Chapter 7: The Empress

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Queen of life, woman of influence. Love, harmony, union, sensuality. Time to express creative instincts in productive action, hard work pays off with material success, fruits of labors realized. An important woman who enters your life. For a man, the woman of his dreams.

Marlena poured orange juice into a clean whiskey sour glass and began investigating the generic apartment's additional rooms while Eddie was showering. The kitchen area-living room certainly held no secrets, the relative order of a writing area in a second room nothing like what she remembered of Eddie's working style, so she assumed he wasn't currently producing anything.

The bedroom closets open door drew her past an unmade waterbed, a cheap armoire, golf clubs, and boom box with laser-like focus, automatically tugging the string to a bare overhead bulb as she entered. 

Pulling the oldest looking of three boxes from waist-high shelving on her left, she removed its lid, lifting a cobalt blue-and-black frame from beneath a stack of loose photos. She brought it closer, smiling at memories around this dark, erotic greeting to six o'clocks morning light, her never forgotten first morning after a first loving feeling.

She still thrilled at its everything-about-the-world-is-fantastic! aliveness, every sensation and detail precisely etched into the psyche of that new Woman, posed on a curtain-less dorm windowsill.

She admired the superb natural lighting and clean lines, obvious and unshakable strength in shoulders and arms supporting an arched back; head defiantly, joyfully, thrown backwards, a cascade of untamed hair blocking yet somehow accepting light in one corner. 

Toes at the end of impressively shaped legs pointed into the far corner, a sculpted derriere and briefest strip of pubic hair held the middle, a barely visible navel, surrounded by a flattened expanse of muscular abdomen and stomach, subtle shadowing below ribs and well-shaped breasts. 

Every individual erotic element celebrated about the female form was forever glorified in the black-and-white picture's nudity.

It'd meant enough to have a very expensive, except while shooting me of course, photographer friend reproduce the shot, a life-size copy of which hung in her thinking room at Silas' mansion. 

She smiled slyly about Maxine's delighted agreement never to sell a larger, more artistic version with juxta-positioned parts in exchange for the privilege of anonymously hanging it in her gallery. It was a kicky-kinky little joke between them, and despite some profoundly gratifying offers, her prep school roommate continued to keep their bargain. 

Whether Eddie keeping this "just to finish the roll" piece of soul, still in the same frame, meant as much in this box as her own version wasn't the question; that he hadn't tossed it was sufficient proof for today.

A second picture emerged from the cluster naturally, that historic Halloween with Eddie as Mel Gibson's 'Road Warrior' and herself as an eye-popping belly dancer. The tanned tightness of that teenager's breasts and stomach, coin belt accentuating erotic curves of waist above and legs of undeniable quality beneath it, lightly spangled veils moving with a bewitching life of their own, were sexually evident, hot-hot good.

She'd felt incredibly sensual in the outfit, really the only time she'd ever felt like teasing Eddie, although after practice or studying she'd gladly spent considerable time making out with him in various stages of undress.

Perhaps some frustration beyond an unspoken agreement regarding final intimacy needed releasing, because that night was the only other time she remembered Eddie totally losing his cool over anything, the well-placed punches he slammed into a drunken football player's ribs and kidney, after he'd torn loose two veils and broken the coin dowry, hurting the player enough to miss two practices.

She'd gone a long way towards reducing Eddie's sexual tension after arguing with him about the caveman style violence, but as several girlfriends confided, it was positively crotch-wetting to witness how decisively her man reacted on her behalf, even getting apologies from several other players as they dragged the offender's sorry ass away.

A buzz at the apartment door signaled for matters requiring more current attention, so replacing the pictures and box, she returned to the living room while Eddie's shower continued its gentle noise beyond the bathroom door.

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