Prompt: Greek Mythology: Any/Penelope - Siren's Song (from drabbletag 7)
Fandom: Greek Mythology
Word count: 250
Summary: Penelope encounters an unexpected temptation.
“Have you no shame?” Penelope asks sharply, and at once is sorry that she spoke. She knows Melantho has come from the suitors’ quarters: her hair is disheveled, one of her robe’s shoulder-pins fastened askew. But it would have been better to say nothing, since Penelope cannot prevent it.
Melantho laughs quietly. “Are you jealous, mistress?” Her voice gives a mocking twist to the last word.
“I care nothing for them,” Penelope says with firm emphasis. She cares because of her maid’s disloyalty, because Melantho spies on her for the suitors and pleads their cause, whispering soft love-speeches into her ears like a Siren’s song. Because Melantho knows her, has served her and lived with her for years, and is now twisting that intimate knowledge against her; because it is impropriety in her household; because it is yet another way for these men to demonstrate her helplessness, stealing whatever they want.
“The master will never return. Why not take another in his place?”
“Duty is a cold bed, mistress.” Melantho’s dark eyes are knowing. “I could do for you,” she murmurs, “what I do for them.”
Penelope goes hot and cold at once. Melantho’s robe has slipped down to bare one white shoulder; she is closer now, and Penelope can smell the scent of her hair. How easy to fall, to drown in those waves.
Penelope turns away abruptly, hearing Melantho’s sharp laugh behind her. She seeks her own bed and lies there sleepless, gazing into the dark.