Tonight is the night of the grand opening of my museum. All kinds of emotions bubble up inside me, excitement and anxiety mixed together. I am eager to show my family and the mortals all the hard work that I have put into it, but I am anxious about what they will think. The museum is like my baby and if they think it is horrible…well, I don’t know what I will do with myself.
I wring my hands nervously as I make my way out of my office and out into the main lobby. The ceiling is high and made of glass, and the view of the stars twinkling above helps to calm my nerves. Looking around, I see only a few of my close family members are here. The rest must be busy fighting Titans.
I smooth my hands over the dress I am wearing. It is dark blue and sparkles in the light. The back cut low, revealing my entire expanse and a slit on the right side that goes up to mid-thigh. My hair is half up, half down and it has black and blue flowers pinned in it.
Making my way to the bar, I take a deep breath. I am about to order myself a drink when a voice behind me makes me jump.
“Fancy seeing you here.” It is Eros. I turn to look at him as he orders two shots of tequila.
“Yes, well, it is my museum,” I say, my heart fluttering in my chest.
He smirks down at me. “The place looks amazing, Aren. You must be so proud.”
“I am proud, thank you,” I say, my cheeks burning slightly. Out of the corner of my eye, I see two shots slide to Eros. He downs both simultaneously before turning to look at me.
“Why aren’t you dancing?” He raises his brow. “Don’t tell me that no one asked you, because I am not believing that.”
“No, no one’s asked me.” I order one shot of rum from the bartender. He places the shot in front of me, but Eros swipes it away. He shoots it back and my jaw drops.
“That is a tragedy,” he says, offering me his arm. “My Lady History, may I have the honor of this dance?”
I roll my eyes smiling, linking my arm with his. “Thank you, Sir Love.”
He places a hand on mine. When we reach the dance floor, he spins me away from him before pulling me back. He tugs me close, his lips close to my ear.
“I heard Attie and Erebus were last in Italy, she got away,” he whispers.
“She did?” I whisper back, excited.
Eros looks around the room, observing the other gods. He takes my right hand and places it on his shoulder before placing his own hand on my back. My face burns hotter from his touch. How can he not know how this affects me? I focus on him while he leads me through different dance steps.
“She won’t stay still, I’m worried. I’m worried she won’t accept our help.”
“I am sure she will. We are her best friends after all,” I reply.
“Aren, we were her best friends. It has been three thousand years.”
I frown. He is right. We weren’t there for her when she needest us most.
“We will have to make it up to her then,” I state.
Eros spins me into a tighter twirl and for a second, our bodies completely press against each other. I look away from him as my heart races in my chest.
“We have to find her first. I’ve been keeping it a secret from my brother, and it’s…killing me…” Eros says, trailing off.
“We will find her and we will talk to her.”
His hand tightens on my waist. “You are not going anywhere near her, not right now. She’s too unpredictable, even for us. I can take her hurting me, but I’m…” He clears his throat.
“You’re?” I tilt my head, confused.
His clear blue eyes meet mine and he whispers softly, “I can forgive her for releasing the Titans, even hurting Din because she did no lasting damage, but I can’t – I won’t – be able to forgive her if she hurts you, Aren. It’s where I draw the line.
I stay silent for a moment, replaying his words in my head. He really does care about me…maybe…I close my eyes. No. Don’t think about that.
His brows furrow.
“Just because we grew apart doesn’t mean I don’t still love you.” He clears his throat. “As one of my best friends.”
For a second, my heart leaps in my chest at the words “love you”. It sinks slowly after that. Even I can’t fake a smile as I drop my hands from him. I can’t even think of a reply, so I turn and walk away from the dance floor. I head out into the garden, hoping the fresh air will clear my mind.
“What was that?” I hear Eros ask behind me. I don’t turn to look at him as I continue to walk.
“It was nothing.”
I hear him chase after me, grabbing my arm. He spins me partially towards him, my eyes are slightly watery so I continue to look away.
“What is wrong with you?” he asks.
He grips my arm. “You’re lying. Why?”
I open my mouth to say something, but then close it. I can’t lie to him.
“It doesn’t matter. I can’t lose you…” I stop myself from continuing.
“Lose me? I’m not going anywhere, Aren. You’re stuck with me.”
“It isn’t that. I just…” I squeeze my eyes shut. Shit. “I love you.”
“Yeah, like I said, we are best friends. Of course, we love each other.”
I shake my head, my voice feeling weak, “No…more than that.”
“What are you talking about?” His hand drops from my arm.
“After all these years, I still love you.”
“Please, tell me you’re joking, Aren.”
I shake my head, my stomach beginning to feel sick. “No. I’m not joking.”
“Aren, you know I can’t love you back like that. It’s too late.”
“I know.” I choke back a sob, looking up at him. I notice he is a few steps away from me and is continuing to walk away.
“It was always destined to be like this. I always hurt those I love the most. Din, Nyxie, Attie, and now…you. I’m sorry…I…I’m sorry”
He pops away, leaving me in the courtyard alone. I manage to keep myself composed as I walk back into the Museum. Luckily, no one stops me until I make my way to my private quarters. I lock the door behind me and collapse to the floor. Tears gush down my face as I let out the sadness I feel in my heart. My mother was right. I should have listened to her.