This is based upon Greek mythology, and like most versions of those myths, sex is pervasive but rarely explicit. If you're looking for something harder core, this might not be the best choice.
Other than that, it does have the egos, over-the-top feuds, misogyny, lust, and lack of too many scruples regarding consent that characterize those stories.
I don't understand why you want the sound on. It's just going to be gibberish coming out of the speaker. Oh. Well, if gibberish makes it seem more like we're talking, okay, but you might want to turn your volume down.
To answer your question, I hate her. If it hadn't ended up with me getting the hottest man imaginable ...
Hey, you know what sucks about having a thirst trap for a husband? Trying to have an uninterrupted moment with him in a bar.
You know what's great about having a thirst trap for a husband? Sexy time.
He's so gorgeous. He knows it. But he's not the slightest bit obsessed about it. He leaves that to me. Well, obsessed might not be quite the right word, but when Mr. Studmuffin decides he's going to ravage me for an hour or three ... panties drop so fast Hermes couldn't keep up.
But anyway, Hera's a bitch. I hate her with every single fiber of my being.
I used to pretend I had a speech impediment—irony there—and her name would come out WhoreA. But she pissed off a lot of people, especially other women ... like, every single other woman. After hearing my little passive aggressiveness repeated a few times behind her back, she flounced off to Italy and started calling herself Juno. She was always flouncing. It was her thing. That and throwing crockery.
My excuse was that I was young and wild, and I couldn't stand hypocrites. I know her husband screwed around like it was an Olympic sport—
LOL. Hubby would be grumpy if he read that. Dad jokes are supposed to be his territory.
Anyway, yeah, her husband screwed around. Some wives are okay with that. But if the wife's not, what's the correct response?
Exactly! Divorce. Scorched earth. Take him for everything you can plus attorney fees. The correct response is not: two wrongs make a right while wailing you're the victim.
She can rail on and on about the sanctity of marriage, and she can label her husband a whoremonger. But let me ask you something.
Where did Hephaestus come from?
Don't give me that crap about parthenogenesis. It's not a thing if you're a mammal. Even the original ones and the firstborn knew that it took p-in-v if you wanted to have a c.
I don't care if her husband went along with the presumed-paternity story; he has an ego the size of a planet, so of course he did.
But think about it. He never did anything but laugh about his twenty-something other kids. Why toss that specific one down the mountain so hard it crippled his foot? Why go from an occasional surreptitious night out to suddenly cutting a swath through the girls like a man with something to prove? Why give sonny boy in marriage to mommy's chief rival? And Hephaestus's eyes ... well, I'm not an expert in the genetics of eye color, but blue-as-an-electric-arc and green-as-a-new-fern produces ... brown? I'm told not ever.
We all knew it: Hephaestus was her payback for him siring Athena. Which is doubly bullshit because he was married to Athena's mother. The fact that Athena didn't pop out until he had moved on to a few other wives doesn't change that Hephaestus was conceived in wedlock. WhoreA ... okay, I'll stop. Hera damn well knew he was a serial marrier when she took up with him. I mean, she was wife number seven.
She just didn't like the fact that "final wife" didn't mean "revered mother of favorite kid." So, she decided to get some strange for herself, all the while sermonizing about fidelity.
Still, I guess you think hypocrisy seems a weak basis for hating her the way I do.
You sure you don't mind me talking about sex and promiscuity? Because, hon, I come from a completely different era than you do, and it wasn't even close to a taboo subject back then. I mean, people used to send out formal invitations to orgies.
Okay. Yeah, I know. But you've told me for weeks that you're not a counselor, you're just a "lifestyle confidante," whatever that means. Okay.
My husband tells people I'm mute. It's at my request; he's not embarrassed about me in the slightest.
I am mute, effectively.
You know, people have asked me, "What do you mean, effectively?"
"Effectively." It's the only answer I can give them.
I was young. I was rowdy and crazy, like all my sisters and cousins. The young men were delicious and willing and oh-so-innocent ... for a hot second until we got our hands on them. And the older guys were so unbelievably frickin' perfect your eyes just couldn't comprehend it. You don't see them very much now, so maybe you don't know. But it was, like, mouth starts to water, palms get damp with sweat, and other things get wet. That kind of perfect.
We didn't mind that they used us as sort of a honeypot-pool to be dipped into whenever the urge arose—after all, we came too ... frequently.
It was an age for sowing wild oats. You know, I recommend it before you settle down. If you ever want to talk about that, it's cool with me and I don't judge. But trust me, settling down is about ten times better once you find the right one.
But anyway, I drew the short straw that day. The one who had to keep nosy wives from finding their husbands acting like johns in a parlor. I didn't like doing it. It's not just because it was a pain in the ass, though it was.
It was because it wasn't right. Just have the balls to tell your spouse, "I'm going to bang some young thing," and take your medicine like a man. Tell her to go have some fun with a rough-hewn lad or three, like that dick-seeking missile, Eos.
But when a john, especially one that powerful, says, "Distract her while I slip out the back," you do it. Any concubine, mistress, paramour, or courtesan knows that if you don't, things can go south for you very quickly. Especially with a guy who could turn you into something unpleasant if he felt like it.
The problem is, when the wife grew up in a matriarchy, and is supposedly in a marriage-of-equals, and most of all, has her own serious resources, you can get caught between Scylla and Charybdis.
I would have been fine if he'd just done the smart thing and scooted out the back when the word first went around that Hera was stomping around, metaphorical thunderbolts coming from her eyes. But no, numbskull wanted to keep his dick wet just a little longer and decided he could cut things close. And I'd already said the fateful words.
"No, he's not here. I'm positive."
Her voice was thunder. "Then who would that fornicating manwhore skulking along the far ambulatory be?"
The look she tossed over her shoulder at me as she strode toward him promised a lot, none of it good. "I won't forget what you did. This isn't over."
Two days later, I awoke from a nap to find her standing over me.
"How do you feel now? Like a little whore?"
"Like a little whore."
So, as I said earlier, I practically worship Aphrodite, no pun intended. As much as I hate Hera, that's how much I'm into her rival. She's why I'm living in a brownstone in the East Village with the man of my dreams instead of hanging out in some cave on Mount Kithairon hoping some reasonably hot herder-boy wanders along and doesn't mind me getting into his loincloth.
That byotch is, like, frickin' Meryl Streep when it comes to acting. Here we are, a few millennia later, and everyone still thinks she hated my hubby.
The truth is, the only attention she paid him prior to my getting involved was that she was always on the prowl. And my husband—before he met me, of course—was willing to oblige her once. So, if anything, she had a bit of afterglow when it came to him. He had a hard-on for her, but she didn't for him. Get it? Two different idioms that mean opposite things like ... oh hell, forget it. Bad joke.
Anyway, the only notice she paid him was on that one day she found him in the woods when he was hunting. I'm not too jealous. It was before me, and I'd banged my share before I met him, including Johnny Numero Uno once, and don't regret it. As I said, that was an age for sowing wild oats.
Okay, maybe a little jealous. I mean, she's the goddess of doing that specifically. But I still adore her.
Hang on. That's my daughter buzzing. This will take a moment. I don't know why she calls instead of texting.
Last night was an anniversary. We always do take-out for it. I told you that uninterrupted conversation when he and I are out is tough. There's always someone gushing, "Weren't you that actor in that movie ...?"
"Jeepney's?" he asked me. He knows escabeche is one of my favorites.
"Jeepney's?" I frowned at the thought.
"Hasaki?" Another frown. Sushi wasn't what I was in the mood for.
"Bleeker Street Pizza?"
"Pizza." Huge grin.
The crisp thin-crust with parmesan crumbs in the dough. Margherita toppings. Perry Street Brewing IPAs ice-cold in mugs fresh out of the freezer. A feast fit for the gods! He brought it to the table he'd set in our breakfast nook, along with a daffodil in the bud vase, of course. It never fails to amuse him and we always have one variety or another around the house. I like the smaller narcissi, he likes the big yellow ones. I put my foot down about paperwhites; I don't like their smell.
Okay, that was a digression. Sorry, but you said just stream of consciousness is fine.
So, it all started with Pan. I mean, it started long before that if you look at all the jealousies and stuff, but for practical purposes, it was that little bastard. If you've never heard, he can't keep it in his pants.
He crept up on a bunch of us one day when we were taking a bath in the headwaters of the Asopos. I mean, there were often horny male-types trying to perv on a bunch of naked girls, and we took turns guarding the perimeter. But he managed to sneak up and get an eyeful.
And somehow, he decided he liked me. Liked me as in, wanted me. That was a problem. I knew the lengths my sister Pitys had had to go to when she caught his eye. That situation, by the way, lurked in the back of my mind for later.
The first I knew of my predicament was walking home. He waylaid me on the path and asked to come to my cave.
I don't like being accosted during private time. I don't ever like the blunt "Hey, let's go screw" approach to being propositioned. And while I don't mind a little hair on a guy—some chest curls and fuzz on thick, well-formed thighs are kinda masculine—there's such a thing as way too much and those hairy goat legs ... ugh. So, not just no. Hell no!
The problem is that Pan is stubborn, and Pan is strong ... and Pan is not above rape.
But Pan is not fast, and I'm not the "lie back and enjoy the inevitable" type. None of me and my sisters are. To butcher a quote by an author I once read: "No matter how powerful the man, a knee between the uprights will seriously cramp his style." I ran like a bat out of hell, and that's my mountain. I know every inch of it.
But I knew if I hung around, I was going to wake up one morning in the near future to find my doorway blocked and a priapic intruder who wasn't going to be satisfied until said organ had fully explored all my little byways. So I took off. I had sisters over on Helikon and they'd keep mum.
It wasn't enough. I'd forgotten about the queen bitch, but she hadn't forgotten about me. She doesn't like Pan, and she hates his father, but he never participated in leading her husband astray and I had. So, the enemy of my enemy, I guess. And a knee to the gonads had made him determined.
Once I left Mount Kithairon, I was on unfamiliar ground, and somehow in the thirty-five miles to Mount Helikon, I got turned off course even though I can track a straight line anytime day or night. No matter how many sightings I took on the distant peak, I'd emerge from a grove walking in the wrong direction. It's depressing how powerless we are when one of the big guns exerts themselves.
He found me camping. He probably had those creepy sons of his doing recon.
I'm over it now, and something good did come out of it, but I don't like to talk about it. Let's just say my girls were the result, and I love them dearly. They're like me, each in their own way. Remind me to tell you some of the stories someday.
I need to shift gears here and talk about my husband. Our story is various storylets coming together, like the confluence of all the rivulets that make up the Asopos.
The first thing to know about my husband is that he had every eligible babe in the area, and some not-so-eligible, taking a run at him. Some of that was his heritage. Perhaps his father wasn't one of the major players, but if you're a farmer, it doesn't hurt to have an in with the guy who controls the river irrigating your land.
But mostly it was his looks. His mother is my cousin, and she's a knockout. She's got that wet-lipped, hair-slicked-back, just-emerged-from-the-pool-in-a-micro-bikini look that some men just want to pillage. He inherited every drop of it, catalyzed by his dad's genes into a male version that was just yum!
The problem was, none of those sweet young things, nor the not-so-sweet sirens, nor the well-heeled landowners' daughters, lit his fire in a matrimonial way. Though I'm sure he didn't make it much past puberty before they lit his fire in a different one.
Part of it, of course, was that he wasn't like them, not with his parents. Another part of it was, when someone's had an encounter with Shagging Personified, even if she made it seem like a dream after the fact so they weren't fucked-up forever ... Well, when they've been with her, they tend to set the bar rather high just out of instinct.
The upshot of his situation was that he spent every second he could getting away from it all, alone in the woods hunting. That got him the reputation of being stuck-up and surly. No friends to take his side in things.
The second thing about him is that, unfortunately, he's not too good at reading social cues. Don't get me wrong! When he knows someone's hurting, he just freaking oozes caring, but trying to discern the sitch by himself? Sometimes that's an epic fail.
And unfortunately, it wasn't just women after him. I felt so bad for him when I heard the story. I mean, he had this Ameinias boy crushing on him, and it went right over his cute-but-oblivious head. He couldn't read the room, and all he was doing was being nice to the kid, encouraging him, spending time with him. Wrapping his arms around him to show him how to hold a bow. Going to the baths with him.
Compound that with my husband seemingly running from everything with boobs. That led some people to think certain things and expectations got set. You know, if it had been a woman in this story instead of Ameinias, he might have just rolled with the punches and done her, chalked it up to needs getting met, and moved on. But it wasn't a woman and hubby's pretty much only straight.
Ameinias's folks were local royalty and nothing was too fine if their boy wanted it; they could get the next generation of heirs some other way. So, they set up an invite and brought what little darling wanted over to stay for a while. And mommy and daddy raised their unstable son a little too entitled to hear the word "no."
I've heard the story from someone who was there. The late-night exclamation of "What?" perked up the servants' ears.
The coaxing, "Don't be shy. You'll love it," brought salacious grins to some of them.
"No!" brought chuckles. Too bad, kid. Better luck next time.
It would have been okay if Ameinias had simply sucked up the rejection and left the room he'd snuck into. But he pushed it. I could picture it—a privileged monster and the intended target. That certainly had a familiar ring to my ears.
I'm told that "Just relax" and "Go away" were repeated a number of times with minor variations and escalating voices. Even the most prurient of the staff were now growing concerned. A final "Get out now!" was followed in quick succession by "I don't have to if I don't—"
That was interrupted by the sound of wood splintering as someone went through a door without opening it first.
The precious heir was lying in the hallway, oozing blood from a long tear in his cheek where a piece of wood had torn it. "But you have to," he'd protested in disbelief to the figure standing in front of him.
"No, I don't."
"You're so beautiful, I have to have you. I'll kill myself without you."
I'm told my husband, whom everyone could see was in a towering rage, dropped a weapon at the youth's side. "It's your life. Do what you want with it. I want nothing to do with you anymore." Then he stalked out of the house dressed in the absolutely nothing he wore to sleep. I'd dream about that image if the story weren't so sad.
You and I can wonder whether, given time, it could still have been smoothed over: some rational talk when heads were cooler, a little money changing hands, parents finally parenting. But there was no chance. With a cry of "I'm hideous now and no one will want me," Ameinias put the blade to his throat and shed his mortal coil.
My husband now had a powerful family screaming for his blood and no powerful friends to support him. Where does he go? The woods around Helikon he knows so well, of course.
And then our storylets come together because where am I? The slopes of Helikon, hoping Pan doesn't come back for more soon.
Pan will. I don't look any different post the twins than I did before, and he said that look set his blood boiling. And if he happens to get distracted by someone else, Hera will remind him because she never lets a grudge drop. Never.
Hubby says he heard someone moving in the woods near his camp and called out, "Who's there?" because he thought it was the people after him.
I responded, "Who's there?" relieved that it wasn't Pan. He'd have come trotting rather than call out.
The bushes in front of me parted and I stared at the most beautiful man I'd seen. I mean, okay, I'd seen Adonis, and I guess, technically Adonis was better-looking. But Adonis was all sizzle and no steak ... a pretty boy. And I'm not counting gods because that's not fair, and besides, that much ego knocks off a lot of points no matter how handsome.
Keeping it real-world, this was the most beautiful man I'd seen. A face that was a perfect balance between refined and rugged on top of the body of an outdoorsman, a super-fit outdoorsman. His eyes projected a confidence that the trouble he was clearly expecting—he had a naked sword in his hand—wasn't going to be a problem. Hair ... LOL, women would kill for that mane. Laugh lines.
For his part, he claims what he saw wasn't a woman getting over a scare. He says he saw, and I'm quoting here, "a woman so pretty she sucked the breath right out of me, with eyes that reminded me of the mountain above ... beautiful and forbidding at the same time."
Forget his looks, even his words could turn my head. I was lost before I even realized it.
"Do you need help?" he asked.
That's two of the storylets. There's another.
But I need a break. I know our hour's not up, but I need some tea. Brb.
So there was another thing going on about this time, and given the players, of course it involved infidelity. Aphrodite had been married off to Hephaestus. This despite the fact that she'd said, flat out, "No, I won't. I have no interest in settling down, and I won't, no matter what you force me to do."