The beast inside me came to life. I roared as I tore the house apart in a rampage. My shadows swirled in black streaks across each room, blowing out every window. Glass scattered everywhere. Behind me, I left a path of destruction so big it looked like a small bomb had gone off. When I was finished, I went to her room and lay down on her bed, which was devoid of any bedding.
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 don’t shift, only run. Run as fast as I can as I hold the sides of my dress. Run up the winding stairs toward her room as tears begin to fall. I know what I have to do and what I have to give up. He was right, a heartless bitch I’m not. At least not yet. I’d made enemies, so many enemies, and now they are coming for the ones I hold dear.
Sometime during the rave, I’d realized exactly who I needed to call for help. It came as skin melded to skin, lips sucked lips, and I took in the vivid displays of dancing so frantic and chaotic it began to appear choreographed. There was beauty in chaos. The answer became clear, even without my brain consciously putting it together.
“She told me she loved me.” My actions were almost trance-like. My shadows took over, and darkness washed over me completely. I let myself dive deep into its belly. There was no turning back now. My shadows swept up every last dead bee, swirling them around and around before finally shoving them down Melisseus’s throat, muffling the last of his screams.
I’d loved it, lost for a time in a world of intangible fantasy and never too deep emotions, until inevitably, I’d craved more. I’d let my guard down, enjoying him way too much, and despite my best efforts, I realized I was falling in love. So naturally, I ruined everything.
Her head bent forward, and our eyes met. I stared deep into them as we both reached our climax. She had taken me from this world and brought me somewhere I didn’t even know existed. For the first time in my life, I felt a little less dark as she brought me into the moonlight.
The image of when he left me plays through my mind. My back was against the cold stone tiles as he stumbled from the cell and out of my life for a thousand years. The silent cries I tried to hide for years afterward. The feeling of being completely alone and knowing he wouldn’t come back, and he hadn’t. I had said damning things there too, and this was just the same. I had pushed and pushed, and it worked. He will no longer be here if I keep this up, and it breaks me. It hurts me more than I want to admit.
“Ohhh, Clio, if you got me diamonds, I may have to steal you from Eros,” she says, wiggling her brows before gently tearing the wrapping. She drops it to the floor and opens the box. She freezes, her fingers hovering over the gift.
Yes, I may be on the hunt for Titans older than literal time, but I also need help. Someone I can trust, but also not tell me how terrible my idea is. Besides, I don’t trust Erebus, especially after how weird he has been recently. Secret phone calls and suddenly having to leave? Nope. I need an assistant of my own, and who better than Chuck?
Eros and Atë turn to have a conversation, and Clio and Erebus talk amongst themselves, leaving me standing awkwardly between them. I wish I’d brought my phone, at least then I could pretend to be talking to someone on it and could excuse myself. I consider disappearing to the toilet when a loud bell sounds.
I sighed. I was tired. No. I was exhausted in every way one could be. I was emotionally spent from dealing with Atë. I was physically tired from my fight with Sergai. I was mentally exhausted, trying to understand why everyone was so…blind to my intentions. I flopped onto my back next to Eros. This was comfortable. It was our childhood.