My laptop was sitting on a chair when it lit up, drawing my attention. I sat up gingerly to not wake the sleeping beauty beside me. I swung my feet out from under the covers and slipped out of bed. Sneaking into the other room was no small feat when you were in the home of a hunter. She was always on guard and alert. I stepped, barefoot, out of the apartment area and into the front of Artemis’s floor where the SBF was housed. I decided the best place to check my emails for CTA was in the lounge, so I pulled on a sweater and made my way around the front desk and out the door, grabbing Arty’s keys on my way out.
The elevator doors opened, and I slipped out, moving towards the lounge when I spied Eros in the hallway. He looked off. He had collapsed a little after the party and was leaning on the wall outside the lounge as if he needed the support.
When he spotted me, his eyes started to glow. He shifted against the wall a bit.
“Selene,” he began, quirking a brow and looking me over as if he could sense Arty’s every touch, “I’ve been meaning to ask…you know Missy is wild, right?” He jumped right in, no preamble. I liked that about Eros. No bullshit from him when he is focused on something. You knew where you stood. He made eye contact with me as I reached him and continued, “She will never be tamed by anyone.”
I met his gaze and replied solemnly, “As nomadic as I am, you think that’s a problem? I have no desire to,” I raised my hand in a mortal gesture of using air quotes while saying, “tame her. If she can accept me and my dark side, I can accept her and her wild side.”
Eros raised his brow, the ghost of a smile on his face, though his voice was deeper than normal, “You know I care for my family, despite appearances. I want her happy.”
I sighed and looked at Eros. “Look at me, Eros. Do your thing…look at me.”
Eros winced, but his eyes remained on mine, the bright blue pulsating. “You want me to read your heart?”
“If you must, to know. I’m giving you permission.”
Eros sighed deeply and focused. His eyes closing for a second before he smiled and responded slowly, “You know I have to make sure.” His eyes slowly opened, and he held my gaze. “I just want her happy, no matter what that means.”
“So we have the same goal, then. Eros…I love her. I’m not going anywhere she isn’t.”
“I just have to make sure. When it comes to Missy, it’s just I’d like to close that chapter of hurt for her.”
“Eros, I know her. I know her past hurts and traumas. We have talked openly, and I am helping her heal. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Good.” He nodded brusquely, as if that was all he needed, just to make sure Missy’s heart was safe with me.
I grinned at him. “You didn’t even use your gift for that.”
Eros raised his brow, his smile turning into a knowing smirk. “I didn’t have to.”
“All you had to do was ask.”
“Asking rarely works. Deities lie.”
I shrugged. “I don’t. I have no use for it.”
Eros, leaned closer, pushing off the wall, whispering to me as he passed by, “Also, deities rarely know what they truly want.” With that, he turned and walked away, leaving me in the hallway.
I shook my head and walked into the empty lounge, mulling over our conversation and the sweet soul we had been discussing. The room was dark and odd in the emptiness. Between the nocturnal gods, like myself, and the others, it is rarely ever completely empty.
I poured myself a dram of Scotch and swallowed it down in one gulp. I refilled the glass and screwed the cap back on the bottle before moving to the couch. I sat down, pulling my feet under me, and spent the next thirty minutes answering emails and checking my calendar. The entire time I fought to keep my mind from drifting to the hours spent with Arty. As I finished I was feeling anxious and eager to get back to her. I closed my laptop and padded through the empty God Complex to the elevator.
Letting myself into Artemis’s apartment with her keys, I heard her cry out. I rushed through her floor and back to her bed, where I found her tossing in her sleep. I sat on the edge and placed my hands on her back and hip, trying to calm her. I closed my eyes and began sending healing energies to Arty, in hopes she could get some rest. I glowed softly in the dark of the room as tendrils of pale blue light flowed from my hands. Her writhing stopped, and she seemed to sink further into the bed beneath us. Once she relaxed, I stroked the brown hair flowing down her back in a cascade of waves created by her constant braided style. My hands ran through the locks as my heart soared. “Of all people,” I thought to myself, “Arty would let me in.” I shook my head, still sitting in disbelief that my love was reciprocated. I quietly got up and walked around the bed, climbed in behind her, and scooted up close, wrapping my arm around her. After a few moments, our breathing synced, and we almost felt like one.
This. This is what I missed. This is what home feels like.
A few moments later, Artemis stirred. Her eyes remained closed, but a slight smile crept up her face as she laced her fingers in mine, resting our joined hands on her stomach before wiggling back to me. I kissed her nape, and she drifted back to sleep in my arms.