Series: Cupid's Myth #1
Published by: Enchanted, an imprint of The Polyethnic Publishing
Release Date: February 14th, 2018
Contributors: KC French
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, In Process, Just Signed, Rewriting, Romance, Young Adult
Cupid, the god of love, is a bitter man forced to continue matchmaking on Earth despite his shattered heart. His mortal love was destroyed by Zeus after he decreed that gods could no longer have relationships with mortals. Because of this, Cupid has left Mt. Olympus and chosen to live out eternity on Earth amongst the mortals.
But 2,000 years later, nothing has changed for the god of love and his friend, Hermes, whom he spends much of his time with. Although, one day his life takes a turn and he sees his long lost love at a coffee shop in New York City. Cupid finds out her body has been reincarcinated, but her soul is different. And he knows that bringing her back is a way to start a war with Zeus and Mt. Olympus, but who would do such a thing? Not only must Cupid find out who is behind all of this, but he must also help his long lost love remember who she is and more importantly, who they once were together before she is discovered and destroyed once again.
It was cold that afternoon. He could tell that the summer heat had finally departed and that fall had arrived. He wore a green shirt that showed the bitterness in his eyes and a black leather jacket. Although immortals never got cold or were even affected by the changing weather, he still felt it was important to keep up with appearances and to blend in. Of course, that was when he chose to actually show himself to the mortal world. Cupid sat on a bench just outside of a shop at a farmers market watching as people walked by him going about their day. He showed little emotion to what the mortals did in their daily boring lives. Occasionally, he would laugh or make a snide remark about what he saw. But this was about all he did. Bitterness had moved in and made a place in his heart. And although this was the case, he never let it affect his work, or so he thought. He continued to go about his meaningless job of creating love and placing it into mortals’ hearts per Zeus's commands. He laughed at the irony of his thought. A bitter man whose heart had been completely destroyed and was covered now by a thick brick wall was in charge of love and match making. He had loved another with all his heart and soul and to him that had always been enough. Cupid did not want to anger Zeus again and in reality he didn't want to have to interact with him anymore than he already had to. He preferred it this way of being down on earth instead of Mt. Olympus. It really was his own form of rebellion. Zeus hated him and Cupid felt the feeling was mutual. So in reality, this little form of rebellion was probably something his boss wouldn’t say or do much about. He missed his mother and made attempts to see her when he could, but he dreaded seeing the other Gods, especially his wife Psyche. “But, the path I have chosen has always been the right one,” he would tell himself. “And I would not have it any other way.”
He thought about his feelings towards the other gods and how they had done nothing in his situation centuries ago. They had looked the other way when he needed their help and instead embedded themselves into their own desires. "What hypocrites they all were," he said out loud. A few people turned and looked at him as they walked by. He scowled at them and then went back to scanning the crowds for his match. The gods didn't care that his love for Psyche had faded and had never been real and that instead his heart had truly belonged to another mortal. They looked at it like it was just another case of lust, being hit by his own arrow perhaps and nothing more. Nobody spoke up in his defense of Zeus's sudden new law that only he was allowed to have multiple wives and affairs and that the rest were not allowed to enjoy themselves in anyway unless pre-approved by Zeus himself. He had become enraged when Cupid told him of his true love for a mortal and he had forbid him to have anything more to do with her. Cupid had disobeyed him and continued to see the girl. But he saw how that ended and how his brightly lit path had turned to darkness and had become strewn with rocks and debris from centuries of battles and war.
It had been several centuries since it had all happened, but yet he remained alone. There was something about all of it that kept a distance between him and the gods and mortals. Something he wasn't sure he would ever want to change. With the exception of his match making he did not involve himself with the mortal world. But there were times, when the mortal world slowed down and paused for slumber that he would look upon them with wonder and ponder if he was destined to be alone and without her forever.
He continued to dwell on his memories of her as he watched people walk by him. In front of him was a young woman, probably in her thirties, buying some produce at a stand. She was shyly talking to the owner of the stand and inquiring about prices. With the swish of his hand he said, "You and You." Suddenly the owner smiled and said a joke that made the woman laugh. He gingerly took her hand that was holding an avocado and showed her how to squeeze it and inspect it for ripeness. She giggled, blushed, and seemed to be attracted to this man. Cupid watched as the two exchanged phone numbers and made plans of going out on a date. "Ugh...god this is sickening." He rolled his eyes and got up to walk out of the market area. It was time for some afternoon coffee and to see his friend.
Sipping his coffee, Cupid sat down at a table outside their favorite bodega. The coffee tasted bitter and he made a face as he drank it. He didn't care for bitter tasting things, but with the mood he was in, he felt it was appropriate to have. It was as if the coffee was a mirror image of him. He appreciated the flattery, if there was even any that could be appreciated, and continued to drink the black coffee.
"You must be having another bad day,” his friend said as he did a fan kick over the chair next to him and slowly sat down. He paused for dramatic effect and then smiled a goofy grin.
Cupid looked at his friend, his face absent of any emotions. "Hermes. How are you?" Cupid replied.
Hermes was not a very tall man, but you could never tell this by looking at him sitting down. He always held himself high as his ego was an incredible weight to bear. His black hair was wavy and messy and in need of a haircut. He liked it this way because of how it moved in the wind when he flew around delivering messages. He too wore a jacket to keep up appearances when he decided to be visible for the mortals to see.
"Fantastic! Utterly bored out of my mind. There’s never any good drama going on anymore; Unless, I flip on the TV and watch an episode of some reality show. But even those shows lack imagination now!” he said as he looked around at the people walking into the coffee shop. He rolled his head towards Cupid and said dramatically. “So you going to answer my question or are you going to pretend I don’t exist too just like you do everyone else.”
"When am I not having a bad day?" he barked.
In his attempt to try and be serious or at least as serious as he could be for who he was, Hermes asked, "You're thinking about her again, aren't you?"
Cupid sat there in silence. He took another sip of his coffee. Looking down at his cup he began to hypnotically swirl the liquid around. The coffee inside the cup turned into a blackened whirlpool that seemed like it could swallow anything full of hope with just one swish.
"Today’s her birthday or would have been I guess,” he finally admitted with a slight smile.
Hermes let out a long breath and leaned forward towards his friend. "Dude….you got to stop doing this to yourself. It's been over 2,000 years. It's time to forget about her and move on. Buy a dog or something.”
Cupid looked back down at his coffee cup and the liquid in it still spinning. He was flashing back to her.
He remembered the first time he saw her. He saw her face, her smile, and the way that it lit up when the sun hit it. She was running around on the beach with him, kicking water at him playfully. Her brown hair was blowing in the breeze and absorbing all the moist salty air that it could. He caught her and swung her around to face him. Her big brown eyes looked into his and lit up as she smiled and leaned in towards him.
"You know el hefe is going to lose his temper and start throwing bolts again if you don’t get your act together. You know…the bolts? The same bolts you used to make for him. Have you not seen the divorce rate sky rocketing? He totally thinks you’re making a mockery out of your duties.”
"I could care less what that ego-maniac thinks of me and my work. Zeus can throw a lightning bolt at me and destroy me if he wants to. In fact, without her, that is what I would prefer.”
Hermes let out a sigh and leaned back in his chair. “Really? Wow that went dark side real quick. Do I need to lie to you and tell you how you are so much prettier and better than me and I would be lost without you? Cause I can lie to you all you want if it will make you happier.” Cupid smiled at his friend. He knew that no matter how down he was, Hermes was there to cheer him up, even if it meant getting himself into trouble.
“I am better than you,” he said after a few seconds. Hermes smiled and leaned his head back laughing towards the sky above him. “Ok, I give. You're better than me,” Hermes replied. “But I am prettier than you.”
Cupid half smiled. “Sounds good to me.”
Some people walked by with their coffee cups, talking and pulling their scarves and jackets a little tighter towards their body. He watched them as they left the shop and headed down the street.
“Does it seem unusually cold for just becoming fall to you?” Cupid asked his friend. Hermes shrugged and made some remark about Demeter being depressed again and that might be the reason for the drastic change. In Cupid’s mind, nobody even came close to his level of depression, not even Demeter who was forced to watch her daughter, Persephone, leave and go to the underworld for 6 months of the year.
“But still, that is my dad we are talking about; your grandfather.” Hermes reminded him of the conversation that he had tried to escape from.
“He may be blood related, but he is no family of mine.” Cupid muttered.
Hermes tried to change the subject. "Speaking of family….your mother misses you. She is always trying to convince me to force you to come back home."
"She knows how I feel about that. I don't know why she keeps asking."
"Because, prior to the incident you were always by her side. You guys were inseparable. You shouldn't punish her for your grand...” Cupid gave him a dirty look. “Uh err... I mean HIS actions. I’m going to have to start calling him “he who shall not be named” like they do in Harry Potter, aren’t I?” Cupid continued to ignore what his friend was saying and took a sip of his coffee.
“There wasn't anything that any of us could do." Hermes protested.
“I highly doubt that.”
Cupid could tell that his comment had hurt his friend a bit, but as usual his friend just let it roll off of him like water off a duck’s back. Hermes knew his friend had been devastated by what had happened, so he let it go and brought up another subject.
“You see the new air hockey table I got? It’s a nice addition to our pad!”
Cupid chuckled and shook his head. He then stood up from his chair and smiled at his friend. "I got to get back to work. It was nice hanging out with you."
Hermes stood as well. "You sure you need to leave? Cause we could always talk about make-up and how men can’t seem to commit."
Cupid sarcasm seemed to be dripping. "Got to go and make some more happy couples!" He smacked the table jokingly and sauntered off. "See you later."
Hermes went to object to his friend's departure, but instead allowed him to walk away lost in his own pain and frustration.
The next day, Cupid went about his work as he normally did. He wandered throughout the city matching up different people and creating as many couples as he felt was necessary to prove that he was doing his job. He refused to be an overachiever and didn't want to come off as if he had forgiven Zeus for what he had done. He knew damn well that ego-centric bastard could see his every move, but he wasn't about to pretend things were fine between them. He would do the bare minimum and felt that was good enough. As far as he was concerned, Zeus could torture and curse him to his heart's content and he still wouldn't give in.
He wandered over to his usual spot at the bodega to see his friend. Every day they met and everyday it was the same exact thing. It had become such a mundane routine that he didn't even know if it was possible to look forward to it. But he didn't dare change it. Regardless of how he felt about the other gods, Hermes was his friend and really more of a brother to him. Although, there was that joke that went around for awhile that Hermes was his father. That is one thing the gods certainly knew how to do was confuse the world with their "unique" family tree. Hermes and he had been in trouble more times together than he could count. He at least brought him some comfort and joy when they met, even if he did incessantly harp on him to get over things.
He sat down at their usual table with his coffee cup. He was ten minutes early according to his watch. All he could do was wait. Swishing his cup around, he took in his surroundings. Surprisingly there were not many people out and about. He picked up his coffee cup to take a sip when he heard laughter. He knew that laugh all too well. It was her laugh! His eyes quickly shot to the door of the coffee shop where he heard the laugh come from. A woman, about the age of 18, with long wavy brown hair and big brown eyes was walking out with her to go coffee cup. She was average in height and had an hourglass body shape. She was wearing a pink sweater that made her features stand out even more and a large scarf that was wrapped around her neck a few times. He felt his heart flip flop. His breathing stopped. His eyes grew bigger as he stared at her intensely. She walked by his table and smiled at him.
"Hello,” she said.
He didn't say anything. He still wasn't breathing. His heart froze in shock just as he did. How could this be? Their love had happened so many centuries ago, over 2,000 years to be precise, and yet here she was walking in front of him. Something came over him and he found he was no longer in control of his body. He watched as his body got up from the table and began to follow her. Cupid had forgotten that his friend was to meet him there in less than five minutes. It wouldn’t have mattered. He was powerless to stop himself from what was about to ensue.
He followed her for a few blocks, which in New York traffic of people can be very difficult to do without losing them. He stopped as she entered a store a few spaces down from him. Without thinking, Cupid’s body ran as fast as it could the remaining few yards left and peered into the window of the store she had entered. It was called, Le Grande Teton Tresorie, and was vast in size. She stood there behind a counter drinking her coffee and looking over the mail. She was conversing with what appeared to be another employee, a girl about the same age. She left the counter area and headed towards the back of the store. Several customers walked around looking at the merchandise and grabbing items to purchase
After taking a few deep breaths, Cupid entered the store and stood in silence absorbing its ambience. The air inside the shop had a sweet pumpkin smell and reminded Cupid of fall harvest. He glanced over at the front counter and could see an Eiffel Tower warmer lit up with melted wax in the top dish. In the front corner of the store he could hear two people talking about whether or not to purchase the shabby chic bed frame that lay propped up against the wall. Their loud conversation had captured his attention for a brief moment, but only a brief moment. It was interrupted by a familiar voice....her voice.
"Hello. Can I help you find anything?" she said sweetly.
He spun around to see her standing right in front of him.
Looking deep into her eyes, he forgot how to act human. What did he say? What did he do? She was radiant with eyes that lit up as she smiled and looked at him. He was flashed back.
Visions of her and him running around together on the beach, her hair flowing through the breeze, laughter and love surrounding them. Then of them in a boat sailing the sea during a storm. The rain was pounding down on them hard and the waves were rough. He was holding on to her arm. Then he lost his grip and he watched as she fell off the boat and into the pounding sea. In the distance he could see Poseidon watching everything unfold.
She repeated herself.
He inhaled deeply, "Sorry. I think I spaced out for a second. Ever have one of those days?"
"Sure,” she answered.
Cupid continued to stare at her. He racked his brain trying to think of things to say to her. His mind drew a blank.
"Cassie! You’re needed on the phone", a voice said from the back of the store.
She looked towards the back of the store. "Coming,” she said. "Will you excuse me for a minute? Please feel free to keep looking around. I will be right back."
He shook his head and watched as she walked off towards the back of the store. Cupid felt a wave of panic wash over him. He was overwhelmed and his mind felt scattered and unsure of his next move. A loud noise broke him from his thoughts. It was someone banging on the outside window of the store.
His friend motioned to him to come outside. Without giving it a second thought he bolted towards the front door and to his friend.
"Hermes you're never going to believe this. But I saw..."
"I know. You saw her,” he snapped.
"How did you know?" Cupid asked pointing his finger at Hermes.
Hermes tilted his head to the side and he looked at his friend with empathy. "I saw you bolt after her. I got to the coffee shop and saw you running. I followed behind you to see what was going on. When I saw you stop here I just knew."
“What do you mean you knew?” he said accusingly.
Sighing, Hermes knew he was not only going to have to be honest with his friend, but he was also going to get himself into trouble. “I’ve known that she’s been back for awhile. I saw her a little over a year ago when this store popped up out of nowhere. Before that she was in the paper for her art show at a gallery opening. I didn’t want you to get upset, so I have been keeping an eye on things. I didn’t want you to lose it again.”
“You could have said something!”
“Yeah, because it looks like you are handling it so well,” he said sarcastically.
Cupid paced back and forth. He made his hands into fists and squeezed them tight. After a minute he was able to calm down enough to stop pacing and look at his friend.
"How is it possible that she is here?" he whispered loudly. "Did she reincarnate?"
"I don't know. That would be Hades doing. He can’t release souls without Zeus’s express permission and he knows better than to start a war with him right now over that vessel. Or maybe that is exactly what he wants.”
Cupid started to pace back and forth again. He ran his hands through his hair stopping to hold them in place on top of his head. He was very distraught. Sensing his friend's feelings, Hermes reached out and touched his shoulder. "You know though, that’s not her. It may be her body, but it's a different soul in there now. She wouldn't remember who she was or even who you are."
Cupid stopped pacing. He looked at his friend and his facial expression. "It is her. I know she is in there. I just need to find a way to make her remember.”
Hermes watched his friend begin to pace back and forth again. After a few seconds, Cupid stopped.
“It is the possibility that keeps me going. The possibility, that after all these centuries I would see her again. Call me a fool! But I believe in miracles, I just never thought they would happen for me. She is my miracle, the miracle that once dominated my life. I know we will be together again.”
Hermes face turned from that of empathy to great concern. “You try and do that and Zeus will know for sure what is going on. He will have her destroyed again or even do it himself and take pride and joy in it. There isn’t one thing that happens on on this planet that he isn’t aware of. You won’t be able to hide it or her from him for that long. For her safety and yours, let it go. Just let it go old friend.”
Cupid stood there and took it all in. He understood what his friend was saying, but he also couldn’t believe his ears. He knew how much his friend cared about him and that he didn’t want to see him hurt again. But didn’t he get it? She was back and this had to mean something. He didn’t know what exactly, but he had to believe that it was a good thing. Either way, he was not about to let her go no matter what his friend told him. He would have to continue seeing her somehow until he could figure it all out.
Hermes broke through Cupid’s thoughts, “Come on. Let’s go. I will buy you a coffee and I can tell you about the message your mom asked me to deliver.”
Cupid gave him a look that could have burned right through him if he wanted to. “Really?” he said sarcastically.
“Don’t let her die again. She’s an innocent. Just let it go.”
Cupid was reluctant to leave. But, he finally decided to give in and walk back to the shop with his friend.