I haven’t been sleeping, and I’m trying to hide it from my wife. Which is extremely difficult when your wife is not only sleeping entwined with you, but also a goddess twice over, and easily the smartest person I’ve ever met. So hiding I’m not sleeping next to her? It’s…it’s getting to me. I need to find a distraction, something to focus my energy toward.
Right now, I’m wandering down the street, though my phone is out and I’m constantly checking the hacked footage of the God Complex HQ on my phone. It should surprise exactly zero people that I found a back door unguarded in our system. If my brother knows I’ve hacked in, he doesn’t tell me, then again maybe he figures the more eyes the better. I’m watching the door on my floor constantly on my phone, waiting to see if she leaves. It’s extremely difficult for me to leave her and our daughter, even for a moment. I’m almost entirely convinced that the moment I look away, she’ll disappear.
But I want to surprise her, for some insane reason. I want to watch her face light up when I do it. Which is why I’m wandering the street, trying to figure out what exactly, I’m going to surprise her with. I’m in the first store when I realize I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.
“How can we help you, sir?” The saleswoman asks, and I have no response.
Fuck I should have asked Din to come, and Nyxie. Though I’m not sure how they would have helped. If I don’t even know what I’m looking for, how should they? Maybe I just need the comfort of the presence of my best friend and twin. Without answering the sales lady, I pull out my phone to text them both, but I stop before hitting send.
Are you really so helpless, boy? You can’t do anything without falling on them?
It’s probably the fact that I’m sleep deprived but that voice sounds vaguely familiar, and for some reason I obey it.
To the saleslady, I croak, “I’m just looking for now.”
She nods, moving away from me, but her eyes follow me around the store, as I look.
I look for something to speak to me in that store, and every single one of the seventeen stores I go to. Intermittently, checking my phone for alerts that she’s left my floor.
It’s store eighteen when something finally speaks to me. It’s a haze of exchanging money until I’m walking out of the store, my step noticeably lighter.
My phone buzzes in my pocket and for a moment I think it’s Din or Nyx, till I remember that I never sent that text. Though I’m a little surprised by who exactly is texting me.
Got a project for you.
Moxie? She has a project for me? Well, I’m currently unavailable.
To her, I type out: Thanks, but no thanks, Mox. Then I power down my phone and continue back towards the complex, content that even if Clio sneaks out, she’ll have to pass by me to do so.
You really didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? Comes Moxie’s voice in my head.
Fuck, I forgot she could do that.
Out of my head, Mox.
The sound of tinkling laughter comes through again, making me grit my teeth, Your presence has been ordered from on high. You have exactly 0 minutes to make your way to his floor.
By now, I’m back in the Complex, about to step in the elevator, pressing the button for my floor.
I have things to do. Tell him to take a nap. Isn’t he tired from, you know, almost dying?
The elevator shoots up heading towards my floor, and I smile to myself, imagining Clio’s face.
Then the number for 69 on the elevator goes out.
I press the button again for my floor, it lights up for a moment, then goes out. My eyes narrow, and I close my eyes, reaching out for Moxie.
This is not fucking funny, Mox.
The button for 91 lights up, and no matter the other buttons I push to stop from arriving on floor 91, nothing happens.
All I hear in my head is Moxie’s laugh.
When the elevator stops on Floor 91 – my grandfather’s office for those of you unaware – my annoyance is at an all-time high. I probably shouldn’t be so annoyed about this, but with the new security protocols, I couldn’t simply pop out of the elevator, add that to the fact that I haven’t slept, equals an irritated god of love. Don’t tell Katie this but I’m a fan of choice, I know what a shocker, and my grandfather has just taken away mine.
But I got to play it off. It’s not my style to be upset.
“If you wanted some love, all you had to do was ask,” I smirk, strolling off the elevator without a care in the world. Traditionally, I would be twirling an arrow, but my hands are not as steady as they need to be, so I keep them at my sides.
Moxie is standing behind Zeus’s shoulder, a knowing smile stretching across the shell she’s currently wearing, her signature green-blue eyes swirling at me.
Strolling forward, I sit down at one of the two chairs in front of his desk, crossing my ankle over my knee, feigning a casualness I don’t feel. It probably doesn’t help that I can’t check the security feed with them both watching me so intently.
My hands moisten, is she already gone?
Forcing my mind away from my wife and onto my grandfather, noticing for the first time how he appears. I knew he’d had a rough couple of weeks, we all had, but he looked tired. Tired is probably the wrong word. He made gods tremble and worlds quake in fear of his wrath, but now…it’s like the fight in him has…vanished. How much is due to Attie rotting in Tartarus?
Which reminds me.
“As delightful as it is to be summoned to your office, Papu, unwillingly, I do actually need to speak to Yaya. Where is she?”
My grandfather leans back in his chair, resting his hands on his stomach and eyes me speculatively. Even Moxie stiffens, “Your grandmother is missing.”
I’m sure there’s a list of appropriate reactions to such a statement. I’m sure my response is decidedly not one of them.
There is a moment of silence between them before I realize they’re not joking, “Okay, suddenly I get the feeling this is not a joke, and you’re actually serious.”
“As a heart attack,” Moxie remarks, a ghost of a smile on her shell’s face.
Okay…my grandmother is missing, how bad could that be? I mean really?
I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone listening, that if there is one god thou does not fuck with? It’s Hera.
In other words, there are few things worse than my grandmother being missing.
“Well, shit, what do you need me for?” I ask, still reeling from the idea that the queen of the gods has gone missing.
“Let me clear something up, boy,” my grandfather begins, “We don’t need you for anything. We are offering you the opportunity to be a functioning and contributing member of this family.”
Okay, I decidedly, do not like where this is going.
“We want you to take over the News on 82,” Moxie murmurs, her voice cutting through the tension in the room.
Talk about swerve.
“What does Penis have to do with Yaya being missing?”
“It’s not Penis, it’s PNS. Or Pantheon News Syndicate,” Moxie responds.
Rolling my eyes at her, “It’s Penis and we both know it.”
Mox opens her mouth again, but Zeus waves her off. “The name is immaterial, what matters is that we have a news service, that could have been helpful with the Titans being out, that is not being utilized. Now, with your grandmother missing, we need people to be on the lookout for her, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also the new strange sightings, but we’ll discuss that later. So gird your loins, boy, you’re in charge, and you have to wear a shirt.”
My brows draw down in confusion. Looking down at my shirt, I suppose it’s torn in more places than are socially acceptable, but I don’t think it’s that bad.
“We’re done here,” Zeus says, turning his chair slightly away from me, and I know I’m dismissed.
Standing up, a little out of sorts with the onslaught of revelations just handed to me by my grandfather, I try to think through the news that was just delivered. Usually, I would have a ready response to such an order, but I’m a little too out of it, and when my hand hits my pocket, I remember my original purpose for leaving the building in the first place.
Turning my back on them, I head back to the elevator, I’ll just have to think about this later, way later. Like after a good night’s sleep.