Ryan waved gleefully from his seat between Thalia and Clio when Calypso walked into the pub that evening.
He did his puppy bounce as she sat down across from him. “I’m being sent to the Bristol office for the summer. Bridgid says I need to learn more about the business end of the business to be able to decide where I’d like to work next. They’re paying for an apartment and everything!”
Thalia put on a theatrical pout. “As you can see, he’s simply devastated at the thought of leaving us all behind.”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “As if you wouldn’t be turning somersaults if Z Corp decided to send you off to one of your fancy international offices for a bit.”
Narcissus swooped into the seat next to her and handed her a bulky file. “Madam’s fabric menu if she would care to peruse.”
Calypso grinned, and pulled out a sheet of paper. “This is what I need for my projects.”
Narcissus blinked. “You’ve already got your order?”
“I’ve got the types of fabrics I need, grouped by project, in order of priority.”
Thalia bounced forward. “Ohhh, did the boyfriend get top billing?”
Narcissus looked at the page. “I don’t think so.”
Calypso said. “Circe. She needs things for the baby so I’m on a two-month deadline. The others are little more flexible.”
Narcissus eyed her worriedly. “You want me to choose fabric for Circe’s nursery? Can I get back-up on this?”
She smirked. “I messaged Arachne. All you have to do is put these details through the proper channels for processing. She’s choosing the designs from her end-of-runs, rejected samples and offcuts.”
Clio asked. “Is she still making that dress for you?”
Calypso bit her lip. “I don’t know, and I didn’t want to ask.”
Jason leaned over her to deposit a wine bottle on the table. “She is, but you’re not needed for final fittings until a month before the big event.”
Narcissus waggled his eyebrows. “And what big event would that be?”
Jason flicked him on the forehead. “Our wedding of course, nothing bigger happening this year, Cupcake.”
The group laughed and gave Jason centre stage for the event preparation update.
She left a couple of hours later. A late night ahead of Saturday’s early start was not a good idea and the group was clearly settling in for a big one.
Amy called as the train made its way out of London the next morning. “I hear you’re all set up with Maria-Philippa.”
Calypso laughed. “Set up and trying to convince her I don’t need most of London raided for supplies. She doesn’t go at things by halves, does she?”
“Indeed not. Are you planning on doing anything there today or tomorrow?”
Calypso replied. “No, I’m on the train down to Herne, to spend another weekend unpacking and organising.”
“The new place, that’s right. Send photos, I’m dying to see it. And then you can tell me all your plans to make it look gorgeous but not Hestia-fied.”
Calypso snorted. “I’m going to have to remember that one, ‘not Hestia-fied’ is exactly the look I’m after.”
Amy replied. “Oops, have to run. Just remember – for your business – when you’re starting to look at samples and prototypes, just speak with Maria-Philippa. I’m serious about us being your potential manufacturer so it makes sense to see whether we can produce what you want.”
Calypso protested. “But it’s not… and even if it all happens; it’s only going to be small.”
“Good. I have ideas. Let’s chat during the week. After all, it’s a work-related thing for you now.”
She hung up and Calypso shook her head, Amy was the most confusing mix of sweet friend, pragmatic businesswoman and pushy-as-all-get-out princess. She just hoped this wasn’t going come back to burn her.
She sighed, and watched the trees and fields blur past the window. Too much to think about, too many decisions to make. Maybe she should just go back to Z Corp.
It would be so easy. She’d have all her friends, could sail through the work, and might even be able to pick up the city-themed homewares project again.
She daydreamed for a while, then scowled at her reflection. Even in the rosiest visions of her imagination, scenes of a future at Z Corp left her feeling itchy and discontent. She’d be bored and stifled. She’d be back to being Princess, Cupcake, Petal, Pretty, Atlas’s daughter, the Titan girl. Not Calypso.
No, she wasn’t going back. She wanted to discover what lay along this new road. For all its unexpected turns and bumps, it was already proving far more varied, interesting, and rewarding, than the old one. And if this was the road she was going to follow, she was going to do it properly.
When the train stopped at the station where Herne stood waiting, she flew down the platform to him, weekend bag swinging from one shoulder, laptop bag bashing her from the other.
When she emerged from his kiss, she said. “I’m going to do it. I’m going to develop the homewares idea and submit it for the Yggdrasil accelerator.”
His smile dimmed. “So weekends are cancelled then.”
“NO!” Calypso’s breath rushed out at the thought.
She wrapped her arms around him. “Weekends are more important than ever. One of the things they specifically say on the site is to set boundaries and have proper time off set aside, or you won’t be as effective.”
He brightened again, and she sagged against him. “I couldn’t do it without the weekends.”
He chuckled and replied. “Don’t be too hasty, there are all sorts of projects and plans waiting for you at Wildwood. You might find you’re going back to London for the rest, rather than the other way around.”
Herne had set a number of pieces of furniture out in the Little Barn’s workshop. “They’re too dark and heavy for what you described for the rooms. Did you want to do anything with any of them?”
She picked out a couple of items that had potential, then made the mistake of going with him to drop off the other pieces at the local second-hand furniture shop.
They did leave carrying fewer items than they arrived with, and with a few pounds in-pocket, but it was a close-run thing.
The rest of Saturday was spent scribbling and planning and throwing random ideas and questions at Herne, who became more interested and curious as designs began to take shape on the pages of her notebook.
He looked at them, and at the motley collection of furniture gathered in one corner of the workshop. “You know, I think your friends are right, you should film it.”
Calypso looked up at him, bewildered. “Film what?”
“You changing these things from old to new.”
He walked around the open space. “I can have a chat with Cernunnos. He’s been doing videos on emergency surgeries and rehab on rescued wildlife for years, so he’ll know what would be a good setup.”
Calypso bit her lip. “I don’t know. It feels a bit show-offy.”
Herne replied. “We can film it so that you’re not actually on camera, that’s what Cernunnos does for most of his. You just see what he’s doing, not him. And if we give it a go and you don’t like it, we drop it.”
He nudged her. “Maybe I’ll finally learn how to focus a camera…”
She laughed. “In that case, deal.”