I’m supposed to be one of the few gods who has a happy ending, right? Psyche and I end up living happily ever after? Wrong. As a result of my mother’s vanity, I felt compelled to step in when a mortal was being worshipped as being more beautiful than my mother, Aphrodite. Then I met her, fell in love with her, married her, and kept her safe in the darkness of our home. So long as she didn’t look upon my face, know that she had in fact been married to the god of love, my mother would be satisfied, believing her to be married to some hideous beast. It was the only way I could be with the woman I loved. Why couldn’t she listen to me? We could’ve been happy. Eros, the mischievous god of love & sex, has returned to Olympus, to…mixed reviews.
The lights dimming is the only warning we get. My grip on my wife tightens as I prepare to defend her. My eyes lock on the reflections of the mirrors surrounding us. The golden frames of each are carved with languages, runes, and fractures of religions and magic that are supposed to be dead.
She points to the pillows next to me, and I grind my teeth to keep from snapping at my mother for setting me up. Clio’s face goes red when she sees me, and her gulp is audible even as she takes the seat beside me. Her back is stick straight, every inch of her body on edge. Her voice is frosty. “What is it you’d like me to do, Aphrodite?”
Fire coiled in my belly, burning me. It wasn’t the all-consuming rage that came before a battle, the frenzy of my father. No, this was darker, deeper, patient, and plotting. This…this came from my mother. Most would think it more dangerous to cross my father. After all, who does not fear war? But no. You never, ever, cross my mother. She was a scourge and would wipe the world clean to satisfy her insatiable need.
I need more mischief. I need to see the clash of Trojan and Greeks on the ground below us. I need to smell the blood and hear their cries. It’s always been this way around Eris, something I’ve always relished about their presence. They allow you to be your darkest self, the side you hide from the rest of the family.
The reason I say it to her so much…I went two thousand years without saying it to her. Then an extra thousand years with my mind wiped and her being trapped in a dagger. So, yeah, I’m going to say I love her at every opportunity.
Smirking, I pad back to bed, placing the golden necklace around Clio’s neck. I lock the clasp before sliding into bed next to her. It is more than just a pretty charm. If she has another episode, it will summon me. And…if I touch my quiver, I can summon her to me, from anywhere in the world.
But that’ll just be our little secret…
She wouldn’t put our children in such danger, would she? It’s not just her life, which is already invaluable, but it’s our kids too. How dare she put herself in danger like this? We’re supposed to be married. Share everything. I have no secrets from her. She’s seen me at my darkest. My lowest. She saw me give up. And she kept this from me?
My grandfather’s eyes crackle with life for the first time since I entered the office, then they narrow. “You’re not suggesting you’re planning to break her out, are you? I’m still dealing with the fallout from the last prison break.”
“I’m doing something different for my family,” I murmur, coming to my mother’s side, kissing her forehead. “I will always love you, Miteras, but I won’t make your choices, your mistakes. Things will be different for me, for Clio.”