shopping is in order today. I need more clothes.”

“More clothes?”

“Unlike you, I started out with a single dress, swimsuit, and two pairs of underwear.”

“I get to help you pick. I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

“You men take so little time to get ready. It takes a lot of work to make me beautiful.”

“All you need to be beautiful is wake up.” Athos pulled the blanket off and noticed his boxers standing at attention. “What’s the matter with this thing?”

“That’s a very common occurrence. It’s also really hard to pee that way.”

“What do I do?”

“You can always squat over the toilet with your hands on the floor.”

“You did that when you were a guy?”

I just smirked realizing yet another thing I wouldn’t miss in the mornings. “You’re a little scruffy. You might want to shave while you’re in there. I’ll go help Marta with breakfast.” I stood slowly giving him ample opportunity to check out my cleavage and I brushed his boxers as well.

“You’re a temptress, Amara.”

***

We shopped most of the day and Athos slowly became bored while waiting for me to try on clothes. For me I found that wearing new styles invigorated me, however, each new dress made me want to find matching shoes and accessories.

“You know, Athos, you don’t have to shop with me. I just need to get my wardrobe filled out and I still need to get some pads and things.”

“Hah! I’m not going to miss that!”

“I’m sure you’re well pleased to not have to worry about it, just as you’ve already learned to leave the toilet seat up.”

“That’s a man’s prerogative.” His smug smile made him look dashing.

I sauntered up to him and pressed my body up against his. “You want me to be a good wifey and get beer for you as you watch football? I’ll slave away in nothing but an apron making you steak and potatoes? I could be your little sex slave.” I felt his excitement grow at my touch.

“We’re in public! Now what am I going to do?”

I laughed and turned around and rubbed my backside against him. “Just walk close behind me. There’s a table over there we can get something to eat and give you a little time to think about other things.”

We sat down and Athos was visibly relieved to be able to hide himself. “I admit it. You have power over me. You wiggle your cute butt and I’ll do anything.”

“For full disclosure I can’t resist touching you either. It’s been a whole day now. How are you coping?”

“Aside from the obvious embarrassing moments, I feel more right about myself than I’ve ever felt before. Do you miss being a guy?”

“Not in the least. I might feel differently when I get my first period, but if I had the chance to be me again, I wouldn’t take it. If I were to look at my situation from another person’s perspective they’d probably think I was gay, but they’re not me and not living my experience. Maybe everyone would feel the same way under the same circumstances.”

“I have to say seeing people look at you the way they do makes me jealous.”

“That could be you getting used to your testosterone.”

“No, it’s more than that. I’m feeling very possessive.”

“You know I can take care of myself. I can always fly away or make some guy fall in love with a coat rack. I find it endearing that you think of me that way. I don’t like the way the women look at you either. I’m not going anywhere and I’m not interested in anyone but you. I’d be a fool. Look at you. You’re handsome and charming.”

“You think I’m handsome?” He turned his head to pose a little.

“You know it.”

“And how could I have eyes for anyone other than you?”

“I’ll meet you back home. I’m sure you’d be embarrassed to buy the things I’m about to buy.”

“Not a chance. I want to be with you. Besides, you need your ears pierced and I need to stand guard in case they do it wrong.”

***

Almost a week later I was awakened by the glorious smell of breakfast in bed. Athos got up early and made me breakfast, delivering it to my bedside on a tray with a flower. The past week had been so wonderful. He had extended his stay and I was head over heels in love with Athos. He was being so kind and caring towards me. Scooting over I patted the bed and he took the hint and slipped in next to me. I was barely covered by my nightgown and that fact certainly hadn’t gone unnoticed. With the tray removed to a nearby nightstand I snuggled into his arms and felt him kissing my head. It was such a heartwarming feeling to be in the secure arms of someone I cared so deeply for.

“You’re being very good.”

“I’m reciting the Greek alphabet in my mind to keep me from ripping that nightgown off of you.”

“What would you like to do today?”

“I have the day completely planned; first a swim at a secluded beach, then a casual but light lunch, and finally a romantic sunset dinner. We’ll have to come home so we can change and shower before dinner. No more shopping for you.”

“That all sounds amazing, except for the no shopping part.”

“You really have fully embraced womanhood, haven’t you?”

“It’s my prerogative.”

I felt his fingers running through my hair and the sudden loss of his body heat as he got up from the bed. “Time’s wasting away on this gorgeous day. I’ll meet you in the living room.”

I quickly got ready and opted to put my hair back in a ponytail and wore a sun dress over my bikini. While I could wear jeans or pants, I found I was much more comfortable in a dress. Growing up, I always hated wearing a shirt tucked into my pants and enjoyed the freedom of movement when it wasn’t. A dress almost felt the same but even more so. Plus, on a hot day, there was nothing like having the wind blow against my bare legs.

Marta and Hahn were in the living room when I arrived and I noted their approval of Athos and me. When I was with Naomi, there was acceptance, but subtly I could tell they weren’t seeing that as a long-term relationship. Now, their eyes spoke knowingly of a budding, potential lifelong relationship.

After hugging Marta and Hahn I took Athos’ arm in mine and we stepped outside. Athos made a big show of bringing me to the scooter. “Our trusty steed, my Lady.” This was Greece after all and I’d seen more than two people on these little scooters before. I hiked up my dress a little sat behind Athos, wrapping my arms around him. As it had been in the morning, there was something comforting about feeling his strength and knowing my safety was in his competent hands.

We rode for about forty-five minutes northwest of Paphos to a place called the Sea Caves. The tide was out offering a beautiful sandy beach with spectacular vistas of ocean cliffs and caves. In no time at all we were chest deep in the water and Athos had me in his arms kissing me. Knowing how much I love the water, Athos relaxed on the beach while I swam out to sea for some exploration. I snuck back to the beach to see Athos snoozing on his towel. Proteus mentioned I’d have control over water so I sent a spray of water precisely on top of him. The next thing I knew I was picked up by Athos and tossed back into the water laughing and screaming the entire time.

When we finally lay back down on our towels to dry off we only had about thirty minutes before the tide sent us packing. I was tempted to hold back the water for more sun tanning but I figured that might draw too much attention. Athos took my hand and led me to a little restaurant overlooking the bay and cliffs.

“You know I should have had you find some lobster out there.”

“I don’t have to find them; I just have to call them, although I might feel bad calling them to their deaths. I was thinking we might want to start planning our wedding.”

“Tomorrow. Today is all about us.”

“What about your parents and your job back on the mainland?”

“I think I should quit and come live here. While you were trying on clothes the other day I checked my bank account and found a little Zeus bonus cash there. I don’t think either of us really needs to worry about work. Besides, we’ll need to find a place to live together and we both need to be free to fulfill the labors. I also can’t see myself taking you far from Marta and Hahn. They only just got you after all.”

Nodding my agreement I took a moment to think about how I was feeling. My actions have been becoming more and more feminine. I was sitting like any woman would with my leg crossed over the other to protect against someone looking up their dress. I did this without thinking. I spent more time watching other women and how they were dressed and what makeup they wore to see if this was something I should try. I was noticing my fingernails and thought I should paint them. But, more than anything, I was thinking about making a home for us. I wasn’t fighting these thoughts, rather I wanted to go further and faster into my new found femininity.

“What are you thinking, Amara? You seem distant.”

“I’m so sorry. I was musing how… This is embarrassing. You’ll think I’m a sissy.”

“Never.”

“When you look at me do you see a man in a woman’s shell?”

“I know what happened to you, but I’ve never known you as anything but a woman. So no, I don’t think that.”

“For the first few days after my transformation, I kept thinking like a man. I had no choice to become a woman and yet I sort of wanted my old life back. Now, I only want to be a woman and I see myself changing. I don’t even want to wear pants anymore. I want to paint my fingernails and buy accessories to make myself more feminine. I feel very emotional and somewhat fragile. In my mind, I’m afraid you might think less of me, but inside, I want nothing more than to be swept off my feet and be as feminine as I possibly can.”

“I’ve been a man now a week and I think I’m starting to understand what you’re feeling. I see the way women look at me and how men size me up all macho like. The first days, I felt like an imposter as if someone would point at me and say ‘that’s a woman.’ Today has felt completely different. I feel myself becoming the protector and gaining confidence. I noticed how my stride is different; maybe even a little more solid. I look at you and want to be your shield. I want to be the man and be dominant. I fear, like you, giving into these desires to become manlier might cause you to think less of me. The funny thing about all of this, is when I look at you, I see a confident woman. You’re proud of whom you are and if anything that makes you even sexier. The more you adjust, the more beautiful you become.”

That’s what I needed to hear. Tears of relief fell down my cheeks as my hand reached across the table and took Athos’. “For the record, I don’t see an imposter. I see a gallant, handsome, and caring man. This is going to be a very long month. I love you, Athos.”

“I’ve never wanted anything so badly in my life as you. Let me take you home so we can be prepared for dinner tonight. You must dress up. This is a fancy place I’m taking you to.”

“I’ll try not to disappoint you.”

“There’s no chance of that.”

***

I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time in the bathroom before. I bathed and washed my hair multiple times, wore the sexiest bra and panties I could find, put on a pair of laced black stockings, three inch heels, and a body hugging black dress that didn’t quite reach the middle of my thighs. I used the Internet to try different styles for my hair and finally asked Marta for help.

“You look gorgeous, Amara. You’re fretting as well. I can tell you like Athos very much and want to make a good impression on him.”

“I love him. Today’s been so perfect. I don’t want to disappoint him. I have butterflies in my stomach.”

“You of all people shouldn’t worry. A man would have to be in a coma to not be overwhelmed by your beauty and grace. How about we put your hair up a little?”

“I’m such a klutz with my hair.”

“Nonsense. You don’t have to do anything to it but this gives me a chance for some good mother daughter bonding time.”

“It’s only been a few weeks and I think of you and Hahn more as my parents than anyone I can think of.”

“You’re a gift of the gods to us.”

“As you both are to me.”

“There. How does that look?”

“Amazing. Thank you!”

“You need a few accessories.” Marta opened up a case and inside were pearl and diamond earrings, a matching necklace, bracelet, and anklet.

“Their wonderful!”

“Their yours. These were the pearls and diamonds you gave us. We had them set. We’re fine financially and think if the gods gave them to you then you should wear them. Let me help you with them.”

“They look stunning.” I stood and pulled Marta into a hug and tried hard not to cry. My emotions were getting the best of me. “Thank you so much!”

“Your date is waiting.”

I stepped into the living room feeling truly and fully a woman for the first time. I knew I was pretty, but tonight I felt beautiful. Athos’ eyes were wide as I stepped into his embrace and kissed him.

Hahn pulled out a camera and had us pose together. “I’ve never seen a more perfect couple. This is going straight to Facebook.”

We bid farewell and Athos, the perfect gentleman, opened the car door for me. He paused before setting out. “I’m speechless.”

“I’m yours.”

“By the gods do I love hearing you say that. A thousand ships were launched because of Helen of Troy’s beauty. There are not enough ships in the world for you.”

“I don’t need ships to come rescue me, I have you.”

Dinner was spectacular and the setting nice and romantic. I couldn’t even remember what I ordered. It was as if the world vanished and it was just Athos and me. Our conversation was so free and unhindered. We even attempted dancing. I wasn’t very good but that didn’t seem to bother Athos at all.

After dinner we walked along a sea wall. “This has been the perfect day, Athos. Thank you.”

“It’s not over yet.” I watched as he got down on one knee and took my left hand in his. I immediately felt self-conscious. “Amara Milas, would you give me the honor of marrying me?”

Heat rushed through my body. About three weeks ago I was a single guy and now I was a woman being proposed to. Never in a million years would I have seen this coming. “I want nothing more than to be your loving, loyal, and devoted wife.” I pulled him up and wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him. I even think my left leg lifted a little as I leaned into him.

“I know it was a little sudden and we haven’t known each other long, but Zeus waits for no one and I wanted to give you the very same experience I always dreamed of. Let’s see if this fits.” He pulled a ring from his pants pocket and slipped it on my finger. It was very impressive as the diamonds caught the light. “Heracles gave this to me.”

Falling back into his arms I steadied myself in his strong embrace. “I think I knew we were meant for each other the day I met you at the airport. It seems so long ago now. I can’t wait to tell Marta and Hahn.

“They already know. I asked them for your hand in marriage last night. It felt like the right thing to do.”

“I’ve never been so happy.”

***

It had been a whirlwind week since the proposal and I had fully embraced my newfound femininity. I no longer felt like I was holding back and my closet proved it with every new item of clothing and accessory. It was now fairly filled with dresses, skirts, and sexy intimates.

This morning I woke to a little surprise of some stickiness in my panties. Sure enough it was blood and with it came a combination of emotions and bloating. So far it wasn’t painful and maybe because it was my first period I was excited. I washed myself up well and changed my panties and added a pad that made me remember what I used to have between my legs. Even though I chose to look at my period as a wondrous event, I didn’t escape the slight headache, emotional swings, and breast tenderness. I guess if it got really bad I could transform myself into some creature that didn’t suffer nearly so badly.

After I changed I had a visit by Aphrodite. One moment I was sitting on my bed and the next she was there.

“Good morning, my daughter.”

Perhaps it was my period, or that I had fully embraced my womanhood, or even that I was so happy with my life, I threw myself into her arms for a hug.

“Good morning, mother! What do I owe the visit?”

“I wanted to let you know how pleased I am. You’ve become such a joyful, loving, and caring young woman. I’m happy you’ve let go of your previous life.”

“Please don’t tell me I’m being turned back.”

“While Zeus could do that, he’s never done anything like this before and it would be cruel to change someone more than once. I think he’s rather enjoying the outcome. The real reason I’m here is that the Poseidon worshippers were incensed that the trident fork is missing and the Minotaur is dead. They’ve performed a ritual to open the caves of Mount Olympus and release Stheno. She is killing off the worshippers and Zeus has decided you and Athos should put an end to her.”

“I’m not familiar with Stheno.”

“She’s a Gorgon and one of three sisters. Medusa, was a mortal, then there is Euryale, and finally Stheno.”

“So not only is Stheno like Medusa, she’s also immortal? How do you kill that? Will we turn to stone if she looks at us?”

“She can’t be killed, but she can be pushed back beyond the threshold that was opened. I have two items for you and Athos. Heracles’ Bow with arrows tipped with poison from the Hyrda and the Hide of the Nemean Lion.”

“Does this count for one of our labors?”

“Zeus has said if you complete this task then the other labors will no longer be needed for proving your right to live, however, you might still be called upon for tasks in the future.”

“You know I’m not a fighter and I doubt Athos has ever held a bow before.”

“He will rise to the occasion and so will you.”

“What about our wedding?”

“Zeus moved it to today.”

“What?”

“He wanted you married and consummated before you go after Stheno.”

“But what about the plans we made here? I’m having my period!” Just saying that made it all sound so foolish and trite.

“The wedding is in the Garden of Hesperides and so is your wedding night. When you are in our realm, you no longer have your bleeding. Your earthly wedding will go on as planned, assuming you both survive. Zeus believes defeating Stheno might cause people to take note of you both and thus he wants you bound together before that so there is at least something keeping you both from having affairs and creating more half gods.”

“This is so wrong on so many levels.” Thunder sounded in the distance. I sighed. “All right. How do I prepare for the wedding?”

“First you should tell Marta and Hahn you’ll be gone for two days.”

“What about my dress? I need to shave my legs.”

Aphrodite just smiled. “You have a lot to learn, Amara. When you are in our realm, you are in your true goddess form. That means no shaving. As for the dress, when you arrive you’ll be dressed appropriately. And to answer your next question, you’ll both be brought to the Garden in an hour so I suggest you stay here in the house until then.”

“Nothing like a shotgun wedding.” Another boom of thunder shook the house. I looked to the sky. “Sorry. I’m not saying I’m frustrated or not willing. I was actually thinking I didn’t know if I could wait the entire month. The shotgun wedding comment is that I’m a little nervous at the suddenness of it all.” I waited to see if I was struck by lightning. “Can he really hear me?”

Aphrodite laughed and vanished. I rushed out into the living room to deliver the news.

***

The hour flew by as we had much to discuss. Hahn began digging through his books to find anything he could on Stheno. Marta fussed about the timing of it all and that we’d lose two days for ‘real’ wedding planning. Athos and I kept glancing furtively at each other wondering what we might be getting ourselves into.

Then, all of a sudden the living room vanished and I was standing in the Garden of Hesperides completely dressed. I say completely dressed as that was a bit of an overstatement. I looked down upon the white fragments of silky fabric held together by pearls and diamonds and realized there was far more of me showing than I would have ever considered for a wedding. I kept looking around, over my shoulder, and twisting to make sure I wasn’t completely exposed. I knew not to argue about the dress and I’m sure it looked spectacular.

Aphrodite and Proteus were standing next to me but Athos was nowhere to be seen. “Do either of you have any parental words of wisdom?”

“Athos looks very strong. You might want to keep him on his back until he tires out.”

“Proteus! Amara’s my very own daughter and she’ll be more than a match for Athos. He’ll be exhausted and she’ll just be getting started. I’m not the goddess of love and seduction for nothing.”

“Nothing like talking about coupling and consummation to get the fires burning. Care to take me on again, Aphrodite?”

I watched as the two bickered back and forth like an old couple. “Hello? That’s all the advice the two of you have?”

“Try not to get Zeus upset with you.”

I changed topics as this conversation wasn’t going anywhere. “I’ve been thinking about my ancestry. Proteus’ father is Poseidon, whose father was Uranus, and Aphrodite’s parents are Zeus and Dione. Do I call Zeus and Poseidon grandpa?”

“We’re all related to each other in convoluted ways. It’s best to just use their names and try not to think about things too much. Are you ready?”

I reached down and ran my hand over my exposed calf and thigh. “I wish I could get this kind of shave back on Earth. Do I have a choice?”

“Not really.”

“Then I guess I’m ready.”

We walked through the lush and green gardens towards the temple. My mind was all over the place and maybe I was trying to distract myself from the butterflies I was feeling, but I mused over the reality of this place. Was it in another dimension or on another planet? How could I be different here than on Earth? Was I only a spirit with a shell that the gods can easily change for their pleasure? Why were we walking? Isn’t that rather mundane for gods?

My thoughts suddenly sharpened to a razor focus as we stepped from the temple onto a veranda overlooking the garden. A plethora of gods were standing around, some I could only guess their names. Zeus looked regal in his white robes with gold trim. Then there was Athos. I would have burst out laughing had he not looked so enticing. He wore a head bracelet made to look like gold leaves and a white toga that left his thickly muscled torso, legs, and arms bare. Gold bracelets encircled his arms and gold sandals were upon his feet.

Athos’ eyes gave away his mixed emotions. They were fixated upon me and scanning my body up and down. So penetrating was his loving gaze that I blushed brightly. His eyes also radiated awe that I anticipated was due to his surroundings. This was my third time here, but for him, he had never seen it or the other gods.

I was led next to Athos and a thin golden rope was draped over our hands binding them together. I winked and smiled at Athos trying to hide my nervousness. I’ve always been a bit of a talker, especially when I’m anxious and today was no exception. I turned towards Zeus. “Good morning, grandpa.”

Zeus offered a flicker of annoyance and then burst out laughing. “Only someone that grew up on Earth would be so bold to call me that. You make me feel so old.”

“That’s because you are old, father.” Aphrodite smiled coyly.

Zeus continued to look at me ignoring Aphrodite. “You look every bit as beautiful as your mother, Amara. Perhaps Aphrodite’s losing her youthful appearance as she ages. You’re what, two thousand years old now, Aphrodite?”

“A mere teenager compared to you, mighty Zeus.”

“Enough talk. We have serious business to attend to. Amara and Athos, you are now wed. Enjoy your honeymoon.” I raised an eyebrow as everyone vanished except Proteus, Heracles, and Aphrodite.

“I was expecting a little more pomp and ceremony.”

“Nonetheless, Amara, you are now officially married in the eyes of Zeus. Congratulations.” Everyone hugged awkwardly. “There’s a small palace on the other side of the Garden. It’s yours to use. Enjoy yourselves.”

Heracles slapped Athos on the shoulder. “I expect nothing less than five consummations, son.”

I pulled Aphrodite aside for a moment. “You’re all not going to be watching us are you?”

“You’re embarrassed by this?”

“It’s rather private.”

“Fine… I’ll shield the palace from everyone’s eyes. They won’t be happy with me though.”

“Thank you.” They all vanished leaving Athos and me alone. “You look very handsome in an ancient Greek sort of way.”

“I’m so full of mixed emotions right now. Zeus was wrong. You’re prettier than Aphrodite.”

“Don’t even say something like that. I’ll probably wake up as a toad.”

“I want to kiss you so badly.” He stepped rapidly and forcefully towards me and all I could think of was his strength that could take me without my ability to stop him and prying eyes. I took a step back realizing what a mistake that was.

“What’s wrong?”

“I love you Athos, but I’ve never felt so frail and vulnerable before in my life. I want to kiss you and make love to you and yet I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the gods spying on us and that I’ll not be the lover you want me to be.”

Athos’ eyes softened and the intense urgency no longer lingered there, but there was no denying his passion. I pictured this moment so many times in my mind and dreams. Sometimes in my imagination I was a tigress of desire and all but ripping the clothes from his body, riding him savagely. Other times I imagined myself being taken by him as I screamed out in pleasure. Never did I imagine myself being frightened or hesitant.

His large strong hand found mine. “You’re everything I want, Amara, and I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to give yourself completely to a man as a woman. Is there somewhere we can go to be more private?”

It was his words and gentle touch that removed my fears. “To Hades with the gods’ prying eyes.” I felt my fingers glide lightly across his cheek and noted how much more sensitive my fingers were to the feeling of his light stubble. It had been so long that I felt anything other than the soft smoothness of my own skin. My thumb slid delicately over his lips. I rose up onto my toes and tenderly pressed my lips against his, closing my eyes to savor the sensation and memorize the moment. My nerves eased a little as I pulled away and stared at Athos. “I’m positive I don’t want to stop at just a kiss and I want some privacy. Aphrodite is shielding the palace so we don’t have to worry about being spied upon by gods wishing for entertainment.”

Taking his hand in mine I pulled him across the green grass, past flowering bushes and trees, and through sections of lush pools of water and fountains until we came to the palace. While smaller than the temple it still had walls open to the outside world and spectacular views. An enormous canopied bed with white silk netting flowing down to the floor acted as the centerpiece of the palace. Off to the side was a giant luxurious marble bath filled miraculously by rainwater falling from the sky. Tables of fruits, succulent meats, and wines were elaborately staged. The air was tinged with the scent of roses and rose petals lay strewn across the palace floor.

As soon as we stepped foot in the palace twilight fell and candles lit the space turning the beautiful setting into one of incredible romance. The air was warm but as Athos placed his hands on my shoulders and kissed the back of my neck, I felt a slight chill. I turned into his powerful arms. His lips pressed softly against mine and then again more firmly with heated passion. My breasts pressed against his chest and my nipples hardened sending a flood of heat through my body. There was no hiding his excitement as it throbbed against my stomach.

Looking into his blue eyes I wondered at what point I had fallen so badly for him. “I need you Athos. My body begs for you. I want to savor every touch.”

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment.”

“Not nightmares I hope.”

His smile was infectious. Taking his hand in mine I led him over to the bed. My lips met his tenderly as my arms wrapped around his neck. Smiling as I kissed him I rolled my nose around his, nipping at his lips playfully. My fingers ran through his hair and my nails lightly scraped his scalp. My tongue slipped its confines and sought his. My passion overflowed as my slow sensual kisses reached his neck and his scent filled me.

Athos’ fingers were fumbling with my dress. I stepped back from him far enough for the twilight and candles to light my body. “You’ve forgotten how to remove a woman’s dress already?”

“I was trying not to tear it.”

“Let me do this for you.” I unclasped the shoulder and felt slightly embarrassed as my dress fell to the floor. Athos took a deep shuddered breath as his gaze took me in, the first time he ever saw me naked. “Nightmares… I knew it.” I smiled mischievously in an attempt to push away my nerves.

“No dream could have ever prepared me for the exquisiteness of your beauty. I’m almost afraid to touch you in that by doing so I’ll break the spell and wake up and find myself back as Naomi on the mainland having never met you.”

I closed the distance between us and ran my hands across his muscled chest and pulled his toga over his shoulder. I’d dreamed about this moment and felt no awkwardness as my hand drifted lower to wrap itself around his manhood. A light touch on my breast caused me to gasp. It was one thing to touch yourself, but quite another to have someone else touch you. My body found a rhythm all on its own stroking him and rubbing myself up against his thigh. When his hand pulled me to him, lifted me, and I slid up along his leg it was all I needed to cling tightly against him shake as I experienced my first orgasm together.

“That didn’t take you long.”

“I’m not Aphrodite’s daughter for nothing. I bet you need some relief before you slide yourself into me.” Just saying those words caused him to shake and I could feel his urgency pulsing within my hand. “I think you might like this.” I slid down to the floor and stared at Athos’ erection. I’d seen my share of penises in my day but nothing could prepare me for the perfection and splendor before me. My fingers were unable to reach around it. I tapped into my inner goddess and placed my lips on top, very slowly sliding it into my mouth.

“Oh my!”

I could only get partway down when I was forced to pull back. There was something highly sensual about feeling his erection between my lips. I stroked him and moved my lips up and down until I felt his whole body tense. It was only a few minutes before he exploded into my mouth, so much so that there was no way I could hold it all in. I slowed my ministrations down and wiped my lips clean as he pulled me up and kissed me.

“That was unbelievable. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

He lifted me into his arms as if I weighed no more than a feather. Gently I was laid down on the bed, the cool softness of the silk sheets like a lover’s caress against my naked body. I was more than ready and reached for Athos pulling him down on top of me. His lips met mine and then began a glorious yet painfully slow journey down my neck to my breasts. I moaned with pleasure as he flicked his tongue across my nipples. “Make me a woman, Athos.” I pulled him up so our lips could meet. My hands caressed his face as we kissed. I spread my legs and felt the head of his penis graze my wet vaginal lips. He teased it slowly into me and I could feel my lips slowly give way.

I continued to kiss Athos until I felt his first real thrust. There was some pressure and then a snap inside me. A hint of pain then blissful pleasure. My back arched and I uttered a soft moan as he filled me completely. This was the ultimate in love making as I yielded completely to Athos. I wanted to scream my devotion and for him to never stop but all that came out were soft sounds with each intake of breath. I felt him retreat and slowly push his way back inside me. I could feel his penis as it slid past my clitoris.

My breasts rocked back and forth with our movements heightening the ecstasy I was feeling. My hands felt Athos’ back and my legs wrapped around his hips pulling him deeper and deeper within me. I could feel Athos begin to tense and I squeezed myself around his manhood. My hands left his back and squeezed the sheets between my fingers as my back arched once again. With a massive thrust by Athos I lost control and began coming, each thrust causing me wave upon wave of euphoric bliss until I felt him shake and hot semen sprayed within me. I continued to come as he roared and collapsed on top of me.

We lay there together for several minutes. I could feel him shrink inside me and slide out leaving me feeling utterly bereft. I clung to Athos kissing him as tears fell from my cheeks. “You’re crying. Why are you crying? Did I hurt you?”

“There was a moment at the beginning I felt some pain, but I’m crying because I’ve never experienced anything so wonderful in my entire life. I’m here in this romantic place with my husband whom I love with every cell of my body, and it’s perfect.”

Athos stroked my face. “Every day I’ve had to relieve myself as just being near you I’ve struggled maintaining my composure. You’re a gift from the gods and I question what I did right to deserve you. Nothing in my life has compared to the incredible feeling of being inside you. Can I get you something?”

“I’m content to simply be in your arms a while longer.”

We slept a little, ate some, drank wine and spoke about our future together, showered and made love multiple times over the next day.

***

Upon arriving back in Paphos we were inundated with questions from Marta and Hahn. Hahn wanted to know everything we experienced and what we saw and to fill us in on his research and Marta had a list of fifty questions about the wedding plans and reminded us that just because Zeus married us it didn’t mean we could share a room in her house until after the ‘real’ wedding. For the first few hours we could barely get a moment to ourselves and snuck off to my bedroom. As soon as we closed the door we overheard Marta’s voice. “No fooling around in there.” I burst out laughing.

We did fool around a little, but nothing to excessive. I tried to lure Athos to christen my bed but he would have nothing of it, tempted though he was. He would honor Marta’s wishes. That didn’t mean, however, we couldn’t imbibe while at a hotel. We realized we needed to get our own place, but still needed to be close to Marta and Hahn. At the same time I realized I had now resumed my period, but it seemed to be tapering off some.

After decompressing a little we had dinner and were settling in the living room to relax when visitors arrived by flash of light. Heracles, Proteus, and Aphrodite decided now was a good time to meet the Milas family. Hahn and Marta were overwhelmed and brought out some of their best wine. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the best wine on Earth couldn’t compare to the worst wine where the gods were from.

“By the look of things, Athos, you did me proud. Amara’s still blushing.” I hadn’t been but I certainly was now. “I brought you both these items for dealing with Stheno.” He handed the bow and arrows to Athos and me the lion’s pelt. Hahn’s eyes were wide but he refrained from asking any questions.

Aphrodite hugged and kissed me and slipped a bracelet on my wrist. She whispered in my ear I could use it to return Athos and me back to the Garden of Hesperides if we ever needed to take advantage of the palace. However, the veil of secrecy had been removed so be warned of prying eyes.

With another flash of light they all vanished. Hahn ran his hands over the lion’s pelt. “Beautiful. We are living in such wondrous times. Who knew that the stories of old were true?”

“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this pelt. I’m guessing I can’t turn it into a dress.”

Athos was pulling back the bow testing it and I could see him straining with it. I tried it and it wouldn’t even bend an inch.

“Stheno was the most murderous of the three Gorgon sisters. We know the tales of Medusa, how she was mortal, but so hideous that one look from her and you’d turn into stone. There’s not much information on Stheno but I believe she used a sword as her primary weapon.”

“Great. I can smack her with a fish tail.” I looked down at my finger with the ring on it. “I’m not a hero of old. I’m afraid.”

Athos’ arms wrapped around me and held me firmly. “We’ll figure it out.”

“Can’t we simply live our lives without interference?”

“Shhh. If it weren’t for the gods you and I would have never met. No matter what happens, we can always live our immortal lives in the Garden.”

I sighed and wanted badly to sleep with him tonight.

***

The next morning we woke early, loaded up the car and drove to the foot of Mount Olympus where, based upon directions from Heracles, we found a cave entrance. It was well hidden but recent signs that people had been there was a pretty good indication that we were in the right place.

The cave opening was rather small with a creek coming out of the mouth. It smelled dank and foul and the further we went in the more oppressive the cave got. We used flashlights for a while but then the cave opened up and we saw that torches had been lit.

“According to Heracles, there are two thresholds, an inner threshold and an outer one. The Poseidon worshippers released the inner threshold allowing Stheno to move into the larger cavern. She must take seven human lives over seven days to release the outer threshold. It has been five days so we might find a real mess in here. We must push Stheno back across the inner threshold to reseal her inside.”

I looked down at the creek at our feet. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Blood. We must be close.”

I couldn’t believe I was walking in human blood. We rounded a bend and could see quite plainly a line of silver fused into the cavern floor. It was the outer seal. We paused there taking in what we saw. A large cage held two men. A pile of corpses lay discarded to one side near a flat stone in the middle of the cavern. Fresh blood dripped down the stone and into the creek. At the far end of the cavern, some two hundred feet away was a glint of the second threshold. Stheno was nowhere to be seen.

Athos readied his bow and I draped the lion’s pelt over my shoulders, not sure what else to do with it. One of the men from the cages spotted us. “Come quickly, let us out of here!” It was the old man from the dock area.

I was perturbed by him. “You fools. You had to find something to worship and you released Stheno?”

“Certainly, we were misguided and we have paid with many of our lives, but you both are here to save us.”

“Where’s Stheno?”

“Gone, vanished. Come get us out of here!”

Athos took a step forward, his foot crossing the line just as I grabbed for him to stay put. Something began forming in the cavern; a collection of mists and vapor until Stheno stood there laughing. She was large and beautiful, wearing only a cloth around her loins. “Aphrodite and Heracles. Such an honor.” Her voice was like the sweetest caress. It was enticing, alluring. “Come to me.”

Athos was mesmerized but she had no effect on me. “Athos, look at me!” I stepped over the threshold and grabbed Athos. He looked at me with stunned eyes as Stheno laughed again.

“You both crossed the threshold. There is only one way you can escape me now. That’s to send me back and I’m not going!” Her voice grew so loud I swore the cavern itself would collapse. She stepped forward and swung her mighty sword. I looked around for anything I could do. It was then I remembered the creek. I pulled water from the creek and froze it to her feet, locking her in place.

“Shoot her!”

Athos was shaken but pulled the bow back and sent an arrow flying for Stheno’s chest. It hit her solidly. She screamed in pain and broke her feet free. “Athos is it? Come to me.” Athos started walked forward. I transformed into a tiger, hoping that somehow the lion’s pelt was still there. I leapt at Stheno, pushing her back, her sword smashing hard against my side, but it didn’t penetrate. It hurt like hell but I continued to lash out at her over and over with my claws. I needed to buy Athos time.

With Stheno focused on me Athos was freed from her spell and raised his bow again. “Out of the way!” I leapt to the side, rolled, and crouched as he let another arrow fly. Stheno took three steps back from the blow and screamed again. I leapt once more, swiping with my claws and taking another hammering blow to my shoulder, but she was forced back another step. I fell to the side again but I could barely move. My shoulder was in such pain I was limping badly. Athos plunged another arrow deep into her chest.

“No!” She screamed as the force of the blow pushed her further back. Her foot was mere inches from the rear threshold. I watched as Athos prepared another arrow. Stheno took a step forward and flung her sword at him. I leapt with everything I had; the sword hitting me hard in the rear leg spinning me in the air and crashing me into the wall. I lay there stunned, my transformation abandoned.

Athos roared and let his last arrow fly. His aim was less true this time and it caught her in the shoulder merely spinning her around. Athos tossed the bow to the side and took one look at me crumpled beneath the lion’s pelt, picked up the flat stone altar and threw it at Stheno. The stone shattered across her chest sending her beyond the threshold. Light flashed and the seal was once again in place.

Athos rushed to my side. “You saved my life.”

“It was you that to truly love someone they needed to sacrifice themselves for the other.” I replied weakly.

“I didn’t mean for you to do that literally.”

“I had no choice. I love you too much.”

“How badly are you hurt?”

I coughed and winced in pain. “I think I’ve got a broken shoulder, ribs, and leg. Free the men.”

Athos ager at the men fumed. He strode over to the cage and ripped the door from its hinges. He towered over the two men and pointed to the exit of the cave. No words were said, they scrambled out quickly.

Athos’ rage was mighty. “Zeus! The labor is complete! Heal her!” Light flashed and Proteus, Aphrodite, and Heracles stood next to Athos. Aphrodite knelt down and stroked my face with her hands. “I hope to Hades you’re healing her! She’s my wife.” His voice was almost threatening.

Aphrodite looked at Athos. “And she’s my daughter, whom I love very much. More than you might ever believe.”

In a flash, we were in the palace in the Garden of Hesperides. I was lying on the bed with Aphrodite still stroking my face. Athos stormed to my side but when he looked into Aphrodite’s eyes his anger left him. Aphrodite was openly crying. It hurt to move, but I reached over and wiped the tears from her cheek. “It’s all right, mother. I’ll be fine.”

“How has my own flesh and blood bewitched me so? I’m a goddess that has been alive for more than fifty generations of humans and none have moved my heart like you, Amara. It’s time we end these labors. Too many lives have been lost throughout the eons. I’ll not lose you.” She looked at Athos. “I’ll not lose either of you. Rest now. Sleep. You’ll heal a hundred times faster here than on Earth. I’ll send word to Marta and Hahn that you are both fine and you’ll be home in a few days. Look after my daughter, Athos.”

“With my life.”

With that they vanished leaving Athos and me alone together. Athos walked around so I could see him better. “Lay down with me, my love.” Very carefully he snuggled as closely as he could, our foreheads touching. “You were spectacular. A hero worthy of legend.”

His lips brushed my forehead as I fell into a deep sleep.

***

I woke feeling renewed energy and strength. I was still sore as I rolled over to look for Athos. He was there in his same clothes sleeping next to me. I winced in pain as I sat up, marveling that I even could. “You slept for an entire day.” I turned to see Aphrodite. “The bruising and swelling have diminished greatly and the bones have knitted well. Still you’ll be sore.” I looked over at Athos and his steady breathing. “He wouldn’t leave your side for a moment. Who says that true love can’t be found among the gods?”

“I know it exists.”

“How so?”

“Because I love you and I love Athos.”

“You are bound and determined to make me cry more. Tears are rare among the gods.”

“How can you have love without pain or fear of loss?”

“I’m the goddess of love and yet I’ve not learned these simple things until now. I dare say my precious daughter that you’re more the goddess of love than I. Look what you’ve done so far. You accepted Marta and Hahn as your Earthly parents. You’ve made Proteus and I learn what it means to be loved unconditionally from our own daughter. You faced Zeus with Naomi’s death so that Heracles could be the father he needed to be. And you made me see the errors of my ways. I’ve not truly loved anyone before you before.”

“Perhaps it takes someone that felt no love growing up to realize what true love is.” Aphrodite knelt in front of me and kissed my cheek. I looked down at myself and smiled. “Thank you.”

“I’ll see you soon.” She vanished just as Athos stirred.

“Hey you. You’re up.”

“I’m up but not sure I can walk yet. Could you carry me to a chair? I’m hungry.”

Athos scooped me up as gently as possible and set me in a chair by the food and drink. “I’m sorry I let you down.” He looked pensive and contrite.

“What are you talking about? You saved me.”

“No. I failed to protect you. Had it not been for you, it would have been me lying here now, or more likely dead.”

“I was just a distraction and had little to no impact on Stheno. It took your strength to win the day. I might have been injured, but you saved my life in more ways than one. Without you, Stheno would have killed us both. Without you, I’d never truly know what love is.”

“I still feel like I let you down. To see you take those hits… I never want to see you hurt again.”

“You know as well as I do that that’s not possible. We’ll get hurt and sick and those are the times we lean on each other. Just because Zeus says we’re married and we didn’t say anything during the ceremony doesn’t mean I haven’t made a covenant with you in my heart. I’m in this for the long haul. Through sickness and in health. Besides, I sort of like being taken care of and seeing you all macho trying to protect me.”

He took his hands and placed them on my face. “I’d take the world apart for you.”

I smiled and pulled him to me to kiss me. “That’s what’s so endearing about all of this. I worried a little about the spontaneity of our wedding; that perhaps it was too soon. But seeing how deeply you love me tells me we’re going to be just fine. At least after I eat something. I’m starved.”

***

It was three weeks later we were officially wed for ‘real’ according to Marta. We had a small Greek wedding of about two hundred people, mostly family and friends of Athos’ family and the Milas’. For the briefest of moments during the dinner I scanned the room full of people, many whom I never saw before in my life, and I wished I had a family that could enjoy the day with me. However, I watched the joy of Hahn and Marta and knew I also had a family that was watching and I was very content.

I met Athos’ parents a few days before the wedding and I had been very nervous meeting them. I was so worried I’d make a bad impression or that they’d feel I was stealing their son. They turned out to be a wonderful family and received me well. Of course Athos had told me they would, but I was still concerned.

We’d decided against going on a honeymoon right away as we wanted to spend time with Hahn, Marta, and Athos’ parents. We stayed in my old room for a week and the poor little bed certainly got a workout. Several weeks later we purchased a home on the water. It was small and quaint, but it had its own beach and a good size master bedroom where we put a new king-sized bed. Life was wonderful.

Rumors had quickly spread through Cyprus that Aphrodite and Hercules had returned to Greece. Athos and I quickly became famous and were invited to many events. We became one of the many must-see sights of Cyprus. Of course we would always deny the reality of who we were but we knew Marta, Hahn, and two men from Paphos knew the truth.

Six months had passed since our Earthly wedding and we were settling into a nice routine. Even though I visited Aphrodite frequently, things were all quiet on the gods’ front. We were enjoying the respite and I just came back from a swim. I stood over Athos who had been sun tanning out on our little beach and dripped water from my wet hair on his back.

“Hey!” Athos rolled over onto his back and I laid on top of him getting him all wet. I kissed him and smiled.

“I’ve been thinking about you.”

“What have you been thinking about?”

“That maybe I should go shopping for something special to wear to bed tonight.”

“That’s a bit of a waste of money considering every time you wear something sexy it comes right off a few seconds later.”

“Admit it. You love it when I dress up for you.”

“I’ll admit it, but I’ll say I enjoy it even more when you’re not wearing anything.” Athos rolled us over so I was pinned underneath him. “Gotcha!”

“Mmmm. You know I love being caught by you.”

We ignored the flash of light and kept kissing each other. “Haven’t you two had enough of each other yet?” Proteus shook his head. Heracles was proud. Aphrodite was smiling like she had a hidden secret.

“It’s my fault. Aphrodite made me insatiable.”

Athos grinned up at his father. “I’m not complaining in the least.”

We finally dusted ourselves off and stood. “What’s going on?”

Aphrodite came and hugged me tight. “Zeus wants to see you both. The spawn of the Kraken has awoken.”

Somehow Athos and I knew this was coming but we were in no hurry. “Tell grandpa we’ll see him in…” I looked at Athos. “… forty minutes?”

Athos coughed. “An hour.”

Lightning flashed and thunder boomed as our parents vanished and Athos led me inside to the bedroom. I pulled the ties to my bikini top and bottoms letting them fall to the floor. “You sure only an hour?” We laughed as Athos tossed me onto the bed. Zeus could wait.



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