That night I was lying in bed, trying to quiet my thoughts so I could sleep when the blonde lady from the forest appeared by my bed. I jumped up with a start, intending to run. Why, I didn't know, I already knew she was a goddess. She reached out and caught my shoulders, pushing me back on the bed.
"Relax," she said, cheerfully. "I'm not going to hurt you. I told you I'd be back." She sat down on the bed with me and crossed her legs.
I sat up, eyeing her cautiously. "Not to be rude, but why are you here?"
"I told you," she said with a shrug. "I want a little sister. I could wait around for Zeus to have another kid, but I could be waiting centuries for that and to be honest, I'm really not that good at the waiting thing. So, I thought I'd find my own little sister and well, since you're already Hercules' sister then you could be mine too. I mean we already have a link and all."
"You want me to be your sister?" I asked, suspiciously. What would a Goddess want with me? "I'm not like Hercules, you know."
"Of course you're not," she laughed. "If you were, I wouldn't want to make you my little sister. I mean, Herc's nice and all, but he can be such a drag sometimes."
"Don't you already have sisters?"
"Artemis and Athena?" She rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Bores! Total bores. All Artemis cares about is hunting and the animals and the Earth. Please! Athena always has her pointy little nose in a book and when she does talk to me it is to lecture me about some boring facts. Like I need to know how many stars there are in the sky. Oh, and I guess Persephone is our sister too, but she's such a Mama's baby, just try to pry her off Demeter's skirts."
"But why me?" I asked, still nervous.
"I've been watching you. You're fun, you're cute, we're both Herc's sisters and besides, you need my help."
"Duh! You like Curly! He's all you've been thinking about for weeks now."
"How do you know that?" I asked.
"Once again," she sighed. "Goddess of Love here! I can help you get him. It wouldn't be hard, trust me."
"I don't want to 'get' him. And even if I did, what would be the point?"
"What do you mean?" She asked, confused.
"My father will pick my husband and I doubt he'll choose a fifteen year old street kid," I replied.
"Who said anything about a husband?" She laughed. "There's plenty of time for that. I just meant courting, maybe some kissing. Besides, if your father does arrange a marriage for you, then when you're old and gray, you can think about the summer you spent with a sweet, cute boy that you chose. Do you know how many Dear Aphrodite scrolls I get from women who wish they'd done that very thing when they were young?"
She had a point, but still she was a goddess. My family hadn't really fared that great in dealings with most gods. "Why do you want to help me?"
"Because that's what sisters do isn't? Talk about boys and hair and clothes?" She looked hopeful and excited. For a moment she looked like a normal girl and not, well, Aphrodite.
"I wouldn't know," I laughed. "I have brothers."
"All the more reason to be my sister," she smiled. "Come on! What do you say? It'll be fun."
"Hercules says not to trust the gods," I said, honestly.
"That is so like him," she said, sounding annoyed. "Ask him if he trusts Nemesis next time he says that. Listen, I'll make you a deal. Take my advice tonight and if it works, then we'll give this sister thing a try and if it doesn't, well, then, I'll leave you alone."
I eyed her suspiciously. This had to be too good to be true. Still I figured she'd get bored with this in a few weeks and leave me alone anyway, so I said, "Sure. We can try it. What's your advice?"
"Put on your cloak and go sit in the garden," she said. "I can guarantee you won't be out there a minute before Ioluas joins you. Just talk to him and well, whatever else happens."
"Are you sure about this?" I asked, getting out of bed and brushing my hair.
"Positive!" she grinned. "It'll work. I should know. I invented this move. Now go." She disappeared in a flash.
I stopped to stare out the window for a moment. I hoped she was right and I was about to make a fool of myself. I put on my cloak and tiptoed out, careful not to wake Mom. The moon was full and so bright I didn't even need a candle to find my way to the garden bench. I gathered my cloak around me to ward off the cold and sat down to wait.