I made my way past the elevator doors and into the God Complex lobby, happily refreshed after my long nap. A beautiful young woman in a sundress, with big pretty eyes and bare feet, walked right up to me with a big smile on her lips.
“Dionysos!” she exclaimed, pulling me into a hug.
It took me a while to realize who it was that was standing in front of me. “Well, well, if it ain’t the Queen of the Sea herself.” I spun her around as if we were dancing and kissed her cheek softly. The scent of the ocean was both faint and still distinct in her hair.
“You didn’t fade, did you? The mortals have always welcomed you into their homes. No wonder you didn’t need to take on a new body,” she chirped playfully, nudging me as we walked from the elevator landing and toward the sitting area that counted a couch less than usual.
I laughed heartily at her. “You’re not wrong, Amphy, not wrong at all.” I looked her over and smiled, knowing that my scrutiny would make her blush a bit. And it did. “I will always be around, so long as drunken revelry is. And you? I’m not getting a wall of sea-salt vibe from you anymore.”
She slapped my arm playfully and laughed. “I haven’t been salty in eons. I’d like to think I matured since Poseidon and I split.”
I smiled crookedly at her, and I tried to shush the voices in my head so I could carry this conversation. “So, what brings you to the God Complex? Are you staying here, too?”
She nodded and smiled softly. “Yes, Hebe gave me floor 27. I get a whole floor. What about you? You located near dear ol’ Daddio?”
Leaning on my thyrsos as if needing the support to think, I held my palm up, fingers splayed. “Yes! Floor five, all mine! I still have a lot of setting up to do, but it be mine.”
She laughed brightly and looked at me. “Floor five, do you have any ideas on how you want it set up?” Looking around, she wondered aloud, “I wonder if there is somewhere to get a drink, or at least sit while we chat.”
I smiled and offered my elbow while talking rapidly, both to her and myself, just to stay on track. “Yes, yes, lounge upstairs, lots to drink and lots to sit on, some comfy, some not. The set up will be set up as I set it up when the set up comes to me. Floor five set up, not lounge set up.”
She laughed again, an open and honest laugh, as if she really enjoyed my company and my ramblings. She took my proffered elbow and nodded. “To the lounge, then. I had an interior designer drop by my floor yesterday. Would you like their contact information?”
My head lifted to the ceiling in thought, and I stopped mid-stride, almost toppling both of us over. I did not know why, but something felt different to me. I was inclined to analyze it on the spot, but then I realized that we were still in the process of walking. Snapping back to reality a few seconds later, I finished my stride and nodded. “That would be very nice of you, dear. Very nice indeed!”
She smiled again as we made our way to the lounge. It was a pretty upscale looking place for a lounge, and if I cared enough, I would have felt a bit uncomfortable by being comfortable in my comfortable sweatpants and a flannel shirt. At least, Amphitrite looked right at home in her sundress and bare feet as she said to me, “Any drink you would recommend? I’ve recently taken a liking to white wine. From home, naturally.”
I gave her my best smile for a quick second, then looked down. “It’s all the same to me if it’s all the same to you. My taste has no taste, and that is the big punchline.” I raised a hand to get the waiter’s attention and yelled out loud before he even got there, “Tall glass of mineral water, flat for me, and whatever the pretty lady will have!”
She looked over at the waiter and said, “A glass of Assyrtiko, please?” The waiter nodded in confusion and hurried to the bar to put the order in.
“So, what designs have you designed in your mind for your floor, Amphy?” I asked while swiping my thoughts aside and trying to push my mind to stay in the present and pay attention.
She closed her eyes in thought and spoke in soft tones, “I want to have an office, completely secure, in case something happens again like the Titan’s escape. I heard some of the stories from Poseidon, and I saw Olympus…” She shivered as the waiter returned with our drinks. She took a sip and sighed happily. “Other than that, I want it to feel more like a beach cabin than under the sea. I have other ways of remembering home.”
“A beach cabin sounds positively sublime to me.” I rubbed my hands together in excitement and nodded as thoughts of ships and pirates and sword fights popped into my mind. I slapped my hands together to rearrange my thoughts again. “What is this about Titans, though? There was an escape?”
She nodded and took a long draught, going through her wine more like I usually do than most people. “Yes, I believe that someone decided to use them as a weapon and let them out. As revenge against your father, for some ill-perceived slight millennia ago. Poseidon didn’t really want to get into it too much, but I could tell that the betrayal of one of our own cut everyone deeply.”
I smiled an uneven smile, and my eyes welled up a bit as I finished my mineral water in one sitting. “Slights and betrayals. It all seems so…familial, doesn’t it? It often happens when ancients get bored. I hope things eventually work out for the best.”
Amphitrite nodded and sighed. “Change seems to come slower to us, and growth is even more delayed. Because we’re ageless, we think we have all the time in the world to fix our issues. But we don’t, and if our fading didn’t teach us anything, it should have taught us that.” She shook her head out of her melancholy and smiled back at me. “But enough of the drab and dreary, what plans do you have now that you’ve returned?”
“Plans? No plans. Only one plan. The Plan. The Master Plan! A plan so masterfully masterful that it will blow all expectations out of the water.” With that, I leaned into her and nudged her with a wink. “No pun intended.”
She laughed again, deep and hearty. “Of course not… And let me guess, you’ve completely forgotten this Master Plan?”
I stammered a bit and slapped both knees with my hands. “I have only forgotten it because it’s safer to be forgotten at this time. That is part of the mastery of such plans. I can’t go around telling everyone, now can I? Especially not me. You know what a tattle-tale I am!”
Amphitrite finished her wine and nodded. “The problem with madness, I’ve found, is that you’re either completely withdrawn and closed off, and no one can get you to open up, or you’re loose-lipped and sinking ships because you have no control… Now, I’m, of course, speaking from personal experience.”
I found the last line of what she said a bit too interesting not to analyze on the spot, so I stopped moving again for a few seconds to digest and let what she said sink in. She said something that could only come from someone who knew how it was to be in this predicament. With all the voices surrounding me and the burning fever of the madness threatening me at all times, I could not help what came next. I leaned close, kissed her tenderly on her right cheek, and whispered, “That is why I have a special place in my heart for you, you know that.”
Amphy blushed furiously just then, and that made her face light up even more. She looked over at me, her eyes searching for something. Her lips moved just barely, but either no words came out, or I had gone deaf. It looked to me like she was trying to decide on something in the moment because that is what happens to me when I do that. She finally took a breath and started forming words again. “Thank you, Dion, that means a lot. I…” She suddenly faltered, unsure of what to say next. I was glad for that break because I was at a loss too. A bit more than usual, anyway.
Watching her reaction to my gesture, I giggled like a little child that has just ridden a pony and leaned into my thyrsos to stand. “So…lounge is here. I’m on floor five, you on floor twenty-seven, interior designer coming to you, and I need…I need to be at the airport soon. I have to pick someone up so they can pick me up so we can come back and…” With that, I got lost in my thought pattern yet one more time.
Amphitrite stood slowly, seeming a little bit confused at my ramblings, but too polite to make a fuss over them. “Here.” She held out the business card of the person she mentioned earlier. “I’ve already entered all the information into my phone.” She scribbled another number down on the back quickly and passed it to me. “Call them if you want.”
With a faint nod, I took the card and stuffed it in my shirt pocket. “And you? Do I call you if I want?”
She nodded again and raised a wall of water to take her home. “Anytime Dion. I have a hotel to get back to. The Nymphaeum, come by sometime and check it out. Maybe next time we can talk more about this master plan of yours.”
With a slight bow of my head, not in reverence but more in understanding, I said, “Worry not, daughter of the seafoam. I will come to find you. Sooner or later.”
I scratched my beard lightly, once again back into my usual musings, still looking at the space where Amphitrite had exited. “This one is going to be trouble. Such sweet trouble,” I said to no one in particular, and a chuckle escaped me. Leaning into my thyrsos, I muttered the name Nymphaeum under my breath. It sounds like this is going to be unlike any party I’ve been to in a very long time. I am strengthened by the notions of all the fun to be had with possibly one of the few immortals that actually gets me.
As I made my way down the stairs from the lounge to the lobby, I realized that this might be beneficial to (hearing the trumpets in my head clearly and breaking into a laugh), Dun-dun-duuuun, The Master Plan. Now, if only I could remember what the damn plan was. I knew it would eventually come to me, so I just snorted at myself for being difficult to myself. I will have to have a serious talk with myself one of these days! Maybe when I come back from California.
Of course! California! That is what the master plan was about. I whooped softly and did a little circular dance because I knew everyone in the lobby was acting like they were not watching, but they were. And of course, they were also judging me. I turned and smiled at the petite blonde that was closest to me, who was literally staring at me slack-jawed. She blushed and looked away quickly. I stuck my tongue out and made a face at her. And it felt great! Now then, where was I? Oh yes. California and the master plan. It is time to expand and grow, capitalize and marketize…divest, invest, pro bono, prosecco, and prost…. Ok…that one went a bit too far.