Arrows and Roses - Chapter 15
“Let her out,” He turned to me and nodded his head in a direction behind the booth. “I know a way to take your mind off things.”
The next day, Thanatos passed his work on to another reaper who took it without protest. But he did smile at his boss and say, “It’s about time you went out and enjoyed yourself.” Thanatos wanted to frown, but another reaper piped up, agreeing with her co-worker.
“You work far too hard boss. You go out and let us handle this.” She gave him an encouraging smile before the two of them materialized out of the office with the paperwork. Thanatos shook his head. For such a grim job, they sure were chipper sometimes. Sometimes this job required compassion, especially when handling children. It wouldn’t surprise him if those two worked with children.
He fixed his hair and looked at his reflection in the mirror for the last time. His brother had demanded he get rid of the suit for one night and put on something worthy of an Olympian party.
“You want me to wear my robes?!” He asked flabbergasted.
“No, you half-wit. Wear some jeans and a nice shirt. Something you can move around in.” His brother snapped.
“Are we doing something in particular? I thought we just seeing a movie.” Thanatos scratched his head trying to recall the conversation with Apollo.
“We are, but the plans might change if all goes according to my plan.” Hypnos winked at his brother as he swaggered out of the office earlier that day.
Thanatos sighed and wiped his black jeans out of habit. He sprayed himself with cologne before turning away from the mirror. Just as his brother ordered, he wore a crisp white shirt, no tie, or waistcoat. He grabbed the jacket his brother had left for him on the bed and quickly created a wallet, filled with mortal things, credit cards, ID, and a license.
Hypnos waited for him in the foyer before the two of them sunk into the shadows and appeared in an alleyway. The two of them walked out and found Apollo and Julian waiting for them outside the cinema. The two of them had created quite a stir in the background, a small group of young women accumulated and watched the two handsome men meet up with two more equally gorgeous men.
Thanatos frowned as he looked at the movies playing that night.
“We’re early for all these movies,” he commented. Apollo, Julian, and Hypnos grinned at each other.
“Indeed we are. I guess that just means we have time to go and grab dinner at a local diner.” Julian suggested.
Thanatos tilted his head at the odd behavior displayed by his company.
“Okay?” Just as he turned in the direction of the street, his breath caught in his throat. Erosa stood with her sister Amora, looking every bit sweet and delicious as she was.
He wanted to let out a groan. He had spent so much time with her, he didn’t want to make her think he was stalking her. But yet, when she spotted him, her face lit up into the most glorious beautiful smile.
She walked towards him, completely unaware of the jealous looks she was getting from the girls in the corner.
She wore a lovely pink, knee-length dress, with a matching cardigan draped over her shoulders.
“Hello, boys.” She beamed at the rest of the group. It didn’t go unnoticed when his brother blushed at Amora's greeting as well.
“Erosa,” he breathed. “I didn’t realize you were invited as well.” He looked back at his brother with uncertainty and Hypnos just nodded, giving him a thumbs up.
Her smile faltered and she took a step back. “It was a last-minute invite. I can go if you like.” She mumbled.
“No!” He quickly blurted. The two of them both reddened at his sudden outburst and she smiled sweetly.
She asked, “Are you sure?”
Thanatos nodded and gave a slight bow, disregarding that they were in public. “I would love it if you would accompany us.” He said. He held out his arm for her to take and she beamed, taking his elbow.
“Alright then! Lead the way!”
After some direction, the group of six found themselves sitting in a booth of a diner, just a little way from the theatre.
It was a little squished, but it wasn’t before long everyone seemed comfortable with each other, happily poking fun and cracking jokes.
“I can remember meeting Hypnos for the first time. It was a complete disaster.” Apollo started.
Thanatos and Hypnos both laughed knowing the story word for word.
“It was the first time I had experienced a dream.” Hypnos drawled.
“I didn’t know what to make of it. I dreamt of a strange instrument.” Thanatos continued.
“It had a knob in the corner and a ring on the other. I didn’t know what they were used for.” Hypnos nudged his brother and they burst out laughing.
“I still don’t find it as funny as you fellas do,” Apollo muttered.
“Wait I don’t get it.” Julian leaned forward to hear the explanation, but Apollo pulled him back.
“You don’t need to get it.” He patted his arm and pushed a milkshake in his direction.
“It wasn’t the instrument that had us laughing, it was what Apollo was doing with it,” Thanatos explained, leaving a lot to the imagination.
Apollo turned bright red as did Julian who looked at his friend with curiosity.
He probed, “Tell me, Glorious One. What were you doing with the instrument?”
Apollo stammered as he tried to explain himself. “I... Uh... well... You see… I was...” Thanatos and Hypnos sat in their seats trying to smother their laughter behind their hands as their friend tried to explain himself.
Before Apollo could properly explain himself, the food arrived and he let out a relieved sigh.
I sat in the booth, sandwiched between my brother and my sister. The evening had started fine, but a feeling of uncertainty gnawed away inside me. I looked between Apollo and Thanatos. Thanatos, the one my heart yearned for, and Apollo the one I was meant for.
I had heard of some scenarios where love came later, much later. But I didn’t think I would honestly be one of those myself. Being a cupid, I was a hopeless romantic.
Apollo sat next to Julian, looking radiant as ever, with his summer tan and shocking blue eyes. Thanatos sat opposite of me, not quite glowing like Apollo, his aura was different. It was strong in a different way. He projected this dangerous strength about him, and now that the power suit had come away, replaced by the leather jacket, something said bad boy. Only there was nothing bad about him. Apollo was the kind of guy to break up a fight or at least diffuse it before it even started.
Whilst Thanatos was the type to defend a woman’s honor.
I didn’t realize I had been staring at Thanatos until my brother nudged me.
“What?” I cursed at the breathlessness of my voice.
“I was wondering what you thought about the environment.” Julian looked at me seriously and I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not.
“Well, the environment… that is a very serious topic.” I managed.
“Have you not been paying attention? We’ve been talking about it for a while now.” Julian raised an eyebrow at me and tried my hardest not to blush.
“Really? I wasn’t paying attention,” I mumbled.
Hypnos burst out laughing beside my sister, who also chuckled at my little absence.
I looked around and when my gaze fell on Thanatos, I immediately felt my heart perk up. He was smiling at me.
“What’s on your mind? Maybe we can help with something,” he suggested.
I wanted to swear at my lack of concentration. Now I have to quickly think of an excuse. I was about to mention something about work when Julian chimed in.
“She’s probably just distracted what with the mountain of paperwork waiting for her at home.” He squeezed my hand under the table and I smiled in thanks.
“Yeah, tonnes of work,” I repeated.
I was about to mention a different topic when Thanatos nudged his brother.
“Let her out,” He turned to me and nodded his head in a direction behind the booth. “I know a way to take your mind off things.”
Hypnos and my sister moved out of the way and Thanatos helped me out of the booth. He didn’t let go of my hand as he led me over to the pinball machine.
“Have you ever played before?” He asked me.
I shook my head. I’d heard about them and seen them in movies, but in all my years I’ve never actually seen one in real life.
“These things are old. But people still enjoy them at this age.” Thanatos explained. He put a coin in the coin slot and showed me how the buttons worked. I watched in complete fascination as he played. His posture was relaxed like the game was easy.
“Here, now you try.” He moved away and gently pulled me in front of him to stand at the end of the machine. He took my hands and I tried to ignore my erratic heart as he placed them on the sides, his fingers on my fingers to press the buttons. Suddenly Betty Who’s song "Whisper" started playing in the background, just my luck.
I felt his breath in my ear, as he brought his head down to rest of my shoulder.
“This button controls this flipper, and this button controls the other one.” He pressed down on my fingers, pressing the button, and I watched as the two paddles near the bottom of the machine lifted.
“Your goal is to make sure that the pinball doesn’t make it to the hole.” He said.
I nodded and slowly let out a breath that I had been holding.
“Think you can do it?” He challenged.
I scoffed at his question.
“I’m a cupid, I don’t miss.” I leaned over the machine to show I was getting in the zone.
He let out a chuckle, not moving away.
“Alright. Show me what you’ve got Cupid.” His voice sent tingles down my neck and into my spine.
The moment the pinball was released, it went straight through the hole and he let out the sexiest laugh.
“I wasn’t ready!” I turned around and pouted at him. He grinned down at me before resting his hand on my hips, turning me back around, gently he placed his hands back on my own and this time guided me. He made it look so effortless.
“You’re pressing too quickly! Slow down!” He moved so his fingers were interlocked between mine and he held my fingers fast from pressing the buttons.
“No, the stupid thing is too fast!” I countered.
“Erosa, stop it! You’re going to lose again!” He warned, but I somehow knew he was grinning at me.
Several times I missed the stupid pinball, and it wasn’t before long I started cursing.
“Eros’s bloody bowstrings!” I swore again. Thanatos let his head drop on my shoulder as he laughed.
“I’ve never met anyone so bad at pinball!” He laughed.
I couldn’t help the grin that made its way on my face.
“This game is too hard! You put it on the hardest setting!” I protested.
I turned around, totally loving the fact his arms rested either side of me on the machine, pinning me underneath him.
“Erosa, there’s only one setting! Admit it, Arrows… you’re terrible.” He gave me an amused smirk and I shook my head.
“No, never. I will master this game and one day I’ll kick your reaper ass.” I poked my tongue out at him and he nodded still grinning. I wanted this moment to last forever.
“Whatever you say, Arrows.” He waited for my response at the nickname when Julian called us over.
“Hey, guys! Time for the movie!” I looked over at Apollo and stood there with a mixed expression on his face and I immediately felt guilty. I was meant to be courting him.
I felt my heart drop as reality brought me back down to Earth. Thanatos belonged to someone else and my fate was tied to Apollo.
We joined the group and I went to Apollo’s side immediately.
He swung an arm around me, but everything about the gesture was brotherly, not romantic. I felt so uncomfortable with the situation that I wished for the fates to rewrite my destiny with Thanatos. But I knew that it would be impossible.
I looked back at Thanatos, who was smiling at something my sister had said, and I felt a pang of jealousy. I jerked at the emotion. I’d never been jealous of my sister. But at this moment, I envied her. I frowned at this awful feeling in my stomach.
I looked back at Apollo, his arm still draped across my shoulders. I guess I should start trying to court him, although the idea did make me feel weird.
We paid for our tickets and sat in the very back of the cinema. I think the fates must be having a good laugh wherever the hell they are because I sat between Apollo and Thanatos.
The boys had chosen action movie. Something called Avengers. It started out really well. But I couldn’t maintain my focus with Apollo on my left and Thanatos on my right. It didn’t feel right. Apollo had been an amazing friend over the years. But that wasn’t enough for me to completely love him.
I felt Thanatos’ fingers brush against mine as our arms lay beside each other on the armrest. He whispered something in Amora’s direction, too soft for me to hear, but she laughed at something he said. I frowned feeling the jealousy stirring inside me. I bit the side of my mouth to keep me from doing anything stupid until it occurred to me. maybe, could it be? Amora’s the one he likes?
I felt like I had something crushing my chest. I was glad for the darkness. Now I know why Julian asked us to come along. Thanatos was on a date with Amora… and I was the third wheel.