Standing, I throw back the rest of the liquid, barely noticing that my hand is shaking around the glass.
“Where is he?” I whisper hoarsely, feeling compelled to find him, to try and console him in some way. No idea what I’m actually going to say to him when I see him.
I ignore Zeus’ victorious smirk, turning on my heel intending to track down my father myself, but once again, the doors slam shut with a gust of wind.
This time, I slam my fist against the door, hating that my grandfather once again has me trapped. Everything with Zeus was a power play, and he – once again – has me at a severe disadvantage.
“You’ll be moving in. Today,” he announces, not bothering to stand when he does.
Nothing comes from him for free, even this. Gritting my teeth, my shoulders tensing with anger.
Without turning back to face him, I exhale for patience, hissing, “Fine.”
I know he’s still smiling, his satisfaction with catching me in his web practically vibrating through the office. “You’ll be getting a job.”
I grind my teeth even harder, surprised they’re not just dust in my mouth. “Fine,” I repeat.
“There now, was that really so hard?” he sneers.
The force holding the door closed releases, allowing me to exit the office, heading back down to the lobby level. I frantically push the lobby button repeatedly, as if that could speed the descent of the machine by doing so.
When I land in the lobby of the complex, the receptionist is absent from her post, though a piece of her shirt still pinned by my arrow, which normally would have made me chuckle, yet evokes no reaction as I head for the entrance.
As I begin to head out of the building, I bump shoulders with someone heading inside, but I don’t stop, even when I register the identity of the individual as my aunt Artemis.
I feel her gaze on my back following me as I head down the street, no doubt trying to figure out where she knows me from. Without my wings, many gods will be unable to place me, that is until word spreads of my apparent return to the fold.
Storming down the street, I see several gods and goddesses milling about, flitting from place to place, but I don’t pause for any of them. I absently wish I had left my bow at home. Without it, I might be able to pass as mortal to the casual observer, but with it, eyebrows go up.
Halfway down the street, a new ache forms, pulling me in a different direction.
Rhea preserve me, what else has happened?
Instead of following the continuing ache of my father – I know what is causing that – I follow the newest source. Curiosity, remember? It’s my biggest weakness.
The ache pulls me for several blocks, becoming stronger the closer I get to it, before coming to a stop in front of an industrial building. Once again, I’m standing frozen in front of a strange building, trying to figure out how I ended up here. Though instead of the monstrosity that is the Olympus Administration building, I’m standing in front of a warehouse. From the outside, it doesn’t appear to be anything special, so why am I being pulled here? The pain in my chest isn’t sharp like it is for my father’s broken heart, it’s different, almost like unrequited love? Maybe a heart torn in two directions?
Glancing up, I see Felon Retrieval Services emblazoned on the sign, hanging on the exterior. Why am I being pulled here? Also, who in the Pantheon is a bounty hunter? I snicker to myself as I imagine one of my relatives taking down mortal criminals. Talk about playing with a stacked deck.
I should leave. I should go find my father, figure out how to help him heal, and then go back to Malibu. But my curiosity requires me to fling open the door to the warehouse, to investigate this newest ache. I raise an eyebrow to find it completely renovated inside. There’s rows of desks lined up, though most are empty, but the door opening alerts two women, who are answering phones. When the door slams shut behind me, blocking out the sun, their jaws drop. It’s almost comical, and a reaction I’m very familiar with. There’s a reason I’m the god of love and desire.
You know the strange charm over mortals most of my family has? Well, mine is like that, magnified a thousand fold. I’m going to hazard a guess they’re supposed to be immune to it, if they work for us, but, again, I’m not like the rest of my family. Any kind of immunity they’ve created for their employees is not going to apply to me.
Strolling easily forward, knocking a knuckle on the desk of the first one I reach with my most disarming smile stretching across my face.
“Hello, dove. Is the boss in?” I ask, though I have no idea who the boss is.
“Th…the boss?” she stutters. Glancing down at her desk, I see her name is Barbi. Her gaze is locked on my face, eyes wide.
“Yes. The boss.”
“He…he should be here,” Barbi mumbles, still focusing on my face. Alright, this is getting tedious.
Spying what looks like the boss’ office off to the side, I murmur, “I’ll just wait for him in his office,” as I rub my chest absently. “I have a feeling he will be expecting me.”
Without waiting for her to offer more, I stroll casually into the boss’ office, as if I have every right to be there. Several documents litter the desk. With a tilt of my head, I glance at the names on them. My stomach dropping when I see the name scrawled at the bottom.
There’s a sudden break in the silence of the office, as the door slams shut behind me and a gun’s hammer cocks, the feeling of cold steel sitting at the back of my skull. I curse every god I’m related to silently – several not – especially the one now standing behind me.
“Give me one reason, not to pull this trigger,” Dinlas growls.
My hand immediately goes to my thigh holster hovering over my shortened arrows as a reflex. Forcing myself to relax, pulling my hand slowly away from them, hoping to indicate a non-threatening posture. Of all the ways I could have imagined seeing my brother for the first time in two thousand years, him catching me snooping through his office was most definitely not one of them.
Dinlas pushes the muzzle of his gun harder into the base of my skull. Hate and Jealousy – his two wolves – snarl at his sides, and if I were facing him, their fangs would likely be bared, ready to tear out my throat.
When I don’t answer quick enough for him, he snaps, “Who the fuck are you?”
I force a light chuckle through my throat. “You wound me. Surely you haven’t forgotten your favorite brother?”
I’m not even remotely surprised when I hear the click as he pulls the trigger.
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