By the time the night finally arrives, SDE is in full swing, mortals arriving in droves to the event. Dion is always able to put together a massive party with a single phone call, a little perk of being the god of revelry. I only contributed the funds for the event – well, rather, Dinlas did, via the credit card I had stolen from him the night before. What’s Halloween without a little mischief?
Standing in the DJ booth – Erebus waking up from a long nap just to spin for it, even Nemesis coming out to cause some trouble – surveying the mass of mortals partying in front of me, I should feel some satisfaction at the event coming together so flawlessly. It was a party for the record books. Mortals would talk about this event for years to come, and it would be the standard by which all parties would be measured by.
So why do I feel ambivalent?
Dion comes to my side, slapping me hard on the back, shouting to be heard over the noise, “You don’t look like you’re enjoying yourself, Coop.”
My lips twitch into a small smile. “Nonsense. I’m enjoying myself.”
Dion raises a skeptical dark brow, holding an offended hand to his chest. “You forget who I am, I’m the god of merriment.”
So he knows I’m only going through the motions. With a slight huff, I confess to him, “I don’t know. Something is different. Maybe I should never have come back.”
Slinging his arm around my shoulders, he pulls me into his side affectionately. “I didn’t ask for your life story. You need something to make you not be such a baby.”
A chuckle actually breaks through my throat, this is why Dion will always be my favorite uncle. “And you have the means for such a change?”
Dion’s smile spreads across his face wickedly, in a way I recognize, knowing no good will come from it. Dion reaches into his pants pocket, pulling out a bag with Mr. T’s Sweets labeled on the side.
“Candy? Your solution to my mood is candy?” I ask, shock coursing through me at such a staid suggestion from Dion.
“You know, I’ve really missed your snark. Open your mouth.”
I do – about to make some crude comment about the last time someone said such a thing to me – but Dion takes the chance and shoves four of the candies into my mouth. Swallowing in reflex, the candies slide slowly down my throat.
“What the fuck was that, Dion?” I snap, coughing slightly.
My uncle smirks, popping several of the candies into his own mouth. “It’s called knowing you well, Coop. Would you have taken them if I told you they were hallucinogens?”
Dion starts to turn away, but I grab his arm to stop him, shouting over the music, “Hallucinogens?!”
His smile returns, this time evilly. “Yep. You won’t be able to be such a baby when you’re fighting the dragon guarding the fridge.”
Dion plops several more into his mouth, disappearing down the stairs and into the crowd, leaving me behind.
Alright, shit. Hallucinogens. Fuck, Dion level hallucinogens. If Dion owned them, they were going to be powerful enough to incapacitate a mortal, and knock most gods on their ass. And Dion shoved four in my mouth.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Maybe I should head home to devolve in private, instead of surrounded by mortals. I’m enough trouble when I’m sober, I can’t imagine what kind of problem I’m going to be drunk and high.
Yep, got to get my ass home before this hits. Taking a couple steps towards the OA, I pull my phone out of my pocket, attempting to focus my fingers – I am already pretty trashed, Dion and I drinking steadily since he showed up – to find the right phone number. As I scroll, I can’t even remember which contact I’m actually trying to find. I press one of the names saved, holding it up to my ear, having no idea who will answer.
I breathe a slight sigh of relief when I hear Tory pick up.
“Nephew?” she asks, I can barely hear her over the blaring music.
“Tory!” I shout, forgetting why I had called her in the first place.
“Where are you? It’s so loud!”
“The woods. Come.” I’m not sure if I make any sense and I fumble my phone, hanging up on her on accident. Shit, I have to call her back
Glancing up from my phone for a moment, I notice the lights are starting to seem really bright, and was the music that loud, a minute ago?
Shit, are these drugs hitting already?
Stumbling down the steps from the DJ booth, I begin darting between the mortals pressing against each other, grinding to the rhythm of the pounding beat.
My path is blocked several times when the wasted mortals fall into my path. Can’t they tell I’m in a hurry? Do they have an idea what will happen if I’m here when these drugs hit?
When the next couple blocks my path, I realize I’m too late. A shiver shoots down my spine, goosebumps forming over every inch of my skin, my hair standing on end.
I’m going to kill Dion. In fact, I’m going to kill him right now. Whirling around on my heel, the sudden movement disorients me for a moment. I take a step in the direction I saw Dion heading off a moment before.
A mortal bumps my shoulder hard, turning me in another direction. In this state, I’m completely at the whims of the jostling mortals around me. Another slams into my side, turning me in another direction.
Which is when I first see her.
At the edge of the dance area, the farthest possible location from me, a mortal female snags my attention, her back to me. It’s like the thread of Fate is looped from my soul to hers, linking us across the entire rave.
Dark hair – like sable – is cascading down her back, falling like a midnight wave. I’m a sucker for dark hair. My brother and father have a strange affinity for redheads, but it’s dark hair that fascinates me. I love the way it wraps around my fist when I control them, when I bend them to my will, like a dark tie between us.
She’s facing away from me, with no idea that she is now the sole focus of the God of Love. Like a youth in the first blush of lust, I make several stumbling steps towards the mysterious woman.
Tilting my head, I lose sight of her temporarily when I’m hit in the side by another mortal. Rounding on the mortal, a snarl of rage rips from me. I snatch the mortal by the throat, suspending him midair.
It takes a beat for me to come to my senses, allowing me to drop the terrified man, who scrambles away from me in horror on the ground.
What was that?
I don’t react like that. I’m not my father. I’m not Dinlas. There’s only one person who’s ever invoked that kind of reaction in me. One person, in my entire immortal life.
Snapping my head back in the direction of the mysterious female, I catch sight of her again. For the first time, I notice what she’s dressed as.
Most of the mortals are dressed in some kind of costume or other at the rave, but the strange female appears to be dressed like a fairy, complete with a set of wings. From here, I can tell that they’re not feathered wings like mine used to be. They appear delicate, translucent, iridescent in color, almost like the wings of a butterfly, and they appear to be glowing slightly.
My stomach rolls again. There’s only one woman who has wings like that, hair like that.
Shoving the mortals aside frantically, I push through the crowd, trying to keep her in sight at the same time. Every time I catch sight of her, it looks like she’s even farther away, instead of closer.
Pushing forward more insistently, I reach the edge of the dance floor, my jaw grinding when I see her standing on the edge of the crops of trees.
She’s balancing on the balls of her feet, still facing away from me, and I pause for a second, my breath catching. Desire punches me in the gut, raging through me, making every inch of my body hard. Achingly hard, desperate for release. I haven’t felt this kind of immediate desire since her.
Narrowing my eyes again at the stranger, I’m captivated as she turns her head slightly, looking back at me over her shoulder. Her face is pale, shining in the mix of moonlight and rave lights, allowing me to catch sight of a straight nose, full, dark red lips. But it’s her eyes which hold me spellbound, they are sliding kaleidoscope of colors, as if an entire rainbow lives in her eyes.
She turns away from me, heading deeper into the forest and – like the fool I am – I resume stumbling after her.
How could I not?
She’s my wife.