It’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for another tiny sneak peek at what I’m currently working on. Unlike the last snippet I shared, this isn’t something you’ll have to wait much longer to read! This is from the upcoming installment of Earth Bound, which you’ll (hopefully!) have in your inboxes on Friday.
The set up: Meaghan goes into work the morning after she and Heph have their date/Zeus battle. Nain leaves, and, for a little while, it’s just Meaghan and Molly in the loft. Here’s some of what happens.
* * *
“Do you have any questions?” Molly asked.
“About?” Meaghan responded, knowing full well what the goddess was asking.
“Christ, I feel like a mother giving ‘the talk’ for the first time,” Molly muttered. “About Hephaestus, or what he is, or his parents, or whatever. This must be overwhelming,” she said, taking a seat on one of the stools. “And Heph is so wrapped up in you, he’s probably not even realizing what a shock all of this might be.”
“Is he wrapped up in me?” Meaghan asked quietly. When she looked back up, Molly was watching her, empathy in her features.
“You have no idea,” Molly said with a small smile. “He’s nuts about you. He’s told you that, though,” she added.
“He has. I just don’t quite believe it.”
“Heph isn’t a liar,” Molly said.
Meaghan sat on the stool next to the Angel, her tea forgotten. “If I ask you stuff, do you promise not to tell him? I don’t want him to think I’m prying, but I just—“
“It’s okay,” Molly said. “It’s between us.”
Meaghan took a breath. “Aphrodite.”
“Was a coldhearted bitch who never brought him any happiness and murdered two of my closest allies right in front of me,” Molly said, ending with a snarl.
“That whole goddess of love thing, though,” Meaghan pointed out. “And she must have been gorgeous, right?”
Molly let out a small laugh. “Goddess of lust, maybe. I don’t think Aphrodite loved anyone but herself. She was gorgeous. Physically perfect in every way. I hated her,” Molly finished, and Meaghan laughed. “She had kids with Ares, not her husband. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and they never should have been forced to be together.”
“Did he love her?” she asked softly.
Molly shrugged. “I doubt it. He lusted after her, for sure. He’s admitted as much. Early on, he wanted a real marriage with her, but the longer it went on, the more she insisted on continuing her thing with Ares, Heph went from being hurt, to pissed, to just not caring.” Molly paused. “Their relationship was not good for his ego. Not in that department, anyway,” she finished quietly. After a few moments, she added, “I think the two of you have that in common, probably.”
“You’ve been thinking you couldn’t possibly live up to what he had,” Molly said. “Really, the thing is that maybe you’re showing him what an actual relationship feels like, for the first time in his existence. And if you mess around on him, if you break him, I hope you can run really, really fast, because I will have a problem with you.”
“I wouldn’t,” Meaghan protested. “We might not work out,” she finished quietly. “I don’t even know what we have, really.”
“Not working out is one thing. It happens. I’m just saying: be honest with him. If you decide you’re done, then you’re done, but don’t sneak around behind his back, and don’t lie to him. And for the record, he’d never lay a hand on you in anger,” she added, reading the concerns in Meaghan’s mind.
“You didn’t see him last night,” Meaghan said, speaking the fear she’d been trying to shove away. “So much rage. And that kind of power is terrifying, and I barely lived through being with somoene who had a tiny speck of the amount of power Hephaestus has.”
“Heph and his father have issues,” Molly said, toying with an envelope from the ever-growing pile of mail on the kitchen counter. “You should ask him about it sometime if what you saw last night worries you that much. That’s his story to tell. Not mine.”
“But you were fine telling me about Aphrodite?” Meaghan asked, confused.
Molly shrugged. “You knew all of it already, or at least you started to put it together. You know Aphrodites’s sons aren’t Heph’s. And you’re not dumb. It doesn’t take a genius to know what that means.”
Meaghan crinkled her brow. It was slightly annoying that she was broadcasting her thoughts to Molly and Nain all the time, but she guessed it was also kind of convenient, too.
“I think I love him,” Meaghan said.
Molly met her eyees, gave her a small smile. “Well… duh.”
* * *
That’s it for this week!