Feeling confident she picked up a light blue silk blouse with pink cherry blossoms, she always enjoyed what she termed happy patterns on her clothes. Her brother Ian would always laugh when she brought it up. He was currently filming a new superhero movie and would be gone for the next six months. The two of them shared a brownstone in Manhattan, Ian had insisted she stay with him while completing school after her disastrous break up.
“What use is all my money if I can’t help my family?” he’d asked her when she had hesitated on accepting his offer.
“Ack!” she yelled when she glanced at her alarm clock. If she didn’t leave now she would be late for work. Rushing downstairs she ran into the kitchen, grabbed her overnight oatmeal from the refrigerator, tossed her nude pumps into her bag and slipped on flats to run to the subway. Putting on her blue wool coat she buttoned it as she went out the door, making sure to lock it before running to the station. She managed to slip onto a subway car seconds before the doors closed on her. If she’d missed the train she would have been late and she wanted to make a good first impression.
She walked into the office and took a deep breath to settle her nerves. The office was spacious with an inner room which she knew from speaking with the previous secretary, Mr. Waters used as his office. Her desk a polished cherry wood with a state of the art monitor and CPU in one corner, sat right outside the inner office. She noticed four comfortable chairs set against the wall by the outer door and a water cooler with disposable cups, to the left of the door sat a shining silver coffee and tea service. She remembered talking to the previous secretary about Mr. Waters expectations when he had high profile clients. She was to ask if the clients wanted coffee or tea and then bring it within five minutes. She put her things away, slipped on her nude pumps and set to work getting Mr. Waters his morning cup of coffee.
“Good morning Mr. Waters. I’ve brought you your coffee.” Madeline announced walking into his office, she set the coffee out of the way and handed him a printed schedule of his day.
“Thank you Ms. Heart, take a seat and we will go over your daily duties.” Mr. Waters replied motioning to a leatherback chair in front of his massive mahogany desk.
“Yes sir,” She settled herself on the edge of the chair pen poised to take notes.
“First when alone call me Don. Second we will go over my daily schedule every morning at eight, this means no scheduling any appointments until nine. Next have all files pertaining to my meetings pulled and on my desk, I dislike looking disorganized in front of a client. Answer your phone by the third ring and remember client privacy is of the utmost importance. There will be different kind of clients through my doors than what you may have seen with the other lawyers. I ask you keep that in mind when you greet any of them. Last my brothers Harry and Zach are to be allowed into my office at any time, even when I’m with a client. Do you have any questions about the information I have just given you?” Don asked watching her pen fly across her notepad, he took this time to observe her.
She was a beautiful young lady with her blond hair and amaretto eyes. By human standards she would be considered petite with an attractive figure. Her trim outfit hid much of her figure but fit her perfectly, to leave any man wondering what she hid beneath. He could tell she took care of herself, her arms defined with svelte muscles along with dancers legs. If she weren't his employee he might have asked her out to a fancy dinner and discovered her secrets. Her skirt reacher her knees and her blouse billowed around her arms, cuffed at the wrists. Even in her pumps she barely reached his shoulder. She had a calming aura, just being around her relaxed him unlike any other. He felt an untapped potential just waiting to get out. He had felt that same potential several months ago, it had taken him those months to figure out who the aura had been radiating from. As soon as he found Madeline he had her transferred and promoted to his secretary.
Before she arrived he’d looked at her personnel file, in it he found she had turned twenty-three this past November, she was currently a hospitality major at the local university and had worked for his company for three years. Her father Matthew Burton was a famous photographer and her brother Ian Burton a rising movie star. She had a lot of talent her in family and had chosen to go into hospitality. He was curious as to why she’d chosen that for her major. He would let her warm up to him and then he would ask her why.
“No sir, no questions” she replied after a minute of reviewing all the notes she had taken.
“If any arise please ask, don’t try to figure it out on your own. I’d like you to contact my accountant James Carter to set up a meeting. His information is in the address book left by my last secretary.” He watched her surprised when he saw her eyes flare with unchecked rage at the mention of James Carter’s name.
“Do you know James Carter?” he inquired intrigued by the anger he had glimpsed.
“We are cousins.” Her clipped voice revealed her annoyance.
“Do you not get along?”
“Just a minor family matter, don’t worry it will not interfere with my work.” Madeline assured him with a nod,
“Good, now off you go.” He shooed her out of his office and settled once again behind his desk.
Closing the door she sat down at her desk and groaned putting her head in her hands. Of all the accountants in New York City he had to have James. He was the last person besides her ex fiancé Phillip she wanted to see or talk to again. Taking a deep breath she picked up the receiver on her phone and called his accounting firm.
“Good morning, Mr. Carter’s office at Killian and Drake this is Annabeth speaking” she heard a female voice answer the phone.
“Good morning, this is Madeline Heart from Mr. Don Waters’ office at Olympus Law. I am calling to schedule a meeting with Mr. James Carter. He would like Mr. Carter to come to his office if possible later this week.” Madeline explained pulling up Mr. Water’s schedule on her computer.
“Mr. Carter has Wednesday at eleven open.” The secretary offered,
“Mr. Waters already has a scheduled appointment at that time. Could we do Wednesday at two?”
“Mr. Carter is booked at that time.”
The conversation went back and forth until they settled for Thursday at one pm.
“We will see Mr. Carter Thursday at one. Thank you and have a wonderful day.” Madeline hung up the phone and realized two gorgeous men had been patiently waiting for her to get off the phone. She looked up and up until she caught the eye of the taller of the two. He had olive skin, chestnut hair and the deepest violet eyes she had ever seen. He had on a pair of khaki pants, a white polo shirt with the logo Olympus Sky Gym just above his heart. The logo looked a lot like a laurel wreath a winner from the Olympic games used to receive. To finish the look his bangs were pulled back from his forehead with his sunglasses. She could tell he was at least a good foot taller than her five feet two inches and he was broad through his shoulders but had narrow hips. He had to be an athlete, she would stake her pointe shoes on it. He was stunning to look at and when he pierced her with his gaze her insides began to melt.
“Good morning gentlemen, I apologize for the wait. What can I do for you?” She asked trying to mask her reaction to the taller gentleman.
“We are here to see Don. I am Zach and this silent brooding male is Harry.” The other gentleman explained, jerking a thumb at the man she’d been drooling over. Zach was a couple inches shorter than Harry, with blond hair and bright blue eyes. He wore a three piece suit of light gray, with a crisp white shirt and red tie. She cocked her head to the side and said,
“Of course, but have we met before? You feel familiar to me.”
“Probably not, I look a like the actor Ian Burton so many people mistake me for him.” Zach answered,
“No, Ian is my half brother so that can’t be it. Oh well, just a feeling I have. I’ll let Mr. Waters know you and Mr. Undervold are here.”
“How do you know my last name?” Harry asked finally speaking to her, his voice a deep rumble she could feel in her bones.
“Mr. Waters’ last secretary left me important information and your last names were on it. I don’t want to accidentally call you the wrong name.” Madeline replied her eyes shining along with her smile. Harry sucked in a sharp breath, her smile felt like a siren’s call. He felt a pull and immediately wanted to get to know her. He watched in fascination as she picked up the phone and dialed into Don’s office.
“Mr. Waters your brothers are here to see you. Yes I’ll show them in, will you be wanting coffee?” she asked into the receiver and hung up once she had received an answer.
“You may go in, would either of you like coffee or tea?” She asked looking up at the two gentlemen, Harry stared at her lost in thought he didn’t realize she was talking to him again. Zach elbowed him in the ribs and nodded towards Madeline.
“She asked if you wanted coffee or tea Harry.”
“Oh sure, black coffee please.” He replied shaking his head, it had been almost a century since a woman had distracted him enough to lose track of a conversation.
“Of course, you may go in and I’ll be in, in a moment with your coffees.” Madeline motioned to the office door as she stood, she smoothed her skirt and stepped out from behind her desk headed toward the small kitchen area to make coffee. Harry couldn’t stop himself from watching her walk away taking in her trim waist and petite frame. When she’d walked past he’d caught a whiff of vanilla and cherry, he also noted in four inch pumps the top of her head barely reached his shoulder.
Once safely in the office Zach burst into laughter clutching his stomach.
“Hades if I didn’t know any better I’d say Poseidon’s new secretary has peaked your interest.” Zeus joked,
“Is that so Zeus?” Poseidon asked lifting an eyebrow and staring at his younger brother.
“You are insane Zeus, What would I do with a mortal woman?” Hades inquired unable to keep the irritation out of his voice. When had they gotten so good at being able to read him, or was he just that bad at hiding his attraction to Madeline?
“Here is your coffee. Please call me should you need anything else.” Madeline said placing the coffee on the table and leaving quickly so not to disturb their meeting. The three men watched the door close and Poseidon remarked,
“I don’t think she is mortal Hades. Did either of you feel immediately at ease as soon as you entered my office?”
“Yes and I felt a tug of familiarity toward her, she did too. She asked me if we had met before.” Zeus explained and Hades nodded in agreement.
“She mentioned her half-brother is Ian Burton and he is of your line Zeus. His father is the son of one of your children.” Hades remarked looking thoughtful,
“Madeline and Ian have the same father but different mothers. I think she is of Aphrodite’s lineage and with the amount of power I sense in her, Aphrodite might just be her birth mother, I don’t know if she is actually of your line Zeus, the power feels familiar but not the same as yours. It was not my intention when I first asked her to call Mr. James Carter, but her reaction toward him and telling me he is her cousin, now I want to see what information I can gather from him about her. She has no idea of her power, it is one of the reasons I had her promoted so I could keep an eye on her.” Poseidon explained sipping on his coffee.
“How long have you felt her power?” Zeus asked,
“Three months or so ago I felt a surge in the building. It took me a while to pinpoint which secretary the power was coming from. She has been here for three years give or take a month or two.”
“Why are you just feeling her power now?” Hades asked sipping his own coffee, appreciating the smooth rich flavor.
“I don’t know, I’ve never felt a combination of her power before. Usually I can pinpoint the god or goddess a demigod is descended from without effort. It is almost as if Madeline is subconsciously hiding her power. I don’t recall having a demigod with that ability do you?” He put to his brothers
“I don’t either, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Have you asked Aphrodite if Madeline is her daughter?” Zeus wanted to know.
“She won’t speak to me. We had a really bad falling out over her loving a human who was destructive for her. He was a photographer who barely had time for her and she pined away for him. It kept her from doing her duty as the goddess of love.” Poseidon revealed,
“I’ll talk to her. She is currently on Olympus for a break from the human world.” Zeus offered, Poseidon nodded his thanks.
“What mix of power are you getting at Poseidon? You mentioned it was a mix.” Hades pointed out,
“I think the possible mix of being a direct descendant of Aphrodite and her alleged father Matthew Burton being distantly related to Zeus is making for a unique combination of power. He may not actually be her father and Aphrodite just pawned Madeline off on him because she knew Madeline would not be wanted by her real father. Like I said I don’t know if she is a descendant of you Zeus or if she has similar power. I just don’t know any other god other than Hephaestus who has fire or lightning power. I mentioned her cousin James earlier in conversation and I could have sworn lightning or fire flared in her eyes. “
“What happened between them?” Zeus wanted to know,
“She said it was a family matter and didn’t elaborate.” Poseidon explained with a shrug, if Madeline didn’t want to talk about it he wasn’t going to pressure her.
“We came here to talk about Medusa and her sisters starting to become more active in New York City.” Hades announced, and the three switched gears to talk about their plans on how to deal with Medusa.
Madeline spent her whole day fielding phone calls, scheduling appointments, making copies, getting lunch for Don and his brothers that before she knew it, she needed to leave for her evening classes. Shutting down her computer Madeline picked up her bag, slung it over her shoulder and knocked on Don’s office door.
“Good night Mr. Waters. I will see you in the morning.”
“Quitting time already?” He asked looking up from a stack of papers with a soft smile.
“Yes sir, I have to leave for class.” She replied resettling her bag of books.
“Well have a good night then.” He replied with a nod. Madeline quickly left and hopped onto her train for her university.
A few days later Madeline went for her normal morning jog listening to one of her textbooks through her phone. She normally ran a five mile route but today she had some extra nervous energy to burn. Last night her professor had announced their senior project. They were to plan either a wedding, sweet sixteen or anniversary party with a different budget for each. The following week they would be assigned a project based on their concept proposals. She did not want the wedding project. She’d called off her own six months ago. She still remembered that horrid day.
It had been a Wednesday and her classes usually went late. That day her professor had cancelled her late class and she had come home early. She walked into the apartment she shared with Phillip and heard strange noises coming from the bedroom. Opening the door she found Phillip in bed with her cousin James. Screaming in shock she had thrown her engagement ring at Philip, told him it was over and left. She then ran all the way to Ian and told him everything she’d seen. He hired movers and she moved out and into his place the very next day. He even helped her cancel all the wedding plans and let their family know the wedding was off. He was the best older brother she could have asked for.
At some point on her run she realized she had started crying. Angrily she brushed away her tears and felt a shock of heat run down her hand and bounce off her fingers. Glancing at her hand she could have sworn she’d seen light flare on her fingers. Shaking her head she told herself she needed more sleep and finished her run.
Unknown to her, a dark shadow had followed on her run keeping pace just behind. He slipped into the alley beside her house and watched her unlock her door not a care in the world. Soon he would take her and force her to use her power to overthrow the gods and goddesses on Olympus. It would be his time with Medusa to control the human world. No more hiding in the shadows and covering up for human mistakes. He would force the world to accept monsters among everyone.
Madeline readied herself for work like always putting on a cream colored fitted dress and tucked hot pink pumps into her bag for work. Pink always made her feel the most powerful. She added a little more color to her makeup than usual and picked her favorite pink lipstick to wear. Today she would need all the confidence she could muster as James would be coming in for his meeting with Don. Maybe she could pretend to run an errand and not have to see him at all.
She left her house for the subway, she walked the three blocks and down into the station and passed through the pay station. Her neck prickled with awareness, she turned around feeling someone’s eyes on her. When no one made eye contact she turned back to wait for her train to show. Get a grip Madeline you are just worked up over James. She scolded herself and stepped onto her train. Her feeling of unease did not let up until she entered her office building and settled behind her desk changing into her nice shoes.
“Good morning Mr. Waters, did you have a good night?” She asked settling into her customary chair for their morning meeting after placing his cup of coffee on his desk.
“Good morning Madeline, yes I did. You look lovely today.” He greeted taking in her outfit choice.
“Thank you Mr. Waters. I always try to make my outfits ones that give me confidence.” She explained
“Rough morning?” He asked curious if she would open up. He had yet to get her to talk about herself more than just the basics of where she was going to school and who her family was, other than that he knew nothing about her.
“Nothing I can’t handle. Here is your schedule for today.” She handed him the printed schedule, Don nodded and allowed her to continue.
“Today you have a meeting with Mr. Chimera at ten, a lunch with Melissa Harp at Gregorio’s and a one o’clock meeting with… James Carter.” Her hands shook as she said his name and the room temperature tanked. Don watched curious to see if she would realize she had dropped the temperature of the room by if his measure was correct about twenty degrees.
“Did the air conditioner kick on?” She asked her attention snapping away from James’ name.
“No” Don replied,
“Oh, must be me then. I’ll have to start bringing a sweater with me.” She answered with a shrug of her dainty shoulders,
“Is there anything more you need from me?” she stood up and looked at him while clutching her notebook.
“I’m expecting Harry this afternoon, can you make sure you are here to greet him?” Don asked watching her try and hide her feelings about being expected to be in the office that afternoon.
Did she really not want to see James that badly?
He would have Hades stay in the main office area, observe her and protect James from any accidental power surges. He wanted to tell Madeline everything but needed some more information before he could explain.
“Of course Mr. Waters.” She gave a tense nod,
“Don please.” He corrected,
“Don” she whispered and closed the door behind her. The whole morning Madeline was a bundle of nerves. She spilled her coffee, dropped several files and cut her finger all before ten o’clock.
“Mr. Don Waters office, Madeline speaking.”
“Madeline, its Penny, want to go to Bert’s for lunch?” Penny asked in her sweet perky voice. She and Madeline had been working as general secretaries together before Madeline had been promoted.
“Of course, meet me at the entrance at twelve. I still get an hour for my lunch.” Madeline agreed feeling her first real smile of the day appear on her face.
“Good morning my name is Roger Chimera and I am here to see Mr. Waters.” A young man said wringing his hands in front of Madeline, he had deep brown eyes and blond hair. His eyes were darting around taking everything in as he waited for her to respond. He reminded her of a lost scared puppy dog.
“Of course, please have a seat and I will let Mr. Waters know you are here.” She replied in a calm voice and watched as the visibly nervous young man nodded and sat down, back ramrod straight as he waited. She wished she could do something to make his feel calmer, she knew all about nerves when she had danced from her time in elementary school all the way through this past year. She dialed Don’s extension and let him know his appointment had arrived. She didn’t notice a small pink heart floated from her to Chimera’s chest, as it touched him instantly Chimera relaxed and felt calmer as if someone had given him a big hug.
“Mr. Chimera, you may go in now. I know everything will be fine, Mr. Waters is an amazing lawyer.” Madeline assured him.
“Thank you, you’ve really made me feel better.” Chimera replied giving her a smile and going into the office.
An hour later Chimera left and Poseidon walked to stand in his doorway leaning against the door jam, he then asked,
“Did you tell Mr. Chimera anything before he came into my office?”
“Just everything would be fine and you are the best at what you do.” She replied with a soft smile. Don watched as part of her aura escaped as a light pink heart and floated toward him. He let it settle against his chest where his heart was beating and found himself feeling relaxed and content.
“Thank you, he was much easier to talk to this time around.”
“I didn’t do anything special, just told him the truth.” She answered with a shrug of her slim shoulders.
“You did help and after my meeting with James I would like to talk about your amazing effect on the people around you.” Poseidon told her walking back into his office.
Madeline stared after him for a moment puzzling over what exactly he meant. She was still puzzling over it when her alarm went off for her to go to lunch with Penny.
“Madeline are you alright?” Penny wanted to know once they had ordered their drinks.
“You just seemed on edge ever since we met up outside the elevators. Is everything ok with your new job?”
“I am not sure, Mr. Waters wants to talk to me this afternoon about my effect on people. James my cousin, is also supposed to come in for a meeting at one today and I am not ready to see his face.” Madeline explained, when everything had happened with James and Phillip Penny had been the first friend she went to, to tell her the engagement had been broken off and she had moved out of her apartment and into Ian’s home.
“Well just be civil with James to keep it professional. No one is asking you to have a conversation with him. Just announce his presence to Mr. Waters and then ignore him.” Penny suggested,
“I should, I don’t plan on ever speaking to him or Phillip again. I am so angry and embarrassed that my gay cousin stole my fiancé from me. I had to lie to both our families about why we broke up. Phillip wasn’t ready for his family to know, thankfully James is open about his sexuality but why my fiancé of all people?” Madeline demanded slamming her fist on the table emitting sparks, both women jumped back.
“What are these utensils made of, flint?” Penny joked coaxing a smile out of Madeline.
“Ha ha maybe, but enough about my boring past, tell me about your new boyfriend Kevin.” Madeline asked steering the conversation away from such a painful and sensitive topic. Penny was all too happy to let the subject changed and gushed about her wonderful boyfriend for the remainder of lunch.
“Say Madeline, how would you feel about a double date with one of Kevin’s friends?” Penny asked as they made their way back to the office.
“I’m not ready to start dating again. I want to focus on school and this huge senior project I have due. When I am ready you’ll be the first to know.”
“You’ve been out of the dating game for a long time. You don’t want to get rusty.” Penny warned hitting the elevator button.
“I went on dates with Phillip.” Madeline shot back crossing her arms and giving her best friend an unamused look.
“But those weren’t first dates and new love.” Penny responded her voice trailing off as she remembered her first few dates with Kevin.
“Like I said, I will let you know when I am ready to begin dating again.” She gave Penny a push out of the elevator and stepped back to head up to her floor. Penny sighed and nodded her agreement. Madeline took the elevator to the top floor and began the second half of what was sure to be a very trying day.
“Good afternoon” she called without looking away from her computer when she heard the suite door open several minutes after she’d settled down at her desk from lunch.
“Madeline?” She heard the shocked whisper from the visitor, her head snapped up and standing in front of her was her cousin James. He was a tall lanky young man with brunette hair and the same amaretto eyes as Madeline. He took pride in his appearance, today he had on a black three piece suit with his signature blue silk tie and handkerchief poking out of his breast pocket.
“Mr. Carter” she greeted him coldly and turned away to call Don to let him know James had arrived for their meeting. James shivered as the temperature in the office plummeted,
“Mr. Waters, Mr. Carter is here for your one o’clock appointment. Yes I’ll tell him.” She hung up and looked at James her eyes snapping with unchecked rage.
“Mr. Waters will be a few minutes, please sit over there and wait until he is ready.” She pointed to the waiting area across from her desk.
“I didn’t know you worked directly with Mr. Waters.” James remarked not moving away from her desk. He began to fidget, feeling his heart rate speed up and a cold sweat break down his back.
“I was recently promoted. Please have a seat away from my desk.” She replied refusing to look at him. Without either of them noticing, Hades walked into the office and stopped short upon seeing their exchange and feeling the temperature in the room.
“Maddy you need to talk to me.” James begged placing his hands on her desk and leaning over to speak in a whisper.
“No I don’t. I think you said plenty the last time and don’t call me Maddy. Only people who are my friends or true family are allowed to use my nickname, as you are now neither please stop using it.” She snapped finally looking up at her cousin. James flinched at the anger blazing in her eyes.
“Mr. Carter I am ready for you now. Ms. Heart can you please check to see if our heater is on the fritz, this office feels like an ice box.” Poseidon asked noticing his windows had begun to frost.
“Yes sir” she replied and James walked into the main office, as soon as the door shut Madeline relaxed and the temperature immediately went back to normal. Hades watched in fascination, as she got her emotions under control so did her aura. While watching their exchange he could see dark pink hearts and another undefined shape swirling around her. The combination gave her control over the temperature in the room and to make those in the room feel the way she was feeling.
Before he could get his own aura up to protect himself he had felt panicked and angry, once his aura had formed a protective bubble around himself he went back to normal. Settling in one of the chairs by the door he watched Madeline go about her daily business as if nothing had happened.
“What did you need me for Poseidon?” James asked once the door firmly closed, he noticed the considerable change in the air temperature once he was away from Madeline.
“Originally I wanted an update on the new tax code laws, now I want to talk about your cousin Madeline. She seems to have awoken some very strong powers recently. I am curious how she managed to keep them hidden and under control for twenty three years. I also want to know if a possible major emotional event may have shaken her control of said powers.” Poseidon explained settling in a chair across from James staring him down with sea green eyes. James fidgeted clasping his fingers so hard his knuckles went white.
“Madeline doesn’t know she is descended from a god. Her father wanted her to have a normal childhood because she didn’t know who her mother was. I know we are descended from Zeus, he and my mother. I assume he knew Madeline would have some innate abilities that need minor maintenance such as meditation. She was taught to meditate with the rest of us, plus she was put in all sorts of dance classes until she showed an aptitude for ballet. I think Uncle Matthew really wanted her to go into dancing as a profession. I am sure you know he is a famous nature photographer. The dance classes taught her discipline. My mother would argue with him that Madeline had a right to know about who she was descended from but he was very stubborn about keeping the secret. Due to Uncle Matthew’s job as soon as Madeline became old enough she was sent off to one of the best ballet boarding schools in the world. I think she was around six. No one knows who her mother is, he kept tight lipped about her identity. We always assumed it was one of the women he met while traveling.” James explained trying to steady his panicking heart, he knew he would not want to answer the next set of questions.
“That doesn’t explain why her power is making its appearance now. If she has all the discipline of dance especially ballet her power wouldn’t be surging. Do you know why her power is slipping now?” Poseidon put to James watching him blanch at the idea of answering.
“Uh, ah I think you need to ask Madeline, I’m not sure she wants our family problems aired to her boss.” James warned not wanting to discuss what he’d done to his best friend and cousin.
“Do you know why my office keeps going below zero every time your name is mentioned?” Poseidon posed the question hoping to get a little something out of James. Usually he could be counted on as a font of knowledge but today he was being suspiciously evasive.
“Again I really think you need Madeline in here for this, it is a rather delicate situation.” James suggested looking at the office door as a knock sounded.
“Mr. Waters your brother Harry is here, would you like me to send him in?” Madeline’s voice called through the door.
“Yes, and can you come in here as well Madeline?” Poseidon asked,
“Yes sir,” she replied and a moment later the door opened revealing a towering Hades standing behind Madeline her face set carefully blank to hide all emotion.
“Please have a seat.” Poseidon motioned to a chair next to James, Madeline ignored his offer and took the seat furthest away. All three gentlemen had noted the temperature drop again.
“Madeline I am going to ask you something personal and I need you to be honest and open with me.” Don started giving her a nervous look, he didn’t quite know how to ask.
“Sir?” She looked up at him with confusion shining in her bright eyes.
“I need to know what happened between you and your cousin here.”
“Why?” She asked again looking over at James for clarification, he nodded at her and had started to reach for her but stopped himself when she shot him a harsh glare.
“I’d like to understand what happened to help you two get back on speaking terms. I work rather closely with James and it would be best for all of us if you two could get along without shooting daggers at him every time he came into my office.” Poseidon explained leaning over to take her hands in his. Her attention whipped back to him at the contact of his hands on hers.
“I can assure you that our family issues will not affect my work and I promise to be polite to James.” Madeline argued not wanting to reveal her biggest embarrassment.
“Maddy, just tell him.” James whispered, her head turned to look at him when he said his nickname for her and she glared once again at him.
“I asked you not to call me that anymore and are you sure, it does not paint you in a very flattering light?” She said crossing her arms over her chest.
“Yes” James whispered staring at the floor.
“Fine. Six months ago I had been engaged to a man named Phillip Hudson and a couple nights a week I have late classes. One night my second class of the night had been cancelled. I came home to the apartment Phillip and I shared, I hadn’t texted Phillip because I wanted to surprise him. You see I’d noticed Phillip seemed distant with me lately and I thought this could be a good chance for us to go out on a date and reconnect since I figured it was my fault for being so busy. When I got home I saw two wine glasses half full with red wine on the coffee table. That was when I heard noises from the bedroom. Fearing the worst I opened the door and low and behold James was having sex with Phillip. I just remember screaming and throwing my engagement ring at Phillip’s head. I fled to my brother’s home, told him what happened and he hired movers to move me out the very next day. Until today I haven’t spoken to either of them, they are both blocked on my phones and Ian’s bodyguard kept them away from me when everything first happened.” Madeline explained a fresh set of tears streaming down her face as she was forced to relive that awful day again.
“Here” Came a gruff voice, Hades pushed a handkerchief into her hands. Madeline smiled at the little grim reaper embroidered on the corner and nodded her thanks. She wiped away at her tears taking off her eyeliner in the process.
“Woah, that was not what I was expecting when you said it was a minor family issue Ms. Heart.” Poseidon replied in bewilderment, he stood up and hugged her gently patting her back.
“James I want to let you know I will not drop my account because as Ms. Heart has stated business and personal should be kept separate. That said, we will conduct all meetings from now on at your office. I do not want to inflict more pain on my secretary when it can easily be avoided.”
“I understand” James replied not looking Poseidon in the eyes. He hadn’t realized how awful things had been for Madeline.
“Ms. Heart would you excuse us, I have a few more things to discuss with James.”
“Yes sir,” Madeline stood up and turned to look at Hades.
“Mr. Undervold I will wash your handkerchief and get it back to you as soon as I can.”
“Please keep it, I have plenty.” He assured her with a soft smile and a pat on the arm. Madeline blushed and nodded, she turned to James gave him one last cold look before leaving the office and closing the door behind her. Both men rounded on James and Hades demanded,
“Do you have any way to defend your actions?”
“No, Phillip and I fell in love over a year ago. He won’t come out as gay to his family and he thought dating and marrying Madeline would be the way to cover it up. I feel bad the way she found out but I won’t apologize for my feelings.” James defended himself clenching his hands,
“This explains why her powers have become out of control. That is a very traumatic event to go through, I’m surprised she even spoke to you. The things her father put in place have helped her subconsciously control her powers but now her emotions are all over the place she can’t control them anymore.” Poseidon revealed pacing back and forth across the office.
“Just how strong are her powers? I can’t do anything with mine I just know I have characteristics like Zeus.” James asked becoming concerned for his cousin.
“That is a good question.” Hades agreed looking up at Poseidon for the answer.
“If her mother is who we think she is, very powerful.”
“Is Maddy in danger? I know she hates me and will probably never speak to me again but she is special to me almost like a little sister “ James asked panic showing in his eyes.
“We will protect her and teach her how to effectively use her powers to protect herself in the future. Does she do anything that could expose her to danger?” Hades asked,
“She runs in the morning, everyday she goes for a five or six mile run. Ian and Uncle Matthew made her take self defense classes once she graduated high school to keep her safe. She used to have Phillip run with her, but well… you know. I know she used to be part of a ballet troupe, but after her father continued to pressure her to become a professional dancer she quit.” James explained racking his brain for anything else he could think of to help them protect his cousin.
“Thank you for sharing about Ms. Heart. I know it couldn’t have been easy to hear what happened from her perspective and being aired in front of a client no less.” Poseidon said shaking his hand and opening his office door.
“Don Waters office, Madeline Heart speaking how may I help you?”
“Madeline its Phillip. Did James speak with you?” Phillip demanded practically yelling at her through the phone. Madeline held the receiver away from her ear wincing.
“How did you get this number?” She ground out,
“I called at your normal desk and Penny transferred me here. Did James talk to you?” he asked again
“About what?” She wondered how her day had turned into talking to the two people she hated the most.
“Your ring. I want it back.” Phillip growled, Madeline could just see the look of frustration passing through his blue eyes as he spoke with her. He would be running a hand through his blond hair mussing it up in the process.
“My what?” She hissed trying not to disturb anyone around her.
“Your engagement ring. I spent a fortune on it and I want it back. You know a two karat diamond with small sapphires all around it in a platinum setting.” Phillip explained annoyance dripping through his tone.
“I know what it looked like, I threw it at your head while you were hip deep in James.” She whispered curtly.
“Didn’t your movers pack it up when they came through the apartment?” Phillip asked calming down,
“It didn’t surface when I unpacked and if I did have it I would have sold it months ago!” She ground out gripping the receiver hard enough her knuckles were turning white with energy sparking along her arms.
“Then you owe me five thousand dollars for that ring!” Phillip yelled losing all composure.
“Like hell I do!” She finally yelled back slamming the receiver back down and then screaming when her phone exploded sending shrapnel flying all over the office. Throwing her arms up instinctively to block the pieces of her phone, several caught her face cutting her cheek, she hissed from the pain and stared in shock at the remains of her office phone.
“Madeline!” Hades yelled flying out of the office the minute he heard the explosion. He immediately pulled her into his arms and examined her from head to toe. He cradled her face in his hands and touched the cut on her cheek grimacing.
“What happened?” Poseidon asked surveying the outer office taking in the exploded phone and the way his brother was gently holding her to his chest.
“I was on the phone with Phillip and he wanted to know if James had asked for my engagement ring back. We got into an argument and when I hung up on him the phone exploded from something sparking down my arm.” She explained slightly hysterical, she was staring at her own hands in horror until James spoke up,
“He knew I was coming here and wanted me to ask. I think I will be leaving.” James said heading straight to the door without looking back. He didn’t want what happened to the phone to be directed at him next.
“Are you alright Ms. Heart?” Poseidon asked watching James escape.
“Yes, just a small cut on my cheek, nothing major.” She replied slowly stepping out of Hades’ arms, she suddenly realized he’d been holding her close to his incredibly warm body.
“Good, now I need you to come in here and talk about what just happened, you too Hades.” Poseidon purposefully used his given name and Madeline looked at him in confusion. Hades smiled and ushered her into the office closing the door behind them and locking it so they would not be disturbed.
“Madeline what we tell you is going to sound impossible but just hear us out. My name is not Don but Poseidon God of Water. Harry is Hades the God of the Underworld. We are what you learned in school as Greek Gods.” He explained snapping his fingers and gone was his suit. In place he wore a sea green tunic and brown sandals, his hair became wavy as if an ocean breeze had swept through it, he also had a glow around him the same color as the sea. Turning to look at Hades he too had changed. His tunic was midnight black and his glow black edged in silver.
“So this means what for me?” She asked too overwhelmed from seeing their true forms to freak out.
“Your father is a descendant of Zeus. Your great, great grandfather was a son of Zeus who married a mortal woman. The sparking that exploded the phone could possibly be his power you inherited.” Poseidon shared walking over to sit opposite of where she sat.
“Your mother we believe to be Aphrodite. Zeus is currently on Olympus trying to talk with her.” He continued,
“So you’re telling me that the Goddess of Love is my mother? The woman who abandoned me to live with my father, who wanted nothing to do with me? The second I was old enough he shipped me off to boarding school so he could go off on his adventures and not be pinned down by a six year old.” Madeline stated in disbelief, how could this be her life?
“Well she isn’t known for sticking with one lover for very long. She isn’t Hera the Goddess of Family.” Hades commented gently taking her sparking hands in his to try and help her calm down.
“Why are my powers showing now? Does Ian have the same powers?” She asked taking a deep breath to try and calm down and make the sparking go away.
“No Ian does not, you have different mothers. He has Zeus like characteristics like your cousin James. You are unique because we believe two different godly bloods are mixed in your veins. As for why now? James explained that you know meditation and were a dancer. We think that until the events with James and Phillip you have been able to subconsciously keep your powers from slipping out uncontrolled. Now that you are still trying to come to terms with everything that happened your body has less control. Your Aphrodite power has been slipping out while here at the office, you helped Chimera calm down before he spoke to me and I saw it with my own eyes.” Poseidon shared leaning against his polished mahogany desk.
“How do I keep this from happening?” She asked, a strong determined gaze replacing the scared deer look in her eyes.
“That is where I come in. I train demigods and mythical monsters at my gym. The days you do not have night class you will come to my gym and learn to harness and use your powers. Your meditation and dance skills will be a huge benefit to you so I think you won’t have much trouble getting the hang of your aura.” Hades explained still holding her hands and giving her a comforting smile.
“What will I learn to do with my aura?” She asked,
“First we will teach you just how to control it so it doesn’t slip. Second I can teach you to defend yourself or if you want to go on the offensive to see what Aphrodite and possibly Zeus’ powers combined can do.” Hades answered watching her reaction,
“I don’t know what I want, an hour ago I had no idea gods and goddesses actually existed, now you are telling me I am related to two and I have a dangerous power? I am going to need some time to process everything. If it is alright with you Mr. Waters I am going to go home.” Madeline slipped her hands out of Hades’ grasp and stood.
“Of course, I’ll see you in the morning Madeline.” Poseidon nodded worriedly watching her walk away. She looked lost and overwhelmed by everything.
“Should one of us go check on her tomorrow morning?” Hades asked as he too watched her gather her things without blinking and head for the elevators.
“Yes, James said she runs in the mornings, why don’t you go to her home and meet her for a morning run. This will help build your relationship with her while also keeping her safe. I’m sure I don’t have to say this but Hades, she has been hurt very badly by James and Phillip, proceed cautiously.” Poseidon warned giving his brother a pointed look letting him know he hadn’t missed any of the times Hades had touched Madeline.
“I am just going to train her. I am not looking for a date. I’ll run with her in the morning, we don’t want others to discover her abilities and try to capture her.” Hades replied looking thoughtful at his brother. Poseidon knew he meant Medusa and her gang.