Thanks, Ken, for your wonderful editing abilities. The check is in the mail...
A gentle breeze skimmed over her naked body, playing through the long grass beneath her and calling her from her dreams. She woke, confused by the sight of a canopy of green leaves that stretched far over her head, intermittent glimpses of pale blue early morning sky between their verdant growth.
Thinking back, she could remember climbing into her own bed last night, the chill of winter's frost coming through the old windows of the house that had been bequeathed to her by her late Aunt Hattie. She'd remembered putting on flannel pajamas, hoping to battle the cold of the old house, and slipping into thick woolen socks as her feet shied from the icy wooden floors.
How she'd gotten from the frigid blast of winter to this green haven, she didn't know. And her clothing, what had happened to it? She glanced down at her nude form as she sat up to survey her surroundings. Where it was, she wasn't sure. But it was warm under the bright morning sunlight, and her body, pale and wan from the long winter months, soaked up the heat of the golden rays.
The cry of birds had her shifting her gaze. The sound of water, waves upon the beach striking endlessly, reached her ear, and the salty scent of the ocean upon the breeze teasing her nose. It was in front of her now, the magnificent ocean with its teeming wealth of aquatic life and its infinite mysteries, washing over the pale sands of the beach that lay just beyond her feet.
She rose from the grassy glade she'd been sleeping in, stepping toward the beautiful blue-green of those rollicking waves, wondering if the water would be as warm upon her skin as the sun. Her mind upon the scene in front of her, she never noticed the figure of the man who sat upon a dune a few yards away, watching her every movement.
His eyes caressed the soft curves of her body, the sleek lines and subtle hollows that had made her so very desirable to him from the very first. The oval shape of her face, the slash of black brows in skin so pale, the shining dance of her eyes that had been downcast as of late as she mourned the loss of her beloved aunt, kept him enthralled for the moment as she moved toward the white, frothy waves.
The rhythmic movement of her heart-shaped bottom caught his attention and he suddenly wished to feel it under his hands, the skin giving just slightly as he caressed the firmly muscled roundness. Her legs tapered to slender ankles he could fit his fingers around, continuing to smooth, highly arched feet and pink hued toes that he longed to feel touching and tickling his own.
Her waist was tiny, her navel perfect for a delicious dip of his tongue. He could lose himself in the smell of her there, tangy and salty, a feast for his lips and one he was loath to deprive himself of much longer.
She turned, tossing long dark tresses back from her face as the breeze played with her curls, giving him taunting hints of the firm roundness of her breasts, the taut coral nipples hard tipped. He'd denied himself the pleasure of touching her as he'd undressed her, leaving her upon that grassy bank under the huge oak tree that had spread its boughs to shelter her through the night. He wanted her conscious and willing, as eager for his touch and the taste of his flesh as he was for hers.
Standing, he strode forward, as much at ease with his own naked state as he would be wearing any clothing he chose. He had nothing to shame him, a magnificent specimen of manhood, heavily muscled but with a grace that belied his bulk. His cock rose to its full proud stature from its nest of thick curls, proclaiming visibly his desire for the slender beauty who now frolicked with childlike glee amidst the waves of the ocean.
He stood a few feet behind her, seeing the sea spray coat her skin with its saltiness, tiny diamond-like drops of water shining upon her hair and flesh, making her sparkle in the sunlight. With an eagerness he could no longer hide, he reached out to her, calling her name in a voice as deep as the throaty rumble of thunder.
She turned, startled, poised to flee like a white-tailed deer that had been caught a hunter's scent. Her eyes, large and frightened, met his own, not yet seeing the gentleness in the deep blue depths of his. She tried to cover her nakedness, her arms closing across her breasts, her hand cupping the dark cap of fleece that sheltered her woman's mound.
"Who... who are you?" she managed to say through her fear, her voice shaking and hesitant.
"I am known by many names, my Cassiel, at many different times. I have been known as Apollo by the Romans, at other times I have been known as Zeus by the Greeks. The Irish Celts called me Dagda and worshiped me as father god. The Japanese knew me as Haniyasu-Hiko. The ancient Mayans used to revere me as Hurakon. I've been called Poseidon and Dionysus, Odin and Freyr. I've had so many names, in so many places, and been called on by peoples around the world, but what I am called does not really matter, but only who or what I am. Call me any of those names or one of your own design, as I care not." He smiled gently, ready for her disbelief.
Cassiel stared at the man, fighting the attraction she was feeling despite her mind telling her he was insane. "Okay," she said, trying to figure out a way to flee this crazy man who had interrupted her sojourn into paradise in what surely must be nothing more than a dream.
His smile grew bigger as he saw her take a tiny step back toward the surf. "I didn't expect you to believe my words, Cassiel. I had hoped you would, but I know of the cynicism of this time, of its non-belief in traditions and religions of old. I understand your fears, my love."
"Then you also understand my wish to have you leave?" Cassiel had never felt so exposed, or so turned on. She couldn't help but admire his beautifully muscled body or his chiseled and rugged face, seeming almost to be carved out of rock. The gentle smile that curved his wide lips drew her eyes, and she couldn't help but wonder how they would feel upon her own.
"You may find out if you wish, Cassiel. I vow to you, I will not touch you if it is your desire to kiss me."
"What..." she said, broken from her spell by his words. "How did you... No," she said, shaking her head so her hair fell over her shoulders, covering her arms with its thickness. "I don't want to kiss you. Why would you even think that?"
His laughter made her think of mountain rivers, rushing pell-mell in their haste to reach the sea, tumbling over boulders and around trees in rampant joyous freedom.
"Because it is what you thought, dearest one. I know your thoughts as if they were my own. I know your desires and your fears, your wishes and your deepest regrets. I carry you," he patted the large expanse of his chest, "here. In my heart of hearts as the one that I desire the most. I have since first I viewed you some three years ago of your time."
"That's impossible. I would have remembered seeing you, I couldn't possibly have forgotten..." She clapped her lips shut as she heard the words coming from herself. Words she didn't want him to know, words that would tell him how intensely attractive she found him.
"You were but a child then, Cassiel, and too young in the world of men to know you own heart's desire. I was forced to sit and watch, to wait while you grew to what is considered to be maturity in the present world." He didn't tell her of how he fretted as she grew lovelier, her body ripening into the lush sensuous being she was now. How he worried of her losing her heart to one of the young boys who threw themselves at her, swaggering around her with their cocky ways and inane babble.
He refused to let her know of how he'd cheated the three sisters of Fate and their all seeing eye, casting his wiles upon her as she slept and dreamed her dreams of love and marriage, imprinting his image upon those innocent fancies of childhood so that she would find fault with all who would contrive to win her heart. He'd stolen her away from the one who could have held her true, keeping her, instead, for himself.
He felt a small pang of guilt at his deceit, a small pulse of remorse at the connivance he had employed. But he readily dismissed it if it would garner him her love.
"So you, what, watched me through some kind of crystal ball?" Cassiel couldn't keep the disbelief and laughter out of her voice, not even noticing as her hands dropped to her side, giving him a perfect view of her beautiful body.
"No, my love, no ball of crystal could be of use to me. I use the water to view the world of men." He stepped forward as she just stared at him in confusion. "Like this."
The water at his feet, frothy white with the pounding of the surf, seemed to freeze in place even as the rest of the water kept up its continuous movement. It shone like polished ice, and upon its surface Cassiel could see figures, tiny and indistinct at first, then quickly taking form. A busy street appeared upon the reflective wave, men and women hustling on their way, traffic noises erupting from the surf, loud honking and someone yelling and cursing.
Cassiel jumped back, her hands going to her throat as she gasped in shock. She watched in wondered awe as he again brandished his hand and the wave returned to the ocean once more, no more a path of vision to other things. "What are you?"
He laughed. "I am all. It would be easier to say what I wasn't than what I am." He stepped forward, reaching out to gently lift a strand of her hair from her breast. He held it in his hand, stroking the silky tress with his fingers as he stared at her naked splendor with unabashed pleasure. "I am what you would think of as a god. But we are all so much more than that. What you see, what you feel, all come from those of us who give ourselves to the betterment of this world, of this universe."
Cassiel felt herself drawn into his eyes, unconsciously stepping forward until her arm brushed against his chest. That simple touch seemed to spark within her, setting off a small shower of sensation that rushed through her with baffling intensity.
"But, if you are a god," she said, her voice growing husky with desire, an emotion she'd never felt before, "what would you want with me?"
He smiled, his teeth amazingly white against his dark skin. "Why, Cassiel, even a God can love." His hand settled upon the small of her back, just above the rounded curve of her bottom, his thumb brushing against her skin sending persistent tingles to tease at her loins. He turned her, guiding her to walk next to him along the shoreline, their footprints disappearing amongst the green-blue waves of the surf behind them. "And I do love you, Cassiel. Enough so that I wish to bestow upon you a sacred gift you have to but wish to receive."
"What gift?" Her mind was spinning with the power of his touch, the pleasure he was evoking with just the tiniest brush of his finger upon her skin. He seduced her with his words, speaking to her in ways she had never before been privy to.
"Sweet Cassiel, do you even know what your name means in the ancient language of the Greeks? You were named for an earth mother, and with such a naming your life must change. It is such with all, humans and beasts. I wish to gift to you the joy of your name, let you become one of us as much as that is possible, and as such a mother to the world of men."
Cassiel stopped, her hands falling to her side. She flipped her head, sending her hair cascading down her back to curl tempestuously at her hips. Her eyes flashed, sudden temper flushing her pale cheeks, bringing a riot of color to her face. "You are making fun of me now. One can't become a god just by a wish, or become mother to men just because you wish it to be. My parents were professors; they studied the ancient myths, taught them at university. They were killed in an earthquake at an ancient dig in Egypt. Before they died though, they taught me the beliefs."
He laughed at her sudden burst of anger, enjoying the passion that flamed from her skin like pheromones for man to scent and hunger for. "What you believe, little one, isn't the only truth. There are many truths in this universe, much wisdom that has been thought and lost. Man has been gifted with true freedom, true knowledge, but he lost those gifts through greed and envy. Now he loses the other gifts, the gift of clean air, fresh water, abundant wildlife and food, through his own faults."
He turned and took both her hands in his own, staring deeply into the hazel mist of her eyes. "You, Cassiel, can help. You can be the start if you accept the gift that I wish to give to you. If you become the earth mother that is deep inside of you, man could learn through his mistakes before it is too late." He smiled gently, seeing the distrust in her eyes. "Through me, Cassiel, through our love, we can bring forth a child that will help man make those changes."
She stared into his eyes, wondering how she'd ever got here. How had she come from her Aunt's house, where snow whirled and twisted in the wind, to a place of such tropical beauty to be confronted by a madman? That is if she were truly here. Perhaps this was just a dream and she only had to deal with this crazy person until she woke up. Then she could laugh it off. "Sit with me?" he asked, disrupting her thoughts and laughing inside at the turn of them.
"I should go. Someone could come along and find us here, like this." She glanced down at her nude body, feeling a flush go through her as she realized she'd actually forgotten she was naked in front of him.
"No one will come. This place is private, Cassiel. I give you my word."
He drew her with him, still holding her hands in his large ones. Under another tree, surrounded by a sea of soft wild grasses, he waved his hand, a blanket materializing from thin air to lie upon the green growth.
With gentle hands he helped her sit, then dropped down beside her. Turning, he reached back and waved a hand, bringing forth an ornate silver platter heaped with cheeses and fruits to tempt her appetite, and setting it between them.
"So you are a magician as well as a god?" she asked, picking up a large, perfectly ripe strawberry, the stem an almost impossible green. In its perfection it matched the rest of this place she found herself in, with its soft sands and clean water, sweet air and peaceful breezes. The birds were singing quietly here, no raucous, screaming gulls searching for handouts or crying on the winds. The insects were nothing more than a quiet buzz, almost as if they were an afterthought.
"And what do you think the great magicians of earlier times were?" he asked her, taking the strawberry she was studying so intently and guiding it to her lips.
She bit into it, feeling the give of the ripe fruit against her teeth, the taste a tart sweetness that was refreshing and wonderful. "So," she said, after swallowing, "you're saying that people like Merlin were actually gods?"
He laughed, tipping his head back and letting his mirth swell around them. "My darling Cassiel, Merlin, if he had been real, certainly would have been a blessed god. But gods don't die such as humans do. We live, and when the time comes for us to leave this existence, we fall into a deep sleep, such as your coma. Our bodies then become vessels for our powers, storing and saving them until they are needed once more. At that time, we are reborn."
"That is what you wish of me," she said, picking up on something he'd said. "You wish for me to become your 'blessed'. What is that?"
He bit into the strawberry himself then twirled what was left across her bottom lip in a trail of red sweetness, teasing her by keeping it just out of her reach. When she went to lick off the juice, his mouth was there, his lips lightly capturing hers.
"Oh," she gasped as his tongue lapped against her lower lip, taking advantage of her open mouth to dip inside with tantalizing gentleness.
He kept the contact brief, sensing her unease at the strangeness of the feelings he aroused. "You are as tasty as the fruit, little one, and much more tempting to my palate."
A blush suffused her cheeks, making him chuckle in delight. He captured her chin with one curled finger, lifting it as she tried to hide her eyes. "It is right, Cassiel, for you to desire me as a woman desires a man. For I was made to be yours now, in this time period, just as you were made to be mine by a power more complete than any we gods could possibly have. This place was made for us, our own Garden of Eden if you will. It will be ours as long as you wish it to be."
"And when I don't? What happens then?"
"Then it disappears just as I will, and you will be back in your frigid little bed in that ugly little house. If you wish it, this can be nothing but a memory, a space of but minutes where you and I existed outside of normal time." He gently touched his lips to hers once more.
"And if I wish to go right now?"
"I would comply, my love. But devastation would be my bedfellow for the rest of my existence. Can you not give me time to make you see that you can love me?"
"I... I don't know." She could feel herself weakening under the power of his resolve and the plea in his expressive eyes. A voice inside her was screaming that this wasn't real, that he was crazy, or that maybe she was. It didn't seem to matter which at the moment.
"I wish to make love to you, Cassiel. I wish to show you the pleasures of the flesh so that you may feel me inside of you and know my true feelings." He reached out slowly, tracing one long lock of her hair that hung over her shoulder, his fingers softly moving over the satiny skin beneath.
She gasped when he brushed against her nipple, strange feelings blossoming from under his caressing hand and swirling in her loins. She could feel a dampness there, between her thighs, a need to squeeze her legs together, to ease the itch that was starting.
"I would show you all, little one," he said, leaning closer, his lips again brushing against hers. She felt her will yielding to the strange wants of her body, her lips parting as his taught them what true desire was. She felt the heat of him, the give of his mouth, the softness of his tongue, the sharp edge of his teeth as she became daring and licked delicately just inside.
His hand slid into her hair at the back of her head, holding her still as he explored her mouth. He drew her closer, groaning as her soft breasts pressed against the hardness of his chest for the first time, feeling her skin's heat, the delicate flutter of her heart, the almost imperceptible movements as she breathed that became more distinct the longer he kissed her.
His mouth shifted, his head angling to bring her lips more fully under his. He felt her hands come up, touch his chest hesitantly, slip over his shoulders to entangle in his hair, holding his mouth to hers. A feeling of victory raced with the desire in his blood. And when her tongue slipped into his mouth, dancing with and teasing his own, he slowly pushed her back down onto red satiny sheets spread over a wide bed with a mattress as soft as a cloud.
He held himself over her, not crushing her to his chest, nor shifting between her thighs and taking her as his body demanded. Instead, the tips of her breasts barely made contact with the hard lines of his chest. His leg curled up, feeling the smoothness of hers as he coaxed open her thighs. He felt the sleek curls covering her mons and beneath, the damp, dark heat of her teased his skin.
He held her captive with his kisses, drugging her mind with long, slow passion, not doing anything more until she moved under him, her body begging with a plea that nearly matched the one in his heart. She wanted more of him, more of what burned between them in the sunlit beauty of this tiny Eden.
He wished for more too, to hear her words, her sweet voice raised to declare her love for him, to loudly defy logic and reason and proclaim her wish to stay with him, here, forever.
He lifted his head, staring down at her passion-flushed cheeks, at her lips, swollen from his kisses, her eyes, shining with the fire he'd taught her. He pushed her hair from her face and off her shoulder, baring the beauty of her body to his view.
"By the gods," he breathed, the words mere husky whispers that reached her ears like a prayer. "Cassiel, I long to feel your warmth, to taste of the honeyed nectar that dews between the slender columns of your thighs, to hear your cries and the beat of your heart as it thunders in your beautiful breast with your need for me."
"I don't even know what to call you," she said, her hand reaching up to hesitantly touch the thick hair at his temple, weaving through the golden strands that mixed the colors of the sun in long streaks and allowing it to slip between her fingers.
He closed his eyes at the subtle caress, rubbing his head against her hand as she continued to tangle her shaking fingers in his hair. "My real name would be beyond your comprehension, love. What name would you give me?"
"I've never thought of naming a god," she said, continuing her caresses. It was mesmerizing, touching him and watching his enjoyment at those simple brushes. "I've always been fond of the stories of Alexander that my father used to read to me when I was young."
Alexander the Great, he thought, shaking his head. He would appeal to a romantic heart with his daring deeds and great loves. "He was a great and dashing figure, full of fire and life."
"You knew Alexander?" she asked,
"No, I knew of him, my love. I viewed his life, watched his triumphs and his failures. He was a very interesting human." He bent his head, his lips teasing hers, tempting until she tightened her hand in his hair, pulling him closer. A sigh escaped her lips, turning into a gentle moan as the tip of his tongue teased into her mouth, licking delicately at her lips.
Cassiel felt the strange tingle that turned into a maddening craving between her thighs. She wasn't naïve, she knew what sex between a man and a woman entailed even if she'd never felt the need to explore that part of a relationship. But need was within her now, a need that grew as his kisses did, grew ever more heated. She felt as if she were drowning, as if he were the only stable thing in her world, a world that didn't extend past the confines of his arms, the caress of his hands, the thrust of his knee as it gently pushed between her legs. Her skin felt bereft when his hands left her flesh, cold where his touch no longer warmed.
He dragged his mouth from hers, burying his face against the sweetly scented skin of her throat. Heat rushed through him, coiling and burning in his loins. The hardened shaft of his cock was trapped between them, pressing against the softness of her flesh.
Alexander, as he knew she thought of him now, fought his own rampant desires, wishing beyond all else to please this tender beauty, to offer her his love in this, the most elemental of ways.
He found her breast, his palm cupping gently the tender budding mound. A hardened coral tip nestled into his hand, tightening more as he slowly teased it with small movements and careful fingers. Her gasp was like a song, singing through his consciousness, stirring his senses and filling him with wonder that this woman would feel such pleasure at his touch.
"Cassiel," he groaned against her throat. "I wish to make love with you, to fill you with myself in all the ways a man can fill a woman."
Her hand tightened in his hair and he felt a moment's fear. Had he pushed too fast? Gone too far? Would she rebuke him now, when he was so close to his own deepest desire?
But when those fingers loosened, slipping through the tangled curls of his hair to rest tentatively on his back, he knew a great victory that was instantly tainted as a sense of accountability flooded through him. And, for the first time in his millennia of life in this form of being, he felt the unexpected flutterings of nervousness. He was known as a great lover, taking many women down through the centuries. He'd tasted of great beauties, some of the most famous of their times. Cleopatra, Helene of Troy, Salome, Nefertiti and others had known his touch, had sought out his kisses and caresses. He had taken queens and virgin serving girls with the same tender carelessness that was now haunting him.
But none had affected him with just the smallest of touch as Cassiel did.
"I would that you take me into you, Cassiel." His words were smoothly uttered, a command offered in honeyed tones. He rolled onto his back, pulling her next to him until she lay upon her side, staring down at his face. He looked inside her, saw the desire that she held back and the reason for it. Fear of the unknown, fear of the pain of her first breeching, kept her from fully responding to him.
He took her wrist in his hand, feeling the tiny bones, the fragile strength as he put it upon his chest. Her hand was cool, meeting his heated flesh like a balm even as it seared his skin with the knowledge that she was finally here, finally his to do with as he would. "Touch me where you will, gentle love. I will stay still until you wish me to touch you. This is my vow to you."
Cassiel stared down at the stranger who had intruded upon what she now thought of as some kind of dream, yet one that seemed so very real to her. What would it hurt to give into her desire to touch him now? As he said, this could be nothing but a memory to warm her during this hard winter.
She slid her hand across the heavy muscles of his chest, her nails scraping lightly against his flat nipple, dragging a moan from him that merely encouraged her to explore further. Her fingers traveled over the delineated muscles of his stomach, trailed just under the his navel. He sucked in his breath at the sensations she caused that made his cock jump, a tiny drop of moisture now dripping from its end.