Ring, ring, ring, ring
“Hello sweetheart, what makes you call me today?” Her father’s warm deep voice sounded through the phone.
“Dad, something weird happened today and I want you to tell me the truth. Are we related to Zeus and is my mother Aphrodite?” She knew if she didn’t get it out in the open she would chicken out on asking him.
“What happened and where did you get that idea?”
“I blew up a phone with energy of some sort at work today after I lost my temper with Phillip. My boss told me his name is Poseidon not Don Waters and his brothers are Hades and Zeus, care to explain?”
“I didn’t know your mother was Aphrodite until I read the note left with you when I found you on my doorstep.” Her father sighed,
“How could you not tell me!? I am dangerous!” She demanded getting up from the floor and pacing the foyer.
“It isn’t something I am proud of, I’m not allowed to tell anyone I am a descendant of Zeus because the gods want to keep their existence a secret from the human world. I assumed you would be like Ian, with a little meditation and self-control you would be fine because I don’t have any powers just the ability to influence decisions and the like.”
“Is that why you put me in dance classes?”
“At first yes, but then you showed an aptitude for dancing and your teachers were all amazed at your skill. I still don’t know why you didn’t choose to go into dancing as a profession when you were offered the principal spot in the Gregory McNair Ballet Company.” Her father said starting an age old argument the two had every time they spoke.
“Dad not now. What did the note say from my mother?” She pleaded,
“Just you were a product of our romantic liaison and that your name would be Madeline Hope Heart. She did not explain why you weren’t to have my last name but I did as the note said. I knew she was powerful and would be angry if I didn’t do as she asked. Now tell me what happened with your slime ball ex Phillip.” Her father instructed letting the argument drop, he could hear the desperation in her voice. She told him everything that had happened with Phillip, he was one of the few who knew what really went down between her, Phillip and James.
“Sounds like it was a good thing you were promoted to Poseidon. Imagine what would have happened if your phone had blown up in the general secretary wing?” Her father stated once she had finished telling him what happened.
“Did you and my mom keep in touch after I was found on your doorstep?” She asked pretty sure she knew the answer before he told her,
“No, she didn’t want me to get in touch and after I found you on my doorstep I tried to contact her at the number she had when we dated. Her number was disconnected, and I used that as my clue that she wanted nothing to do with you or me. That is another reason I didn’t tell you anything about your godly heritage, I was pretty angry with your mother. You look exactly like her too, that may have been the reason I sent you to boarding school. I couldn’t look at you without getting angry with her and I was afraid I would take that out on you and that is one thing I never wanted.” He explained in a sad voice,
“Do you still love her?”
“No, actually I recently met another photographer from my magazine. We’ve been seeing each other for several months now.”
“What! Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” She demanded walking into the kitchen and hopping up onto the counter digging through the cabinets to decide on what to make for dinner.
“You’d just broken up with Phillip and had a falling out with James. I didn’t want to make you feel worse by shoving my happiness into your face.” He explained,
“Thanks Dad, you should bring her over for dinner when you two are back in the States again.”
“Thank you sweetheart, I will tell Tina.”
“Wonderful, alright Dad I need to make dinner. Call me more often I miss you.”
“Will do sweetheart, have a good night and tell Ian hello for me. Bye.” Madeline hung up her phone setting it on the counter. She wasn’t in the mood for dinner and was still trying to process everything she’d been told that day. Sitting hard in a kitchen chair she knew what had happened today was real in her head, but her heart was having a hard time believing. Instead of making dinner she changed into workout clothes and grabbed her pointe shoes. She went down into the dance studio Ian had installed for her to practice and keep her skills from getting rusty. Even though she had decided not to pursue a career as a ballet dancer, she couldn’t bring herself to give up dancing altogether. She set her phone into the stereo and began to work her way through warm-up exercises, once she was warm she began to perform one of her favorite dances by Gregory McNair.
Several hours later her brother Ian came into the house looking for his little sister. He could hear her music from the basement and made his way down to check on her.
“Dad is right. You really should have become a dancer. Party panning is wasted on you. You could still be a principal dancer anywhere you wanted.” Ian called from the doorway, Madeline stopped in shock and turned to look at her brother. He was six foot three with short cut white blond hair and cornflower blue eyes. He had a stocky build with plenty of muscle built from years of training for movies.
“Ian! What are you doing here? I thought you were shooting your superhero movie?” She asked running over to give him a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around her patting her head.
“James actually called me while I was mid-shoot. He said you blew up your work phone with your power. He figured since you won’t talk to him, you needed someone to comfort you. It looks like he was right judging from how sweaty you are. How long have you been down here dancing?” He asked handing her a towel to dry off.
“Umm…” She looked at her watch her eyes opening wide at the time being nine o’clock at night, she’d left work at around three.
“About five hours.”
“I take it you haven’t eaten dinner?” he asked looking at her sunken eyes, she shook her head no.
“Alright, go take a shower and I will order dinner. You can tell me everything while we eat.” Ian ordered pushing her toward the stairs.
“Fine.” She reluctantly agreed letting him push her up the stairs.
After a long scalding shower she threw on a comfortable t-shirt and leggings, her hair up in a messy bun on her head and her make-up long gone. She came down to see Indian food laid out on the kitchen table a glass of sparkling water waiting for her.
“Now tell your big brother everything before I have to leave tomorrow.” Ian instructed handing her a plate of butter chicken.
“Alright but it is going to take a while.” She warned spearing a piece of chicken.
“I’m all ears.” Ian replied getting comfortable in his chair waiting for her to begin to speak. Madeline took a deep breath and explained everything that had led up to her stress dancing for five hours in the studio. Ian listened asking a clarifying question every now and then to get all the facts straight, at the end Madeline said,
“And so now I have to learn to control my powers with Hades of all people.”
“That is a lot to take in all in one day. Dad knew who your mother was and said nothing? I knew he didn’t like talking about our connection to Zeus but honestly someone could have gotten seriously hurt.” Ian complained finishing off his third beer,
“I don’t think he thought my powers would be strong. After all you don’t have any powers.” Madeline offered in a way of an explanation of their father’s blunder.
“True, he wasn’t very good at thinking about anything other than work. That’s why you were sent off to boarding school and I left with my mom.” Ian acquiesced,
“So what do I do about all of this?” She asked laying her head on the table and looking up at him.
“You get training and go about your life. Finish school, get a job as a party planner and live. No one is asking you to give up anything just because you have these powers. You are just being taught how to control them so you don’t blow anything up when you lose your temper.” Ian laid out his suggested plan and Madeline smiled.
“When you put it that way you make it sound easy.”
“It is. Oh, change of subject. My director saw a video on the internet of you dancing one of your hip hop routines from your troupe last year. He wants you to do a dance scene in my movie.” Ian said knowing changing the subject would throw her off a little.
“What? Why me?” She asked giving him a suspicious look.
“Because when he showed me the video and asked what I thought, I mentioned you were a better ballet dancer. He then wanted to know our connection, apparently he has been looking for you for a while. Your troupe wouldn’t give him your personal information because you had chosen to leave and focus on your studies. It is one of the reasons he let me fly back home to see you.” Ian explained looking a little ashamed at trying to convince her to do the job.
“So essentially I owe your director for letting you come to my aid?” She asked crossing her arms over her chest and giving him a skeptical look.
“You could look at it that way.” Ian shrugged popping open another beer.
“Did he tell you what he needed me to do? Also, I can only work weekends because I have my own work and school and I refuse to let either suffer.” Madeline explained,
“I’ll let him know it is a tentative yes then, you can work out the details with his secretary. As for what he wants he gave me a USB with the routine for you to learn.” Ian fished the USB out of his pocket and gave it to her.
“Look at it tomorrow or…” he looked at his phone,
“Later today after work. I’m off to bed and will be flying out around lunch time.” Ian informed her getting up and stretching the knots out of his broad back.
“Thank you for coming out here to see me. You were very helpful giving me a new perspective. I love you Ian.” She gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek.
“Love you too baby sister.” Ian replied ruffling her hair.
“Have a safe trip back, goodnight.” She told him heading up to her room to get some sleep. She spent the majority of the night tossing and turning thinking over everything she’d been told.
Hades waited outside her brownstone the next morning, it had a red brick exterior and a deep hunter green door. The windows were blocked by chintz curtains and the steps had terracotta flower pots empty for the winter. The house seemed cozy for a movie star and his little sister. He leaned against a tree and looked around noting several other neighbors leaving to walk dogs.
Unknown to Madeline, Hades was waiting outside to go running with her, she donned her favorite pair of running shoes, said one last goodbye to Ian and walked down the steps. Hades played least in sight as he watched her stretch her muscles before beginning to run. She put her headphones in, pressed play on her phone to begin her running playlist. As she was about the start she felt a hand tap her shoulder. Without thinking she caught the hand that had tapped her and twisted it up and back.
“Don’t touch…” She was about to say “me” when she recognized Hades. She let go immediately and apologized,
“I am so sorry! I thought you were a pervert.” She took out her headphones and bowed her head.
“No harm’s been done and if anything it makes me feel better that you can defend yourself somewhat.” Hades assured her, she took in his appearance. He was wearing a pair of red running shorts with black running pants underneath, a white long sleeve shirt and black shoes. His arm sported a band for his phone and his headphones were draped around his neck. He brown hair had been spiked up out of his eyes.
“My father and brother insisted I take a self defense class if I wanted to go jogging on my own in the city. Why are you here?” She asked cocking her head to the side.
“I came to run with you. Poseidon and I are worried now that your powers aren’t dormant some more unsavory mythical creatures will take an interest in you.” Hades explained,
“That still doesn’t explain how you knew I would be running.” She replied hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised.
“Poseidon asked James about any habits that might potentially attract danger. He mentioned you were a runner and a dancer. Poseidon does not exercise and asked me if I would be your running partner until you are trained to use your powers.” Hades answered,
“I’ve thought about it and I don’t want to use my powers to fight.” She protested glaring up at him.
“Consider it the next step in your self defense classes. Now are we going to go jogging or what?” He asked with a smirk.
“Warning, I don’t slow down so if you can’t keep up I’m leaving you behind.” She warned and took off on her normal morning run of five miles around her neighborhood. Hades shook his head, smiled and followed her keeping a pace or two behind. He admired the view of her trim body, her running clothes left nothing to the imagination. She was wearing black running pants, a hot pink sports bra with a white long sleeve shirt over top and her blond hair was braided away from her face reaching halfway down her back, around her ears, she wore a pink fleece headband.
After several miles Madeline looked over her shoulder and was surprised to see Hades keeping pace. She slowed just enough for him to come level with her.
“Do you run often?” She asked taking out one ear bud.
“I use it to help me think, I go for a run in the mornings before I open my gym for demigods and monsters alike” Hades replied. She checked her pedometer,
“Race you the last mile back?” she challenged with a smirk.
“Do you really want to sweetheart? I’ve been running for centuries.” He warned a smirk of his own flirting across his face.
“Yes.” She replied taking off without warning, Hades laughed and caught up with her easily. Madeline grinned and kicked her running into high gear. She thought she had him beat until the last one hundred yards when he left her in the dust. Breathing hard, bending over her knees she stopped in front of her brownstone and wheezed out.
“What now?” Hades replied smugly standing on her steps and stretching his overused muscles, he hadn’t sprinted in some time.
“I saw your purple aura flare when you flew past me.” She accused following his lead and stretching her legs.
“My aura is black not purple.” He stated concern clouding his eyes, he immediately began to scan the area to see if he recognized any monsters or gods about. He didn’t sense anyone, but it made no difference, many monsters and gods could hide their auras if trained properly.
“Let’s get inside now.” He demanded lifting her up off the steps and bodily forcing her inside.
“Why are you so worried? Who’s aura is purple? Does everyone have different colors? Or shades?” She asked letting him close and lock the door behind them.
“I can name a few and yes there are varying shades of colors for different monsters and gods. Not many of the ones I can name are nice and they would love to get their hands on a demigod who can shoot lightning or fire out of their fingers.” Hades replied lifting his shirt to wipe his face. Madeline felt her breath hitch when she caught sight of his rock hard six pack abs. She didn’t know why it surprised her, he ran a gym for heaven’s sake.
‘Let me go get us some towels to dry off, you can sit at the kitchen counter.” She pointed to the bar stools and pulled out a bottle of water from the refrigerator and set it in front of him.
“Thanks” he downed the bottle in one go as she watched his Adam's apple move every time he swallowed. He was fascinating to watch, making her forget about the towels completely. He set the bottle down and stared back at her, his violet eyes caught her amaretto ones with a question.
“I’ll go grab those towels.” She squeaked running out of the room to catch her breath. What was he doing to her? Never had she reacted to a man this way before. She practically wanted him to take her then and there on the kitchen counter. As she went to get the towels all she could think about were his lips crushing hers in a kiss so invigorating she forgot who she was and how to breathe. Leaning against the closet door she took a few deep breaths to calm her racing heart.
Hades gazed around the tidy kitchen, it was a well crafted room. The cabinets were a deep cherry wood, the countertops granite black with flecks of silver, gold, and copper. All the appliances were state of the art stainless steel. He could see the place was well used and not just for show as were some celebrity kitchens. As he looked around, a row of photographs by the bay window caught his eye. He stepped up to get a closer look and realized the dancer in each of the photos was Madeline. He could tell how much she loved dance by the look captured on her face. He moved on to another picture in which Madeline wore a white ballet tutu and had a partner, her hair up in a tight ballerina bun and her hands gracefully arched as she was being lifted off the stage. The last picture he took in was one where she had her hair down in ringlets, her dress forest green and tight in the bodice but flowed around her body. He could see from the motion captured by the photo that the dress had slits up to her thighs to allow for movement.
“That was the last dance I did with my troupe last year.” Madeleine shared offering him a towel. He took it and asked,
“Why did you stop dancing?”
“It interfered with school and work. I kept having to ask for time off and it was starting to irritate my superiors.” She half lied walking away from the picture which evoked a painful memory of giving up on something she loved, even so she couldn’t bring herself to remove the pictures from the wall.
“Liar. It is one of my gifts as the God of the Underworld, I can tell when someone is lying even if it is to themselves.” Hades explained wiping down his face and neck,
“It isn’t a way to live. You have to travel all the time never settling down, if you get injured your career is over and you have nothing to fall back on. I made my choice and it was to have a stable life. I am sure James told you all about my childhood where I spent almost all of it at a boarding school. My father is an award winning photographer and he likes to wander. His job allows him to do that, I was a mistake he couldn’t give back. I know he loves me, but he loves his freedom more. I want a job where I live in one place and if I choose to have a family they will know I am coming home every night. My children will never wonder if they did something wrong and think that is why I am not around. I won’t be that parent and I won’t marry a man who is like that either. I need to know I matter to the man I marry, though I guess I thought I had found that with Phillip, turns out I was very wrong.” Madeline couldn’t believe how much she was sharing with a man she barely knew. To hide her embarrassment she quickly took a sip of water and dried her face off with a towel.
“Why not audition for a New York company then? If you are as talented as everyone says, you will be picked up for a show. You could dance but live at home.” Hades suggested, he could tell her family had done a number on her confidence and how she felt what a family truly should be.
“I thought I had that when I was dancing with my troupe. The troupe voted to go out on tour last year and I had to tell them I wouldn’t be joining them. Most dancers like the life of traveling the world, they don’t like being tied down to one place.” Madeline explained leaning over on the counter unconscious of the fact she was giving him a free show down her sports bra. Hades coughed and looked away saying,
“What about Broadway? Don’t most of the shows use one cast for New York and another when they go touring the country?”
“True, but I am almost done with my event planning degree and I don’t want to give that up now I have three months left. I enjoy planning parties and special events, I helped plan the Olympus Law anniversary party last year. Dance is a hobby for me, something I love to do but knew it wouldn’t ever be my career no matter how often my father and instructors pushed for me to become a professional.” Madeline shared and then looked at the kitchen clock,
“Crap! I am going to be late! I still need a shower, you need to leave!” She panicked trying to get Hades out her door by pushing against his chest mentally marveling at how hard he felt underneath his shirt. He didn’t budge an inch,
“Calm down, I’ll call Poseidon and explain you are running late. He knows I’m here with you and will just suspect we are talking about aura training. Go shower and get ready I will drive you to work.” Hades offered, a smile playing gently across his lips. She looked at him and asked,
“Don’t you need shower too?”
“I’ll shower at my gym, I keep extra clothes there, now go take that shower.”
“Fine, help yourself to anything to eat in the fridge.” She said quickly running up the stairs to shower and get ready for her day. Once she was in the shower she leaned against the wall and let the water cascade over her.
Why was Hades really here? No one is after her, her powers weren’t anything amazing. She should be wary of him and the way he made her feel. He had a way of making her forget about everything when they were together. Never had she been so open about her opposition to becoming a ballerina. Ian sort of understood but still felt she was letting her past get in the way of her future. Her father had no clue and she never told him why she didn’t want to dance professionally. Hades offered solutions but hadn’t pressed her to become a dancer, although he didn’t actually know how good she was so he was just being supportive.
Stepping into her room she threw on a long sleeve red jersey knit dress with an empire waist line the hem hitting just above her knees. She applied her make-up keeping it natural and grabbed her trusty knee high brown boots. She left her hair down but put a hair tie on her wrist in case she needed it up and out of her way. She grabbed her work bag and went down the stairs to see Hades looking through an old photo album.
“Where did you find that?” she asked struggling to do the clasp on her watch.
“On the bookshelf next to the T.V. You and Ian look a lot alike except for the eyes, here let me.” He offered taking her watch in his cool hands and clasping it around her wrist. Madeline drew in a sharp breath as a shock ran up her arm and into her stomach. She looked up at him and his eyes darkened.
“We should be going.” She whispered not breaking eye contact,
“True, you’ll be even later if we don’t leave.” He agreed not making a move to release her wrist and pull out his car keys. He watched several emotions play through her eyes, caution, curiosity and finally desire to rival his own. Very slowly to allow her time to pull away he lowered his head towards hers and touched his lips ever so softly against hers.
Madeline watched in fascination as he moved closer to her, she let him kiss her closing her eyes, the sensation of his lips on hers washed through her body. She wrapped her arms around his neck sliding her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck. She felt the tip of his tongue probe her lips and opening her mouth she let it tangle with hers. Her head knew she shouldn’t be letting this man she barely knew kiss her into oblivion yet she couldn’t help but press closer to feel his hard body against her soft body.
Hades pulled her into his arms and pushed her up against the wall changing the angle of his head to take the kiss deeper. He slid his hands down to grip her supple hips pushing her harder into the wall growling deep in his throat. He knew he should let her go but his demons wouldn’t listen to his head and continued the onslaught of kisses. He pressed his hips into hers letting her feel his hard need against her, she responded with a soft moan. Hades lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist reveling in how strong he was.
Ring, ring, ring
Hades’ cell phone went off with Poseidon’s ringtone metaphorically throwing a bucket of ice water on their heated exchange.
“Hades your phone” Madeline whispered putting her forehead on his shoulder taking deep breaths trying to calm her racing heart. He nudged her head up and nipped at her neck trying to keep the passion fueled,
“Ignore it” he growled sucking just below the neckline of her dress leaving a love bite behind. The ringing stopped for a minute and then started up again.
“What!” He yelled into the phone,
“When should I expect Ms. Heart to arrive at work? I have clients who need to be greeted, and paperwork that needs to be filed.” Madeline could hear Poseidon’s voice and was shocked to hear him laughing.
“We’re coming but I have a bone to pick with you once we arrive.” Hades warned setting Madeline back on her feet. She quickly straightened her appearance and checked the mirror to freshen her make-up.
“Just get here already.” Poseidon replied and hung up.
“Damn, tonight after your first aura training session we are going on a date.” Hades ordered, Madeline lifted an eyebrow, crossed her arms and said,
“Are we now?”
“Yes, I don’t kiss a woman like that before we’ve been dating a while. You seem to have brought out a new ungentlemanly side of me this morning.” Hades explained picking up his dropped car keys and motioning for her to follow. Madeline grabbed her bag and house keys before following him out the door.
On the drive they discussed what training she would go through to control her aura.
“We’ll start with just seeing what strength of control you have using meditation and dancing. We need to get a better idea of that so we can start to individualize your training program. You are unique because your powers combined make you a force to be reckoned with.” Hades explained pulling into the parking garage below her office.
“What time should I be at the gym? I need to stop at home and get my workout gear and pointe shoes.” She replied using the visor mirror to apply her lip gloss. She was glad to see the flush that had adorned her cheeks finally died down. She did not want to go into the office looking like she’d spent the last twenty minutes making out with Hades. She thought back to just a little while ago in her kitchen. If Poseidon hadn’t called where would that have ended? She knew she was drawn to Hades, like a moth to flame. She couldn’t help her heart speeding up when he looked at her and she felt important when he listened to her about her dancing. He hadn’t demanded she become a dancer, he offered her several options that she’d already considered. She liked party planning, she was pretty good at it if she were being honest, after all she was a straight A student.
“You look beautiful.” Hades reached over and stroked her cheek bringing her back to the present.
“Thank you, you’re not bad to look at either.” Madeline replied with a shy smile flitting across her lips.
“I’ll come get you around five. I want to do some research on the aura you saw this morning. In the meantime I would feel better if Poseidon, Zeus or myself were with you to protect you should a monster attack.” Hades requested trying to gauge her reaction.
“So you really think a monster might come after me?” She thought about all the Greek myths she learned in school and shook her head.
“Yes, monsters are able to take human form just like gods to blend in better.” Hades answered taking her hand and kissing her knuckles with a feather light kiss.
“I’ll walk you up, I need to talk to my brother anyway about this morning.” He added, she nodded and hand in hand they made their way to her office.
As the elevator doors opened Madeline moved to release Hades hand. He renewed his hold refusing to let her go until she was safely settled behind her desk
“Have a wonderful day Sweetheart.” He gave her a chaste kiss on her forehead.
“You too Hades.” She whispered back trying to hide the rising blush on her cheeks. He was treating her like they were dating and they’d only had a steamy make out session in her kitchen.
“Good morning Ms. Heart. I hope tardiness will not become a habit.” Poseidon remarked a frown marring his face.
“No sir, Mr. Waters” she promised booting up her computer and getting to work.
“A word.” Poseidon beckoned to Hades motioning for him to enter his office.
“Before you get mad, who do we know in New York with a purple aura and is a monster?” Hades asked pulling an old tomb off the bookshelf.
“One of the furies, Alketas, um..” Poseidon racked his brain, Hades tore through the Index for Monsters book until he stopped at one in particular.
“Look, Madeline thought I’d used my aura to beat her at our race this morning. She described seeing a violet aura. I can only assume she thought it was me because of my eye color. If that is the case then she saw his aura.” Hades explained handing the massive book to Poseidon. Poseidon looked at the entry he had opened to and visibly blanched.
“Why would he be in New York? I thought he was in the Middle East stirring up trouble.” Poseidon asked staring at the book.
“Do you think Medusa knows about Madeline? Do you think she has put aside her petty issues and partnered up with him?” Hades asked beginning to feel panic rise in his chest.
“Possibly.” Poseidon muttered and watched as Hades turned to look at Madeline with true concern and fear for her safety.
“She can’t possibly know Madeline is one of the most powerful demigods we’ve ever encountered.” Poseidon said trying to put Hades mind at ease.
“Who would have guessed such great power is lacing through the bloodstream of her petite frame. To the human world she is an average young woman with a talent for dancing. In the godly world she is radiating with unleashed power.”
“She may not know exactly who has the power only that she can feel it and know it is in New York.” Hades said reading though the monster’s information.
“Still what would Medusa want with Eurytus? The two are notoriously at each other’s throats for power.” Poseidon mused tapping his chin with one finger.
“I’ll talk to Cerberus, Orthus and any of the other monsters who come to the gym to work out. They may know more of who is in town that isn’t normally.” Hades offered standing to leave,
“Hades be careful with Ms. Heart. You know how Aphrodite feels about her children dating one of us.” Poseidon warned knowing full well Hades had begun to fall for Madeline.
“Not like Aphrodite wanted anything to do with her daughter. I’m curious as to why this one of her children she has distanced herself. Usually she is in the thick of things being meddlesome. Doesn’t she have an image to maintain as the Goddess of Love?” Hades sneered making his opinion clear.
“Zeus is up on Olympus trying to talk Aphrodite into coming down and meeting Madeline. So far Aphrodite has refused but won’t explain her reasons why.”
“Why not bring Madeline to her? Don’t give Aphrodite a choice! What good is being the top three gods if we can’t throw our power around once in a while? Demigods are allowed on Olympus then we can force the issue. We need to know everything we can about Madeline to help protect her and teach her. Aphrodite has been irresponsible and we need to take her to task for it. What would have happened had Madeline not worked here when her power exploded? What if we didn’t know anything about her and she had used her power to seriously injure someone?” Hades demanded getting angrier the more he thought about how awful Aphrodite had been to Madeline her whole life.
“We will leave that for a last resort, we want to convince Aphrodite to make the right choice without being forced into seeing her daughter.” Poseidon assured him, he too was curious as to why Madeline was left with her father and not kept with Aphrodite. He would give her another week and then speak to her himself. Zeus may be the figure head but Poseidon was the one who really ran Olympus.
“Fine, I need to go and open my gym. I am going to pick up Madeline around five for training.” Hades replied standing up and heading out the door.
“That is fine, but please don’t make my secretary late anymore.” Poseidon retorted getting in the last word as his brother left his office.
“Madeline I’ll be back around five to pick you up.” Hades told her giving her a kiss on her cheek.
“See you this evening, have a good day.” She replied with a smile on her face. Madeline made her way through the day without much incident. She was able to meet several other monsters, she noticed she could see their auras when they were nervous. Knowing she had the power to calm them down she consciously wished them calm and watched as their auras sunk back into their skin as her power worked. Poseidon watched her from his desk, he purposefully opened the blinds on his window looking out into the main area to keep an eye on her. Her aura was getting stronger but less wild about her body, with a little support from Hades she would be able to hide her aura and use it safely.
Ring, ring, ring
“Mr. Waters, your brother Mr. Bolt is on line two.” Madeline explained on the other end of the phone.
“Thank you, I’ll pick up.”
He pressed the second line on his phone and said,
“Poseidon, I finally convinced Aphrodite to come down and talk to us three about Madeline. She said she isn’t quite ready to meet her daughter just yet though, so we need to meet at your place without Madeline at the moment. She won’t tell me anything more, just that all three of us need to know something very important.” Zeus explained,
“Well that is the first step to getting Madeline some answers.” Poseidon said checking his calendar,
“I have an opening Monday around lunch, we can meet at my home and I’ll take off the afternoon. This way Madeline is here at work and we can have Hades with us, without Madeline needing protection.”
“She needs protection?”
“Yes, We are pretty sure Eurytus was poking around Madeline’s home. She saw his aura this morning while she and Hades were on a run.”
“Hmm, maybe I can touch base with some of the other centaurs to see what he has been up to lately.” Zeus offered,
“See that you do, we know Medusa has been seen in the area as well and she is powerful by herself but with him, they could become unstoppable.”
“Alright, I’ll see you Monday and report any information I pick up.” Zeus assured him and hung up. Poseidon took a deep breath and sighed. He was happy that Aphrodite was willing to talk, but if she didn’t want to see Madeline it meant it wasn’t anything good.
“Ms. Heart.” He called,
“Yes sir?” She poked her head into his office her blond hair falling over one shoulder. She looked at him with such an innocent expression he was embarrassed to have to lie to her.
“Can you please mark my Monday afternoon as gone from the office? I will have some business I need to take care of after lunch in person.”
“Of course sir” she bobbed her head and settled down at her desk.
Madeline worked through her day trying to stay focused, periodically she found her mind drifting to daydream about the amazing kiss she and Hades had shared in the morning. Her heart would begin to race and her breath would shorten. Twice a client had asked her if she was okay because she looked so far gone. She checked Poseidon’s schedule for Monday and saw he had three meetings in the morning, she would go and pull those files before her day finished. Standing she took the sticky note with the file names and went into the file room. The first time she had seen the room she’d gasped at the sheer size and amount of filing cabinets. Checking her note she pulled Chimera’s file again, Helios and a file on Selene. These names were so familiar as if she knew who Helios and Selene were, she’d have to look them up once she was back at her computer. Gathering the three files she stepped out of the room and ran straight into Hades spilling the files across the floor.
“Oof” She grunted and Hades grabbed her to steady her,
“I’m sorry sweetie” He apologized bending over to pick up the spilled files.
“No, I should have been looking where I was going. I’m going to have to sort all of this at my desk the files are mixed up.” Madeline replied crouching to help collect the paper.
“I can help” Hades offered,
“Sure” she nodded and they walked over to her desk.
“We need to sort these into the three files, Selene, Chimera and Helios.” She explained setting out the three folders and beginning to look at the top of each page for their name. Picking up Helios she noted he looked a lot like her with his dark eyes but fair hair. Cocking her head to the side she stared at the picture of Selene the opposite of Helios with dark hair and bright eyes.
“Hades, are these two related?” He looked over her shoulder to look at each profile.
“Yes twin Titans, we are related of sorts in we share similar blood, I come from Cronus and they are born of Hyperion but our similarities stop there. Titans enjoy fighting and cause chaos everywhere they go. Helios and Selene are very powerful, Helios is the Titan of the Sun and Selene is the Titan of the Moon. Helios has similar powers to Zeus and can be mistaken for each other when not looked at closely. Helios’ power comes as heat like the sun, Zeus’ power is lightning and is hot as well. It is a sore spot for Zeus so I wouldn’t bring it up.” Hades laughed and between the two of them they were able to put the files back in order.
“Thank you for the help. I’ll just give these to Mr. Waters and we can be on our way to training.” Madeline scooped up the files and knocked on the inner office door.
“Come” Poseidon called, she walked in, he spared her no glance and grunted his thanks when she placed Monday’s files on his desk.
“Goodnight sir, I will see you on Monday.”
“Have a good weekend Ms. Heart and I expect you on time.”
“Yes sir” she bobbed her agreement trying to hide her embarrassment as he continued to bring up her tardiness, shooting a glare at Hades who laughed as she left the office.
“Hades, we have a meeting at my house Monday during lunch. Zeus has gotten Aphrodite to agree to a meeting. Don’t tell Madeline because Aphrodite doesn’t want to see her yet. She just said she had something very important to tell us.” Poseidon explained still looking through his work.
“Ok, see you Monday then, I’ll have an update about Madeline and her progress.” Hades agreed giving a wave and closing the door behind him.
An hour later Hades had Madeline in a makeshift dance studio in the back of his gym.
“Did you create this?” she asked walking around the small room, several mirrors were propped against one wall letting her see her form as she would when in a proper dance studio. The floor a light bamboo wood, scratched from use as what she could guess as a weight room.
“I cleared out the free weights so you would have a place to dance. I want to use the form of focus you know best, why teach you something new when dance will help you focus your aura?” He commented turning to hide his blush.
“So how do we start?” She asked setting her floral dance bag against one wall. Hades watched her fascinated how she could make even a mundane task as bending to put down a bag look graceful.
“I want you to do a dance you are learning. This will show me what your concentration level is when focusing on a dance and then I want you to show me one you know by heart and I will gauge the difference.” Hades explained plugging in what had to be the oldest boom box she’d seen in a long time. She grimace when the feed back from the box squeaked.
“Sorry, I don’t have anything more up to date.” Hades apologized when he saw her grimace.
“I’ll bring my small speaker next time, I’m sure it has better quality.” She assured him sitting down and putting on her pointe shoes. Hades noted they were well worn, the laces dingy from sweat stains. She had on skin toned tights, black shorts and a magenta sports bra.
“No leotard?” he joked making a show of looking her up and down.
“I am not in class or a troupe I can wear what I like to practice in. Leotards are not my style.” She remarked putting a hand on her hip and shrugging.
“Alright, do you have a specific song you are learning?” Hades asked sitting on the floor next to the stereo holding out his hand for her phone.
“Well my brother’s director wants me to perform in his current movie. I looked through the dance several times on my computer last night. Do you have a computer I can plug the USB into?” She rummaged through her bag and held out the USB.
“Sure, I’ll grab my laptop” Hades stood and a minute later came back holding a severely out of date laptop.
“Do you not like technology?” She asked eyeing the computer with skepticism.
“Why do you say that?” He asked plugging in the USB stick and pulling up the dance video.
“Your stereo and computer look like they came straight out of the twentieth century. Next time I’ll bring my setup, it is much more up to date and maybe we can get you a better laptop later. You can’t run a business on a computer that is going to die any day now.” She remarked shaking her head at how behind he was in technology.
“You try being around as long as I have and you too will not be able to keep up with the changing trends.” Hades grumbled turning the computer so she could watch the step by step dancer.
“Poseidon doesn’t seem to have trouble keeping his office up to date on technology.” She quipped,
“Alright, I get it, I’m an old fogey. Now let’s get started, just do what you normally do while learning a new dance and I’ll use my aura to test yours. You won’t feel a thing.” He assured her settling to watch. Madeline nodded and took a deep breath, she started by watching the step by step movements all the while breathing in and out to the count of eight. After several silent minutes she began to move with purposeful steps, she dipped into a plie and up into an arabesque followed by a graceful leap across the floor.
Hades watched in fascination how she would pause the video and go back until each part was perfect. Once he was certain she was deeply focused on her practice he let his aura slip out of his grip and encircle her. He noted her own aura appeared and surrounded her in a protective bubble, as soon as his presence had been felt. The protective bubble’s strength was one his aura couldn’t break easily. Interesting he thought and put a little more energy out to test her barrier. It took almost his full aura to be able to even make her aura shield flicker, that was when he noticed her focus falter and she looked at him her eyes blinking away her concentration and coming back to reality.
“Did you pinch me?” She asked rubbing her side, the same side he’d slammed his aura into.
“No, I was trying to penetrate your aura. Without your conscious knowledge it has been protecting you whenever you are unaware of your surroundings and another magical presence is felt. As soon as it felt the presence of mine it appeared and surrounded you.” Hades explained making his aura visible.
“How do I go about seeing my own? You say it made a shield to protect me but I didn’t see a change in color around myself.” She commented grabbing a bottle of water and taking a break.
“I can teach you through meditation.” Hades promised, handing her a towel to wipe the sweat off her face.
“Thanks, how long were we at it?” She asked shaking out her arms and hands and rolling her head on her neck.
“About an hour, I gradually increased my power until it was almost full force when I struck you. All you felt was a slight pinch? I’m curious how long your body has been protecting you, I wish I knew someone from your past who was able to see auras.” Hades eyes sparkled with delight, and Madeline laughed taking her shoes off and tending to her poor beaten toes.
“Can we try the other way another time? I’m beat after running this morning, a long day at work and surprisingly learning that new dance has worn me out. Normally I could keep dancing all day but today I feel like I need a three hour nap.” Madeline laid down on the floor and stared up at the ceiling stunned that just being out of regular dance practice had left her winded.
“I think you are tired because your aura was fighting me off. It takes a lot of energy to use your aura. Have there been any days you can think of where you are just way more tired even after you’ve been doing your normal routine?” Hades asked looking at her thoughtfully,
“Only one other time stands out with me being this exhausted without any difference in my environment and that was when we had a one day instructor when I was a senior in high school. His name started with an E, I always thought his name sounded like eucalyptus. I remember getting into bed and feeling like a truck had run me over. That’s the only day where I can remember feeling similar to this.
“Was his name Eurytus?” Hades asked fear flashing through his eyes.
“That’s it!” She called sitting up and then shrinking back from the look in his eyes.
“Did he try to approach you? Did he touch you? What happened that day exactly? I need you to do your best to recall.” Hades demanded kneeling and grabbing her hands forcefully.
“Why?” she asked trying to take her hands back from him, he was scaring her with his intense gaze.
“I’ll explain in a minute, I want you to describe this dance teacher.” Hades ordered relaxing his grip when he saw her wince in pain.
“He was very tall, I recall he almost stomped around the stage as if he wasn’t used to his body. I remember that because I asked one of my friends if we were really to learn from him because he looked so ungraceful. He had dark hair not sure if it was brown or black, it was long too and he had olive skin like yours. His eyes were almost golden and a little wild. He liked to move the students into different positions pretty forcefully. He didn’t touch me but he would head my direction and then stop short and veer left or right. He didn’t like me even though my teacher told him I was one of her best students.” She explained her eyes closed as she recalled the bizarre dance lesson.
“What I am going to say will seem weird but will make that day make more sense. If the man you are describing is the Eurytus I know, he is a very powerful centaur who likes to wreak havoc on the human world. He must have sensed your power even then and it held him at bay like it did mine.” Hades explained watching her eyes widen with shock.
“How is that possible? Poseidon said himself he didn’t feel my power until the whole unpleasantness with James and Phillip.” Madeline argued getting up to pace around the makeshift studio.
“Could be after the attack your body learned subconsciously. From what I saw you have impeccable control for someone who didn’t know about their powers. I think we might just be able to skip to you using your aura on purpose and how to not just protect but attack if necessary.” Hades suggested stepping into her path to stop her pacing.
“So I really am in danger huh?” She asked with a wry smile,
“I’m afraid so yes.” Hades said softly pulling her into his warm embrace. Madeline buried her face in his chest and inhaled his masculine scent, pine with a hint of spice. Hades rested his chin on her head and held her tightly, he didn’t know why she attracted him so, but he didn’t want to let her go.
“About that date you said we would go on tonight, can we rain check? I am just so tired.” Madeline whispered closing her eyes and sagging against him. Hades scooped her up cradling her against his chest and said,
“Yes, I’ll take you home.” Hades kissed her forehead and walked out to his car. Once she was settled and buckled in he went back for her things. By the time he came back to the car she was fast asleep her head leaning on the passenger side window. Hades stroked her hair and started the engine taking her home.
“Madeline you are home.” Hades softly kissed her cheek, Madeline opened bleary eyes at him and smiled.
“Ok” she replied and fell back to sleep. Hades chuckled, parked his car on the street, rummaged through her gym bag to find her house keys. He came around the passenger side and unbuckled her, scooped her up and carried her into the house. He closed the door behind himself with a flick of his foot and used his aura to locked the door. He carried her up to her bedroom and paused looking around the femininely decorated room. She had a canopy bed draped with sheer pink curtains, her comforter was white with pink roses and matching pillow cases. Her floor had a plush white carpet covering polished wooden floors. She had a desk to the right of her door covered in what looked like seating charts, textbooks and a planner. Her walls were ecru adorned with pictures of her dancing and Ian in his movies. Hades laid her down on the bed and kissed her forehead. He snagged a sticky note from her desk and wrote a quick note letting her know he had taken her home and would hold her to the raincheck on their date. He turned the lights off and left the house as silently as he had entered.
Waking up halfway through the night Madeline looked around and saw the note,
You fell asleep in the car on the way home, I didn’t want to wake you so I brought you home. I’ll see you Monday for your next training session, we can talk about the date you owe me then. I hope you slept well.
Madeline smiled and made a mental note to tell him she had class and would have to reschedule for Tuesday. She promptly fell back asleep with a smile on her face clutching the note tightly to her chest.