I seethe at my reflection, my chest rising and falling in sharp, ragged movements. I grind my teeth together, knowing full well the voices are getting to me, and I’m only making it worse. I am in control. I am in control. I utter my supposedly soothing chant, trying to ignore the cackling it invokes from my unseen tormentors.
Adrestia jumped, whipping around and throwing a wild haymaker. I leaned back to avoid the lightning-fast punch, my hand coming up to catch the deceptively delicate fist as it came at my face. I studied Adrestia as images of her past deeds, good and bad, flashed through my mind at the skin-to-skin contact. It was all overshadowed by her panic and the jumbled memories that had sent her fleeing.
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.
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 stand and stretch my body, feeling my joints crack and connect. I reach for the gray sky and let out a howl to let the Underworld know I am alive. I expand my wings far and wide. They sting, and I flinch. Not yet, I am not able to fly just yet, but I already knew that. I am far too weak in both body and mind.
“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.”
“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.