Dedication: For Mνημοσύνη (Mnemosyné), the mother of the Muses.

In response to the story "Her Kiss" that a museful reader sent me.

I am grateful to Neil Gaiman for his Sandman series (which I only saw a little bit of) and, of course, for the book American Gods that helped to form this story, that helped plant the idea that the grandeur of the ancients could walk, unnoticed, among us today.

And, of course, to Robert Zelazny for demystifying god-like powers in his book Lord of Light, showing us one way of how gods and goddesses walked the earth (or 'Urath').


She had just kissed me.

And what a kiss it was!

The dawn had broken. She had to go to work. I had to go to work.

But I found myself not caring. After that kiss? And Her? Dressed as She always was, arising gloriously from Her Captain's Bed ...

... in Her smile. Only in Her smile.

I looked up into Her eyes, and licked my lips.

"Mέλισσα, ..." She scolded me warningly. I loved how She scolded me in that tone. I loved how Her mouth caressed my name: 'Melissa.'

I ignored Her tone, however, and pushed Her back into that bed where we had just kissed. I was determined to do more than taste Her sweetness with just kisses this time.

"Mέλισσα!" This time Her tone was shocked.

I ignored that, too, because now I didn't need to stand on tiptoe to reach those lips of Hers. I pressed my body against Hers, and if that didn't show Her my eagerness, then the strength of my arms as I pressed my lips against Her lips did all the communication that I think that was necessary.

Her arms wrapped themselves around me, returning my embrace, and Her lips returned my kiss.

But only one kiss.

She pulled away.

"Honey," She scolded, "Work, right? You can't be late again, remember?"

I sighed, but I smiled. Only She could work in two puns with one breath, and only She could chide me so gently.

I sat on the bed beside Her.

"Yes, dear," I said sadly. "I remember. How could I forget with You?"

We both smiled.

I got up from the bed and starting scrounging around for my clothes that both She and I had so passionately cast aside last night.

They were all black, of course.

I dressed quickly. She watched me the whole time. Was there a bit of pride in her gaze?

"See you later tonight?" I asked hopefully.

She smiled. "I'll see if I can work you into my schedule," She answered cheekily.

"Will you?" My heart my was in my throat.

She tsked angrily and rolled Her eyes. "Go to work, you silly girl!"

"'Kay," I said, looking at Her wistfully, then added: "See you later ..."

I scat out the door before She could scold me more; She did look a bit wrathful.

...

I pulled up to the Starbucks in my Corolla just in time. It was a little red car, used, but not at all a beater. I scurried in the front door, and gave my morning crew a cheery wave.

"Hey, Violet!" Jim said.

"Hey, Jim!" I smiled at him. I went by 'Violet' here, it matched the color of my eyes. Which were blue, right? 'Roses are red, violets are blue ...' the rhyme goes. It matched my eye color, but not my disposition. So maybe I should go by the name 'Rosie'? The next go-around, perhaps.

If they were still using English, that is. If a newer language was spoken, I'd use the word for 'Rose' in that language if that was associated with 'happy' or 'cheery' ... or 'sweetie.'

... or 'honey.'

But maybe not the last one. Never a good thing to get too close to the truth, because there was always somebody with their eyes open, and they usually knew their history, too.

Unfortunately.

For them.

The rest of the morning crew said their 'hi's. The were all good kids. And why not? They were smart and friendly. You had to be to work at Starbucks, where you were always dealing with people.

And speaking of which. We opened up shop, and allowed the flood of morning regulars to deluge us. At zero-dark-thirty most people were of a surly disposition, but that was fine by me. I gave every one of them a smile and wished them a good morning as I handed off drinks from the ones that asked for their whatevers from the bar.

A bit later in the morning, after the rush, one of the regular pairs came in, suit and tie for the dashing man, full length dress and heels for the woman. Definitely classy. They ordered their drinks, the same ones they always ordered. I started preparing their drinks as Jim rung them up, even as they were ordering them.

"Hey, Violet," the woman said to me.

She was a looker. Tall, blond, statuesque.

"Hi," I smiled at her, passing her her caramel macchiato.

"So ..." she said, continuing her guessing game, "... Irish?"

She was, for some reason, interested in my origins.

I shrugged. "Just American, that's all," I responded easily, as I made the man's latte.

"Norman," she said to the man, "doesn't she look Irish to you?"

The man, Norman, glanced at me disinterestedly: "Curly red hair and freckles?"

My hair was straight black, and ... well, I didn't have freckles, but my complexion wasn't the clearest that it could be. I did wash my face these days, ... honest! But my skin was oily and my dietary preferences didn't help any.

"No," the woman said with exasperation, stamping her foot, "I meant black Irish!"

Damn! She was really, really sexy hot when she stamped her foot like that. Maybe we could ...

Okay, 'Violet,' I scolded myself, concentrate on your work ... not on the treats. I returned to the bar, filling the next order.

The man was also impatient, "Yeah, sure, fine. Look, Soph, we gotta go, okay?"

'Soph'? 'Soph' as in 'Sophia'? ... as in Σοφíα?

I suddenly got very, very interested in this woman. And she looked older than me. And I was pretty sure she wasn't a virgin, seeing the way she and that man — 'Norman,' right? — were 'together.' Good, good, and very good.

And she was interested in me, too: "I'll figure it out someday," she said to me.

I sincerely hoped, for her own sake, that she didn't. She was much too delicious to die an untimely death at my hands, even if she went out smiling from my sting.

I forgot my duty at the bar as I watched them exit, thinking that maybe I could distract her from her dangerous distraction with a very different kind of distraction ... you know: maybe some other day she and I could ...

I was brought right back to the here and now, however, by the strain in Jim's voice.

"I'm sorry, sir," Jim said, "what did you order again?"

And by the presence I felt across the counter.

I looked at a nondescript man, in an elegant, but not flashy suit, with a face that could only be labeled as 'forgettable.'

I was suddenly furious. Why did He choose to come here of all places!

I collected myself as best I could.

"That's okay," I said to Jim, the strain in my own voice very well masked to him, "I've got this one."

I stepped up to the cash register, and said, very pleasantly, I might add: "Hello, sir, what would you like to drink?"

I repeated the words as He spoke His order.

I smiled, very quietly mouthing the words again, and then rung up the order and said out loud: "All right, that will be two dollars and five cents, please."

Then I felt it.

He summoned His Aspect and brought forth His Attributes, smiling at me gently.

I leaned across the counter. I whispered in a voice only He and I could possibly hear: "Don't even try that shit on me."

I may be a nothing next to Him, but I wasn't a push-over, either. Not by a long shot.

He smiled at me and said something apologetically.

"Yeah, sure it was worth a try, but for a whole two dollars?" I demanded. I made sure to remember to take ... and to count ... His money.

I turned to the bar: "Calling," I barked.

Candice was looking at me blankly. "Huh?" she said in confusion.

I wonder if she even remembers her name.

I sighed. "It's okay, sweetie, I've got this one." I added: "You take the drive-bys."

I also wondered how He ever got a drink at Starbucks, pulling this stuff that He pulls.

I went to the bar and fixed Him His ... His ... oh, yeah: His doppio, and handed it over to Him.

"Have a nice day," I said sincerely.

Yes, I said that, even for that guy. He couldn't alter my sweet disposition. Nobody could.

He went over to the condiment bar and doctored His drink: lots of half-and-half, moreso than the coffee, in fact, and then His expression lifted.

His hand went past the sugar and the artificial sweetener and He picked up the honey bear. He poured some into His drink. He looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back at Him warmly.

Lots of Starbucks these days don't have honey available anymore. What with the scare about too much sugar in the diet giving artificial sweeteners a sales boost and with the concerns over CCD making a dearth in the availability of honey ...

But wherever I worked, I made sure honey was always an option. Always.

'Thank you,' I mouthed silently to Him.

He said something polite to me in return and found a seat on a cooshie chair by the windows in the corner.

I returned to my customers, forgetting all about Him.

...

A little while later I was suffused by a warmth that had only one possible origin. I looked out the front window to see the silver Cayman S parked right in front of the door.

I only knew one person who drove a vehicle like that.

In walked a goddess. My eyes started low and went up: heels, nylons, tweed skirt, unbuttoned blazer showing a white blouse that was buttoned far too high for my eyes and far too low for everybody else's. A white camisole peeked out from under Her blouse.

I didn't have to open the dictionary to look up the word, for class was standing in all Her glory before us all.

"Hi, Violet," She said affectionately, but nothing overt in Her greeting. I was on the job, after all.

"Hey, Hazel," I tried to sound casual. I think it worked.

She approached the bar, but then stopped, then did a double-take to the corner window.

Oh, yeah. Him.

Him and Her, here, in the same place.

I tensed, expecting anything to happen next.

Nothing did. She turned back toward us, but a frown clouded Her brow, even if it didn't touch Her smile. Okay, Her dimmed smile.

She snuck off to the ladies', then returned and ordered Her drink. She didn't have to say what it was. We all knew, and we all remembered.

Jim rung Her up, smiling at Her pleasantly, and I worked on preparing Her order as She stood by the counter, chatting with me, friendly-like.

"So, cutie," She began.

I blushed. She called me 'cute'? When She was ... well, Her?

She continued as if She always said such extraordinary things with such carefree élan.

"... how's your morning been? Business been good?" She asked pleasantly, but asked as if She cared, not as if She was just making polite conversation to pass the time.

Our conversation studiously ignored the big white rhinoceros sitting in the front part of the store.

I passed Her Her drink: a vanilla bean frappachino. I was slightly saddened that I couldn't put a bit of myself into Her preferred drink, but the syrup comes premixed, and this is Starbucks: you don't tamper with the formula.

Not matter who you are.

But when I passed Her the drink, I saw something that brightened me up considerably.

I leaned across the counter and whispered conspiratorially: "You aren't wearing a bra."

She leaned in, accepted the drink, Her fingers brushing against mine, sending shocks of pure pleasure through me. Her eyes were dancing as She whispered right into my face: "I'm not wearing panties now, either, hun."

How come She could always outdo me? I was supposed to be embarrassing Her, but it turns out I was the one who was blushing.

And the way She whispered that 'hun' with that British accent She manifested?

Ah!

I swear: I almost lost my cool, and my job, right then and there, but, with a great deal of effort, I kept my hands down at my sides.

No, I did not pull Her across the counter and let everybody in the store know, instead of suspect, the true nature of our relationship, but I did give Her a look full of intents and purposes, and whispered so that only She could hear.

"Later. Tonight. Your place. In that," I commanded, then added a warning: "But for Your own good, You had better be wearing panties, and they'd better be covering everything, so nothing naughty."

She was not in the least bit intimidated. "Sweetie, I can be completely covered but in very, very naughty panties."

She smirked at me evilly.

I swallowed and managed to gasp out: "Well, okay, then, surprise me."

Her eyebrows wiggled just o!-so-barely but very suggestively.

"No leather!" I added quietly.

She pouted. "Party pooper!"

Now it was my turn to smirk. I wouldn't be pooping any parties ... not with the nize planz I had in store for Her.

I straightened up quickly and returned to the 'beast' — as we called the monster of the espresso machine — before anybody would notice or comment on my dereliction.

"Have a nice day," I added with a smile.

"Oh, I will," She growled almost menacingly, sending a shiver up my spine. A nice shiver. She eyed me possessively, looking like She was ready to eat me right up.

Not that I would mind that at all.

She turned to go.

"Mνημοσύνη, are You forgetting something?" I called out quickly.

She turned back, the frown back on Her brow, and said scoldingly, "No, but you are."

Huh? Then I saw that She looked from me to the rest of the morning crew.

I still didn't get it.

Jim looked between me and Her and asked, "What did you just call Hazel?"

Oh! Shit, shit, shit!

I just called Her by name.

Depending on how this went, every person in the store who could die would have to do just that.

I turned to my coworker, my 'partner' as they were called in Starbucks, of the last two years, to see what I needed to do.

A look of befuddlement crossed his face as I felt an Aspect employed.

"Buh-what were we talking about?" Jim asked me in confusion.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I furtively looked around the store ... everyone was now complacently oblivious as to the last minute in their lives.

It was if it had never happened.

It was if everybody had forgotten about it.

Because they had.

"We were talking about restocking the Ethos water, Jim, 'cause there's only a couple of bottles out front ...?" I helped Jim along by pointing in front of the cash register.

"Oh," said Jim. "Oh, yeah. I'll get right on that."

I breathed a relieved sign and smiled toward the front of the store.

My smile met a very displeased frown of somebody I cared much more about.

Oh, brother! The world was just so complicated: such a delicate balancing act ... particularly for our kind. Please one, and you piss off others.

My true love of the hazel eyes shook Her head, scowling, and headed toward the ladies', most likely to put back on the article of clothing She said She wasn't wearing. I hoped Her mood would brighten by this evening, otherwise it'd be rather not fun for everybody, and that was no fun for me.

And I liked having fun. Particularly with a certain ... companion, who I've only just been reintroduced to, but this time She deigned to notice me, unlike before where I was less than an insect to Her greatness.

Speaking of which, Her greatness stalked out of the ladies' and marched right up to a certain someone.

It looks like They were going to have it out. Right here in Starbucks.

Oh, joy! Well, when elephants dance, the mice must hide. Maybe I could sneak out the back entrance, if it still existed, if things between Them got a little too cataclysmic.

"Listen," She said to Him, dropping all pretense of civility and not even bothering with introductory pleasantries, "it was all very nice for you to help the situation just now, but this is my terri-..."

She stopped, and looked back toward me apologetically.

"I mean," She continued, her tone slightly mollified, "I like to come here; I have been coming here, so you can just take yourself and whatever business you need to do and conduct it at another Starbucks. I'm sure you'll be able to find another one in the world that's suitable."

He said something to Her.

"I don't give a flying flip who you're meeting," She retorted angrily. "It could be the All-Father himself, for all I ..."

She looked up suddenly at the entrance. A wizened old man came in. His look was spry and sly.

"Speak of the Devil ..." my love sighed ruefully.

"Ah," smiled the aforementioned Devil, "my dear: age only improves you. And you look so much ... nicer like this."

"Wednesday," was Her curt reply. "Hello. Now that you're here, why do you take yourself and your ... friend and have your discussion elsewhere."

"It concerns you, too, my dear," He began, then He looked up at me and smiled pleasantly, "it concerns all of us old ones ... you could join us if you'd like, you'd be very welcome."

"Always the diplomat when you're after something that benefits only you," She retorted, unmoved. "Sorry," She said, sounding not sorry at all, "but I have to get back to work."

She headed to the door, but turned at the exit.

"Nice seeing you again, old man," She sneered, "but I'd better not see you here for a long, long time." She raised an imperious eyebrow and was gone.

Mr. Wednesday sighed, then looked over to me.

His expression became thoughtful.

Oh, brother.

I manned the cash register.

"Anything I can get you, sir?" I asked pleasantly as He approached the bar.

I felt the temperature drop. What was with Norsemen liking the cold so much?

"Oh, a coffee, black, please," He said, eying me.

I saw that one eye was glass.

"Would that be a tall, grande or venti?" I asked Him.

He looked lost.

I kept my smile on my face: "Small, medium or large?" I whispered, daring to whisper the forbidden words out of the earshot of my 'partners.'

"Um ..." He said, still lost.

I sighed and poured Him a grande dark roast.

"That'll be two-oh-five, please," I said, ringing Him up.

He looked nonplussed. What, did He expect to get coffee for free just because?

He scrounged around for changed. I got a wadded up dollar and the rest in coin...

... which I counted carefully ... twice.

He was known as the Trickster for a reason.

He seemed pleased at my caution. It was if my care indicated I was taking Him seriously.

Well, that's because I was.

He cleared His throat. "Did you want to join our conversation?"

"No, thanks," I said lightly, smiling at Him pleasantly, still. "I'm on the job."

He looked around uneasily. "You can't keep doing this, honey bee."

I shrugged easily. "Why not? Things are going just fine for me."

He looked at me gravely. "As they went for Bilquis? That's what she told me, too. And then ...?" He raised His shoulders ominously. "They'll cart you off, too, you know, you and your friend if we don't make a stand."

I simultaneously lowered my voice but raised my tone. "No, they won't! They need Her. They won't dare lay a finger on Her, because without Her, They lose everything!"

The old goat looked at me pityingly. "And you? What about you?"

I shrugged easily. "They need lattes, too. Have a nice day, sir. Next customer, please. Ma'am, would you like to order a drink from the bar?"

He was forced away from me from the strength of my determination and the regular press of a usually busy day at Starbucks.

But I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for Him. Once revered and all-powerful, now living in the shadows, the dregs, and feeling hunted, displaced and out-of-place.

Just like me, but, because He was a man, He was proud and unyielding, unwilling to adapt to the times, instead of embracing them. Instead of bending, He'd rather break.

Well, if that's what He wanted to do, then that's what He would do. I couldn't stop Him, ... but I also wouldn't sacrifice myself on some hopeless crusade of His, either.

The two men talked in the front of the store for a bit then stood and took their leave. I got an occasional look, but neither made to approach me again.

I breathed out a relieved sigh when They were definitely gone, and then threw myself back into my work.

Keep busy, little bee, I told myself. By staying busy, I filled my mind with the meaninglessness of modern-day noise.

Thinking about weightier matters? Who needed that? Not me, thanks.

"Next person in line; what can I get you?" I called out with a smile.

...

It was six p.m. I was bushed from a long day at work. But that didn't matter, because I was standing in front of Her door, gifts in hand, and as nervous and as excited as a school girl ... as a girl on her first date ... as I felt every time in front of Her door.

Should I knock, or should I run away?

I knocked softly on her door, ready to bolt. Even the butterflies in my stomach were nervous.

And we had been lovers for how long?

It didn't matter, because every time was the first time again for me. She is that special.

The door opened wide instantly, and there She stood, limned in light, in all Her glory, dresses as she was this morning at Starbucks.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, pleased, "You got me flowers!"

I blushed as I handed the dozen red roses to Her. I couldn't look at Her. She's so, so beautiful when She smiles like that.

And I'm ...

Well, I'm something to write home about, I guess, but next to Her?

"You are the sweetest thing!" She actually squealed, then gave me a sweet peck on the forehead.

That British accent, I tell you what. I was starting to form plans and schemes about later tonight, and I wasn't even through the door yet.

One step at a time, sweet pea, I reminded myself.

"Um, I got you this, too," I said to the ground.

I removed the bottle from the bag.

"Château Neuf du Pape, you, my dear, have excellent taste," She declared. "Let's open this and let it breathe for a bit, and I'll bring out the appetizers. C'mon in."

I didn't need a second invitation.

We both visibly relaxed when we were inside and the door to the outside world was shut nice and tight. Here, in the privacy of Her suite, we could be ourselves without constantly looking over our shoulders.

She pulled out a chair for me at the dinner table.

"Sit yourself down, hun, I've got dinner all prepared. I'll just put these flowers in water, and we'll have a nice supper."

She made to leave, but turned back at the entrance to the kitchen and looked me up and down.

"You are so cute when you're acting shy like that!" She purred.

I looked away and blushed. But 'acting'? Who's acting?

She came right back out with a platter of stuffed grape leaves which She set down near me, serving me, Herself, from the platter. She left and then returned with the roses in a vase, and set that in the center of the table, fussing over how the flowers were arranged for a moment.

She poured me a glass full of ice-water from a crystal pitcher that probably cost more than what I paid in monthly rent.

We both had suites, She and I, but I had an 'efficiency suite.' Her suite? It was more like a penthouse suite.

She draped herself across a chair opposite me. "How's the food?" She asked.

I looked at Her, filled with awe. Ah! I love Her so much!

I love older women. I love being babied and taken care of. And, yes, I look all of twenty-one, but I'm old. I'm older than that trickster Odin/Wednesday; I'm older than Zeus Himself (although I haven't seen Him sowing His Royal Oats around these parts, thankfully; the little snot-nosed brat!), for I am Mέλισσα. I am the honey and I am the bee.

And I am so, so strong now. For apiarists these days, losing their livelihoods? Well, desperate people turn to desperate measures, including even praying to ancient and defunct goddesses, and everybody who's turning away from artificial sweeteners to natural honey is performing an act of worship.

That feeds me. Directly.

But if I'm old, then She, in front of me?

She is Mνημοσύνη; She is Memory, and for as long as people have known that they've had memory, She's been among them.

And the modern gods depend on her more than we did. Every computer needs memory. Every TV has presets. Every highway has GPS nowadays.

I am strong; She is Mighty now.

I am old; She is Ancient. Ancient of Days.

And She deigns to spend Her time ... with me.

It's ... very, very flattering, ... and confusing, ... and wonderful.

And I'm enjoying every second of it. Because I have Her for now, but Time and Tide wait on no man ... nor goddess. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

We sure don't. Did I foresee me working at a Starbucks?

So every day I count as blessing when I'm with Her.

... who was waving Her hand in front of my probably blank face.

"Sweetie, grape leaves? Don't you have an appetite?" She asked with concern.

I quickly took a guilty bite. It tasted wonderful, of course.

"Mm-mm!" I sighed. "Delicious!"

She smiled, pleased. "So, dearie, how was your day at work?"

"It was fine, excepting a couple of unexpected visitors ..." I said, grimacing.

I took another bite to hide my embarrassment.

"Why in the world did they show up there? Particularly Him!" My love's mood visibly soured.

Memory and Forgetfulness, both so vital in this modern era. For both fed the need for technology, the modern pantheon, but both so naturally opposed, and predisposed to hate each other, even as they kept their conversations civil through tight-lipped smiles and clenched teeth.

She looked at me crossly. "Look," she said, "can we talk about something else?"

"Can we," I essayed timidly, "can we talk about how beautiful You are?"

"Oh, please!" She snorted, rolling Her eyes. "Well," She sighed, "if you must ..." She finished regally.

"Mνημοσύνη," I said, "You are so, so beautiful!"

Suddenly, I was filled with emotion: I felt about ready to cry.

She was up out of Her chair and surrounded me in Her arms with Her warm embrace.

"Hey, now," She scolded, "save that for later, sweetie. We have to finish supper first, right?"

I nodded solemnly.

"Good girl," She said, and kissed me gently on my crown.

She took my plate and the platter of grape leaves.

"Now the main course," She said as She left.

She called out from the kitchen, "You couldn't have picked a better wine as a pairing, too. Are you sure you're not one of my daughters? Your foresight is god-like, you know."

"Or just plain good luck," I answered, as She returned to the dining room, "as I'm very sure I'm not one of Your daughters. That wouldn't be ... amusing."

Especially with the activities I hoped we would be doing the rest of the night.

"Hm," she said and smiled, and then, simply: "Dinner."

She served me two lamb chops, broiled and sprinkled with rosemary, over a smashed potato bedding.

"Wow!" I gasped, barely keeping my mouth from watering.

She smiled at me, then poured out a rather full glass of the wine.

She placed the same meal at Her setting, and sat to eat.

"Cheers," She toasted.

We drank.

"Something wrong with the wine?" She asked confused.

I really did try to hide my grimace. I guess I wasn't too successful.

"Well," I said, "it's not as sweet ..." nor as Greek ... "as I like."

Mνημοσύνη's laughter was a hymn. "Nothing ever is for you, is it, you cutie!"

I shrugged, but then I joined Her laughter with my own small chuckle. I loved seeing Her happy. It made me so happy, too.

We finished our meal in an easy silence, both admiring each other. It was obvious to me why I admired Her, but I just didn't see what She saw in me.

But I was so glad She saw it.

She took my emptied plate and glass, and Διόνυσος (Dionysus) was not present, but His magic was still upon us. I followed Mνημοσύνη into the kitchen, feeling a bit eager.

She deposited the plates into the sink, and opened the refrigerator door, looking inside at the contents speculatively. "Were you thinking of dessert?" She asked.

"Yes," I said.

I stepped forward, reached out and turned her head to me, bending down to Her, bent, by the refrigerator, pressing my lips to Hers.

Oh! The sweetness of Her! This is how I liked my wine.

She broke off the kiss. "Mέλισσα!" She exclaimed, just like this morning.

But I wasn't taking any of that now. "Shut," I commanded, "up!"

I pulled Her away from the cool draft of the refrigerator, and gently closed it.

And gently placed Her on the kitchen counter by the sink.

"Let's see if You did what I said," I growled.

She whimpered fearfully, but I heard the desire there, too, and that nearly made me lose control.

I hitched up Her skirt carefully and looked up those long, long legs for the prize.

My eyes were greeted with sheer black silk panties, and, at the top by the band, a demure little pink bow.

I looked up into Her hungry eyes and blinked innocently. "A present?" I asked, shocked. "For plain, little me?"

"Honey," She sighed, "you aren't pl-..."

"Shhh!" I shushed Her angrily, "I wasn't finished speaking," I added imperiously.

She obediently shushed Herself.

"Well," I continued in a very bright mood, "I guess I'll just have to find out what's been wrapped up so delicately, shan't I?"

Mνημοσύνη nodded convulsively, playing along; loving this game as much as I do.

I lifted Her up, as easy as you please, and raced Her to Her palatial bedroom.

We both couldn't resist stealing a quick kiss here and there as I carried Her to my destination.

I threw Her, not so gently, onto the bed, and my eyes lovingly admired every inch of Her.

"Now," I said, rubbing my hands together.

She whimpered in anticipation.

We worked together to remove Her skirt, and I helped Her kick off Her heels, carelessly tossing them by Her closet.

They were designer, I'm sure, and probably cost more than my entire ensemble. Me? In heels? Maybe. But my work-a-day wear was sneakers. And She had on that lovely blazer and (now, no longer) a business skirt. Me? Dressed like that? Or in a dress? Well, no: my work-a-day clothing was denim and cotton. I looked positively Goth next to Ms. Beauty Pageant Winner.

But I was beyond caring about that ... too much. For I was sitting on that big Captain's Bed that was about half the size of my apartment, and She was lying there on that bed.

For me.

I kissed my way up from Her toes on Her right foot up Her leg until I reached the point of interest.

"I can't see what You have so wonderfully wrapped for me with Your legs squeezed together like a steel trap," I said.

Mνημοσύνη was panting with desire. "Oh, dear!" She gasped.

"Spread," I ordered fiercely, "Your perfect legs apart!"

She complied.

I leaned in. "Hmmm," I said, "what have we here?" I rested my right cheek on Her creamy left inner thigh. It was so soft.

And trembling.

"I'll ..." She gasped again, reaching toward Her panties that were beginning to dew. "I'll sho-show y-..."

"Leave the panties on!" I snarled.

Her trembling increased.

"Mmmm," I purred, and my nose nuzzled Her wondrous pussy through the silk, and I breathed in the scent of Her as deeply as I could.

She yelped in shock at my first light kiss, my lips touching the silk touching Her lips.

Then I pushed my face against the fabric, hard, and sucked, and sucked, and sucked with all my might, drinking in Her nectar through the silk. Drinking in Her.

And She moaned, and She sighed, and She cried out softly and longingly.

And I remembered.

I remembered the ancient days, when we were worshiped and adored. Even I was so revered. And I remembered when virgins were offered in sacrifice to me, and I could be forceful in my lovemaking then, as I could be again, now, with Her, with Mνημοσύνη.

For my love-making in the interim years? It had to be with older women, it had to be with women, not girls; ladies, not maidens. Because if it were with a virgin? I would do as I had done in the ancient days.

I would take her, and I would love her. I would love her to death with my sweet sting, and I would drain every drop of honey from her mortal frame, and she would die so happily in my arms, but then she would be dead, and I would be on the move again, to a different part of the world, starting over, ... again.

But with Mνημοσύνη ... I had come home. Home to the Ancient of Days. Home to Her. To a lover I could love, fully and completely, that I could taste my fill of Her honey, but who had so much more to give than I could take, for She, too, like me, was a goddess, but, oh! so much more filled with power than I was now. As always.

Mνημοσύνη, mother of the Muses, goddess; Memory, and now: my all.

And I was crying as I sucked on Her. And now I was bawling as I tasted Her sweetness, as I remembered the glorious 'good old days' and compared it to what we had been reduced to: me, a Starbucks barista, and Her, an office secretary.

But now it was She who was filled with strength and power and wisdom, and She lifted me up, so easily, into Her embrace, and She was holding me to Her, and rocking me, and kissing me sweetly on my forehead and on my lips, and telling me it was okay, and telling me that She loved me, and holding me so, so tightly, so tightly that it would have crushed the life out of a mortal girl, but for me, Her embrace reassured me with its strength.

...

"I'm sorry," I whispered into Her shoulder.

"Hush, now, sweetie," She ordered. "Hush. It's all right, baby. It's all right."

"It won't ever be the same again for us, will it?" I asked despondently.

It was quiet for a moment.

"No," She said finally, "we can never go back. We can never go home again."

I sighed, and ... in that sigh, I felt the crushing defeat of acceptance wash through me.

"But we have each other?" I asked sadly.

"But we have each other, sweetie," She answered quietly.

"Can we just sleep together tonight?" I felt so disappointed for disappointing Her.

"I'd love that," She answered so easily; so understandingly.

"Okay," I said, closing my eyes.

"Help me off with the rest of my clothes first before you zonk out, silly," She ordered.

"Help me, too?" I asked through closed eyes.

"Yes," She said.

And that's what we did.

And we wrapped each other in each other's arms, and we wrapped each other with our entwined legs, and it felt just so right, so sad, so reminiscent, so perfect, just being together, just sleeping together: me, in Her arms, and Her, in mine.

"I love You, Mνημοσύνη," I whispered as I drifted off.

She kissed me on the top of my forehead. "I love you, my little Mέλισσα."

And I slept, in Her arms, floating in Her memories ... and Her love.


Story end notes:

[1] Mνημοσύνη (Mnemosyné) is the ancient Greek goddess of memory and, depending on the myth, the mother of some or of all the nine Muses.

[2] Mέλισσα (Melissa) is the ancient Greek goddess of honey and was efficacious in painless delivery during child-birth. Her name translates as "honey bee." It is said she nursed Zeus, so is therefore much older than most of the gods and goddesses.

[3] Σοφíα (Sophia) is one of the ancient Greek goddessed of wisdom, but she does not appear in this story.

[4] There are more than a few theories about the god of forgetfulness is in American Gods. There is an ancient Greek goddess λήθη (Lethé), but she is a she, not a he. So that theory is a non-starter.

[5] CCD, colony collapse disorder, has killed many a bee hive and is a plague for apiarists worldwide, fortunately, not (yet) for my cousin (fingers crossed), but he had to salvage nine out of ten of his neighbor's hives last year that were lost to CCD.

[6] Of course, an apiarist is a beekeeper.

[7] My nieces call the cushioned chairs at sbux 'cooshie-cooshie chairs.'

[8] 'Party pooper' is a colloquial term. 'Blue nose' is an equivalent. It means one who spoils a festive mood with (usually) their depression.

[9] Odin (called Wednesday here and in American Gods), the All-Father (of all the Norse Æsir, or Norse gods and goddesses) had two crows Huginn and Muninn. Muninn represented memory. So Odin was telling Mνημοσύνη that she looked prettier as a woman than as a crow.

[10] In American Gods, Bilquis enjoyed the occasional human sacrifice until the 'New gods' of media, computers, highways, etc, carted her off and destroyed her.

[11] Διόνυσος (Dionysus) is the ancient Greek god of wine and the subsequent drunken revelry.