Athena Ch. 01bylindiana©
There was something very special about Athena. I knew it right away from the moment we met. It was more than the fact that her hair framed her face like gilt around the most perfect of portraits. It was more than the fact that she took life as a game and played it. She was carefree without being spoiled. She was innocent without guile. She was unique.
It was remarkable, really, that she was so enchanting, so child like, so incredibly unselfish. She had been born into wealth. Her father had built an empire. Then he left it to his children to run so he could retire early and enjoy life. Athena had two brothers and a sister. Her brothers ran the company while she and her sister enjoyed the fruits of their labors. It wasn't that they were ungrateful, for they were. But the sisters ended up being far more famous than their brothers and had to deal with the endless paparazzi. They considered it their part in bringing recognition to the family fortunes. Their brothers, dear intelligent men that they were, married well and settled down while the sisters took it upon themselves to live well instead.
Athena adored her sister, Aurora, and the two of them were constantly to be found littering the most recent gossip columns or talk shows. They lived on the edge, never seeming to even take the time to breathe. It appeared that wherever I went if I turned on the television in the early morning, I would catch a glimpse of Athena or Aurora and the tale of their latest adventure.
Where Athena was light, Aurora was dark. It was hard to fathom that they shared the same parents but they did. Their father had made sure of that before DNA tests even became fashionable. Truth was Athena looked like their mother and Aurora their father.
Cassandra Vogel was a Paris model when she met Hector Velasquez. He was 20 years her senior and had spent the majority of his life up until then building his seemingly endless fortune. He had not set aside time to socialize, to find a wife, to build a family. However, once he set his eyes upon Cassie, she was a goner. He set to sweeping her off her feet and it worked. Before she knew what was happening, she was married and pregnant with their first of four children, Hector, Jr. Athena had followed closely thereafter followed by Dexter then Aurora. Once Aurora was safely past the age of two, Cassie had moved the children and herself to London and there they had stayed. Their father had continued to amass their family fortune and had come often to visit but their parents never shared one roof for long after that.
Athena was more than just an original, like a breath of fresh air after a long and tiring day. It was not just her looks, although they were exceptional. It was not just her personality, for she was not only witty but also intelligent beyond measure. It was a combination of these things as well as her genuine love of life. She took each day as a gift and hated to put it away to get another.
She did not walk, she danced. Her feet were constantly floating inches off the ground. Her long golden curls always seemed to be in disarray but in truth that is the way she preferred them. Her green eyes were the color of grass after a fresh rain and they shone brightly when she was either amused or sad. She was rather petite, as was her sister, which was odd considering their mother was tall for a woman. But Athena's body was well proportioned and perfectly put together.
I first met Athena had a charity ball. Athena was always drawn to causes. This one in particular was to benefit the children of a third world nation that had been devastated with earthquakes, famine and floods. She was an honorary chairperson as being generous was what she did best. She always gave of herself, her person and her funds. It was in her nature to believe it was her duty to help those less fortunate than herself. There she was, dressed like the angel she was in perfect white. On her neck was a dainty chain of diamonds. And on her wrist was a matching bracelet. Her ears were marked with a long chain of them that sparkled as she turned her head, catching the light. And she stood in the center of the room, totally unaffected and unaware of the fact that she was the most divine creature there.
I was older, wiser and had some money I had inherited. Through luck and sheer stupidity, I had managed to irk it out so that I could live comfortably while working lightly. I tended to state I was a writer although I was lucky to get a story or two published a year. I was prolific at it though for I had a fear of becoming lazy. I tried to churn out something each week, even if it ended up being pedantic.
So I was there, at this gala, to make an appearance and perhaps dig deep into my pockets to help out the poor. With one look at Athena, I was lost. I would have given the world to her if it would make her smile. But Athena, being Athena, barely gave me a second glance, so intent was she upon making this fundraiser a success. I stood quietly by, hoping she would notice me and not think I was shamelessly vulgar for tagging after her like a puppy. I was smitten. I could not stop myself.
I stayed far longer at the ball than I usually would. I watched as the party goers got up to leave, many of them pausing long enough to pay their respects to the stunning Athena. She met them all with a smile, acting as if they were the only people in the room to her. I could see the effect she had on these people. She made them glow. She had that quality. She made them think the world spun for them. It was another of her gifts.
Finally, as the crowd thinned, I made my move. I knew I looked good in my Armani tuxedo. I hoped the remnants of my Calvin Klein's Obsession cologne still lingered to mask any nervous sweat I might have exuded. Then I crossed to her and as she looked up at me with those magical eyes, I took her right hand in mine.
"Athena, I do not believe we have been introduced. My name is Paul Warren. And I would ask for the privilege of a moment of your time."
She looked up at me and smiled. I swear my heart moved from my chest to my throat and back again, beating like a wild drum through the complete movement. I was terrified she would brush me off and I knew I had no reason to be. She appeared to greet everyone who approached her with the same easy grace. I stood over her, her head barely reached my chin, and I swallowed and cleared my throat in nervousness as I waited for her reply. Then, her lips parted and she whispered, "Certainly..."
And I was lost.