The Heiress

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Got a Secret, Can You Keep It?

“Well, that was—”

"Unexpected."

“To say the least,” I giggle.

Ew, gross.

My flirting skills are a true tragedy. Sigh, if only Shakespeare were still alive...

And giggle? Since when do I giggle?! Geez, what is it about this guy? Is he some type of drug?

“Sorry, I’m usually not that reckless. I usually like to get to know the person before I kiss them.”

“Take your time. We can get to know each other any way you’d like. And I do mean, anyway.” He shoots me a wink and chuckles, causing me to roll my eyes.

“I’m sure you do.” Someone’s overly confident, but I guess I’ll let it slide.

Bastian’s eyes crinkle, a flirty smile dancing upon his lips. Okay, well if he smiles at me like that then I guess I’ll let anything slide. Within reason, of course. I’m not that easy—more like the opposite.

The song changes once again, and he pulls me closer. I rest my forehead against him as the beat swells around us. The soothing sound of his heartbeat against my ear causes the tension to ease from my shoulders and for me to sigh deeply. Finally, a relaxing moment.

No more school and ridiculous papers. No more mean bus drivers who make my life a living hell. Just me and--

Suddenly, I feel my phone buzz violently in my pocket.

Great timing!

Please, notice the sarcasm.

Geez, it’s like I can’t have a decent moment to enjoy myself, not even on my birthday. I’m considering ignoring it when my gut begins to twist with worry. I don’t usually ignore calls because I’m always afraid I’ll miss something important, and this time shouldn’t really be an exception.

The longer I prolong answering the phone, the more my stomach twists into knots. I don’t know why, but something doesn’t feel right. I step away from Bastian and hold up my phone as I search around to find a secluded spot.

“Sorry, I have to take this.” I try not to let the panic reach my voice, keeping him oblivious to how I’m feeling. He nods his head, and I briskly walk over to an area of the beach currently not occupied by teens.

“Hello?” Upon answering the phone, I hear faint labored breathing and something else that I can’t quite place. All I know is that the background noise sounds chaotic. “Hey! Did you guys start partying without me?!”

I meant it as a joke, but I guess my mom didn’t find it humorous as she didn’t laugh. “Sweetheart? Oh, gods. Okay, I need you to listen to me carefully.”

“Mom? What’s going on?” Well, now I’m really worried. My mom never sounded this...scared. She was always fearless. Always. “Where’s dad, “I ask with my voice sounding small and childlike. I can hear a distant noise in the background similar to that of broken glass and bones. A mild scream is heard before a crash.

What is going on?!

“Listen, Andi. There’s something your dad and I haven’t told you yet. Gods, you’re probably going to hate us for it.”

“I--I’d never hate you guys, you know that. Just please, tell me what’s going on? "

“There’s so much I want to tell you, Andi, I really do. But I don’t think I’ll get the chance, my love. At least not now.”

“Mom, you’re scaring me.”

“I know, baby, I know. I’m sorry.” There’s a slight pause before, “Are you still wearing the necklace your father and I gave to you?”

Instinctively, I reach up and touch the necklace. “Yes.”

“Good. It has the answers that I’m unable to tell you at this time.” There’s another sound of something shattering, and I imagine my mother flinching as a result. “I have to go now, Andi.”

“What, no! I’m coming home!”

"No! Whatever you do, stay away from this place. Find your Uncle Ryan. Stay safe. Do you understand me?”

“But mom--”

“Don’t argue with me, Andromeda,” she warns sternly. I swallow my words even though I’m more than ready to put up a fight.

Why are my parents in danger? Did they owe someone money? Run into the wrong kind of people? Who would want to hurt them?!

“Promise me you’ll stay safe, Andi,” her tone is softer than what she’d previously addressed me with.

“I--I promise.” Tears sting my eyes, prompted by the sadness in her voice. This sounds an awful lot like a goodbye and I hate it. I hate what it did to her and to me. I hate goodbyes.

“Good. I lo--” The sound of splintering wood burst through the speaker before my mom’s scream fills my ears.

“Your time is up, Rose. Say hi to your daughter for me.” A voice hisses on the other line before it goes dead.

“Mom?! Mom!”

Dammit!

I hang up the phone, and quickly head for the parking lot. To hell with what she said! I’m going to that house and she can’t stop me!

This is probably the millionth time I’ve disobeyed my parents’ direct orders, but this time, I have a good reason.

Cool fingers wrap around my wrist to pull me back. Sudden anger jolts through me at the audacity someone has to stop me. “Whoa, slow down there, Clumsy. Where do you think you’re going?”

Oh, it’s him.

I shake my wrist free from Bastian’s grip, neglecting to look back and start jogging towards my car. “I have to go!”

He quickly catches up with me again. Okay, did he miss the urgency in my tone or the part where I said I had to go?! Like, was it not clear that he needed to leave? I thought he was smarter than that. “Slow down, Cinderella. The carriage isn’t going to turn into a pumpkin just yet.”

“And who are you? My Prince Charming?”

“In the flesh,” he smirks, but I yank my wrist out of his grip once more and storm up the steps of the beach. Now that I caught him, how do I throw him back?!

“Seriously, princess. Where are you headed? In case you’ve forgotten, there’s a party being thrown right now in your honor. Can’t have a party without its queen.”

“I—I can’t. M-my parents—my m-mom...” I look down the lot trying to find my car, my vision rapidly blurring. Words are impossible to form as I gear my brain towards only one goal: to get home.

I find my car and get in. I vaguely hear the passenger seat door shutting as well. As much as I want to yell at Bastian for having the balls to just invite himself into my car, I can’t. Time is too precious right now, and I have to use every last ounce of it. Starting up the engine, I put my car into high gear and floor it.

***

I jump out of my car once reaching my house, not caring if I’d put the car in park or not.

Okay, so maybe I did slow down to put the car in park, but that’s it!

Charging up to my front door, I notice it is completely obliterated, but that doesn’t stop me from bolting inside. Fear never stopped anyone else from doing anything stupid.

“Hey, wait a minute!”

Ignoring Bastian calling after me, I fly into my parents’ bedroom and am greeted by a great horror. The hardwood is sticky and stained with blood, and feathers from a shredded pillow litter the ground. It reminds me of the horror movies I refuse to watch.

You can tell there’d been a fight from the broken headboard and busted wall. Shattered glass litters the floor from busted picture frames of happy family portraits. The memory of my mother’s horrid scream echoes through my head as I look at her smiling face, and my imagination runs wild as I envision her being dragged across this very floor. The mere thought makes my stomach churn, and I suddenly have the urge to throw up. I picture my dad’s probably swollen face as he tries to assist my mom, but is too weak to do so.

What the hell happened here? Who took my parents? Why did they take them?

Strong arms wrap around me and pull me towards a solid chest. Bastian engulfs me, and I hadn’t even realized I’d started crying until my body shivers under a great sob. I turn in his arms, desperate to be comforted by any means necessary, even if it is in the arms of a stranger.

I wish I could just comprehend the moment and what exactly just happened, but nothing seems to click into place. Everything seems to be in a blur as if I somehow got sucked into an alternate reality. I can’t focus or think of anything other than the tortured bodies of my parents.

“Why did this have to happen?! Everything was going so well! I literally saw them just a couple of hours ago!”

“Do you have any idea who could’ve taken them?” Bastian asks quietly while his hand runs over my hair.

No.

“If I did, I wouldn’t be standing here, would I?” Bastian looks a little taken aback by my response, and I breathe through my nose. “Sorry, I get a little sarcastic when I’m upset.”

Some would say that I’m upset all the time then, but that’s beside the point.

“It’s fine. You have every right to be upset.”

“I have to get them back!”

“Did your parents leave you any clues on who might’ve done it?”

My brain goes into overdrive, trying to remember what my mom specifically told me during our call. I need to find them and kick the ass of whoever took them.

Oh, great. Now I’m speaking nonsense. I can barely open a jar of pickles let alone land a punch to someone. The last time I got in a fight, I got lucky because the girl tripped over her own shoelaces, making me queen of the playground in third grade for an entire week. I’m probably the most unqualified person to try and do something like this, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying.

Oh, duh!

The necklace.

Placing a hand on his chest, I pull away from Bastian to examine it. My fingers tremble with each movement, making it harder to get a steady picture. My thumb brushes against the moonstone center and as soon as my finger completes the swipe, the gem swirls a deep crimson red. Mist rises from the petals of the asphodel, and begin swirling around Bastian and I. The mist becomes a thick fog around us, blocking everything from sight and creating a hazy image in front of us.

Slowly, my parents’ faces appear before me and I bite back a sob. Reaching my hand out, I try to touch the cheek of my mom, but my hand just passes right through. If only they were real and here with me. Their smiles seem sad and strained as if they’re withholding a world of secrets. I visibly see the worry lines etched under their eyelids and foreheads, and I wonder just when those lines had started to appear.

My mom is the first one to speak. “Happy birthday, Andi. We’re so proud and lucky to have you! It feels like just the other day you were taking your first steps or starting your first day of school.”

“Or that one time I accidentally taught you your first cuss word.”

My mom glares at my dad, for interrupting her and bringing up the “horrid” memory. “You mean the world to your dad and I. Ever since you were born, all we’ve ever wanted to do was protect you and keep you safe; give you a normal life.”

Looking at my mom, my dad finally gets the clear to talk. “However, in order to give you the life we wanted for you, we had to sacrifice several things to maintain that image. We never meant for you to find out, especially under these circumstances. We just wanted to protect you, Sweetheart.”

My dad takes a deep breath, and my mom rubs his back in an attempt to soothe him. “All of those bedtime stories that I told you were true. The myths, the monsters, the gods, are all real. The entirety of Greek Mythology exists and we’re right in the middle of it. It would have been dangerous to tell you because ancient powerful creatures would be more aware of your presence had you known all of this.”

My presence? Right in the middle of it? What the hell is he saying?!

“You might know me as dad or even Henry Ross, but to others, including in Greek mythology, I’m Hades, the god of the Underworld.” He lets out a breath. “Gods, that was way harder than I thought.”

Oh, so that’s what he was trying to say.

Wait...what the fuck did he just say?!

“We never wanted to lie to you, but we couldn’t very well try to tell you the truth either. Please understand that we did this out of love. We do love you with all of our hearts.”

There’s a noise in the background before, “Mom? Dad? I’m home! Also, Mrs. Peters is with me. Ow! Could you please put that broom down?! Quit--hitting--me! Moooooom!”

I see both of my parents sigh and their shoulders sag. “Here we go again. Gods, you never listen.”

My mom storms off and I can hear distant yelling as soon as she disappears. My dad focuses the camera so that it’s centered on him. “Please do yourself a favor and don’t get into any trouble after watching this. Otherwise, I don’t think mythical beings will be your most pressing issue.”

The image of my dad quickly fades away and the fog around me dissipates. For a second, it feels as if I just exited a class where we had to watch a boring documentary, and half of the class fell asleep within the first fifteen minutes.

Except this wasn’t a boring documentary.

It was about my dad and greek gods.

It was about my dad being a greek god.

Holy sh--

“My dad’s Hades. My dad’s freaking Hades! Oh, my God.” More like gods.

Wait, but that means--

“My whole family is freaking Mt. Olympus! Holy shit! Oh my gods, oh my gods...” Bastian at first stands there with no register of surprise. His face holds almost no emotion and for a second, I assume he fell asleep while standing up with his eyes open.

I don’t know, maybe he’s on something!

“I know.”

Hold up, rewind.

He knows? He knows? He knows?!

“Uhm, I’m sorry, I must’ve misheard you because it sounded like you said you knew.”

“I did and I do.”

At first, I just stare at him wide-eyed, then burst out laughing. The familiar sting of tears burns my eyes as I try to suppress my fear. “Yeah, okay Mister, you can stop trying to impress me now cause it’s not going to work. And frankly, I think you’re forgetting one tiny detail. We’ve barely even met!”

“That didn’t stop you from making out with me.”

Well damn, no need to bring up the past.

“No one likes a know-it-all. And besides, it’s not like every guy I make out with knows about my family and the secrets they’ve been hiding! I mean, how can you--a stranger--know things about my family that I’m just now finding out?!”

He holds up his hands in an attempt to calm me. “Listen, I know you’re freaking out right now,” that’s the understatement of the year, “but if you just get in the car, I will explain everything.”

I scoff at him. “I am not getting into the car with you.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t really give you a choice.” He doesn’t even give me the chance to ask what he means by that. He bends down in front of me, and my stomach flips at the suggestive position, but I quickly swat those thoughts away. His arms hook around my legs and he throws me over his shoulder. I let out a gurgled noise, but Bastian continues to walk towards the door completely unphased.

“Listen here, you fucking pervert, I will slit your throat if you don’t put me on the ground this fucking instant!”

“Mhm.”

“I’m serious! Don’t tempt me!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”

“That’s it! I swear if you don’t put me down right—”

Bastian plops me unceremoniously into the passenger seat of my car and buckles me in. Honestly, if I wasn’t currently fuming this would probably be really hot. Hm, maybe another time.

My face is practically burning with anger as he slides into the driver seat, sporting a devilishly and annoyingly handsome smirk.

“Don’t worry, Clumsy. You’ll thank me for this later.”

“Or strangle you. Maybe even kick you in the berries.”

He lightly chuckles. “Whichever comes first.”


And we’re off!

Looks like Andi just acquired an unexpected companion for this new mystery.

Who could’ve taken her parents? What did they want with them?

Thoughts on Bastian?

Where could he be taking her?

What do you think will happen next? Find out in the next chapter!

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