I’m avoiding my mother as much as possible, which is a little more difficult when you live in the same building as her. So I’m throwing myself into my new business simply to limit the possible interactions with my mother and her probing questions about what happened to my wings. For the last week, deliveries from Los Angeles have arrived practically non-stop. This morning, I’m currently waiting for my personal assistant, Thea, the first of my staff I’ve lured to Greece (with triple their already generous salary) to land.
Pacing back and forth at baggage claim, I’m distracted by all the work I have to do for this new venture. The announcement of the direct flight from LAX perks my ears, and I turn towards the flood of people streaming from the terminal into baggage claim, most searching for their baggage arriving on the carousel.
A smile breaks across my face when a young boy rushes up to me, throwing himself around my legs. Reaching down, I boost the young child up onto my hip, asking him, “You know you’re not supposed to just run away from your mothers, Alexei.”
Sure enough, Thea and her wife, Nicole, both flustered from having chased after their errant son, arrive at my side.
“Alexei, do not ever do that again!” Nicole admonishes the young boy as she reaches out to take the boy from me, but he clings to my shirt, refusing to relinquish me.
I smile at both women, kissing both in greeting on the cheek. “I can carry the little troublemaker. How was your flight?”
Thea narrows her eyes at me. “You look like absolute shit.”
“Thea!” Nicole admonished.
If you had any doubt that my personal assistant of the last seven years does not repeatedly bust my balls, I’d like to immediately clear up that misconception. I could never have a polite personal assistant, or timid one; they’d never last.
I mean, have you met me?
“It’s always a delight to see you, Thea,” I snicker, walking with them to the carousel, where Thea and her wife collect their luggage.
“If I’m such a delight, why didn’t you tell me you were planning on moving back home? And that I had to drag my ass out here?” she harps, though her voice is not as irritated as her words make it sound.
Alexei rests his head on my shoulder, his eyes drooping before closing; the kid could sleep through anything.
I don’t answer Thea’s questions, directing them into the OA car lingering in the pickup area. Nicole’s eyebrows shoot up at the town car and the ostentatious decal on the side. I really need to have some of my cars sent over here. My grandfather does not know the meaning of the word subtle.
Inside the back of the car, I place Alexei into a car seat specially installed for him, already deep asleep, exhausted from the flight.
Thea takes the opportunity to grill me about moving home. “Alright, ‘fess up. You have never, not once, in the time I’ve known you, mentioned your family. And suddenly, you move across the world to be with them? That is bullshit of the highest order.”
Nicole doesn’t even bother to admonish her wife this time. She’s clearly interested in my reasoning as well.
Exhaling roughly, I said, “Fine. You’re right, I haven’t seen my family or spoken to them for a long time. But when I heard that my father had fallen in love with someone and she was taken from him, I knew I had to come home, to be here for him.”
Talk about painting with broad strokes, Eros. I hadn’t explained exactly who and what I am to Thea. I mean, how does one casually mention that you’re a three thousand-year-old god? She’s only known me as Erik Amor, executive producer. She’s never known me as Eros, the god of love and desire.
Thea glares at me. “Soooo, are you also going to take this opportunity to point out your father is the god of war?”
Well, fuck. My mouth drops open in shock at her announcement. She knew the truth and she still came? I’m not sure how to respond to her question as strangled sounds coming from my throat.
“So who are you, really? Phobos, god of fear? Deimos, god of terror? Dinlas, god of hate?”
I should have expected this. Thea does not do anything part way, so moving across the world for me, she is going to do her research.
Waving her off mid-tirade before she lists off all my considerable amount of siblings. “Thea, you knew, and you still came?”
Thea rolls her eyes at me in exasperation. “Of course, I still came. You’re clearly not the man of myth. I’m just annoyed I didn’t figure it out sooner. I mean, how many times did you explain to people the reason you look so young is because you drink a ton of water and always use sunscreen? I should have picked up on it. And you didn’t answer the question.”
Oh, right. Who I really am.
Shifting uncomfortably in the seat, I clear my throat before I answer. “I’m offended that you even considered I could be one of the twins, and especially that you thought I could be Dinlas.” I shudder comically, which brings a small smile to both women’s faces. “My name – real name – is Eros.”
Nicole sputters in shock. “You…you’re Cupid?”
Irritation floods me. “That is what the Romans called me, though their depictions left a lot to be desired.”
Thea smirks a little, and the tension in the car lightens slightly. “Clearly. So, Eros,” dragging my name out to prove a point, “what are your plans for work?”
I sigh a little, relieved she so easily accepts who I am. “I’ll fill you both in when we get there. But we’ll be starting our own reality show. After all, who can resist being set up by the god of love?”