Eros Gets the Job DonebyAngellica1612©
Eros heaved a deep sigh, and entered his mother's temple. He must be truly, hopelessly bored to come here on his own, he thought.
"Eros!" He turned, and saw his mother coming across the garden. She wore a long, sheer gown of sparkling white, with gold rope crossing her breasts and around her neck. Her dark hair hung loose over her shoulders.
"I didn't expect to see you today," she said, coming to a stop before him, and giving him a cynical once over.
He shrugged. "If you're busy..."
"Not at the moment," she said, searching his eyes now, curiosity alive in her own. "Why are you here?"
Eros looked out over the garden. "Bored, I guess. Psyche is busy."
"Bored?" Aphrodite let out a quick laugh. "Today?"
Eros scowled. Okay, so today was February 14th, down in the human world. Obviously, he knew that. He could feel all the hopes and prayers for his blessing coming from the humans, was in fact working hard not to feel them.
Aphrodite laughed again. "Calling in sick?" Her tone was heavy with sarcasm.
"No," Eros barked, then took a deep breath. Why did he come here? Why put himself through this all the time? Especially today.
"Then what's the problem? Don't you feel them?"
"Of course I do! All the blasted time, I feel them!" Eros began to pace.
"Eros, what is the matter with you?" Aphrodite put her hands on her hips as she stared at her handsome son. He was beautiful, with long, thick blond hair, bright green eyes, and a body to die for. Just looking at him made her tingle. She felt no shame in her desire for him.
"I don't know. I'm just...tired of it, tired of them. So few of them are even able to feel real love. I spend so much time trying to match them up, making sure I'm there at the right moment. Half the time, they don't show up! Or they defy me, refuse to give in to what they feel. Or their lousy human laws forbid them to be together, so all I've accomplished is to make them more miserable. It's frustrating!"
Aphrodite sighed. "Eros, dealing with humans is always difficult. They are so very fickle. But you have a job to do, especially today. Surely today you'll find plenty ready to fall in love."
"I suppose so," Eros said, pinching his nose between his fingers.
"So, stop feeling sorry for yourself and go do it."
Eros frowned at her, annoyed. She was right. It should be easier today than most days, so why was he still here? He sighed. "You're right. I should go."
"I'm usually right, dear."
Eros laughed now. "Of course you are, Mother."
She smiled, and leaned close to kiss his cheek. "Have fun with it, my son."
Eros sobered. She rarely showed so much affection towards him. He knew why she kept her distance most of the time. He wasn't shamed by her attraction, just not interested in encouraging it. But right now, she was just his mother.
"Aphrodite!" A booming male voice sounded from inside her temple. She glanced over her shoulder and yelled "Just a minute!", then looked back at Eros.
"Do I know him?" he asked.
She smirked. "No, dear, you don't. Let's keep it that way. He was fun, but soon he's going home."
Eros shook his head. He was more uncomfortable meeting his mother's many lovers than having her look at him with desire. "I'm going. See you later."
"Bye," she said, turning to walk into the temple.
Eros transported himself to earth. His human form was even more lovely to humans than his god form was to the gods. Because of this, he wore a cloak to shield his beauty. It didn't make him invisible, just uninteresting to those who looked at him. He sighed, feeling the tug of human desire. His sack appeared at his side. It contained his bow and arrows, and other things he would need.
He set out, letting his senses guide him. The first town he visited was a small town in what the Americans called The United States, nestled in amongst tall mountains. He saw her first, a petite, young teacher, leading her class of third graders towards the museum. In another moment, he knew where he needed to be, and found himself inside the museum.
The young man was straightening a stack of museum guide books on the reception counter. He looked nervous, and gasped when he spotted Eros.
"Oh! I didn't realize anyone was here yet!" He glanced at the heavy double doors. "I usually hear people come in."
"Sorry," Eros said smoothly. "Lovely museum you've got here."
"Thank you," the man said. He stepped forward and held out a hand, trying not to stare at Eros. "Andrew Mason, curator. Call me Andy."
"Pleased to meet you, Andy," Eros said. "I'm Eric Olympius."
"What an unusual name," Andy said. "Here, take a brochure, and let me know if you have any questions."
"Thanks." The doors opened, and children's chatter and laughter erupted into the quiet space.
"There's my tour group. Enjoy your visit, Eric."
Andy turned away and hurried over to the group. Eros saw the pretty teacher smile shyly at Andy, and knew this was right. He slotted two arrows, and fired, watching as they arced through the air, piercing the man and woman as they stood chatting. The woman was facing him, and he saw the little ripple that moved through her as the arrow went in and disintegrated. She lost track of what she was saying, and stood there just staring up into Andy's eyes. Andy was equally still, focused on her.
Eros smiled. One down. He left, knowing Andy might later wonder about him, but right now Eros was the last thing on his mind.
His second couple went just as well, as did the third and fourth. He was really beginning to enjoy it again, when he settled on a busy street in New York City. He sensed his candidate was near, but there were so many people crowding the sidewalk, he was distracted. They all walked so fast, so focused on their own thoughts, or rather, their cell phones, that they were virtually unaware of the hundreds that moved around them. Most had cell phones, many had briefcases. They strode with determination, most not intending to be rude, but few bothering with apologies when they bumped shoulders. And then he spotted her. She was just like all the others. She wore a suit of dark blue, her thin skirt ending just above the knees. Sleek black high-heeled pumps showed off her well-shaped legs. She carried a brief case, and didn't meet anyone's eyes as she moved through the throng. Her face was set in a scowl.
Eros sighed. She was the one, he could feel it, but she'd be difficult. He looked around, wondering where her intended was. Somewhere close.
She was just passing a restaurant with tables lining the sidewalk behind an iron railing. Seated at one of them was a man who was staring at her as she approached. He wore khakis, scuffed brown loafers, and a sweatshirt that read "Artists, do it in color." Eros just shook his head. The guy was handsome, with thick wavy brown hair and blue eyes, and he was well built under his baggy clothes. But honestly, he was the exact opposite of the well groomed, professional woman.
"Olivia!" he called out.
She swiveled her head, startled,and saw him. And frowned. Great, Eros thought. But then he brightened. At least he was no longer bored!
"Oh, hi, Rob."
"Can you join me for a cup of coffee?"
She'd already started to shake her head when Eros' arrow hit her. She paused, looking at Rob as if he'd done something. "What was that?"
Rob looked mystified. "What? I asked if you'd like have coffee with me."
"No, I mean..."she trailed off, looking around, then shrugged, and looked at her watch. "I could use a cup, I guess." Her tone sounded grudging, but Rob smiled, a huge smile of pure pleasure.
"Great!" He rose, pulling out a chair for her.
"Thanks." She sat, then put her briefcase down by her feet.
Rob literally hopped back to his chair, and held up his hand to signal the waitress. "I haven't seen you for a while."
"Yeah, I've been really busy. Big case, you know."
"I've been following it in the paper," Rob said. Eros knew immediately he'd done more than that. He'd gone there, sitting in the back of the courtroom, never letting her see him. "Think you'll get a conviction?"
"Yes. He's guilty. Let's just hope the jurors see that."
"I'm pulling for you," Rob said. He couldn't take his eyes off her.
Eros looked at her too, curious. She was pretty enough, but seemed so...proper, so uptight. What was the big attraction for Rob? He shrugged. Well, he'd only need one arrow for him. But the woman, Olivia, was already looking at her watch. Eros shot her again. She flinched.
What the hell? Eros frowned at his bow. Humans rarely felt the arrow at all, much less enough to flinch. He looked back to see if it had any effect on her.
"Thanks," she said, and her voice sounded a trifle warmer. She leaned over the table, resting on her elbows, and gave Rob a small smile.
The joy was literally filling the air around Rob. All Eros felt from Olivia was a wall. Just then the waitress arrived, and Olivia ordered her coffee. Black of course, no sugar, no cream.
"So, how much longer will the trial take?" Rob asked,leaning forward too to get closer to her.
"Hard to tell, but probably another week or so. Maybe less. The defense doesn't have very many witnesses to put on."
"So they start their case tomorrow?"
"I heard some of your questioning. You were good."
She looked surprised. "You did?"
He grinned sheepishly. "Yeah, I had to deliver some paperwork to the planning commission yesterday, for my condo renovations, and since I was in the area I decided to stop in."
"I didn't see you."
"I was in the back row, and I wasn't there very long."
"Well, thanks, I appreciate you vote of approval."
"I always approve of you, Olivia," he said.
Olivia looked uncomfortable. Just then the waitress returned with her coffee, and Olivia was obviously relieved. "Thank you," she murmured to waitress.
"So, how is the condo coming along?" she asked brightly, firmly changing the subject.
Eros cursed the waitress. He'd been ready with an arrow. Timing could be important. He waited now, listening.
"Great! The floors are almost down, except for the kitchen area. That's the area I changed, so I had to submit new plans. I expanded it a bit, added a nook with floor to ceiling windows."
"Sounds lovely," Olivia said, and checked her watch again.
"You should come see it, after the trial."
"Maybe I will," she said, but Eros knew she didn't mean it. He was getting a better sense of her now. She was scared. Scared of letting down her wall, scared of her attraction to Rob. He smiled, and let the arrow go.
She set down her cup. "I will," she said, and Rob smiled broadly.
"Good. I could take you to dinner, then to the see the condo."
Eros groaned. That was sure to make her run screaming. Quickly, he fired again.
"Um," Olivia began, setting down her cup. "Rob...I don't know. We've tried the dating thing before."
"We were kids, Olivia. We went away to college and grew up."
"We grew apart," she corrected.
Rob sighed. "I was young, Liv, sowing my oats. It didn't mean I stopped caring about you."
"We've been through all this before, Rob. It doesn't matter. You moved on first, and I accepted it. I moved on too." She finally looked up at him.
"I didn't move on. You know I didn't. I still love you."
"No, you don't. You barely know me now. I'm not the same."
Rob looked at her for moment. "No, you're not. You're harder. You put up walls."
She scowled. "I do not. I'm just careful."
"Did I do that to you?"
"Stop it, Rob." She looked at her watch. "I've got to go."
Rob reached out for her, but she stood and stepped out of his reach. "Good luck with the condo."
She was gone. Rob's shoulders slumped, and Eros sighed heavily. This was going to be a tough one.
He clothed himself in jeans and a light sweater, and moved along the sidewalk. "Is this seat taken?" he asked.
Rob looked up, startled, then shook his head. "No, have a seat."
"Thanks." Eros seated himself. "That was a nice looking woman who just left."
"Yes, she is."
"You sound...upset. Did you have a fight? Is she your wife or girlfriend?"
Rob shook his head again. "Used to be my girlfriend, way back in high school. Now..." he trailed off, shrugging.
"Ouch. What happened? Coffee, sugar, no cream," he told the waitress who had just arrived. She smiled at him, that smile that said she was thinking about ripping his clothes off right there. He mentally pushed her away.
"Is this still on the same bill?" she asked, her voice breathy and excited.
"Just put it all on one bill," Eros said.
"Oh, hey, no, you don't have to do that." Rob protested.
"No problem, don't worry about it. So what happened between you two?"
Rob noticed the looks passing women were giving his table partner. Eros was ignoring them.
"Um, the usual, I guess. We went off to different colleges, and I started dating, just for fun and to have something to do, I guess But I ended up getting involved with someone. Olivia never forgave me."
"I see. Maybe that's because she still cares."
"I don't know. Sometimes I think...but she won't go out with me. This was the longest conversation we've had in years, and it was only a few minutes."
"So, what are you going to do about it?"
"I don't know. How do I make her fall in love with me again if she won't go out with me?. I've asked, many times."
Eros gave it some thought. It was time for more devious tactics. He could only shoot so many arrows in her before it did some damage, and he'd already shot her several times. He shook his head. "Just keep asking," he advised as he got to his feet. He materialized some money in his pocket and pulled it out, tucking a $20 under his cup. "Good luck, buddy,"
"Thanks, and thanks for paying the tab. You really didn't need to do that."
"No problem. There's plenty more where that came from." Smiling at his own joke, he waved and walked away.
He found Olivia in her office. She sat at her big desk, covered with files and law books, almost dwarfing her computer. She had a pencil tucked into the bun at the base of her neck, and she was frowning at the screen as she typed. She stopped, then pressed her intercom button.
"Shelly, can you come in here please?"
"Be right there," came the tinny sounding reply.
Eros made himself comfortable, floating just below the ceiling.
The secretary came in, a pretty little redhead. Eros sensed that she was already deeply in love and not in need of his services.
"What can I do for you?" she asked as she came in the room.
"This brief on the Thompson case needs to be completely reworked. We're probably going to be here late tonight."
"But, Olivia, I can't stay late tonight!"
Olivia looked up, obviously taken aback by the secretary's words.
"Why not?" she demanded, irritation ringing in her voice.
"It's Valentine's Day! I have a date with Jesse."
Olivia gave an irritated sigh. "Oh, for God's sake," she said. "It's a stupid holiday created by Hallmark and florists."
"I don't care. Jesse always takes me out to a really good restaurant, and gives me a nice gift, and makes it really romantic." Shelly smiled dreamily.
"Fine. I'll do it myself." Olivia turned back to her screen.
Shelly bit her lip, but she turned without another word and left the office. Good for you, Eros thought,
Eros spent the rest of the afternoon working on a plan. By six, he was ready. He concentrated, forcing his thought waves at Olivia as she labored over the brief. Fifteen minutes later, she gave a low growl of frustration and sat back.
"I can't concentrate," she said out loud. "What the hell is wrong with me?" Sighing, she looked at her watch.
"Maybe I need food," she muttered, and rose, picking up her purse. Eros followed her as she left the building and paused on the sidewalk. He smiled when she turned left. He'd discovered that her favorite takeout was a little Italian place two blocks from her office. And right next door to it was a Hallmark store.
Olivia walked briskly. There were a lot less people on the sidewalks now. The business district dried up after 6 p.m. Just before she reached DiVallo's, she paused to look at the lavish display in the Hallmark store's window. Frilly red and pink hearts, crystal goblets filled with simulated champagne, boxes of candy, teddy bears and jewelery held court amidst ribbons and glitter and lights. Several cards were placed amongst the other goodies. A small sign said, "Valentine's Day isn't just for romantic love. Send a card to a friend or relative!"
Olivia found herself wondering what the cards for friends and relatives would say. She thought of her mother, living alone now that her father was gone. Maybe she'd buy her a card, take it to her on her way home. She stepped into the shop, and the bells on the door jingled merrily.
"Hello," a young woman called from the register, and smiled.
"Hi," Olivia said. "I'm looking for a card for my mother."
"Valentine's Day, or something else?"
"Valentine's, I guess." Olivia said, wondering even as she did why she'd said that. She'd actually meant to get her a funny card, or something sweet about mothers.
"Right this way," the girl said, and headed for an aisle. Olivia followed.
"We have quite a good selection, here, and over here. Let me know if you need anything else."
Olivia began selecting cards to read. It was surprisingly quiet in the store. She'd seen the top of a man's head down at the end of the next aisle, at least she assumed it was a man. The hair was short and wavy, and the person was tall. The hair actually reminded her of Rob. She pushed that thought away and concentrated on the cards.
The door tinkled again, and Olivia glanced up. A middle-aged woman entered, followed by a young man in a black hoodie, which was pulled up over his head. His hands were in his pockets, and he drew one out as he turned to close the door.
Olivia went back to reading cards. A minute later, she heard a startled cry and glanced up, but she couldn't see anyone. Then she heard a crash, and another cry. She stiffened, and took a hesitant step towards the front.
At the end of the aisle, the young clerk and the newly arrived woman stumbled around the corner and into the aisle. Behind them was the man in the hoodie. He had one hand on the woman's shoulder, his other behind the clerk's back. Both women looked terrified. The girl had tears streaming down her cheeks. Olivia gasped and stumbled back a step.
"Don't move!" the man shouted at her. "You there, in the other aisle. Get over here, hands up. I've got a gun."
Olivia stood still, trembling, still holding a card. She heard the other customer coming up the aisle behind her.
Olivia jumped at the sound of her name, whispered by the man behind her. She turned her head, and saw Rob. Relief out of all proportion flooded her. Just his being here made her feel better.
"Take it easy," Rob said, stopping beside Olivia, his hands raised beside his shoulders. She didn't know if he was talking to her or the gunman, but she nodded.
"Turn around, both of you and stand still." They complied. A moment later, the trio was right behind them.
"All right. You ladies, hand me your purses. You, man, give me your wallet and cell phone."
After he'd collected them, he told them to walk slowly to the back of the store. He forced them all to enter the storeroom. It was small, and windowless. He told them to sit down and stay quiet, and they'd all be fine. The door closed, and they all heard the lock click.
Olivia turned towards Rob, and he pulled her into his arms, hugging her close. "Oh, my God, I'm so glad I was here,"
"Me too," she answered shakily.
The older woman was comforting the clerk. Rob looked over at them. "Are you okay?"