51K 2.3K 125

The meeting room doors were propped open when Lexi arrived, and nymphs bustled in and out with food trays and goblets. An extra table and chairs were set up to accommodate the titans, and Lexi surveyed the room, recognizing every face. Many of the gods met her gaze, exchanging a smile or polite bow of the head. Despite the inconvenience of leaving Hades in the underworld, Lexi enjoyed her position on the council. There were very few gods who she dreaded seeing.

"Good morning, Lady Lexi. You look radiant, as usual." Poseidon arrived at Lexi's arm and quickly picked up her hand, lifting it to his lips as a formal greeting. The kiss was chaste, just a brush across her knuckles, and completely unnecessary for the purposes of a council meeting.

"Pleasant day to you, Poseidon. I don't mean to be blunt, but I must excuse myself to the refreshment table. I'm parched."

"Please, allow me to fetch you something. What would be your pleasure?" Poseidon proffered his arm and Lexi accepted it, ignoring her guilty conscience. He owed her.

Between the flurry of bustling nymphs, Poseidon only had to reach out his hand before a goblet was placed into it. "Is this water?" he asked the nymph as he inspected the contents.

The nymph bowed graciously in front of them, teetering uncertainly on her toes as she spoke to her chest. "Yes, your grace."

"Thank you." Lexi accepted the goblet from Poseidon's outstretched hand as she spoke to the nymph, whom she recognized. "Your name is Celia, am I right?"

The nymph offered an exuberant smile as if she were the recipient of a formal award. "Yes, Lady Lexi. I hope you will excuse my clumsiness. I am with child, and my balance is slightly compromised."

"Congratulations. When are you due? You're not showing yet."

"I am due at winter solstice, but my body notices the change already." She looked up at Poseidon's empty hand as she maintained her bow. "A goblet of water for you, sire?"

"I'm capable of finding my own water, thank you... Celia."

Poseidon's possessive grip on Lexi's arm had not slackened when the meeting bell sounded, and she was grateful for the excuse to sit down. He held out a chair for her then smiled like only a repentant god should, and Lexi nodded her appreciation as he took his seat opposite her. A shadow fell over the table, and Lexi rallied her courage as she turned to look into the granite gray eyes of Zeus, a man she had grown to cherish as a father despite their differences. He seemed to be accepting her independence, although it usually took the form of pretending it didn't exist.

"How are you this morning, Lexi?" Zeus said as he took his place in front of the table a few feet from her chair.

"I am well. Thank you, Zeus."

"We missed you at the opening ceremonies for the Olympic games." He tried to look stern as he stared over the podium at her, but this argument was old news.

"I'm sure you had plenty of fun without me. Hades and I enjoyed our trip to India, by the way."

Zeus shook his head, looking resigned to her sarcasm, and he faced his audience, his hand hovering over the gavel as he waited, somewhat impatiently. Slowly, the gods recognized the Grand Poobah was surveying the room with a rigid jaw, and the noise level dropped. Zeus smiled, appearing pleased with his ability to command attention. No wonder he had such a bloated ego.

"Greetings, fellow gods and goddesses," he boomed altogether too loudly. "Thank you for being here. Our purpose today is to discuss a matter of great importance and urgency. The Titans have agreed to collaborate and offer their counsel as well, and I want to personally extend them our gratitude."

Lexi's Promise {Book 3}Read this story for FREE!