We shoot off like a rocket as the water rises and propels us forward at the combined will of the sea gods. Dion is thrown back and lands on top of me. Charon lurches forward, loses his balance, and lands on top of Dionysos. I groan from the bottom of the dogpile. We sail through the mist at top speed, not even feeling the cold on this trip.
Then the ferry finally comes through, and we all see the source of the merriment. Dionysos stands next to Charon, laughing and clapping him on the back. Charon looks positively irate as he brings the ferry into the shallows so we may board. The sea god laughs, and the Amphitrite jumps for joy, splashing the water as she giggles.
I shouldn’t have wandered so far from the dig site. I knew the sands were unforgiving and that I could easily become one of the many lost to them. There are precautionary tales that are told at these sites to warn you of the dangers. I knew better, but I could have sworn I saw something or someone.
“Really?” I asked him, completely shocked. “Now?” I motioned around at the shadow that was so close we could smell it—if you could smell shadows, of course. “My taste in decor can wait. Besides, this is the Underworld where dead people live. What do you expect?
He jumps into the water, and I laugh, removing my shirt before jumping in after him. The water helps push me along, and I catch up to Kai in a heartbeat. I wink at him before shooting forward, and I can almost hear him yell the word ass towards me. Maybe…maybe I haven’t ruined everything.
I watch him go, wishing I could be as easily freed. My mind is trapped with thoughts of Nerites, and I need to cut him loose so I don’t hurt those that I care about. I already hurt Kai. I can’t feel what he feels for me, and I knew that before I touched him. I close my eyes and stretch my arms out to find the ship. It’s bow is currently crashing into waves a few kilometers ahead of me.
Laughing, I untie us from the dock. “The wind is always in my favor. The Anemoi are old friends. We are going to want to head southeast to the Dodecanese Islands. There should be one covered in mist. Only the eye of a god can spot it.”
I know this is it. The moment. He’s giving me one last chance. One chance to tell him what he needs to hear, the words he deserves. The feeling grows inside me, but the words refuse to tumble from my lips. If I don’t say anything, he’ll leave. He’ll be done with me. He’s not a man to give second chances.
The key is a shade of deep-sea blue. An A is etched in the top, surrounded by seaweed. But it’s the things that are invisible to the mortal eye that make me want to snatch it from his palm. Golden runes, spells of old, even older than me, are etched into it, visible only to a God of the Sea.
It wasn’t a lie or an evasion. Mathieu and I had put so much time and effort into this event. Now that it was happening and progressing along, I seemed to be lost in it. Dion reached over, sensing my discomfort. He patted my leg and squeezed it softly. I smiled at him. Tonight was taking forever.
I have never been a good man to her. I should have been there for her more, but there were things I needed to do that took me centuries to figure out. The guilt gnaws at me. I only hope she can forgive me for my absence. Even if she cannot forgive, at least I can apologize.
I snorted derisively. “Even when we were never technically married? If it ever comes to that, we’ll have that conversation then. But no, I’m not ready to give up the throne. I wasn’t 2,000 years ago, but I couldn’t physically return.”
Frowning, I try to rub the strange sensation out of my chest as I get up from my bed. The cracks in the walls are still there from when I lost control, but something is out of place. I tilt my head, noticing a folded note on my desk. Picking it up with a shaky hand, I scan over the words.
Look at me. I’ve turned into a sappy romantic bitch. “Love me, or I’ll die.” Ugh, I can’t even look at myself right now. And yet, it’s how I feel. Like Dionysos is my future, and I can’t shake it. I don’t want to shake it.