The group was deep in discussions about the state of the world and how to fix it when they were interrupted by a blinding flash and a sniggering demand to ‘say cheese!’.
Adonis rolled his eyes, “Really Hermes, you’d be a lot more popular if you weren’t such an asshole.”
Hermes smirked as he typed quickly into his phone, “Posted and tagged. Your darling daddy’s going to have an apoplexy, Princess.”
Calypso rested her chin in her hand and fluttered her eyelashes at the courier, “My darling daddy is currently doing his level best to marry me off to Hercules, so I don’t think that’s quite the reaction I’m going to get if he ever sees the shot. He’s not exactly active on social media.”
That wiped the nasty grin off Hermes’s face and he stomped out of the bar without further comment.
Jason checked the post on his phone, then showed it around. It was a nice picture.
“Do you want your dad to see this?”
“I don’t care too much either way to be honest, he’s going to be on my case about suitable men from now until my hypothetical wedding day and if he thinks I’m doing as I’m told, I might be able to get away with a bit more independence between now and the ball.”
All four men leaned in, “What do you mean, independence?”
“Ever since I got back, he’s been much more, I don’t know, present? He emails me most days, whereas before, I hadn’t had any contact in two years. He tries to phone at least once a week but I’m often too busy at the time he calls and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”
Jason frowned, “I wonder if that’s because he hasn’t been allowed to contact you, or he’s just more motivated right now.”
“Or he’s only just learned how to use email.”
The speculation was interrupted again, this time by a tall man with an easy grin and wicked eyes. Calypso shrank towards Hercules at the frank appraisal and all four of her companions bristled slightly.
“She does know every last one of you is gay doesn’t she?”
Calypso glared, “SHE is perfectly aware of it and very happy in their company. You, on the other hand are making me unhappy.”
Hercules grinned, “That means go away Zeus, we’re not on company time now and she’s off limits to you regardless.”
The man laughed and sauntered off to a group of young women who welcomed him with open arms and delighted cries.
“I just insulted our CEO?”, Calypso felt sick.
“He’ll like you for it. He appreciates brains and backbone in the women he’s not trying to seduce.”
“Hell, he enjoys it in the women he IS trying to seduce. Don’t worry though petal, you’re off limits.”
“Does he pay any attention to limits?”
“Rarely, but your homewares range stands to make him a lot of money and give him a lot of power in a market he’s yet to make a mark in. Your commercial value is way too high for him to mess around with.”
She still worried, “Are you going to get into trouble for seeing him off?”
Hercules laughed, “Not a chance. Point number one, he’s my bio dad. Your old man’s talking with my mum and real dad in Singapore but that guy’s the sperm donor and that gives me a bit of leeway. Point two, and way more important, facilities management. If he pisses me off, then his bathroom doesn’t get cleaned.”
That earned snorts of laughter all round and they returned to more pleasant topics. Several hours and some wine later, Adonis blinked at her across the table. “So, since you haven’t really had a social life until recently…”
Narcissus slapped his arm. “That’s a mean, rude and nasty thing to say.”
Adonis frowned. “Not if it’s not her fault.”
He turned back to Calypso. “So anyway, I mean, I know they didn’t exactly give you much time off until Athena threw whatever the professional version of a hissy fit is, but what did you used to get up to?”
Calypso shrugged. “Oh, nothing much. Decorated my flat obviously but that’s about it.”
“So you, like, kept doing upgrades? Or changed the colour scheme every couple of months?”
“Noooo, I really had most of the main elements, you know, the stuff that doesn’t change easily, properly set up after about a year. It took a bit of trial and error. But once I was comfortable there, I started giving myself challenges.”
Jason leaned forward. “What like?”
“I quite like taking photos. Not of people, that’s too much like work. But places and things. It’s fun.”
She looked around the table, all four of them were looking at her expectantly.
“So, I’d challenge myself to take a series of really good photos on a theme and when I had enough that I liked, I’d update a picture wall I have in my sitting room.”
Narcissus asked. “What sorts of themes?”
She thought back. “They started pretty simply, interesting buildings, unexpected monuments, that sort of thing, but they got a bit boring so now I try to find something that forces me to look at everything around me differently. Reflections of transport was a recent one, and unexpected green. One of my favourites was Monet in the City, where I had to find city scenes that look like he might have painted them, even though I know him best for his garden pictures.”
“Bring them in.”
Calypso looked at Hercules, startled. “What?”
“Bring them in to the office. I’m always after new, and properly interesting, pictures for office and meeting room walls. If they’re good enough that you’ll admit to them, I’d like to take a look.”
Jason gave his partner a hard stare. “Just don’t be taking advantage of our girl. If you put her piccies up, you need to pay her.”
Calypso interjected. “Oh, no, that’s…”
“Very necessary.” said Jason with a severe look. “Plus proper artist attribution. We’re building your brand, petal, remember?”
Calypso sighed and agreed to bring the albums in.
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, more talking, more laughing. Catching a taxi with Jason and Hercules, waving as it drove away from her building with Jason yelling out of the window about the photos. Then home, water, teeth, bed. Thank goodness it was the weekend and she could sleep in.