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.
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.
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.
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.