Sighing heavily, I fall into my office chair, preparing myself for the upcoming day of work. I glare at my hands, thinking about my brother. My twin. His relationship with Nyx is blossoming into something real, and already his heartache is lightening inside my chest. I mean, did you really doubt me? I’m the god of love and desire for a reason; I can see pairs where no one else can. Now if my stubborn brother would just let himself be happy, we might actually get somewhere.
My thoughts are cut off as Thea comes in like she always does – a whirlwind of frenetic energy with a bagel stuffed in her mouth – sitting in the desk adjacent to mine. She chucks the extra bagel she picked up for me, setting down a coffee from Dark Sparks for me as well. I’ve told her that she doesn’t have to pick me up coffee or breakfast, but she gave me her most intimidating glare until I agreed to eat whatever she brought me.
Thea doesn’t listen to me a lot. Probably why she’s lasted so long as my assistant. I can be my own worst enemy. Eyeing her idly, I think back on how lucky I am to have ever found her.
Technically, we met because she stole my car. I mean, you didn’t expect me to go through legitimate channels to find an assistant, did you?
Pissed at myself and the thief, I tracked her down to Skid Row, where she and her three younger siblings were struggling to survive. I’d hired them all, and now, seven years later, the four of them barely resemble the street urchins I’d plucked from poverty. Her two sisters – Margo and Isabelle – were both married and thriving, Margo as a sous chef at a top tier restaurant in Malibu and Isabelle as a world class pianist, traveling the globe to perform. Her youngest brother, Eliot, just graduated from MIT and already has a job offer at a major app developer in Silicon Valley.
I once asked Thea what her dream was, and her answer stunned me, while hitting a chord with me at the same time: to protect my siblings. After all, her siblings were safe and secure, but she insisted on staying on with me. I couldn’t get rid of her if I tried – and believe me, I have.
She settles into her desk in our shared office. I tried to move her into her own office when she got there, even had one made for her, but she insisted on being in the same office as me. Mostly because, and I quote, “she couldn’t trust me not to fuck things up if I was left to my own devices.” I tried to remind her that I was a three-thousand-year-old god, but she merely rolled her eyes, responding, “Then why are you still such an idiot?”
Thea scarfs down the bagel. I arch a brow as she pulls the chair as close as possible to my desk. She brushes the crumbs off her fingers, letting them fall to the floor of our office, narrowing her eyes on me, daring me to comment.
I hold my hands up in faux surrender, and open some of the A-Harmony files I filched from my mother’s office. We were making progress on the matches, interviews, narrowing down who we were going to cast in the first season, Thea had even found a mansion in Mykonos, which should allow us to start filming sometime in the new year.
For hours, Thea and I debate through the potential structure of the show, how to make it not only entertaining for us, but for viewers. Eventually, we settle on a basic outline: thirty of my mother’s soulmate matches, together in the mansion in Mykonos, and they’re told that their soulmate is within the walls (though they have no idea which person it is). Throughout the weeks of filming, they will be put through trials to test their compatibility. Failing such challenges can put you in danger of being sent home, unless one of the other house members decides to save you. In other words, this show will be absolute chaos, but I know participants will flock to it. Who can resist being set up by the God of Love?
Lunch is delivered for us – ordered by Thea, of course – and over the leftover kung pao, we hammer out the rest of the details, though I scrunch my nose at her suggested title.
“Cupid’s Arrow? Absolutely not.”
“Suck it up, princess. People know Cupid more than they know Eros,” she glares at me when I open my mouth. “Yes, I know you’re the same person, but if you want the show to succeed, that’s the title.”
I snarl at her, narrowing my eyes, but she glares back at me, until I sigh in defeat. “Fine, Cupid’s Arrow it is.”
Thea’s smirk stretches across her face, and she gets up to start packing up. As she does, she asks me, “Are you doing anything for the holidays?”
“Holidays?” I murmur, still glancing down at the files in front of me, brows drawn down.
“Yeah, dumbass, Christmas,” Thea adds, turning back to face me.
My head snaps up at the title, and one of my brows shoots up. “Christmas? Nyxie is having a party up north. She included you, Nicole, and Alexei in the invitation.”
“We can’t go,” she states, rather matter-of-factly, and I lean back a little in my chair as I assess her.
“It’s not smart to turn down an invitation from a Prime, you know. What are you doing that beats a party with gods?”
Her grey eyes slit at me. “Going to church for Christmas Mass.”
Thank gods, I’m not drinking anything because I would have definitely spit it all out at that surprising announcement.
My mouth gapes in shock. “You still planning to go to a Catholic Mass? With what you know? Who you know?”
Thea scoffs easily. “Hey, I may know all you gods exist, but that does not mean I want my abuela to spit on my grave if I don’t have a good Catholic funeral.”
Sputtering, I attempt to come up with a reason that her worshiping the Trinity Administration is not a good thing, but honestly, I’m coming up blank. Standing, I circle around the desk, placing an affectionate kiss on her forehead. “Of course, Thea. Just do me a favor and make sure Z never finds out about this.”
She steps back from me, winking at me as she turns to leave. “No promises. See ya, Cupid.”
She deliberately slams the door behind her before I can shout a reprimand. Breaking off my retort, I chuckle to myself turning back to my desk.