The words “My Heart” are not simply two words. They cannot express how, so often, my Heart knows, he sees, he understands. It is something I’ve never been able to express well enough. To give some kind of meaning to his words, how they are, more times than I can count, the right thing said in the right way.
This is one of the moments when his words tell a story that means something more…
Cassiopeia, friend of Tera’s since childhood, tended to be fun-loving, flirtatious, and very much in-and-of-the moment. She was bright, vivacious, sparkling, and there was no doubt that her favorite part of being a succubi was the ongoing exploration of carnal pleasures. She liked tantalizing, seducing, and enthralling various men, women, and other beings she met. She tingled at their moans, gasps, flushed skin, and every moment of growing arousal. Her pulse quickened and her nipples swelled and stiffened when she was caressed in the right places. And, when she was properly aroused, walls shook, lights flickered for miles around, and the whole Realm shook with her ecstatic cries.
Nobody ever accused Cassie of being subtle.
One of the things that the Succubi Queen always marveled about was her chum’s ability to spread effortless joy wherever she went. She was the first one in their succu-scout troop to earn her group flirt merit badge. At the end of her junior year, the pattern of the ovals on her SAT answer sheet caused the scoring computer to have hot flashes for a week and give everyone in her class a 1600 . . . except Tera somehow managed a 1750. In her first field assignment, she simultaneously converted four Olympic gymnastics teams at the Montreal games. And, when she left the Paris opera house one night while humming a tune from “Rigoletto,” the entire city was engaged in an orgy within the hour.
Yes, Cassie was a bit of a party girl.
The greatest gift of Her Majesty’s BFF seemed to be her ability to get those around her to loosen up and be playful, even at the most somber occasions. Tera’s Eternal, Keith, had lost count of the times and places where the nearly-irresistible silver-tail had surprised him in all her naked glory.
At one year’s annual address to the first families of the Realm, the Queen found that someone had, somehow, secreted a tail massager into her royal robes. As she struggled to maintain a sense of decorum, she could see her friend, delighted, barely containing giggles. Decorum was abandoned afterward, as was their formal attire, as Tera exacted some lustful revenge that included dozens of the other attendees by the time it was done the following Thursday.
And then there was the day when Cassie left a surprise in Lil’s yarn skeins. By the time the two were finished with each other, three construction crews were needed to restore the cracked plaster and plumbing, not to mention setting the knitter’s cottage back on its foundation . . . and, for whatever reason, the silver-tail could not remember large bits of her encounter with the older succubi, whose stamina was impressive, to say the least.
There was not a single resident of any Realm whom Cassiopeia didn’t see as an object for fun and games . . . save one: Miss Browning, who had been hired by her parents to tutor the young succubi in literature. Browning, whom Cassie came to call “Elizabeth,” also taught the budding adult about romance, about the deepest motivations of human and succubish hearts, and about the simple joys of quieter amorous encounters. The silver tail was, in many ways, ushered into adulthood by her tutor, and, with her, was always quiet, contemplative, and attentive.
But, while succubi live for eons, Elizabeth wasn’t from the Realm. One day Cassie received a most distressing note, and bampfed away without even a word to Tera, who was expecting her best friend for lunch. For days, she kept somber vigil in a human hospital, her horns and tail hidden away, her normally sparkling, curly mane tucked into a tight bun, and her clothing conservatively cut in muted pastels. She was even about five inches shorter than usual, the result of wearing simple, flat shoes—nobody who knew her would even believe that she knew shoes came without spiked heels.
In the room, visiting with her mentor, she would smile, read favorite poetry, smuggle in special foods, and help her be as clean and comfortable as possible. Outside of the room—in the moments when she was shooed out by nurses, aides, doctors, and phlebotomists trying to give her care—the succubi sat in corners, crying, feeling utterly bereft. Her best friend had a little human plaything who believed in spiritual things, as humans were wont to do, and Cassie was convinced that Tera’s fondness for the odd fellow had caused her to feign the human habit called “prayer.” But Succubi were more evolved creatures, and she knew better.
Still, in the middle of one night, a couple of weeks in, Cassiopeia found herself alone in a dark hospital waiting room, allowing her silver succubi attributes to become visible as her tail lashed out with her temper. “Gods! What ridiculous claptrap!” the seductress fumed. “If there was some sort of a divine being that was in any small way benevolent, how could she—or probably HE, since males are only good for one thing, and it isn’t running the universe—allow someone as lovely, as sweet, as wise, as precious as Elizabeth waste away like this? What sort of an ass of a deity would you have to be? How in the Realm are you looking out for either of us? Why would anybody believe you answer any prayers?”
“Because she has been answering mine, looking out for you.” Cassie heard the soft, warm, familiar voice behind her as she felt a tail she knew as well as her own twine around hers. She saw a bit of red as she turned to see a familiar smile, a cascade of raven curls, a red sweater, jeans, and ankle boots. Before another word could be said, arms that the silver-tail had known all her life pulled her into a close embrace. For many minutes, there was silence, more than a few tears, and finally just a few soft kisses.
Finally, the red-tail whispered, “It is so interesting, you in flats, shorter than me for once.”
“How did you find me here?”
“I have known, all along. You don’t think I would really leave you truly by yourself, do you? I felt in my heart where you were, and it didn’t take long to find out what was going on.”
“But you’re only here now . . .”
“You needed your space, sweetie. I could feel your presence, as I can with all my sisters and daughters, but I didn’t come until I felt like you really needed me.”
“But, I still don’t understand how . . .”
“I truly do believe there is a Goddess. I know you don’t trust the idea of divinity, but I have come to trust that there are powers greater than us, who look out for us. For me, ‘Goddess’ feels like the right word. Others are different.”
“Then why aren’t prayers being answered? Not just mine, but most of the people in this horrible place.”
Tera kissed Cassie’s tears: “Just what would answered prayers be like? Do you really believe that everybody here would be better off kept alive, in such pain? No matter what we do, no matter what we want, the beings of this realm are not as long-lived or resilient as we. Sometimes it is an answer to prayer to give them a peaceful transition.”
“A transition to nothing? To death?”
“A transition, some believe, to another stage of life. I am sure I have felt the life of my Mother and Father with me. I’d like to believe it is possible. And I know that I feel Goddess giving me peace about things . . . and I think she has been looking out for you.”
There was a small but genuine smile: “You really think so?”
“I do . . . At the very least, there are always . . . possibilities.”
“Well, Elizabeth actually seemed a bit stronger tonight.”
“Then there might just be a chance. There might well be some good days ahead. I suggest that you be thankful for every one of them.”
“I suppose you are right. That might be good advice for any of us, every day.”
There were no words in the response, only a small smile and a deep, tender kiss. Then Cassie was alone again . . . but remembering that she was never alone. “So, Tera says you’re there. I’m not sure I believe, but I trust my friend. So I hope you’ll have my back.”
Elizabeth did have some good days left, many of them at home. She continued to move closer to death . . . and Cassiopeia, who had learned so much from this teacher, learned about this, and walked with her friend every step of the way, cherishing every good day, but never running from the not-so-good.
And, along the way, Cassiopeia had many conversations, perhaps one-sided, with somebody she could never see. She also had a morning when a vibrator was inside her panties, but she suspected that was a certain red-tailed monarch rather than a divine presence.
Even so, even though she was never sure, Cassie had the strongest feeling at quieter, more solemn, more frightening times that she could be at peace. Somehow, somewhere, she was sure of someone there.