Happy Families

She was pulled from the review by an unexpected chime on her computer.

She clicked on the messaging app and watched it expand, not into a text note, but a video screen of a lovely-looking Asian woman.

“Oh it worked! I do hope you’re Calypso?”

Calypso nodded.

“Wonderful! It’s so lovely to finally meet you! I was disappointed when Atty said you couldn’t make the wedding last year and it was simply awful of your work to pull you away on that huge trip right when you could finally come over and spend some time with us.”

The woman paused for a breath, then rushed on. “Anyway, I thought a video call would be better than nothing and we could set up a regular chat, and then maybe we can arrange for you to come over once the baby’s born and…”

She glanced around and called out. “Atty is that you? Do come and say hello to Calypso, I’ve managed to reach her on your work’s video calling thing. I’m afraid I’ve been rather talking her ear off.”

Amy turned back to the screen with a grin and Calypso found her voice. “This is going to sound horribly rude because you seem really nice, but, who are you?”

The woman looked surprised. “I’m Amy, you know? I married your dad last year but you couldn’t make it. I don’t look that different from the wedding photos do I?”

Calypso shook her head. “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about. My father remarried? And did you say there’s a baby?”

Amy had gone pale. “He didn’t tell you?”

Calypso shook her head, biting her lip.

“I’ll be right back.” Amy stood and left the screen. She was very pregnant.

A short time later, Calypso heard yelling coming from somewhere away from the other screen. “You didn’t tell her? Are you ashamed of me? That you can’t tell anyone you’re married again? How could you do this?”

There was a mumbled reply, then a clear response. “No she is not just a little girl and neither am I. You get in there and apologise right now.”

More mumbles.

“Coward.”

Amy reappeared, flushed and teary. “I’m sorry.”

Calypso swallowed her own tears. “You have nothing at all to be sorry for. This is all on him. Maybe we can set up a better time for a call and actually talk, now that I know. I mean, this hasn’t been the best introduction for either of us but I’d love to get to know you.”

Amy caught her breath on a sob and nodded. “I’ll send you through my personal contacts now, then we can work something out.”

“Okay.”

The screen went blank, then a text appeared with Amy’s contact card. Calypso saved it to her tiny list of personal contacts, wondering if it made sense to put it there.

She messaged Atalanta in the vague hope she’d still be online.

I just had a video call from my father’s wife.

WHAT?!??! Atalanta was still online

Her name’s Amy, she seems lovely, they got married last year and she’s pregnant.

Her phone rang, international number. She picked it up.

“What the actual firetruck?”

“She thought I couldn’t make it to their wedding because I was tied up with work stuff.”

“Oh just wow. I don’t even know where to start. What a mess.”

“So he’s kept it a secret from everyone?”

“Looks like it. Can you ping me anything you have on her? I’ll make some enquiries, see what’s been happening.”

“She sent me her contact card, I’ll forward it to you.”

“Thanks. Just a heads up though, the big bosses are going to need to know about this and they aren’t going to like it. Keep your head down if you can.”

“I will. Poor Amy.”

A couple of quick goodbyes and the call ended.

Calypso stared at her screen, then messaged Circe.

The reaction was much the same.

Whoaaa. That’s an epically stupid move on your Dad’s part.

I’m really worried for Amy.

Why do I get the feeling you’ve got something you haven’t said.

Circe, my parents split up, but I’m not sure they ever actually got divorced.

I think I just choked on my own tongue. What? Can you check with Hecate?

She’s out of touch while she relocates her business to Thailand.

I can’t even… Your parents make mine look freaking reasonable.

Calypso’s attention was jerked from the screen by a high-pitched squeal coming from the liftwell. Clio raced into view a few seconds later, beaming.

“PR and Marketing with Aphrodite! I’m staying at Z Corp!”

She threw her arms around Calypso, then burst into tears.

A hurried sign-off to Circe, Calypso gritted her teeth and returned to her job.

Hercules can by late that afternoon to take a look at the photos.

“These are good, especially the more recent ones and they’re different enough to be interesting while not screaming for attention. Perfect for meeting rooms and offices. Can I grab these to get copies done and set you up with one of our supplier contracts?”

“Um, sure, I suppose so.”

He laughed. “Such a tough negotiator, it’s a good thing you’re our favourite girl. I’ll make sure the contract’s a good one.”

Calypso smiled and waved as he left, still distracted by Amy’s revelations. She’d emailed Hecate but hadn’t heard anything back.

The next day was much the same. She went through the motions, anxious for any word from Hecate or Atalanta but there was nothing.

She signed the contract Hercules dropped off without even reading it, and went home at the end of the day to another night of tossing and turning.

The dominoes started falling on Wednesday.

First, a two-word email from Hecate. Oh shit.

A longer note from Atalanta confirmed the problem. Her investigation had uncovered the lack of divorce as well and the news had somehow made its way to Amy’s ears. As the beloved youngest daughter of a wealthy local family, she had been swept back into the home of her horrified parents and was refusing to speak to anyone.

The final domino tipped late morning, when Zeus strode through the main doors, face like a thundercloud. He scanned the lobby, then fixed his gaze on Calypso as he stalked forward.

“Your father’s been misbehaving little Titan princess, I think he needs a little reminder of who’s boss. Come with me.”

“I can’t.”

“That wasn’t a request.”

Calypso quaked, but held her ground. “Thalia’s off sick and everyone else on the reception roster is tied up with their other departments. I can’t leave the front desk unattended.”

“Then call your boss and get her to send one of her flunkeys down.”

Calypso gulped at his expression and reached for the phone.

Two minutes later, the lift doors opened and Hera strode out, Hermes a delighted shadow.

Zeus’s voice dripped ice. “I told you to call Athena, you snotty little brat.”

“You told me to call my boss. Reception sits under HR.”

Zeus snarled. “Fine, I’ll find another way to punish him.”

A nasty grin spread across his face and he moved behind the desk, pushing Calypso out of the way as he took over her computer, Hera and Hermes looked on.

As soon as Atlas’s haggard face appeared on the computer’s video screen, Zeus started talking.

“You’ve screwed up Titan. Your incompetence in the supply contract negotiations is going to cost me millions. It’s going to cost so much, in fact, I’m going to have to lay off some staff.”

He grabbed Calypso around the shoulders and pulled her in front of the camera with him.

“Starting with your little princess. I simply can’t afford to keep her on. So sad, no job, no home, her passport’s near expiry so she can’t leave the country. What’s she going to do?”

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