I poked my head out of my office door and addressed Aphaid. “I’m expecting my grandson soon. Please make him wait until his fingers start to drum on his thigh and then buzz me.”

Aphaid set aside some files they were organizing. “Yes, Lady Hera. I assume this visit isn’t from Dinlas then?”

“You would be correct.” I went back into my office, closing the door softly. At my computer, I scrolled through my emails to see if anything needed immediate attention. Aside from a reminder from Demeter about our coffee date later this afternoon and a save the date for the upcoming Silver Bow Foundation fundraiser, everything could wait.

I leaned back in my chair and thought back to this morning when I found Eros molesting my peacocks. I swear that boy will never learn. Regardless, I must try to get through that thick head of his. I stretched and pulled up Youtube to watch videos of babies laughing uncontrollably.

Twenty minutes later, my smile was interrupted by Aphaid buzzing the intercom in my office to let me know it was time to meet with my grandson. I turned off my computer and straightened my blouse as I stood. Taking a deep breath, I schooled my features into the unreadable mask I’m so famous for (something I learned recently that you mortals call “resting bitch face.” I invented that. You’re welcome) and opened my office door.

“Come, Eros.” I directed him to the couch and closed my office door with a decisive click. “Have a seat.” I walked over and sat down behind my desk, clasped my hands together and laid them on my desk in front of me.

Eros had put on clothes since I saw him naked in my peacock palace earlier. He was wearing a pair of tight black jeans and a black t-shirt that said War is Bad. He sat on the couch and rested his ankle on a knee so that I could see the black of his boots was fashionably scuffed. He ran a hand through his messy black hair and hesitantly met my cold gaze.

I have had millennia to hone my patience into a weapon I could wield, and I used every bit of it today. I sat in my chair, hands clasped and resting on my desk, back straight, chin high, and stare hard. To his credit, he met my stare for a few minutes before he cleared his throat and looked away nervously. It was longer than I expected from him but nowhere near long enough for me to respect him. I sat, motionless as I watched him fidget about on the couch, trying to get away from the severity of my look.

Eros cleared his throat a couple of times. “So, heh, fancy seeing you this morning, Yaya.”

I raised one of my eyebrows at his words but otherwise remained still.

He rubbed the palms of his hands roughly over his thighs and looked around. “Nice window piece. You really…um…like peacocks.” He glanced at the door. “So uh, I’m just going to go. It was good seeing you Yaya.” Eros stood and shoved his hands in his pockets and took a couple of steps to the door.

“Sit, little God.” He flinched at my command and shuffled back to the couch and sat down.

I made him wait another three minutes before I addressed him. “I am disappointed in you, Eros, but I’m sure that’s not news to you since that’s all you’ve ever seemed to be able to elicit from me.” I curled my lip at him and clicked my tongue behind my teeth.

“However, I have decided to forgive you for your past…indiscretions.”

Eros perked up and looked at me as if waiting for the ax to fall. I said nothing, letting him absorb my magnanimity. “Wait. What?”

I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair, unclasping my hands. “You do not have a hearing deficit, Eros and I don’t repeat myself.”

“Uh, okay then. Why?” He leaned back on the couch, confused but feeling decidedly more comfortable with the way our conversation was going.

“Because your grandfather will need you, and you are going to do everything you can to help him succeed with this new project.” I slit my eyes at Eros. “Nothing more than that.”

Eros huffed out a laugh. “Yeah, no thanks, Yaya. I’ve got better things to do than follow Papu around all day making him happy.” He stood again. “Good seeing you again, though. You look lovelier than ever.” He blew a kiss in my direction and had the door halfway open when I slammed it shut with a wave of my hand.

Eros turned to me, mouth open to complain when I flicked my hand again and forcefully moved him back to the couch. “I didn’t dismiss you yet, little God.”

I let him stew in his frustrations for a moment. “Be very clear on this, Eros. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. I will never trust you or look upon you with the favor I show your brother, Dinlas. You will, however, do as you are told or I will smite your diaper-clad backside straight into a forgotten dimension to wander the rest of your days alone. Do I make myself clear?”

I could see the emotions warring with each other, making the clear blue of his eyes turn grey with the brewing storm. Thoughts filtered through his mind, his mouth opening and closing quickly as he flashed through each item, weighing it on his tongue. In the end, though, he stayed silent and gritted his teeth.

“What do you want from me, Yaya?”

“Aside from helping your grandfather? You are going to feed my peacocks breakfast every morning and clean their palace three times a week for the next six months.”

Eros looked at me in disbelief and then let out a loud crack of laughter. “Oh, that’s rich, Yaya. You’re funny.”

I waited until his laughter turned to soft giggles and he was wiping his eyes. “I wasn’t joking, Eros. The punishment for failing me in this will be the same as if you failed your grandfather. But please, feel free to test me on this.”

“Why do you want me taking care of your stupid birds?”

“You are going to learn how to comport yourself with the dignity of a God. Taking care of my birds will be the first step in a long road to learning how to be responsible for someone other than yourself.”  I raked my eyes over his body. “It’s time you grew up and became a contributing member of the Pantheon, Eros. Those are my conditions. Take it or leave it.”

I waved my hand and opened the door, dismissing him from my office as I pulled out a client file and started going over it.

Eventually, Aphaid knocked on the door. “It’s time for your meeting with your sister. I’ll rearrange the rest of your day, Lady Hera.”

I looked up from my desk and saw the sun had started to lower in the sky. I could only hope that Eros rose to the challenge, though I wasn’t going to hold my breath.

Hera (CJ Landry)
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