The elevator reached the twelfth floor and slowed to a soft stop. With a gentle ding, the doors slid open to the elegant entryway.
“Amphitrite even said that she has a spa there.” Enthusiasm bubbled over as Persephone leaned in to whisper, even though I knew we were alone on her floor. “I will admit that is my guilty pleasure. Every Sunday at the end of the week, I fill my bath with rosewater, flowers, and lavender. It’s an amazing way just to let the stresses of the week go and start over again fresh the next morning.”
“Sounds Divine.” I fell into step beside her as we made our way to the opposite door.
“It is.” Persephone’s lips curled into a mischievous smile as she looked up at me. “You should share one with Artemis sometime. It’s a wonderful way to spend couples time.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea, Percy!” I winked back at her, a giggle on my lips. “So, flat must-haves. Large tub. Check!” I accentuated my wording with a quick hand gesture as Persephone pushed the door open to her living room. “Do you have similar plans with a certain dreamy one?”
The flush rose on her skin as she looked at me. “I, well, I would not rule it out should it happen.” I gave her an all too knowing grin. I knew what flitted through the smaller goddess’s mind at that question, even though she had not said it out loud. “Selene! Don’t look at me like that!”
“Like what?” I laughed. The way Persephone turned red whenever Morpheus was mentioned was cute. I was very pleased they had found each other.
“Like I may have already had thoughts of that persuasion.” Persephone laughed. “I will have you know that I am very good at keeping myself in check, thank you very much.” With a sigh, she added, “I can’t help it, Sel. I’m just such a fool when I think about him.”
“That is what makes it even better. The reward will be amazing. Just you wait, dear.” I smiled at her. I could see my glow reflected in her eyes as I thought of Artemis.
Persephone gestured to the couch and walked over to the small kitchenette.
“Yes, please, that sounds lovely.” Her couch was soft, a pure white that made me wonder how it stayed so clean with the animals she kept here. I watched as she busied herself turning on the small kettle. I couldn’t hold back a small smile as I saw the lower shelves in her cabinet were filled with a variety of the delicate porcelain teacups while the upper shelves remained empty.
“What kind of tea are we having today, Percy? And where are the lovely creatures?” I asked, looking around the apartment for Snow and the foxes.
“Umm.” I watched as Persephone looked over the counter, sliding a delicate jar full of silver and purple leaves to the back. “Something simple, I thought. Perhaps blood orange? With a touch of oolong and lavender? And the little heathens,” her laugh echoed in the room as she reached and opened the door to a bedroom, “are in here making a mess.”
I stood and peeked in as the three furballs ran out of the room and across our feet. Snow stopped short and sniffed at my feet. Recognizing me, he looked up and wagged his tail. “Good day, Snow. It is good to see you. How are you fairing with these new siblings of yours?” He responded with a large oooof of noise, letting out his breath, his piercing blue eyes wide.
Like a shadow streaking across the floor, the black fox kit slid along the back of the couch, stopping to watch me. Sitting up on his back legs, his white-furred sister seemed to approach the situation more cautiously.
“I will say, the babies seem to like you very much, Sel.” Persephone’s voice broke the moment as she poured the hot water over the tea bags and carried the saucers over to the couch. “They are a handful, but I adore them very much. I am going to miss them when they have to go away.”
As I walked back to the couch, Snow followed at my heels. Sitting gracefully on the edge, I waited for him to find a spot at my feet and watched the black pup out of the corner of my eye. The white kit watched Snow and slowly approached as well, taking confidence from her brother and adopted brother.
There was a look of relief on Persephone’s face as she watched the three animals. I could see the concern in her eyes washing away. She sat gently , moving her arm so the small white fox could hop onto the couch. The kit curled up and stared over Persephone’s lap at me.
“Do you think, Selene, there might be a place for the babies in the National Park? Would Artemis allow them to move in there? I can’t take them with me when I return down below. They are alive. If I took them with me, I would never be able to bring them back.”
“I’m sure we can find them a home. Artemis could never refuse animals, and if I bring them to her…no doubts.” I could feel my radiance as I spoke of Artemis and home.
“Selene!” Persephone suddenly hollered my name with excitement. The smaller of the two kits stuck her head under the pillows of the couch. “Ohhh, I am sorry, baby.” She dropped her voice to a whisper as Persephone stroked the soft fur. She looked at me with an excited grin. “That might be the best idea. I can’t send them back to Pan. He travels too much with his band. But you and Artemis are actually the best suited for taking care of them! There is the forest where they would have access to the outdoors. And,” she winked at me with a playful grin, “you are looking for a more permanent home here. What do you think? Would you like to become the new mom of a couple of mischievous but sweet little foxes?”
Almost as if he knew what was being said, the black kit put his front paws on my shoulder, his pointed nose mere inches from my face as he sniffed. I smiled softly at him and slowly patted my lap. The kit leaped gleefully with a smug grin and sat happily, licking my cheek.
“Of course, I have been thinking about adopting a pet, anyway. They need a home, and we have one.” Our home… I stopped in mid-thought, completely frozen at the idea and prospect before me—a home with Artemis, my Akti. I began to glow in sheer joy as my heaviness and exhaustion began to lift. I caught a glimpse of Persephone’s face out of the corner of my eye, her love and comprehension evident. “Maybe I don’t need to find my own place. Maybe I already have…”