Disclaimer: I don't own any of the gods and goddesses in this story. They seem to have taken on a life of their own.
In response to the Aphrodite Finds Love Challenge. The details of this challenge can be found on my profile. Anyone who wants to join in, please go ahead. Please do let us know you have done so, so that we can read your take on this challenge.
Chapter One – A Premonition of Doom
Boring! Boring! Boring! Aphrodite glared at herself in the mirror, then stopped, remembering the dangers of wrinkles, and then gave in to temptation with a sigh. It was somehow interesting to see what a scowl did to her normally perfect features. It didn't seem right to see her lips peeled back in a snarl and her brows come together. Of course, those brows did frame her eyes beautifully. She stared dreamily at her eyes, which had taken on the color of the sunny, cloudless sky outside (Apollo had outdone himself that day), taking pleasure in the perfect symmetry of her features.
She had chosen to array herself in what she thought of as her blonde attire: long, wheat-colored locks flowing like a golden stream down her back, beautifully arched golden brows above blue eyes (hadn't she already described the way they took on the color of the blue skies outside? She thought she had, but it never hurt to repeat a good thing). She didn't notice that the angry expression had receded from her face. What was there to be angry about when such perfection lay in front of you?
The knock on the door interrupted her musings, instantly bringing the scowl back to her face. She hated being interrupted when she was doing something important. Then she caught herself, and rolled her eyes in dismay. Great, this was what she'd been reduced to – entertaining herself with her facial expressions because she was so bored. What a downside to immortality. She was so caught up in her dismay, she forgot to inquire who was at the door, and let out a groan.
"Trouble in paradise?" asked an amused male voice from the doorway.
Aphrodite turned around in joy to see her son smiling at her and she immediately brightened. From the doorway, Eros watched as she seemed to change before him. The light made her skin glow, picking out the golden highlights in her skin and creating a halo-like effect about her. He always thought his mother aptly named the goddess of beauty, and when one saw her in such a manner, it was difficult to refuse her anything. Yet, conversely, she seemed less inclined to uphold her position as the goddess of love. He wondered if that elusive, all-encompassing emotion had ever held her or ever would. Somehow, he doubted it.
"Darling," she cooed, coming forward to take his hands and kiss his cheeks (a habit he endured with long-suffering tolerance). "It's been too long. I missed you. Where in the world have you been?"
"I took Psyche for a holiday in Hawaii," he said, ignoring the black look that came over his mother's face at the mention of her longtime enemy. "She was getting a bit tired with the new baby coming. It was brilliant! You won't believe how blue the waters are, and-"
"All right, all right, you needn't prose on about it, I get it," said Aphrodite irritably. "I suppose that's why you haven't been to see me lately. Your wife was far more important than your mother." She shrugged a haughty shoulder and turned away in a pique, missing the grim look her son sent her.
Eros mentally counted to ten, reminding himself that losing his temper would do no good, and that if his words to his mother hadn't changed in the last few millennia, then those words were hardly likely to have an effect now. Still, it took a bit of effort. He had to count to twenty before he managed to conquer the urge to stalk off. She was, after all, his mother.
"Why the long face today?" he inquired, mentally congratulating himself on his careless tone. "It's quite unlike you to be so...blue."
The question brought Aphrodite out of her black musings on her rival for her son's affections. She assumed a woebegone expression, and said plaintively. "There's nothing to do, dearest. I'm practically dying of ennui in this – this place." She indicated her divine surroundings with hint of disdain.
Her son's eyebrows (golden-colored like her own) rose in response, sparkling in amusement. "Careful, mother," he warned, "you know what happens when you say that."
"What?" asked Aphrodite sulkily. She hated being nagged.
Eros went close to her mother and whispered in her ear. "The fates take it as an invitation to issue you a challenge."
Aphrodite was silenced. She did know it, and how it had escaped her notice, she did not know. Everything that had gone wrong in her otherwise perfect life had happened during the times when she'd groaned out loud and asked the fates for something to do. As a matter of fact, if Eros hadn't arrived when he had, she was quite sure that she would have whined out aloud. The narrow escape had her blue eyes opening wide – had the words escaped her earlier? She hastily thought back over the past few days, but she couldn't remember.
"Mother?" asked Eros, slightly worried at the myriad expressions crossing the goddess's features.
"What have I done?" she whispered out loud, "Oh almighty Zeus, what have I done?"
"Mother, snap out of it!" said Eros sharply, shaking Aphrodite slightly by taking hold of her shoulder.
She looked at him without really seeing him. She was seeing all the signs of a challenge being placed. How had she missed them? The boredom, the restlessness, the retreat into her divine sanctuary when she would normally be flitting around to the abodes of all the other gods. A challenge was being made for her, and she had no idea what to do. Something was about to go terribly wrong and out of her control.
In fact, if she wasn't mistaken, one of those consequences of those out-of-her-control events was approaching the door right now. The thought of it sent every vestige of her happiness from her being, and as she turned toward that doorway, the coldness of the expression sent a chill through her son, who had turned in the same direction.
Author's note: I hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you feel like leaving a review, I'd really love it. I've also listed other authors who have taken up this challenge and will hopefully keep adding names as we go on.
Brecky: "What is Love?" found at: .net/s/6025460/1/What_is_Love