I got up and took my time to make myself another tea, giving everyone a break to chat or stretch or absorb the story. I turned and looked around the room at the gathering of gods and goddesses and felt a sense of pride.
I looked at Mini. Concentrating on her, I could see the joy, the happiness of my youth. I could feel the love that was in our family, and the sheer peacefulness that was childhood. Then a cloud came over Mini, a small sadness. I saw something no child should ever witness.
Everyone laughed. Why would a goddess take anything a mortal does seriously? “At one point, fairly early on, Alcaeus fashioned a net of sorts to try and catch the hind. It was only out of sheer dumb luck that one night, while he slept, the hind stumbled across the net and got trapped. Its cries woke Alcaeus.”
All three of us walked on in silence for a while. We were caught up in our thoughts, remembering these horrid things that I couldn’t fix or do over. I felt defeated, even more now that I saw all I could have prevented. It was a shame I would forever carry.
The sun was warm, and the air smelled of the sea. I knew this place. It was the hill above my childhood home. The grasses were green, and the bougainvillea was in full bloom. The air was crisp and a mist of sea salt was on the breeze.
It was only a dream. I turned back to the sea and sat on the ground, bringing my knees to my chest. My wings opened, and I wrapped them around myself. It started to rain, which seemed fitting. I wiped at my face, trying to clear the hurt and sorrow I felt at the loss of something, no, someone so dear to me.
I shared how the party was like most gatherings until the chanting started and the mirrors glowed. Fresh memories flooded my mind, and I told them about him. The one I loved, or she loved, I didn’t know. I explained the passion between us and how it made me feel.
I locked my gaze with his, and the hunger and need in his eyes so matched my own that it shoved me over the edge. I slid my hand from beneath his and placed it against his chest. Then, never breaking eye contact, I pushed him back onto the bed.
He knew about my trust issues. He knew the pain, and he knew all about the trauma of before. He had my trust. He had shown me another way, a way to unleash the woman in me. I felt him shift on top of me, and my thoughts were back in the moment.
“Mademoiselle, nous atterrirons à Paris dans environ 30 minutes.” I heard over the PA system on the private jet. I opened the shade, and there she was, the most beautiful city in all the world. Paris. The sun was just rising behind us.
Funny how you just never know what’s really in a book until you crack it open and look inside. Bob was just like that. He was a gentle giant, a hard worker, a good husband, and a father. He’s going to need more than his strength alone to fix this situation.
“Regroup and expand our search parameters. It will take longer, and we’ll be gone for extended periods. I can’t keep sending crews out. It’s detrimental to the business. If I had concrete evidence that Kara was in one particular area, then I’d take every single person with me. We’d raid the place, rescue her, and then deal with the perpetrators appropriately.”
“You mean go into full God of War mode and kill them all?”
His cheerful smile was infectious. He always had a tune to hum, and for as big as he was, he could dance along the loading dock as smoothly as any dancer. Everyone liked him. He’d been working for us for about a year now, and I loved it when I worked in the shop on delivery day.
How am I going to tell my mother? This past year had been such a whirlwind of events that I hadn’t had the time or seen a clear enough path to approach her. Between the Titan attack, Dad’s coma, and then Mom being gone, then returning. What am I gonna say?