The weeks had dragged on as I waited to feel myself growing. Nothing was changing externally, but then again, our gestation periods could differ vastly from humans. I curled up in my old room, memories flooding me from my time here, before Poseidon, before Atlantis. Rommel arrived a week ago, and he and Calix hit it off as friends. There was something about Rommel that was reassuring, something calming.
“Amph?” Rommel’s voice sounded from the other side of my door. I got up and swam over, opening it for him. Rommel and Calix entered slowly, looking down at me. Both of them were taller than me, and I shrunk back. I wasn’t feeling regal, or special, or anything really. Since the warehouse and then the Underworld, all I could feel was worry and fear. I had thought I’d heard Dion reaching out a few times in the last few days, but I couldn’t trust that it wasn’t my hope.
I floated back and sat down on the bed. “Still nothing. Maybe I was wrong.” Except my stomach kept hurting, kept coming up whenever I tried to eat, and so I’d stopped eating.
Concern filled their eyes, and I knew I must look horrible. “My lady, please, you need to eat something,” Calix said as he sat beside me. Rommel had brought in a plate of seaweeds and fish, but I shook my head.
“Please, Amph, you’re scaring us.” I looked up at him. With everything that we had been through in the last 2,500 years, this scared him? “Talk to us, please. Or at least, go to Dion. You’ve been crying out for him since I got here.”
“It’s been longer than that, I assure you,” Calix muttered, and I shook.
“No, I can’t involve him in this,” I said softly.
“But if you are pregnant,” Rommel said gently, “it would be his, right?” I nodded. Dion had been the only person I’d been with since, well…since Poseidon abandoned Atlantis. “He has a right to know that you’re dealing with this, Amph.” I looked at them as Mano climbed onto my hand and crawled up my arm.
“When I was in the dream world,” I began, my heart racing from the memory, “I was a lounge singer in New York, someplace I have never been. And I was terrified of the ocean. I was married to a man named Revan. Me, actually married!” I laughed coldly. The thought that anyone could want to marry me was comical. “Ten years ago,” I stopped as they both looked at me, “in the dream. I—she, got pregnant. They lost the baby, a little girl they had named Melissa. She was to be their hope and their future, and Theresa miscarried. It was something that haunted her.” And I could still feel the child within me.
“But you and her, you’re not the same,” Calix said softly.
“No, we are not. But I know what carrying a child feels like. Maybe she was pregnant when she died.” The thought struck me. “In my dreams, as I remembered, as pieces of this life came back to me, there were things that made me want to stay. Like my career taking off,” I placed my hand on my stomach, a calm descending, “or a second chance at a child.”
“Why would that be something that would keep you there? You have two children here and could always have more.” Calix stated, a little colder than I think he meant because an embarrassed blush crept into his cheeks. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be.” I placed my hand on his cheek and smiled. “I think because it was what Trix wanted. Deep down, more than the fame and glory, she wanted a family. She wanted to feel the love of a child. It is something I know well. My children are everything to me. The only thing she had that I lack was—”
I looked down at the floor and sighed. “A husband,” Rommel whispered.
I shook my head slightly. “Someone who loved me unconditionally, who wanted me for me, not for any political alignment and not because it was his duty to remain. With all of Revan’s faults, he loved Trix deeply. And she loved him.” I felt Dion’s presence in my mind and shook my head. I needed to think clearly about this.
“And until Lord Dionysos, you never felt that way, did you?” Mano asked, nuzzling my neck.
I kissed his head softly and smiled. “No, I don’t think I did. I think P cared for me, was even affectionate…but I don’t think he ever loved me. Not like Dion and not like,” I paused, “not as I deserve.”
“Good for you, my lady, but now what? You are still the Queen of Atlantis, and Poseidon is still the king.” Rommel asked, concern etched across his face.
“And what if I wasn’t?” Shock radiated where concern was before. “If I abdicated, what would happen? Poseidon would remain, or he would pass the throne to Triton, which may be the better option since Poseidon already left his kingdom once.”
“What would you do if you gave up your throne?” Calix inquired.
I couldn’t answer before I heard an alarm blare. “What is that?”
“Proximity alert!” Calix shouted. His trident appeared in his hand and he sped off to investigate. I went to grab my own weapon and then remembered that I didn’t have one. I never did. But I didn’t need one. My command over the water, especially within my father’s domain, was unparalleled except for Nereus. I swam out, following Calix and Rommel, and saw a shadow descend upon the palace.
“Is that a submarine?” I asked stupidly.
“It is, but how would they know where we are? No mortals have ever found it!” Calix shouted.
Rommel looked at me. “Could it be an immortal?”
“The only one I could think of that would need a boat…” I forced my hands together, old power building between them. My eyes closed, and I focused, feeling the minute details of the palace surrounding me. I concentrated on every crevice that the water permeated, and began opening my palms, the water rushing out from between them. The men saw what I was doing and shifted into human form. Rommel came over and wrapped his arms around my waist while I concentrated on pushing the sea out of the palace. Once done, I collapsed in his arms, weaker than I thought I was, and slowly formed my human legs.
Without a care in the world, or at least that was how it seemed, Nisos strolled in looking like he owned the place. “I am looking for the beautiful sea nymph that used to live here.” His eyes fell on me, and Dion stopped for a moment before rushing over. “PheePhee, what happened? Why are you in the arms of someone else? And why was I not invited?” Rommel set me down gently, and Dion’s arms replaced Rommel’s. He gave me a slight squeeze as his face scrunched up with confusion. “This is not from the ordeal in the Underworld, is it? You looked perfectly perfect when we supped with Thanatos.”
“No, love.” I saw Rommel nod his head to Calix, and they left us alone. “This is because I haven’t been eating. I haven’t been able to keep anything down.” My hand went to my stomach, something I had avoided while we were in the Underworld.
“What is wrong, Amphitrite? You can tell me.” Dion’s voice was worried but caring, and I leaned my head against his chest.
“I thought I was pregnant.” I felt him still beneath me. “I’m not. I would hopefully know by now, but given everything I saw in the dream world and then going to the Underworld…I panicked.”
“But why did you not come to me to discuss this? I would have helped you figure this out.” He sounded hurt, and I shook. I think it was more from the overuse of my power and lack of nutrition. “Come, let us get you some food. You look pale as a ghost, which in this light is quite eerie, my dear.” I nodded and led him back to my room, where Rommel and Calix were waiting.
“She needs to eat something. We’ve been trying for weeks.” Calix commented as Dion and I entered.
I waved them off, but Dion nudged me. “You did not let them take care of you? No, of course not, you are too independent.” I smiled softly, and he set me down on the bed. “Okay, I see the food plate, and I expect you to eat.” There was a slight edge of command to his voice, and I shivered.
“And if I don’t?” I picked up a piece of fish and popped it in my mouth, my appetite returning slightly.
Dion smirked at first, but then his face grew serious. “Then you would defy a god, PheePhee, and trust me when I say that the mad god has nothing on the angry one.”
I started a half-hearted chuckle but stopped short when I saw the intensity in his eyes. I ate another piece of fish while his demeanour relaxed. He let out a small sigh, and his eyes scanned me from head to toe. “You know, for someone that spent all this time as sea-foam as the world kept moving forward, you sure do enjoy hoarding all the negative things that life throws at you. You even push them over the good things.”
I stopped mid-chew and stared at Dion. My heart was beating incredibly fast. How is it that this person knew me so well in such a short time? We didn’t really run in the same circles in the olden times. The first time we met up in the lobby of the GC, we exchanged more words than we had in the thousands of years prior to that. But there was no denying our bond. All I wanted was to jump in his arms and tell him everything that I was going through, but I sat there in silence and ate my food, proving him right.
“I don’t know. Maybe because I feel I owe it to someone, somewhere, for all my time missed. I certainly owe Atlantis a ruler who is actually present…” I trailed off and quickly put some more food in my mouth.
Dion sat down beside me. “Is this headed where I think it is?” I nodded lightly. “I hope it is not because of me.”
“No, I still need to work a few things out, but it is a culmination of many factors.” I picked up the last piece of fish and ate it slowly. Dion’s face relaxed slightly. “Whether our relationship progresses further than this, I don’t like being backed into a corner with my personal life and my duty. I made that choice once…I’ll not make it again.”
“How progressive of you,” Dion teased as he leaned forward and kissed my forehead.
I laughed and finished the platter of food, already feeling much more like myself. “I’m a 21st-century goddess, don’t you know. With me, you will never be bored.”
“No, PheePhee, never.” Dion wrapped me in a hug and just held me, letting his love flow through our bond, and for the first time in weeks, months maybe, I felt totally at home, at peace.