I sat in the office of my Delos club in Santa Cruz, California. It was nice enough for me to use, but it didn’t have the same home feeling that my club in New York had. You would think I would be more in love with the sunshine state, but there is just something about the city that never sleeps that gets my adrenaline going.
It didn’t matter, though, because I was stuck here until the repairs were done in New York. Plus, it would help me to get out of the area a bit. Seeing Amph had given me a new lead. I wasn’t sure what Astraeus, the Titan of Dawn, would want from me, but I had to cross off every possible lead.
There was a knock at the door. I had a feeling I knew who it was, but I called out, anyway, “Who is it?”
“Corey, sir,” Corey meeped from the other side of the door.
I chuckled to myself and responded, “Come in, Corey.”
The mahogany door slowly opened, and I pushed my sun-kissed blonde hair out of my face. I smiled at Corey as he walked in to make him feel more comfortable, and his mood instantly lightened.
“I’ve been doing some digging on the name Astraeus,” Corey began. “Turns out whoever this guy is, he shares the name with a Greek titan.”
I nodded. “Corey, there is something you should know—”
“And did you know your friend Amph shares the name with a sea nymph?” he continued unnecessarily.
“Corey,” I said in a stern voice.
Corey took a big gulp, and his eyes got wide as he looked at me. “Yes, boss?”
I sighed and ran my hand down my face before looking at Corey. “I am a Greek god. My real name is Apollo. I’m the Greek God of Sun, Music, Healing, and Prophecy,” I stated proudly.
Corey nodded his head. “Yes, boss.”
I held my hands out to the side and shook them. “I am a god, Corey. Not just in my own mind, but in this realm.”
Corey nodded again. “I know, boss.”
I arched an eyebrow and brought my hands together. I leaned forward on the desk as I squinted my eyes. “What do you mean, you know?”
“I’m going to ask you a question, and know I don’t mean this disrespectfully,” Corey stammered, sweat beading on his brow. Corey rubbed his hands together nervously as his eyes glanced from side to side.
I chuckled and leaned back in my chair. “Well, go on then,” I said with a smile. I almost admired what little confidence he was exuding. Almost.
“Do you really think I’m that much of an idiot? I’ve heard you talking about other gods and deities. I’ve met some of them when they came to Delos looking for you,” Corey spat out.
I looked away from him. Maybe I really had treated him poorly. I didn’t even know others had come to Delos looking for me. “Wait a minute,” I said and looked back up at Corey. I leaned forward. “What do you mean they came to Delos looking for me?”
Corey took a big gulp, a true sign he felt like he had screwed up. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “After a while, I started to learn the disdain you had for the God Complex and the other gods. I heard how you felt and knew you wouldn’t want to see them.”
My eyes got wide, and I sat back again. While Corey probably felt like he had screwed up, the truth was, I felt like I had screwed up. Corey had been more loyal to me than pretty much anybody ever had. He was definitely the most loyal mortal I knew.
“Thank you, Corey,” I finally said, as my gaze caught his.
“For what, boss?” Corey asked, his body relaxing. A look of confusion was written across his face.
“Being loyal to me, even though I hadn’t been honest with you,” I said. “And Corey?”
“Yes, boss?” Corey said with a smile.
“Stop calling me boss. Call me Pollo in public and Apollo in private.”
Corey nodded. “Are you sure?”
“I’m positive, Corey, you’ve earned it,” I said as I smiled at him. Maybe seeing Amph gave me a soft spot for family again, and Corey was certainly my family at this point. Although Delos felt like home and was the place I called home, I was starting to miss the God Complex and my family.
I had been gone for so long, looking for myself. Trying to find out how to become a better god. A better brother and son.
“What else did you find out about Astraeus?” I asked, changing the subject before I got too deep in my feelings and made a fool of myself in front of Corey
“There is a place called Astraeus’ Fortune Telling in New Mexico,” Corey stated as he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. “It’s a little roadside shack, but apparently, he’s been labeled by the locals as some sort of witch because of the accuracy of his predictions.”
“Witch, no. Titan, probably,” I said. “He was always involved in the stars and the prophecy aspect of them. Did you get a location?”
“Yes, boss—I mean Apollo. It’s going to take me a while to get used to calling you that. After all, I’ve called you boss for the last three years.” Corey laughed. I know he didn’t mean to, but his words stung. It made me feel even worse about attempting to keep Corey in the dark.
He laid the paper down on my desk, and I looked it over. I examined the screenshot of the satellite view of Astraeus’ temporary residence, along with the coordinates for the shop. “I’m impressed, Corey,” I said, leaning back in my chair. “Can you get me a car?”
“One is waiting outside for you,” Corey smiled.
“No, I want you to go buy me a car. You and I are taking a road trip,” I said and flashed him my signature smile.