Artemis and I were finally getting into a new normal and had a plan. Wedding magazines littered the kitchen table. My fat planner was laid out before me, pen poised at the ready, as I scanned through one of them. I tapped my lip with the tip as I turned another page.
“Do you treat all your guests that way, Erebus?” Annoyance bubbling inside of me, I strode toward him, not stopping or slowing down. I threw all my momentum and weight behind it, punching him square in the nose with all my might. “How dare you put me in that position!”
“She told me she loved me.” My actions were almost trance-like. My shadows took over, and darkness washed over me completely. I let myself dive deep into its belly. There was no turning back now. My shadows swept up every last dead bee, swirling them around and around before finally shoving them down Melisseus’s throat, muffling the last of his screams.
I stood calmly, enjoying the view as I felt his indecision ebb and flow. Walking slowly back to my chariot, I pulled the polished wood out, holding it in the air as I returned to the peak where I had been moments before. “I bring you no lies, no reason to distrust me, Melisseus.”
As I sat there, surrounded by family, I knew this was the best present I would receive that day. To simply be there and have a home, a love, and a family. We continued to share gifts and tease Apollo about his for the remainder of the afternoon.
Amphitrite and I had known each other since before the great war. The ebb and flow of the tides and the pull of the moon were inevitable. Then, in an effort to protect herself, she lost herself in the foam, and I could no longer reach her. I smiled warmly when she caught my eye as I entered. She was the epitome of beauty, a queen in her own right.
How hard could this really be? I know I wanted to pick the right one. It had to be perfect, and the right fit for Atë. I walked up and down the display, looking things over. And then I saw it, right in the middle of the pack. It was brilliant. My smile spread from ear to ear. I hoped she would love it.
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.
Artemis had asked me to move in with her. I was still trying to fathom all that encompassed for me. I sat on a tufted stool, looking around at my boudoir. My head spun as I took in the material things surrounding me as the weight of this major life change sat on my chest like a boulder.
Mmmmm. Finally. A tranquil moment. No questions, no prodding, just calm water forgiving the weight of the world. As my body welcomed the relief, the scent of oakmoss settled my soul. A hint of neroli diffused my thoughts, and the aroma of spruce took me home. Home. It’s been almost a year since I left. A gentle breeze stirred the forest as I lay beneath the canopy. Serenity eventually occupied my body. Stillness was achieved.
His skin matched his jeans, rough and stained from manual labor. I looked up at him, taking in his aura, and offered a genuine smile. This is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. I can work with this.