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The Argonaut's Table had no available seats on the patio, but Lexi and Hades had arrived early and commandeered the prime spot on the corner where they could greet passersby. The children were dressed in his and hers rompers with fleece minotaur ears on the hoods, a gift from Lisbon for their first birthday. At the moment, Ely was spitting spanakopita on his furry ears in protest of his hatred of it, while Hades argued his son's case.

"I don't know why you keep insisting he like it, my love. While I enjoy the savory dish as well as the next god, not everyone has a taste for spanakopita. And you know how Ely likes to assert his will. It's in his genes."

Hades followed his speech with a heart melting smile before tipping a wine goblet over his lips. Damn him and those lips. Lexi lowered the fork to her plate.

"It's in the small battles that we learn how to conquer the bigger ones," she said, quoting her dad. The mortal one. "I don't take credit for that wisdom, by the way."

"I don't think Charles will mind you spreading his wisdom." Hades lifted Ely from his highchair and set him on the ground, allowing Ely to steady himself on his own. His confidence in the youngster's walking ability nearly matched the determination of Ely himself.

Lexi didn't interrupt them. She pulled a list from her bag and unrolled it, weighing down the ends with the candlesticks on the table. If she wasn't careful, the day would get away from them without accomplishing anything but lunch and a visit to the park. Before she read, she captured Elm in a smile. The chestnut-haired toddler was having a jolly time waving at each and every patron on the patio.

"We still need to visit the palace of titans," Lexi said as she ran her finger over the scrolling handwriting. She had been teaching herself calligraphy and took every opportunity to hone her skills. "Rhea and Odessa are expecting me for Odessa's final dress fitting."

"And Cronus has suckered me into an afternoon of wine tasting at the dangerous hands of Dionysus. Every time he goes to France, I end up with five cases of something to contribute to my gluttony of the damnable substance." Hades left his seat to detour Ely away from the sculpted shrubbery, and Lexi chuckled as she watched Hades indulge his son, scooping the boy up and setting him on the patio's wrought iron railing.

"I can't believe the wedding is this weekend already," Lexi mused.

"I can't believe Poseidon has been celibate this long. I hope Odessa knows what she's in for on their wedding night. We may not hear from her for days."

"Oh, I believe Odessa has found ways to sate Poseidon's hunger during the interim." Lexi only had to raise her eyebrows before Hades was raising his, although she knew his interest in gossip was done only to indulge her.

"My sweet, have you been withholding sensitive information from me? What has Poseidon managed to talk the chaste goddess into?"

Lexi glanced around before leaning in to speak conspiratorially. "Let me just say she has become acquainted with giving and receiving pleasure. To my knowledge, there is only one bridge left to cross."

"My dearest Lexi, I believe you have been a bad influence on our friend, Odessa." Hades attempted a smirk, but Ely chose that moment to escape from his grasp and shimmy between his legs. The toddler ducked under the table, squealing as he went, and Hades caught him by the arms and hauled him up. All the while, Elm remained content to play a game of peek-a-boo with Phoebe at the next table.

"Why are you blaming me?" Lexi quipped. "It's your lustful brother she's marrying."

A breeze chose that moment to blow across the hedges, and the honeysuckle blooms shared their scent with anyone lucky enough to be in the path. Since Lexi had taken up the staff to rule alongside her peers, the wind patterns had changed for all of Olympus, including the realm of the underworld where Lexi and Hades shared their home. Gusts were known to usher in warm breezes on winter days and deliver a chill during summer, encouraging flowers to flourish at the oddest times of year. A rumor had spread that Lexi was responsible for inciting the phenomenon, but she chose to see it as a fortunate coincidence.

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