I stood on the entrance steps to the Olympus Administration Building (OAB) for a moment and peered at my reflection in the dark glass doors. I do look awful. Hades sent me here because Zeus is looking for me. Uncle told me Zeus is divinely angry that I had poached some of the construction workers from his OAB project. Work here had slowed to a crawl. I sighed. I did do it, might as well go face the music. I stepped forward, opened the door, and ran smack into Artemis.
“A-Artemis,” I stuttered as we collided, “I am, am, so sorry. Are you okay?”
Artemis laughed, after she recovered herself, and adjusted the bow slung across her back.
“Of course I’m fine. Don’t be silly,” she replied, then added, “I have not seen you in ages, Dinlas. You look great. Please, give me a proper hug.”
I felt my mouth go dry and my hands go sweaty as she held out her arms for an embrace. She is beautiful, just so beautiful. I reached to return her embrace. It was amazing. She smelled like a pine forest. She smelled like fresh fallen snow on a winter evening, like right after a rainstorm on a summer afternoon, like roses on their first day of bloom…
Suddenly, I realized the hug had gone on for longer than she expected or intended. I released her and said, “It’s, it’s good, really good to see you also, Artemis How have you been?”
“I’m fine. I had to come in here to do some paperwork. Ugh, I hate this giant concrete box. I told Dad that there was a beautiful glade we could set-up in near me. But no, of course, he wants some monstrosity. So what’s up with you?”
The wheels in my head were spinning and I was sure she could see my heart beating through my shirt, but I gave it another shot at conversation.
“Umm, yeah, I have to go see Zeus about something, too. But I’ve been great. I am a bounty hunter, or I should say bail-enforcement officer. I hunt down felons and criminal fugitives.”
Artemis smiled and touched my hand with her fingertips as she responded. “So we both are hunters? I admire that, Dinlas.” She paused for a second, then added, “I will be sure to call you if I ever have too much to handle at once.”
“Yeah, wow, yeah, that would be, uh, uh…”
“Amazing?” she offered.
“Yes,” I said while nodding my head a bit too vigorously. “Yes. That would be amazing.”
“Perfect,” she said. Her eyes twinkled. “I don’t want to make you late for Zeus. We all know his temper. Plus, I have to get back to Sayeh. A dragon can get into a surprising amount of trouble when left alone. Even for short periods.”
I kept staring at her, lost in my thoughts. Suddenly I realized she had stopped talking. I replied, “Of course, of course, I don’t want to keep you, either. I hope to see you soon.” Artemis smiled, then leaned in, and gave me a quick peck on the cheek.
“Love ya, Dinlas, I’m glad we saw each other. Until next time.” She stepped out of the building and closed her eyes. I watched her and waited until she suddenly disappeared and I heard the unmistakable *pop* of displaced air as she teleported. I stood for several seconds simply rubbing my cheek where she kissed me, then turned and headed for the elevators to Zeus’ office.
I know what you’re thinking. Especially all you ‘Olympus Genealogy Types’. Yes, Artemis is my aunt, well I guess half-aunt. That sort of thing doesn’t really matter with the gods. I mean if you’re immortal, things are different. Anyway, yes, I am smitten with Artemis. Don’t go around blabbing that, either, or I will pay you a visit. Besides, Artemis is the ever-virgin. Of course, my luck, my soulmate is a bona fide virgin for life.
The elevator finally appeared and I took it up to the OAB administrative offices. When the door opened again, I walked into the large foyer. Crap, sitting at the desk in front of Zeus’ office, her face partially obscured by a large computer screen, is Aphrodite. She doesn’t even crack the ‘Top Thousand People I would like to See’ list. I move forward and she raises her head; it’s not Aphrodite. It’s just some blond-bombshell look alike.
“You Dinlas?” she asked as she ignored all the normal mortal customs of greeting.
“Yes, I am. What’s your name?”
She smiled and ignored my question. “He’ll see you in just a moment. He’s finishing with the appointment ahead of you now.”
I sat down, but almost immediately, there was an explosion behind the large double doors leading into Zeus’ office. A man, burly and hard looking, shot out towards the elevators. He rippled with muscles, was covered in tattoos, and wore a face that said he had clearly seen it all in his life.
He’s crying. He’s crying like Demeter in late fall.
“Your turn,” the blonde receptionist smirked.
I got up and headed for the still open door. I could see Zeus in the office. He had a snarl on his face and a bright blue nimbus of light encircled his right hand. He saw me and smiled. He smiled a wicked, crooked smile that screamed, “I just figured out who I’m going to take my frustration out on.”
I looked at the secretary as I went by her desk. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face at my predicament.
‘I slowed and said, “What’s so funny?”
She leaned forward, with her elbows on her desk, and rested her chin in her palms.
“I’ve had to listen to him rant about you for three weeks while you were off on some vacation. It got old really quick. I am so going to enjoy hearing this through the door.”
I looked back at the door as the low rumble of thunder emanated from Zeus’ office.
“Ok,” I thought, “here goes…”
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