VI. Control Freaks and Free Birds
I felt emotionally drained. I never stopped long enough to think of what was happening to me. I was the daughter of a bloody Greek goddess and I didn’t even question it. When he told me my mum wasn’t my actual mother, I thought nothing of it. Why wasn’t I doubting this? It seemed too good to be true. But somewhere in my heart, I had the belief that I was meant for greater things. Is that what this is?
Or am I just going crazy?
He was here and armed with the knowledge he was my soul mate; I was just… yeah; I was not as in control as I wanted to be. But hey, at least I had more control than him because I knew I was making him uncomfortable.
Aph had gone from my room (I was told it would be mine for the unforeseeable future—so basically until I die) and had gotten us some pancakes for breakfast. She set them on the table, and we munched on them wordlessly—I suppose she knew that I was not in the mood to talk, and I was grateful. After that, she cleared up, announced she would bring him, and, well, left.
Now, he was here, and boy was he mad—although, if I may say so, he had no right to be. He was pacing my room while I was daintily sat upon my bed, watching him.
“Of bloody course!” I screamed.
“What?!” he turned to me.
“The one time in my life when I finally convinced myself that I deserved it,” I said, “I find out that the only reason I’ve got such a great grade is that my teacher is my soulmate.” I stood up, crossing my arms. “How nice am I right?”
“I gave you a great grade because you deserved it, okay? You should know I’m not one for favoritism,” he replied, softly. “You are truly the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, and I know Athena.”
I took a deep breath. “You can’t mean that,” I said. “Athena is not intelligent, she’s wise. It’s not… it doesn’t compare.”
“Shut up and enjoy the compliment, woman,” he said, and I gave him a sad smile.
“I’m still angry at you,” I replied, brandishing an accusatory finger at him. “Don’t—even for a moment—think you’re forgiven because, for the love of holiness itself, you are not. You left me there without a bloody clue of what was going on! I was panicking, okay? I was in a right state, I was.” I sighed and collapsed onto the bed.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I should have offered you an explanation, but I was… I was selfish. I thought I’d let you fall in love with me without this knowledge, or that I wouldn’t get too close to you so I wouldn’t mourn you if you died.”
“If I died? Excuse me?”
“Let’s see,” he said, sarcastically. “Hyacinthus—dead. Daphne—a laurel tree. Icarus—drowned. I have another love now, wonder what will happen to her?”
“I will not die!” I replied. “And I’m not your love. This may be fated or whatever, but I will not accept you as my love until I fall in love.”
“I’m sorry,” he sighed. “I shouldn’t have assumed you would have died. I wasn’t acting rationally-”
“Goddamn right you weren’t,” I grumbled. “Thanks for the apology, though.”
“Say happy to help,” I replied, then backtracked. It was an ingrained mechanism now. “Sorry, I had this teacher in high school who would let none of us—girls especially—say no problem because it implies that doing the thing was your duty. Saying happy to help suggests it might be your duty, it might not, but you did it happily.”
“Well, you had some smart teachers,” he replied. “Done with your essay?” he asked cheekily, changing tracks. I decided to roll with it, because… well, he needed to show me how sorry he was.
“Oh, I wish,” I groaned. “The Professor is a grouch, I hear. I’m so afraid to press the submit button I can’t tell you. I know my essay is good, but I want to impress him. Not that I care about him or anything.”
“Well, it sounds like much,” he said. “Do you need some help?”
I took a moment to look at him. Ebony hair, pointed features, pale skin. He looked nice, by most people’s standards. He was wearing a suit like he usually was, and it was grey like it usually was.
“No, I can perfectly well finish the essay myself, although I should probably finish my art homework first,” I replied.
“But English is due before,” he argued.
“But oil paints take longer to dry,” I countered.
“Fine,” he caved. “You win.”
“Better get used to it,” I replied. “This girl—” I pointed to myself—“doesn’t like to lose. Although, oil paints don’t dry for months. Just an excuse to stop looking at my laptop.”
“Or so I’m told,” he sighed. “Wanna take your paints to the garden? I have a feeling the flowers will help you.”
“You have a feeling? Excusez-moi? Comment saviez-vous?” I asked, making my best impression of an offended French woman.
“Je suis Apollo, je sais tout,” he replied, taking my box of paints and the canvas in his arms. “Prendre le croquis, s'il vous plaît.”
“I’ll take the bloody sketch all right,” I muttered, taking the rough sketch I had made of my painting and following him into the gardens.
I didn’t see it yet—us falling in love. Sure, he was nice and all, but he was a bit… intense? I don’t know. I was confused with all the stuff that had happened to me recently.
The Universe has a plan; I thought grimly. It always does.
But will the Universe’s plan play out if my soulmate is keeping secrets from me? Is he keeping secrets from me? Will I ever find out or will the secrets forever be never to be told?
“Why the hell don’t you own a ruler? You’re an artist!”
“And I’m drawing a flower,” I retorted.
“That’s all well and everything, but flowers have stems!”
“And I’m drawing a flower close up.”
He watched silently as I finished the pencil drawing of the flower on the canvas.
“Surely no flower is that color,” he scrunched his nose.
“Good lord,” I replied. “Art is expression, not duplication.”
“I’m annoying you, aren’t I?”
“Should I leave?”
“Just shut up,” I replied. “Have you never seen someone paint?”
“I watched Athena once, but she’s as methodical as they come. She has a ruler, a shade card, those tiny boxes on the canvas, and a load of other things to make the painting accurate.”
“Forget I asked,” I sighed. “And, for the record, if you’re my soul mate, you better just watch and not comment. I don’t like to be micromanaged.”
“I think I understood that much,” he replied. “You don’t like to be caged. Also, do you have either of your books?”
“Why? You want to read them?”
“No, that’s why I’m asking. Of course!”
“Yeah, I have a copy each of both on me. You can have them.”
“Thanks,” he replied. “And for the record, if something crazy happens, I want you to not freak out.”
“Is that like a general warning or is it some foreshadowing?”
He said nothing. I was freaking out all right.