Soul in Darkness (Page 57)

Inside, I was nervous too. I’d only seen Venus once since Jupiter had gifted me with immortality. She had been silent on the matter. I had no idea how she felt and if she still harbored the abhorrence toward me that led to my near death. But I trusted her not to try anything now, and not to hurt the baby.

Venus swept into the room, her regal posture still affecting me as it always did. I wondered if the effect of the goddess would ever lessen.

Her eyes bypassed Cupid and me, going straight to the baby, and I watched as a transformation took place in her being.

She softened. Her eyes. Her stance.

“A girl?” she said. “And what shall you name her?”

“Voluptus.” Cupid moved forward to stand at the edge of the bed.

A true smile formed on her radiant face, making me catch my breath. Her eyes never left the babe.

“Venus,” I said. “Please, come meet your granddaughter. She will want to know you.”

I never thought it was possible to see the goddess out of control of her emotions, but as I held the small bundle out, she came forward with haste, working her lips and swallowing back whatever sensations overcame her. She stopped short, looking at me as if I might pull the child back at the last moment.

My arms remained outstretched, although I was not able to spare a smile for the goddess. I would not keep her from her grandchild, but she would have to earn her way into my good graces.

Venus took Voluptus into her arms and immediately began rocking from side to side in a gentle sway. “Her eyes are like gems, lips like petals.” She lifted the child to her face and breathed deeply of her hair, closing her eyes. “The scent of innocence. Oh, Cupid! There is nothing sweeter.”

Even with his arms crossed and his stiff demeanor, he managed a small smile at his mother’s behavior. “This is true,” he said.

Without looking away from the child, Venus whispered, “Thank you. I can only hope you will come to see how being a parent can cause fierce protectiveness. Some might say irrationalities. You will want the best for her, and at some point in time, she will want what you do not think is best.”

My eyes burned, realizing this was as close as we would probably ever come to an apology from Venus.

“When that day comes,” I said. “We will do our best to remain…rational.”

“I promise nothing.” Cupid’s declaration caused Venus and I to stare at his serious face, and then his mother let out a burst of laughter that tickled my ears, making Cupid’s chest shake with a deep chuckle of his own. I gave him a mock glare and shook my head, smiling despite myself.

When Voluptus let out a small cry, Venus shushed and rocked her. I felt my breasts tighten and tingle in a strange, nonsexual way.

“I think she is hungry,” I said.

Without question, Venus came forward and placed the bundle of preciousness back into my arms. She and Cupid watched with rapt attention as I nestled our daughter to my chest, her skin against mine, and she latched on to feed. I let out a small gasp at the sensation of my body nourishing hers, and I looked up at Cupid with a smile of wonder. His own eyes were filled with all the things he felt, overwhelming me in his intensity. All for me. For our daughter. Even for his mother. Our family.

All for us.

The end.