I was on my way to meet my mom. I put on my best suit and called Aphaid, Mom’s assistant, to confirm our appointment. As I got in the elevator, Hebe was there. “Hello, little one,” she greeted.
“Hiya, Hebe.” I hugged her as always.
“Where are you off to? Dad’s not in the office today.”
“I’m heading to see Mom.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed.
“Oh, what? Is there something I need to know?”
“No, sweetheart. It’s just that few have seen her.”
“She’s seen a few clients, and I made an appointment.”
“Very good, dear. I’m glad you made an appointment.”
We arrived on the 80th floor. Hebe was about to get out when she stopped and asked, “Nike, did you receive an invitation to the party tonight?”
I raised my eyebrows.” No. Not that I’m aware of. Who’s throwing a party now? Are Eros and Clio having another baby shower? Or is it a party for Artemis and Selene’s engagement?”
“Wait, they’re engaged?”
“Oops, sorry. I thought everyone knew by now.”
“Thank you for telling me, Nike. I’ll need to add that to Dad’s calendar.”
“Wait, Hebe, I don’t know when they’re having a party. Please don’t quote me.”
“It’s alright, Nike. I just want to make a note that there are important events coming that Dad might need to know about.”
“What did the invitation say?”
“I don’t remember exactly, just that it is tonight.”
“Okay, Hebe. I’ll check my mail to see If I’m invited, and I’ll get back to you.”
“Thank you, Nike,” she said as she squeezed my arm in gratitude and left the elevator.
I continued to Mom’s office and heard Aphaid on the phone as I entered the penthouse. They were explaining something to someone about Mom’s peacocks.” You don’t seem to understand, sir. My lady’s prize birds…they are…forgive the expression, but they are pooping colors of the rainbow.”
I snorted a laugh as I went to stand near their desk. Poor Aphaid. They are trying so hard not to get flustered. Seeing me, they waved at me to wait. “Yes, we would like you to figure out why this is happening as soon as possible. My lady would also like you to send some new feed and be quick about it. The goddess does not like to be kept waiting,” they said as they hung up. “Good afternoon, Lady Nike.” They bowed their head slightly.
“Hiya, Aphaid. Is Mom almost done?”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but my lady won’t be able to meet with you today as scheduled.”
“What? Aphaid, I called 30 minutes ago. This is really important.”
“As we are aware, and you know how much her birds mean to her.”
“Aphaid, I need to talk to my mother today,” I practically shouted at them.
“Lady Nike, I am sorry, but this just happened, and she is with her birds.”
It took all that was in me not to smash the desk. My emotions were all over the place. Telling Mom this news about Teddy needed to come from me, and the longer it took, the greater chance of someone else telling her. I took out my phone and dialed my mom’s number. Voice mail. “Dang it!” I gruffed and hung up. “Maybe I’ll just go to the roof.”
“Forgive me, but I would advise against that. She was in a bit of a state. You know how she feels about her birds.”
“When will she return?”
“Lady Nike, I do not know. Would you like to leave a note stating what is important? Perhaps once she sees what your important message is, she’ll get back to you sooner.”
Staring at the pen and paper they were holding out to me, I took it and wrote, Mom, call me, please. It’s imperative that I talk to you tonight!
I handed the note to Aphaid. “Thank you, Aphaid, please forgive my outburst.”
“There is nothing to forgive, Lady Nike.”
With a deep sigh of exasperation, I headed home.
I peeked in on the new construction of the Dark Sparks offices. They were coming along beautifully on the other half of the 16th floor. Then I headed to our living spaces. We had divided the other half of our floor into four parts so that the four of us—Kratos, Bia, Zelus, and I—would have our own spaces. I wasn’t surprised to find Teddy and Zelus playing some video game on the new flat screen at my flat. Peanut Butter and Jelly, my sister’s English bulldogs, were sprawled on the floor in front of the couch.
“How was your meeting, my lady?” Francisco asked as he handed me the mail and took my coat.
“She wasn’t available,” I complained. I sifted through the mail, and a black envelope addressed to me caught my eye. I opened it and realized this must be the invitation Hebe asked about. I looked at the address; it was the old warehouse down the street. I flipped the invite over to see who was throwing the party or for what occasion, but there was no host listed. “That’s odd,” I said out loud.
“What’s that, Ni?” Zelus asked.
“I got this invitation in the mail, but there’s no host listed.”
“That is odd. Maybe it’s a gag or something.”
“Maybe. Did you get one?”
“Yeah, but I’m not going. It’s my night off.”
I headed to my room to see what I might wear.
“Ni, don’t forget it’s your night tonight!” Zel shouted from the other room.
“Yes, I know!” I shouted back. I decided that I’d pop in on the party, then leave and continue my patrol of the city. I called Hebe to let her know I had received the invitation. It relieved her to know I would be there.
“Hebe, what’s going on?”
“Nike, I just wanted one of you to be there because I convinced Dad to go.”
Tensing a bit, I knew what she was getting at. “I’ll be there, Hebe. I’ll make sure the others are there, too.”
“Yes, Nike, that is perfect. Thank you, little one.”
Smiling at my sister’s nickname for me, I hung up, walking into my closet. I grabbed my long red dress and some black pumps, the ones with the short daggers in the heels. I strapped my short knife to my leg and put on my patrol outfit of a mini skort with a draped top. I put the dress in a bag. I’ll get dressed there.
I texted Kratos and Bia. They were already aware of the event and would meet me at the warehouse. Zelus said he’d stay with Teddy.
As I neared the building, I saw my brother Kratos and Bia waiting for me. We circled the building. It was an old, dilapidated brick warehouse. Many of the windows were busted out, but it was pitch black inside, and you couldn’t see in. We landed on the roof and set up surveillance there, deciding it looked safe enough. Since I came prepared to attend, I would be inside, and if I needed help, I could call Bia.
I changed into my party fancies and floated down to the entrance. The sun was setting outside, so my eyes had to adjust to the darkness and the twinkling lights in the room. I could see that many of the deities were there. You could hear Dad’s booming voice coming from the bar. Oh wow, Uncle Poseidon’s here? I thought to myself. OMGOSH big E is here, too!
“Auntie, over here!!” I heard someone shout at me. I looked, and it was my little dagger. I headed over. “Now I feel underdressed. Looking good, Nike,” she said as we hugged each other. I noticed the other’s discomfort with us.
I brushed it off. “Thank you, Drista.”
A cloud of black smoke brought in both the elder sisters, Atë and Hekate. They had a flourish for the grand entrances. I giggled to myself and glanced around the room, taking in all who were there.
Dad, Uncle Poseidon, two out of three Kings—check. Next to the twelve Artemis with Selene, Athena was over by the bar, Dionysus professing that he was not the one hosting the party, and ah yes, there he was. Ares was sitting at a table near the bar. I wondered if Mom was coming. I figured she would because Dad was here, but then again, her birds were in distress.
There were others there, too. I saw Amphitrite smiling as she looked from Poseidon to Dionysus. Dikê tried hard to blend in the background. Thanatos seemed more anxious to leave than normal.
Some guy was passing drinks to everyone, but I knew better than to drink at these things. I hurried to the bar, grabbing some water, and rushed back in time to toast when Dad made his big Thank you, and we should do this more often speech. I downed the water, then grabbed one of the drinks from the trays that were being passed around.
Drista leaned in to whisper, “They are already horny.” Looking behind us, I noticed she was referring to Eros, Clio, and Eris. Of course, they were talking about sex, I thought to myself. I smiled at them, but they weren’t paying me any mind.
“I can’t stay long, Drista. I’m supposed to be on patrol. Kratos and Bia are keeping watch on the roof, and well, you, me, and a few of the others are all packing, so if anything goes wrong…”
There was a loud screech as Clio launched at Atë and Hekate in her gleeful way.
“Hello, there, Nike,” Selene greeted me.
I turned to give her a hug. She asked, “How are you, dear?”
“I’m fantastic. There are so many celebrations going on these days,” I shouted at her over the music.
Listening to the others, I heard Dad going on about how we needed to do this more often and free booze. Dad clicked his glass and made a toast, not skipping a beat that he wasn’t paying for any of this. Everyone cheered.
I turned my attention to the room. I noticed the black drapery, and it seemed oddly familiar. There was only one server passing drinks, but he had disappeared. I moved to touch the drapes, but they dropped, and the lights changed. There was chanting. “Bia, can you hear me?” I thought to her. “Something is happening here…like a light show.”
“Ni? Ni?” I heard Bia faintly in my head. I tried to move to the door. A mirror appeared near me with my name on it. I felt my shoes pop off, then the blade on my hip vanished. I was being pulled to the mirror. I looked for Dad. I needed to get to Dad. I needed to pro…tect…pro…tect.
“Mademoiselle, nous atterrirons à Paris dans environ 30 minutes.” I heard over the PA system on the private jet. I opened the shade, and there she was, the most beautiful city in all the world. Paris. The sun was just rising behind us.
“Mademoiselle Gold, j’ai un mimosa Au lever, Du Soleil,” the steward said as he handed me a glass and smiled.
Glancing up from the view outside, I took the glass. It felt like I had just done this.
“Will there be anything I can do for you before we land to make your stay more permanent?” The steward’s smile gleamed.
“To make your stay more comfortable?” he corrected himself.
“No, thank you.” There was a sense of apprehension mixed with excitement bubbling inside of me. I thought of my love and licked my lips after sipping the beautiful sunrise mimosa. My mind focused on my heart’s desire.