She headed straight home, itching to transfer the notes into her planning files and make a start on some mood boards.

Jason grinned as she walked through the door. “Event-free evening? What a relief!”

She smiled back. “Absolutely.”

Inside, she kicked herself, she couldn’t work on this project in front of Jason and Hercules. They’d tell Athena for sure, and she wanted to be clear on the difference between the two projects before Z Corp got wind of it.

She’d just have to move her laptop to Dragon House.

Jason misread the sigh and furrowed brow and poured her a glass of wine. “Tough day?”

She accepted the glass. “Not especially. The submission date for the startups is the end of next week and if the fake one was anything to go by. I need to get everything non-essential off my plate this week to deal with next.”

She dropped her bag in her room and came out with her laptop anyway. She could at least look at some pictures or something.

There was a message from Hecate in her inbox. Heard good things about Yggdrasil, good funding, good contacts. I’ll send you a submission form for their programme. Put it in under your name, it’s more likely to be noticed that way. When it’s approved, I’ll pop over to London for a few months and do the programme.

Calypso was glad she’d put her glass down. The nerve of the woman. Never mind it was her mother, it wasn’t like she deserved the title.

Besides, she had her own submission to put in. She narrowed her eyes at the screen.

Jason said from across the kitchen counter. “Ooeer, Petal, what’s got you fired up?”

This she could share, she read the message out to Jason as Hercules walked in.

Hercules grabbed a beer from the fridge. “Bit of cheek, who’s that from?”

Calypso replied through gritted teeth. “Hecate.”

There was a chorus of ‘oooooohs’ from the kitchen.

Jason asked. “Have she and your father got round to that divorce yet?”

Calypso shrugged, still glaring at the email. “Don’t know, don’t care. And she can’t put a submission in, her company’s too large and too established. She’s not eligible.”

Hercules replied. “She’ll probably spin up something new. Something that uses the technology she’s already developed but looks like a separate operation until you dig. What are you going to do?”

She growled. “I’m not going to put her submission in, that’s for sure.”

She closed the laptop. “In fact I’m not even going to reply. I have better things to do with my time.”

Jason eyed her. “You’re positively fuming, Petal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this riled up over something. And given what I’ve seen you put up with so far…”

Calypso gave that some thought. “I think it’s the expectation of blind obedience, with nothing to earn it. What’s she ever done for me? At least my father stuck around to raise me.”

Jason asked. “But if he’d sent you that email, would you do it?”

This time the answer was immediate. “No.”

Both men’s eyebrows raised.

She huffed a wry laugh. “Bit of a change isn’t it. But I didn’t obey his summons to Singapore and I wouldn’t put a submission in to Yggradsil under false pretences, no matter who asked.”

Jason sighed theatrically. “There go our plans for a cruising boat tours business.”

She choked. “A what?”

Jason struck a pose. “Can’t you see it? Some gorgeous boat, built to look like an old sailing ship, but with all the mod cons, doing sightseeing and adventure tours around the Mediterranean.”

Hercules snorted. “You got seasick on the Southend Pier.”

His fiancé rolled his eyes. “Details. Everyone knows most start-ups fail before they even start. It would be a fun holiday, doing all the research on the ports of call and chatting up hunky carpenters.”

Hercules grinned. “We can change the honeymoon from the Maldives if you want.”

Jason glared. “Don’t you dare. And don’t start on the carpenters. I am very happy in my little daydream right now, stop being helpful and reasonable.”

Calypso was laughing outright now. “I have a photo of Herne wearing a tool belt if that helps.”

Both men brightened, Jason asked. “Just the tool belt?”


Calypso grinned as she found a seat on the train to work the next morning. It had been far too long since she’d let herself take the time to simply relax and enjoy her flatmates’ company. The previous evening had been fun.

She’d shared the photo of Herne – fully dressed – scowling at a chair he was meant to be fixing. They’d voted for a shirtless attempt next time, then settled into bringing her up to date on the wedding preparations and Z Corp dramas.

She created the outlines for some mood boards and product lists on the train, then tucked her laptop away. She’d be able to focus on developing her ideas at Dragon House that evening. They were itching to be explored and her notebook had several more pages of scribbles added through the course of the day.

A number of people dropped by to ask about submissions at lunchtime. Calypso pulled out the frequently asked questions files she’d used during the submission false alarm shortly after her start and asked Tish for a new set of record-keeping spreadsheets.

Along with the new files, Tish sent a highly creative set of notices describing the fates of people trying to hand over hard copy submissions.

Aaliyah scanned through them and started laughing. “Are we really going to put these up?”

Calypso was chuckling as well. “No, but we’re going to want to. Could you make up something a little more restrained and polite? I’d like to have them up from this Friday.”

Aaliyah frowned. “Really? That’s a week ahead of deadline.”

“And these are people who either don’t read, or don’t follow, instructions.”

At the end of the day, Calypso bolted for Dragon House. If she didn’t get these ideas out and into some sort of order, her brain was going to have some sort of melt-down.

Maria-Philippa had given her a key to the back gate and studio’s garden door a week or so prior, so she let herself in, waved to the security camera and got to work.

She came up for air when Maria-Philippa put a sandwich and mug of tea down on the table next to her pages of scribbles and sketches.

Coming out of what felt like a trance, Calypso stretched her neck and said. “I’m scared to ask what time it is.”

The housekeeper replied. “Getting on for eight o’clock. I was wondering if I should make up one of the spare rooms for you.”

“Oh, no, thank you though. I really do need to be getting home.” She looked at the piles of paper. “I’ll just get these organised, and head off.”

Maria-Philippa looked pointedly at the food. Calypso smiled and meekly picked up the sandwich, taking a bite. “Oh this is good.”

The older woman looked smug. “You can’t drive your mind without fuel in the tank. You get on and I’ll see nothing is disturbed in here for when you’re back tomorrow.”

She left the room and Calypso took stock of her work as she munched.

Everything she’d been thinking about was now out of her head and in some sort of physical form. Her mind felt clearer and lighter, or maybe that was just tiredness and hunger. Either way, it was time to finish and go home to bed.

She’d come back tomorrow and put it into some sort of order, to discuss with Eos on Thursday. She shut down her laptop and tucked it into a free spot on the bookshelf, then tidied up, waved to the security camera again, and left.

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