Finally, all the samples had been reviewed and the shortlist (shortpile?) of material was gathered on a work table for further discussion.
“Do you have any favourites?”
Calypso moved to the table, reverently stroking the fabric, admiring the play of light across the swathes and folds.
“I’m honestly not sure I could choose. Titan has always been about muted colours and these are all so vibrant, I don’t really know what suits me in this spectrum.”
Jason laughed, “All of them petal, otherwise Arachne wouldn’t have chosen them.”
“Well, yes, but she wants to know what suits me inside, now she’s got what suits me on the outside.”
Calypso turned to Arachne apologetically, “I’m sorry, that sounded silly coming out, even to me.”
“And yet is exactly what I’m asking of you. We need this dress to reflect your character as much as your skin tone.”
Jason came to attention, “So it’s a dress?”
“Most definitely, a trouser suit or the such simply won’t make enough of a statement. It can’t be a classic, full skirted ball gown though, it needs to combine a sleek silhouette with enough fabric through the skirt for it to be able to move and shimmer like your butterfly wings.”
Calypso appealed to Jason, “What do you think?”
He took a step back, “You’ve just said this is about judging character and I’m one of the ones who had you pegged as the scary ice queen. This one is on you petal.”
Arachne added, “This is only one night, one event. There’ll be plenty of others.”
Calypso looked at her in horror, “I hope not.”
She sighed, and turned back to the table, moving the fabrics this way and that.
She lifted a swathe of silk in a beautiful shade of pink, just one shade off the palest rose blush, brocaded with butterflies and, by some magic, known only to Arachne shimmering to a deep, vivid fuschia in the depths of the folds.
Jason stared at it, “It’s gorgeous, it’s you, and it’s going to be a nightmare to design a dress from.”
Calypso blanched and turned back to the table. Arachne tutted behind her.
“Now look what you’ve done silly boy. You know Athena has asked me to deal with this personally. Are you saying I can’t create a suitable dress from my own fabric?”
Jason stuttered and stammered an apology and Arachne, smug, focused on Calypso again.
“Besides, there are no rules saying I can’t add in a bit of contrast somewhere.”, she winked, “Now I’m going to need measurements, come with me.”
After an hour of being measured and checked and assessed for shoe type, heel height, earring drop and necklace length, she was released back to Jason.
He looked up from his phone, “Oh good, ready for hair and makeup planning?”
Calypso scowled and got a grin in response, “Just as well that’s waiting until Arachne’s released the dress design and jewellery options. Come on, we’re going for a drink.”
“I can’t, Reception, there’s an event this evening.”
“And your devoted minions have it under control. Now send them an update with just enough details to get their imaginations running overtime and let’s go.”
Calypso pinged a note to the reception team group, “It’s a dress, it’s pink. Other than that I have no idea.”
Circe got a slightly longer message in the lift ride down to Reception and by the time that was sent, the first message had the reception group pinging madly. Calypso muted it.
She waved to the two grads behind the desk as Jason whisked her through the lobby, their agonised calls for details left wafting behind her.
She was giggling as Jason bundled both of them into a cab, “Oh that was mean.”
“They’re loving it, this place runs on speculation and imagination.”
A rapid-fire exchange with Circe kept her and Jason amused on the taxi ride to his designated pub. They pulled up and he led her inside.
It was not what she’d been expecting. The couple of places she’d gone to with her newly-acquired team after her return had been on-trend venues full of edgy decor, colourful drinks and beautiful people. This was a cosy, everyday local. Not trendy, not fancy, there was no brash crowd. It was simply, comfortably full of normal people, catching up with other normal people at the end of a long day.
“I thought you’d like this place. Come on, Hercules is holding a table for us.”
He guided her through the maze of tables to a booth sitting against the back wall, quiet and tucked away, but with a perfect view of the entire floor. Sitting back at his ease was one of the largest men Calypso had ever seen. Well over six foot, maybe even seven, he had muscles on muscles and looked out at the world over a thick, but neatly trimmed beard.
“It’s also one of the few places in the City that has seats big enough for Herc to be comfortable. Calypso, I’d like you to meet my partner, Hercules, also known as the guy your Dad wants you to marry this week.”
Calypso blushed, “Oh dear.”
Hercules grinned and stood up (and up, and up), “Don’t worry, you’re safe with us, and as long as he thinks he’s making headway with my parents, he’s not trying to set you up with someone else.”
He took her hand and kissed her on each cheek in greeting then ushered her into the booth.
“Now, I’ve been sitting long enough and need to stretch, what drinks am I fetching?”
Deciding on a bottle of wine between the three of them (and a couple of others who might show up later), Hercules ambled to the bar.
Jason sat opposite Calypso and followed his boyfriend’s progress with a fond smile, “He’s one of the sweetest people, and is constantly being pushed to achieve the impossible at work, so it’s nice to be able to have time to be a bit quiet and hang out with people who appreciate him.”
“What does he do for work?”
“He’s at Z Corp as well, Facilities Management, everything from cleaning, through office supplies, to pest control. It’s difficult, complicated and utterly thankless.”
“Oh, I know some of his team, they really are miracle workers.”
“And they love that you appreciate their efforts,” Hercules returned, wine and glasses in hand, “So few people even notice what they do, let alone care.”
Jason helped transfer bottle and glasses to the table, then started pouring, “So who else are you thinking will show up?”
“Addy and Narc. They said they could do with a bit of normal after the last shoot out in Vegas and wanted to meet your girl here. Ads was most put out to hear that you and I are taking her to the ball as it were and is keen to float the idea of a posse.”
Calypso looked wary, “And Ads and Narc would be?”
Jason grinned, “Our top male models of course, Adonis and Narcissus. We could carry her up the red carpet like a goddess on a litter or something.”
Calypso blanched, “Don’t even joke about it, that sounds awful.”
Hercules gently patted her hand, “Don’t worry, I won’t let him bully you.”
Jason protested indignantly, “I’m not, and you know I’m only joking, Calypso. Aside from anything else, can you imagine what your team and all the couriers and caterers would do to me if I upset you?”
That made Calypso laugh and Hercules demand to know why it was so important to keep these groups onside.
They were mid-explanation when the other two arrived, buying a bottle of wine on their way past the bar, they hustled and chivvied the seated group further into the booth so they could sit as well, and Calypso found herself tucked into the middle of a group of some of the most really really ridiculously good looking men on the planet.