I’m sitting outside the Olympus Administration Building in the courtyard. It is a glorious day, especially to stir up some trouble. I’m sitting at one of the tables, my long legs stretched out underneath. I have a pair of torn jeans on and my snug Under Amor shirt.
“Let’s be honest here, I’m fucking amazing.”
I like how it shows off my abs and pecs. Apparently I’m not alone, since a knot of women, and some men, have gathered and refuse to look away. I might as well give them a real show. With a rustle, I unfurl my snow-white wings and let them soak in Uncle Apollo’s radiant glory. As I unfurl them, the crowd can’t help but gasp at their beauty and size. One young lady in particular is clearly mesmerized. I smile and wave to her as my wings extend out in either direction.
“Remember,” I tell her, “size matters.”
She blushes profusely, then scurries off in the other direction with her hand over her mouth.
I watch the crowd as I idly twirl an arrow. I’m looking for any unsuspecting victims, er clients, to use it on. I watch for some time, then sigh as I tap the point of the arrow thoughtfully against my lip. Even I can’t pull off subterfuge when everyone is staring right at me.
“I guess they can’t help it. I mean, have you seen me? I’m beautiful.”
After a few more minutes, I draw in my wings and get up to go inside. The crowd seems dejected, so I shake a few hands and kiss a few ladies before I return to work. I have a few things to take care of because, you know, mischief is a full time job. There is disappointed murmuring, but the crowd disperses after I leave.
I head back to the Olympus Administration Building and begin rubbing my chest. I don’t want anyone else to see it, but the ache from my father, Pateras, is still strong. He lost a mortal he loved dearly and I don’t know how I can fix it.
As I enter the lobby I run, almost headlong, into Aphrodite.
“Miteras,” I say as she immediately reaches out to hug me. I return her embrace. Of all her children, I am her favorite. After all, we’re in the same business, love.
“Dinny, my darling,” she says in my ear as she hugs me, “how are you?”
“I’m fine, Miteras,” I reply as we break. “How goes things at A-Harmony?”
“We are swamped with clients. I really wish you would reconsider and come work for me.”
“I can’t, I have my own job. I can’t do both,” I protest.
Aphrodite lowers her voice and continues to push.
“Well, did you hear your brother Eros is going to possibly be working with Ares?”
I shook my head and surreptitiously rubbed my chest at the mention of my father’s name.
“I didn’t hear that. So what if they are? Is this a contest?”
She playfully slaps my arm and says, “Of course not. I mean, whatever they do is fine. I’m not worried about Eros. That ship sailed long ago. I just wondered if you heard.”
I looked at Miteras. Actually, I did know about it. When I first returned to Olympus Administration, I had two people close to me whose hearts ached: Eros and Ares. Eros, I believe I fixed. Honestly, he’s easy to manipulate. Eros was crushed after a magical mishap of epic proportions with the muse Erato and his lust dust. Turns out that Eros has been secretly infatuated with Artemis, of all people, for thousands of years. They had a weekend fling, then she kicked him to the curb when the magic wore off. I don’t know, maybe it was when she came back to her senses. Either way, I can’t blame her. All he ever does is mope, complain, and whine about how bad he had it growing up.
“Oh poor me,” he would go on, “I had to grow up in Tartarus. Mom doesn’t love me. Yada, yada, yada.” Anyway, I consider Artemis admirable for lasting three days. Usually I can’t be around him for more than an hour or so.
“Dinny, are you listening to me?” Aphrodite asked. Clearly, it was a repeat question.
“Yes, of course,” I say. “Just repeat it again.”
She laughs at me and repeats, “Okay, last time I say it. I am so glad you came back. Now, would you like to get dinner this week?
I hug her again. “Of course, Miteras. Let me know when and where.”
She nods. “I will.” She then gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, followed by a rub with her thumb to remove the lipstick.
We part ways, and I grab the elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor. It’s Eros’ floor. I want to check on him, but I also need to lift his credit card again for something big that me and Dion are planning two weeks from now. With a ding, the elevator doors open and I step off onto his floor. The short hallway is barren and there is simply a small bronze plaque next to the door. It reads, “Eros: God of Hate and Jealousy.”
That’s it. One title. By Zeus, he is so frustratingly spartan. I shake my head one last time and knock on the door. I can hear moving and shuffling inside the apartment, then the door opens and Eros looks me up and down.
“Whadda you want?” he asks thickly.
“Is that anyway to greet your favorite brother?” I respond as I shove past him into his apartment. I look around at the furnishings. Spartan. The walls are plain brick and most of the ventilation ducts exposed.
I point up at it and ask, “Aren’t those supposed to be covered up?”
Eros sighs. “No, they are just how they are supposed to be. It’s called industrial style. At least that’s what I think Nyx said. Anyway, I described what I liked to her and she helped me pick it out.”
Nyx. Her and Eros were my doing. Because I’m amazing. When I first got back here, she was the first to extend the hand of friendship. We bonded quickly and are now steadfast friends. She was the kind of friend that we could sit downstairs in the lobby and rate the mortal women as they walked by. Hades, who am I kidding, we rate the men as well.
“I mean, fine flesh is fine flesh. Amirite?”
Anyway, after several weeks, she confessed her feelings for, I mean I’d call it infatuation with, my brother. Apparently she likes her men dark and patently shallow. I don’t know, whatever. So it took just an arrow stick and here they are together. It was easy, so easy in fact that he clearly had feelings for her as well that he wasn’t acknowledging.
“Why are you here, Dinlas?” he asked. “By Hera, you’re an annoying fuck.”
“Hey,” I reply, “don’t use Ya-Ya’s name like that. I’ll tell her and you won’t be her favorite anymore.”
Eros laughs and says, “Pretty sure that as long as Aphrodite fusses over you like you’re still a child, I can count on being Nana’s favorite.”
Yeah, he’s right.
“Whatever,” I say as I slide over to his desk and spy his wallet laying out in plain sight. I hover over the wallet, idly twirling an arrow, and ask, “Have you talked to Artemis lately?”
Eros scowls and turns to look out the window. Swipe goes his credit card into my pocket.
“Why would you ask me that? Artemis and I are friends, nothing more.”
I got what I wanted, now for my escape.
“Okay, fair enough. How are things with Nyx? Are you still angry about the arrow?”
Eros turns back and looks at me. I already know the answer, the true answer. Since he and Nyx got together, the ache in his heart is almost nonexistent. Not only is he recovering from the unfortunate events with Artemis, but it seems he no longer clings to his anger from the past.
“Yup, that’s me. Insanely beautiful and breathtakingly intelligent.”
Eros looks back at me and instead asks, “You still haven’t told me why you’re here.”
“I just wanted to check in and say hello. I’m glad Nyx and you have been a good fit.” He can sniff out a lie almost as good as Uncle Hades, so I have to be careful. He believes it though, because, well, it really is true.
He nods and simply says, “Thank you. I’m glad you stopped as well.” Then he adds, “Oh, Nyx asked me to call you anyway to see if you wanted to do a late lunch today.”
I thought about it for a second, as I palmed his credit card in my pocket, then replied, “Sure, I’ll even treat.”
He nodded and said, “Great, let’s meet in an hour at Nox.”
“Sounds good, I’m gonna bounce, and I will see you there.” With that, I teleport up to my own apartment within the building. I pull out his credit card and kiss it. I meant what I said about being worried about my brother, but I still needed his credit card. Dion and I were gonna have a good time in a few days.
“I mean, how could we not have a good time? We’re inviting forty nymphs for a party on the empty forty-eighth floor,” I think as I rub my chest absent-mindedly. I give my face a quick splash and comb my hair a dozen or so times in front of the mirror. When it’s just right, I pop on over to Nox for lunch.
I arrive first at Nox and look around for others as I idly tap an arrow to my lips. It wasn’t usually busy during the day, and her bartender, Mateo, made a mean dirty martini. He asked, so how could I say no? Didn’t hurt that he was easy on the eyes, either. I ordered a round of appetizers for us on Eros’ credit card. It felt strange being in a nightclub when it wasn’t full of gyrating bodies and strobe lights, but at least it was immortal-free for the moment.
I saw the front door pushed open and Eros stepped through first, glancing around the room before spotting me and giving me a short nod. I wondered briefly if he’d ever had a fashion lesson in his entire life – he was always wearing a damn suit. “It’s a classic, Dinlas,” he always said. About as classic as the Stone Age.
And then I saw her.
She glided through the door like a mist, yet her presence was anything but ephemeral. I could feel her heart before her eyes found me, and a flash of pain coursed through me. I rubbed my chest involuntarily. Eros saw me flinch as he approached our booth, and frowned.
“Yup, just fine.”
He let Nyx slide in first, following behind her. She wore her mortal clothing, her moon necklace charm she always wore, but nothing special. Still I felt like Zeus just punched me in the heart. What the actual fuck?
Resisting the urge to rub my chest again, I pushed menus at them, grabbing my drink again. “Hope you don’t mind I started without you.” If there was ever a time I wanted alcohol to work, it was now.
Eros made small talk about work, something about Ares and the security company they were going to be merging with his bounty hunting business, but I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. My eyes kept straying back to Nyx, who caught me looking every once in a while. She had a quizzical look on her face after the second or third time she caught me studying her. Eros finally picked up on it, and glared at me.
“Is there a problem?”
“No, not at all, brother. Just admiring how – how beautiful Nyx is today, that’s all.
“Are you sure?”
“Sheesh, possessive much?” I said, trying to play off the spreading feeling of panic by finishing my drink and ordering another. Thank the gods Mateo was quick on the draw – he had another in front of me almost immediately. But Eros was looking closely at me now.
Fucking fuckity fuck. What is this and why the hell is it happening to me all of a sudden?