And Aphrodite Smiled
by Megan Jones
GRACE - Noun. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
A beautiful name, in sound and meaning. They could christen her with no other: the joggers, dog walkers, the townspeople who made use of the trail that separated the beach from the coast, purpose built so all could enjoy the opportunity to walk, chat and speculate about this woman who walked, with her dog, every morning. In the beginning, not now, they were used to her now. She was part of the fabric that embodied their lives.
They tried to engage her in conversation but she would greet them with a slight nod of her elegant head, a small smile and continue with her stroll, oblivious to their curiosity.
Her clothes seemed of a bygone era, in winter, a long coat fitted to a slender waist, skimming boyish hips until resting on her laced boots. A hat, not the woollen, unflattering style that young and old favoured, but one with the brim tilted on one side, a rakish look that conflicted with her obvious reserve. Leather gloves covered her hands, no handbag, only the lead of her dog was held loosely in her right hand.
In summer, the coat was discarded for a blouse and skirt. A belt fastened tightly, accentuating her small waist, the hem of her skirt brushing her dainty shoes, long and a perfect match to the high-necked blouse.
Her hair could be seen, auburn and streaked with white, caught at the nape of her neck, coiled into a thick chignon held firmly in place with pins.
Daily she walked, this lady of indeterminate age, with her dog. Her eyes straight ahead looking neither left nor right, looking into the middle distance without waver.
Her dog followed suit. Never stopping, sniffing or exploring, as dogs do. His steps matched hers until they reached a bench, half way along the trail, and, in unison, both would stop. Grace would sit, the dog's head resting on her knee, her hand rhythmically stroking his head, her eyes looking out to sea, deep in thought or maybe lost in memories. Those of a more sensitive nature may spot a wistful look on her face.
APHRODITE - Noun. the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, identified by the Romans with Venus.
A mythical creature awakened. In those short seconds she stood perfectly still, arms high above her thrown-back head, her hair cascading down her back until the tips caressed the curve of her round bottom. Legs, long and slim, perfectly symmetrical in shape.
Drops of earlier rain shaken from the tree shone on her white skin, the light of the full moon reflected in its translucency. In her right hand a pair of newly sharpened scissors whilst the left hand separated the branches, pulling them downwards to inspect and make her selection.
Satisfied, the thin, young branch was cut and the buds carefully discarded. Long fingers stroked the denuded wood, her eyes transfixed, and, for a second or two, stillness surrounded her, ethereal, an effigy.
Slowly she walked to the window and gazed into the eyes that watched her, his eyes that had watched her every movement, drowning in the sight and waiting until he could feel the coolness of her skin, inhale the perfume of her body and feel the warmth inside her.
With a slow, seductive movement she turned and presented her bottom, gently arched her back, and drew the thin branch across the mounds of her cheeks. Facing him, again, her fingertips travelled from her throat, downwards until they touched the triangle of hair between her thighs, and stopped.
And Aphrodite smiled.
The slight breeze went unnoticed by the joggers, dog walkers and the townspeople who walked the trail, they were used to the wind. The curve of the lips on the Grace's face bypassed them, they were used to that too. The dog nuzzled her fingers inviting her glance. Too soon. He lay his head back on to her lap and waited.
The room was warm, the flames of the fire shrouding the corners but illuminating the features of the occupants as they circled each other without speaking: challenging and seducing with movement, their positions in the relationship changing, switching from one to another until each were satisfied.
Their bodies met, her breasts pressed against his chest and legs measured the length of his. Smiling into his eyes, she turned, gathered her hair in her hand and draped it over her shoulder. Walking to the bed, she reached, high, with both hands and gripped the post. Sliding them down, slowly, legs parting, she bent, her back a perfect arch, and presented her bottom.
He picked up the switch, loath to mark that perfect body, and ran it, slowly on the outside, of her right leg, from ankle to thigh. The left followed, her back, bottom, until every inch of her was caressed.
With quick flicks, the tip painted a pattern of tiny lines, her shoulders, spine, downwards, until the colour blended into a deep pink hue, the firelight warming it to a pleasing red. She swayed but was silent. Their words were few.
Waiting until the tingle had abated, his fingers touching the the warm skin, the wetness between her legs, the hardness of her nipples, he took the switch and placed it on the curve of her bottom.
Only the grip of her hands betrayed the pain she felt. The first cut, a perfect scarlet line. Waiting, waiting until they relaxed for the second, just below.
Her mouth, firmly closed, rested on her hand. Eyes closed tightly, she waited for the third. The sound heralded its coming, lower and harder, as she knew it would, until the pain blended into one, delicious burning joy. Sinking into her pleasure, the room filled with the sound of her sighs, until her body sagged.
The delicate switch broke, its work completed.The firelight continued to dance, and the night moved onwards.
Grace raised her eyes to the mist that was swirling on the horizon, watching it gather, move and gather again. She watched as it took shape into features that she'd seen so many times before. Mythical, beauty, a face that is famed. Her hand raised, and the gesture was returned, for a second, before the mist was taken by the wind, and disappeared.
Grace and the dog rose. They left the seat and returned along the trail, she nodding and smiling at others, the dog ignoring all. Their steps made no sound, her skirt swirled around her long legs as she blended into the scenery and back.