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Instant recap: Gail relived a night and a day of a past life in India, in which she was a member of Marcus’ harem of four wives. The top-ranking wife was none other than an incarnation of Avice/Venus, who was jealous of Gail and mistreated her.

8. Sons and Lovers, Wives and Mothers

     Unable to sleep after the experience, Gail went into the kitchen and had some tea, accompanied by Marcus.  “It looks like the experiment was a success,” he said.

     “What a trip!” she said, shaking her head and shivering.  He chuckled.  In surprise she asked, “Was there something funny about it?”

     “Sorry.  It’s just that Ken and the Pranksters use that expression for an LSD experience.”

“Yes, that’s it!  I mean, I’ve never taken a drug in my life except medicine, but now I can imagine what it must be like.”

     “I know it was really mind-blowing and scary for you, but I was keeping an eye on you all the way.  And we found out what we needed to know ~ don’t you think?”

     “That’s even scarier!  In fact it was my worst fear coming into all this.”

     “A polygamous marriage?”

     “Yes!  I even told Lita about how when you proposed to me you confessed in advance that you might want to have other lovers someday.  And now it looks like that day has come!”

     “Maybe.  But not without your willing consent.”

     “I sure don’t give it, but it’s not going to end there, is it?  Venus isn’t going to move out the day after she moved in, and as long as she’s here the snowball will keep rolling from where it left off in India, and we’ll both be your wives again.”

     “No ~ there’d still be a big crucial difference.”

     “Like what?”

     “This time you’d be the number one wife.”

     Gail was flabbergasted.  When she recovered she said, “Oh, no you don’t!  You can’t slip any elephants under the rug that easy.  I want to be the one and only wife!”

     Marcus gave a barely audible sigh, then said: “I appreciate how strongly you feel about it, but keep in mind that those feelings are imprinted by this culture where monogamy is the norm, reinforced by religion, law, and popular sentiment.  You saw how different it was in India.”

     “I saw it, but I didn’t like it.  Maybe that’s why I got born in the West this time, to get away from that and have you all to myself.”

     “Ah ~ I see that you’re picking up a sense of how karma works in reincarnation.  So maybe you can see the bigger picture, involving the karma of the other people.”

     “You mean Venus?”

     “For a start.  If you consented at least to a trial arrangement, it would give her a chance to work off the karma she made by abusing her privileges toward you as Radha.  And your challenge would be to exercise the dominant role without slipping into vindictiveness or vengeance.”

     Gail looked into herself for a moment, and Marcus’ heart lifted in hope of a breakthrough.  She said, “Well, my training as an officer in the WACs did give me a handle on stuff like that.  Would that be another part of the destiny ~ like, whatever is the benevolent force helping us work out our karma?”

     “Wow, you’re really grasping it all quickly.  I’ll have to introduce you to Vasudeva someday.”

     “Your guru?”

     “Actually the title is ‘Acarya’ ~ ‘Teacher’.  So you might consider the experiment?”

     “What would be the first step?”

     “I make love with Venus.”

     “Whoa ~ no!  Marcus, I can’t handle it!”

     He hugged her tenderly.  When he felt her acquiesce to his vibe he said, “As you know, there’s lots more to sex than physical pleasure.  Some vital issues of spiritual affinity can only be known by means of an act of love.  There’s even a possibility that she and I won’t be compatible.”

     “Fat chance of that, since she was already married to you back then ~ as the number one wife!”

     “Maybe she won’t be able to handle being number two.  But there are even deeper possibilties, changes the soul goes through between incarnations.”

     “So your making love with her once won’t guarantee that we get into a ménage à trois.  Okay, but seriously, lover, I don’t see how my heart can stand it!”

     “It won’t break, because I’ll still be your man too.”

     “Even so….”

     “And there’s an even bigger consideration that hasn’t dawned on you yet.”

     “Really?  What?”

     “In India she was Eric’s mother.

     Gail convulsed away from Marcus’ hug.  Her jaw dropped, her eyes saucered, and she clutched her head with her hands.  “That’s right!  My God, that’s right!  It didn’t occur to me after I came back, till now.”

     “I was shocked too.  But we have to face the implications.”

     “Which are… that she and Eric… will carry over a connection of some sort.”

     “Probably a large and deep one.”

     “It hasn’t shown itself yet.”

     “I don’t think you’ve properly introduced her to Eric yet, have you?”

     “Introduced?  Oh, you mean just letting them be together, maybe play a little.”

     “Right.  In the brief times she was here before yesterday, the opportunity didn’t arise.  He was asleep most of the time.”

     “Wow.  So we have to try it and see what happens.”

     “Yes, and that will inevitably influence your decision about… the larger relationship.”

     The newly expanded household awoke the next morning at seven AM.  Gail prepared breakfast for everyone, pausing a couple times to sit and feed Eric.  Theseus and Hyppolita appeared first and came to the table.  The three were eating and chatting when they were joined by Marcus, and finally the two new kindred.  Theseus and Lita left at their usual time for the drive down to the campus, and Marcus offered to drive Venus and Polaris, whose classes started a bit later.  There was time to spare, a leisurely interlude for a babe’s introduction.

     Venus was dressed far more modestly than the day before: she wore a plaid skirt of almost knee length, a blue blouse that was equally stylish but revealed no cleavage, and comfortable flat shoes.  As casually as she could, Gail said, “You two haven’t had a chance to get to know Eric yet. Would you like to say ‘hi’?”

     “I’d love to,” said Polaris, “I’ve been looking forward to playing with him an’ stuff.”  Venus likewise smiled her assent, and Gail took the baby out of the carrier that was strapped to her chest and set him on her lap.  Polaris knelt in front of them and said, “Hi there, Eric”, took his little hand and shook it.  Eric burbled happily and tried to grab hold of Polaris’ long hair.

     Gail turned to Venus and said, “Would you like to hold him?”

     She was hesitant, saying, “I really love kids, but I haven’t had much experience with babies.  I’m afraid I might drop him or something.”

     Marcus said, “Just relax and let instinct take over.”

     Venus laughed.  “Since you put it that way ~ sure, let me have him.”

     Gail handed him over, and the moment the girl made body contact with the baby something happened ~ Gail saw their auras brighten up together, and Venus looked surprised.  Eric broke into a beatific smile and nestled into her arms, to which she responded by hugging him fervently.  “He’s adorable!” she said; “I just love him!”

     Then Eric sat back in Venus’ lap, looked at her face, and spoke his first word: “Ma-ma!”

     A breathless silence fell over the room.  Marcus and Gail looked at each other wide-eyed.  Venus blushed and said, “Aw, no, I’m not your Mama!”

     “It’s okay,” said Gail, “don’t be embarrassed.”

     Eric quickly overrode this plea by trying to suckle Venus’ breast right through the fabric. “Better take him back,” she said.  Marcus laughed heartily, dissolving whatever tension might have arisen.

     Soon afterwards, Venus and Polaris were settling into the Range Rover when Marcus said, “Oops, forgot something.  I’ll be right back.”

     “It’s cool,” said Polaris, “there’s still lots of time.”

     Marcus strode up to Gail in the kitchen; Eric was in his little swing.  Her eyes welled with tears, and he hugged her to him.  He couldn’t suppress a tear himself as she looked at him and said, “When?”

     “Soon,” he replied.  They embraced again in a long, languorous kiss.  With a lingering parting glance, he left.  In this way did Gail give consent for her husband to make love with another woman.