The Southern Dragon

Calypso gave him a close-lipped smile and an airy shrug. “Since he isn’t capable of contacting me, I’ll have to live with not knowing.”

Hermes rolled his eyes, but before he could answer, Adonis asked. “Now Zeus has cut Calypso loose, what’s he got to threaten Atlas with anyway?”

Hermes said. “His wife?”

Calypso snorted. “Which one? The estranged one in Bangkok with her own tech business, or the one he married under false pretences and is now back being the daughter of one of Z Corp’s major suppliers?”

Hermes squeaked. “She what?”

Calypso looked at him blankly. “Who what?”

The messenger looked like he’d swallowed a bee. “The Singapore wife.”

She carefully repeated. “Moved back with her family.”

Narcissus propped his chin on one hand. “I think he wants to know what family she’s from.”

“Oh, her surname’s Quin Luong, and she’s very unhappy about me losing my job.”

Hermes choked, and vanished from the bar.

Calypso looked after him, puzzled. “Didn’t anyone know Amy’s background?”

Hercules replied. “I guess not, but getting the Southern Dragon Group offside like this is not going to be happy news for the boss.”

He looked around the table. “Might I suggest we’re all now ‘away for the weekend’ in places with dodgy mobile coverage?”

Jason, Adonis and Narcissus all pulled out their phones and switched them to airplane mode.

The women looked at them blankly.

Hercules explained. “Hermes has run off to tell Zeus about the Southern Dragon. Zeus will rant and storm and yell at everyone he can get hold of to fix the issue. They’ll cascade it down until it hits you. Unless you can miraculously remove the insult, it’s best not to even get the message until the clouds have a chance to clear.”

The former reception team looked at each other and pulled out their phones. Calypso didn’t bother. She was no longer part of this after all.

Safely disconnected, Thalia leaned both elbows on the table and grinned. “So, do we grill our ex-boss on Mr Gorgeous or her non-stepmother?”

Calypso’s phone pinged. Hephastus. “If you lot are still at the pub Hermes has just come from; relocate.”

Calypso read it aloud, the group moved as one.

Adonis took the lead as they left. “There’s a great little Greek place a few minutes from here. Anyone up for dolmades?”

They fled down the rain-slick street, giggling and checking over their shoulders until they turned into a smaller side street.

Narcissus waited at the corner for a minute or so, then caught up. “We timed that well, the Z-man with Hera AND Aphrodite in tow.”

Calypso sent a heartfelt thanks to Hephastus, Adonis peered over her shoulder. “I’ll pick up some takeaway for him. One good deed and all that, he loves this place’s food.”

Calypso looped her arm through his and smiled gratefully. Then gasped. “Amy!”

She turned to the group. “Please make sure I tell her what’s happened when we get to the restaurant. I’m useless at long messages on the go.”

Thalia called from the front. “Got it! Remind you to ping your non-stepmum about her family actually being kind of a big deal. Now Addy, get your ass up here and show us where we’re going.”

They made it to the restaurant and Adonis took charge of ordering while Calypso sent her message.

The reply was almost immediate. Strange, it was well after midnight there, she opened it.

Hi, this is Amy’s mother. She’s having her baby right now so send your love.

Calypso looked up, panicked. “What do I say?”

She got a tableful of blank, freaked-out looks in response. Very helpful.

Taking a deep breath, she typed.

Sending all my love. We barely know each other but she feels like the sister I’ve never had.

The reply was a pink heart and will send news.

Adonis finished his discussion with the waiter and turned back to the group. “So does this mean we’re chatting about Mr Gorgeous?”

Clio replied. “I don’t know, the non-stepmum sounds kind of cool and Calypso clams up like a … clam … anytime you try and get guy stuff out of her.”

Calypso said. “Could we start with you filling me in on what you’re all doing now? I don’t even know which departments you’ve been assigned to, other than Clio.”

Jason said. “Good point, I don’t even know what Clio’s doing now, so let’s hear where you’re all at.”

Clio’s face lit up and she bounced in her chair. “PR and Comms for Aphrodite. I’m doing heaps on our social media accounts right now.”

Thalia propped an arm on Clio’s shoulder. “Which means she’s doing heaps with me. I’m with the in-house photography and media team under Eros.”

Hercules asked. “What does he think of Calypso’s pictures?”

Calypso felt green, Eros was a photographic genius.

Thalia smiled. “Those new ones in the meeting rooms? I asked him and he said they were fine for their purpose and he was glad he wasn’t being nagged for landscapes any more.”

Calypso felt a little deflated. It was good to know he wasn’t offended but at the same time, she would have liked to have made a bit more of an impact.

They moved on around the table as each of the formerly ad hoc reception team explained their new roles, finishing with Calliope.

She’d always been the unofficial leader for the group, and someone who played her cards close to her chest. She leaned back in her chair and with a smug smile said. “Legal.”

Her smile widened at everyone’s shocked expressions. “It’s challenging and we create the contracts and agreements that impact the future of the company. Provided you can handle Ares when he’s in a strop, it’s one of the smartest, nicest teams in the organisation.”

Jason looked around the group. “Why do I get the feeling you lot are going to be dangerous?”

A circle of evil grins met his question, broken by the arrival of the food.

Towards the end of the meal, Thalia said. “Oh! I forgot to say. Calypso, you know that homewares project of yours?”

“Yes, Jason said Psyche had picked it up.”

Jason grumbled. “And she and Athena have done nothing but fight about it since. But no one’s saying why.”

Thalia waggled her eyebrows.

Jason responded. “What? How!”

“Psyche comes down and vents to her husband after the meetings and she’s not always very good at remembering there are other people around.”

Calypso leaned in in spite of herself.

Satisfied she had everyone’s attention, Thalia continued. “Psyche thinks Calypso had some cute ideas but that they’re not high end enough for a Z Corp range. She basically wants to ‘re-imagine Hestia for the new generation’. That last bit’s a direct quote by the way.”

Jason’s head thudded on to the table. “That was the whole point, it’s an untapped market. What a waste.”

He sighed. “I suppose we’ll end up with her taking over Hestia’s old team and nothing really changing.”

He looked at Calypso. “Sorry petal, that’s got to hurt after all your work.”

She smiled. It was only a little forced. “At least I had the experience. That was wonderful and meant I was able to meet all of you.”

Adonis called out. “Group hug!”

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