“What are you doing here?” For a second, I’m certain every patron in the café goes quiet at Aphrodite’s words. She stays firmly seated on the beige sofa, her attention only briefly flicking to the sweet treats I’m offering.
“You would be correct in saying that I do not deserve him. I spurned him, and worse. But do you think that attempting to kill his wife in his own temple would endear him to you?” I kept my voice calm, hoping to bring her down some. I knew her bullets would do little more than hurt and piss me off, but why risk her accidentally hitting someone else?
“Micah? Tori? Callie?” They didn’t answer me, but it was completely unnerving how all their heads slowly turned until they were staring at me with wide eyes. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d actually experienced true terror, but the sight of my mortals looking soullessly at me was definitely the most terrifying thing I’d experienced in a long time.
Running through the opening, it took a moment for our eyes to adjust to the low lighting. Torches in sconces along the walls flickered as we rushed by. The first thing I noticed was the metallic smell of blood.
I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back, pulling my knees to my chest. The decision to come and make new friends was a good one. My vision was right. Visiting Hestia was a good choice, and now I had a group of friends that I felt connected to. Maybe I could expand my decision to trust others. There was going to be more to this evening, I was sure, but I was happy to settle in and have another drink.
They were quick to welcome me, encouraging me to join them for a Star Wars marathon. While my weakness was for Battlestar Galactica, I didn’t see a problem in joining them. Perhaps I would be able to lose myself in the movie and not give in to the vicious voice in my mind.
“What did I miss?” Aphrodite said as she came back into the living room. Under one arm was a basket of muffins, the ones I had made in vain to save my kitchen. She had whipped cream on her nose and cheek, and in her right hand was a can of the processed stuff. I had no idea why Dite liked that crap. She always says it’s fun, whatever that means.
I stood with Hestia and picked up my food while Mano settled back around my neck. “I’ll come with you. If you’re worried about something, you may need a fire hose.”
Hestia slid her hand over her face. “Only if it’s Dite trying to cook something. That girl can burn water.”
My gaze flitted to one side and then the other before I decided to use some questionable skills I had picked up in my time away with mortals. They were both good and bad influences. I was going to find what I wanted for muffins, and I wouldn’t let something as simple as a locked door prevent me from reaching them.
Perhaps I was giving in to the dramatics I had come to love from mortal media. But there was something about his startled cry when he saw me sitting in the near dark, playing an athame between my fingers that made me almost giddy.
I hadn’t talked to her in two years, ever since I sent her back to her husband. The sound of her voice still made my heart race, and I was flooded with memories of times past when things had been good between us. But this was hardly the time for a trip down memory lane. “This isn’t a good time, Aphrodite,” I whispered.
Though I plotted and planned, I knew it was too soon to put those things into motion. I had considered resuming my search for Hephaestus. It had taken years to destroy our relationship, and I knew it could take just as long to fix things between us. However, no one wanted to tell me where he was, and I still had to figure out who had his number. Then I had to convince them I only had the best intentions, so they would let me have it.