Business of Love

The God of Love raked his fingers through his soft blond curls before jabbing impatiently at the button for the top floor. The doors slid shut with a dull thud. Glancing at the gold watch peeking from beneath the cuff of his custom Armani suit, he sighed. 9:17 a.m.

Dammit.

It was at precisely this moment every morning he wished he ruled over time instead of love.

Resting his head against the elevator’s mirrored paneling , he groaned and rolled his eyes upward, willing the blasted contraption to move faster. Having the exact opposite effect, the antiquated pulley system seemed to meander even slower, blatantly ignoring his silent command.

Straightening, he gave his reflection a once over. Despite being what he considered not half bad looking—perfectly straight nose, strong jawline, and dazzling blue eyes—it didn’t change the fact he was late for work. Again.

He’d been late every morning for the past fifty-two years, in fact. After 18,980 consecutive days of trying his boss’ patience, Eros desperately hoped today wasn’t the day that patience ran out.

It was a well-documented fact that Zeus had a rather thunderous temper.

Adjusting his red silk tie for the third time in two minutes, the elevator continued to crawl its way to the top of Mt. Olympus. He was at a loss as to why Life Industries couldn’t spring for a faster, more modern lift. It wasn’t like the otherworldly juggernaut didn’t have the means.

When the doors finally opened, Eros scooped up his briefcase and rushed out, nearly tripping over his own two Paul Smith brogues in the process.

He power walked his way through the atrium with purpose. At nearly a block long and just as wide, it was more like a heavily wooded park. If it weren’t for the lunch joints, dry cleaner, and other small businesses tucked into the rocky perimeter, you’d have sworn you were in paradise.

Eros dodged around a patinaed fountain featuring a glistening water nymph. Sunlight streamed down through the open-air ceiling, casting a heavenly glow across his features. When he reached the large double doors of Life Industries, he checked his watch again. 9:26 a.m.

Sonnofa…

He pushed open one of the heavy glass doors by its gilded handle and slipped into the lobby. He waved at the receptionist as he hurried across the polished marble floor. Leto was on the phone, but she smiled and waved back. Scurrying down a side hall and past a half dozen sets of smooth stone columns, he finally reached a cubicle with a nameplate that read: Eros, Chief Coordinator of Hearts.

Setting down his briefcase, he shrugged out of his suit coat. He used to have to get them tailored to fit his wings. Not any more—he hadn’t used them in so long they’d shrunk down to almost nothing. Chasing the depressing thought out of his mind, Eros hung up his jacket and sank down into his office chair with a huff. 9:43 a.m.

Whew.

He lifted his briefcase and gently placed it onto the gray Formica ledge that served as his desk. As far as cubes went, his was on the large side, but seeing as he wasn’t a partner, it was as good as he was going to get. Sliding open the two eye and hook latches, he lifted the hard-framed lid. It was an understatement to say that he needed a new one. The dark brown leather was well worn and brandished with tears and cracks from nearly a century’s worth of use. The hinges were brittle with age and the seams were unraveling from exhaustion. It was a collector’s dream, but it was a gift from his mother, and he was a momma’s boy, so he kept it.

His mother, Aphrodite, was the Director of Hearts at Life Industries and oversaw all matters concerning love. She had made many notable contributions over the years, including French as the official language and roses as the go to flower. Although Valentine’s Day remained Eros’ greatest achievement, love notes and chocolates had been his mother’s idea. Brilliance he could only hope to one day live up to.

“Good morning, Eros.” Leto popped her head into his cube. She must have hung up only a minute or two after he’d walked in. Her thick, dark hair was swept back into a neat chignon, adorned with gold pins shaped like ivy leaves.

Most gods and goddesses had already embraced the twenty-first century, especially its multitude of advanced clothing options. Leto was among the few on Mt. Olympus who preferred the old ways, wearing a simple linen peplos to work every day. However, although she wasn’t ready to accept the long list of merits that a cotton jersey knit or rayon spandex blend offered, she did find accessorizing with strappy sandals and a Swarovski Crystal encrusted belt to not only be acceptable, but also quite fashionable.

“Good morning, Leto,” said Eros. “You look nice today.”

“Don’t I look nice every day?” She said, pushing her lips into a pout and feigning hurt feelings.

“You do,” said Eros. “I’m just making sure you don’t forget.”

“You’re so sweet,” she said, cocking her head to one side and giving him a contemplative look.

Eros knew exactly what was coming next.

“You know, it just boggles my mind no one’s snapped you up yet.”

There it was, the “you’re too sweet to be single.” A sentiment he wholeheartedly agreed with, naturally, but the truth was he didn’t have the power to control his own love life. If he did, he certainly wouldn’t be alone. The God of Love a lonely bachelor? Now that was a bit of irony he could do without. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his choice.

“Too busy being Mr. Matchmaker, I guess,” Eros winked, hoping Leto didn’t notice the gesture was forced.

6 thoughts on “Business of Love

  1. dlodes1 says:

    This is an interesting take on some of the god’s. It was a bit confusing to me at first. I wasn’t sure if he was a human acting like a god. I also was confused where he was because it sounded so much like a typical human office and not a place where the god’s are. Not sure how to change that to make it more clear, but it might be needed. I’m curious to see what you do with this.

    I’m guessing Eros finds love in this portrayal.
    I had to read through this slowly to figure out what is going on, but now that I understand, I would read further. Your writing is good and the concept is interesting.
    Obviously this is all my opinion but I hope it is helpful.

  2. Jayce says:

    This is really cute, and I would definitely read more. Here are my thoughts:

    I think you need to establish Eros’ name up front and not wait until the ninth paragraph. Some readers may think you’re being facetious with the term “god of love,” and others may assume you’re talking about the Roman god and not the Greek one. I did, and assumed this was about Cupid, so I was thrown when I saw Eros’ name. (I know Zeus is the Greek king and not the Roman one, but Cupid is more widely associated with god of love.)

    You have a lot of -ing starting sentences, which subjugates the action. For instance, in the first five paragraphs, you start sentences with Glancing, Resting, Having, and Straightening. You can make those sentences a lot stronger if you put the action up front and not behind the dependent clause.

    I didn’t have a problem with the portrayal of Mt. Olympus, but I did feel like there was a lot of description that doesn’t move the story along (there’s also a POV slip: how would he know that something cast a “heavenly glow across his features?”). Other than just being descriptive, I don’t know how much of it is actually needed. For instance, the whole thing about needing to have his suits tailored, Aphrodite and all she’s done, etc. is just exposition. It might be relevant later, but right now it reads too much like backstory.

    Last, as much as I like this, not much actually happens in this scene. Eros is in the elevator, then runs across the atrium, talks about himself and his mom, and Leto comes in and ponders why he’s still single. That’s pretty much all.

  3. Sofie says:

    I like the writing, but as someone else pointed out, more could be happening in this scene. I’m guessing that they will help someone on earth find love or something? Either way, I think you need to get to ‘the point’ a lot faster, in order to keep the reader’s attention. At the moment it feels like too much backstory.

    At first I thought ‘The God of Love’ was a nickname for a really hot guy or something. Maybe it was just me though.

    But like I said, I really liked the writing. Good work!

  4. Gentle Reader says:

    I like that you make it very clear from the beginning that this story is a romance. I also have a clear idea of the conflict. Bravo! So many writers go on for pages (and even chapters) before doing this. You nailed it.

    Still, the story needs editing. For example:

    “Adjusting his red silk tie for the third time in two minutes, the elevator continued to crawl its way to the top of Mt. Olympus.”

    Elevators don’t wear ties and can’t adjust them.

    I don’t hate adverbs, but you used “nearly” and “only” three times each. You also used a slew of other adverbs. Trim away!

    What age-group are you targeting with this novel? The idea is very cute, but there is a fine line between cute and cringe-worthy. Be very careful not to cross it. If the novel is for adults, be sure to convey that with the tone of your novel from the start. This is one area where you don’t want to leave any doubt in the reader’s mind.

    Good luck and keep writing. This is one of the more interesting samples that I’ve read so far on this site.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This was probably one of my favorite ones that I’ve read so far! I love the concept and how you revamped the Greek gods and goddesses. One thing that caught my attention was “Too busy being Mr. Matchmaker, I guess,” Eros winked, hoping Leto didn’t notice the gesture was forced. Winked isn’t a proper dialogue tag. Overall, I would definitely read on.

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