Chapter XXI

As Aphrodite stopped a short distance from him her eyes took on a hard determined glint , she was not going to allow Ares to see the insecurity she was feeling . Ares was slightly surprised to see no trace of her usual warmth, but recovered quickly. " I am pleased to finally see you, I have been chasing you for some time" " I am well aware What can I do for you ?" her voice matched the coldness in her eyes. Ares felt as if he had been struck with a whip, but again recovered. "Why so cruel Aphrodite?" he asked still maintaining his smile. "Why did you feel the need to chase me?" she replied. "You truly question that?" Ares said in a soft voice " You have never been away from me this long ; I walked the halls of Olympus and I could not hear your voice or see your face. I am in pain because you are not near me. I had to find you, even if I only saw you for a moment". In spite of her determination Aphrodite felt herself softening. "Ares I." suddenly a memory came back to her. The Trojan War had ended she had just guided the survivors through a perilous storm. She then went to field where she and Ares met. He had been leaning against a wall just as he was now and in the same voice had said the words "I could not hear your voice or see your face. I am in pain because you are not near me" He thought he could use the same line twice that she was that easily won , anger now coursed through her and it strengthened her determination .

She began to laugh a merciless laugh that resounded through the still air. "I must admit that almost worked, I was starting to soften, but I remember now you used the same words many years ago to win me after the Trojan War. We were by Hecate's temple I had just finished my duties to the Trojan we had been apart than because of our loyalties. Your voice got soft than to I could not hear your voice or see your face. I am in pain because you are not near me. It's true the words charmed me I allowed my ager to subside because of them, but the same words will not work a second time, especially considering our location". She waved her had to indicate the ruins surrounding them. "I ask you again why you feel the need to chase me." Ares was starting to lose his confidence, but he was not ready to admit defeat, he had other strategies. "I chased you because I want to be with you. I love you Aphrodite" When she remind silent he took it as invitation to come closer to her; he was just about to put his arms around her , when she said quietly " No you don't" "What did you say ?" he asked . "You don't love me "Aphrodite replied in a stronger voice. "How can you even think that of course I love you"? Ares said placing his arms around her waist. She wanted to push him away, but she was also chocking on her words, she had to get them out. "Ares what we had was not Love it was lust they can coexist but they're not the same. This place is tribute to that, Paris and Helen's relationship started because of lust but it turned into something more, something strong enough to see them through the greatest war we have ever seen. Our relationship never moved beyond lust; we are only together when things are good and easy. Whenever it has gotten difficult we separate from one another , until our desire overtakes us and we come together again. You chase me because of your lust. If you truly loved you would be understanding and let me travel without you, because it's what I have to do for myself"' As she finished she attempted to push him away, but his grip tightened. He looked at her for a moment and without a word kissed her. She fell into the kiss seconds later her senses returned and she pushed hard. The force of her push caused him trip on a stone and land on the ground. The little anger she used to fuel her determination now became a rage. "How dare you kiss me? Where you even listening to me or where you just using the time to plan your next move!" "On the contrary I was listening very closely. You said we had lust, is kissing not part of lust?" the smile returning Aphrodite felt like screaming , but she suddenly she saw Hephaestus walking back towards the ship , that's why Ares had kissed her he knew Hephaestus had been there. She began to run after him, ignoring Ares's calls. She returned to the ship with her heart racing and her throat dry. She hoped he would listen to her.

She searched the deck and found him sitting under the canopy quite calm. When he saw her offered her a goblet of wine. "I thought you would be thirsty after your run" he said smiling. "Is it poisoned?" she asked taking the goblet and collapsing into a chair. Hephaestus laughed "No of course not, why would you ask that?" "Well considering what you just saw I would not be surprised "Aphrodite replied smiling as she took a sip. Hephaestus took her hand "Aphrodite I ..." The sentence remind unfinished, because Ares suddenly appeared on deck with his sword drawn. Fate had more planned for this meeting.