What a welcome back, I thought, shaking my head. The first few months of my return to Olympus were unbelievable. The ramifications were still being felt; not all of the titans had been captured and who knew what was still to come? My lab was coming along nicely and most of my staff had started work. I was so pleased with everyone at Crescent Talent Agency. I hadn’t had one hiccup, Tyche be praised, the entire time. That was saying something with it being the heightened frenzy before the storm that was festival season, and then the Coronavirus struck. Coachella, CRSSD, Stagecoach and, of course, Full Moon Party in Thailand, just to name a few of the places CTA was supposed to be represented. My staff had pulled off the cancellations seamlessly, replacing many of the festivals we were to participate in with online events. I was so fucking impressed. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I had hired an amazing team, but this proved to me that my agency is self-regulating and highly sufficient.
I decided if my chariot was good enough for Titan hunting, it was good enough for work, so I let Hal take a month off, paid of course, and flew myself from place to place. I was always careful to fly under the cover of night, and to secure my steeds and chariot in a safe place, using the charms Hekate had taught me millennia ago to hide them.
Raylen and I were headed into the New York office after having spent the evening before together. New York was not one of my favorite places, but it was an entertainment hub, so here I was. The hustle and bustle of the super crowded streets were not as bad as they normally are but still seemed overwhelming to my senses. I was about to be driven a little closer to bonkers when Raylen pulled me off the sidewalk and into a little no-name book store. The sounds were immediately buffered like I had just entered the ocean and swam to its depths. The warmth and smells wrapped around me like a warm blanket, providing the comfort of an embrace. I took a deep breath and let it out again.
“Oh Raylen, this is heaven. Where are we and how did you know I needed a break?”
She smiled at me and winked. “It was all over your face, hun. Plus, I have been dying to show you this gem for a while now.” She took my hand and lead me back to the stacks where she pulled out an old, leather-bound book and showed me the date on the inside of the cover: 1590. I looked up at her with wide eyes. “But how?” She just grinned and flipped through the pages; all were original drawings and etchings bound into a book.
“Thought you may like it in here,” she said with a smug grin. I pressed her up against the shelves and locked my lips over her mouth. A sense of shock ran through me and I pulled back quickly.
Raylen looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong? Did I do something?”
I tried to regain my composure, but the moment had passed and I shook my head in response. “No, no it wasn’t you. I just, I can’t do this…whatever, this is, anymore.” I rushed through the door, leaving an astonished Raylen behind.
Back out in the noise and people, my mind spun in a whirlwind, I felt dizzy all of a sudden and gripped a nearby light pole. What the actual fuck was wrong with me? I closed my eyes and steadied myself before a gentle hand rested on my shoulder. “Arty?” I asked softly as my mind drifted to my friend. The hand withdrew nearly as quickly as it had appeared and I heard a small gasp from behind me. I slowly turned around to find Raylen standing there with tears in her eyes and her hand over her mouth. I shook my head at her and sighed. “I’m sorry Raylen. I told you I can’t do this anymore.” I don’t know what’s changed, but something has.
She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand before the tears actually spilled out and replied quietly, “It’s not like I expected much to begin with.” She gave a little shrug looking away from my eyes. “You’re a Titan, a goddess, and all over the world in the blink of an eye. I can’t expect to be the only one, much less, enough for you.” I had nothing much to say in response to that, so we continued our walk in relative silence, other than the racket around us.
We reached the office building and rode the silent elevator together. Every time I opened my mouth to say something, I stopped. I felt bad for leaving her hanging, but she wasn’t wrong either. The doors opened and I plastered on a smile as we went our separate ways. The day was filled with planning meetings that I barely paid attention to. My thoughts kept drifting back to Sayeh and Artemis all day. I needed to get back to them…I shouldn’t have left. I’m not needed here. I checked my watch for the millionth time, and another 30 minutes later, the meeting was finally over. Before I excused myself, I told them all how proud of them I was and how well they were doing.
I made my way to Central Park and to my chariot, keeping the charms in place, I took off in broad daylight towards home. Home, I haven’t called any place HOME in centuries. Living a very nomadic lifestyle with no real living space to call my own, now, all I want to do is be back at Olympus with Arty and my family. Yes, my family.
I cracked the reins, which I rarely felt the need to do, and we sped off even faster than before. I arrived at Olympus National Park and let my steeds roam. I headed to the GC and made a few purchases. This was one of those times I wished I had living quarters at the GC. I could have, almost everyone else did, but I used my floor for my lab, so I didn’t even have a shower here like I did at my offices. I walked over to Ares Gym and pestered Reginald, Ares’ secretary, for a place to change. Throwing on the newly acquired t-shirt and shorts from the gift shop and some cheesy sandals, I walked back out towards Hearthfire Catering where I had placed an order when I first arrived. They had carefully packed my food in a nice, sturdy basket instead of a flimsy bag and I was set.
I walked back out to my chariot and dropped my gift shop bag containing my business suit inside before I headed towards the cave where Sayeh and Artemis were staying. At the waterfall, Arty’s head nymph, Iphigenia, came out to see who was there. I nodded in reply and told her I was there to bring Arty some dinner.
“Who is it, Iphigenia?” came Arty’s exhausted voice from within the cave.
“Lady Selene, ma’am,” she replied with her head turned back towards the cave.
“Selene?” her voice seemed to be a little brighter, but that could have been my wishful thinking. “Let her in, you know that she is a friend, Phi, always let her in.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She nodded and stepped back to allow me to enter.