“Damnit, Hermes!” 

I pounded my fist on the table, causing my pencils to roll off the blotter and onto the floor. It made me realize how silly it was to be cursing a god who wasn’t even in the room. I did not know where he’d actually gone, but he apparently neglected to deliver all of the invitations to the opening night event at the gallery. 

Athena visited earlier in the week and warned me of Hermes’ unreliability. She told me that Iris was a better bet for those things in the future. Hell, at this rate, Mr. Hoots would be a better choice…if it wasn’t beneath him to deliver correspondence…which of course it was. 

The event would have to be pushed back. It made me feel sick and I did not want to have to break the news to Adrian. 

Scouring the calendar, I realized that I could squeeze in a new opening date before my trip to Par Impar with the girls. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it would have to do. I needed a mini-break and was definitely looking forward to a trip to the Carribean.

I made a mental note to contact Moxie to let her know about Hermes’ failure and ask her to update the promos. My stomach clenched momentarily at the thought of telling her. Lately, she had been fighting with Zeus and seemed pretty riled up. I shuddered at the thought. That made talking to Adrian seem like a walk in the park.

I traced my steps back to the gallery to find him. 

He never gave me a satisfactory explanation for his disappearing act, but the days since his return, there had been a flurry of activity and work. With all of the other drama going on in the OA, I decided not to waste my energy worrying about him. 

As I stepped through the door, the smell of paint welcomed me, but the energy felt all wrong. Something was off. You know how you can go into a room and feel like there’s been a change…or someone has just been there? That was the feeling that struck me. 

Things looked the same…or did they?…but everything felt different.

“Adrian?” I called.

A minor rustling came from behind the half-wall. A moment later, Adrian appeared, paint-specked and disheveled, but handsome as usual. His gaze did not meet my eyes. 

“How’s it going?” I asked.

He looked around the room. 

“Fine,” he stated, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“Uh, I don’t know how to say this,” I took a deep breath. “I have a bit of bad news.”

“Oh?” he asked, finally looking directly at me.

“There’s been an unfortunate mix-up with the invitations. We’re going to have to push your opening back. I’m so sorry. I know how hard you’ve been working.”

A wave of what looked like relief washed across his strong features.

“Oh. Okay,” was all he said.

“Okay? I know it is horrible…”  I started.

“It’s actually fine,” he cut me off. “It gives me a little breathing room.”

A small pang of surprise registered in me, immediately followed by a feeling of gratitude. 

His eyes shifted around the room again. 

“I really appreciate your understanding,” I said.

“It’s fine,” he repeated, nodding slightly. It almost felt as if he was talking to himself. He pulled a paintbrush out of his pocket and began twirling it between his fingers. 

“Well, I will let you get back to it then.”

“Uh-huh,” he said absently.

Shaking my head, I walked toward the door. One of the paintings from my personal collection looked slightly askew, so I reached over and adjusted it, pushing the heavy gold frame with my fingertips. I’m not sure which parent I inherited it from, but I possessed the tendency to be bothered by things that were off-kilter.

Maybe that’s what seemed off earlier. 

Maybe it’s still the mortal.

Or maybe it is something else entirely.

Retired Scribe
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