Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 69—Soul Mates?

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Anybody who can tell me EXACTLY what this picture is will earn readers a bonus chapter on Wednesday. You have to tell me EXACTLY what I’m seeing, not just the setting. Be sure to post your answer in the comments.

So, there are two things that I want to address because I do care about my readers.

First, the comments were split on the last chapter. Many people felt that Christian put his foot in his mouth and shouldn’t have said what he said. Others felt like he had a right to his opinions and a right to express how he felt and that Ana is just being hormonal because of a supposed pregnancy. I had to come to a realization when I read comments and reviews that I may not have liked and I’m sharing this with you because I need readers to remember…

1) EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO THEIR OPINION AND TO EXPRESS HOW THEY FEEL.
2) I DON’T HAVE TO LIKE IT.

Having said that, who’s right in this particular situation? They both are. Christian has a right to feel what he feels and to tell Ana how he feels… but Ana is not now, nor will she ever be, required to take it with a smile. That’s it for that one… for now.

Second, I am TOTALLY FINE AND OKAY with comments and predictions about Ana being pregnant. Everybody knows that I throw hints and clues out there that can be interpreted as two different things:

1) The murder burger could have just been a murder burger—no hidden content.
2) She WAS exhausted from planning her wedding. It’s a wonder she didn’t faceplant on the concrete somewhere!
3) My boobs are getting bigger and more sensitive as we speak (which I find strange and a little scary) and I’ve been fixed! I can’t get pregnant! So how do we explain that?

I’m just saying that to say that it could be more than one thing, but I have no problem with you guys predicting a pregnancy. It’s actually fun to read the comments and people screaming at Ana about her occasional wine. I do have one problem, though…

I have had more people than I am comfortable with tell me in comments and emails that I need to announce a supposed pregnancy “in the next chapter.” Please allow me to gently remind you who is writing this story and to refer you to a specific post about rushing a storyline—https://butterflysaga.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/timing-its-all-in-the-timing-out-of-the-mouth-of-christian/. When I am ready to announce a pregnancy, I will announce one. Until then, try to enjoy the story and just go with the flow, okay?

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 69—Soul Mates?

ANASTASIA

I quickly make my way to the en suite and close the door behind me. Shoving a towel in my mouth, I wail uncontrollably at Christian’s latest revelation.

How could he not know?

What I feel for Allen is so different than what I feel for Christian. You can’t even compare the two! I suddenly feel like there will be a competition for my attention. Oh, God, I couldn’t stand that. What is he thinking? How could he possibly think that my relationship with Al infringes on who he is to me in any way?

I lament my current predicament longer than I intend to, then proceed to wash my face. My eyes are a bit swollen and I feel kind of crappy, but the cold water helps.

How could he not know?

I go to the bedroom and get dressed—a light blue package hip mini-dress and a pair of baby-blue wedges. I leave my hair down and put on some moisturizer and nude lip gloss. I don my Jackie-O’s, grab a large sunhat, and go in search of my Louis Vuitton backpack.

I find it in the living room on one of the chairs there. When I turn around, Christian is sitting on the sofa facing away from me. His head is lying on the back of the sofa as if he would be looking straight up at the ceiling… if his arm wasn’t thrown over his eyes. I didn’t even know he was in here. Didn’t he hear me come in?

“Christian?” I say softly, so as not to startle him. It didn’t work. He jumps to his feet and spins around to face me. He’s wearing a cotton button-down shirt open at the neck, a pair of tan pants, and loafers. He looks beautiful. I see his ID bracelet under his cuff and it warms me a bit.

“Butterfly,” he says, walking over to me. He gently cups my cheek and I lean into his hand, taking comfort in his touch.

“Constitution Square?” he asks.

“Yes, please…”

*-*

We go to the Parliament Building, and then watch the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Again, I am plagued with thoughts of my birth father as well as the Evzone who leaped off the Acropolis draped in the Greek flag during the German occupation. It’s a very revered and meticulous process and I watch in awe as the Evzones demonstrate such precision in the process.

I have to say that the visit to the National Gardens was quite timely. They’re stunning. The first thing that you notice are the rows of beautiful, tall palm trees. I lived in Vegas and I don’t know that I’ve seen palm trees so tall. There are fountains and sculptures and statues, beautiful shrubbery and landscaping of course. There are even ruins inside of the garden as wherever a building may have crumbled or broken apart in Greece, unless they used the materials in another building, they left the ruins right where they were. Some stone columns or bases from some ancient structure are right here in the midst of all this beautiful flora.

The Gardens are 38 acres of arched walkways, breathtaking flowers and gazebos, a botanical garden… and a pond—a real pond with ducks, large rocks to sit on, and a bridge. I wander to the bridge alone for a while. The water spirit in me awakes as I watch the ducks flock on the bank and in the pond. I’m ready for my aquarium now. I knew it when I visited the Aquarium again in Seattle. Although leaving was scary and nerve-racking, being inside made me feel like it always did—calm and serene, at one with the water. Christian has assured me that I won’t have to take care of it, so yes, I’m ready for my aquarium.

Christian gives me a little space as I commune with this small body of water. I want to be myself again. I feel like a part of me may be slipping away. I’m feeling particularly rudderless right now, thinking about Christian’s statement this morning…

I try not to take it personally. Allen has said that you two were soul mates. He has even said it about James, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that about me.

I had to say it at some point. I had to. He’s the very core of my being. I can barely remember my life before him.

How could he not know?

We continue to stroll around the beautiful gardens and Christian keeps me close. I don’t push him away because I don’t want him to go away. I do, however, spend most of the time in quiet contemplation—and he lets me. He holds my hand a lot; sits really close to me when we take a break; holds me close and brushes my hair out of my face. He’s very attentive without being overbearing. He just wants me to know that he’s there.

There’s a gazebo in the middle of what looks like a cluster of pink and white daisies. They are very beautiful and they hold my attention for a moment. Right now, I’m taking solace in the silence of the garden. Even though we’re in the middle of Athens, for some reason the noise of the city only faintly invades the garden. These flowers are pretty. A splash of some blue and yellow and this would make a beautiful bunch of wildflowers… or the perfect flower bed for a home garden. After a lovely stroll through the gardens, we decide that it’s time to go to our next stop—the National Archeological Museum.

I wander into the doors, my mind in its own place. I already know that I like the Acropolis Museum better, but there is a lot to see here and I do want to take advantage of it. I have my little map—anal as I am—that will make sure that I won’t miss anything. Even though the museum is one big square, the displays are a bit of a maze and one can easily get lost in here.

Directly in front of me is the Neolithic, Cycladic, and Mycenaean Exhibits. Mycenae is where the tale of the Trojan War heralds from, as King Agamemnon ruled here and led the Greeks in the war. The gold funeral mask of Agamemnon can be found in this exhibit as well.

Back out in the main lobby, I show my ticket to the guard again, then turn right to begin my circle around the museum. First is the Archaic Era—where the statues all stand straight up and down like the Peplos Kore. The male statues are Kouros and are always naked. I’ve noticed that the art of ancient Greece will often portray the males complete naked or nearly naked while the females are almost always fully clothed.

Next begins the Classical Greece tour. Where the Korai and Kouroi are stiff and almost military in their stance, these statues show more detail in the body and more fluid movement—and yes, the men are still naked. I pay close attention to the bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon. It’s a lovely piece of work, not because the god is naked and his body is incredible, but because this is where the Greek began to pay more attention to detail and the normal movement and flow of the human body. We’re not sure if the statue is Zeus or Poseidon as his left hand is stretched out to balance him and his right hand is poised to throw some sort of spear-like object, but the spear-like object is gone. To that end, we don’t know if it’s Poseidon’s trident or Zeus’ lightning bolt.

Moving on, I am standing in front of an impressive display of bronze and iron arrowheads and spearheads recovered from the Kolonos Hill. This is said to be the culmination of the Battle of Thermopyles where Spartans and Thespians decided to defend the pass of Thermopyles to prevent the Persian army from penetrating Greece. It was a vicious and bloody battle, portrayed in the movie 300, where 700 Thespians and 300 Spartans actual prevented an army of 100,000 to 1 million Persians—they never got the number right, I’m told—from getting into Central Greece. They all died in the final battle at Kolonos Hill with the Spartans being the last to die, but they succeeded in their task. This battle also marks the beginning of the Persian defeat in those wars. The tale of the heroic and seemingly impossible victory-in-defeat breathed new life, energy, and confidence into the Greek forces.

Further down are the Bronze, Egyptian, and Stathatos Collections with artifacts from several centuries. This is where I see several pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism—gears and cogs and sprockets of what is claimed to be the world’s first computer. I immediately wonder how someone’s mind actually comes up with these things. I mean with necessity being the mother of invention, there is always the need to invent mechanisms and come up with ideas just for everyday survival, much like this machine that helped to tell time based on the sun and the moon and their positions in reference to each other. It just never ceases to amaze me how much civilization has advanced based on someone’s desire to build the better mousetrap.

Upstairs, the Thera Collection from Santorini boasts some very beautiful frescoes, which are beautiful wall paintings done in layers of what looks like metallic paint in some of them—all in dramatic and vivid colors. I spend quite a bit of time admiring the pieces depicting boats leaving or arriving in the port, boxing matches, animals, or just scenes from everyday life. There are also fantastic and detailed vase collections and jewelry up here, but I think the frescoes were more interesting.

Back down the stairs and down a long hallway is the Late Classical and Hellenistic Art. I take special note of the fact that the statues now take on more fluid and natural movement, such as the bronze Boy Jockey and Horse. The horse is actually in motion and the detail is exquisite, a far cry from the statues of earlier periods. In the center of the next room, still in the classical period, is the famous bronze statue of the Artemision Youth. He is a fine specimen indeed—rock hard abs and buns of steel, although it makes me wonder if all the men had little penises or did the artists at the time tend toward a standard size for the flaccid penis and just chose not to illuminate a difference. Of course, I would think of that.

I also see the first statue of a nearly-naked woman—the statue of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Her breasts are exposed, but a himation—the Greek wrap worn by men and women—is protecting her modesty. Later on, I see the statue of Aphrodite and the satyr Pan. This one makes me laugh. She is still naked, her fingertips now protecting her modesty. She is fending off the sexual advances of the god Pan, who has the feet of a goat. She has a sandal in her right hand, ready to whack him with it, and the winged-god Eros is trying to help her fight of Pan’s intentions by pushing Pan away by his horns. It’s wonderful to see that in all of this history and seriousness, the ancient Greeks were able to insert their sense of humor.

I turn around to share my discovery with Christian only to find that he has wandered off somewhere, but of course, there’s Chuck standing inconspicuously in the corner watching me. I only quickly breeze through the Roman Collection, more looking for Christian than at the heads on marble pedestals and the naked woman lying on a chaise in a “pass me a grape, darling” type of pose. Having covered the entire museum, I stroll over to Chuck.

“Did you look at any of the exhibits?” I ask. He shrugs.

“A little,” he replies. “I’m on the clock. I can’t be distracted.” I nod. I must remember to ask him what happened the night of my bachelorette party. There are some holes that I need to fill, but now is not the time or the place. Besides, I’m still really distracted with other thoughts…

… Like how could he not know?

“Where is he now?” I ask him, and I think I may have been a little chillier than I intended. Without missing a beat, Chuck looks at his phone.

“In the Classical section… this first one.” Thanks for narrowing that down, Chuck, because there’s like five of them. I nod and head over to the Classical section to see what has caught his eye.

I find my husband at the statue of Zeus/Poseidon. I can tell that he is lost in some kind of thought because he’s just looking up at the thing with no regard for the audience that has gathered around him. A crowd of women and a few men—tourists and locals, young and old—all cluster around the exhibit. At first glance, you would think they were admiring the bronze god on the pedestal aiming his weapon at some unknown target. Upon closer inspection, it’s clear to see that the majority of them is admiring the real-life ginger standing in front of it, oblivious to the crowd that he has attracted. C’est la vie.

I stand there and admire him for a moment as well, standing in front of his bronze counterpart. I don’t think he knows the effect that he has on women. He knows that he’s attractive and sometimes, it irritates him. He’s very turned off by people who are attracted to the outer and the material, willing to throw their souls away before they get to know the person. I don’t think he truly realizes that his beauty and his strength can literally cause a woman’s knees to fail from a distance. He’s fantastically gorgeous, his physique is incredible, his baritone voice sounds like fresh honey, and his dominance and aura affects everything in a 10-foot radius. That’s why men can’t stand him. They see it, too, and it affects them in the opposite way. Add to that the money, the power, and the astronomical sex skills, and you’ve got one potent and deadly combination that tends to drive Pedophile blonds mad… but I digress.

I walk behind him to the dismay of many women in the room and put my hand on his arm. He confirms my suspicion that he was lost in thought as he turns a blank stare to me, then jumps a bit in recognition.

“Hey,” he says softly, taking his hand from his pocket and caressing my elbow.

“Hey,” I say with a faint smile before looking up at the statue and back down at him.

“Lunch?” he says, sweetly. I nod and smile. As usual, he puts his hand in the small of my back and leads me out of the museum. I love when he does that. It makes me feel safe and secure… and loved.

At a quaint family restaurant, I enjoy a lunch of grilled chicken and a type of eggplant dish called mousaki. It’s similar to eggplant parmesan, but not as saucy. It’s normal is made with ground beef, but they were happy to accommodate my request for no ground beef and bring me the delicious vegetable medley creation. I couldn’t get my cranberry spritzer, but I was able to have a tall, refreshing glass of cranberry juice. Christian has lamb, roasted potatoes, and some type of delicious salad with yogurt and lemon. I know this because I ate half of his salad.

After our lunch feast, we journey next to the Panatheniac Stadium. It looks surprisingly average from the front—just a regular outdoor stadium with a whole bunch of seats—but I know better. Once we get inside to take a closer look, the stadium stretches way back, and I mean way back. The track is 670 feet around and the stadium can seat 40,000 – 50,000 people.

We take the time to walk up the stairs of the marble bleachers to the top of the stadium. The view up here is amazing! I think you can see the Acropolis from anywhere in Athens, but it looks great from this vantage point. We walk around the seats until we get to the middle where we can see from the back of the stadium straight down the field to the front. Christian is still his attentive self, holding my hand and staying close as I maneuver the stairs and the seats.

After I take a few pictures of the field and the Acropolis from here, we walk back down to the bottom where the emperor’s seats are and we each take a picture sitting in the place of royalty. I can’t help but think that he looks a lot more comfortable and at home in that spot than I do, but that’s just my opinion. Of course, while he’s sitting there, he gingerly places me on his lap and makes Chuck take a picture of us. When I see the picture, I’m looking at the camera with a small smile and Christian is looking at me.

I can’t read the look on his face. It’s longing or something.

“You’re not looking at the camera,” I say softly.

“I must have forgotten,” he answers and I know that he’s still staring at me. I love him. I really do, but something inside of me is aching right now and as much as I try to ignore it, I can’t stop it. My heart hurts and I can’t understand why he said what he said about us being soul mates. Surely, I’ve told him… surely he knows… he has to know…

How could he not know?

He quietly takes my hand and leads me down the stairs to the field. We are standing on the track where the Olympics was born—well, maybe not on the exact track as the stadium has been rebuilt, but in the same place. This was the site of the athletic portion of the ancient Panathenaic Games and hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896. At the games in Olympia, the flame in the Temple of Hera burned throughout the games. Today, the Olympic flame is ignited at the site of the Temple there and the cauldron holding the flame is brought here to the Panatheniac Stadium. The Olympic torch is lit from that flame and begins its journey around the world to the host country for the Olympics every four years. The flame stays lit in the cauldron of the host country throughout the games just like it was in Ancient Greece.

There have been some pretty dramatic lighting ceremonies, and I particularly remember the one from last year and that amazing multi-torch cauldron in London. I remember watching that ceremony on television and crying when I saw how beautiful it was. I’m not much for watching the Olympics, but the opening and closing ceremonies are usually pretty spectacular, and London truly delivered the goods in the 2012 ceremonies.

My reminiscing is broken when Christian gently slides his arm around my waist. His expression is cautious now, and I console him with a small smile. I take pictures of the track and the two herms on either side of the field. Herms are sculptures that are just under five feet tall, usually made of marble or bronze. The pillar portion of the herm is called the “shaft,”—adequately named for two reasons. First, the shaft carries the head of the Greek god Hermes. Although he is known as the messenger of the gods, god of trade, thieves, travelers, sports, athletes, and border crossings, he has once or twice been mistaken as the god of fertility. Some herms may have the head of his brother Dionysos or of Apollo. Nonetheless, they are still called herms. Others are double herms with Hermes on one side and Dionysos or Apollo on the other.

Second, the shaft of the herm has a phallic symbol on the front and down just below the center of it—a perfect frieze of a dick and balls and the damn thing looks like it has wings. Now I’ve seen it all.

We spent quite a bit of time at the stadium before finally moving on to the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. This was a monster of a building—the columns are 56 feet tall! Only 15 of the original 104 Corinthian columns still stand and one lies toppled over on the ground after it fell during a storm in 1852. The rest of them were taken away and used for building materials after the building’s unknown demise. Building started on it in the 6th century BC, but it wasn’t finished until 700 years later when Emperor Hadrian completed it. He built the Arch of Hadrian as a gateway to the temple to join Roman Athens with the ancient city.

The Classical Greeks of the 4th and 5th century BC refused to complete the temple because they felt that man was comparing himself to the gods. It kind of reminds me of the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. They were intent on building a tower that reached heaven and the Lord was having none of that. He confused their tongue and speech and scattered them among the land so that they never finished the tower. The temple may have been finished, but like many of the other landmarks, it doesn’t stand anymore.

We are now traveling down Ermou street and the downtown shopping district, but I just don’t see anything that I really want to buy. Most of these stores are the same as what we have back home and nothing jumps out at me to buy. The walk down the street is calming, though. Christian holds my hand and points out little unusual things. We even do a little people-watching together. I am truly exhausted and very hungry by the time we decide to eat dinner, and I want fish… lots and lots of fish! Christian feeds me a buffet of swordfish, red mullet, cod, and shark, with lots of lemon and very little side dishes. All I want is fish! I finally tapped out when I finished the lobster and I am certain that I won’t be able to make it back to the hotel. It’s late when we get back and all I want to do is sleep. Like a good husband, Christian helps me get into a comfortable sleep shirt before crawling into bed with me, curling his arm around me and cuddling me close to him until I fall asleep.

*-*

I’m standing here in ancient Agora looking at my little map and trying to find my bearings. I wander over to the area where my research and map tells me that I should find Socrates death cell. After having a quiet breakfast this morning, I put on a green, yellow, and a tan colorblock sundress and my braided Louboutin wedges while Christian wears a cotton shirt and gray pants much like yesterday. We’ve already seen the other site that claims to be the Prison of Socrates. When you look it up, it leads you to a location called the Arcade of the Book. When you go to the location, it’s right in the middle of the city—literally on a city street. No ruins, no prison, no nothing unless you’re looking for a sale of 70% off suits and coats or looking to deposit some money into the Alpha Bank.

Further investigation and questioning took me to the cells dug out of the Philopappos Hill that I described to Christian two nights ago. Knowing what I know of ancient Athens and their practices, I’m even more certain that this place in ancient Agora is the proper death cell of Socrates—not the cells in Philopappos Hill and certainly not wherever “the Arcade of the Book” is located. Further driving this belief home is that many pictures depict the location of the “Prison of Socrates” to be a small church, oddly shaped with a rounded steeple dome. This church is the Church of the Holy Apostles that sits on the southeast corner of ancient Agora.

Walking to the ruins southwest of ancient Agora just outside the border, I spot the platform that was the courtyard for Agora state prison. Once I clear the trees, I can see the foundation blocks perfectly laid out just like my map and the building plans say they should be. Socrates’ cell was a two-celled room at the northwest point of the prison. Following my map, I enter the cell. In my mind’s eye, the walls rise from the foundation of the floor and form the two-part cell. Directly in front of me is the door to the inner room, which is where Socrates would have taken his last bath and dressed in his funeral shroud. I walk into the space and I can see the circular stone tub, still damp from his last bath–or it could be the water storage hole, I’m not sure. I choose to say that it was the tub.

I enter the main cell and recall a picture I had studied—the painting of The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David. In the picture, Socrates is about to drink the hemlock being handed to him by a forlorn youth while still spouting out his teachings while he can. Plato’s depiction of Socrates death in his writing Phaedo notes a student named Crito, who was there at the time. Plato contends that he was ill and was not present. Though Crito was real and was a student of Socrates, some historians contend that Plato was actually speaking of himself when he spoke of Crito. Based on that theory, I open the picture on my cell phone and imagine where everyone was placed.

Socrates bed or cot was near the wall by the door. While he speaks of his theories and his teachings, he freely drinks the hemlock handed to him. Based on what I know, Crito was either the person in the picture handing him the hemlock or the young man in the picture mourning at the doorway. I stand in the place near the door where Crito would have stood and then in the spot where I think the young man stood while handing Socrates the cup of poison. I take a picture of my feet with my phone, intent on sending the picture to Al with a three-word caption.

**Plato stood here.**

Ever since I woke up this morning thinking about coming to this place, I’ve been thinking about Al and Christian and our relationships; about how Christian could possibly compare them. Even though Al is one of the most important people in the world to me, he could never fill Christian’s place and Christian could never fill his. Al and I did try to be lovers when we were teenagers, but it just didn’t work out for obvious reasons. Hell, nobody seemed to like the fact that Al and I have such a close relationship—not my lovers anyway. David couldn’t stand him, but I think that had a lot to do with homophobia. Now Christian has taken to comparing our relationship to that of me and Al!

Plato didn’t say that split-aparts had to be lovers. He even said that some people meet their split-apart and it is too much for them, so they don’t end up staying together whatever together means in this sense. Split-aparts are the other half, but they don’t have to be lovers. What if Val was my split apart? Would I get the same reaction from these people if my split-apart were a female—or would they just be expecting to take part in some hot girl-on-girl action?

I stand there, still staring at my shoes and trying to remember when I would have relayed to Christian that he is my soul mate. I know that I have… I just know it…

“They’re brands.”

“Ana… did I hear you say brands? Like cattle brands?”

“Exactly like cattle brands.”

“Ana! They branded you!?”

“Yes…”

“Who? Why?”

“I had the audacity to allow myself to be raped by the most popular boy in school. When I exposed him, he called me a liar and this happened to me.”

“Who did this? Did he do this to you?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Ana, look at me… Ana, please… look at me… How can you not be sure who did this to you?”

“Because it was dark, and I was scared… and they were… all… w… wearing masks!”

“Do you remember where you were?”

“N… no! They at-tacked me… me from… behind… and put me… in the trunk of… a c… car!”

“How many of them were there, Ana?”

“I… don’t know. A… a lot!”

“Baby, how did you get away?”

“I didn’t. Someone found them… someone… stopped them… before they… finished the brand. It was supposed to be whore.”

“Someone stopped them, but no one was arrested?”

“I don’t… know what happened… I was… un… unconscious.”

“Who found you?”

“The cop… on the report.”

“What was his name?”

“W-what?”

“What was his name? The fucker that raped you… what was his name?”

“N-n-no. No!”

“Ana! Ana, what is it? What’s wrong? Baby, what is it? Please talk to me.”

“Please, Christian… p-please… leave it a… alone… please…”

“Ana…”

“Please! P… please, Christian…”

“Okay, Baby. I’ll leave it alone.”

“You… you will?”

“Yes. Baby, I will.”

Of course, he didn’t leave it alone, but in the long-run I’m glad he didn’t. That’s when I first started feeling something for him, but didn’t dare label it as love… after he showed me his playroom and vowed that no one would ever hurt me again. He was asleep when I was examining his scars, or at least I thought he was…

“Cigarettes.”

“I’m sorry… I… I didn’t touch them. I promise.”

“I know.” He put my hand on his chest.

“Christian…?”

“Your pain… your pain is my pain, too.”

“Christian, please…” I try to move my hand, but he pulls it back.

“I want to heal you, Ana. I want to take away your pain… and your fear, but…”

“What? Christian, what is it?”

“Who’s going to heal me?”

“I will,” I whisper. “I will, if you let me.” Don’t worry, Baby. Dr. Steele is here now.

“All better,” I say as I kiss one scar. “All better,” I repeat as I move from scar to scar, gently kissing each as if to pull his pain into myself and negate my own.

“There’s more.” I hear through his chest.

“What?” I squeak, softly. More? There’s more? Oh, God. Christian rolls over and returns to his spot next to me to reveal more circular bruising on his back.

“Christian…?”

“My birth mother… was a drug addict. She had sex with men to feed her habit… and her pimp’s habit. I don’t know if I came along before or during, but I know that I was in the way. I lived in squalor and filth—the son of a crack whore—that’s what he called me… all the time. On days when he was particularly mad at her… or me… or the world… or no one in particular… he liked to put cigarettes out on my skin.”

“Who else has seen these?” I ask.

“Only a few people, but no one has ever touched them.”

“Christian, are you telling me that you’ve never let anyone touch your back or your chest?”

“Not on purpose. Only my little sister, and even then, only with clothes on.”

“Not even your mother—your adopted mother?”

“Not even her.”

“Not even your… Domme?”

Especially not her.”

“Oh, Christian,” I said, gently touching his back and leaning in to place tender kisses on the scars there. I straddle his back and gently massage his neck, shoulders and back. As I read the contentment in his voice, I begin to hum a tune that seems appropriate for what we are both feeling right now.

“What’s that song?” He asks softly after several moments of allowing me to caress him.

“It’s called ‘Love All The Hurt Away.'” I reply. He spins around artfully underneath me and captures me in his arms, surprising me a bit.

“Christian…”

“Baby…”

That’s when I chose—we chose—our song, two broken souls trying to find a place. I wouldn’t have told him then. Even though I had very strong feelings for him very early on, it was still too soon, but when was it…?

“Christian…” My voice is strained.

“Am I hurting you?”

“No… I…”

“What is it, Baby?”

“I want to say something… but I’m afraid.”

“You can tell me anything, Butterfly.”

“You won’t run?”

“I’ll never run from you, Ana.”

“I think I love you, Christian.”

“I know I love you, Ana.”

“I… I didn’t think I could… I didn’t think…”

“Talk to me.”

“I didn’t think… I could love again. I didn’t… know where to start… or what to do…”

“You are perfection, Anastasia. You are beauty, and intelligence, and independence, and strength, and sensuality and every desirable and good thing all rolled into one package. He damaged you. He took you for granted. But you came back from that—and now here you are presenting yourself to me… a damaged, confused, battered shell of a man…”

“Christian, no… You are so much more than that. You’re tender, and gentle, and caring, and compassionate… You dropped everything to come and see about me… twice… even though I wasn’t in any danger. You sent your goons to look after me, even though one of them doesn’t know his asshole from a hole in the ground, and when you saw the brands…”

“I’m afraid, too.”

“Of what?”

“Of losing you. Of you leaving me. Of not being worthy of you. Of being so damaged that I can’t be fixed…”

“Christian, please… stop… Please, Christian, you mean so much to me. You showed me that I can love again. And if you’re damaged, confused, and battered, then we can be damaged, confused, and battered together. I’ll never leave you. You’ll never lose me…”

“Please, Baby, stop crying. I can’t take it when you cry.”

“I’ll stop crying if you stop saying those horrible things about yourself. I can’t take that.”

“Ok, you’ve got a deal. No more crying now, okay?”

“Okay.”

I don’t know if that timing would have been perfect or not. Oh, Christian, when did I tell you?

“Nice shoes,” I hear in front of me. I raise my head and look at Chuck. “You’ve been standing here for a while. I was just making sure you’re okay.” I look around and notice that there’s no Christian… again. I look back down at my shoes.

“I’m okay. Just having one of those profound historical moments,” I lie. “Where is he?”

“He went to get water,” he replies. “Where are you?” I look up at him and sigh. I’m in the place that started this whole emotion avalanche in the first place.

“I am in the cell where Socrates died,” I tell him.

“Hmm, profound,” he says. “‘The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.‘” I look at him, surprised.

“You know Socrates!” I exclaim. He shrugs.

“I took one Philosophy class in school. Some of it stuck with me—not much, but some. Tell me what we’ve got here…”

I tell him the story about Socrates’ refusal of amnesty and escape and how he welcomed death in this room by toasting his poison to a happy afterlife and reminding Crito to sacrifice a cock to Asclepius, the god of medicine. I finish the tale by telling him that I placed myself where I think Plato may have stood since he’s the only reason I would know of Socrates at all, and that’s why I was standing there staring at my feet. He nods.

“You know, you seem a bit adrift,” he says. “So does he.” He gestures his head behind me and I know that Christian is back there somewhere, but not too close or Chuck wouldn’t be talking about him. “I’ve been around you, so I know when something is on your mind, but I’m not used to seeing him this way. You two should talk.”

He winks at me and starts to walk back toward the Agora ruins. I’m watching him leave and I feel like he’s walking through walls. My brain says, “Why don’t you just use the door?”

I send the text to Al and turn to face Christian and he’s leaning against a tree at the end of the ruins behind the courtyard, standing on the outside like he’s waiting to be invited inside. I take a deep breath and walk toward him. He stands up straight and he’s holding a large bottle of water as I approach. I’m walking in his direction and still trying to think of when I told him that we were soul mates…

After I was kidnapped? No…
In Anguilla? No…
When I got back from El Nido? No…
The engagement? No…


CHRISTIAN

She’s standoffish again. I thought after a good night’s sleep, we would have put this monster to rest. We’ve covered a lot of ground today, what with the visit to two separate sites where of the prison should be. I thought sure that it would have been those caves in Piporopus… Philipenis… fuck it, that hill, but she’s certain that this is the spot. Having covered both of those sites and the Museum in the Stoa of Attalos, we took a break for a lunch of Souvlaki and gyros, which by the way were absolutely delicious. Now we are back in the ruins of Agora.

There are quite a few ruins to be seen in ancient Agora and we have seen them all. Going through the extensive collections at the museum helped me understand more clearly what we were looking at. The most preserved building is the Temple of Hephaistos. It still stands in the northwest corner of Agora and is one of the buildings that can be seen from the Acropolis. We spend the better part of the afternoon identifying the other ruins in Agora—the Altar of Aphrodite Urania, about four other stoas, the Tholos, the old and new bouleuterion, two possible courthouses, the fountain house, the mint, the strategeion, and some little place that Butterfly called Simon the Cobbler’s shop.

She openly shared our archeological finds until we started heading to the prison. That’s when she started to get quiet and introspective again. She didn’t miss my presence when I stopped walking with her around the strategeion, so I decided to let her explore this place on her own. It meant so much to her to be here and I don’t want to ruin it for her.

Just beyond the trees and across the street is a little café that thankfully sells bottled water. I buy a small bottle for myself and down it immediately, then buy a large bottle for me and Butterfly to share. I make my way back across the street and through the trees to the site of the prison. I almost got lost in this mini-forest, but I see her beautiful dress billowing in the wind. She’s standing there looking at the ground and I wonder what she’s thinking. I could watch her for hours and that feels exactly like what I did until I see Charles walk over to her and start talking.

So Charles is allowed in but I’m not.
What are you talking about? You exiled yourself.

After a few minutes, I come to myself and she’s walking towards me. Shit, was I staring? Her eyes are full of questions and I just open the water for her as she approaches.

“Thirsty?” I ask. I’ve had a lot of one-word questions for her. It’s like I don’t know what to say.

“Yes, very,” she says as she gladly takes the water from my hand and takes several very healthy swallows. “Would you like to see?” she asks. I smile.

“Yes, please,” I respond, sincerely. If it’s important to her, it’s definitely important to me, but I didn’t want to intrude. She leads me into the ruins to the far end of the “building.” I can see the foundations for several rooms.

“There is only one way into the prison, through those doors.” She points at imaginary doors at the north end of the prison at the end of the “hallway” where we are standing. “Those are the guards’ rooms.” She leads me to the foundations on our right. “There are four of them, see? One, two, three, four…” I can clearly see the separation of the four rooms.

“Yes, I see,” I say, moving closer to examine the dimensions of the rooms.

“The rest of them are cells. There are eight rooms—six one-room cells and one two room cell. Three are there, five are there.” She points out the rooms to me and suddenly, this is more fascinating than any of the ruins I’ve seen.

“This is where the medicine bottles were found… in the museum,” I say with realization. Butterfly gazes at me thoughtfully.

“Yes,” she says. “Those bottles most likely contained the hemlock used for executions.” She walks to the second cell from the end. “This is Socrates cell,” she says as she walks through and opening in the foundation as if she is walking through an actual door. I follow her out of respect instead of walking over the foundation stones. “That other room is the inner room. The only way into it was through this room.” We walk through a second “door” to the inner room. “This was his en suite, for lack of a better word,” she says with a shrug as she walks around a circle in the ground in the middle of the room. “This is where he bathed and dressed to prepare to die.” God, that sounds so morbid.

“He had to prepare his own body before death?” I ask, my voice low. She nods.

“Socrates wasn’t afraid of death,” she says, walking back into the other room and leaving me by the “bathtub.” “He knew that he was either on his way to a dreamless sleep or the next level of his soul’s transition. Neither aspect frightened him.” I gaze at her as she explains death like she’s talking about the weather. I nod my acknowledgement, and she continues.

“Socrates could have prevented his death. He was asked what his sentence should be in court and gave some ludicrous answer, so they sentenced him to die. He was granted amnesty when three of his accusers recanted their stories after his sentence was announced. Two of his other students—one of them was Plato—came up with his “bail” so that he could leave. One of his students or benefactors—I can’t remember which right now—bribed one of the guards to let him escape. He refused all attempts to spare his life.”

“Maybe he was ill?” I say, thinking immediately of my grandfather back in the states and wondering how he’s doing and if he’s settled okay. Butterfly shakes her head.

“It’s always a possibility, but not very likely. Socrates was 70 years old when he died and before he was arrested, he was still walking the streets of Athens teaching his philosophies. I would venture to say that he was a very healthy man, but you never know” She turns her attention to the front of her, like there’s a scene playing out there. “I’ve seen lots of pictures, but from the one that I saw that resembles this room, his bed would have been there.” She points to the space near the foundation that indicates his bed would have been near the wall. She walks over towards the space and stands there for a moment.

“There were more than a few mourning gentlemen in the room when Socrates spoke his last words. He actually chastised them for crying, saying that he sent his wife away for just that reason. This is why Crito—or Plato—left the room… he couldn’t control his grief.” She looks at the empty space where she says Socrates bed was. “I’ve narrowed it down to two people in the picture that could have been Plato based on his age at the time and the description of Socrates death in Phaedo. They don’t exactly agree, but I assume that the artist may have taken some creative license when he painted the picture. He would have either been standing here, giving the cup to his friend…” She walks over to the doorway and stares in front of her again, like she can see the bricks that compose the frame. “…Or here, leaning against the doorway out of sight of Socrates, weeping for the loss of his mentor and friend.”

She stands there staring down at her shoes like she was when I saw her alone in the cell a few minutes ago. I move to the first spot where she was standing and imagine being in Plato’s shoes. I can’t even imagine having to assist in Jason’s suicide. I close my eyes and remember the day that he was shot in my office. I thought he was going to die and I actually cried. You never really know how important someone is to you until you face the aspect of losing them. After everything that they tried to do to save him, Socrates chose death over life. I can only imagine this group of loyal friends and students holding out hope that he would take one of the other options and choose life rather than accept his sentence and leave this earthly realm. All the way to the moment he took the poison, there was hope. Once he swallowed the hemlock, it was done. There would only be a few moments remaining before the voice of a great man would be silenced forever.

The levity of the situation is a bit overwhelming. If that was Jason, I would be the kid crying against the door jamb. I would throw a temper tantrum and knock the poison out of his hands, knock him unconscious, and carry him out of this room to safety, slaying anyone in my path that tried to stop me. I would… oh, who am I kidding? Jason is a bear of a man and my emotion alone would guarantee that I would lose that fight.

I would have to watch my friend die.

I sigh heavily and drop my head. I don’t think I could every resign myself to the idea of watching my best friend die. Thank God I’ll hopefully never be in the position. I shake my head to shake off the thought, then open my eyes and look at the sky. It’s a beautiful day in Greece, and we’re all alive and well. No one’s dying—except Gramps—and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. I take another deep breath, hold it, then let it out. I have to say that I momentarily forgot Butterfly was there with me until I looked over and she is examining me. She probably thinks I’m crazy.

“Thank you,” I tell her, “for sharing this with me.” She pauses for a moment, then smiles widely.

“You’re welcome.”

*-*

Our experience in Socrates’ cell apparently thawed all of the chill from the prior two days. We leave the ruins and go to Monastiraki, holding hands and canoodling the entire time. She would buy a little something from this shop or that booth, and then we’d find ourselves in some quiet alley or in some little cubby somewhere in Anafiotika making out like teenagers. Our last stop for the day is Lycabettus Hill. We have the choice of walking up the hill or taking the funicular to the top. That climb is a long climb and it’s been a long day. I ask Butterfly who makes it only too clear that she has no intentions on climbing that hill. So, the funicular it is!

To keep from completely accosting her on the funicular in front of families riding to the top, I tell her what I know about Lycabettus Hill while kissing her behind the ear. The ride is short and I only have time to tell her about the legend where Athena took a large rock from Mount Penteli with the intent to move it to another location and build her temple close to the heavens. During transit, two blackbirds approached her with bad news about something that required her immediate attention. In haste and anger, she dropped the rock, and here it sits in the middle of Athens. It’s the highest point in Athens and you can see if from anywhere in the city, assisted by the little white church that sits on its peak.

When we get to the top, there is a lovely café with lots of outdoor seating—a wonderful place for climbers to stop and get a much-needed drink. There is also an amphitheater that normally hosts some sort of performance or rock concert. However, nothing is on the venue for tonight. The most spectacular part about Mount Lycabettus is the view! You can see every corner of Athens clear out past the coastlines. From here, it’s easy to see that Athens is a booming metropolis and although you can tell where the smaller towns are, the entire landscape lays out before you with quaint rooftops, large buildings, clusters of lush green trees, and historic ruins in every direction.

The chapel of Agios Georgios or Saint George is the landmark that sits at the top of the hill. It’s been rebuilt and refurbished, but it really is a beautiful little building. Having only heard about Agios Georgios, I had no idea that there was another church on Lycabettus. It’s lies in the shadow of Agios Georgios and it’s called the Church of Agii Isidori. You enter a gate, then climb a long flight of stairs to this quaint little building front. Once you get inside, there’s a cave in there! The building front is attached to a cave and the back of the church is the cave! Though Agios Georgios is more famous and well-known, in my eyes Agii Isidori is certainly more interesting. Who would have ever known that there was a little church on Lycabettus Hill with a cave inside?

Butterfly has loosened up and become a bit giggly watching the sights and the beautiful sunset from the hill. There is a small military ceremony for the lowering of the flag, and I watch with my lady contentedly snuggled in my arms. I am so relieved that she has dropped what has been burdening her.

We are having dinner outside on the terrace at Orizontes before I take my girl dancing later. We start our meal with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, La Grande Dame. Pleurotus mushrooms with rosemary and small tomatoes from Santorini island; wrapped shrimp in a crispy kataifi pastry with black ink fish sauce and gruyere cheese from Naxos island; chicken pose in a wine of Samos with a variety of mushrooms and fresh fries cut by hand; mignion veal fillet with roasted vegetables and fresh fries; and crushed milles feuilles with vanilla cream and ice cream. We have eaten our fill and tantalizingly fed one another all through dinner before going back to the hotel to change clothes—and guards—and go dancing.

I’m waiting in the living room of the suite in a charcoal gray pinstripe suit, white shirt with thin burgundy stripes, and a black textured tie with gray threading and small silver and pink diamonds. I’m also wearing the Hublot watch that Butterfly gave me. I thought I was looking pretty smart until Butterfly emerges from the bedroom. She’s wearing a black embroidered lace very-mini dress and you can see her arms through the lace sleeves. She’s also wearing black Louboutins sparkling stiletto booties with sheer nude zigzag designs. Her hair is in large barrel curls framing her face and cascading down around her breasts. She’s wearing the Chanel Charleston earrings and she looks phenomenal.

I walk over to her and put my arm around her only to discover that the dress drapes down to the small of her back. Fuck, I’m going to be fighting a boner all night.

“I am not letting you out of my sight,” I growl in her ear. She shivers and smiles seductively at me as we leave the suite.

We go to one of the trendy nightclubs in the Gazi district. It wasn’t hard to find one because they are everywhere. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere! We get inside of a club that plays 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s music from all genres—right up Butterfly’s alley. We are able to find a booth with a view of the dance floor, our security not far away. Butterfly is very amorous and I like it that way. We order drinks and we are canoodling and people-watching in our own little corner again.

“Dance with me,” she says softly and the music slows to a romantic tempo. I lead her out of our booth and to the dance floor now occupied by other canoodling couples. I am nearly giddy to get her out here and show off her beauty. At the same time, I don’t want any of these horny tourists or cocky locals to get any ideas. So I pull this gorgeous woman close to me, putting my hand in the small of her bare back. Holding her other hand between us, I sway her sexy body, then whirl her around the floor while the Isley Brothers sing For The Love Of You. Every so often, I plant a tender kiss on her lips before I twirl her this way or that way.

As if in answer to my prayers, the DJ plays song after song that allows me showcase my Butterfly on the dance floor while holding her close to me and kissing her gently to show these hopeful suckers that she is definitely taken. Al Green starts to sing Let’s Stay Together and our tempo changes. Her body melds to me and she follows my lead effortlessly and flawlessly as if we were professionals, moving as one person. I spin her around so that her back is to my front, place my hands on the front of her thighs and my lips on her shoulder, and we move to the music. As she lays her head back on my chest and shoulder, her hand moves up to my hair and I have to remember that we are in a public place.

When we’ve had enough of foreplay on the dance floor, we walk back to our table to cuddle some more. Butterfly asks for cold water and cranberry juice and take a double shot of bourbon, neat. She has worked up a sweat and I am hungrily licking it from her neck when our drinks arrive. Butterfly quickly downs half of her water, but when she puts it back on the table, she freezes. Something to the right of us has caught her attention and not in a good way. I look over my shoulder to see some guy wandering over to our table. Why does he look familiar?

“So, we meet again,” he says to Butterfly. Again? I look over at her and her expression is a mixture of horrified and frightened.

“Are you following me?” she nearly screeches. She has her right arm around me and I can feel her body begin to shake just a bit. She’s definitely not pleased with his presence.

“No, I’m just drawn to beauty and beauty is drawn to me,” he responds. What am I, chopped liver? Does he not see me sitting here? Boy, he’s got balls the size of Texas! That’s when I remember where I saw him. He was at the Acropolis Museum and I sent Jason to chase him away so that I wouldn’t kill him.

“You’re really brave when it comes to another man’s woman. How did you become so brazen?” I ask him as if to remind him that there is a man attached to this wife. He shrugs noncommittal.

“Like I said, I’m drawn to beauty. I just came over to see if the lady would like to dance.” This is one cocky bastard! You didn’t see us damn-near dry-fucking on the dance floor a moment ago? Maybe he did and now wants to taste the goods himself.

“The lady’s not interested,” I tell him and I feel Butterfly moving closer to me.

“I think that’s for her to say…”

“The lady’s not interested. Now go away!” Butterfly exclaimed. “I told you before that I’m on my honeymoon. What’s wrong with you? Are you insane?” She turns her head away from him and snuggles further into my side. He is making her visibly uncomfortable and I don’t like it.

“I think you need to move along before I lose my temper,” I say through my teeth.

“No need to be violent,” he says in a voice too calm for me. “If the lady doesn’t want me, you have nothing to worry about.” He moves closer to Butterfly and even though her head is turned away, she burrows into me like she can feel his presence. “I’m not so sure the lady doesn’t want me. Her spirit is electric despite her reaction.”

“Christian…” she whimpers into my neck. Okay, I’ve had enough.

“Step away from this table,” I warn, holding Butterfly protectively. I catch Jason rising out the corner of my eye.

“Or what?” Oh, he is a cocky bastard!

“You don’t know me, but I can make you regret you ever laid eyes on my wife.” He laughs a cocky chuckle.

“What? You have your hired goons over there beat me up? I hear that all the time. Yet, it won’t change the fact that your wife may want me… or someone else. You don’t know me either,” he boasts.

“Let me show you how easily that can be fixed.” I know his type. He won’t quit and that comes from practice, so he has a reputation. I waive down a waitress. When she comes to the table, Casanova’s face falls. Oh, I’ve picked the right one. I reach into my pocket and pull out two $100 bills. “Can you tell me who he is?” I say pushing the bills in her direction.

“Keep your money. I’ll tell you for free,” she says with a heavy Greek accent. “His name is Owen Petrakis. He’s a common kópanos that trolls the museums and nightclubs looking for tourists and young, unhappy… how you say, prize wives.” Oh, that makes Butterfly unhappy. He thinks she’s a trophy wife. We just had this conversation. “He has at least three supporting him now from different countries. I made mistake of thinking he liked me, so I gave him mouní. In return, he give me clap!” She writes something on her order tablet and tears it off. “Here,” she says, slamming the paper on the table. “Here is home address and phone number… his!” She turns to Owen. “You not supposed to be here. I’m going to get Bobo. You leave now or he’ll fuck you up, maláka!”

She storms away from the table as Owen screams something at her in Greek and she screams right back. He must have forgotten that we were sitting here, because he turns to look at us with surprise.

“You heard the lady, Owen,” I say as Butterfly shrinks further and further into my side. “She’s going to get Bobo. You should probably leave.” By now, Jason and Adrien have long since moved to the front of our table. Jason is glaring at Owen and Adrien stands ready to pounce. Owen looks from face to face and decides that he should leave. “Oh, and Owen?” He stops and turns around. “The only reason you are not out fucking cold right now is because my wife is clinging to me. The next guy might not be so kind. If you see us again, keep walking, because if I see you within 50 feet of my wife, Bobo is going to be the least of your worries.”

His eyes narrow and he glares at me. I take the piece of paper with his personal information on it and shove it in my inside pocket.

“Ma’am…” He speaks as one last attempt to get Ana’s attention and with lightning speed, Adrien gives him one to the gut. Adrien says something to him in Greek while he’s doubled over in pain coughing. Butterfly comes out of her cocoon to see what is going on. Adrien grabs Owen by the tie, but he’s too late. Not a moment too soon, this guy who has to be 6′ 7″ and 400 pounds grabs Owen by the back of his jacket like a rag doll. This must be Bobo. Bad move, Owen. You should have left when you had the chance.

“Wow,” Butterfly says, looking up at the tree now holding Owen, whose feet are dangling from the floor. Bobo is saying something to Owen that I can’t understand and is now carrying him out like a sack of potatoes. I turn back to Butterfly and kiss her gently on her cheek. Holding her chin, I ask, “Are you alright?” She nods.

“He just frightened me, Christian. He was so brazen, like he didn’t have anything to lose. I didn’t know what he was going to do next. He scared me.”

“Well, he’s gone now, and I don’t want him to ruin our night.” She nods and I kiss her on the lips. I turn to Jason and give him a quick nod, which he returns.

“Thank you… Adrien… for what you did,” Butterfly says. Adrien nods tightly and follows Jason back to their table.

“That was like pulling teeth, wasn’t it?” I say with a laugh.

“Don’t ruin a good evening,” she says before sticking her tongue out at me.

We snuggled, danced, and made out some more in the nightclub before finally calling it a night. Butterfly located the waitress that gave us the information and insisted that she take the money. She convinced the waitress by telling her that it’s the least she deserves for being bamboozled by a clap-infected gigolo. Now we are back at the hotel and Butterfly is out cold before we even get out of the car. I carry her to the suite and lay her in bed without even changing her clothes.

I’m not tired yet. I’m somewhat dreading the morning. Butterfly went to bed last night and everything seemed fine. Then she woke this morning feeling somber and kept that somber mood for the better part of the day. Now, she’s fallen asleep again after a fun and intimate evening—with one minor hiccup—and I don’t know what awaits me when the sun rises.

I find myself at the piano in the living room. Though the piano is a fine piece of machinery and well-tuned, it’s not my piano. I play one song and it brings me no comfort. I do some research for where I want to take Butterfly tomorrow, then I go back to the bedroom and look at Butterfly sleeping contentedly in her sexy black dress. I remove my jacket, tie, and shoes and climb in bed behind her. I kiss her hair and neck as she snuggles into position in my arms.

“Please don’t wake up melancholy,” I whisper to her just before I drift off to sleep.

*-*

I wake to a cold and empty bed. It’s still dark outside so I check my watch—3:24am. Where’s Butterfly? I change out of my clothes into some pajama pants and a T-shirt and go in search of her. I find her in the living room in her nightgown, sitting on an ottoman and looking out the window. I walk over to her and she speaks before I do. I can tell she’s been crying.

“I never told you,” she says softly. Huh? Never told me what? Oh hell, what new revelation is this? “I thought it many times. I was sure that I said it… but I never told you…”

“Never told me what?” I take the leap, possibly opening the door to an eternal downward spiral.

“That you were my soul mate,” she says. I knew it! I knew that’s what this was about. Two days of her honeymoon, she’s been mulling this over because I’m a greedy, selfish asshole.

“Butterfly, please let this go. I don’t know what got into me. I don’t know why I brought that up to you…”

“You hadn’t heard it,” she says. “I’ve felt it, more than once. I’ve told you that you are my soul, that you are in my soul, but I never said those words. I thought you knew…” She starts crying again.

“I did know, Baby,” I say falling to my knees on the floor in front of her. “I do know.”

“I know how it feels to want everything, to want to be sure. I know the emptiness of not knowing. You feel something and you hope it’s real, but you’re not 100% sure. There’s this tiny doubt without confirmation. I’m not explaining this right…”

“Yes, you are!” I say taking her hands. “You’re explaining it perfectly. I want everything. I created the concept. I’m greedy and self-centered and you’ve shown me time and time again that you love me. Yet, I still want more. What I want is unreal and impractical and I know that. I know that it’s impossible for me to be everything to you, just like it’s impossible for you to be everything to me. I never should have said that to you…”

“Yes, you should have,” she says, trying to wipe her tears with her hands. “You have a right to your feelings. I just… I don’t know what to do here. If I say it now, it will only be because I didn’t say it before.” She drops her head. I’m not accustomed to her drying her own tears. I always did that. I remove my T-shirt and begin to dry her eyes and face with it. The gesture elicits a small laugh from her.

“I’m afraid that if I’m not everything to you, one day you may not need me anymore,” I finally admit. She looks up at me with shock in her eyes.

“Christian! No!” she gasps and embraces me warmly. The feeling is electric—not erotic, but profound. I feel the heat from her body moving into my mine and it’s almost crippling. She pushes both hands into my hair and holds me close to her, but not close enough. I gasp at what I am feeling. I can’t explain it, but it’s bigger than I am. She’s panting a bit and after a few moments, she’s tearing at her nightie, shredding it in places.

“Get this thing off of me!” she hisses and I rip it from her body with one movement. She thrusts herself back into my arms and sighs deeply, breathing heavily like she had been holding her breath. I hold her close to me, my eyes closed, gripping her back—like I’m hoping to absorb her into me. Her essence is surrounding me, consuming me. She pushes back to look into my eyes and although she lovingly strokes my face, I’m quietly lamenting the space between us.

She pushes my shoulders away so that she can stand. I stand with her and watch in silence as she removes her panties and kneels on the floor. She looks up at me expecting and holds her hand out to me.

No, Butterfly. I don’t want to have sex now. It doesn’t feel like the right time.

She doesn’t move. She kneels in that same spot and holds her hand out for me to join her. If this is what she needs, I’ll give it to her. I remove my pajama bottoms and take her hand, joining her on my knees. Using just her fingertips, she starts at my shoulders and slowly runs her fingers down both arms… and there’s that electricity again. She never takes her eyes off mine, those ocean blue pools that invite me to swim, so I do. I get lost in the coolness of her eyes and the heat of her touch.

She takes my hands and places them on her thighs. Her skins feels soft and… cool and… warm, all at the same time. I feel her energy. It’s pulsing and invigorating… and comforting. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Her hands move back up to my arms and to my chest, brushing gently over the small coating of hair there until…

She finds them. Her fingers find my scars. I gasp heavily.

Breathe… breathe…

She never takes her eyes off mine and I try to get lost in the pools again, but she won’t let me. She makes me concentrate on the scars. She circles them one after another with her fingertips. I’m frozen. I don’t know what to do. She has touched my chest before, but never like this—never paying attention to the scars this way, never forcing me to pay attention to them. It’s too much.

I remember her kissing them when she first saw them…

All better… All better…

I want to close my eyes to absorb that mantra, but something in her eyes won’t let me. My lips are parted and I’m panting, but I still feel her energy flowing through me. It’s overwhelming. After she has caressed each scar, her hands move to cover my chest and she climbs into my lap, straddling me. I sit on my butt with my legs open and my knees bent, giving her space to sit between them. She wraps her legs around me and my hands move instinctively to her back. She takes a deep breath and releases it through her parted lips. Her arms wrap around me and I know she is searching for the scars on my back. I take a deep breath, secure in the fact that it will be easier this time since I know that it’s coming.

I was right.

The feeling is just as electric, mesmerizing, dizzying… but not as shocking since I am prepared for it. I feel heat and light and comfort—like I’m flying or floating, or high. I try taking deep breaths, but they only come out as shuddering pants. That’s when I realize that I’m crying, but she won’t let me go. The emotion is so intense, it feels like I’ll expire if she breaks the connection.

She continues to caress the scars on my back as our bodies begin to rock, gently and slowly, back and forth—like a dance of our inner beings, but I don’t know who’s leading. I focus only enough so see that the blue pools are wet. She’s crying, too. It’s our connection. Her hands stop moving, but her fingertips are still on my scars, my most vulnerable place. I pay attention to my hands and realize that they are on her scars, too. We are eye to eye, mouth to mouth—not kissing, but breathing the same air. We are connected at our most vulnerable parts, sharing the same energy… and it’s euphoric, better than any drug or drink, better than anything I’ve ever felt. It’s even better than sex. While sex is a coupling of the body, this is a coupling of the mind and spirit—of the eternal being. Nothing has ever felt like this. I bask in the bondage and the freedom of this feeling connected to my wife, and float away into Nirvana…

I awake on the floor, lying on a pillow and a sheet and covered by the softest throw—but there’s no Butterfly in my arms. When I try to turn over to find her, I feel her warmth behind me. She’s snuggled into my back, her mane covering parts of my body, her legs tangled in mine… and she’s spooning me! What the hell happened last night? I feel like a million bucks and this beautiful woman is spooning me! I know we didn’t have sex, but that connection was outrageous.

I feel her move behind me. I didn’t mean to wake her. I know she must be tired. She lifts her head and I feel the warmth of her hair leaving me. I lament the chill until I feel her kiss my back. Mmmm. With the arm that spooning me, she reaches down to caress my penis.

Whoa!

The response is immediate. I love the feel of her hands wrapped around me. Come to think of it, I love the feel of her anything wrapped around me. As in response to my wishes, she wraps her hand around me and pumps, slow and hard. Oh, hell, it feels like fire. I’m panting almost immediately as she strokes me into a fury. I feel myself getting harder and harder in her hand as she leans over me from behind, her tiny hand wrapped around my dick and bringing me immense pleasure. I lean back into her as my body begins to stiffen from my impending orgasm. I am groaning in my chest as her free hand slides into my hair and pulls while she simultaneously bites down on the tender meat of my neck.

“Aaaaghh!” I cry out ready to blow. I’m grabbing for sheet, carpet, whatever will stabilize me when this cosmic orgasm strikes. When she pulls my hair hard once more, I explode with extreme force and intensity in her hand. I have kicked the cover off in the melee and I am squirming uncontrollably under her touch. She keeps pumping and pumping until I have ejaculated every bit of my juice out of me, and I am lying on the floor on my back, breathless…


A/N: My description of Socrates’ death comes from the school of thought that when Plato spoke of Crito when he wrote of the incident in the Phaedo, he was actually speaking of himself. If you believe/read/know of another school of thought, please don’t bite my head off. This is the one that I’m going with.

Kópanos—jerk, prick
Mouní—pussy
I may have those translations wrong, but I looked them up and they are supposed to be slang, so… yeah.

For those who may not know, “clap” is gonorrhea.

Don’t forget to check out the Pinterest boards to follow Christian and Ana on the honeymoon. https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele-off-to-greece/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

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95 thoughts on “Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 69—Soul Mates?

  1. Christian618 says:

    Jesus what is it about Ana and Christian that seem to pull all types of crazies during these getaways to different places. I guess it would not be an Ana christian story without all the drama. I Hope that continue to communicate their issues with one another now that they are married. Staying quiet and not talking leads to problems. The image in the beginning of the chapter is a vision into an eye. It looks like the pupil of an eye. Are you trying to say that christian was able to see into Ana’s soul theu her eyes? Just saying all this talking about soul mates and staring into each other’s eyes. It’s like the saying goes her eyes are the window to her soul and he probably sees the love she has for him thereforw making him her soulmate.

  2. Blackwidow says:

    the lighting of the 2012 olympic cauldron.

  3. angalarte says:

    Once again Lynn u have outdone yourself, all d history was amazing I foound myself completely engrossed in it & could visualize d scene where he drunk d poison, I luved Christian imagining doing that with jason (so haappy he has finally realized he is his spit apart)
    The end was so emotional & so what was needed, she didn’t need to say those words he felt them.

    Was nice to hear her say about the London olympics, as I’m English we all felt it was truly spectacular, but to hear a American say that is nice to hear, as we don’t know how d rest of d world felt about it,
    I agree with everyone else it’s d Olympic flame

    Hope u & Ur muse r well x x

  4. Julie says:

    Absolutely love this update! Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. 1962 says:

    I love watching this couple evolve. Each chapter is better then the next. Reading how still after all this time they still have some scars/issues that they thought thay had felt with but still needed some tender love and care to help them both get past them. You like real life. Lol LOVE IT Thank you Thank you till next time

  6. Me says:

    Great chapter! I love your writing and the detail. I feel like I need to plan a trip to Greece and use this story as a planning guide!

    The photo is from the end of the London Olympics. Great shot from the bottom of the lit torches.

    Thanks for continuing this story!

  7. rjbriggs says:

    Absoulty bloody brilliant and so can’t wait for the next your writing is fantastic

  8. jo says:

    dear lynn, the image is that of london olympics 2012 🙂
    next chapter plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  9. jo says:

    is it bad manners to not comment on your chapters? i really really like your story but i don’t know how express my thoughts into words. they just go round and round in my head. am sorry if its bad manners to not comment. plz forgive me.

  10. Shannon says:

    Breathless and aching for more. Wow. The ending was amazing as as your description of Socrates and Plato. Very awesome to read. And to the creeper Owen…he has almost officially ruined that name for me forever. Dude just need to stop while he’s ahead but he’s alrwdy dig the hole. Christian is obviously going to run him now.

  11. amcar1982 says:

    Love love love!! I love everything you write! You know just how to pull me in each time I read each chapter. You never dissapoint..
    The imagine is from the 2012 london Olympics!

  12. amcar1982 says:

    I forgot to put that its the opening ceremony from the 2012 London Olympics. The lighting of the torches!
    I love your writing so much! You know how to just pull me in.

  13. Black widow says:

    The lighting of the 2012 London Olympics cauldron.

  14. Black widow says:

    The lighting of the 2012 London Olympic cauldron.

  15. MB says:

    BRAVO BronZe Goodess!!!! Totally agree with your “tant”.! It’s a story an arthor is telling , enjoy it and let it unfold people. I think some of us are practicing at being paid critics 😉

  16. Melissa Harkness says:

    Love this story

  17. Chanty says:

    OMG! “Nice shoes” made me think about the “Nespresso” advertising with Jean Dujardin and George Clooney! ROTFL! (Sorry it was my “blonde” minute! 😉 )

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