It wasn’t long before Reginald called the penthouse to let me know that my son was on his way up. Pouring myself some scotch, I sat down on my couch, my injured arm propped up on a pillow. This was going to be an interesting conversation, to say the least.
Eros breezed through the door, the smile on his face disappearing when he saw me. “I didn’t realize you were hurt that badly,” he said.
“I requested that things be kept quiet,” I replied.
“It’s not too serious?”
“Some muscle damage, a big hole.” I started to shrug but stopped myself in time. “I’ve been told the damage will heal. It will just take a little time.”
“Does YaYa know yet?”
I shook my head. “If she knew, she’d have been over here in a heartbeat, wanting to make sure I was alright before she yelled at me for getting hurt in the first place.”
“She’s going to do that, no matter when she finds out,” Eros laughed.
“Wouldn’t be the first time, probably won’t be the last.”
Eros walked over to the bar and poured himself a drink. “Reginald tells an interesting tale about your adventures in the Foloi Forest.”
“I’ll bet he did. The story changes every time he tells it. What is he saying now?”
“That he faced the minotaur alone, bare chested, your sword in his hand, sweat glistening on his body as he fiercely battled to the end, determined to save you and Kara from certain death.”
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “Well, that is the most dramatic, and farthest from the truth, version yet.”
“And then there is Kara’s version,” Eros continued as he moved to a black leather chair across from me.
“Oh?” I said. “I didn’t realize you knew her.”
“I don’t. But she knows Artemis, and Kara told her what really happened.”
“I see.” I took a sip of the scotch, letting it slide down my throat. “Have you seen Demeter since her return?”
“Not much, but I know she’s doing well. Persephone was thrilled to see her. She swore up and down she would be forever grateful and vowed to do something special for you when you got back.”
“That’s not necessary. I was just fulfilling my promise to her to make sure I got her mother back here safely.”
We sat in silence for a minute, each of us nursing our drinks. I picked up Dinlas’ letter and held it out to his brother, who leaned forward and took it from me. Eros read it quickly, then placed it on the side table beside him. “So you have your company back,” he said. “Appropriate. The God of War should be in charge of security.”
“What do you know about the operation he referred to?”
“Nothing,” Eros said, shaking his head. “Dinlas was closemouthed about what he was working on most of the time. The last time I saw him, he didn’t mention anything about going undercover or being gone for any long period of time. The only reason I knew he had left was because I stopped by one day to ask him out to lunch. Eleni told me he wasn’t available, and that she wasn’t sure when he would return. If you want to know anything, you should ask her.”
“If he swore her to secrecy, she won’t say anything,” I replied. “She’s loyal to a fault.” I looked at Eros. “You spent more time with him the last few months while I was away, correct?”
“Yes, as much as he would allow.”
“Should I be concerned about this assignment of his?”
“Dinlas has his dark side. He is the God of Hate and Jealousy, after all. Whatever made him decide to go deep undercover is serious. He’ll be fine. If he gets into trouble, I’m sure he’ll find a way to let us know.”
We sipped our drinks, not saying much. “Why did you really call me, Father?” Eros finally asked.
I took a deep breath. “I’m going to ask you something, and I want an honest answer from you, no mucking about or answering a question with a question like you love to do. Just a straightforward yes or no.”
“Well, it goes against my better judgment, but if you insist,” Eros grinned mischievously.
“I’ll do my best.”
Taking a drink, I swallowed it before saying, “Have you been shooting people with your arrows lately?”
He looked surprised at the question. “Not lately, no. Why do you ask?”
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I debated deflecting the question, but my curiosity was too great. “Before I left a few months ago, did you…aim one of your arrows at me? Or anyone else I know?”
Eros grinned. “Did you meet someone while you were gone?”
“Of course not,” I growled at him. “I just wanted to know.”
“No, no, no, you’re not getting off that easy. Spill it. Why did you ask me that?”
I downed the rest of my drink, put the glass on the side table, and sighed. “You know I don’t feel comfortable talking about this.” I adjusted the pillow under my arm.
“Wow.” I didn’t say anything. “Are you sure you want to get involved with another mortal? I mean…”
“I know what you mean, Son.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I have no bloody idea.”
“Let me rephrase the question: what do you want to do about it?”
“I have no bloody idea.”
Eros stared at me long and hard. “You care deeply for her. But you are worried that something will happen to her because of who you are.”
“I really hate it when you do that.”
“You called me because you wanted to ask my advice on what to do,” he replied. “You certainly can’t talk to Mother about this.”
“Not sure I want to continue this conversation with you.”
Eros took a drink. “You can’t be afraid to love someone, Father, whether they are mortal or immortal. I think of all the time lost with my wife, how I felt so empty and incomplete. Now, I look forward to waking up in the morning so I can see her beautiful face, stare into her eyes, and fall in love with her all over again. I watch in amazement as our two children grow inside of her and look forward to all the fun we’re going to have raising them. She is my heart and soul. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives, and if Kara is the one that makes you feel that way, then reach out and grab it. Don’t let it pass you by because you’re afraid. Don’t let fear dictate your heart.”
“So you’re telling me you had absolutely nothing to do with any of this? You didn’t shoot one of us in the ass with your arrows?”
“I promise you I did not,” he assured me. “I never imagined the two of you together. But from what little I know of her just from talking to her, I think you’ll be just fine.” His phone dinged, and he pulled it out of his pocket to look at it. “I need to go. My wife needs more pickles. I swear, she goes through them like they are candy.”
We stood up, and I walked him to the door. “Give her my love. I’ll go by and see her in the next couple of days.”
“She’ll like that,” Eros replied. He put his hand on my good shoulder. “Give it a chance, Father. Find out what love is like with someone besides Mother. I know you loved Cassie, and you still grieve her loss. But she wouldn’t want you to wallow in the grief. She’d want you to go out and live your life. Frankly, I’m tired of seeing you mope around here. You were rather hard-hearted before you left a few months ago. But now, there is a warmth about you that only comes from love. Kara is good for you.”
“Thank you for the advice.”
He started to open the door but stopped and glanced back at me. “If it will help, she feels the same way about you.” I arched an eyebrow at him. He just grinned and shrugged. “God of Love, remember? I just know these things.”
“Get out of here, smartass,” I said, smiling at him.
“Good to see you smiling again, Father. I love you.”
“Yeah, I love you too, Son.”
After I closed the door behind him, I wandered over to the window and looked out at the city. Somewhere out there was a woman who was working her way into my heart. But was I willing to let her all the way in?