Sunlight peeks through the curtain of my bedroom, shining on my face. I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to fall back asleep. I feel exhausted. After what happened yesterday, who wouldn’t be tired? I mean, I was never a fighter. I sang, danced, and recited speeches. I did the artistic things. So, yesterday was a big step for me. Fighting an entire cult is not how I thought I would spend my Friday.
I frown. Wait, did that even happen? The last thing I remember is that I was in the underworld with Hades. Then darkness. I open one eye, looking up at my husband. He has me tightly wrapped in his arms, my cheek pressed against his chest. I smile, placing a hand on his chest. His heartbeat is steady under my palm. A smile tugs at my lips, and I kiss his chin. Eros shifts, pulling me closer to him. Maybe it was just a dream.
My stomach grumbles, pulling me from my thoughts. I need to eat something. It feels like I haven’t eaten in days. I attempt to wiggle away, but he tightens his grip around me.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he murmurs.
I press myself against him, smiling brightly. “Food.”
He frowns, his eyes still closed. “I’m fine.”
I kiss his chin. “I’m not.”
Eros slowly opens his eyes, pouting. “The things I do for love.”
He throws his legs over the side of the bed, standing up. I do the same, stretching my stiff legs.
“Where are you going?” I ask him.
“To make you breakfast,” he says, pulling on his sweatpants.
I pick up a pair of his sweatpants, slipping them on, as well as one of his shirts. Ever since we got back together, I tend to wear only his clothing around the house.
“You don’t have to!” I tell him.
He walks around the bed, making his way out of the room. “I want to.”
I follow after him, entwining my fingers in his. “Well, thank you.”
“I like cooking for you,” he says, lifting my hand to kiss the knuckles.
We make our way to the kitchen. Eros places his hands on my hips and lifts me to sit on the counter next to the stove. I giggle. “So…”
“So?” Eros questions, opening the fridge.
I kick my feet back and forth, chewing my bottom lip. The question has been nagging me since I woke up. “Was yesterday a dream? Or did we really go fight a cult?”
Eros pauses, gripping the fridge door tighter. He grabs some ingredients and places them on the table. “A cult?”
I nod, frowning. “Yeah.. with Uncle.”
Eros grabs a big bowl from the cupboard, pouring in the ingredients. “Which Uncle?”
I look down at my lap. I swear that I thought it was real. “Hades…he came to the museum.”
“Did he?” Eros asks.
I look up at him, confused. “Lykos. It felt so real…”
He clears his throat. “Tell me what happened.”
I frown, ignoring his question. Something is off. I can tell by the way he is acting. “I don’t even remember what happened yesterday. What did I do? How’d I get home?”
“Yes?” I mumble.
“I brought you home,” Eros says, looking down at the batter.
“From the museum?” I ask, still confused.
“Aren…” he repeats, pouring the mixture into a pan. I watch as he maneuvers the skillet to spread the batter. He is making crepes.
“So it did happen,” I mumble.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t remember.” He sighs.
I stay silent for a few minutes, sliding off the counter. “So…you weren’t going to tell me?”
Eros flips the crepe. “I wasn’t going to bring it up.”
I nod. “Hm.”
“Aren, you passed out from the stress. I didn’t want that to happen again,” Eros says, sliding the crepe onto a plate. He moves to chop up some strawberries. I walk over to the table, taking a seat. What happened is..insane.
“It was a rough day,” I mumble.
Eros walks over to the table, placing the crepe in front of me. I smile at him. He is really good at making breakfast.
“You were kick-ass,” he says.
“Yes. Well, you and Uncle were so amazing!” I smile. Suddenly, the thought occurs to me, and my eyes widen. He is hurt. His wings. They broke them. “Your wings!”
Eros scoots his chair closer to me, brushing the hair from my face. “I would have rather lost them again than lose you.”
My lip trembles as I remember the scene. They pulled me away from him. They broke his wings, and I couldn’t get to him. “They hurt you.”
“They kept me from you,” his eyes connect with mine, “no one keeps me from you.”
I get up from my chair, moving to sit in his lap. Taking his arms, I wrap them around my stomach. “I’m so glad you’re okay, Lykos.”
“I’ve had worse, Aren.” He laughs, kissing my neck. “Eat your breakfast. I don’t want you fainting on me again.”
I spin, facing the table. “I don’t like it when you get hurt.”
Sitting forward, I take a bite of the crepe. The different flavours dance on my tongue. He really is a good cook. He should be the god of breakfast.
Eros wraps his arms around me, kissing my shoulder. “I wished I didn’t get them back. Because they kept me from you.”
I take a few more bites of the crepe, suddenly starving. “I’m glad you have your wings back, and I’m glad we are both okay.”
“How okay are we?” Eros smirks.
I giggle, cutting off a piece of the crepe and holding it out for him. “Super okay.”
He laughs, eating the piece off my fork. “Have I told you today how much I love you?”
I scrunch my nose. “Not yet.”
He kisses my shoulder repeatedly. “I’ll have to show you later.”
I finish, devouring the crepe. “Oh yeah?”
“Yes,” Eros’s kisses trail down my arm to my fingers. He takes his time kissing each one, and I giggle. How could one man make me feel so special? I pick up my plate, taking it over to the sink. I start to rinse it off, grabbing the soap.
“You could always show me now,” I smile.
“Well, I can’t when you’re all the way over there,” he says.
“Really, Lykos?” I say, sticking my bottom out.
He leans back in his chair. “What?”
I put the plate on the drying rack. “You won’t come over here and give me a kiss?”
I pout, wiping my hands on a towel. “Fine…”
Eros crooks his finger, summoning me to him. “Come here, my little muse.”
A shiver runs down my spine. Whenever he calls me his little muse, I know he has something special on his mind. I walk over to him, trying to act frustrated. “What?”
He yanks me onto his lap, kissing me hard. “Hi.”
I feel my frustration melt away with his kiss. “You’re lazy. You know that?”
He kisses down my neck, biting on the spot between my neck and shoulder. Another shiver runs down my spine. “I like watching you walk to me.”
I wrap my legs around him. “Yeah?”
Eros smirks as his hands press my bum closer to him. “Yes, you roll your hips as you do.”
I giggle, grinding against him. “I do?”
“Yes.” He bites my shoulder.
I giggle, running my hands down his chest.
“What?” he asks, licking my neck.
My hand lowers to his sweatpants, and I pull at the waistband. “I love you.”
“I love you,” he chuckles. “Whatever are you doing, my love?”
I look up at him innocently. “I thought you’d like to get out of these sweatpants, Lykos.”
He raises a brow. “Well, help me out of them, Aren.”
I stand up, biting my bottom lip. Lowering to the floor, I tug on Eros’s sweatpants. Someone clears their throat, and instantly my face turns dark red. I move back onto Eros’s lap, attempting to hide from embarrassment.
“What are you guys doing?” Hedone asks.
Eros presses his face into my neck, laughing. Sometimes, I forget that my daughter could walk into a room at any time. It has been a month, and this is the first time she has almost walked in on us. I need to be more careful.
“Oh nothing, Kori,” I reply to her, waving my hand.
Eros continues to laugh. “Aren, someone is going to teach her about the birds and the bees.”
I get off him. “You’re right, and since you’re the god of love and sex, I vote for you to do it.”
I smile at myself before walking over and hugging Hedone. There was no way I was going to explain to my daughter how it worked. I could hardly keep my cool about the subject a few months ago. The whole thing will be a disaster, and the only thing Hedone will learn is that her mother is awkward with the topic.
Eros scoffs, sputtering, “No, no, no.”
I lightly push my daughter towards her father. “Kori, Pater is going to explain a few things. I need to take a shower.”
“No! Get back here, Aren!”
I quickly turn away from him, exiting out of the kitchen. I don’t head to the bathroom, instead I hide in our bedroom. With my ear against the bedroom door, I listen curiously to the muffled voices of my husband and daughter.
“So, the birds and the bees?” Hedone asks, her tone alight with curiosity and confusion. She is voracious in her studies. She is much like me, consuming the written word, and often comes to me for clarification. With the lockdown, I spend most of my time tutoring her, but this topic…this was all Eros.
“I…I…” there’s a muffled sound of a head hitting a table. “Fuck, I don’t know where to start.”
Lykos! I silently reprimand him. Keep the cursing to a minimum!
Hedone giggles softly, “Aren’t the birds animals and bees are bugs? What is there to explain?”
I cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud, revealing my eavesdropping. She is so naïve. I guess she gets that from me.
Eros laughs, but it’s ragged, on edge. “It’s a metaphor. For sex.”
Hedone’s giggle turns high-pitched, almost forced, clearly uncomfortable with the word.
Eros clears his throat, “It’s perfectly natural, and almost all creatures engage in it, one way or another.”
There’s the sound of padding paws for a moment, and I press my ear harder against the door, trying to hear more. Eros orders, “You don’t need this information. Shoo.”
I cover my mouth to stop another laugh. Ever since Hedone’s return, the animals won’t leave her side. They must have come to her during this conversation, a conversation my husband very clearly did not want to have. Din and Las are both very intelligent animals. They are probably laughing at him.
“Aren!” He shouts, making me bolt up, heading for the bathroom, turning on the shower, so I’m saved from answering. I pause for a couple of moments, and when he doesn’t call for me again, I return to my post at the door.
“Come on, Pater. Tell us,” Hedone cajoles him.
Eros huffs, “Stop manipulating me, thavsma. I’m getting there.”
I roll my eyes in my hiding spot. If he took this long to explain sex to me, we would never have gotten around to doing it.
He clears his throat. “Sex,” clears throat again, “is a thing,” another clearing of his throat, “that adults do to make children. Um, like you.”
I wince at his explanation. Poor Lykos. I want to save him from having to explain this to our daughter alone, but I am also having a little too much fun listening to him do it. Does that make me mischievous?
“How does that happen? By kissing?”
Eros chokes. “Kissing is a part of it, but um, not the required part.”
“Okay…” Hedone drags out, “so what happens then?”
“Males have a…” Come on, Lykos, you can do this! “Oh!” He exclaims, and there’s the muted sound of rustling.
“A cucumber?” Hedone asks.
I cover my flaming face with my hands. Really, Eros?
“It’s, uh, representation, for uh, male genitalia.”
One of the tigers chuffs at them, expressing its own delight.
“So, um, males use their penis, to implant the sperm inside the female.”
I cover a groan.
“The act can be umm, good feeling? If the person knows what they are doing.”
“So, I can go have sex now?” Hedone asks.
“NO!” he yells, our daughter practically giving him a heart attack. “Where did you get that from? Fuck. I’m messing this up.”
“You said it could be a good feeling!”
“It can!” He clears his throat again. “Let’s see. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s very natural. But you should do it with someone you care about. Maybe even love.” His voice raises suddenly, “Isn’t that right, Aren?”
My head hits the door hard in surprise. How did he know I was eavesdropping? Maybe I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought.
Rubbing the side of my head, I peek around the door, looking at them both, smiling softly at them. “That’s right.”
Hedone nods at us. “So, I should find someone like miteras is to you? Someone I love?”
Eros clears his throat, and as I walk back to the kitchen, I notice his face is strained. “Yes, someone you love.”
I reach my daughter’s side, kissing her on the top of the head. “Do you understand now, Kori?”
Hedone nods, biting her lower lip, looking down at the animals. She looks so much like a child when she does that, even though she is practically an adult. “I think so.”
“Just don’t find someone you love for at least 30,000 years,” Eros adds. “I need my sanity.”
Oh, Eros. That’s not going to happen.
I kiss the side of my daughter’s head, stepping back when she stands, her height almost identical to mine. “Okay, Pater, I’ll try.”
Eros sighs, putting his head down on the table, groaning. Hedone flounces over, hugging him. “Thank you.”
Eros pulls his head from the table, wincing. “Of course, thavsma. Just do me a favor. Make sure to ask your Uncle Dinlas the same question, and record his answer for me? I need it….for reasons.”
Hedone releases her father, her rainbow eyes twinkling mischievously, “Will do.”
She smiles at us, taking the banana from the kitchen, heading for her room, the animals padding after her. I watch her go, smiling to myself. She is so much like the both of us. It scares me sometimes. I turn back to my husband.
Eros’s eyes lock on me. “Don’t look at me, traitor.”
His head hits the table again with a groan. I take a seat next to him at the table, laughing. “To be fair, I didn’t think you would do it.”
He covers his head with his hands. “I had to use a cucumber.”
Linking my fingers through one of his hands, I kiss the back of it. “I think you did a really good job.”
His head lifts from the table slightly, enough for me to see his eyes. “You get to do the other kids. That’s the rule from now on.”
This is the first time we have mentioned the idea of having more children, and for a second, I think about it. “We don’t have any other kids.”
Eros’s lips turn into a slow, wicked smirk. “We don’t? Hm, well, you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…”
He has me in his arms in a flash, and his lips cut off my laugh as he carries me into our bedroom, the door slamming shut behind us.