“Why do you address me in this way, Hades? Why are you so angry at me? If you are looking for people who hurt Hephaestus, you need to look closer to him than me. I’m just the one who clarifies things. I’m the one who sharpens the pictures of the past.”
She waves her wand again, and the pain in my leg disappears. At the same time, I hear her grunt, and her hand goes to her leg. She takes a deep breath and puts her wand away. She grits her teeth briefly as she places one hand on the arm of the sofa and the other beside her. “Happy now?”
That’s when it hits me. I know him. His face, his eyes, his smell, his…taste. It was mine. Wasn’t it? He is mine? No, this is wrong. He is wearing the wrong clothes…the man I know…knew…he wore no shirt. I’d smack him gently, laughing and demanding he wear a shirt. I didn’t want to share what was mine. I continue to search the priest’s face.
I stop reading, frowning at the one name that is scratched out. Like they didn’t want her to be remembered. I scratch at the paper before it hits me. A flood of images pour into my mind all at once. A man with curly blonde hair. Twins. A young girl with blonde hair that looks a lot like the man. These images smash around my brain, blood dripping from my nose.
Team two enters just behind me as I take in my surroundings. They grab everything the clients need and nothing more. I slowly make my way to the back as my men wrap it up. My eyes narrow on a scroll and I pick it up. Something is pulling me to it, wanting me to have it. I bite my lower lip, flipping it around. Just before I open it, Dominic comes up behind me.
I look around me and snort. How can I feel alone when I have two naked men and three naked women in bed with me? Each night I have been inviting a couple of people home with me to see if it can calm this strange dream I am having. It hasn’t been working.
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 looked at what little remained of the orb and frowned. “Yeah…Oh well.” I shrugged. “It was a nice thought. But it’s just a material possession.” I tried concealing how bummed I was, but I knew Clio could tell. “But do you know how hard it is to find good friends?” I winked at Clio.
“That’s probably a good thing,” I muttered as I reflected. “You get married, have kids, and then you get attached to the smallest things.” I rolled my eyes. “Family trips, presents…then the kids grow up and leave, and all that you have left of them are the things they leave behind or gifted to you. Then one day, you may find yourself roaming the streets with a bossy muse looking for said gifts.”
I rush around my kitchen, putting spices on the fresh fish I just cooked. The pig I got from the market squeals at my feet as I chop up the vegetables. I push a few beans over the counter, allowing them to fall to the ground. The pig snorts them up, and I giggle.
There was a white satin aisle runner with chairs on either side. Candelabras were set strategically along the path, giving the whole scene a soft glow. Fireflies fluttered over the water, their lights blinking off and on, just as they had done the night I proposed. It was simple and elegant, just like Kara.
Closing my book, I tuck my writing utensil behind my ear. I think I have gotten everything I need from this. I look up at the stage and feel my eyes widen. The next animal is a little piglet, and my heart instantly melts. I have a weakness for animals, and I know that this little one doesn’t stand a chance with a bunch of hungry mortals.
“I’m facilitating a connection.” I smile. “Not today, probably not tomorrow, maybe not for years and years. But eventually, two of her little monsters will seek out your two, and they will share a bond only the King of the Underworld could understand.”
“Eros!” Clio suddenly called out angrily, sending Alexander into a crying fit.
I froze and carefully looked down at the ground. Sure enough, there was an arrow lying on the ground near my feet, the tip slightly stained with shimmering gold ichor. “No, no, no, no, no.”
“What?” Eros’s voice called from behind me. “I thought she should get it over with.”
“So I’m the only one to live with that burden?” I ask, my shoulders dropping. Usually, I don’t mind knowing everyone’s history, but this…I thought it was going to be something we shared. Eros comes up behind me, sighing again as he wraps his arms around me. I push him away, frustrated and hurt. “Goodnight, Lykos.”