She points to the pillows next to me, and I grind my teeth to keep from snapping at my mother for setting me up. Clio’s face goes red when she sees me, and her gulp is audible even as she takes the seat beside me. Her back is stick straight, every inch of her body on edge. Her voice is frosty. “What is it you’d like me to do, Aphrodite?”
“I’m doing something different for my family,” I murmur, coming to my mother’s side, kissing her forehead. “I will always love you, Miteras, but I won’t make your choices, your mistakes. Things will be different for me, for Clio.”
Yet I owed Aphrodite gratitude for one thing: my memory of her had restored my past to me. It would take me a long time to explore what I had lost; after all, even a god couldn’t recall millennia of life overnight!
I came up behind her to stop her, but she cut me short. “No, Nike! This needs to be said…” blah blah blah. All I could think was calm thoughts in hope to calm the room. The both of them were talking about Heph.
“You will never say anything about her in a demeaning or degrading way, am I clear? She is a beautiful woman who deserves respect. If you cannot treat her or anyone who comes into my office with a modicum of deference and respect, you can go right back to that cabaret where I found you.
I looked at him, incredulous. “You need my help? Well, let me mark this down on my calendar. The great Hephaestus, the great forge master, needs help from his brother, the god of war. Whose butt do you want me to kick for you, brother?”