By the time Aislinn had gotten back into the house, had grabbed her shoes from the back door, and had finished hopping around trying to put them on – she didn’t bother tying them – Diana had exited the house and crossed the street. Aislinn burst out the front door, losing one shoe in the process, just wanting to get to her friend so she could explain and apologize.
“Diana, wait! Hold on a second, please! I can explain!” She tripped as she ran across the road nearly wiping out at the edge of the side walk, stubbing the big toe of her shoeless right foot. She caught herself at the last second and, ignoring the pain radiating from her injured and bleeding toe, continued to run trying to catch up to her livid friend.
“I told you Aislinn, I don’t want to hear it. Just leave me alone!” Diana continued to storm down the street, not even pausing when Aislinn ran in front of her to cut her off, she just stepped to the side and kept on walking.
Aislinn, not to be dissuaded, moved in front of her friend again but this time moved with Diana as she tried to get past.
“No, not until you let me explain myself.” She put her hands on Diana’s shoulders to keep her from storming off again. “Please.”
Diana knocked Aislinn’s hands roughly off her shoulders and took a few steps back, “No. I don’t want to hear it. You lied to me. What else is there to say?”
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell you, I couldn’t! My father made me promise -”
“You said your father died before you were born!”
Aislinn rolled her eyes in exasperation and dropped her hands onto her hips, “Well obviously I told you that, it’s not like I could just come out and tell you my father’s the King of the Greek Pantheon!”
“I don’t see why not. We’re best friends Aislinn, you should have told me.”
“For one thing you believe in God. If I had told you when we were younger you would have thought I was possessed or lying, or something. Plus you think the Greek gods are just a bunch of stories people told way back in the day, you said so yourself just a few minutes ago. Next to both of those, would you even have believed me if I had told you I was the child of a god?” She crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for an answer.
Diana opened her mouth, but closed it again, not saying anything. Would she have believed Aislinn if she had told her father was Zeus?
“Well no, I probably wouldn’t have. But maybe if you had told me I wouldn’t be as surprised and hurt as I am right now. And my belief system has nothing to do with this! You’re just using that as an excuse, a really poor one at that. You still should have told me.”
Aislinn was starting to get frustrated which she didn’t want to do, but seeing Diana angry was making her uncomfortable, which in turn, made her frustrated. Diana was never angry. She was always calm and clear-headed about everything. But anything can happen to someone when he or she thinks someone the love and trust has betrayed them.
She tugged the end of her braid a few times, rolling the end between her fingers, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you what I really am. Like I said, I wasn’t allowed. It’s not like I can just go around telling people I have an immortal parent you know, there are rules …and it’s not something that exactly comes up in normal conversation. ‘Hi. My name’s Aislinn, I may look like a normal teenager but I’m really the daughter of an immortal sky god. What’s your name?’ Yeah that would go over like a lead balloon.” She rolled her eyes again and shifted her weight to one foot, crossing her arms over her chest.
Diana sighed and looked at the ground for a few seconds before glancing back up at Aislinn. Aislinn couldn't help but fidget uncomfortably under the weight of that look; it made her feel as if she was about to crush someone’s world with just a few careless words.
“You and Drake are my best friends, why didn’t you just tell me?” Aislinn noticed tears gathering at the corners of her long-time friends brown eyes, and could tell that they had hurt her deeply. She hadn’t meant for her and Drake’s lie to make her feel this way, even though deep down they knew it was inevitable. The fact that it had, made guilt swell in her chest, like an angry beast trying to claw its way to freedom. Fast on the heels of that guilt though, was anger. Anger because Diana didn’t seem to be listening to a word of her apologies. ‘Why didn’t they tell her?’ Because dammit, they couldn’t tell her! They couldn’t tell anyone! Didn’t she just say that? Twice!
“By the gods! Did you not listen to a word I just fucking said?" Diana's eyes widened at Aislinn's uncharacteristic use of swear words. "We couldn’t tell you even if we had wanted to.” Aislinn stamped her foot, threw her hands in the air and walked a quick circuit. It wasn’t the most adult thing to do, but it made her feel better. Plus she didn’t want any lightning to start sparking around her hands, which would be all kids of bad, and would probably make Diana more nervous and angry than she already was. “I already told you that humans aren’t allowed to -”
“But we’ve been friends forever! Shouldn’t that count for something?”
Aislinn exhaled loudly, frustrated, “Look, you just, someone like you wouldn’t be able to understand.” Her hand flew to her mouth as soon as she realized what she had said.
That she realized, was the wrong choice of words. Diana’s eyes flashed as she said in a voice that was more of an animalistic snarl than a sound any normal person would make; it wasn’t a sound that Diana had ever made before, in fact Aislinn hadn’t even guessed that Diana could achieve such a tone. “Oh, I wouldn’t understand? Why’s that Aislinn? Because I’m just a human, and we’re nothing compared to you gods.”
“Wait – No. That’s not what I meant -” She tried to explain weakly, her face draining of all colour.
“You know what? Forget it.” Diana pushed passed a stunned Aislinn, causing her to stumble, and started to walk away.
Desperate, Aislinn spun around and grabbed at her arm to stop her, her voice hitching a bit as she choked back tears of her own. “Diana please –”
“Don’t touch me!” She yanked her arm away.
“Won’t you even listen?”
She started walking away again, and Aislinn had to raise her voice to bridge the growing distance between them. “I thought we were best friends! Isn’t that what best friends do, listen to each other?”
Diana whipped around, and Aislinn belatedly realized that maybe that wasn’t quite the right thing to say, judging by the furious expression on Diana’s face. “Friends?! Best friends don’t keep secrets from each other. They tell each other everything, no matter how absurd! You - you’re a freaking’ GOD and you never TOLD me? Some best friend you turned out to be!”
Aislinn’s own temper snapped, “If this is how you react when you do find out, I’m glad that we didn’t tell you sooner!”
Diana’s angry expression bled away into one of hurt and betrayal. She didn’t say another word, just turned back around and ran off down the street. Aislinn watched her until she rounded a corner and disappeared.
She stood there for a few moments, after losing sight of her, most likely, ex-best-friend, looking at the ground, trying not to cry, and failing. The once blue sky started to cloud over with depressing gray clouds and a light rain began to fall.
Back in the Jordan’s’ backyard Drake was attempting to explain their screw up to Hermes, it wasn’t going to well. “Look, it wasn’t like we did it intentionally. And while yes we should have waited to call you later…what would you have done in our position? Long dead spirits should not be making trips up to the Upper Realm unless I bloody well summon them!” He stamped his foot and waved both hands at the general area around them, frustrated at his own inability to explain or deal with the situation. He was also trying to explain things in such a way that wouldn’t get him or Aislinn into trouble too much trouble, but was having a hard time. Aislinn was the person with the ability to weave tall tales and talk herself out of trouble, not him.
Hermes grumbled and ran a hand through his brown hair. “Okay you have a point. In your positions I probably would have panicked as well. Still next time, think before you act, all right?”
“Okay. So Hermes, about the whole summoning you in front of mortal’s thing…”
Hermes gave Drake a stern look, causing the young teen to squirm uncomfortably. Suddenly Hermes glower disappeared to be replaced by his usual mischievous grin. “Nah, I won’t take this to Zeus or your parents.”
Drake sagged in relief, right hand moving to rest over his heart, “Thank you! That’s a weight off my shoulders.”
“So do you have any idea why ghosts from the Underworld would be walking around up on earth, even if it is only briefly?” James asked, still sitting, straddled on the deck railing, where he’d been since coming outside, and bringing them back to the reason that they had summoned the god in the first place.
Hermes thought about it for a minute or two before perkily replying, “Nope, not a clue. I only bring the dead to Charon so he can ferry them across the River. It’s not my job to keep them there.” He quickly turned serious though, “It may be just a temporary thing. I suggest that if you see any more Shades you take the problem to your dear old Dad. It is his job to keep them in the Underworld, after all.”
“Right, we’ll do that. Thanks Hermes.” Drake felt a raindrop hit the tip of his nose. He crossed his eyes to look at the offending drop before shifting his charcoal eyes to look up at the sky.
“Wasn’t it sunny ten seconds ago?” James held a hand out – a confused expression on his darkly tanned face – to catch a few raindrops as they started to fall faster and faster.
“Yeah, things with Diana obviously didn’t go well.” Hermes said as Drake looked back towards the house and in the direction that Aislinn and Diana had run off in.
“What makes you say that?”
It was Hermes that answered the question seeing the troubled expression on his young cousin’s face, “When Aislinn gets upset it starts to rain. It’s why she’s known as a Godling, instead of a demi-god.”
“Okay you lost me,”
“Figured. Okay it’s like this. A demi-god is just a normal mortal, they just happen to have divine parentage, like Perseus, or Achilles, but that’s the only thing special about them. A Godling, however, is a mortal but they have special abilities, like Hercules and his super-strength.”
“Okay, so Aislinn’s considered a Godling because she can control the weather?”
“You’re confusing him Hermes,” Drake tuned back into the conversation, the troubled expression still on his face.
“I know. It’s fun!” The god grinned and clapped his hands, like an excited child.
James glared at the grinning god in annoyance and Drake slapped a palm to his face, which only caused Hermes to laugh. Drake turned to James a small smile on his face, far too used to the messenger’s sense of humour to be bothered by it. “What Hermes is trying to explain to you is that Aislinn can’t really control the weather, it’s affected by her mood, so if she’s sad it rains, if she’s angry it storms, and if she’s really pissed off you’re safer indoors. She’s considered a Godling not just because her mood affects the weather but also because she can create and throw lightning bolts.”
“Oh, okay. What about you?” James still wasn’t quite sure he understood the explanation given, so turned to Drake, asking the same question, hoping a rehashing would make it clearer.
Drake scratched the side of his head, “I’m a Godling as well, and since I’m Hades son I can summon hellhounds and Shades.” Drake was hesitant to add any more to his lie. It wasn’t as bad James knowing Aislinn was a Godling; if it got out he was a god, yeah it wouldn’t go over very well. He liked freedom thank you very much, and had no intention of spending several thousand years in Tartarus as punishment for telling someone he was a god.
Sensing he was no longer needed, Hermes clapped his hands, “Well look I gotta get going, I still got things I have to do, a god’s work is never done, especially my work.” He made his way up the stairs heading towards the house, deciding it would be safer to use a Door indoors than out. As he was walking by James he paused. He turned to face him and put his face just inches from that of the teen.
James leaned back trying to regain some personal space, grabbing the railing both in front of, and behind him to keep from falling over. Hermes stared at him for a full minute before James and Drake asked, “What?”
“You, mortal, look very familiar. I just can’t place where I’ve seen you before.” He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully as he continued to stare at James.
“Well I can assure you that we have never met before now, so please stop staring at me. It’s really unnerving.”
“Hmm? Oh sure,” He pulled back and continued on his way into the house as if nothing had happened. He mussed up Drakes hair as he walked by, Drake swatted at his hands pushing them aside. He glared at the older god as he tried to get his hair to lie back the way it had been. “Later kiddies,” He stepped through the still open back door, waggling his fingers in farewell to the two glaring teens.
“Is he always like that?”
“Most of the time he is, yes.”
Drake looked over at James one hand still on his head, though it was more from embarrassment and shame than anything really. He really hadn’t meant to blow his and Aislinn’s cover like that. He hadn’t meant to make Diana at best be mad at them, at worst hate their guts. “So what do you think about all of this, James?”
James leaned back on his hands as best he could, considering he was straddling the deck rail. He considered the question seriously before answering. “Well before I thought you and Aislinn were just odd, or at the very least had been dropped on your heads as children. Now though,” he waved a hand in the direction that Hermes had went. “A lot of things make sense. I always figured there was something that Diana didn’t know about you two, the way you two talked and acted around each other. She said it was just because you two had been friends since the dawn of time, but I wasn’t so sure.”
“Yeah, and what did you suspect before you learned the information that you did today?” Drake had a feeling he knew exactly what James had been thinking, and was both dreading it and finding it completely hilarious.
“Hmm, oh I just figured you two were secretly dating or something.”
’Oh yeah, I called that one.’ He thought to himself as he burst out laughing. “Oh man! That’s so wrong, on so many levels.” He laughed a little bit longer before finally getting himself under control. “Hoo-boy. Yeah even if Nike and I weren’t related, there is no way that that would ever happen. Yeah, no, no way in Hades.”
“Okay, I get it.” He ran a hand through his short blonde hair as he swung his leg around so he could hop down onto the deck. “Look I’m going to get going home. This is a lot to take in. I hope you and Aislinn can make up with Diana.”
The grin fell off Drakes face, “Yeah thanks. See you at school on Monday.”
“Yeah see you,”
“Oh and James.” James looked back over his shoulder, one eyebrow raised. “Keep an eye out for anymore Shades and stuff would you, and let me or Aislinn know if you see any.”
“Will do, see you at school.”
Drake waited until James had left the yard before turning and banging his head against the side of his house, repeatedly, and with great force. “Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!” After ten more minutes of head banging and self-depreciation Drake walked into the house, slamming the backdoor behind him. He stalked to the kitchen, picked up the phone and dialled Aislinn’s number from memory, the hand not holding the phone to his ear was idly rubbing the large purple bump he had on the centre of his forehead.
“Hello,” Mark was the one who ended up picking up.
“Hey Mr. Douglas, is Aislinn back yet?”
“Drake? Yes she just walked in. She looked really upset, is everything okay?”
“Not really. She and Diana got into a fight. I’m not really sure what it was about. Can I talk to her?”
“Sure just a second,” Mark covered the speaker with his hand and called out to his stepdaughter. “Aislinn, it’s Drake.”
She walked out of the kitchen and took the phone from her stepfather without a word. She didn’t say anything until she had shut her bedroom door. “Hey Drake,”
He didn’t even have to ask how the conversation between her and Diana had gone; he could hear it in her voice. “Aw Nike, I’m so sorry. If I could go back in time and fix this you know I would do it in a heartbeat.”
“I know Drake. It’s not your fault. I’m just as much to blame for this as you are. It’s just…you didn’t see her Drake; she was so hurt and angry. I have never in my life seen Diana get angry at anything! It was odd, scary and…and I lost my temper. Said a few things I shouldn’t have.” Aislinn dropped onto her bed, her cat, Monster, jumped up next to her and rubbed her head against Aislinn’s face, purring softly. She scratched the tiny black cat behind its white ears.
Drake winced, imaging what Aislinn could have said. Girl had a temper like a rabid Chimera. “We’ll sort everything out at school on Monday. Or at least try too.”
“She hates us Drake, I doubt she’ll even look at us, let alone talk to us.” Aislinn didn’t talk for a few moments as she tried to collect herself. Finding that it was proving to be a little difficult she changed the subject. “Speaking of, how’d James take everything?”
Drake ignored the quaver in Aislinn’s voice, “Surprisingly well, actually. He always thought something was odd about our dynamic, though like most people he just thinks we’re dating.”
She managed a small smile and laugh at that, “Why does everyone think that?”
“Not a clue. Anyway James seemed willing to accept the whole we’re not normal mortal’s thing. But we’ll see how that pans out on Monday, after he's had time to process everything.
Aislinn still sounded dejected, which Drake could understand, he wasn’t feeling all happy-happy joy-joy himself. “Look, Aislinn, try not to let the whole Diana thing get to you, all right? Like I said we’ll deal with it at school. I know that isn’t the most comforting thing at the moment, but I just spent the last ten minutes beating my forehead against the side of the house for being such an idiot, and can’t think past the pounding in my skull.” He ran a hand through his hair again trying to think of anything to say that would comfort his friend. The headache he had gotten from his fight with the house was still there, but the bruise had gone from purple to a green colour, the colour bruises usually were after a week or so of healing, and the bump was pretty much gone as well.
Aislinn could practically hear the young god trying to come up with something to say that would make her feel better and smiled at the effort. “Thanks Drake. Don’t worry about me too much, I’ll be all right. I’ll probably talk to mom about it later tonight, thanks for trying though.”
“No problem Nike. I’ll see you on Monday, yeah?”
“Yeah see you on Monday. Bye Drake.”
“Later.” He hung up the phone and tossed it onto the counter with a little more force than was necessary; it slid across the counter and off the other side, down onto the floor, the impact caused the back to pop off, and the battery to go skittering across the tiled floor.
He slid down the counter until he was sitting on the floor, arms crossed on his bent knees, and he buried his head in his arms. He sat there for a while just thinking about what he was going to do. Not coming up with any immediate solutions he got up and headed out to the garage, hoping maybe to work out some of his frustration, anger, and sadness, by working on his car. It usually helped calm him down when he was having a bad day. Something told him that it wasn’t really going to help this time.
“Later.” Aislinn heard a click as Drake hung up the other line, and she hit the button on her phone to end the call. She let the phone drop onto her green carpeted bedroom floor and just stared despairingly up at the ceiling, trying to fight back more tears. She had cried the entire walk back to her place. Halfway home she belatedly remembered that her school bag was still at Drakes, but she quickly forgot again as she replayed all that had happened in the 30 minutes they had been at Drake's house.
She growled angrily at herself and started slamming her head against her mattress repeatedly. It wasn’t as hard as a wall, or the floor might have been, but she was too depressed to care, or to move. She stopped after her head started to hurt and continued to stare at the ceiling of her room.
When her Mom came home an hour later and knocked on her bedroom door, that was how she found her, still sprawled on her bed staring at nothing, Monster curled up on her stomach, sleeping.
“Mom,” Aislinn turned her head to see her mother standing in the doorway. Seeing Melissa standing there with concern and sadness written across her face, was too much for the upset girl. She rolled over, curled into as small a ball as possible, causing the cat to fall to the floor, and started to cry, heart wrenching sobs that caused her whole body to shake. Melissa shut the door behind her and went to comfort her distraught daughter.
Diana slammed the door behind her as she walked into her house. Her mother called out in surprise from the kitchen, “Diana! Is that you? You’re back early, is everything okay?”
“No! I had a fight with Aislinn and Drake.”
“Oh, sweetie, what happened?” Lilly Williams came walking out of the kitchen, drying her hands on a towel; her arms still covered in flour.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’m going to go to my room and lie down for a while. I just want to be alone for a bit. Please?”
Lilly could see the tears welling up in her daughter’s eyes and nodded, “Okay Diana. Why don’t you have a bath as well, it will help you calm down.” She smoothed Diana’s hair back; some of it had come loose from the twin braids she had them in.
“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I know you’ve been working at those pies mom, but I’m really not hungry. Can you just put a slice of it in the fridge for me? I might eat it later.”
“Of course dear, you go have a bath and a lie down, and eat when you’re ready.”
“Thanks mom,” she gave her mother a quick hug before making her way to the bathroom. Diana knew that her mother could be overbearing at times. She, however, also knew that she could tell when she wanted to be left alone, and for that she was grateful.
An hour later Diana was sitting cross legged on her bed her sketchbook resting in her lap and some charcoal held between her fingertips. She wasn’t really paying attention to what she was drawing, just letting her anger and sadness flow into the paper, pouring her soul into her work, tears falling down her face. She continued to draw until she fell asleep, still crying.
Lilly found her like that when she went to check on her before she went to bed, body slumped over her sketchbook, in an uncomfortable and unnatural position. She pulled the sketchbook from her daughters limp hands and closing it, placed it on her desk. She then straightened Diana from the position she had fallen asleep in and pulled her throw blanket over her. She kissed her forehead softly before making her way out of the room, turning the light off and closing the door behind her. She hoped that the three friends could work out everything at School on Monday; she would hate to see such a friendship broken up.