Winter Solstice is just around the corner. This year had been filled with so many transitions, it feels good to know it is coming to an end. A new year and a new decade hover just ahead.
The past couple of months I’ve felt *off* for some reason. My judgment has been skewed. I’m not able to determine what is causing it. I don’t know if it is being around my dad and still feeling as if I don’t matter much to him, all of the things with Adrian and the gallery, or all of the insanity with Mrs. Batchalder and the life-sucking demon nurse. I do know that Thanatos pushing me in the water at Nyx’s island warming definitely did not help. I mean…was it my fault Eros shot me with one of his damn arrows? No.
To offset some of the negative things over the past few months, I do have a date coming up with Artemis. I am looking forward to that, even though I feel a little nervous about it.
Since the days are growing shorter and colder, it is a perfect excuse to stay home and be comfortable. I’ve taken to buying yuletide decorations and listening to non-stop Christmas music. I won’t admit it to the family, but I secretly enjoy it.
I slip into my bedroom to gaze at the stars. Opening the retractable roof, I feel the distinct chill in the air. I bundle up into some cozy yoga pants and a sweatshirt, pull on a pair of fuzzy socks, and climb beneath a mountain of blankets.
Dugo gave me his version of an eye roll, but he came to snuggle up and extract some of my warmth anyway.
I recline back and shut off the lights, letting the stars dance in front of me. Tonight, the Pleiades are extremely prominent. I am not surprised, I guess. At this time of year, the Halcyon days are upon us.
I still miss Alcyone. She was always so happy. I remember when she outraged more than half of Olympus by marrying the mortal, Ceyx. Their wedding was beautiful. They married during the winter solstice.
The moon hung over a snowy field where chairs were lined up to accommodate a small crowd. A wooden altar jutted into the sky, adorned with boughs of pine and holly. Fabulous candelabras at the end of each row of chairs lit the evening, casting sparkles like diamonds on the snow. Alcyone wore a blood-red dress and had small white flowers woven through her hair. Ceyx donned a charcoal grey suit and beamed with love and pride as soon as he spotted Alcyone. As he kissed his bride, announcing their love to the world, snowflakes began to fall. The night was magical.
As newlyweds and well into their marriage, they hosted fabulous dinner parties with lots of great home-cooked food, neverending wine (from Dion’s reserve), and lively conversation…
“We just got back from the Amalfi Coast,” Ceyx began, regaling his guests with stories of their travel.
“You’re not going to force us to look at pictures are you?” joked Cyrin.
“No, no. I’m just going to tell you that it was wonderful and that you should take a trip there yourself. We had the best meal at this tiny little mom and pop restaurant…” he gave an adoring look to his wife. “What was the name of it? The one where I accidentally sat on that woman’s purse.”
“Oh, yes. Luigi’s. That was it,” Alcyone smiled at him. “The dessert was…”
“Wait a minute. Wait a minute,” Agamemnon interrupted. “I want to hear about Ceyx sitting on someone’s purse. What on earth happened? You can’t just drop a breadcrumb of a story like that and then move on.”
A grin spread across Ceyx’s face. He loved telling outrageous stories, and he loved that he could always count on Alcyone to play the straight man to him.
“Well, it was really more like her hand.”
Ceyx chuckled as gasps and snickers erupted around the table.
“The host seated us at this table that was really just too close to the one next to it. It was one where there is a booth on one side and the chair on the other. Well, you know I love to sit next to Alcyone, so she scooted in on the booth side first. Then I squeezed in next to her. I didn’t realize that the couple at the table next to us was ready to leave, so she was moving over to get out of the booth. She reached her purse out and…well, that’s when I sat down. Partially on her purse…partially on her outstretched hand. You can imagine that her date wasn’t particularly pleased with the situation.”
Ceyx paused and reached for the bottle of wine to refill his glass.
“To make matters worse, the booth was a tight fit, and I struggled to move away. So in essence, she ended up feeling my entire ass. I felt like Zeus for a moment.”
He waved the wine bottle around by the neck as his guests laughed.
“Anyone else need to top off?” he asked, knowing that he’d left them with a story that they’d share with their friends.
The evening ended like so many others. Alcyone and Ceyx dumping armfuls of dishes into the waiting sink, pledging to do them in the morning as they stumbled off to bed in a tipsy blur of contentedness.
The next morning, Ceyx rolled over and laid a strong hand on his wife’s bare stomach. “Well hon, I think we had another successful evening.”
Alcyone pulled his hand to her chest and wriggled closer to him. “That we did, my love.”
Ceyx did not seem to notice that she had moved his hand; he was so caught up in recollections of the party and how he’d held center court.
“We may need to find a bigger home, dear,” he mused.
“Why?” she asked, lacing her fingers with his, stroking them across her breast.
“We’re going to be so popular, we’re going to need more room for entertaining,” he said. “Imagine it. We could find a place with a large area that we could convert into a large dining room with a sitting room to the side. There’d be space to lounge, eat, drink, and be merry.” He stared ahead, lost in his daydream.
Frustrated by Ceyx’s refusal to acknowledge her attempts at seduction, she rolled away from him, grabbing a discarded t-shirt and pulling it over her head.
“Whatever,” she sighed. “I think you have delusions of grandeur. It’s not like we’re Zeus and Hera.”
“We could be.”
Ceyx blinked, and, for the first time, noticed his wife’s departure. He lunged for her and grabbed her hand, pulling her back onto the bed. “We have the same passionate marriage. I am amazing. You are amazing. Why shouldn’t we be Zeus and Hera?”
“Aside from not having a giant peacock pen and an administration building the size of a city block? I don’t know…” she remarked. “Should I go on?”
He slid his hand up her naked thigh. “How about me…should I go on?”
She shivered at his touch. “I guess we do have the passion part down. I won’t argue about that.”
She pulled his hand closer until it disappeared beneath the bottom hem of the shirt.
Ceyx groaned. Alcyone gave him a hungry look.
He leaned over and kissed her, causing her heart to leap in her chest and her breath to catch in her throat.
“Take me, big Zeus,” she teased.
Ceyx did not need to be told twice.
“Oh hell yes, Hera…”
. . .
“I think you might be right, after all, my love,” she said after she headed toward the bathroom, her bare bottom swaying as he watched her cross the room.
“What’s that?” he called.
She stood in the doorway, running a brush through her long blonde hair that was tangled from their lovemaking.
“We are as grand as Zeus and Hera…even without the damn peacocks.”
“I like your attitude,” he said.
“Now if we only had someone who could give us the money we need to complete their lavish lifestyle,” she laughed and headed for the shower.
“Thanks for that crash back to reality, darling.” Ceyx got out of bed and slid on a pair of pants. “You finish up, and I’ll start a load of dishes,” he stated, looking for a pair of socks.