The next morning proceeded as if nothing had happened, I walked into the main dining room to find Lea and Demeter sitting at the table chatting. The two were actually getting along pretty well. Lea had done an extermination job for Demeter a few months ago and it went pretty good. About as good as an underworld pest massacre can go. I guess when you gave Lea the proper tools she could become a human weed-whacker.
Demeter sat across from Lea and they were talking about the party last night. Lea was explaining how cool the decorations looked. Every few minutes Demeter would poor extra mini wheats into Lea’s bowl and mutter, “More cereal.”
Lea didn’t seem to notice or mind, she just kept eating and talking. Maybe that’s why Demeter liked her so much, she was the first person to accept the goddess’ wheaty demands. I knew Lea loved cereal, so it was a win win situation.
I leaned against the entry way, watching them.
Lea was wearing a tank top and pajama pants. She was one of the few people I knew that could feel comfortable talking to a goddess in her sleepwear.
After a few minutes Demeter noticed me, “Death boy,” she welcomed.
Lea turned to look at me with a grin, “Morning death boy.”
I grimaced at the name, there was more to me than my lineage. For a second I felt wounded but when Lea winked at me the contempt melted.
She stood, shoved me good morning, and walked out of the dining room barefoot across the marble.
Demeter peered at me suspiciously, “You need more cereal.”
I sighed and sat down silently eating across from her.
Lea and I spent the next week chilling down in the palace. My dad wasn’t a big fan of all the noise so occasionally he’d give us a chore to do.
Lea would always pull what she called a “Pippy-longstocking’ on the situation. I don’t know what she mean by that but it may have to do with the fact that she some how turned every chore into a crazy adventure.
Mopping the foyer? More like soap skating.
As I fumbled around on the soap lathered marble floor she’d sing “Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins and electric slide past me.
Of course my dad didn’t make us do much since we had the skeleton servants and butlers and the ghost handmaidens. They were generally in charge of dishes, laundry and all the menial jobs.
Sometimes Lea and I would venture out into the underworld, never going far, and go monster hunting. She always brought the sword I made her. It had recently been named Tantibus, which is latin for nightmare, which I found fitting. It was strange to think back on the time when I first gave it to her, back before I even knew who she was. I guess a part of me just knew she’d be important.
Together we took out a nest of Keres, cleaned out of few rogue ghosts and fought some Arai, which yelled at her “Your curses have not yet died!” I didn’t know what they meant but my curiosity didn’t stop me from banishing them.
The next week passed quickly, and I knew Lea would be leaving soon. She couldn't stand to stay down here for too long or else she’d get depressed. The underworld does that to people, especially mortals. I honestly don’t know how she managed to stay down here for as long as she did. She must be more mentally and emotionally strong then she lets on.
On the last night she and I went on a peaceful walk, well, it was only peaceful because my dad had cleared a path before hand. But that doesn’t really matter.
At the time that would have been sunset she and I sat down near the bank of the river Lethe. This had always been my favorite river, its silvery water churned like liquid mercury. Of course she and I knew well enough to stay far from the actual edge since neither of us felt like taking a dip and getting our memory wiped. We sat about ten feet away admiring its beauty.
“Thanks,” she said quietly looking at the water.
“Me?” I asked, confused. I mean it wasn’t like she was talking to the water but I honestly didn’t know why she’d be grateful to me.
“Of course you, idiot,“ she replied, “I’m not talking to the wall.”
I blushed a little feeling dumb, “What are you thanking me for?”
“Well, I was thank you for this week and you know the party and all,” she explained, “But there’s a whole lot else I owe you for. For example, keeping me sane.”
I laughed nervously, “I didn’t do that.”
She turned her head and stared straight at me, her steely blue gaze penetrating my stare. Her expression was unreadable.
For fractions of seconds it would flicker to understandable expressions; exasperation, confusion, happiness, and maybe even a dash of fear.
Then she did the most unexpected thing ever, no body language or look could have warned me if this.
She grabbed the back of my neck, weaving her fingers into my hair and pulled me into a kiss.
I honestly can’t tell you what it was like, I can’t even remember. All I do remember is the feeling like someone lighting a sparkler and then stabbing me in the chest with it.
My entire mind went blank and I began to shake.
No wait it wasn’t me who was shaking, it was the ground.
Lea pulled away and looked around in horror as the earth shook and split open with a loud rumble.
I know it was me who did this, my physical reaction to Lea’s kiss had set off my powers.
Usually when I get angry or scared this sort of thing happens but to a lesser extent. No that I was, well whatever that feeling is called is set off a reaction like none I’d seen before.
The cavern roof above began to rain debris and I sheltered Lea from it as much as I could.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to protect her from the most important thing.
A stalactite broke off the from the roof and fell.
However luckily, it didn’t hit either of us, unluckily it fell directly into the waters of Lethe.
If you thought a large man doing a cannonball created a splash then you have clearly never seen a stalactite twice that size make a splash.
Thank the gods Lea and I were too close to the shore or else she and I would be wondering what our names were.
We were just close enough for the result to be catastrophic, a single drop, sprayed from the rocks collision with the silver water and hit Lea directly on the cheek.
She froze, her body going completely rigid. Then her eyes shot wide open.
“What in Hades name?!” she yelled standing up, “How the Holy Hephaestus did we get out here? Where even are we?”
“Lea,” I said, attempting to calm her down with my tone, “We’re by the river Lethe, you got touched by the water.”
“How’d that happen? I know specifically this is no swim zone,” she exclaimed.
“A stalagmite fell,” I explained.
“Well at least I didn’t gt impaled,” she said with a shrug.
“That’s one way of looking at things,” I agreed, “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Umm, going to bed after the party,” she replied mindlessly.
“That was five days ago,” I told her.
“Zeus’ beard!” she squeaked, “Did anything crazy happen?”
Everything in my body, mind, heart and soul want to scream out what had just happened but I knew better.
“No,” I replied.
“Oh good,” she sighed, “I would want to know if something important happened.”
She stood up, brushed herself off and began the walk back to the palace.
I wondered to myself how long I could keep it a secret that we had our first kiss together.