Most everyone joined in the cheers, but gradually, they all started asking the same questions I had. Who had invited all of us, and why did we all come if we had no clue who our host was? The only person who could answer any of these questions was the odd man out.
As I stood over the frying pan, I asked myself the big question. How am I going to be spending this sentence of mine? If I was disallowed from working for a full seven days, I needed to find some other way to spend my time.
Your brother and sister-in-law couldn’t agree on what this extra room should be. Clio thought you should have an office, but Eros wanted you to have a sex dungeon. I ultimately decided to leave it blank until you come to me with your specific requests. Think about what you want for this room as well as the rest of the apartment. This is your home away from home. So make it your own.
Besides, if they needed to depend on me as heavily as I feared they would, was I doing them any good? Was I really teaching them anything? I couldn’t follow anyone in the group when they decided it was time for them to leave the house and pursue other goals in their lives. They didn’t need me to take care of them. They needed me to teach them to take care of themselves.
“I care!” How did he not get this? “It’s easy for you, Phobos, and Deimos. You three were always Mom or Dad’s favorites. You all barely had to lift a finger, and you were praised. None of you could do anything wrong. I’m not saying I have it as bad as Dinlas, but—”
“You were my favorite.”
Not everyone was in a fursuit. Some were just in graphic t-shirts to show their support for those in the fursuits. But sure enough, our protest area had turned into a furry convention, the biggest furry convention on the planet. There were too many of them to count.
“Eros!” Clio suddenly called out angrily, sending Alexander into a crying fit.
I froze and carefully looked down at the ground. Sure enough, there was an arrow lying on the ground near my feet, the tip slightly stained with shimmering gold ichor. “No, no, no, no, no.”
“What?” Eros’s voice called from behind me. “I thought she should get it over with.”
My heart dropped at that nonchalant statement. I knew my eyes were wide with horror. What I didn’t know was if my face was white from blood draining from it in dread or if it was red from rage rushing to my cheeks. Either option was highly likely at that moment. “You were doing what?! Tell me you’re lying!” I knew he wasn’t—after all, it was physically impossible for him to do so—but a girl could hope.
Eros was the last person I needed to explain my feelings to. Yet, I did all the same. “I’ve seen your love practically immobilize a person with pain, grief, and anger.” Seen and felt it myself. “They’re in love, so they don’t eat or sleep.” I didn’t. “They break up, so they don’t eat or sleep.” I didn’t. “Everyone is just happier being single!” I certainly was.
“What do you say, Adrestia? Why don’t you prove to your big brothers what a big girl you are now?” Their mocking tones irritated almost as much as Eros’s did. Almost. “If you fail, you tell us who hurt you, and you don’t try to stop us from finding them.”
“Eros!” I roared as I flipped the coffee table, spilling my broken laptop onto the floor. “I needed that! Do you have any idea…my files…my calendar!” My rage and dread were making it impossible for me to speak. “I’m gonna kill you!”
I sighed. I was tired. No. I was exhausted in every way one could be. I was emotionally spent from dealing with Atë. I was physically tired from my fight with Sergai. I was mentally exhausted, trying to understand why everyone was so…blind to my intentions. I flopped onto my back next to Eros. This was comfortable. It was our childhood.
“Rough day, cupcake?” Of. Fucking. Course. It wasn’t enough to get caught by anyone who hadn’t been present during my mental breakdown. It wasn’t enough for me to be caught by someone who had been there. I just had to be caught by the traitor herself.
The world stilled for me in that moment, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Persephone swept all of the glasses out of the bar cabinet to get our attention. It was the sting of betrayal that got to me. “How could you?” I asked, my voice the quietest it had been since I had arrived. “Eros, you and Din nearly died because of her actions. How can you defend her?”