New Family

The group split not long afterwards, one group going on to other, louder places, Adonis via the office to make good on his takeaway promise for Hephaestus and the other making their various ways home.

Jason, Hercules and Calypso found themselves on the same train as Narcissus. He spent much of the journey checking his own reflection in the windows. “There are cameras everywhere you know and I can’t afford to get caught at a bad angle or something.”

There had been a few phones pointed at him during the journey, so Calypso sort of saw the point but still.

“Sounds exhausting.” She said.

He shrugged, just enough to look nonchalant, not enough to look like he had deformed shoulders. “It’s part of the job, and down at the core, I enjoy what I do. I like looking good.”

He quirked an eyebrow at her, another phone appeared in a hand further down the carriage. “You, on the other hand, care surprisingly little for all that. You do enough to fit right in at a place like Z Corp, but it’s not all that important to you.”

Jason quirked a brow straight back. “You’re supposed to warn us before you go all deep and meaningful, Narc.”

The model grinned (three more phones). “Alright, I’ll leave you with the opinion that, of all the people to no longer be in Z Corp, your petal there is going to deal with it the best.”

With that, he swung to his feet and prowled to the carriage door, arriving just as they opened at his station.

The three remaining watched him walking away, as did most others in the vicinity. Hercules chuckled. “He’s practiced that for sure. Probably has some sort of cue out the window on when to stand and everything.”

Calypso thought back. “He did choose the carriage and the seats when we got on.”

Jason repeated her comment. “Sounds exhausting.”

He leaned back in his seat and said. “So you’ve got a sort of baby brother arriving any minute now. When’s Circe due?”

Calypso tallied the dates. “About a week before your wedding.”

Jason grumbled. “Well that sucks, I wanted to get her over for it. She’s fun.”

They stood as their stop arrived and the conversation moved to weekend plans as they walked home.

The next morning, they headed out for a cafe breakfast ahead of the weekly shopping expedition. Calypso’s phone pinged just as her pancakes arrived. It was a photo of a tired but happy-looking Amy, holding a sleeping newborn with a shock of thick, straight black hair.

The message read, Meet Joshua, he can’t wait to meet you!

Calypso giggled and showed Jason and Hercules. They made the right noises but it was quite obvious they couldn’t see how wonderfully, gorgeously special this particular little tomato-faced baby was; so she took the phone back, saved the picture to a new album, just for him, and replied to, she presumed, Amy’s mother.

Please tell Amy she’s amazing and he’s beautiful and I’m completely in love. What can I send him from England?

They were leaving the cafe when the reply arrived. My daughter says it would be great fun to dress him as a little palace guard, or Paddington Bear. As her mother, I say something for her would be nice but don’t say I said so!

Calypso smiled and tapped out a quick response. I’ll get both, thank you for the advice.

She tucked the phone away and hurried to catch up with Hercules and Jason.

Sunday was quiet and she found herself wondering what Herne was doing. She nearly called or messaged him several times, but didn’t know what she’d say. Maybe next week, when she could share news about her fill-in job.

Monday morning was grey, with a fresh, cold snap to the wind that had Calypso longing for a good set of walking boots, a jacket and a certain piece of rolling countryside.

This morning walk was on grey, narrow streets, wearing one of her no-thought-required office outfits.

She found the Lir Shipping office easily enough, halfway up a steel and glass tower overlooking the Thames. She pressed the buzzer at the door and waited.

And waited.

She’d pulled out her phone to check the details and maybe phone Friday’s number when the lift dinged and a woman flew out of it, nearly ploughing into Calypso before she caught herself.

“Oh dear, oh goodness, what a mess. Are you Calypso?”

Calypso nodded. The woman took a deep breath. “Right, that’s one good thing then. Maybe I’m not dealing with a complete disaster.”

She trotted around Calypso and unlocked the door, talking over her shoulder as she switched on the lights and checked the heating.

“I got held up, usual train dramas, you know. I thought it would be fine and Ryan would be here to get you started. He’s the junior receptionist.”

She moved behind the reception desk, turning on computers and checking the phone. “Amazing, no messages. Probably because they all decided to call my mobile over the weekend. Where was I?”

Calyso said. “Held up and Ryan?”

“Oh yes, Ryan has food poisoning. He’s hoping he’ll be well enough to make it in tomorrow.”

Calypso gulped. Having no one to show her the ropes meant mistakes. This was not good.

The woman continued. “So as soon as I got some sort of ongoing mobile reception, I called the main office and, while they can’t send anyone up, and they wouldn’t be here before lunchtime even if they could, they’ve promised to be right on top of any questions you might have. You just need to message or call.”

Calypso had done a little homework over the weekend. “The main office is in Bristol isn’t it.”

“Yes. This one’s just to provide a face for the London clients. We’ve got a couple of account reps but they’re usually out, and a couple of finance people, but they’ve got a department meeting today and tomorrow. Your biggest job will just be sorting out clients who want to know where their shipment is, right now this very minute, and can’t be bothered checking the tracker.”

She stood back. “Right. I’ve logged you on to a guest account here. You’ve got all the accesses you need and I’ve hooked you in to the reception email.”

Calypso walked around the desk and put her coat over the back of the chair, sitting nervously. The briefing continued.

“The messaging app’s over there, and this site is our shipments tracker, it shows where all our ships and trucks are in real time. Okay? Great. I’ll leave you to it.”

With that, the woman whirled through to the inner office, leaving Calypso staring after her.

“Your name? My contract?”

The messaging app pinged. Ahoy London Reception. Have you jumped ship yet?

Calypso turned to the keyboard. Not yet, but am about to tangle rigging ropes very badly.

The phone rang, she answered. “Lir Shipping, good morning?”

There was a laugh at the other end. “Oh you poor thing. Day one, no helper and Bridgid in full cyclone mode no doubt.”

“Is that the office manager? She never told me her name.”

The laugh came again, but it sounded sympathetic and Calypso allowed herself a glimmer of hope.

“That’s her and I’m Blodwen. I run the Bristol desk. Now I’m going to send you the instructions to divert your desk phone to ours for the next eight hours. I’m also putting one of mine on as your action person. Your only job today is to relay questions and orders to her. She’ll give you all the answers and it should help you get up to speed enough to pick up at least a few of those ropes from tomorrow.”

Relief washed through her and Calypso took a full breath for what felt like the first time that morning.

“I can’t thank you enough.”

Blodwen replied. “Just focus on getting up to speed, any way you can, and we’ll call it even.”

It was mid-morning and Calypso was matching her helper’s answers to the tracking app, trying to work out the connections, when Bridgid reappeared, document in hand.

“Your contrat. That Delphi lot are useless until they’ve had their second coffees. Take a look over it, they’re not fully on their game until at least coffee four but I need to get you onto payroll.”

Calypso smiled. “Thank you. I’ll just finish checking this query and take a look.”

“You’re a calm one. Doing alright?”

“I’m getting up to speed. Blodwen and her team have been wonderful.”

Bridgid gave a sharp nod. “Good. Once you’ve checked that, flag any notes you have and sign if you’re happy. I’ll deal with it when you’re done.”

With that, she was off again. Calypso flicked to the messaging app. Random question. Do you happen to know where the loo is in this office?

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