The moment I arrived at the God Complex, I pressed my back against the nearest wall and inched my way into the building. Before stepping through the front door, I patted the back pocket of my jeans, double-checking that the handkerchief I’d grabbed that morning was still there. It was. It gave me what little security I could have in this place.
Why was I so cautious? Why was I so on edge? Why was the blindfold so important?
Well, it seemed the incident between my brother and my laptop came with more repercussions than I had originally anticipated.
By the time I returned to the lounge after sparring with Phobos and Deimos, Eros was trying to get frisky with Clio. He was whispering something in her ear that I couldn’t hear. I was all the better for that. I was sure it was something that would fall into the TMI category.
Clio’s only response to my brother’s whispering was, “You should’ve thought of that before you broke your sister’s laptop.” With a final shrug, she turned her attention to Eris, who was still lounging on the couch.
“Are you serious?” Eros asked, his mouth agape. Clio’s only response was to giggle.
“The thing is, soul sister, Ros is like me in the worst way. We tend to forget the thinking part before we do things.”
“I guess he has to learn at some point.” Clio shrugged again.
Me and my big mouth, I couldn’t hold back at that point. Relishing the karma he was experiencing, I just had to comment on my brother’s punishment. “Oh, I cock-blocked him? How delightful.”
Eros turned his gaping face to stare at my smug form as I leaned against the lounge door. “This is your fault.”
It wasn’t, of course. It was his own fault. But, considering how much he reveled in my misfortune, I was more than willing to take the credit. “Don’t fuck with my work,” I warned.
“Don’t fuck with me fucking,” Eros warned back with narrowed eyes.
“You started it,” I reminded my pesky brother.
Eros dismissed the fact with a flippant hand-motion. “Semantics, little sister.”
Semantics? The truth and facts were semantics to him?! “I wouldn’t have fucked with you if you hadn’t fucked with me!” And technically, I didn’t fuck with him at all. It was Clio who was fucking with him on my behalf. I was just enjoying it.
However, that joy quickly dissolved as my brother pulled out the one thing that made me nervous, one of his arrows. He began twirling the wretched item in his hand, teasing me. “You know, if I’m not distracted by my wife…”
The unfinished statement filled me with more dread than Deimos did when he prepared to tickle me as I sparred with him and Phobos. “Don’t you dare!” I warned, desperately trying to sound more intimidating than intimidated.
“Dare what, Tia?” my brother asked, playing dumb as he tapped the tip of the arrow against his lips. “Do my job?” The thinly veiled threat was all I had to hear before I bolted out of the lounge. I needed to get as far away from Eros as was physically possible. “You can only run for so long, Tia! I have wings!”
I did my best to block out Eros’s threats, but it wasn’t easy considering I knew he was right. “Keep your aphrodisiacs away from me!” I shouted before teleporting away from the God Complex and back to the safety of the Revolt Project House in Boston.
A week had passed, and I hadn’t returned to the God Complex since. I was even a little paranoid as I went about my business in Boston. The entire Revolt House could tell that I was on edge. They kept asking what was wrong, and I was running out of excuses. This needed to end. Maybe I could appeal to Eros’s ego and get him to leave me alone.
Hey, a girl could hope.
I slid into the lounge, keeping my back to the wall as I peaked in. Crap. There was Clio, looking down at her phone. Eros wouldn’t be far.
“Hello, Adrestia,” Clio greeted me happily.
“Shh!” I hissed at her. “Is Eros here?”
Clio giggled, shaking her head. “No, he isn’t. Actually, I don’t know where he is.” That was a surprise. If Eros had his way, he would be glued to Clio’s side at all times—either out of protectiveness or horniness.
But I wasn’t going to look a gift-horse in the mouth. I sighed in relief and calmly entered the lounge. Still, I opted for the seat near Clio that was right against the wall. “Good. How are you?”
“I’m doing well,” Clio said, looking down at the babies sleeping comfortably in their stroller. “Just a little tired.” No surprise there. She was dealing with not one but two offspring from my brother, not to mention the baby-maker himself. Anyone would be tired. “How are you?”
“I’m okay. Just working hard.”
“That’s good,” Clio said. “How is your project coming along?”
I sighed again. “It’s a constant job. Never done. No rest for the weary.” And it’s not made easier when a mad archer is running around threatening to shoot you all the time.
“Is there no one that could help you?” I really appreciated Clio for the sisterly concern she was showing me. It hadn’t been long ago that we got reacquainted after two thousand years. She was still so welcoming. What did my brother do to deserve such a gracious goddess?
“I have my housemates, but most of them are working or going to school. Some are doing both. The fact that they’re dedicating what little free time they have to the project is amazing.”
Clio smiled brightly. “That’s wonderful.”
“Yeah, they are,” I agreed. My housemates never failed to amaze me.
“Any that interest you?” Clio asked, crossing her legs on the couch.
Oh, dear. Eros was rubbing off on her. “Cool your jets, Clio. I have no time or interest in a relationship.” I leaned in, whispering, “Why do you think I’m so worried about Eros?”
Clio giggled. “I must warn you. He is a meddler. He probably already has a plan.”
“Well, it better be a damn good plan. I followed our father into battle. I’ve seen every plan and counter-plan created by and through war. He’s got his work cut out for him.”
“You’re right, but Eros isn’t making a battle plan,” Clio pointed out.
With a burst of energy, the devil himself popped into the room, a gleeful smirk all over his face. “She’s right. I’m not. I’m making something far worse.”
Despite the confidence I had just exuded moments before, the sudden appearance of my brother practically made me leap across the room. “Get away from me!” I screamed as I pressed myself against the wall.
Eros took my seat next to his wife, kissing her head before smirking at me in that evil way he had. “You aren’t scared of me, are you, little sister?” He knew I was. That’s why he conjured an arrow into his hand and started twirling it teasingly.
“Why are you scaring your sister like this?” Clio asked, looking up at Eros.
“I’m not scared!” I protested. “I just don’t have time for any of your bullshit. I’m a busy woman!”
“No one is too busy for love,” Eros said.
“I am!” I yelled.
My mouth shut quickly as the arrow Eros had been twirling slammed into the wall, a mere inch from my arm. “It’s usually when you’re too busy that love strikes.” Even Clio was in shock. She moved away from Eros to the other end of the couch. The move made Eros look at her and pout. “Traitor.”
With my life and sanity thoroughly threatened, I felt justified in drawing my sword. “I will use this!” I warned my brother. At that point, Clio knew there was no stopping either of us. She shook her head as she pushed the babies into the kitchen, far away from her armed husband and me.
Eros stood slowly, the smile on his face showing just how unintimidated he was. “You know the weaknesses with swords, Tia? You have to get close enough to use them.” He had a point, as much as I hated to admit it. He did have the upper hand, purely because he had a weapon with range.
What he had forgotten was that I was pretty damn good at improvising. That included using weapons in unintended but effective ways. “Says who?” I adjusted my grip on the sword and lobbed it like a javelin. It ended up embedded in the lounge floor, just an inch from Eros’s baby toe. If I had actually wanted to hit him, I would have. Just as I knew he would’ve done the same if he’d actually wanted to shoot me.
Cavalier, as always, Eros kept smirking as he showed me just how big a mistake I had just made. He yanked my sword out of the ground and said, “Thanks.”
“Fuck!” That was the last thing I said before Eros disappeared. “Eros! Give that back!” I yelled to the ceiling. How could I have been so fucking stupid?
Suddenly, the intercom clicked on. “Can’t catch me, little sister,” Eros taunted for the entire fucking building to hear. “You may be the warrior, but I’m the spy.”
“Motherfucker!” I cursed toward the intercom.
“My husband is two years old,” Clio commented, taking a new seat across the room as she sipped her fresh cup of coffee.
“Where’s the speaker room?” I demanded. I seriously needed to take a tour of the God Complex to figure out where everything was. If this was going to be a regular occurrence, it was a necessity.
“Honestly, he could be anywhere,” Clio pointed out as she flipped the nearest security camera the bird.
I plopped to the ground and tried to force myself into my meditative trance. He couldn’t hide forever. I was known as the Goddess Who Couldn’t Be Escaped. Not even Eros could do what thousands couldn’t. I would find him, come hell or high water.
“Boo.” No longer distorted by the audio of the speaker, Eros’ voice popped up right behind me. I should’ve seen that one coming. I was going to kick myself for days for falling for it. I’d been too spoiled by the predictability of the Revolt House. I’d been away from home for too long and had become lax.
When I was done screaming and leaping away from my brother, Eros was grinning like the happiest punk on Earth. He was so carefree, even flipping my sword through the air. “You really should learn to have some fun, baby sister,” he lectured before handing me the sword. His grin took on a dark shimmer as he growled, “before I decide to force you.”
I snatched my sword back, desperate for any protection from my freak of a brother. “You’re fucking creepy. You know that?”
“Creepy? Moi?” Eros titled his head innocently. “I think disconcerting is closer.”
“Everything you say sounds like innuendo!”
With a wicked smile, Eros sat next to Clio, who had taken her coffee back to the couch. “Because it is. When you can’t lie, you have to be clever.”
“Well, it’s creepy!” I repeated.
Eros turned his pouting face to his bride. “Aren, what do you think?”
“You’re a creep,” Clio said without a hint of hesitation.
“Don’t you think she needs to have a little more fun?” Eros asked Clio, searching for some support.
“I told you I have to work!” Of course, my protests fell on deaf ears.
Eros rolled his eyes and said, “You both sound like you don’t trust me to have a reason.”
“I know you have a reason, Lykos,” Clio said, speaking for the both of us. I mean, I knew my brother had a reason for his actions. The reason was that fucking with me entertained him. However, Clio was far kinder than that. “What the reason is, no one will know.”
“The reason is always to find love.” Eros punctuated his point by kissing Clio on the nose before mumbling, “And cause trouble.” Clearly, the reasons didn’t come exclusively in that order.
“Well, I don’t want it,” I said a final time, crossing my arms and putting my foot down.
“Yet, it arrives all the same.” Oh, great. There was that lecturing tone Eros got every so often when he thought he was being smarter than everyone else. “Like Thanatos.”
“The difference is Than isn’t a waste of time,” I pointed out.
Eros smirked at me before pulling Clio onto his lap and asking, “Are you saying love is a waste of time?”
“The track records of others prove me right.”
Eros frowned.. “Please elaborate.”
Eros was the last person I needed to explain my feelings to. Yet, I did all the same. “I’ve seen your love practically immobilize a person with pain, grief, and anger.” Seen and felt it myself. “They’re in love, so they don’t eat or sleep.” I didn’t. “They break up, so they don’t eat or sleep.” I didn’t. “Everyone is just happier being single!” I certainly was.
I knew I had fucked up when Eros started laughing. “That sounds like you’re already in love, little sister.” Fuck. Shut your mouth before you make it worse, Tia. “Who’s the lucky person?”
“No one! I’ve just seen it…from all my housemates.” I mean, it wasn’t a complete lie.
Clio and Eros exchanged a look, and I knew my attempt to dodge this conversation wasn’t working. “Tell me about these housemates,” Eros ordered.
Get out. Quick. “They’re just a bunch of people I live with.”
Eros picked up his lecturing tone again as he said, “To quote death, tick-tock, little sister. An arrow with your name on it. You’ll never know where or when it will hit.”
Now he was pushing me too far. This was no longer a game. This was getting too serious and too familiar. “If you make all of my hard work fall to pieces, I will hunt you down.” This was far more serious than any sisterly threat I had given my brother since my return.
“Hopefully, whoever I pick for you will keep you busy for a decade or two. Tick-tock, little sister. Tick-tock.” Why did I have to have such a creep for a brother? Why couldn’t he leave me alone for once?