An elbow nudged my rib cage as I leaned against the cocktail table in the dark lounge. My nose flared, and I looked over at a smiling Hermes. “You should go flirt with her.”
“Why?” I scoffed, pretending not to be interested. I wasn’t interested. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself over and over again. I shouldn’t be interested. Couldn’t be interested. But for some reason, I was. I always had been.
“Oh, come on.” Hermes laughed. “It would be funny to watch you get her hopes up.” His pure disregard for the feelings of others turned my stomach.
I rolled my eyes and looked over at Hermes sharply. I ran a hand through my shaggy, bleach-blonde hair in frustration. “What are you even doing awake at this hour?”
“Trying to play matchmaker, apparently,” Hermes scoffed and returned my eye-roll. He apparently was one of our fellow night owls. He just liked to cause more mischief than good with their free time.
I brought both of my hands to my face and ran them down the front of my face. I pulled my eyelids down, and my lips followed suit as I blew out an exasperated air of breath. “If I do it, will you shut up and leave me alone?”
Hermes’ eyes lit up with pure pleasure. “Yes.”
Making my way across the shady 20s Chicago speakeasy was fairly easy at this time of night. Nobody was out except those of us that never slept. I had been watching her for a few weeks now, unsure of how to approach her.
I was Apollo. All the women swoon over me, but not her. She didn’t find me irresistible, and that made her irresistible to me. Her style strayed away from the in-style flapper dress. Instead she’d gone with a tailor-fitted suit, and it had me unsure of how to even talk to her. She was a different breed of goddess.
“Hello, beautiful,” I said.
She turned and cut her cold, dark eyes at me. “What do you want, Uncle?” I don’t know what it was about her, but the coldness in her paired well with the warmth of the sun. I needed to feel her power with mine.
I held my arms wide open. “Tia, don’t be like that,” I nearly begged her. I glanced back at Hermes, who was snickering. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing because I was getting shot down or if he found me flirting with her that hilarious.
“I know you, and I know your type,” she hissed. A shiver went down my spine as a smile crept across my face. “You’re not my type, so wipe that smile off your pasty little face.”
“I can’t help it, Tia,” I said, holding my hands up. I looked down at the seat next to her, and then back up at her with puppy dog eyes.
She rolled her eyes and turned her head. “Yes, sit,” she said, pointing at the seat. I swear I could see a half-smile behind those lips.
“Tia, I have feelings for you,” I admitted. “I have been falling for you for weeks. I sit across from you every night and watch you here by yourself. I’ve watched over you for hundreds of years. You are the one who I can never get away from. Something about you makes you so damn irresistible to me. I want to know you more than just physically. I want to bond and allow our souls to mingle. You are the one I’ve always let get away, Tia.”
Tia looked away uncomfortably as she blushed, shrugging her shoulders. “Look, I can’t help what you’re feeling. I’m just not interested in men right now.”
“I’m not asking you to give me a chance, but I had to tell you. Before…” I stumbled over the words.
“Of course, there is a catch,” she spat, staring daggers at me. “Always a catch with you.”
“Before I leave the family,” I finally said.
She scrunched her face and arched an eyebrow. “We all leave.”
“For good, Tia.”
“Apollo?” I heard Corey call over the sound of the radio. I looked over at him and rubbed the crust out of my eyes.
“How long have I been asleep?” I asked groggily.
“About three hours, sir,” Corey said.
I looked out the window of the car at the familiar buildings of the stop I had to make. I smiled and leaned up.
“You okay, Apollo? You never sleep that heavily or that long.” Corey wheeled the car into one of the nicer motels in the town.
“This place,” I said, looking out the window, “and these series of events, well, they bring back memories. Long, long, lost memories.” I sighed. “I’m just reminiscing.”
It wasn’t a lie. Hearing Tia’s voice had brought back a surge of emotions and regret that I had all but forgotten about. This place, though. This place was something else to me entirely. It was a symbol of my freedom.
“What is so important about Colorado Springs?” Corey asked as he put the car in park.
I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes. “This is the first place I came to when I left the God Complex,” I told him quietly. “I moved here and left everything behind for a fresh start.”
“Did you find what you were looking for?” Corey asked.
“If I had, do you think we’d be back?” I laughed.
“That’s fair.” Corey chuckled. “What exactly are we looking for?”
“I don’t know yet, Corey.” I sighed and cut my eyes out the window. I watched the snow fall around the car and felt the coolness of the window when I pressed my nose against it.
“Can I ask you something else?” Corey asked as he leaned back in the driver’s seat and turned to look at me. “It may be way out of line, and you can tell me as much.”
He certainly had my interest. I quirked an eyebrow and leaned forward. “Go on,” I said.
“Have you ever loved someone before?”
I blinked rapidly a couple of times. I felt like I had been gut-punched. “Once.”