Tangled Threads

Arachne put the lid on the now-full box and said. “While the drink sounds fun, I would prefer to see this back in my workroom.”

Hermes pouted, but hoisted the package onto his shoulder and followed Arachne to the lifts. Calypso accompanied them to the entrance – she had visions of Hermes making detours around the other floors – and waved them off before making her way to the roof bar.

The evening was in full swing when she got there and it took her a few moments to find Eos and Aaliyah at a low table with Tish and a couple of her new colleagues.

Eos waved. “We got a bottle of wine and an extra glass, so don’t worry about stopping by the bar.”

Calypso dropped onto the spare spot on the sofa beside Eos and gladly accepted the glass. Although, the fresh and fruity-looking drink in front of Aaliyah looked rather amazing too, she might have to try that next.

Before the conversation could start up again, Dionysus appeared, taking a slightly precarious seat on the sofa’s arm next to her. “Hello, Pretty, where did the others get to?”

Calypso reeled off the various excuses and Dionysus smirked. “All work and no play that lot. I’m going to have my work cut out to have anyone letting their hair down at the wedding.”

He ruffled Calypso’s hair, then disappeared through the crowd before she could react.

She huffed, and turned to Eos. “I never mentioned how much I enjoyed your talk at the event this week. I also didn’t realise you were a food truck mogul. How many do you have?”

Eos laughed. “Only three. More than that would mean having to focus on admin instead of talking with people and that’s not my idea of a good time.”

Tish leaned in. “But you’re always in this one, who looks after the other two?”

Eos replied. “One’s run by my sister-in-law and the other by a man who was a regular customer, got burnout from his office job, and decided to slow down a little.”

Hel’s voice came from behind her. “A good example of two people creating opportunity from challenge.”

She came to stand at the end of the sofa, and looked down at Calypso. “You should have Eos run through your submission before you hand it in. And, while you’re at it, send me a copy of that contract your former mentor was so interested in.”

Calypso spluttered out a vaguely affirmative reply as Hel walked away.

The whole table was now looking at her.

Aaliyah said. “I didn’t know you were putting in a submission.”

Calypso grimaced. “Hel suggested it would be useful to experience what our clients are getting. It keeps disappearing under my pile of other to-dos.”

Eos said. “Right. Set up an hour on Monday, and another on Thursday. Make it after school and my daughter can take care of the truck. We’ll go through and un-bury it.”

Between Eos and Amy (through Maria-Philippa) it seemed she was being ganged up on in the best way possible, Calypso laughed and promised to book the time.

The weekend was grey and wet. A cloudburst hit the area around Wildwood, putting a number of low-lying houses under several feet of water and calling Herne out on five different emergencies.

Calypso spent the time in the Little Barn, working on the sideboard, chatting with the dogs and Owlbert, when he came to investigate on Saturday evening.

She called a taxi to take her to the station on Sunday, as Herne worked with a crowd of volunteers to rescue a herd of cows left to graze too close to the river.

She messaged him as she left. Holly and Ivy have been fed, so don’t let them tell you otherwise. I hope you’re okay and can get home and get some rest soon. I’ll see you in a few days.

She hadn’t wanted to leave. She’d wanted to be there when he got home, to see for herself he was alright, and to fuss him into a shower and make dinner. She sounded like the sweet little wife her father had always wanted her to become. Just not for a man her father would have any time for.

On Monday morning, she set up the sessions with Eos and sent Hel a copy of the Z Corp contract.

She checked her phone at lunch time to find a message from Adonis. So what’s this fab new bar you haven’t invited us to? Hermes was all over us about it.

The words were followed by a sad face and three broken hearts.

She rolled her eyes and replied. Talented of him, since he didn’t actually see the place. It was a menu trial. I’ll make sure you’re on the list for the soft opening.

She got a smiley face and three whole hearts in response.

Dionysus ambled past the desk with a wink and a smile. “Work should be complete by the end of the week. I’m booking the space for the launch Hephaestus’s latest range next weekend.

Calypso frowned. “Hephaestus? What line does he produce?”

“Jewellery, my sweet, including those pretty butterfly earrings of yours. Why do you think Aphrodite stays married to him? She’s worse than a magpie for the shinies.”

She thought back to the logo on the box her earrings had come in – the crossed hammers – she knew she’d seen it before. Above the row of giant monitors in Hephaestus’s lair.

Z Corp’s event manager continued on his way to the lifts as Calypso smacked herself on the forehead, then composed a long overdue thank you note to the burly IT Manager.

Late that afternoon, Eos’s daughter, Astraea, whirled through the door and across the floor. She shooed her mother out of the food truck and tucked herself into a uniform apron with the air of an experienced professional.

Eos made her way to the reception desk, a proud grin lighting the way before her. She said to Calypso. “Now my cavalry’s arrived, are you ready to shine some light on this submission of yours?”

Calypso looked at Aaliyah in query, who made shooing motions of her own. “Go on then, I’ll call you if anything catches on fire.”

With a grateful smile, she unlocked her computer and headed for the lifts. “I booked a level six meeting room.”

When they got to the room, Calypso ran through the questions and answers from the session with Amy, then sighed. “So I have an idea of the process and even of some of the items. But I don’t have something to pull them together. There’s no theme.”

Eos reached across and pushed the laptop closed. “Then let’s try and get to it the old-fashioned way.”

She grabbed a whiteboard marker and wrote at the top of the board covering one side of the meeting room. CALYPSO ENTERPRISES

She turned and said. “Right, now you talk, I scribble, we bounce ideas around, ask questions we might not have answers to, and see what bubbles up.”

By the end of the hour, Eos had the whole saga of the Z Corp project jumbled into one side of the board with a dramatic cross through it, and a slew of new ideas on the other.

Calypso walked out of the room with her head buzzing. Amy had covered so much of the operational side, but Eos had somehow unlocked the creative side that had been hiding under the fear of Z Corp reaction for so long.

The Z Corp range had looked to cities for inspiration, to give people excitement and fire their imaginations about destinations and dreams beyond their current world. Her new range was about creating a home in the here and now. Dreams and aspirations were good, striving for them was admirable, but you shouldn’t have to wait for home until you’ve reached them.

This time, her theme was the seasons. A floral spring, a watercolour summer, a rich, indulgent autumn, and an austere but cosy winter.

The ideas kept coming, she couldn’t scribble them down fast enough. Eos steered her back to her chair at Reception, then gently closed the notebook on the frantic notes.

“You won’t forget, now the ideas are there. All you’ll have to do is refer to what you’ve got, and the pictures you took of the board upstairs. Trust me, it’ll all come back, with more on top besides.”

With that sage advice, Eos put Calypso’s laptop on the desk in front of her and headed for the coffee truck.

The rest of the day inched by. She couldn’t resist sneaking some more quick notes as Aaliyah laughed at her. “You look so guilty every time you open that notebook. Should I be reporting you to teacher?”

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