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Instant recap: In a bower by a creek on the Berkeley campus Marcus and Venus discussed the Goddess of Love in her many guises, then had their first erotic conjunction. It was merely foreplay physically, but it carried Venus into a transcendent realm.

10. The Pleasures of Power

The Return of Persephone ~ Luca Giordano


     As Marcus drove the Range Rover up into the Berkeley Hills, Venus said, “Y’know, I flirted with you an’ everything from the start, because… well, I couldn’t help it. It’s what I do around attractive guys when I’m not attached, and you’re the most attractive man I ever met. But I’m saying that I didn’t think everything through, and now here we are on the way to a… relationship, but the fact is you’re still… attached.”

     “It’s okay,” said Marcus, “Gail and I talked it over.”

     “What? Really? And she… she doesn’t mind?”

     “She minds a lot, but she’s a wonderful woman and she’s willing to make personal sacrifices for a greater good.”

     “Whoa! You mean we’ll have… a ménage à trois?”

     “It depends on the outcome of our… tryst. Since you’re a sexually experienced woman, you know that the deeper layers of compatibility only manifest in the consummation.”

     She digested that, then said: “You’re right. This is a kind of test, a trial. There’s lots more at stake than a casual flirtation.” He gave her an approving look that said more than words.

     They passed their communal home without stopping, and Marcus wondered if Gail happened to look out the window and notice. They continued past the limits of the high-end habitations, and Venus marveled at the view as they tooled along the crest of a winding ridge with a panorama of the Bay on one side and a deep wooded valley on the other.

     “It’s a little ways farther,” said Marcus. “But I’m wondering about your past relationships ~ what were they really like? Anything you’d care to share?”

     Venus drew in her breath, and it was a couple of moments before she exhaled. “Okay,” she said, “it’s a fair question at this point. I had a couple of puppy-love affairs in high school, then Dominic was my first adult relationship. It was nice at first because he was so intelligent and sophisticated, including sexually. But he was so… attached, in a clingy way. It was like he worshipped me, and I didn’t want to be that kind of Goddess.”

     “Good for you.”

     “So I let him go, and it was awful ~ for awhile I was really worried that I’d have a suicide on my conscience. But he finally accepted it, and meanwhile Roger came along.”

     “Was he more of a dominant partner?”

     “It seemed that way at first, and I really liked it, having him initiate all the stuff, socially and sexually. But finally I realized that he couldn’t seem to live without me either, and as soon as he got an inkling that I might split from him, the whole thing changed between us.”

     “How so exactly?”

     “It was like I had him on a chain. I could get him to do anything I wanted just by acting like I was displeased and might break it off. And finally I did. That’s not what I want in a man.”

     “Was Philip more satisfactory? It seems like he’s in a different league, not exactly a college boy.”

     “Right, that’s exactly how I saw it. One night I was hanging out with a couple of girlfriends in the Caffé Med, dressed a little bit risqué because it was right after Roger and I was on the lookout, y’know? And at the next table was this party of extremely well-dressed middle-aged people talking with such savoir faire about business deals and power-brokering and such ~ it kind of put me in awe. So when Philip started coming on to me with body language I felt complemented, even though he was older.”

     “And so it began. Where did it go?”

     “Wow, you sure know how to cut to the chase!”

     “We’re almost at the place where we turn off for the spot.”

     “Okay, I’ll make a long story short ~ though it’s a pretty strange story, because Philip is pretty kinky.”

     “Ah! So which kinks?”

     “The main one was dominance & submission ~ and he was the bottom.”

     “How ironic! He’s such a dominant personality outwardly.”

     “Yeah, I learned that that’s not unusual ~ they call it ‘compensation’ in psych class. So I still wound up on the opposite end of the seesaw from what I wanted and expected.”

     “Were there, um, compensations for you too ~ something positive?”  Venus blushed and fidgeted. With his warmest smile Marcus said, “I’m really interested.”

     She sighed and said, “Might’s well come out with it, since we’re going to be intimate. Philip furthered my sexual education, big time.” Marcus raised his eyebrows inquisitively. She continued, “He took me to a super-high-class sex club in the City. The women were so genteel, and the stuff they did was so outrageous ~ I’m sure most of it was illegal, I mean besides just the laws against prostitution. But there was no danger of legal problems because a lot of the patrons were so rich and powerful ~ some of them were even lawmakers themselves.”

     “So this place was above the law. Was it kinky?”

     “Every kink that was ever invented. I was flabbergasted. I had no idea.”

     “So you lost your innocence all over again. And besides being educational, was it fun?”

     “Some of it was a lot of fun. The women who ran the place were very impressed with me, telling me how gorgeous and sexy I was, and Philip talked me into trying out for it.”

     “Trying out ~ like for a job?”

     “The first time it was just for fun. The madam, who was also the head dominatrix, took me under her wing and got me dressed up in the regalia ~ black stockings and garter belt, spike-heeled leather boots, transparent panties, and a bra that exposed my breasts. Then she took me by the hand and paraded me all through the place.”

     “Were you embarrassed?”

     “In the beginning, a lot.  I mean, wearing revealing clothes in the regular public byways is always risky ~ guys tend to hit on you, including losers and smart-alecks, so you have to be pretty demure until you run into somebody you like. And so at first in the club I was mortified that these characters were staring at me, and compulsively tried to cover myself, even though that was impossible. But then I realized that they were doing it in a completely passive way, and when any of them were brave enough to actually relate to me, they were as deferential as little boys ~ even awestruck or worshipful. One guy actually fell on his knees and kissed my feet!”

     “And how did that make you feel?”

     “Powerful ~ incredibly powerful. And it carried over to real life ~ that’s when I started getting more assertive about… well, displaying myself, and being overtly sexual. When I began doing it in that confident style, most men reacted like the guys in the club, and I could be the top in all kinds

of ways, not just romantically but in the whole spectrum of social relating.”

     “So you became a dominant Goddess after all.”

     “‘After all’? Oh, I see ~ you mean in the context of Dominic and Roger. But it wasn’t really the same thing. Being in control of social situations enabled me to sort out the guys and avoid getting involved with clingy ones.”

     Marcus laughed. “Okay, I see you know what you’re doing. And it worked ~ you sorted through the herd until you found me.”

     Venus guffawed in a very unladylike manner. Then Marcus asked, “So did you do any, um, intern work at the sex club?”

     “Mostly on Philip, but also with a few other guys who the madam let me select. I wasn’t much into inflicting physical pain on people, no matter how much they loved it. But I have to admit I did enjoy teasing them in other ways, and being in command. I learned stuff about them and me that isn’t in any of the psych texts I’ve studied so far.”

     “Yep, real life is always the best education ~ though the academic part is a vital supplement.”

     “I tried being the bottom a couple of times, and really got off on that too.”

     “So I noticed.”

     “What? When?”

     “Think about it.”

     “Oooh ~ by the creek!” And they enjoyed a hearty laugh together.

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