The Lost Fable: Butterfly Wings
"Have a nice day, Miss," the policeman said with the stern voice of someone who had been standing in the same place for too long of a time.
I waved at him when I exited the bank, searching in my purse for my phone, which had been vibrating frantically for the last thirty minutes, while I made my way to the GODIVA store. A soft smile escaped my lips at the first ring of the dial tone, a smile probably misinterpreted by passerby's. The second ring hadn't come when I heard the distinctive sound of a phone being flipped open.
"Hi, Elaine," I talked into the phone. "I was –"
"I'm so, so sorry, Psyche!" The voice from the phone screeched with the sharpness of regret. "I feel like such a terrible, terrible friend. But I couldn't say no, I just couldn't, and now –"
"Elaine, Elaine!" I exclaimed, raising my tone of voice just slightly. This was typical. "Why are you sorry?"
A cold silence met my question and I could nearly see Elaine's conflicted expression. She was always conflicted when she was silent.
"I won't be able to go your birthday party," she said almost too quietly for me to hear.
But I had heard.
"It's cool," I replied, monotone, when she didn't talk.
Distractedly, I pushed the door of the GODIVA store three seconds before realizing I had to pull. I felt brilliant.
"Well, you say that," Elaine started again, sighing dramatically. "But I don't like it. And I just couldn't say no to Jason, you know? I mean, we just started dating and I couldn't ditch him today of all days! He would have been so heartbroken."
He wouldn't have. But I didn't say that Elaine because she was currently under the impression that Jason-soccer-play-nobody was the love of her life. The reason escaped me, but it made her happy.
"Yes, Elaine, he would have been devastated," I mumbled and she sighed back in bliss.
I heard her babble one or two things about what to wear for her date while I surveyed the display of filled chocolate truffles. My own face looked back at me in resignation from the slightly reflective glass. I saw a pair of legs at the other side of the display case stop in front of me.
"Ok, E. Very interesting, but I'm gonna have to let you go –pressing matters require my attention."
I flipped my phone close, cutting Elaine off because she would have never stopped talking on her own free will.
I looked up from the truffles at the man standing behind the counter. A handsome face looked back at me –there was something very attractive and familiar about him, though I couldn't tell what. I blinked a couple of times to keep myself from staring at his face; it was rather unbecoming of me.
"Um, not really," I said after a moment of uncertainty. "Can I please just have one of everything?"
His blue eyes widened and traveled up and down my body, from the top of my brunette head, my purple shirt and dark blue jeans, to my black flip-flops. He seemed amused.
"Sure," he chuckled out, grabbing three bags from somewhere behind the counter. "Are there for a special occasion?"
I looked away for no real reason. "You could say that. It's my birthday."
He flashed me a small, controlled smile as he collected the truffles I wanted. "Having a party?" He asked casually.
"No," I answered, keeping my tone equally casual. "My friends are busy today."
Of course they were.
"How old?" He asked again unaware of my discomfort.
"Twenty," I replied, taking the chance to look at his face while he was focused on the chocolate to figure out from where I knew him or if I knew him at all. He must have felt me staring because, not too long later, he looked up and our eyes met. I laughed nervously. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stare. You just look sort of familiar."
"We must have met in past lives," he commented good-humouredly.
With a smile, he finished placing the last truffle in the bags and punched the numbers on the cash register. I handed him my credit card to pay an amount my dad whould never know.
"Thanks," I said once he had given me the bags and turned to leave.
"Have a happy birthday," he replied and when I turned to thank him again I got a glimpse of a twinkle in his eyes I couldn't quite understand.
I exited the store with a coconut truffle in my mouth –since it was my birthday, I might as well stuff myself with sugar. A couple of old ladies and their old gentlemen nodded or smiled at me as I made my way around the mall. I had never seen them in my life, but they seemed like nice people so I smiled back. Everybody was happy around my birthday, only they weren't happy because it was my birthday.
They were happy because it was Valentine's Day, which was exactly why I was not very happy. V-day always, always ruined my birthday. From kindergarten to college, whenever this time of the year came around all my friends were either in a relationship or frantically trying to throw themselves into one. So, when the Hallmark holiday came around, they were all happily sharing saliva or too depressed to actually go out.
It made me frustrated. I trusted they would mature after we got out of high school, but I must have had too high expectations.
"Maybe I need knew friends," I pondered out loud.
Truthfully, I didn't hate Valentine's Day (I liked the old couples). What I did hate was spending my birthday alone every year. All my friends had gotten too good at the whole chasing-the-goose thing. That's what they called it.
My phone started vibrating somewhere in my purse a second before it began ringing.
Hey, hey, set me free. Stupid Cu–
Blushing slightly, I hurried my search for the sneaky device before it alerted everybody in the mall of my terrible taste in music. In my defense, the song was catchy.
"Hello?" I said as soon as I flipped the phone open.
"Sicily, come here. She's gonna answer in– oh, hi. Hi, darling. How are you?"
"Hi, daddy," I said smiling a little. "What–?"
A second later I heard muffled noises and something that sounded like Dad saying good-bye.
"Psyche, are you still at the mall?" I heard Mom asking from the other side of the phone.
I nodded before I realized she couldn't quite see me. "Yes, Mom," I let out, stopping in front of the LIMITED window display to look at a gray jacket. "I deposited your check at the bank and then went and got," I hesitated. "A couple of truffles."
"Oh, great. Thanks, sweetheart," Mom squealed into the phone. She had a tendency to do that. "Your Dad and I are about to go on our date, would you mind getting a Happy Birthday card for yourself?"
I closed my eyes, resigned. "Sure, Mom."
"Thanks, hon. We'll see you later for your birthday dinner. Have fun with your friends!" She intoned happily before hanging up.
I shook my head, turning around to go to Hallmark. Most people under the age of thirty-seven would be crushed by the idea of their mothers asking for them to buy their own birthday cards (or birthday presents, or organizing their own birthday parties). But my mom did this every year, just like she and Dad went on a date every year, thinking that I was out having fun with my friends. It didn't hurt –it wasn't their fault that I had decided to come to the world earlier. I wasn't very patient even then.
I walked into the pink paradise that was the Hallmark store on Valentine's Day. Heart shaped balloons floated around, some sweet, sweet scent impregnated the space, and a Hoops&Yoyo toy was signing somewhere. A couple of people grinned at me with the knowing looks of someone who thought I was there to buy a present for my boyfriend. Oh, little did they know. I went to the birthday card section, stopping once of twice to 'aw' at Disney Princesses figurines. It was a weak point of mine.
"Do you need help with anything?" I heard a masculine voice say next to me.
I looked up at the average looking John who had interrupted the crucial moment of reading the first Happy Birthday card. He was beaming at me like today was his birthday instead of mine –probably what he was told to do when Hallmark hired him and gave him that horrendous uniform. Seriously, who would want to wear that black thing? Not even a supermodel could make that unflattering piece of clothing look attractive.
"No, thanks," I mumbled once I remembered the guy had asked something.
I turned back to the card, chuckling after I had read it.
"Your hair is very pretty."
I jumped startled when I heard the same guy talk again, an instinctive hand flying to my brunette waves. I hadn't realized he was still there.
"Thanks," I said dubiously, carefully inching away.
He looked at me lovingly for a couple of unnerving minutes in which I tried to give off the strongest 'go-away' vibes in could manage. Next thing I knew, the Hallmark guy had dropped down on one knee, arms outstretched.
"Oh, goddess!" He exclaimed, successfully attracting everyone's attention. "Would you do me the honor of being my girlfriend?"
My eyes opened wide and my heart shot in a race against himself. Excuse me?
"No," I replied hastily. Seemingly brokenhearted, he opened his mouth to scream something else, but I cut him off. "I said No. Please, stand up," I urged him.
"But," the guy started as he straightened himself up, much to my relief. "Dear, sweet Psyche, I love you!"
What was he –wait, he knew my name? I frowned at his adoring face; and it was right around when he reached to grab my hand that I managed to evade him and quickly walk out of the store. This year, I was going to make my own birthday card.
"What does Valentine's Day do to people?" I asked the heavens. Not like I expected a response, but it would be nice if the heavens gave me an explanation once in a while.
I looked around the interminable parade of couples and holiday love as I walked toward the exit of the mall, far away from that Hallmark guy. I recognized some of the people smooching together, but no one I knew enough to actually say Hi. The whole thing was both endearing and stupid –if only they loved each other as much every other time of the year!
Distracted, I was stupid enough to crash into a wall. Only the wall had flesh and warmth and it wasn't a wall at all. Curse my luck. The poor guy I had run into handed me the bags I dropped and smiled stupidly. He was blond, too.
"I'm sorry," I mumbled, taking the bags from him and feeling a lot more embarrassed than I had in a while.
"No worries, darlin'," he said in a southern accent. It was kind of cute. "Say, would ya like to go on a date with me?"
He wasn't cute anymore.
"I think not," I answered sternly, trying to evade him to get to the exit, which he was making extremely difficult with his 'I'm gonna stand in front of you wherever you go' dance.
"Oh, please, precious. Just one date?" He asked with the arrogance of someone who wasn't used to being rejected.
I looked past his light green eyes to the doors a distance behind him. "No. Please, get out of my way," I said, finally being able to go around him and make my firm way to the exit of the mall.
"But, love. Pancake of my existence, I can't live without you," he shouted.
I broke into a run, hearing his steps closely behind me. He was chasing me. Someone stronger than me would have probably stood ground and made that wanna-be cowboy back off. I, on the other hand, was extremely aware of how insignificant my chances of winning a fight against wall-man were. I was not stupid.
I pushed-slash-crashed against the mall's entrance. Apparently, automatic doors weren't fast enough for people who were running. Go figure.
I was one block safely away from the mall when I gathered up the courage to stop and catch my breath. Shaking, I resumed walking. My house wasn't too far away, but it was far enough that I could notice how exhausted all the running had made me. I never wanted to run again in my life –I had failed P.E. back in high school for a reason.
I turned around to see a red-haired boy, obviously younger than me, waving a hand wildly in my direction.
"My love, I need to talk to you!"
I gasped. It took me only a second too long to sprint off, the kid tailing behind me. Seriously, whatever goddess, or gods, or jerk up there was making my life miserable was going to pay for it.
"Leave me alone," I yelled once I was in front of my house door. Three long blocks later.
I fumbled with the key, yanking it in the keyhole just by chance. The door closed loudly behind me (probably because I had banged it) and, a moment later, I heard a 'thud' –as if somebody had collided against it.
I really hoped the fact that I didn't hear anything else didn't mean that the boy was unconscious.
"That was weird," I mumbled, trying to (once again) get all my oxygen back –only to sigh the air out in relief a second later. The familiarity of home engulfed my shivering body and made me feel safer.
I walked slowly toward the kitchen to put the bags of truffles in the refrigerator, with some luck, Dad wouldn't eat them all as soon as he saw them –he had a weak spot for sweets. I opened the fridge, half expecting someone to jump at me.
Hey, hey, set me free. Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me. Hey, he–
Startled, I took my phone out of my pocket, flipping it open without looking at the caller ID.
"Hi?" I said, holding the phone between my ear and my shoulder as I tried to stuff the bags into the fridge, between all the junk.
"Sweetheart! I've missed –"
I hung up. That was neither my dad nor a family member, and definitely not any male voice I could recognize.
"What is up today?" I groaned in irritation, pushing the bag violently into the fridge and causing more than one thing to fall out. "You!" I exclaimed, angrily staring at the ceiling. "You, up there. Whatever you think you are doing, stop in now, jerkface."
On a regular basis, I wasn't a hot-tempered idiot who got angry easily, but this had passed the point of being funny –it was simply absurd. I sighed frustrated, bending to pick up what had fallen out of the fridge and putting it back.
"I'm trying here, you know."
I dropped the bottle of mayonnaise I had in my hand and suddenly straightened up when I heard the deep, annoyed voice. There was a guy in my kitchen. I blinked a couple of times, incredulously gawking at the brown haired, blue-eyed figure in front of me. If I wasn't delusional by now (which I might have been) that was–
"How did you get in?" I asked in an attempt to regain my composure.
Apparently, my house was no longer safe.
"I used the door," he answered flatly, arms crossed over his chest.
I wondered if I should clue him in the fact that I knew he was lying, but my brain was too discombobulated at the moment to manage anything too complicated. I stared at him some more, the sinking feeling that I was in trouble slowly falling over me.
"Right. Look," I started as my eyes wandered around, searching for something that could possible cause some damage. "I don't know why you followed me, but I'm gonna have to ask you to leave before I start screaming for help. I have a loud voice."
That was a lousy threat. But it was the best I could squeeze out if my brain considering the fact that I had just found the GODIVA attendant standing in the middle of the kitchen and looking pretty angry at me. Why was he angry, anyway?
"First you call me jerkface and insult my work and now you want to kick me out?" The GODIVA guy asked sarcastically. "Aren't you grateful!"
Wait –what? I had officially reached the point where I was more confused than scared.
"What are you talking about?" I retorted.
"You heard what I said," he growled, burying his hands in the pockets of his dark blue jeans. "At least, I was trying."
It was at times like this that I really wished I had never moved out to go live on campus –where in the world did Mom keep the frying pans? I frowned at him, hopefully conveying my intense annoyance at his faulty communication skills.
"Dude, I really don't know what you are talking about."
He let out an exasperated sigh, as if I was retarded. "The guys. I'm talking about the guys," he said, obviously thinking that clarified everything. . "I sent four guys and you rejected them all!"
"You what?" I choked. "You sent those creep-o's who kept following me around? Did you pay them?"
"Pay?" He asked sounding offended. "Of course I didn't pay the idiots. I made them fall in love with you."
"You made –" My words got stuck in my mouth and my heart skipped a full beat. "Oh, God. You are mad. Like, really mad."
I swallowed hard. GODIVA needed to be more careful with their hiring choices.
I looked for my phone, the closest thing I had to call the police and get this man out of my house. It was just my luck that he followed my gaze and was able to grab the phone right when my hand shot out for it, leaving me half sprawled on the kitchen island.
"What? No. I'm not crazy," he said vehemently.
"Of course you are. Not only did you stalk me all the way to my house, you also got in somehow and just admitted to have made those guys 'fall in love' with me or whatever," I said heatedly. "Give me my phone back."
"No, I'm not giving you your phone back. And I'm certainly not mad," he declared as he brought a hand up to his head and messed with his already disheveled brown hair.
"Oh, yeah? Then, how did you make those men agree to follow me around?"
He frowned at me, as if in deep debate, and I frowned back. Then, in a quick movement he reached back and grabbed a golden bow. A bow that had not been there before. It didn't materialize among sparkles, but it hadn't been there until it was in his hands. Once again, I backed against the fridge. Maybe I really should scream for help.
I let my mouth hang wide open in astonishment for a minute. For unknown reasons, this man was in possession of a bow and, supposedly, arrows. He was armed.
"Keep that thing away from me," I said, my voice cold.
Finally, his expression relaxed and went from the apparently usual angry to shocked. He was handsome.
"I'm not going to shoot you with it," he said as if the mere thought offended him. "I can't shoot you."
"And how do I know that?" I counterattacked, keeping a safe distance from him.
"Gods, you don't even know who I am." He seemed frustrated.
I forgot to be scared for a second when he said that. I felt like I did know. The familiarity and magnetism that surrounded him at the GODIVA store was still there, stronger than ever.
"The GODIVA guy?" I asked skeptically.
"Yes. I mean, No. No," he babbled in confusion. He looked right into my light brown eyes with his dark blue ones. It was piercing. "I'm Eros."
I didn't quite know what made me say what came out of my mouth, but at the moment, it sounded reasonable. In my head.
"You're Cupid?" I blurted out.
Once again, he returned to his frown. "Zeus! I went out in my diapers once when I was two and I haven't been able to get rid of that nickname since." Truthfully, he sounded quite unhappy. "My name is Eros," he stated firmly as he jumped onto the kitchen island and sat on it. "E-r-o-s," he spelled.
"Um, right. And why should I believe you?" I asked in a pathetic attempt to organize my thoughts
That was the first time I saw his smirk. And what a hot smirk that was.
"Because I just made four guys fall madly in love with you," he whispered.
It was only then that I remembered what this whole thing was about –and how scared I should really be.
"Yeah. So, assuming I believe you: why did you do that?"
He shrugged, looking smug for a reason I couldn't quite understand. "I wanted to make you happy."
"You what?" I blurted out.
"It's your birthday today. And I accidentally paired off all your friends. I figured if I found someone you liked temporarily, it would make you feel better."
The fact that I believed what Eros had just babbled was wrong on so many levels. But I did.
"But why me? Why did you want to make me happy?"
His intense blue eyes bored into mine, intimidating me. "Because you are Psyche."
I frowned at him, summoning up all that courage the long forgotten camp counselor had talked about so much.
"Yes, Eros. I know I'm Psyche, but what does that –" I faded off as realization hit me. Oh, no. "Shoot. You don't think," I looked at him for confirmation, but his face was blank. "You don't think I'm your Psyche, do you?"
He grinned, smiling so charmingly I could barely take my eyes off his mouth. "Oh, but you are my Psyche."
"No. No, no, no. I'm not your Psyche. I'm just a Psyche," I said, pointing at myself among other wild hand gestures for emphasis. I had officially lost it.
He raised an eyebrow at me, knowingly. "How many Psyches do you think there are in the world?"
I shook my head unconsciously. "I don't know. I'm sure there are tons in Greece."
He smirked, taking a strand of my wavy brunette hair and twirling it around his finger. That was just what was happening with my thoughts at the moment.
"No. There is just one at a time. And you are the one Psyche now," he said softly, his smirk morphing into a longing smile. "I should know. I've been looking for you for a while."
A chill ran down my spine. What was I supposed to do now? Push him away, believe him, scream for help, cry –kiss him? No. Wait, no kissing.
"You can't be serious. You know how deranged my parents were when they named me Psyche? It's pure coincidence!" I took a deep breath before continuing. "I'm not your Psyche and whether of not you're Eros, you are certainly not the Eros."
Eros laughed a little, pulling something from under his shirt. It was a golden locket with a tiny winged heart engraved on it. "Open it," he urged me.
I took it from his hands, it was warm and it tingled as if something important was inside of it. Carefully, I opened it to see five golden arrows with pointy hearts at the ends of them. They were literally emanating light.
"You can't expect me to not call you Cupid after seeing this," I joked unconsciously.
Well, here it is!
Can I just say that Eros and Psyche are my absolute favorite couple in mythology? Ok. They are.
This is a story I've been working on for quite a while now; it's a short, but multi-chaptered only because it was too long to be a one-shot, in my opinion. It'll probably have two or three chapters at the most, unless I go all crazy and make it longer… though I doubt it. I have it almost all written, so hopefully I'll be updating sort of soon. Comments? Hope you like it!
P.S.: I WILL eventually update my other stories, too :C Bear with me, I'm a graduating senior in college: I have almost no life.