There is a goddess whose duty is to be the messenger of the gods, and her power is to control rainbows. She appears as a young blonde with a frizzy curled-up bun secured by a pen.
Iris holds her peacoat tightly around her as she struggles against the December wind in New York City. “Oh my, gods, this is not my month!” she mumbles to herself. She races toward The Reading Rainbow, a bookstore owned by her best friend and roommate. Gerald and Iris share an apartment above the store, and he rents her the room dirt cheap.
The bell rings as she enters, the wind trying to blow the old creaky door out of her hand. “Ger Bear?” Gerald walks around the corner, rolling his eyes at the nickname. He is wearing Christmas pajamas and matching fuzzy socks. In one hand he carries a mug of coffee and the gray bookstore kitty, Duke, in the other.
“Bad date?” Iris asks.
“He was absolutely horrid. I mean, you could tell the guy didn’t even brush his teeth!” Gerald pouted. Duke jumped out of his arms, and Gerald sat his coffee down on a bare shelf before hurrying to hug Iris.
She hugged him back and said, “Aww! I’m so sorry, Ger Bear.”
He let go of her and shivered dramatically. “Burrr! You’re so cold, Irie.”
Her thoughts began to wander as she stares at the mug on the shelf. “Well, drink some of that coffee you’re not supposed to have at this hour.”
Gerald runs a hand through his thick dark hair. “Ugh, okay, I’m off to bed. Good night. Love you!” He shuffles his way to the stairs hidden at the back of the store. She watches him as he stomps his way up to the second floor. Iris tiptoes to the coffee, and cradling the mug with both hands, takes a warm gulp. Her eyes turn a bright violet.
Cradling her prize, she takes the stairs on silent feet and sneaks down the hall. She opens the first door and enters their apartment, kicking off her boots and hanging her jacket. In her office, she jumps onto her giant swivel chair and turns on her laptop. Iris lets out a long sigh and takes another deep gulp of the coffee when she sees the thousands of messages she has received on her website, Messages From Iris. The newest LGBTQIA+ art gallery blog, named The Prism has gone viral.
After spending hours answering messages, she checks her social media, starting with Twitter. A few hearted retweets and short story tweets later, she starts to doze off but startles awake when her computer pings with yet another notification. It’s a DM from a girl named Ireland. Which would not be abnormal…if she were not from Ireland herself.
IRELAND: Hi there from Ireland! I am absolutely obsessed with your blog. I would love to see you in the Pride Parade next year.
Iris’s eyes swirled, forming a whirlpool of every color in the rainbow. “Okay, girl, who are you?” I whispered before responding.
IRIS: Yeah, totally! Look for the Rainbow Goddess at the head of the parade. I would love to see you there, too.
Iris grinned at the thought, her eyes morphing from rainbow pools to glowing pink. Her lips curved in a bright smile when the response appeared within seconds.
IRELAND: You must think it’s silly for me to be named Ireland and live in Ireland too, huh?
IRIS: No, I think it is a beautiful name, and you should hear some of my family’s ridiculous names. It’ll have you giggling for days!
Iris clicked on Ireland’s profile picture as she waited for the next notification. Ireland is gorgeous, with crazy red curls, freckles, sea-green eyes, two beautiful dimples, and a cute button nose that has Iris rolling her eyes. She jumps when the next notification comes in.
IRELAND: Lol! Thank you. You are so sweet. And very pretty, by the way.
So she had been looking at her picture, too? Iris dances in her chair.
“Go to sleep!” She turns in her chair. Gerald peers at her from around the rainbow curtain with puffy eyes. “Wow,” his eyes widened, “who’s the babe?!”
She stuck her tongue out playfully and said, “Ireland. She is cute, isn’t she?”
He looked at her like she was crazy. “So, are you guys like a couple?”
She laughed. Rolling her eyes. “Hardly.”
IRIS: Aww. I think you’re pretty, too!
“Ooooo…Iris isn’t the only one with a little crush?!”
Iris’s cheeks turned as pink as her eyes, and her lips parted just a bit.
“You are!” He gasps. “I wish I had your love life…”
Iris sighs. “It’s not a love life, Ger Bear. It’s simply a cute conversation. You are so dramatic! But it is okay. I love you anyway.”
It was his turn to roll his eyes. “Okay, if you insist. But you better go to bed. It is late, Miss Freelance Journalist of New York City! Hey! Is that my coffee?”
She took the last gulp before he snagged it back and gave him an innocent smile.
“So much for schedules!” He looked in the mug and took the last sip of the cinnamon peppermint chocolate coffee, giving himself a mocha-colored mustache that sends Iris into an attack of the giggles. He peeks at his reflection in the mirror and smiles before licking away the chocolate coffee. “Good night, Irie. Don’t stay up too long. You know I can tell that you are tired, Irie. Your eyes are purple.”
She sighs and kicks her foot against the floor, sending her chair spinning.”I know, I know.”
He leaves the office but shouts from his room, “And go to your bed in your room tonight. Your office is not a bedroom, Irie!” She silently mimics him and goes back to her laptop. Iris talks to Ireland for the rest of the morning until the sunlight shines through her window.
This is just the beginning.