Rumours Flying

Athena picked up straight away and began talking almost before Calypso had identified herself.

“Thank goodness, I want to avoid dragging Jason into this, given you’re sharing his place at the moment.”

This sounded ominous. “What do you mean?”

Athena put on her ‘official’ voice. “I need to understand why the Quin Luong Group would be insisting on reviewing a copy of your father’s contract. I know you’re friendly with the daughter and would like an explanation.”

Calypso frowned. “You want me to explain why I’m friendly with Amy?”

“No! I want you to explain why they want Atlas’s contract.”

She shrugged, for all that Athena couldn’t see it. “Maybe something to do with the illegal marriage? Or assessing child support for Joshua?”

“Who’s Joshua?”

“My several-week-old half brother, Amy’s baby.”

“Atlas has a male heir?”

Calypso rolled her eyes. “He might have done if he’d been a little more above-board on the marriage thing. As it is, Joshua is a Quin Luong, not a Titan.”

“Oooohhhhh.” Athena’s voice lost the official overtone and Calypso could just see her flopping back into her office chair. “That’s going to get messy. Good reason for the contract request though, I’ll tell Ares. Thanks.”

And with that, she hung up.

Calypso blinked at the phone display a couple of times then replaced the receiver. “That was less painful than I thought.”

Ryan had his chin in his hand and was watching her like she was a sports match, she shifted in her seat. “What?”

“Your life’s better than telly. I told Mum the other day that she wouldn’t need her soap operas if she spent time with you.”

The rest of the day passed quietly enough. Bridgid returned from her meeting at Z Corp, chortling to herself, but saying nothing to the two at the Lir front desk. As the clock ticked towards the end of the day, Ryan’s inner puppy started to surface, bouncing in his seat, adjusting his shirt and the number of buttons open. He did them up again after Calypso made gagging sounds. Even that didn’t keep him down for long.

As they packed up, ready to head to the pub, Bridgid stuck her head through the doorway from the rear office. “I’ll see you both next week, let’s try to make it slightly less interesting than this one shall we?”

Calypso flushed and nodded. Ryan replied. “Where’s the fun in that?”

Bridgid snorted and withdrew into her sanctum, Ryan shut down the computer screens and they headed for the lift.

The pub was quiet when they arrived, and Calypso spotted two of her reception team in a side booth. She waved and bought a bottle of wine from the bar, then headed towards them, Ryan bouncing along behind, insisting he should have paid for the drink.

She got to the table and began the introductions. “This is Ryan. I’ve been working with him this week at Lir. He’s very nice when he’s not trying to be suave.”

Ryan flushed and gave her a wounded look, but the two women at the table brightened at the description and urged them into seats.

Clio took the lead. “I’m Clio and this is Calliope. I have to say, I’m sick to death of suave, so really nice to meet someone who doesn’t know their exact best camera angle at every moment of the day.”

Ryan’s eyes widened. “People do that?”

Calypso grinned. “At Z Corp? Absolutely, and two of the worst offenders have just walked in.”

Ryan turned in his chair, then spun back, eyes wide. “That’s Adonis. That’s actually Adonis.”

“And Narcissus, yes.” Clio was trying to keep a straight face. And failing. “Please don’t say you think they’re in any way cool or suave.”

Calypso rested her cheek in her hand. “Your turn to have an interesting time, Ryan.”

Clio leaned forward. “You think they’re cool? Oh this is going to be fun.”

The two men arrived, yet another bottle of wine in hand. Adonis dropped into a chair and flung one arm dramatically around Calypso’s shoulders. “Cupcake! It’s been too long. Who are we going to run away from this time? Shall we go for Greek again? Or Italian this time?”

Narcissus lounged gracefully into his seat with a nod to the still-goggling Ryan. “I’m Narcissus, that’s Adonis. Yes, we’re on billboards, no, it’s not exciting work. Nice to meet you. Who are you?”

Ryan gulped but managed to find his voice. “Ryan. I’m Calypso’s workmate at Lir Shipping.

Narcissus nodded thoughtfully. “Lir Shipping. A bit different. I’ll have to drop by sometime.”

Calypso huffed. “No you don’t. I’m only there for another week and I’ve been specifically told not not make it interesting.”

Adonis leaned forward, arm still resting across Calypso. “Oh goodie, story time.”

“It’s nothing.” Calypso cast around for a new topic.

Ryan was no help. “Well, it probably started when I wasn’t there on Monday, then Hermes came in to try and get her fired, then there were some really weird job interviews and then Hermes again, and Athena, and Zeus trying to have a meeting. It’s the most fun I’ve had since I started there.”

Adonis shook his head. “And our girl’s trying to be all discreet about it. You know that’s not how we work.”

He moved to sit opposite Ryan and leaned across, chin in hand, all but fluttering his eyelashes. “You just HAVE to tell us more.”

Calypso made one last effort to divert attention. “Has there been any news on Circe’s saviour?”

Calliope laughed. “As if you wouldn’t know about that way before any of us. Nice try.”

Clio leaned in to Ryan as well, who was looking pleased but slightly scared at all the attention.

Calypso sighed and poured the wine as Calliope moved to the seat Adonis had vacated, leaving the others to Ryan’s story.

They clinked glasses and Calliope said. “I hear you’re thick as thieves with the would-be stepmother in Singapore.”

“Not really. We chat sometimes, especially if the baby’s got a late-night feed and she doesn’t have anyone to talk to. I mean, I like her, but I can’t say I know her terribly well.”

Calliope pursed her lips. “It’s just that, with this request for your father’s contract? I heard the reason you gave Athena, but I’m not sure I buy it. I think it’s to do with you.”

Calypso’s stomach turned to ice. “What do you mean?”

“Ares, Atlas, and Zeus are a certain type of man, they think like that certain type of man and they think everyone thinks like them. They’re going to assume if someone’s gunning for them, they’re going to go for the hip pocket. Women, on on the other hand, go for blood.”

Calypso was failing to follow the logic. “You think Amy’s out to hurt me?”

“I think she could be out to hurt your father through you.” Calliope said.

The younger woman sat back in her chair and sipped her wine, then tipped her head from side to side. “I might be jumping at shadows but, honestly Calypso, you’re way too quick to trust and think the best of people. Just … keep an eye open, okay?”

Calypso nodded doubtfully and wondered how to keep an eye open when both Amy and her father were on the other side of the world.

Narcissus looked up from his phone. “Message incoming.”

Her phone pinged, Jason. Hey Petal, might be best if you stay with Narc tonight. Herc and I are having a teensy bit of a row and don’t want you caught in the crossfire. Hugs J.

Calypso looked at Narcissus. “But…”

He lifted a shoulder, elegantly of course. “It’s fine. I can even get my driver to drop you at the station for your jaunt to the country on my way to the airport.”

“That’s sweet of you, but I don’t have any clothes for the weekend.”

Adonis smirked. “With any luck, you won’t be needing them.”

Clio flicked him. “For that, I’m going to get Thalia to do a raid on the daywear stock cupboard and have her take it from your allowance.”

Adonis waved a hand. “Do it. There’s nothing I’m in love with in the current collections.”

Clio grinned and made the call.

Ryan sighed. “I want to work for Z Corp.”

Calypso shook her head at him and called to Clio. “Please remind her it’s a casual, country weekend. There’s going to be rain and mud.”

Clio gave her a thumbs up as she relayed the message.

Narcissus finished typing a text message and put his phone down. “Do we need refills?”

Thalia arrived half an hour later toting a neat weekender bag. “Casual weekend wear. No heels, no skirts, no dry-clean only. Jeans, jumpers and the cutest waterproof ankle boots ever.”

Clio dived for the bag. “Show me!”

Thalia fended her off. “No, you’ll mess up all my careful packing. I’ll show you the picture I took of the outfit before it went in the bag.”

With that, she handed the bag to Calypso, flicked through her phone and presented the screen to Clio with a flourish.

Clio nodded. “Nice. I might have to do that up for a ‘weekend in the country’ social post.”

Thalia showed the phone around, ending with Calypso. “Now make sure you get a pic in the outfit exactly as I’ve got it here for Clio.”

Calypso laughed. “You’re signing me up as a model now?”

Clio’s face fell. “I keep forgetting, you’re not with us any more.”

Thalia sat with a sigh, then noticed Ryan. “Hello, who are you?”

As the evening wore on, Calypso noticed a couple of whispered conversations going on between Thalia and Narcissus. She wondered what new gossip had made its way out of the building with her weekender bag.

As they dispersed for the evening, Ryan gleefully joining Clio and Thalia for drinking and dancing at some hot new nightclub, Calypso headed for the station with Narcissus.

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