I gazed at the stars twinkling in the sky as I looked over the grounds of the GC through my living room windows. So much had happened in the last couple of weeks. I was still processing it all. I held a glass of wine in my hand as I just sat there, looking at the world and nothing all at once. The flight home had been emotional. Dion and I had shared our stories. I was amazed at how well he was holding up, given what had happened at the party. Antonio seemed to have been a wonderful man. I was sorry I hadn’t gotten a chance to meet him. I was glad Dion had, even if it ended in pain.
A knock at the door brought me out of my reverie. I didn’t want company, not that I wanted to be alone. I hadn’t even really spoken to Dion since being home. My long sweater dress clung to my legs as I walked, shuffling along to open the door. “Alessa! What are you—” I barely got the greeting out before she pushed her way in, closing the door behind her.
“You go missing for days, and then I hear you’re back through someone else! Am I even your friend?” I was shocked by her response. My wine glass fell, and I pulled Alessa into my arms, hugging her tightly.
“You are, Alessa. Gods, you’re my best friend. I…I haven’t seen anyone. I didn’t even know people knew I was back. I didn’t know anyone realized I was missing. We really just wanted to return quietly,” I explained as I held her, and we both shook.
“Of course, people knew you were missing, Amph. You told them you were heading home, then no one hears from you, and a hurricane breaks in the Pacific.” I nodded sadly as Alessa continued. “Wait, you said we. Who is we?”
I let go of my friend, staring down at the mess at my feet as I tried deflecting the question. “Stay there. I’ll get something to clean this up.”
“Nonsense, I’m still in my shoes. You’re the idiot in bare feet,” she teased back. I knew then that she wasn’t too mad at me. I also knew we’d be okay.
“It’s my home, Alessa. I’ll wear what I want,” I called after her as she ducked into the kitchen and grabbed a towel and broom. I wasn’t too worried about the wine, but I didn’t particularly want to step on the glass. Although, that would be a story for Dion. Alessa returned, dropped the towel around my feet, and the cloth tickled me lightly, causing me to giggle.
“Oh, come on, Amph. You can’t be that ticklish,” she said, mopping carefully around my feet, pulling the glass away.
I glanced down at her and smiled. “It isn’t exactly something I’ve had occasion to test out, you know?” I heard her giggle as I jumped out of the puddle. I grabbed another towel and dried my feet. Alessa finished cleaning up the last of the glass. I grabbed the mop, cleaning that area of the floor before it got sticky. “Remind me not to spill any more wine here.” Alessa just laughed. I took the towel from her, throwing it into the sink. “How about fresh glasses? Then we can catch up.”
“Sounds good to me. Just pour me whatever you’re having. No need to open a second bottle.” I nodded, pouring two glasses of the rose I’d been enjoying. We sat in the kitchen around my large island.
“Okay. Ask away.” I was mostly prepared for her questions.
Alessa’s eyebrow shot up. Maybe I wasn’t ready. “You said we.” Damn, I knew she wouldn’t let it go.
I coughed before taking a sip of the wine. It was good. “Yes, Dionysos and me. He found me in Guam, then flew me home.”
My friend’s mouth dropped. “Lord Dionysos, the Mad God?” I nodded. “Twice born, God of the Vine and Inebriation?” I nodded again. “You two are a couple?” I snorted the wine out through my nose, which burned. I was seriously abusing this wine. Dion would not approve.
“A what?” I asked, straining as I pinched my nose to calm the ache.
Alessa stared at me, her eyes sparkling with mischief. “You know, are you exclusive, seeing each other, dating…doing the horizontal tango?”
I managed to set my glass on the countertop this time before sputtering, “I…whoa, no. We—there are certain things we haven’t quite discussed yet. Gods, you’re as bad as Aphi!” I commented with a blush.
My best friend just laughed at me and sipped her wine. “Please! You may all be gods, but you feel more intensely than we do. Do you love him?” I nodded slowly, smiling. “Then really, that’s all that matters. You two have all the time in the world to figure your shit out.”
“And now, you sound like him.” I laughed, rolling my eyes dramatically.
“And have you?” She asked pointedly.
I pretended not to know what she was talking about. “Have we what?”
Alessa groaned, and I chuckled. “Don’t play dumb. Have you tapped that mad god’s ass yet?”
My eyes bulged out of my head. I understood what she was asking without actually understanding a single word. “Yes…on the flight home. But that was the first time of many.” I finished the sentence in a mumble. Alessa’s mouth fell open. I continued before she could say anything. “Because, according to both of you, we have all the time in the world.” She snorted at me, and we laughed together, enjoying the wine. “There are a few of you who seem to be invested in my love life, although I’m not entirely certain why.”
“What do you mean?” She asked innocently enough.
I scoffed and continued. “You’re on this tirade. Aphrodite wants all the gossip. As the Goddess of Love, it’s kind of her thing. And Mathieu…” I sighed. Mathieu had been very worried.
“What about him? Now that is a man who needs to get laid.”
I rolled my eyes again. “I’m sure it hasn’t been that long for him. He was anxious. Dion and I stopped in Cali to visit Nymphaeum before continuing home. I’d never seen a mortal so worried about a god before. I really am sorry, Alessa.”
She waved me off. “So, what did your General Manager have to say?”
I smiled a little, recalling the conversation. “He just held me, as if I were going to disappear again. He promised me he would never push me to do something I was hesitating on.” Alessa made to speak, but I held up my hand. “I had been procrastinating, Alessa. I should have attended to this shortly after my return, instead of letting it linger. I put it off, and Mathieu was trying to help me move forward. I don’t blame him, even if he blames himself.”
The memory surfaced quickly. Mathieu’s face came into view as he ran to me, pulling me into one of the tightest hugs I’d ever felt. Dion was right behind me, watching the whole thing, as Mathieu sobbed into me. “Amph, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.” He just kept repeating his apologies. All I could do was hold him. When he had cried himself out, he stood, straightened himself, and walked over to Dion.
“Thank you for going to get her. I was going to send someone, but she told me to wait, that you would be on your way. Thank you. But I warn you,” oh no, “Lady Amphitrite means everything to Nymphaeum and me. Do not abuse that trust, sir.” I groaned and watched Dion’s face.
He just held out his hand to Mathieu and smiled. “If ever I am in that situation, I believe Amphitrite will let me know. She can be quite vocal when she needs to be.” I looked between them, blushing a bit, but Mathieu failed to catch the double meaning. He took Dion’s hand, shaking it. “Good. She will not be coming to the office for the next little while. Will you be alright?”
Mathieu nodded, smiling. “Yes, sir. If I could get Luis’s contact information. I have a few things to ask of him, and you, when you have the time. And no, I do not expect Lady Amphitrite any time soon.” They were coddling me, and I didn’t like it, but then Dion wrapped his strong arms around me, and I completely forgot to fight back. If that was where I’d be spending my next few days, so be it.
Alessa waved her hand in front of my face, and I blinked. “Sorry, Mathieu blames himself because he kept nagging me to do it.”
“Looking at it from his perspective, I can see that, Amph. I think we also both know you well enough to know you don’t do anything you don’t want to do.”
I chuckled and shook my head. “No, I don’t. With this trip, it was more timing than anything. I didn’t know when only that it would need to happen.”
Alessa nodded, finishing her glass of wine. “You will keep me informed, though?”
“Of what?” I asked as she stood and smiled.
“The progress in your relationship,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“Yes, Alessa. I’ll tell you the moment something changes.” She laughed and hugged me. “Alright, alright. I can see you’re getting ready to head out. Be safe. I’ll call you in a couple of days for coffee.”
“And you’ll tell me the rest of the juicy gossip? I know there is plenty, Amphitrite,” she replied, and I nodded.
“With Dion, I have the feeling there will always be juicy gossip. You and Aphrodite should hang out. I’m sure you’d have much to discuss.”
Alessa laughed, and we hugged again, and she made her way to the elevators. I shut the door and sent a text to Dion.
Amph: Hope your night is going well. I spilled a glass of wine while talking with Alessa. It wasn’t my best bottle, thankfully. Feel free to drop by for a meal sometime soon. Bring Mourgo.
I filled my glass and returned to my spot near the window. My large comfy chair had been picked and placed for this exact reason.