Just as Hephaestus was checking whether Calypso had her phone charger (she had it at home), Hercules knocked once, then walked in through the already open door.
“I’m going to have to take you out the back way I’m afraid. Hermes’s video of the earlier drama has all your team down there in tears and every courier coming through the place up in arms. Leda’s in tears and Europa’s having hysterics. The main foyer’s a complete disaster zone”
Hephaestus surprised Calypso with a quick, awkward hug and a whisper. “My number’s in that list, with all the other people who want to help. You just tell me any time you need a new computer – I’ve always got ones I’m writing off and giving away.”
She gave him a peck on the cheek. “Thank you.”
Hercules tucked her under one arm and gently steered her out of the door. “Come on then, let’s see what we need to do next.”
He kept her tucked to his side as they crossed the floor to the frenzied whispers of the entire HR department. They’d nearly made it to the lifts when Echo, Hera’s assistant and one of the most avid gossips in the company burst into tears and flew to hug her. “It’s just not fair.”
That seemed to break some barrier, as everyone surged forward to try and hug or reassure her, or maybe themselves, that it was all going to be okay. Hercules hustled her into the lift and pressed the button for the basement car park. “The main entrance will be like that times about a hundred. I didn’t think you’d want to go through that.”
Calypso gulped and sniffed a little. “No, although I would have liked to say good bye to my team.”
Hercules gave her shoulders a comforting squeeze. “You have all their phone numbers, and Hephaestus made sure all your friends have your new number and email address. He even sent it to your mother.”
Calypso choked. “What about my father?”
“I don’t believe so. It would sort of defeat the purpose of Zeus’s punishment if your old man could get hold of you. He did say there were a couple of Singapore numbers in his list though; Atalanta and someone called Amy?”
“That’s father’s new wife, except I think she’s left him.”
“Well between Atalanta and my parents, I’m sure we’ll be able to keep an eye on anything you want to concern yourself with.”
He pulled out a set of keys and unlocked a small delivery van with the Z Corp logo on both sides. “Now comes the hard part I’m afraid lovely. Any ideas on where you want to go after you’re done packing your place?”
The sob refused to be pushed down and, rather than chance an answer, Calypso pinched her lips hard and shook her head.
That earned her a huge bear hug before she was ushered into the passenger seat of the van.
He walked around and slid into the driver’s seat, his head disconcertingly close to the roof. “Well Jason and I have been talking, and we think that the first thing you need to do is have a bit of a fun night, in or out. So we’re taking you to dinner, or ordering in, whatever you prefer. Then we can start talking plans.”
Calypso hugged herself and tried to process his words. The problem was, everything was being drowned out by the thumping terror of losing her beloved little bolthole.
She was roused by a pat on her arm. “Don’t worry, your have more friends than Zeus knows and we’re going to make sure you’re alright.”
Somehow, that was the breaking point, Calypso burst into tears, trying to apologise to Hercules through breathless, heaving sobs. He kept patting her on the shoulder whenever traffic permitted and told her to let it out. “Things always seem a bit more manageable after a good cry.”
She wasn’t so sure of that but she couldn’t stop, and she got out of the van in front of her building with a bright red nose and swollen eyes. So of course Hermes was there to take a photo. He grinned evilly.
“Don’t worry about your perfect image, princess, this picture is on Zeus’s orders and the only person it’s going to is Daddy.”
He vanished down the road before either Calypso or Hercules could respond.
Hercules looked after him. “I think he actually likes you. That’s a first.”
“Anyone else, he’d have that picture out on every social media channel he could find.”
“He’s probably scared of what my mother would do to him when she found out.”
“And he’d just deflect – on Zeus’s orders – I say take any win you can get. Now, come on. I’ve got boxes and things in the back and Jason’s on his way. We’re going to get your things perfectly packed and stored, all ready for you new home, wherever you decide it’s going to be.”
That set off another bout of tears. She had nowhere, no skills and no idea what to do.
Hercules hustled her inside and up the stairs to her flat, then, once she’d used her key for the last time, inside and onto the sofa. He then retreated to the kitchen and busied himself making tea.
He’d just served it, with a side helping of tissues, when Jason poked his head in. “How are things going?”
He saw Calypso and next thing she knew, he was on the sofa beside her, a warm, comforting arm around his shoulders. “Oh petal, it’s going to be alright I promise. Just drink your tea and take some deep breaths and we’ll have a proper strategy meeting. Everyone’s super upset and wants to help, even Ares. I hear you’re getting a stonking good payout because the Legal team are so pissed off with Zeus getting rid of the only person who understood the difference between their urgent and everyone else’s.”
“I wouldn’t know what to do with it.” Calypso forced herself to pay attention and make her mind work again.
“Oh, that’s alright, the Finance team are putting together a whole pile of suggested plans and recommendations, your couriers and other delivery people are flooding your team with the details of other places that are in dire need of a decent receptionist or office manager, your team are crying all over everybody and refusing to help Europa or Leda with anything and those two are having hysterics at Zeus.”
She put her head in her hands. “I can’t make my brain work. I don’t know what to do.”
Jason gave her shoulders a squeeze. “Which is exactly why you should take a bit of time to do absolutely nothing.”
She looked at him, confused.
He grinned. “Someone in a rather high position at Z Corp, I’m not allowed to say who, has a lovely little country cottage, miles from anywhere, that is normally rented out for holidays. The people who look after it have been asked to have it all stocked and ready for you to spend two weeks down there just resting.”
Hercules put in. “Oh that’s a good idea, you haven’t had a day off since you started.”
“I wasn’t allowed to.”
He glowered. “Well you are now and you need to be kind to yourself and stuff anyone who wants anything from you over the next fortnight. They can go through me and Jason.”
Calypso looked up at him, lost for words. She wasn’t sure if she wanted two weeks to herself. Two weeks with nothing but her own thoughts on the utter mess her life was in. At the same time, a bit of peace and quiet sounded wonderful.
Jason patted her shoulder as he stood. “You’re dealing with a lot right now, just sit and think things over while we go and get the packing things and then you can direct operations.”