The doors of the elevator opened with a soft ding, and I saw my son standing there. If I didn’t know him any better, I would have said he looked aloof and distant. But I know my children, and this poor boy was hurting.

“Ares, my poor son.” I reached out for him, knowing that he would just pull away from any affection right now. He didn’t disappoint.

Ares took two quick steps backward and locked down his emotions. “Mother. If you’ll excuse me, I have business to attend to.”  He moved to step around me, but I wasn’t going to let this go. Not this time. I moved with him, grabbed his shoulders, and roughly pulled him into a hug that he awkwardly refused to reciprocate.

I patted the back of his head and felt my heart swell with his pain. “Oh, my poor, sweet boy. I am so sorry about Cassandra. She would have made a wonderful addition to the family. I liked her.” I attempted to keep him trapped in my arms longer, but he peeled himself out of my embrace.

Ares gritted his teeth and nodded. “Thank you, Mother. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Again he tried to move around me, but I stepped in front of him.

“Will there be a ceremony for her? I would like to bring an offering to honor your love for her.”

Ares just shook his head quickly. “No, I’m taking her to Paris. Alone, Mother.”

I felt my heart break even more for my son. “You should not be alone when you say goodbye to the one you love.”

He let out an exasperated sigh, put his hands on my arms, and moved me out of his way. “How would that be any different than the rest of my life, Mother?” He stepped into the elevator and as he met my eyes, I felt my stomach drop.

“Stay away from Aphrodite, Ares. She’ll only make this worse!”

The doors closed between us, but not before I saw the disbelief and disgust flash across his face.

I sighed and headed to see my husband. He’d have an idea of how to distract Ares from his pain.

Hera (CJ Landry)
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