My heart dropped at that nonchalant statement. I knew my eyes were wide with horror. What I didn’t know was if my face was white from blood draining from it in dread or if it was red from rage rushing to my cheeks. Either option was highly likely at that moment. “You were doing what?! Tell me you’re lying!” I knew he wasn’t—after all, it was physically impossible for him to do so—but a girl could hope.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how many people were suffering through this virus. So many had lost their jobs. I needed to do something to bring Victories back to them. I had the beginning of an idea, but I needed to flesh it out more.
Hours later, when they were through, I turned and looked in the mirror and was astounded. I looked…well, I looked regal. The only thing missing was my old diadem, but I had left that in Atlantis, as was proper. I stood slowly and looked around. The stylists had gone, but Mathieu remained. “You’re beautiful, my lady,” he said softly.
“What do you say, Adrestia? Why don’t you prove to your big brothers what a big girl you are now?” Their mocking tones irritated almost as much as Eros’s did. Almost. “If you fail, you tell us who hurt you, and you don’t try to stop us from finding them.”
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.
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.
“Rough day, cupcake?” Of. Fucking. Course. It wasn’t enough to get caught by anyone who hadn’t been present during my mental breakdown. It wasn’t enough for me to be caught by someone who had been there. I just had to be caught by the traitor herself.
We work silently, and soon the remains of my doors are in the trash, and Atë’s staring at the floor with a strange expression.
Hitting her affectionately on the shoulder, I murmur, “It’s strange, isn’t it?”
Her eyes turn to mine. “What is?”
With a smirk, I ruffle her hair lightly. “Cleaning up your own mess.”
I look at Clio’s great belly, knowing more of us are coming and that they’re gonna need someone. Someone to look to when they feel they’re not good enough, someone to make them feel like even if they screw up and make mistakes…it doesn’t mean they have to go away.
I nodded slowly and walked to the Jeep. As I climbed in, I locked eyes with his. They were eyes I’d recently started, and ended, so many days gazing into. “You have twenty minutes, thirty if there’s traffic, to convince me the apple fell far from the tree, or I’m burning down the whole damn orchard.”
Dikê. Goddess of Justice.
Yes, the chick with the scales. I’m around to make sure mortals play fair with one another according to the rules and lawful decrees. When they don’t, I step in and handle the situation. Yes, that could involve making it messy, aka bloody.
Equity comes at a price.
Balance is worth the cost.