Just move forward. I kept telling myself that to keep myself from falling apart. The fact that Nisos—no, Dionysos—was no longer present in my life left a hole in me. The restaurant he gifted me, the one named after me, seemed a harsh reminder of what I could never seem to keep a hold of. A family. My extended family all had their issues, their own worries, and concerns, and I couldn’t bother them with mine. It was pithy how small I felt, even though we both knew this day would come, inevitably. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
Dion had made it to the grand reopening of Amphitrite, as he said he would, but something was off. I could tell his mind wasn’t there, wasn’t with me, and neither was his heart. He was too wild, too spontaneous to keep to one place for very long, and I was eternally glad for the time we did have together, even though it had just come to an end.
I asked Dion to wait until the end of the celebration to bid me farewell. I wanted to see my family off before I said goodbye to him. The mad god was kind enough to oblige me.
“So, this is it, isn’t it?” I asked him, scared to look up into those eyes I constantly fell into.
“It is Pheephee,” Dion had replied, trying to pull me into his arms. I couldn’t, though. I knew if I let him hold me, I would never let him go. I had too much with the resort and my grandchildren that I couldn’t just up and leave.
“I am sorry, Amphitrite.” Gods, why did my name on his lips still sound like wine?
“Nah, no worries, Dion. We both knew this would come. Your soul needs to wander. I get it. Go, be free. Pet Mourgo every once in a while for me?”
Dion ran a hand through his hair, and the tattoos on his arms bulged a little. I had to suppress my groan. I could not, would not give in to one last night with him.
“Go, please,” I whispered, surprised that I was even suggesting it. The God of Wine took me in his arms quickly, kissed the top of my head gently, and then let me go.
“I do love you, Amphitrite. I always will.” His voice was ragged, and when I finally made eye contact with him, what I saw nearly broke me. He didn’t want to leave. Not leave me, anyway. He just couldn’t stay any longer. I knew that feeling all too well.
“I know Dionysos. We had a good run, didn’t we?” He nodded as he slowly took a step back from me, our fingers interlocked. “Look in on this place every so often? Please?”
“I promise, Pheephee, if I do not get lost in my own mind before that. And I can come to visit you if you wish?” The question was almost begging me to agree.
“Only in my dreams, Nisos, only in my dreams.” I turned away from him, the restaurant, and our time together. I couldn’t watch him leave. A moment turned into an eternity while I waited for his presence to disappear from behind me, and when I couldn’t smell wine in the air anymore, I crumpled. I kept the storm inside, though. I didn’t need any more hurricanes on my conscious.
My body shook, racked with tears I couldn’t shed. It shouldn’t hurt this much. I was always alone before. This was nothing new, but Dion broke me in a way I hadn’t considered. He showed me what it was like to be loved, truly loved. It was such an intimate thing, and to have lost it? It was shattering me.
I had to move forward to take that next step. A shrill laugh from the back of my memory rose forward, something long forgotten from my childhood.
Little seafoam, you shall never see the happiness you crave.
I spun around, standing quickly, trying to place the voice, trying to locate the memory.
You will never find me that way, little seafoam. You cannot find me in the physical realm. Seek me out in the one place you dare not tread.
I blanched. There was only one place I had dreaded visiting since my return, and I couldn’t fathom why. I had always felt welcome on that isle, hidden in the mists between this world and the astral. It was the only place he could reside.
Good, good, little seafoam. You can find me there, and that is where your path shall be made clear. But hurry, my help and your task have a limited window of opportunity. Hurry to me, little seafoam.
The presence around me vanished. An odd sense of warmth flooded through me, and I had no idea why. I did know where I needed to go, but I had a stop to make first. The question was, do I go alone?
Forget that. I was always going to be alone. I couldn’t drag Rhodes into this. Aphie had far too much going on for me to bother her. Apollo was off on his own quest, and I think Adrestia was with him. Who did that leave me with? Myself. I couldn’t call on Rommel or Calix. They’d drag me back to the palace, or worse, the resort and confine me there if they knew what I was going to have to do.
I could always call on Poseidon. I clasped the necklace sitting atop my breast and thought for a moment. I couldn’t ask him for any favours. Not now, not when I’d abdicated the way I had. I had to do this myself, if only to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a helpless little sea goddess.
Everyone else was out of the question. They had their own problems, their own quests, and their own lives. I couldn’t be a bother. I had to move forward.
Gods, I’d really become pathetic, hadn’t I? This internal debate about needing help would never have occurred in any of my family’s minds. I guess I really was weak. No matter the strength of the tide, there was always something for it to crash and break upon. And I was about to break.
My spear was offshore, and I hurried to collect it. The trip to the island I would pit stop at first could be rough; most people, gods, and mortals, never found it. But the seas were connected, and I knew a back way in, just as Hermes had when he would visit to drop off snippets of news. I just needed to find the right channel to carry me through the mists and into the sea surrounding one of the most fabled islands in all Greek history.