Lexi was greeted by Artemis as she left the infirmary, but the goddess was not dressed in her usual huntress attire. Instead, she wore a white gown that matched the description of a medieval maid; long, bulky, and sheathed in a dark green apron with pockets. She looked like she was preparing to pick apples or muck a horse stall. Artemis pulled Lexi in for a hug, stepping back to admire Lexi's blossoming belly.
"You look radiant, Lexi. Of course, you have always been radiant, even when you were a toddler. How did your visit with Hera go? Did she scare you with those long stretches of silence?"
Lexi offered Artemis a crooked grin. "My heart was pounding pretty good when I climbed off the exam table, but I am sure she doesn't mean to do it."
Artemis shrugged, giving Lexi the impression she thought otherwise. "She is a goddess of few words, which can be a problem when you are relying on her input. Based on your smile, I assume you and baby are doing well."
"Babies, actually. I am having twins, it seems." Lexi sighed as she shared the news she was still processing herself.
"Twins! How wonderful. Hades will be overjoyed."
Lexi had no doubt Hades would be overjoyed, it was the daunting task of caring for two babies at once that had Lexi freaking out. She would be saying bye-bye to sleep for a while, and possibly another important aspect of life - spontaneous sex. Sleep she could forfeit, but she refused to compromise her sex life with Hades. He was the fuel to her fire.
Artemis seemed to pick up on Lexi's uncertainty, and she slung her arm around Lexi's shoulder like a comrade on the battlefield. "I know you have only been at this a few years, but you and Hades have eternity to spend together. Before you know it, your children will be grown and flying the coop, and you will have your privacy back."
While Lexi appreciated Artemis' pep talk, it didn't suppress Lexi's worries. As far as Hades was concerned, when his kids flew the coop they left for good. While the underworld was not lacking in recreation or beauty, it was lacking in gods, at least the living ones.
"Have you visited the grove since the tree lighting ceremony?" Artemis asked as she directed Lexi toward a flowered courtyard.
"No, why? Is there a reason I should be visiting the grove?"
"Your tree is doing extremely well. In fact, it has become a favorite of the residents. If you have a moment, I will take you there to see it."
Her tree? Lexi had never considered the elm to belong to her, in spite of the fact she gave the tree a head start on life. She glanced up at the sun, which was about thirty minutes from high noon. Lexi was due to meet Odessa at The Argonauts Table at mid-day, plenty of time for a stroll to the grove. "Sure."
The trail had become thick with summer blooms, some of them pungently fragrant and some boasting colors so vibrant Lexi found herself squinting at the bright blues and vivid pinks. The rumor mill had been busy spreading word about the titans' prophetic demise, and as they walked the path, Artemis told Lexi the inhabitants were complaining the council was not taking more action to prevent it. In return, Lexi told Artemis about Zeus' refusal to present the agenda to the council, and Artemis offered to look at it if Odessa wanted to send her a copy. After Lexi received Artemis' promise to keep it under wraps and not incite the wrath of their supreme leader, Lexi agreed.
When they reached the grove, Lexi's elm was the first tree to greet them. She stood taller than all the trees around her, with thick branches stretching upward and outward, laden with clumps of green leaves. Lexi had dubbed the tree a she, and beneath her limbs, surrounding the base of the trunk, a shrine had been erected. There were offerings of every kind; candles, cards, dried flowers tied with ribbons, and a handmade doll dressed in a white robe with auburn-colored yarn for hair. It bore a striking resemblance to Lexi.
YOU ARE READING
Let's say you found true love. And say you had eternity to spend with that lover. So what if he was the god of the dead and you had to manage his dysfunctional family. You would still count yourself lucky, right? Join Lexi and Hades in the third and...