Chapter 23: Taking A Chance
“Wait.” I heaved as I tried to breathe in between laughing. “You did what to his soup?”
Perseus composed himself from his laughing fit earlier and everyone waited for him to continue. “King Eros and I may have added one too many chili flakes.”
“I remember this.” Ares chuckled. “My dad told me this story when I was young. It was one of my favorites.”
“Your grandfather did not like spicy food.” Perseus continued. “I don’t know how, but your father convinced me to help him out with his plan. What a trickster he was.”
“How mad was he?” Apollo asked, waiting impatiently for the answer.
“After he had several glasses of milk, he wasn’t too mad. He knew right away that it was his son that had done the prank.”
“And boy was my dad in trouble.” Ares added.
The guys started to laugh and Hecate chuckled.
“He was always a prankster. He tried to get me a couple of times. Never worked.” Hecate winked.
I looked up and Ares’ face was red from laughing so hard at Perseus’ stories.
‘Oh my gosh.’ Artemis howled. ‘Look at him. Damn!’
‘Easy there.’ I chuckled. But she was right. Ares was the most handsome man I have ever seen.
‘So much better than Rick.’ She growled.
‘I agree with you there.’ I shivered at the memories. ‘I wonder how we got a second mate.’
‘I have no idea.’ Artemis replied confused. ‘I’ve never heard of a wolf getting another chance with a mate. Even if their mate died. They wouldn’t get another one.’
‘So what makes us so special?’
‘Maybe the Moon Goddess has a plan for us?’ Artemis said unsurely.
‘This whole situation is just bizarre.’ I sighed.
I jumped slightly out of surprise as I felt someone nudge my arm.
“You okay?” Ares asked.
I nodded my head with a smile. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Come on. I want to show you something.” Ares smiled as he grabbed my hand and dragged m out of the kitchen.
“But what about the stories?” I whined. I really liked those.
“You can listen to his stories another time.” He laughed.
“Where are we going?” I asked as Ares put his coat around my shoulder and took me out the back door.
“You’ll see.” He answered giving me a goofy smile.
I clutched the coat tight as the breeze hit me. Gotta love the cold weather.
We stopped walking until we came up to a large, white colored gazebo.
“What are y-” I started, but Ares cut me off as he held up his hand.
He turned around and looked behind him, before nodding his head to some guy that was standing by the door.
Because this isn’t serial killer like at all.
The guy bowed and lifted a panel before poking something.
I was about to speak again, but the words stopped dead in their tracks as the lights lit up. I soon realized we were in a beautiful garden and the tea lights lit above us.
“Oh my gosh.” I said breathlessly as I watched the garden come to life.
“Perseus told me that my father had this done for my mother. She loved gardens and the rose bushes were her favorite so my dad had them planted in every single color that he could think of for her.” He explained as I walked to the edge of the gazebo and looked across all the flowers. “She would always come out here and read books that she got from the library.”
“You guys have a library?” I asked amazed, turning around to face him.
He nodded with a laugh. “On the second floor, there’s a library. Books are everywhere, all the way to the ceiling.”
“I’m in heaven.” I laughed as I turned back around to face the garden.
I heard him come up behind me as he wrapped his arms around me, giving me a hug.
“I hope you like it.” He said softly.
“I love it.” I smiled, rubbing my thumb over his knuckles. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
“Good. I’m glad you like it.” He chuckled.
I frowned slightly as he kissed my cheek.
‘What kind of kiss what that?’ Artemis said.
“Come here.” I laughed as I grabbed onto Ares’ cheeks and pulled his lips down to meet mine.
Ares smiled into the kiss and wrapped his arms around me.
I pulled back slightly and stared up into his beautiful hazel eyes. “Thank you Ares.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled lovingly.
“I can’t get over the beauty of it all.” I smiled as I moved away from him and stared at all the flowers. There were so many colors; I could hardly take it all in.
“Hey, Athena?” Ares said softly after he cleared his throat.
‘He’s going to ask you out.’ Artemis smirked.
I rolled my eyes at her. ‘Yes, I know.’
‘Oooh girl!’ Artemis yipped. ‘What are you going to say? Oh please say yes.’
‘Just wait and see.’ I laughed as I turned around to face Ares.
“What’s up?” I asked with a smile.
“I was wondering if you would um.” He paused as he cleared his throat again. “You know. Like to maybe uh.”
‘Oh just say yes and put the poor guy out of his misery.’ Artemis teased.
“Yes.” I answered nodding while walking up to him. “I would love to be your girlfriend and accept you as my mate.”
“Wait really?” He asked with wide eyes. “How did you know?”
I rolled my eyes and pecked his lips. “It was obvious and I’m a girl. We know everything.”
He scoffed at me with a smile on his face. “Maybe I was going to ask you something else.”
“Oh really? What were you going to ask me?” I smirked as I crossed my arms over my chest. Ares’ eyes got wide and he opened his mouth, but then closed it. “That’s what I thought.”
“No!” He defended. “I was…going to ask what your favorite color was.”
“Seriously?” I laughed. “That’s what you came up with?”
“Okay fine.” He chuckled as he grabbed my hands softly and intertwined our fingers.
“It’s red.” I answered. “Just in case you were wondering.”
Ares grinned like a maniac and pulled me to him so he could rest his lips on top of mine.
He pulled back a second later and sighed contently. “I’m glad you said yes.”
“Me too.” I smiled back.
We both jumped as we heard the door open and hit the wall.
“About time.” I heard Hecate’s voice laugh. We both turned around to see her standing by the back door. “How long has it been now? You guys fancied each other so much; I thought it was going to be sooner.”
“Well sorry for being a gentleman.” Ares shot back with a smile. “I wanted to wait until Athena was ready.”
“But I really am glad that you guys got this figured out. You both deserve to be happy and you guys were literally made for each other.”
“This is the happiest I’ve been in a long time.” Ares admitted as he stared down at me. “Actually, I’m more than happy.”
‘Oh my gosh I think I love him.’ Artemis howled.
‘Easy there girl.’ I joked. ‘Love is a big word.’
‘Oh come on. Don’t tell me you can’t feel it.’
‘I don’t know.’ I said shyly. ‘I obviously like him a lot and maybe it is love, but I have to wait a little bit. I don’t want to jump into this so quickly.’
‘Fair enough.’ Artemis nodded.
“Athena, dear. Are you ready?” Hecate asked as she walked up to us. “It’s starting to get dark out and we have to drive back. I want to get back before the deer start to come out.”
I nodded. “I’m ready.”
“I don’t want you to go.” Ares whined as he leaned down to rest his head on my shoulder.
I laughed loudly and patted his head. “It’s okay.”
“Good Lord.” Hecate teased, rolling her eyes. “I’m sure you’ll see the girl tomorrow.”
Ares stuck his tongue out at her and turned to look at me. “Drive safe please.”
“I will Ares.” I smiled as I pecked his lips.
“And text me when you make it home.” He added.
“But I don’t have-”
“Yes, you do.” He interrupted. “I put my number in your phone and I already have your number.”
“How did you-”
“You seriously need to think of a new password.” He laughed, interrupting me again. “One, two, three, four is not a reliable password sweetheart.”
“Will you let me finish talking!” I laughed. “And I only put that because I don’t know what to put.”
He held up a finger and took out his phone. “How about two, seven, three, seven.” He suggested.
“That’s specific.” I laughed. “What made you think of those numbers?”
“Its spells ‘Ares’. Duh.” He teased with a sly smirk.
I rolled my eyes. “Good Lord.”
“What?” He asked laughing.
I shook my head at him and turned to face Hecate. “I have to go. I’ll text you later.”
“Hey! Wait.” He said as he walked up to me.
“What?” I asked.
“I didn’t get a kiss.” He mumbled pouting.
“Are you sure you want to be mates with him?” Hecate laughed. “He seems like a baby.”
“I think it’s cute.” I defended with a smile. “Come here Ares.”
He bent down and captured my lips with his. The kiss was electrifying and I shivered slightly as he wrapped his arms around my waist.
I heard Artemis howl and I had to push her in the back of my mind before it got any worse.
Ares pulled back and rested his forehead against mine. He was breathing deeply and I was the same.
“Drive safe. Okay?” He said as I nodded, unable to talk.
Ares let go of me and I turned to walk towards Hecate.
Perseus led us both outside and Hecate and I drove the forty-five minutes back to the house.
“What do you want for dinner?” Hecate asked me as we walked in the house.
“What do we have?” I asked as I placed my coat on the hook next to the door.
I grabbed my phone from my pocket to send a quick text to Ares, letting him know that we made it back safely.
“I took out some chicken breasts earlier today because I was going to have them for lunch tomorrow, but Travis called and asked if I was busy.” She explained. “So we could have those if you wanted.”
“Works for me.” I smiled as I sat down at the table. “Where are you guys going?”
“Some Italian place.” She shrugged. “I guess they have pretty good pizza.”
“Ooh.” I teased with a wink.
“Oh knock it off.” She laughed as she threw a towel at me. “Will you grab the seasoned salt dear?” Hecate asked as she grabbed the thawed out chicken breasts from the fridge. “And the pepper.”
“Sure!” I smiled as I jumped out of my seat and walked over to the cabinets.
I opened the cabinet’s door and checked the first row of seasonings. I started to take them out so I could see the others that were behind them. As I moved a bottle out of the way, something else caught my eye.
I looked at the small glass jar confused as I picked it up.
“Hecate?” I asked as I held the jar in my hand.
“What did you find?” She asked as she turned to face me.
“Why do you have baby food?”
“What?” She asked confused.
“You have baby food in your cabinets. A couple more small bottles.” I said as I examined the glass jar. “And it’s over fifteen years old.”
Hecate’s eyes grew big. “No.”
“Hecate, it’s okay.” I laughed as I placed the other jars of baby food on the countertop. “We just need to throw them away. It’s really no big deal.”
I jumped and quickly turned around as I heard something drop.
Hecate jumped over the glass plate that she had just dropped and wrapped her arms around me, hugging me tightly. “Oh my gosh.”
“Hecate.” I groaned as I felt my body being crushed. “Can’t breathe.”
“Oh, Athena.” Hecate sobbed as she pulled me even closer to her.
What the hell is going on with her?
‘Did she have a baby and it miscarried?’ Artemis asked just as confused as I was.
‘I honestly have no idea.’ I said as I tried to pull back from Hecate’s grip.
“What is going on?” I asked once I was freed.
“Now I know why your last name sounds so familiar.” She said quietly as another tear slipped out.
“What are you talking about?” I asked getting worried. Why would she know my last name?
“Athena.” Hecate breathed out with a smile. “You were born here.”
“Excuse me?” I asked shocked.
This can’t be happening.