We found a table at Nox for lunch and started chatting, catching up on everything we missed since we left Mount Olympus. Peitho was very excited about her plans for the mortals. I was about to comment on her new ideas when I thought I heard Erato’s voice. I turned around and saw him standing by the bar with Nyx, deep in discussion.
“Look, it’s Erato and Nyx. Been ages since I saw them. Let’s go say hello,” I said, dragging Peitho behind me.
Erato seemed nervous and fidgety; he had a concerned look on his face. He saw us approach and took a step back. I wondered why he didn’t seem his usual flirty self.
“Hey, Erato! Where have you been? Long-time since we met,” I said, moving in for a hug.
He took another step back. “Hey, Arty, I wouldn’t come too close right now.”
“What?” Peitho and I looked at each other. “Are you alright?”
“He’s fine, Arty. There’s been an incident, and we’re trying to fix it, contain the damages so to speak. It’s best if you and Peitho head back to your table for now. I am helping Erato fix it,” Nyx said matter-of-factly. Something in her tone told me that it was a serious matter.
“Are you sure we can’t help?” Peitho asked.
“Oh no…definitely NOT. The best thing you both can do for us now is to leave,” Nyx replied.
I exchanged another look with Peitho. “We best leave, Peitho. I am sure Nyx and Erato have it under control,” I said. I was starting to get a headache and feel a bit queasy.
“Arty, Peitho, I’m sorry. Let’s talk later,” I heard Erato call out as we turned and left.
“Is there some other place you know that we could go to?” Peitho asked as soon as we exited.
I was feeling weird and woozy, but in an exciting way. “No, maybe we should head back. I am not feeling too good.”
Peitho looked at me and gasped slightly. My breathing was heavy, and there was a form of heat emanating from my body that turned me into a deep shade of crimson. “Let’s head back,” she said after one look at me.
“You carry on; I need to pick up Sayeh from Dinlas’ warehouse.”
“I can come along if you need me.”
“No, I’ll be fine.” I waved Peitho goodbye and walked towards the warehouse.
“Arty, you’re back! So soon?” Dinlas asked as soon as I walked in.
I looked at Dinlas, this time in a new light. I saw him, I actually saw him, his deep black eyes, square-set jaws with the sexy five-o-clock shadow and sleek, long black hair. Suddenly, I had the urge to run my hands through his hair and caress his face. I gulped, unable to comprehend my thoughts. He stood there looking at me, smiling sheepishly, tall, and handsome. His beauty made me want to feel his lips move in a kiss and his hands on the curves of my body. I wiped the sweat forming on the nape of my neck. My face felt hot, and the drubbing beat of my pulse resonated in my ears.
“Arty…Arty,” his voice broke my reverie. I shook my head, staring at him, eyes wide.
“Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” he said, looking concerned.
“Dinlas…I’m…I’m fine,” I replied, moving closer to him. I touched his arm, and he stiffened. “I hope Sayeh didn’t give you much trouble.”
“N…no, of course not! She was a sweetheart,” he said, looking at my hand resting on his arm. I squeezed his arm and moved closer to caress his face. I smiled and pulled away when he jolted from my touch.
“You’re such a sweetheart for taking care of her,” I said, turning my back to him. I walked a few steps forward so he could see the swaying of my hips. I flipped my hair back and looked over my shoulder to see him staring at my hips.
He blushed and looked down at his feet. He was fidgeting with something in his hand. “It was nothing.”
I walked towards him, close enough for him to hear my rapid heartbeat and took his hands in mine. He gulped and moved in closer to me, and took a deep breath smelling my hair. I looked into his dark eyes and suddenly felt my throat go dry, constricting as if choking me out of breath. I opened my mouth a bit to suck in some air. Breathing heavily, I looked at Dinlas, eyes filled with desire. He took me in his arms and laid his lips on mine, kissing me fervently. I kissed him back with a passion I had not yet known.
He suddenly pulled back from the kiss. “Arty, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…I mean, I didn’t want to make you, I mean…”
I placed a finger on his lips. “Shhh…nobody makes me do anything, Dinlas. I do what I want to do.”
Dinlas looked into my eyes for a moment with a confused expression. He took a deep breath and said, “In that case, allow me to do this the right way.”
“The right way?” It was my turn to look confused.
“Yes, the right way. Let me take you out for a drink or dinner,” he asked, looking at me with longing in his eyes.
I contemplated his request. At first, I did not know how to respond. I pulled out of his embrace and took a few steps back. “You mean on a date?”
“Yes, a date, if you’ll have me,” he said urgently.
“A date?” I repeated.
I turned to look at him again and smiled, “Yes! Let’s do this the right way. Date it is, then!”