"315 Beatties Street… I guess this is it."
Jeremy looks up from the palm pilot, to see a normal, plain-as-day suburban house. The difference with this house, when compared to say the others around it, was that THIS house was teeming with high school students, with loud raucous music booming out of its windows and the overpowering shouting and the screaming and the yelling and the everything of too many intoxicated voices.
He sighs to himself, and reaches into his coat pocket, gripping the stone with the yellow heart on it, letting its warmth act as a form of encouragement, before he steps into the throng.
He makes his way through the pulsing mass of life, attracting a few suspicious stares for being 'a bit too old.' But apparently not old enough to trigger a response they'd normally save for a full fledged adult, or more importantly, a full fledged adult policeman. Realizing he had nothing on this Daniel Worthington but his name, he grabs hold of the shoulder of a nearby teenager.
"Hey you!" he shouts over the din. "Do you know where I can find a Daniel Worthington?"
The teenager seems like he's had a few too much drinks, but still slur out an answer. "Danny? He… he…. I think he's upstairs!"
"Thanks!" Jeremy shouts, letting go of the shoulder, and the teenager slips back into the crowd. He walks up the crowded steps, asking again for directions from a girl waiting in line to use the bathroom, who directs him towards the master's bedroom.
Jeremy stares at the door-handle of the bedroom. He knows how these things usually go, the host of the party retiring to a bedroom? He'll most likely be… busy. Jeremy sighs to himself; might as well knock anyways, double check that he really is busy, so he knocks.
"Hey, excuse me, is there a Daniel Worthington in there? I need to speak to him."
Surprised that he's so easily welcomed, he pushes the door aside and steps inside."Oh Holy! Oh I'm so sorry!" Jeremy stammers, turning away. On the bed is a dark haired young man, naked except for his underwear, watching a live show provided by two women who are wearing even less clothing. The two women scream and dive for the covers as Jeremy quickly retreats outside and slams the door shut. He grimaces in embarrassment outside the door for about half a minute before the two women, miffed, but far more dressed, step outside and stride past him.
"Alright… NOW come in!"
Jeremy steps in, and sees that the man, presumably Daniel Worthington, still in his underwear on the bed smoking. On second glance, he's really more of a teenager than a grown adult… he looks… what… sixteen?
"I'm really sorry about that…" Jeremy starts to apologize.
"Nah, don't sweat it. They weren't all that good anyways, I can do better, if you know what I mean."
Jeremy resists the urge to roll his eyes and extends a hand to Daniel. "My name's Jeremy Hastings. You must be Daniel Worthington." Daniel doesn't return the gesture so Jeremy just stuffs his hands into his pockets.
"Yea, that's me. So what's so important that you had to come during one of my parties to speak to me? I'm not in trouble am I? Ha!"
Jeremy grips the stone in his pocket for encouragement before continuing. "I need to talk to you about a man called Lucas Andrew Chesterfield."
"Er… Lucas Chesterfield."
Daniel Worthington puts out his cigarette on the ash tray to his left. "Sorry, I really have no idea who that dude is."
"Um… Do you… happen to know him by... er… the name Apollo?"
Daniel hesitates, giving Jeremy a quizzical look. "What do you know about Apollo?"
"I… I'm his… er… his boyfriend."
"Shit!" shouts Daniel, jumping out of bed and making a grab for his clothes. "You're a fucking queer? I swear, that half brother of mine… sending his bitch to do his dirty work." Daniel buttons up his jeans and pulls on his t-shirt. "So what? He sent you to check on me? Tell him I'm doing just find thank you very much. I was fine twenty years ago. Granted, I died the following year… and I'm fine now, and I'll be fine twenty years from now, unless lung cancer or alcohol poisoning gets me first."
Jeremy gapes at Daniel, confused. "Wait a minute… who are you?"
- - - - - -
"So let me get this straight, you need me to give you whatever leads I have, Artemis if possible… so you can get back with Apollo, who died on you? If that wasn't so puke-worthy, I'd think it might've been sweet."
"Please Daniel… Dionysus… I would appreciate it so much. I love him, and I want to find him again."
Daniel guffaws loudly, an action that seems out of place for a 16 year old to do. "Love? Pah!" He waves his right hand in the air and a goblet filled to the brim with what must be wine appears in it, causing Jeremy to jerk back in surprise. Daniel takes a large gulp of it before speaking. "Tell you what mortal… you do something for me, and I'll do something for you, sounds fair?"
Jeremy briefly wondered what was wrong with just giving a simple address to any leads that Dionysus might have had, but kept his mouth shut, nodding his head instead.
"Right. There's a chick here at this party… mostly keeps to herself. Her name is Susan Pulch, and she's really hot. Let's see... hmm… well she has red hair and if I remember right she's wearing a yellow blouse tonight. Well, like I said, she's really hot, but she's very uninterested in the whole one night stand thing. Me? I'm not interested in the whole relationship thing, and I believe she senses this. So we have reached an impasse; there's no way I can get her in bed with me, because everyone she talks to don't give her any glowing comments about me. So if you can talk to her, and convince her to give me a try, I think I could let slip a few names and or addresses."
Jeremy sighs. "Do you even know where Artemis is?"
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't. Won't you just have to find out yourself?"
For a brief moment Jeremy considers beating this teenager up, tying him up, and forcing him to reveal where his address book was. The he remembered that this 'teenager' was really a powerful god with who knew what sort of powers. But apparently not the power to get a girl in bed with him. He sighs. "Fine… I'll do it."
"Good. Come back when you've finished, and you'll be that much closer to finding your Apollo."
- - - - - -
"Hey Lucas?" started Jeremy, squeezing the other man's hand as they walked through the park after dinner and a movie. Their breaths frosted in the air whenever they exhaled, and the wind nipped at their cheeks.
"There's something I've been meaning to say… something that I really haven't had much practice in saying…"
Lucas stopped walking and turned to Jeremy, waiting expectantly, a polite inquisitive look on his face.
"Well the thing is… it's not something I normally say to my parents… I kind of grew up not really saying it often… and I don't even know…"
The blond haired man interrupted Jeremy's spiel by pressing their lips together, creating a small area of warmth in that cold world. When he broke apart from Jeremy he pressed his forehead against the other mans'.
"I love you Jeremy."
Jeremy stared into Lucas' eyes while speaking. "I love you too Lucas… and… for the record? You're a bastard for saying it first when I was trying to say it."
Lucas grinned widely, his blue eyes twinkling as it reflected the light off the lampposts. He leaned in again, kissing the dark haired man he loved.
- - - - - -
After an hour of asking around and looking up and down for this Susan Pulch, Jeremy is feeling like she either doesn't exist and that Dionysus was just playing a prank on him, or that she wasn't at this party at all. Discouraged, he slips into the silence of the kitchen to take a quick break.
"Oh." Says a voice when Jeremy enters the swinging door to the kitchen, and he looks up to see a red headed girl, wearing a yellow blouse, sitting on the kitchen counter. Susan Pulch.
"Hey." Offers Jeremy.
"Hi. Looking for some quiet?"
Jeremy chuckles. "Yeah." He extends his hand. "I'm Jeremy Hastings."
She takes his hand and shakes it. "Susan Pulch. Um… if you don't mind me remarking Jeremy… you seem to be a bit too old to be a high school student."
"Oh. I'm not a high school student. I'm er… Daniel's half-brother's boyfriend. Sorta like an in-law I guess to the party's host… haha."
"Oh?" she remarks, and Jeremy notices how she just readily accepts his sexual orientation. "Didn't realize that Danny had a half-brother, much less a gay one at that. Heh, I bet he's so ashamed of his half-brother that he doesn't ever mention him. So I'm guessing you're here to visit Danny?"
"Yeah." Answers Jeremy, sitting himself down on a stool near the kitchen counter. "It's really quite loud out there."
"Yeah," agrees Susan, crossing her hands on her laps. "To tell you the truth, I don't really like parties."
"Oh? Then why did you come? Friends made you?"
"N… no… not really. It's because… um… nevermind, you'll just find it a bit silly." She says, blushing.
"Oh c'mon!" says Jeremy. "You're a straight girl, and I'm a gay guy, the laws of nature practically say that you have to tell me all your secrets! C'mon spill… I promise I won't laugh."
She continues blushing, and she looks down at her hands. "Well… it sounds silly… but… I… I'm here looking for true love. Oh, that's sounded so stupid! Forget I ever said that!"
Jeremy gets off the stool and sits beside Susan on the counter. "I don't think it's stupid at all…"
"R… really?" she stammers, looking up at Jeremy, who gives her a smile. Unwillingly his mind recalls an incident with Lucas, and he feels a brief pang of agony in his chest.
Susan sighs, looking up at the ceiling. "Sometimes… I feel like love doesn't seem to exist anymore in the world. All my classmates are just looking for their next hook up, their next item that they can show off to all of their friends… It makes me wonder if I'm just wasting my time looking for something that doesn't exist. You know what I mean?"
"Susan… Love exists. That's all there is to it. You just gotta believe."
"I wish I could be as sure as you are. Are you happy with Danny's half-brother? Would you call that love?"
"It was… is… love."
Susan raised an eyebrow at Jeremy as if asking the question 'was?'
"He… he died. About a month or so ago."
"O…o…oh. I'm so sorry for asking that Jeremy…"
Jeremy dismisses it with a shrug of his shoulders, blinking the moisture and willing it to not cloud his eyes and stuffing his hands into his pockets, feeling the warmth of the stone there. "I like to think that he's still with me. That somewhere out there he's there, still loving me. Love exists Susan."
She smiles gently at Jeremy. "I'll take your word for it then."
"Good." Jeremy looked at this girl, and saw a young woman floating through life, trying to believe with all her heart in the existence of love, and in her he saw an aspect of himself, many years ago. He realized he couldn't do what Dionysus asked of him.
Susan gets off the counter onto her feet, turning around and giving Jeremy a big hug. "Well, I'm off to find true love! It was really great meeting you Jeremy! If I'm to believe in the power of love, you better believe in it too ok?"
"Yeah. Ok. Have a good life Susan."
- - - - - -
It was freshman year of college. Jeremy Hastings was the shy boy who came to the party because a friend of his had promised to introduce him to one or two eligible bachelors who stayed at the dorms as well. He had agreed, claiming that he needed more friends anyways, but secretly hoping deep down that he'd meet someone nice, someone that would like him. Love him even.
The party was at this guy's house, just a few minutes walk away from the campus. It was a wild party, easily reflecting a college man's ability to drink heavily. He avoided the loud crowd, choosing instead to just chat to a few people he knew, all the while shying away from meeting new people. Lucas was the one who first noticed Jeremy. Like something out of a movie, Lucas had seen Jeremy from across a crowded room, noticing Jeremy's angular face, noticing the way the dark haired man awkwardly held a cup of beer and how he grimaced each time he took a sip from it. He had noticed the way the lights seemed to reflect gently off Jeremy's hair, and how it caused a spark to flicker in Jeremy's dark brown eyes.
Lucas had shoved his way across the crowded room to make his way in front of Jeremy and to introduce himself to him. No questions were asked whether the other was straight or not. No questions were needed; it had just felt so… RIGHT at the time.
Was this love?
- - - - - -
Jeremy watched Susan go out the door of the kitchen, sighing to himself.
"Well… I better go beg Dionysus to let me do something else in return." Jeremy says out loud to himself, slouching his shoulders.
"You know." Says a voice from behind him, causing Jeremy to jump in surprise. "When a god gives you a quest, you don't just say 'no thanks, I think I'll ask for a different one.'" Jeremy turns around to see Dionysus standing there, another drink in his hand. He walks up to Jeremy and sits down on the counter beside him, at the spot where Susan was.
"Since when have you been there?"
"Ever since you came into the kitchen. I was curious about what you'd employ to get her to come into bed with me, but sadly, I was rather disappointed by your performance." He takes a large swig from his cup. "Talking about love? Chickening out because she's such a good sweet girl? No wonder Apollo went for you… he's such a sucker for the soft hearted types."
"Dionysus…why can't you just give me whatever addresses you have? It's not like it takes much effort for you to do so…"
"That's true… but old habits die hard. We've always been ones to enjoy doling out the quests." He drinks more from his goblet. "Ah the good old days."
"Dionysus… don't you believe in love?"
"Hmm… I believe in peace… I believe in carnal desire… I believe in the power of drink. Love? From what I've heard my mother believed in love. Even though she was just one of the many women that Zeus cheated with, she fell in love with him. She wanted to see him in all his glory, to love all of him… and well… if you know your mythology… she got fried for it. So…love? Hah!"
"Oh. But that's just one story in millions! I'm sure for every person who tells you that love doesn't exist there's another person who's a firm believer."
"Perhaps. You'd be one of those to tell me it exists right? Just like how you told Susan Pulch? But tell me something Jeremy… something is really confusing me… if you believe so much in love… why didn't you just lie to Susan and tell her I'm a great fantastic person? Wouldn't anyone who is so allegedly in love as you are do anything to find his lover again?"
Jeremy looks down at his lap, silent for a moment, before speaking. "Because it's not what Lucas would have wanted me to do…"
Dionysus is silent for a moment, before guffawing loudly. "Ha! Love! Far too complicated for me to understand! You know what? I'll give you the address that I have… just because I'm curious as to how far you'd go for love."
Dionysus smiles widely, passing his goblet to me to hold for him, and a piece of paper appears in his hand. "You are looking for someone called Aisha Jenningson living here at this address. But first… a small quest!"
Jeremy groans inwardly, but tries to put on an appeasing smile. Dionysus waves his hands and another goblet appears in his hands. "A simple toast!" he exclaims, knocking his goblet with the goblet in Jeremy's hand. "To… let's say… hah yes… to love!"
Jeremy raises his goblet to toast Dionysus. "To love."
This took a lot longer than I imagined it would have taken. I had a bunch of jumbled ideas and I had quite a bit of difficulty trying to string them into a sensical idea. Hopefully this was at the very least mildly successful :) Funny how I seem to do most of my updates right before tests/exams because I tend to procrastinate hehe.
LupusBane - thanks for pointing out the strengths in the first chapter, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy this chapter, I'll start trying to assemble another chapter, and if it isn't too much a hassle, I'd love it if you reviewed me to say what's good and bad about it.
Sakruangelqueen - hehe glad you found time to read and comment on this one as well as my other story :)
Rain Angel - you're going to kill me with your praise XD I'm glad you liked it!
SerialXLain - another of my readers! :D Woohoo thanks for adding me to your fave author list!
I hope you enjoy this chapter, I'll start trying to assemble another chapter, and if it isn't too much a hassle, I'd love it if you reviewed me to say what's good and bad about it.