She’d only made it five steps before Hermes caught up.

He paced along beside her. “You can’t just leave it like that.”

“Why not? If your boss wants to talk to someone from Lir, someone from Lir will talk to him.”

Hermes put a hand on her arm to stop her. “He wants to talk to you about your father.”

Calypso raised her brows. “My father. You mean the man who hasn’t even tried once to get hold of me, or even ask how I am since I was let go from Z Corp?”

Hermes shuffled. “Um, yeah.”

Calypso put her nose in the air and started walking again. “Not interested.”

“He has tried to contact you.”

Calypso faltered, then kept walking. “Not very hard, clearly.”

“He said he’d sent you several letters.”

She stopped. “He said? So you’re having cosy little chats with him now? And where’s he sending the letters?”

She shook her head and started walking again, faster than before. “I cannot deal with this right now. Why don’t you go and have a nice cup of tea and a gossip with him and find out who’s been reading those letters.”

Hermes let out a breath. “Or you could ask him yourself, his email hasn’t changed. Look, Calypso…”

She whipped around, teeth bared. “No. You do not get to make him the reasonable one. You do not get to guilt me into running after him again. Just this once, leave me alone.”

She spun again and marched off, furious at the tears stinging her eyes. Why was she this upset? It didn’t make sense and she had no time to indulge, there was work to be done.

Her phone pinged and she groaned. What now? It could wait until she was back at Lir.

She entered the building and caught the lift up, checking her phone on the way.

The daily photo from Herne. She felt her shoulders ease and the tears retreat, even though the picture showed yet more grey and rain. One more day and she’d be there.

She replied with a countdown to her arrival and walked into the Lir office with a spring in her step.

She found Ryan near-bouncing with excitement. “I’ve been invited to a meeting at Z Corp. Who did you talk to about me?”

Calypso frowned. For all she would enjoy the idea of Zeus’s confusion over Ryan’s presence instead of hers, she couldn’t play such a nasty trick on her co-worker.

She handed him his cake and sat down. “This invitation, was it sent to you specifically, or to Lir Reception?”

Ryan paused, face falling. “You think it wasn’t for me?”

Calypso sighed. “I saw Hermes downstairs, he assumed it was me who accepted the invitation.”

Ryan hunched. “Oh.”

“Do you still want to go?”

He looked up at her. “What?”

She gave him an evil grin. “We should check with Bridgid first, make sure she’s comfortable with the idea, but I really would love you to go to that meeting.”

Bridgid spoke from behind them. “I’m getting a little bored with Z Corp trying to manipulate me and my staff. I presume you know who the meeting is with?”

Calypso replied. “According to Hermes, it’s with Zeus.”

Ryan gulped. “I think I’d rather stay here thanks.”

Calypso sighed. “You’re right.”

She turned to Bridgid, holding out the box of cake. “I brought one back for you as well. Hel said she spoke with you and I wanted to say thank you for not mentioning the Z Corp baggage.”

The office manager chuckled and chose a brownie. “I did mention it, she seemed to find it amusing. I think I’ll be the one attending that meeting. When is it?”

Ryan and Calypso both choked on laughter and Ryan brought up the office’s shared calendar.

They waved Bridgid off an hour later and tried to stay busy.

Calypso’s phone pinged a short time later. Amy.

Well? Don’t keep me in suspense. How did the interview go?

Calypso fought a grin at the memory and replied with her story of the morning’s events, filling Ryan in at the same time.

Ryan looked at her thoughtfully. “I’m starting to think you’re a weird magnet.”

“A what?”

He grinned at her. “A magnet for weird stuff. I mean, I had maybe fifteen interviews at various places before I got this job, and never got anything as whacko as what you’ve had twice in two days.”

Fifteen interviews? Calypso quailed at the thought and mentally begged the Yggradsil option to turn out well.

Amy took a little longer to reply. Oh wow, that’s one for the books. I think you should write a book. Or a blog. Or maybe a vlog. Yep, I think you should start a vlog. Let’s chat tonight.

Calypso grimaced and responded. I’m out with some of the people from Z Corp tonight and then down to visit a friend in the country on the weekend. Would it be awful for me to pause our calls until Sunday?

This time the response was much faster. I’ll forgive you only if you send me text updates and photos of the English countryside. I’m doing the whole vicarious living thing right now you know.

She sent a thumbs up emoji in response and reached to answer the reception phone as it began to ring.

Ryan beat her to it, frowning at her as he pointed to the caller ID. Z Corp.

The second phone line lit up, this one with the ID of a known fusspot of a client, Calypso answered it with a relieved grin.

By the time Calypso’s call had concluded, Ryan had dealt with two other calls and a courier delivery.

She hung up and turned to him. “So?”

He blinked at her, all false innocence. “What?”

She returned serve with a mock glare. “Was the Z Corp call a coincidence?”

He snorted. “No. You’re under orders to call Athena as soon as you’re available.”

Athena? That was unexpected.

She asked. “Under orders? Were those the exact words?”

“I said you were busy, she identified herself, I said you were busy, she said ‘tell her to contact me immediately, it’s important’.”

Calypso checked her phone. No messages. If it was important, why wasn’t Jason blowing up her messaging apps and voicemail?

She frowned at the phone, asking Ryan. “Why do I feel I should be very busy for the rest of the day?”

He shrugged in response then turned towards the sound of an arriving lift. His head dropped when the occupant walked out – Hermes.

Calypso sighed. “What now?”

He handed her an envelope. “From The Fates.”

Her eyes widened. She probably looked like a startled rabbit but, really, The Fates? On top of everything else today?

“What do they want?”

Hermes shrugged, unusually subdued and strangely silent.

She opened the envelope, the note within, written with a flowing hand on thick, cream paper, started out cryptic, then became worryingly clear.

Protect your dreams but do not be afraid to leap. You will join us for tea on Sunday next week.

She read it again, then glanced up at the courier, who was trying very hard to not look at the letter in her hand. She took pity on him and held it out.

He started back, then reached for it. He scanned the sheet, then returned it with a perplexed look. “At least tell me you’re going to turn up for tea, they’ve given you plenty of warning this time.”

She replied. “Yes, I will. Although I doubt I’ll get much sense from the exercise.”

Ryan was watching their unusually civil exchange with a confused expression. “Who or what are The Fates?”

Hermes answered. “Sort of oracles, but with more power, they generally watch over the fashion industry – trends and issues – but have taken an inexplicable interest in Her Highness here.”

Ryan’s face cleared. “Oh, so they’re sort of like Sybil at Delphi Personnel, yeah? She’s great, always knows what the right job is for someone.”

Calypso replied. “She didn’t with me.”

Hermes snorted, not even bothering to retort. He spun on his heel and left the office with a jaunty. “Don’t forget to call Athena.” Over his shoulder.

Calypso growled. “Perfect, now I can’t claim to have not received the message.”

Ryan looked hurt. She sighed. “I wasn’t planning to disparage you, it was going to be more about us both being too busy for you to pass the message on.”

She picked up the office phone and dialled the number Ryan had noted down.

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