I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few days. That is all I can do. Eros and I haven’t slept in the same bed in days, and I keep wondering if it will ever be the same between us. I haven’t even seen him since our last discussion, and my body is physically and mentally breaking down. Sleeping has been nonexistent, although I do try to for the twins. Even they seem to be restless. I feel them shift in my stomach constantly.
Talk to her. My subconscious pokes at me. I know exactly who the little voice is talking about. My daughter. Eros is right. I want to prove that I am strong enough, so we will never lose our children again. I didn’t even realize that is what I was trying to do. Fix the mistakes I made in the past.
I let out a long sigh as I pace outside Hedone’s room. The two of us have yet to sit down and talk about what happened in the past. A few months ago, Hedone saw what happened to Eros and I. What happened to her and I. It was the only way I could prove to her I am her mother. We never spoke about it again. I feel like I could have handled the situation better. Perhaps apologizing would lift the weight on my soul.
Then again, every time I reach my hand to knock on her door, I can’t. Maybe I should leave the past in the past, but then again, one thing I do know is that history comes back to haunt people. I hear scratching on my daughter’s door, and within seconds it opens. Her pink kitty cat headphones are looped around her neck, and her head is cocked to the side.
“Miteras? Is something wrong?”
I smile weakly at her, my heart pounding. “Kori! I was just… C-can we talk?”
Hedone opens the door more, gesturing for me to enter. “Is this about Pater sleeping in the guest room?”
I squeeze my eyes shut, sighing. “How do you know about that?”
“Uh, it’s obvious? You know these walls are not soundproof?” She rolls her eyes, pointing down at her headphones. “Why do you think I wear these all the time?”
I squint at her as I think. “Your Pater said he soundproofed our bedroom.”
She laughs. “Thank Rhea for that! But he did not soundproof the guest bedroom or the living room.”
My mind quickly starts thinking of everything Hedone could have heard. Did she overhear the fights we had when her father had his nightmares? What about the times Eros and I explored the different rooms? Oh, gods, I should have known better. Now she knows about our most current fight. A child shouldn’t have to know about their parents’ troubles.
“What all have you heard?” I finally ask, chewing my bottom lip.
My daughter’s golden brows furrow. “I don’t understand most of it, but I know Pater thinks you did something wrong.”
“I did.” I sigh, taking a seat on her bed. She is too intelligent and too mischievous. I guess that is what you get when you mix the Muse of History and the God of Love. My hands shake slightly, and I try to cover it. “I wanted to discuss something with you. Something serious.”
Hedone blanches and looks down at my stomach. “You’re pregnant again? You’re having triplets? Quadruplets? Quintuplets?”
I shake my head, laughing lightly. “It doesn’t work like that, Kori.”
Hedone lets out an unsteady breath. “Okay good, so what’s wrong?”
My demeanor shifts, looking at her seriously. “You know how you spent all those years away from us?”
Duck hops onto the bed, resting his head on my lap. I sigh. “Were you ever mad at us?”
Hedone frowns. “What do you mean mad at you?”
I continue to chew my lip anxiously. “I…I lost you when you were just a baby. Don’t you have resentment towards me? For not saving you?”
Hedone laughs awkwardly. “Miteras, you didn’t know I existed. How could I be mad? Should I be mad?”
Yes. You should be mad. I couldn’t fight my mother to save you. Looking down at my hands, I let out a shaky breath. “Y-you saw what happened. I-I wasn’t strong enough to save you…”
Hedone walks forward, lowering to her knees. She gently grabs my hands, her thumb rubbing over my knuckles. “Miteras…what I saw was strength. You came for me, you and Pater. That is great strength.”
She rests her head in my lap, tears rolling down my face. “You found us, Kori. I…was too weak to fight back…to remember.”
Hedone’s arms wrap around my legs. “She was your mother, Miteras. She knew when and where to hit.”
She did. My mother knew everything about me. She controlled every aspect of my life. I gently stroke Hedone’s hair. I would never treat my daughter how my mother treated me.
“I should have fought harder,” I whisper.
She shakes her head. “You fought for Pater, for me, and for our babies.”
I choke back a sob. “I am so sorry, H-Hedone.”
“For what? Being my mom?”
I kiss Hedone’s head. “For not fighting hard enough. I p-promise never to lose you again.”
Hedone sits up, wrapping her arms around me tightly. “You won’t lose me because I’ll just find you again.”
I laugh waterily. “I love you, Kori.”
“I love you too, Miteras.”
We stay silent for a few minutes, holding onto each other tightly. We needed this. This talk. A weight lifts from my soul as I hold her tighter. My daughter. One of the strongest goddesses I know. I kiss her head one more time.
“Would you like to watch a movie?”
Hedone looks up at me, smiling. “Margaux said I need to watch a movie called Mean Girls. Can we watch that?”
I brush Hedone’s gold locks behind her ear. “Of course.”
She smiles brightly, getting up onto the bed, and crawls to the very back. Din and Las, in their tiger form, both jump up beside her. Duck moving from beside me to lay on Las. I smile, shaking my head as I prepare the movie for us. Climbing back onto the bed, I cuddle close to my daughter, and she lays her head on my stomach.
“This is baby Hedone one, and this is baby Hedone two,” she murmurs, looking up at me. “That’s their names.”
I laugh softly. “Is it now?”
Hedone nuzzles her face into my stomach, one of the twins pressing their hand on her cheek. She quickly pulls away, her face lighting up. “I felt them! Make them do it again.”
My daughter presses her face on my stomach once more, and I start playing with her hair, giggling. “Ask them nicely.”
Hedone pulls back from my stomach, watching carefully. “Baby Hedone One and Two, please move again?”
The twins both press their bodies against my stomach, one foot, and one hand. I watch Hedone’s eyes sparkle as she watches.
“They did it!” she giggles.
I place a hand on my stomach, smiling. “They are excited to meet you.”
Hedone leans closer to my stomach, whispering, “When you get out of your strange imprisonment, baby Hedones, I’m going to introduce you to my best friend Margaux and teach you all the things I know. Like, did you know there’s this thing called a penis? A man has a penis, and a woman has a vagina, and when the two get together, they create babies. Babies like you! Isn’t that amazing?”
My jaw drops as I listen to my daughter’s talk about anatomy. I knew when she started to hang out with others around her age, she would learn things. Clearly, she didn’t realize what she was saying is a tad inappropriate. I laugh slightly. “Do not tell your Pater that Margaux taught you that.”
“That’s only the beginning!” Hedone looks up at me. Her hand comes up from moving it to and from her mouth, her tongue poking her cheek. “It’s been very educational having her as a friend.”
My eyes widen. Definitely not something I want to see my daughter doing. I grab her arm, putting it back onto her lap. “Don’t do that in front of your Pater, either. Actually, come to me when Margaux teaches you new things.”
Hedone frowns. “Well, she’s taught me a lot. Do you want me to go through the list?”
I shake my head quickly. “You know what, I’ll get you to talk to Thea. She will tell you what you can and can’t say in front of Pater.”
“I’m sure Pater knows what I’m talking about. Margaux told me he used to be a…” Hedone lowers her voice, “hoe.”
I groan, laying back down on the bed. She is learning things too quickly and not fully understanding them. I need to have Thea sit down with her and explain things. “Do you know what that word means?”
Hedone frowns. “I asked Margaux, and she said it meant he had the morals of an alley cat.”
I sigh. “Oh, Kori…” How am I going to explain this?
Hedone smiles to herself. “But she said something else…”
I close my eyes, preparing for more terms and expressions that I will have to explain. “What’s that?”
“She said that Pater was completely lost without you.”
I close my eyes, tearing up. “Come watch the movie with me.”
Hedone cuddles closer to me. “Miteras?”
“Mhm?” I mumble, wrapping my arm around my daughter.
“Whatever happened…I’m sure Pater will forgive you,” she says, resting her hand on my stomach.
My lip trembles. I don’t know this time, Kori. I kiss her head, choking back a sob. “Let’s w-watch the movie. You’ll l-like it.”
Hedone’s attention shifts from me to the movie as the first tear rolls down my cheek. My mind is distracted with thoughts of Eros. Will he ever forgive me? Will we ever be able to move on from this? Hedone manages to fall asleep right before the end of the movie, and I slip out from her bed. It is time to speak with my husband.