As I sat there, surrounded by family, I knew this was the best present I would receive that day. To simply be there and have a home, a love, and a family. We continued to share gifts and tease Apollo about his for the remainder of the afternoon.
I spent hours in the caves, an ocean of souvenirs surrounding me. No, I was not relinquishing my motherhood. No, I was not leaving my children, nor Endymion, but I was moving, changing, evolving into a new phase in my life. And although it was a new and exciting stage, all changes come with a level of release and pain.
Artemis had asked me to move in with her. I was still trying to fathom all that encompassed for me. I sat on a tufted stool, looking around at my boudoir. My head spun as I took in the material things surrounding me as the weight of this major life change sat on my chest like a boulder.
His skin matched his jeans, rough and stained from manual labor. I looked up at him, taking in his aura, and offered a genuine smile. This is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. I can work with this.
I began to glow in sheer joy as my heaviness and exhaustion began to lift. I caught a glimpse of Persephone’s face out of the corner of my eye, her love and comprehension evident. “Maybe I don’t need to find my own place. Maybe I already have…”
I tried to pull away from his touch, but not with much effort. I looked up to catch his eyes and showed him the battle. He pulled me into his warm embrace and held me for a while. I didn’t cry, but his warmth filled me, and I felt more whole than I had in centuries. When I pulled out of his arms, we were both glowing slightly.
I placed my hands on the smooth scales of Sayeh’s back and took a deep breath. As I let it out, I tried to call back the stone that ran over her body, but it resisted. I pulled harder, fighting against an unseen force. Her body had been wrapped in the stone for too long, and it didn’t want to let go.
Reacting to the flame’s loss, several geysers burst open at once, raising the temperature within to melting point. Thunder and rumbling reverberated off the walls. Cracks grew across the bridge and the ceiling as liquid earth simmered and roiled around us.
I heard the sound of my heart shattering, taking with it the last glint of hope. I fell to my knees, letting out a howl from the depth of my soul. Selene cradled me in her arms as we rocked back and forth together. Sayeh was lost to me forever.
I opened the folder. On top was a contract. I scanned it and a few words stood out. Proprietary…holder…board voted…Nike of Olympus will now be the legal blah blah blah of Dark Sparks. My eyes grew wide as I scanned the document again before looking up at him. “Dad, seriously? You’re giving me the company?”