The Swan and the Dove

“A destination wedding?” I took the opportunity to read their love lines. Unlike Claudia and Alan, this relationship seemed solid. Rosy strands of love and purple strands of devotion wrapped around both lovers’ hearts, linking them together. A rush of pleasure ran through me. This was a good match.

I stared at the calendar app on my computer and sighed. The to-do list was getting long again. I’d been brainstorming ideas of how I was going to help the mortals. I’d come back to Olympus to help heal the world through love. Wedding planning would bring in money, but it wasn’t going to help the masses. 

So far, in my notebook, I’d made a list of things I could offer the humans. Unfortunately, it wasn’t extensive, and while I liked all the ideas, I still didn’t feel like I’d had the big breakthrough I was waiting for.

  • Write books on love: self-love, how to love each other better, how to understand others. ???
  • Self-Care and couples retreats? Resort weekends with full day-spa features, yoga, etc? Wellness lectures?
  • Obviously continue with Divine Intervention: Wedding Planning.
  • Rebrand my dating apps? New dating app? Divine Intervention: Matchmaking? Divine Dating?
  • Create events (like mixers) for app users? Themed parties as a safe space for matched couples to meet IRL?
  • Maybe work with some of the other deities to pool resources? Maybe Apollo can help me influence some musicians to write more love songs?

I looked over the list and put it to one side. Maybe the ultimate idea would come to me while I focused on something else. 

I could write a book on relationships. In my thousands of years of unsolicited relationship advice, I’d found two things to be true. First, often mortals just want someone to complain to. They didn’t necessarily want you to fix the problem. They just wanted to vent. Working out whether or not they were silently asking for help was the hardest part. The second thing I’d learnt was that sometimes people found it easier to complain to a stranger than a friend. I mean, who wants to complain about their husband/boyfriend/uncle to someone who knows both parties? If you work things out and your best friend has just spent a week agreeing with your complaints, it can be awkward.

I tried to push the idea to the back of my mind. I could think about it more later. I went through the profiles of some new clients on my dating apps, making notes on who I thought might be suitable to each other, looking at things like mutual interests and life goals. Matches made through my apps lasted. It was like Divine Intervention. If I had a client apply to my program twice, then I had failed, and the Goddess of Love didn’t fail. The process was more involved than simply joining the app and creating a profile, but that was where all my clients started. My apps weren’t designed to match two people together for a quick tumble in a motel room. I aimed to create lasting happiness for my clients.

I had an hour to kill before my next appointment. So I checked my emails, made some calls, and organised some match suggestions for my singles. Sometimes I still marvelled at the internet age. Back in the day, if I wanted to match a couple, I had to interfere personally, pull all sorts of strings. Now mortals flocked to me in droves, signing up to what they thought was an algorithm meant to find their perfect match. How many of them believed they were actually petitioning the Goddess of Love? 

The hour passed by in the blink of an eye, and I was pulled from my matchmaking efforts by a knock at the door. I glanced up to see my clients. The woman shook a little with what I guessed were nerves. Her glasses slid down her nose, and she pushed them back into place with her index finger. Her hair was piled on her head in a messy bun, and her jeans were scuffed from catching on the floor as she walked. Beside her stood a man, with a rockstar type look, leather pants with a t-shirt, and a bandana over his hair. 

“Welcome.” I smiled warmly at the couple. “Please come in, take a seat.”

I stood up from my desk as they made their way over to the couches.

“I’m Aphrodite, but you can call me Dite.” I took a seat across from the couple with my notebook and a pen. 

“I’m Roger, and this is Maya.” The rocker smiled, Maya’s hand in his. He looked completely at ease, as opposed to Maya, who appeared likely to begin shaking at any minute. I wondered if that was normal for her, or if it was a reaction to me. I didn’t have the greatest of reputations, something I was trying hard to change. I’d been known to intimidate people in the past. 

“There’s no need to ask you what brings you here,” I said with a laugh. “So, let’s start with you telling me a little about yourself.”

One thing Claudia and her fiance Alan had taught me, my disastrous first appointment at Divine Intervention, was that instead of launching straight into wedding ideas, I should take time to get to know the couple. It would help me ascertain whether they were right for each other, and if I could work with them. Roger nudged Maya gently and nodded his head in my direction. Universal body language for you go first

“I’m a photographer,” she spoke hurriedly, nerves radiating off her. “I do a lot of event photography. It’s actually how I met Roger.” 

“I’m a musician,” he interjected as if to clarify. I’d been able to surmise that mostly from his appearance. “You might have heard of us. Swans of Olympus?”

I doubted there was anyone on Earth who hadn’t heard of the Swans of Olympus. The rock band hadn’t been around long, but they’d been a rising star on the music scene long enough to be a household name. Part of me wondered whether one of my fellow deities had had something to do with that. 

“Yes. I have,” I replied simply, jotting down their professions in my notebook. Music and imagery would end up playing a big part in this wedding. I could tell. My mind wandered to slide shows, live bands, and an open bar.

“So tell me, what kind of  wedding are you after?” I asked. I held my pen poised over the page and waited. 

“We were thinking something low key. Like a beach ceremony and a raging party afterwards,” Roger said, holding Maya’s hand in his own.

“I was thinking maybe somewhere warm, here in the Mediterranean or perhaps the Caribbean?” Maya added. 

“A destination wedding?” I took the opportunity to read their love lines. Unlike Claudia and Alan, this relationship seemed solid. Rosy strands of love and purple strands of devotion wrapped around both lovers’ hearts, linking them together. A rush of pleasure ran through me. This was a good match. 

“Yes. It will… We’d prefer that.” Roger’s smile wavered for a moment. I made a note on the book in my lap. There was something else going on. I’d seen many a destination wedding in my past. Like elopements, they were often the result of the bride and groom attempting to avoid something. Or someone.

“So your ideal wedding is a ceremony on the beach with a big party afterwards? What do you need me for?” I joked, jotting some ideas down in my notebook. 

Beach, floral arch. Bright colours. Ferns. 

Maya blushed. 

“We’re both pretty busy with work, and we wanted to get married before the Swans go on tour in a couple months. It’s a lot of work, even with a basic beach wedding,” the bride explained, biting her bottom lip.

“Besides,” Roger joked, “with the Goddess of Love behind the wheel, there shouldn’t be any unexpected surprises on the day.” 

“I should hope not!” I smiled. His words reinforced what I’d suspected. The groom, if not the bride too, expected something to go wrong with this wedding. I’d have to find out what he feared would happen. If I knew what I was dealing with, I could put protections in place.

Still, I didn’t know how to ask him. 

“Alright, a destination beach wedding is definitely something I can manage. I can compile some options for you and email them to you if you like,” I suggested. “Have you thought about the guest list?”

They shared a look. 

“Mostly, we just want immediate family and the band,” Maya replied. “We’d also like to do our best to keep the media from getting wind of any details.”

She blanched at the thought. I gave her a reassuring smile as I jotted down some of the details that had come to mind. 

“My lips are sealed.” I stood from my seat. “Let me get you some brochures. You can find some ideas before our next meeting and give me a better visual to go off.”

I moved to my bookshelf and started pulling off the booklets I thought would help most. If Maya and Roger didn’t find anything they liked in this selection, I could look a little harder. I turned back to the couple who were now talking to each other in hushed tones. Maya’s face was scrunching up into a small frown. Roger sighed and whispered something back. 

I moved back across to the couches and handed Maya the stack of brochures. 

“Everything okay?” I asked, sitting down on my chair and crossing one leg over the other.

“She’s worried about Emily.” Roger sighed. I suppressed a smile. I’d known there was more than met the eye. 

“And Emily is?” I leaned back in the chair. 

“Emily was the Swan’s manager,” Roger replied. A look of distaste rolled across Maya’s face, but she said nothing. 

“Acrimoniously fired, I’m guessing?” I wrote down the name in my notebook and circled it several times in a blue ring. Roger cleared his throat. 

“We had to let her go due to some unprofessional behaviour,” Roger answered while Maya scoffed.

“We found her naked in his hotel room.” The bride crossed her arms over her chest. Roger put a hand on her knee, in what appeared to be a soothing gesture. 

“Technically, she was wearing a bow,” he tried to joke. The look Maya gave him was withering. 

“The woman is obsessed.” Maya threw her hands up into the air. “It’s another reason we don’t want the press to know about the wedding, and why we want to have it overseas. We don’t want her ruining it.” 

I nodded. 

“I can understand that. Is there anything else you’re worried about?” I could handle one jealous woman, but it didn’t hurt to ask the question. 

The couple both shook their heads.

“Excellent. Well, let me just go over a few things with you. While I’m planning this wedding for you, I ask that you check your emails with some regularity. I find it easier to email you questions as I think of them. I don’t expect an instant reply, but bear in mind the longer it takes me to receive answers, the longer it can take to organise things. I ask that, at a minimum, you check your email at the end of the day so I can work on things for you in the morning.” I told them. They nodded, so I continued with my spiel. 

“Obviously, I will be doing most of the work for this wedding, but I want to make sure you get the day that you both want. As such, in addition to my emails, I require to meet with you at fairly regular intervals to discuss details, shop for the wedding dress, and more. You said you’d both be busy with work, but you’ll need to work with me and make time for these things.” I waited for their response. 

“We can do that,” Maya answered, looking at each other in confirmation. 

“Excellent. So at our next meeting, we’ll discuss venue, menu, dates, and accommodation. Most of the venues for destination weddings have accommodation on-site, and it’s usually lovely.” I wrapped up the meeting and booked their next appointment for the following week. 

The couple thanked me and left, and I returned to my computer. There was no time like the present to begin planning the perfect destination wedding. Their ceremony sounded like it was going to be an easy one for me to start the business with. It would also provide ample opportunities for me to get some magical photos for my social media and brochures. 

Smiling to myself, I set off to work.

Aphrodite (B. Forrester)
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