Chapter 1: Selene
He would have liked to say that his mistake was normal. To say it was because, he was only "human," but he wasn't. In fact, he couldn't be farther from it.
Eros watched dourly from above as the closest thing he had to a nemesis bought groceries. He frowned as she picked up two containers of tapioca pudding. Who under 70 liked tapioca?
He'd never understand her.
She was too irrational.
It wasn't as if she was the first person to have a failed relationship; she was just the first person who had caught him trying to wipe her mind of the terrible experience. And it wasn't like she had given him any choice. He had been dying of guilt as he watched her happy personality wither away, until she was nothing but a walking ghost. He frowned just thinking about it. She looked like she was going off to her own a funeral.
Still, Eros was the one whom provided the seeds of love, he provided the golden arrows. He wasn't responsible for the duration of that love. It wasn't his fault. What made her case a tad...different, what made it personal, was that he was actually at fault. Her relationship had been doomed from the beginning.
If only he had been more attentive. If he had realized that there had been something wrong with the arrow, three years of her life wouldn't have gone down the tubes. She had been young, too young to endure what had been done to her. Helplessly, he could only wait until things fell apart, and they did that and more.
She had gotten shot with a perfect golden arrow, filed to a point and hitting her dead on. The guy? Well, he had been hit with a chipped arrow. His love for her went strong for two years, and then it started to turn ugly. It turned to obsession and selfishness, then loathing, and eventually hatred.
After things went south she seemed grief stricken to the point of wanting to be dead. So he had decided to comfort her by erasing the memory of that love from her mind. Normally he had a very strict "learn from your losses" policy, but there was nothing to learn from here. So he had visited her in the night, and with his euphoric kiss he had attempted to pull the memories from her.
Somehow something went wrong.
Not only did she break his unbreakable seduction, she actually tossed him out of the window. He still didn't understand how she had learned he was to blame or how she had broken his spell. From then on she started training her body and mind to battle against him. Not only could she now see him because of his connection with her, but she had managed to find the one internet website on earth that had actual magical properties. Fifty printed pages later she fancied herself a sort of hack novice witch.
Hecate would be rolling around in her grave.
The girl made talismans that could detect his presence and warded her house so he could not enter. She had even enchanted her very large rectangular purse to block his arrows. As soon as his arrows touched it they materialized; their presence usually setting off panic that in turn, caused him to have to leave immediately. She kept her friends away from him, causing a vacuum of anti-love in her small insignificant part of the world that made his teeth clench. It was sick. He was a god! Not God god, but a god nonetheless! Four years of battling her, a powerless human, and he wasn't any closer to getting her to love anyone then day one. He doubted he could get her to love a pet. Damn her.
"Are you still moping about because of that human?"
He turned and saw his mother Aphrodite standing in the doorway of his room. She was wearing a silky white jumpsuit with a golden chained belt. Her long wavy red hair fell to the bottom of her back. As always she seemed coy.
"I have to get her mother," he said gravely. "This year. This time, I must."
Aphrodite chuckled at her son's frustration. "Why?"
"Because she's starting to mess with my work!" he growled.
Aphrodite shook her head and went to her son's side. Still fussing like a child, even to this day.
"My son, what are a few choice humans over the entire world? Her contributions to your failure aren't even half a percent."
"It's not up to her to decide who gets love!" he snapped, irritated that she had used the word 'failure' and 'your' in the same sentence. "It's not her right to make those decisions! I am the god of love! Not her."
Aphrodite nodded; a smile on her red lips. "Alright my son, but let me tell you. It's been 7 years that you've known her and 4 years that she's known you. You two really should settle your differences."
"Oh we will," Eros said, narrowing his eyes. "I'm going to enjoy watching her cry in ecstasy as her husband fucks her senselessly." Standing he stormed off, heading to the armory.
She rolled her eyes in response. "Goodness, he is such a child."
"Did I hear fucking and ecstasy?"
Turning she saw her husband Ares standing in the door frame. She and her previous husband Hephaestus had gotten a divorce after the fall of Zeus.
It seemed a better alternative than her openly cheating on him with the luscious Ares.
His dark eyes were ablaze with violence and desire for her. She felt herself tremble in anticipation as she always did. His warrior's body had taken to wearing black leather pants and white shirts underneath green army jackets.
"Oh Ares!" she said breathily as he advanced. "Where were you all this time?"
"The Middle East."
"What were you...oh my."
A second later she was on her back in her son's bed trying to convince Ares that they should change locations. Ares took her resistance as a challenge. The tell tale creak of the bed followed by her screams and whimpers signaled her defeat.
"Roses crushed under moonlight...check. Tears of a broken hearted woman...heh, check. And now I just need the cords."
Selene, her name was Selene Elizabeth Evans. It was the end of January, a few days before February would rear its ugly head.
Valentine's Day, was it a day of love and happiness where couples could bask in their enjoyment of one another?
Or a sinister plot crafted by a sadistic winged bastard who found joy in breaking up perfectly good relationships and creating destructive ones?
Right now she was making anti-love necklaces for all of her friends. They were cute identical hearts, four in all that each had a word that collectively formed the phrase "Best friends love eternally." Hers had a smiley face that was supposed to correspond to the end. Her friends were all over that soppy stuff. She had been for a long time too, that's why it was easy to fake it. In actuality, those charms would make them feel unsafe whenever Cupid was near. A year or so back she had managed to test his range of accuracy. It was a close call several times, but she had gotten the maximum distance he could shoot without losing accuracy. Now if he went anywhere into that range her friends would immediately get out of it.
She and her other buddies were mostly single, and so this Valentine's Day they were having a girl's night out. First a nice fancy dinner, and then they'd go clubbing. Her only friend in a relationship was her coworker Carly who had been together with her sweet boyfriend Daniel for one year. They were the kind of couple whose public displays of affection made people sick, but she found them beautiful. It gave her hope that love didn't just come from the tip of an arrow. Real love, came from within. No one needed Cupid, he just needed to realize that. She knew her girls were safe with her around, but she wasn't sure how to protect Carly without stalking her. Sometimes she wished she didn't know what she knew. Selene had forgotten how hopeful she had been, before Cupid had ruined her.
She had been 18 at the time; a college freshman as green a cucumber without a single boyfriend, or even a previous kiss. It was Valentine's Day and the campus was loaded up with couples. Back then she was the only single girl in her dorm room. The girls were nice and they still invited her to things, but she always felt like the third wheel. So instead she studied and kept to herself. It was easy to do. Back then her thick glasses and her bulky school sweatshirt were staples of her wardrobe. They were pretty much attention shields. She had been walking from the library like she normally did, when suddenly she stumbled face first into someone.
Selene had dropped all her books and looked up to see whom she had bumped into.
It had been Peter, Peter Laurent.
It was instantaneous, that feeling like the world had stopped and nothing else mattered. She didn't hear a word he said as his mouth moved fervently and he helped her pick up her books. Then he smiled at her and she knew. It was love at first sight. It frightened her at first so she tried to give him space, but he pursued her and she wanted nothing more to give in; so she did. They started seeing each other, connecting in a way she had never felt before. Her heart burst from joy. There was nothing more she wanted than to be with him forever. So she leapt forward with abandon. Selene gave him her virginity and practiced her name with his last name attached to it in her notebooks. Selene introduced him to her parents. Selene moved in with him.
They were together for 2 strong years. He graduated and had gotten a job back home in his small town. When he asked her if she would come with him and finish school there, she had said yes. When they arrived there they lived in a small apartment that he was paying for, while Selene worked a part time job and tried to make their place a home. Then things changed.
Peter suddenly started acting coldly towards her. Nothing she did was ever good enough. She was constantly reminded that her contributions to their income were minimal and he was the breadwinner. When he wanted sex she was busy studying. He accused her of her grades being more important to her than him, and shouted that she didn't love him anymore. That yelling usually ended in her having to prove herself, which was always with sex. When they did have sex it was rough and unfeeling, and she came to dread it. Then she was called frigid.
When Peter left marks on her after a night and didn't stop when she asked him to she cut him off. No more sex until he got his act together. In response he unofficially dumped her, saying they "needed space." Instead of kicking her out he did something worse, he left. His work took him abroad. To her surprise he left her messages, sent her presents, and even wrote her romantic letters. It was as though his time apart had mended his heart, and she was more than ready to love him again. When he came back and wanted to be with her again she accepted him with open arms. It had seemed like he cleared his head.
Later she knew something was wrong. He wasn't unkind, but he wasn't warm or caring. It was as though everything was a formality. She should have seen it coming. Peter had found someone abroad who he had cheated with. He sent her those things to lessen his guilt and to keep her there. When he started cheating with someone in the neighborhood she packed her things and left. She stayed at the dorm and tried quickly to finish her schooling. She was 21.
She thought that she'd get support from the community, but surprisingly everything was swept under the rug. In that small town he had power. His father was on the town council, his mother was a doctor in the hospital, and his friends were her friends. There was nowhere she could go. No haven to escape the condescending looks that were shot her way or the friends that, unable to stay between the both of them, abandoned them both altogether. This was his town. Peter understood that and she understood that. So when she finished school she left it. Picking up the remains of her shattered life, she went back home to New York.
Selene was grateful she had a place to go back to. She lived with an old friend from her first college, and then got an apartment of her own.
So here she was. Her job was okay. She worked as a copyeditor for a magazine that was starting to get acknowledged. She was healthy, lived in a decent apartment, and had a small group of friends. What more could a girl ask for?
Selene scoffed. She knew the answer to that. She hadn't had sex since then, since Peter. Since everything she ever believed in was disproved. She was sure love was something enduring and instinctual, but then she had met him.
It had been storming and raining like the second coming of Noah. There, sitting on the floor in the dim light of her bedroom she was sure she was going to die. She was so angry, so despaired that she wanted anything to take away the pain. She would have done anything. It was then that she felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking up she saw a pair of wings casting a dark shadow over her. Stunned, her red watery eyes stared blankly as the strange creature motioned that she should be quiet. The lights went out and she yelped as the hands gathered her up off of the floor, placing her gently onto her bed. She held its arm in her panic and started when she felt the warm bare flesh. With wide eyes she felt more and realized that it was a human arm. The creature was shaped like a man. A winged man, in her bedroom? She froze.
"Are...are you an angel?"
The winged figure said nothing, smoothing her hair from her face. Instead of speaking it simply shook its head no.
She hiccupped as the tears threatened to come back. For a second she had almost felt relieved, and then he took it away.
"Well, are you here to help me?" she sobbed.
He shushed her as she started to go back into hysterics and shook his head yes.
She wiped her eyes as a warm comforting glow filled her. Then she quieted. Selene looked up trying to see the figure's face, but it was masked in shadow. He leaned over her and she gasped when his lips touched hers. At first she wasn't sure what to do. She lay there stiff, trying to play dead in hopes that her resistance would be noticed. Instead she felt her breath taken away as a sudden burning filled her, one she hadn't felt in a long time. It had been so long since she felt a caring man's touch. It started in her mouth, the hot air of the stranger caressing her lips. Selene dug her fingers into the mattress, refusing to relent so easily when he deepened the kiss and put his tongue in her mouth.
A moan escaped her as the hot slippery appendage spurred her arousal. Maybe it was an alien come to seed her. Maybe she should lie off of those sci-fi reruns. She whimpered, unable to think or reason out what was happening to her. It felt too good to resist.
Then all of a sudden she saw it. Everything she had gone through flashed before her eyes. Yet it wasn't her eyes per say, it was his, the creature's. Him sitting on the thick branch of a tree, watching her walk along the student crosswalk. Then Peter, standing on the grass and separating from the rest of the soccer team to go back towards his dorm. It was opposite of where she had come. They were going to cross paths and she felt a thrill go through her, no, him.
He notched a bow with a golden arrow and aimed it at her. He narrowed his eyes and with the prowess of an expert marksman he let the arrow fly. It hit her straight in the back and she suddenly tripped into Peter. He took off his quiver as she stepped back and righted herself. Looking up at Peter, the first guy she saw after the arrow flew, she fell in love with him. Without looking he grabbed around for another arrow only to find one left. He glanced at it only briefly. He was simply glad to have one left. He cocked it and let it fly towards Peter. At the last second he realized the tip was slightly cracked, but it was too late. He reached out, hoping to stop it, but it passed through his fingertips and hit Peter straight on.
He cursed, angry at his mistake. Selene felt disappointment, regret, and then dread. He knew this would end badly; all he had to do was wait. He had tried their first Valentine's Day to shoot them again with different people, but their love for each other had grown too strong. It had done nothing but leave two people horribly jealous and unrequited. She saw him seeking advice from his mother, her telling him there was nothing he could do. Only human love could be replaced with godly love. The arrows couldn't be cancelled out. He jumped off a mountain and went down, back into the human world.
Like a bolt of lightning, Selene was shocked back to her present. Her memories with Peter were hazy. She could only remember bits and pieces, and they were all the bad. He was making her forget. Furious, she used all of her strength to shove him off of her. Startled by the act, the winged man fell off. Eros' eyes widened.
How had she broken his hold on her? He had seduced her first. He, the embodiment of lust, was being denied? By a human?
She stood up accusingly, pointing a finger at him. "You did this! You did this to me!"
He only stared in shock as she viciously thrust open her window. Wet wind from the storm poured in and splattered across her face, her hair whipping like Medusa's snakes.
Like a dumb cow he simply stared at her, unable to process what was happening.
Selene got angrier.
"GET OUT!" Rushing at him she pushed him to the window. Had she gone mad?
"Get out right now Cupid!"
He turned to look at her in horror. She knew.
She didn't forget, she knew.
He had to fix it, now.
Eros reached like he would grab her but instead she shoved him hard, right out of the window of the ten story building. She looked remorseless as she watched him fall and slammed her window shut. He caught himself of course having wings, but he was offended nonetheless. Seeing that morning was coming, he decided to go home. He would deal with her later.
That's when her feed connected to his mind stopped. She knew he would be coming back to deal with her. She couldn't allow that.
Back at her apartment, Selly realized that all of her misfortune was due to a supposedly deceased Greek god. She didn't deserve what had happened to her. It wasn't her fault and there was nothing she could have done. In a way that closure closed her wounds. In a way he had made good on his promise. He did help her; help her realize it wasn't her fault. It was his. And as long as she was around, loveless and angry, reminding him of his failure he would suffer.
He would pay.
She chuckled at the thought. She had a surprise for him this year. A very big surprise guaranteed to even the score. _______________________________________________
Eros was in the armory preparing his weapons. He had a kiln and a wet stone that he used to sharpen and mold each arrow. Every year he melted down the one's that didn't stick and reformed them again. It was for sanitary reasons. He didn't think it was proper to shoot people with arrows others had been shot by. Actually, it sounded rather gross.
He heard the door open and saw Anteros walk in. Anteros was his brother. Like himself he had been conceived by Aphrodite and Ares. He was his younger brother, given to him by his Mother because he was lonely. The asking of a younger sibling was typical behavior among older children, until the child actually arrived. Then they wanted it sent back. Anteros had been no exception.
"You need to make her fall in love," Anteros said, sitting on the table he was using. "Soon Eros, and by soon I pretty much mean now."
"I know I know, she's a problem," he grumbled placing a completed arrow into his quiver, head first. "Get off that table."
"Not just your problem brother, she's becoming mine," Anteros quipped, ignoring his previous command.