Chapter Sixteen

Dionysos

 

C called to say he was waiting for me at my place. I didn’t ask how he got in, when I haven’t given him a key. He’s never pretended to be human, and we never pretended to believe he was one. Plus he recently blinked his head to Sei’s living room or something, so this is par for the course. 

I sometimes wonder who or what he really is. Could he be our supposedly long-lost brother, Apollo?

Nah. My gut tells me that’s not the case.

I unlock the upstairs door, to find him standing by the foot of my bed. He’d never stoop so low—literally—as to sit on the throw pillows by the coffee table and wrinkle his immaculate, tailored, midnight-blue suit.

He straightens his bright-pink pocket square, his touch of whimsy for the evening. “I hear congratulations are in order.” His tone and posture are formal, but his gaze is warm and a hint of a smile curves his lips.

I don’t bother fighting back a smile of my own. I’ve been negative toward anything bonding-related since I found out it entailed forever, but for the first time, the notion doesn’t daunt me.

As long as Moira doesn’t hate me when she gets to know all of me.

“I see news travels fast,” I say, approaching for a handshake. 

He grabs my proffered hand and pulls me in for a tight hug, like the ones he used to wrap me in when I was a kid and woke up screaming from a nightmare. “You’ll be so happy, my boy.”

I almost believe all he cares about is my happiness, not the power to come with my impending ascension. Power my brothers are certain he has plans for.

“Nothing’s set in stone yet.” I break away and drop my gaze to his handmade leather loafers. How to tell him I’ve been dreaming snippets of who I used to be, and they scare the fuck out of me? Only one way I can think of. I look him in the eye and say, “I’ve been dreaming snippets of who I used to be, and they scare the fuck out of me. I see me running into Ariadne, after Theseus ditched her. I see my power ripping through the magic binds that hold her will and memories.” I wipe dry lips with the back of my hand. “She went crazy, C. Tried to kill herself.”

C rubs his clean-shaven chin. He hasn’t aged a day since I first saw him, and if it weren’t for his pure-white hair—and the fact that that’s impossible, since he wasn’t a teen when he adopted us—I’d say he was in his late forties. “How long have you been having those dreams?” he asks.

I’ve been hiding the truth for over a decade. Time to stop. “Since my eighteenth birthday.”

“And how much have you seen?”

He knows. He knows what happened to Ariadne. Knows exactly what’s been haunting my nights. 

“Last night, I dreamed that I talked her down and promised to punish Theseus for her. Did I?”

He doesn’t answer my question. Just studies my face, without speaking.

“You need to tell me how to stop dreaming about the past.” A hint of pleading weaves through what should have sounded like an order. “Moira is tapping into my subconscious and picking up scenes she shouldn’t witness. At first I was afraid my power would harm her, but she’s impervious to it. Now I’m worried she’ll resent me if she finds out how I drove Ariadne to madness.”

“Have you seen what happened with Ariadne, in the end?” he asks, as if he hasn’t heard me. It’s how he is. He’ll lead the conversation where he wants it to go, and I’ll have to follow.

The end sounds ominous. I shake my head.

C’s hand rises so fast, I think he’ll strike me. Instead, he cups the left side of my head. A slap or punch would be preferable to the searing pain that explodes behind my eyes. 

Faintly, as if from far away, I hear C say, “I really thought one of you would have figured it out by now.”

I’m lying on soft fabric, but something grazes my ass as I shift. The smell of grass and sea air fills my nostrils. I begin to sit up, but stop. A warm body is pressed against my side. Ariadne lies beside me, her back to me and her head on my arm. 

I caress her belly and lay a kiss on her soft hair, taking the opportunity to inhale her scent. Like the most expensive wine, she’s intoxicating.

She hums and pushes into me. Wiggles her ass against my hip. A sneaky hand reaches back to wrap around my cock that’s always hard in her presence. She tugs lazily, slowly, driving my hunger for her to new peaks.

I glide my palm down her soft belly and between her thighs. Two can play this game. My fingers slip easily between her folds. She’s wet for me. Ready. I trap her clitoris between middle and forefinger. Pinch. Rub. 

She squeezes her legs together for a heartbeat, before spreading them open and folding one across mine. 

I know what my woman wants. 

I roll toward her and push inside her from behind, relishing her moan. She fits me like a glove. Squeezes me like a vice. Is made for me.

My Ariadne.

Later, when we’ve both come apart, she turns to face me. Her hazel eyes swim with tears, but her smile is the most beautiful sight I’ve seen in my long existence. “I’m so happy you found me,” she whispers. “I love you, Dionysos.”

“I love you too.” I study her eyes, intent on memorizing every fleck of green in her hazel irises.

I’ve seen these eyes before.

Will see them again?

In my past, but in this Dionysos’ future.

They’re Moira’s eyes.

Ariadne’s face shifts, her brows becoming thinner, her cheekbones a little more prominent, her chin a touch more pointed. Her nose has a tiny bump. Her smile is the same, though. 

I didn’t notice before, because I never dreamed of Ariadne smiling.

I blink, and I’m in my room again, standing by my bed, alone.

Moira is Ariadne.

It’s so glaringly obvious now, I feel stupid for not realizing sooner. 

Has C known all along? Obviously. He said he expected one of us to catch on by now. By us, did he mean Ariadne and me, or is this happening to my brothers too? Are their soulmates women they loved before too?

The banging on my door interrupts my thoughts. What time is it? How long was I gone?

“Who is it?” I call out, rubbing my face with both hands, to clear my mind, as memories of my life with Ariadne pour in through the dam C demolished tonight. 

Yes, she and I shared a life together. Her life. And until she passed away peacefully in her sleep, she was as breathtaking to me as on the day I met her. The day I made her whole again.

“It’s me,” answers a woman’s voice.

“Ariadne?” I ask, before I can stop myself. I should know better, damn it.

Silence for a heartbeat, and then a huff. “No. Moira.

The hurt in her voice forces my feet to the door, even as mental images of my first life threaten to make me stumble. I open the door, aching to pull Moira into my arms, tell her everything, and ask her to be with me for the eternity we didn’t get the first time around.

The deep line between her eyebrows says she has something else in mind.

 

< Chapter 15  | Chapter 17 >

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