“Did you guys really have to drag me out of there like that? I haven’t seen my parents in a while.”
“Oh, Anna, get over yourself! You’ve got the rest of the weekend to see them,” Michelle retorts.
I shrug. “I suppose so, but it’s still been a little too long since I’ve been able to spend any time with them.”
Peter, who is sitting in the backseat of Michelle’s car with me, throws his arm around my shoulders. “It’ll be alright, Anna. Trust me.” He places a finger under my chin and lifts my eyes to his. “Trust me.” He ruffles my brown curls.
I hunch my shoulders to force Peter to remove his arm. “Fine.”
Michelle glances in the rearview mirror at me. “Geeze, Anna! We’ll bring you home in a little while, okay? We just wanted to spend some time with you that wasn’t constricted by curfews and homework.” She huffs. “Sorry.”
Sitting up straight, I say, “no, it’s okay, Michelle. I’m just a little grumpy is all, I guess. Everything is just sort of stressful, right now.”
“If you say so,” she replies.
“So where do you guys want to go?” Adam asks.
“Wait, what do you mean you haven’t chosen a place to go? You kidnap me and don’t even have any ideas?” I sigh. “What kind of friends are you?”
“The good kind,” they say simultaneously
“You mean the worst kind,” I grumble. “But seriously, what do you guys wanna do?”
“How about we go and sit in the park or something?” Michelle suggests.
Michelle drags Adam out of the car and to the swings before Peter and I have the chance to get out of the car. I glimpse at the two of them, and notice Michelle pushing Adam in the swing, much to his dismay.
It’s not like anything else would happen.
Peter opens the trunk of Michelle’s car – a Jeep Cherokee – and sits down, legs dangling over the edge, and pats the spot next to him. “I figured we would just watch from a distance instead of interrupting their time.”
“Works for me,” I say as I take my seat next to him.
He nods, but doesn’t say anything else – just wraps an arm around my shoulders and plants a gentle kiss on the top of my head.
We sit like that for a few minutes, watching Adam continually protesting about losing his man card for getting pushed in swings by his girlfriend.
“So, your parents,” Peter says, breaking our silence, “they seem like nice people.” He pauses. “Who…are they, exactly? Sorry if that’s rude, or something, I just wanted to know,” he adds quickly.
“My mother is Demeter, and my father is Zeus,” I reply. “It’s not rude, don’t worry. It’s just never been something I’ve had to tell people – everyone at home already knows.”
“Home? Oh, right. Olympus.”
I nod. “Right. Geeze, this must be weird for you.” I sit up. “Is there anything else you want to know? I mean…I’m not averse to talking about this, if you’re having any reservations.”
“That. Why do you sound like that? It’s different – more…sophisticated?”
I twirl one of my curls around my finger. “We talk differently at home that you do here. When I get nervous or uncomfortable, I revert back to what is normal for me and that just so happens to be sounding similar to a pompous ass.”
“Well, you’re my pompous ass, okay?”
“Okay.” I take a deep breath. “Any other questions?”
Peter bites his lip. “Is this…is this what you really look like?”
“You mean my physical appearance? It’s hard to describe in a way that you could understand what gods look like when we aren’t dressed up as mortals. I look like me, if that makes any sense. But, I can change how you see me. I could give myself blue hair, make myself short and fat, I could even become a boy – though I know you’d prefer I didn’t. We are able to choose how we look when we are amongst you, and this is my choice. Does that make sense?”
Removing his arm from around my shoulder, Peter says, “I think so. I just have to remember that you aren’t human – sometimes I forget.” He runs a hand through his hair. “It’s just so strange!” He exclaims, drawing Michelle and Adam’s attention.
“What’s strange?” They ask.
“How much I care about Anna, that’s all,” Peter quickly tells them. He turns to me. “Sorry for shouting,” he mumbles, blushing.
“It’s fine.” I smile, and interlock my fingers with his.
Peter glances down at our hands, his lips curving into a half-moon. “It’s just so strange,” he repeats.
“What is so strange to you, Peter?”
“The fact that I’m dating a goddess. A real, live, Greek goddess. A person of mythology and fairytale and whom I never thought could ever be real. Like I said before, sometimes I just forget that.” He leans forward and pecks me softly on the lips. “But there’s no one I’d rather be with.”
My smile widens. “Good to know.”
We continue to sit there, watching Michelle and Adam – though now they’re chasing each other around the playground. “Are you guys ever going to join us?” Michelle calls while taking a break from running after Adam.
“Ah, maybe later,” Peter shouts back.
“Any other questions?” I ask Peter once our friends are no longer paying us any attention.
“Read up on your mythology – I meant questions that aren’t readily available in a book that you probably have at your house.”
“You’ve told me this before, but I just want to be sure: you’re the goddess of animals. Anything else?”
“Not really; animals and preservation of the wilds more than anything else. When Pan told the satyrs that he was no longer around, his powers were passed to me – though I was not more than the human equivalent of the unborn – but they were changed. Since there could no longer be a god of the wilds, per se, a goddess of animals and nature was born instead. Which, I suppose is fitting considering my mother is the goddess of plants and agriculture. Everything we ate for dinner was from her gardens on Olympus.”
“Do I get any cool powers from them?”
“Then what’s the point?”
I sigh. “Next?”
“Can I visit your real home one day?”
I start, caught unaware by Peter’s question. “You? On Olympus?” He nods. “I…mortals are not normally allowed there. Demi-gods are another story, seeing as they are half-god. Regular mortals, such as yourself, are not permitted to enter, since you have no god blood in you.” I pause. “Blood being relative, seeing as we have no strict DNA or—” Peter puts a finger to my lips to shush me. “Sorry.”
“You’re fine, just getting into the technicalities.” He grabs one of the bottles of water Michelle stores in the trunk of her car and takes a drink.
“When do I get to visit your home?” I ask.
Peter spits out his water. Wiping some of it off his chin he stammers, “w-well, if I can’t go to yours, surely it’s not f-fair for you to come to mine.”
“Really now?” I raise an eyebrow. “You’re physically incapable of going to Olympus, which, in my opinion, is a rather good reason as to why you can’t go there. I, on the other hand, could appear at your house at my whim, appearance changed and you would never be the wiser.” I stare up at Peter, meeting his eyes. “But I wouldn’t do that,” I add once I notice how worried he looks. “I would wait for your invitation.”
“Aw, you’re such a lady.”
“And don’t you forget it.”