Nymphaeum had been extra busy today, we’d had a special for the underwater suites. I was tired, and decided to spend my evening in the lounge. As I walked in, a bobbing head of blonde greeted me emphatically.
“Amphitrite!? I heard you were back. How are you?” Selene said, beaming at me.
I looked over at the voice and smiled brightly, my weariness fleeing from me. “Selene! I returned a short while ago but haven’t been out and around much.” I made my way over to where she was and sat down. “How have you been?”
“Recovering, but well. How’s the new hotel?” she replied softly. I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant, but she did look tired.
I pulled my legs up underneath me and fixed my dress. “Getting busy slowly. I’m still adjusting to being solid again, and I’m running my ass off.”
I watched as Selene nodded quickly. “I remember those times well. Confined to a mortal body, and trying to build a business.”
I felt calmer as we spoke and knew that I was attuning to her presence. The moon always had a prominent effect on me and my tides. “What business are you running?”
Selene’s face seemed to grow weary for a moment, and yet she radiated with pride. “I have a talent agency. I work mainly with A-lister musicians. Damn, are they demanding!”
I laughed a little and smiled at my old friend. “Oh, wow!”
If Selene’s face radiated pride before, that was nothing compared to now. She practically shone like the moon. “Yeah, took a while to build to this level, but…it was worth it. It helps that I don’t sleep.” She shrugged a little, almost sheepishly. “Can I fix you a drink? I’m having a bourbon.”
“Yes, I can understand that,” I began. My mouth grew dry, and not the, I’m drying out and need liquid kind of dry. “And white wine, please, if there is any.”
“Sure, chilled? I’m sure there is some in the fridge if it’s not full of Mr. T’s sodas.”
“Yes, please.” I smiled softly at her as she pulled down a wine glass and opened the fridge.
She slid over the Mr. T’s and found a lovely white wine. Selene popped the cork and poured me a glass. I could smell the bouquet from here.
“Thank you, Selene. It’s been a hell of an adjustment,” I admitted, which for me was hard. I hated admitting that I was weak or that I struggled. As the oldest of the Nereids, I needed to be more reliable than the others. Then, as the consort of Poseidon, I always had to keep up that visage of external strength.
Selene came back over and sat down, a soft moan escaping her lips, “Mnm.”
“So a talent agency, is that like, looking for the next hero?” I was honestly curious. Heroes were a big deal in the old days, and I wondered if that tradition had continued.
“Sort of. I do use my powers, but the mortals don’t realize it. At this point, I have staff that do the searching. They only call me in to manage the shit when one is being a stupid prick, or someone is worth the overhaul they get from me personally,” Selene replied, her voice was enthralling. The way it inflected with her pride and frustration told me that she was immensely proud of her work.
“Oh, that is amazing!” I took a sniff of the wine and smiled again. “Oh, the good stuff.”
Selene put the cork back into the bottle and set it on the counter. She paused for a moment before speaking. “So, I have been thinking. I have a lab…a marine lab.” Her eyes sparkled as the idea came to her. “Would you come see it with me?”
I could feel my eyes light up in response to her question. “A marine lab? Like, to educate or care for marine life? Of course, I want to see it!” I was more than excited.
Selene’s face lit up at my excitement, yet her tone was serious. “We are developing a way to help clean up the mortal’s… idiocy.”
“Oh, Selene, that is amazing!”
“Walk with me, and I’ll elaborate!” She stated.
I was intrigued, naturally, so I nodded and stood up. “Are drinks allowed?”
She laughed a little, a grin playing across the titan’s face. “Of course, I have scotch in my office.”
I laughed with her, and the ease of our old relationship began to settle back in. “I’ll have to try some of that.”
She smiled softly, like the pale glow of moonlight in winter. “Will do. Remind me, though. I get carried away when I talk about my lab.” I could understand that. Selene offered me her arm. “Shall we?”
I stood and took her arm. “Of course, I completely understand being carried away by the sea.” I winked playfully at her.
We made our way up the elevator to her lab. “So, we are developing filters for factories that still dump their wastes into the waterways.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” I commented softly.
“We have a prototype set of drums that use the ocean’s current to generate clean electricity and filter plastics and shit from the surf.”
I was impressed, seriously impressed. “Selene, you’ve done so much since I’ve been gone!”
“That’s there, in the back.” Selene pointed to the massive tanks in the back of the building, and her face softened at my last words. “It’s the least I can do. This is my hobby.”
My eyes widened as I took in the scene before me. “I should have returned earlier, I could have helped.”
“Don’t worry about should-haves, you are here now,” Selene waved to a woman as she joined us. “Amph, this is Shelly. One mortal I can spend days in a non-stop brainstorming session with. She’s also my lead developer.”
Shelly stretched her hand out to greet me. “Nice to meet you, my lady.” She turned then to Selene. “Another goddess, Ms. Moon?”
Selene nodded and smiled. “Yes, Shelly, the one we need the most for our projects.”
I reached out and took Shelly’s hand. “Hello, I’m Amphitrite. The Goddess of the Sea.”
”Oh! Of the Sea?” Her eyes twinkled. “Then we will be fast friends, ma’am.”
I smiled softly. “I hope so. This is wonderful work you are doing here. I hope to be a part of it.”
Selene positively beamed. And it wasn’t even the full moon. “Oh, would you!?”
I nodded emphatically. “Of course, you are essentially trying to heal me! Yes, I’d like to be a part of it.”
“One of many things I am doing to help. These damn mortals…” She glanced at Shelly. “Sorry, you know I don’t mean you…” Selene turned back to me. “They are so… arrogant and careless with Gaia and you…” Selene’s face went all new moon on me, and for a moment, I worried that her anger would consume her.
Shelly left, agreeing with what Selene had said. I placed my hands on Selene’s shoulders. “Sel, look at me, calm in me.”
She gazed into my eyes, and saw the sea within. “I’m sorry you had to see that…” she mumbled as the soft glow returned. “They just… infuriate me.”
“As they do me,” I kept Sel’s gaze a moment longer and kissed her forehead. “You and I are bound, we always have been. I am sorry for being away for so long. But hopefully, we can now work to heal the oceans of the world. And not all mortals are ruining us.”
“Do you…does my extra energy discharge, when I have it to spare…can you feel it?” Her voice fumbled like it made her nervous to ask.
I smiled, confident in my response. “Always, Selene.”
“I try, Amph, I really try.”
“I know you do, and seeing this,” I waved around me, “is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in 2,000 years.”
Selene’s glow intensified, and her smile reached her eyes. Joy and pride were radiating off her. “I am glad you like it.”
“I love it, Selene…I really do.”
“Take a walk around. Ask what you like…if you have time,” she prodded. I really think that Selene wanted my approval, even more so than I had already given.
I looked around as an idea popped into my head. “If I could infuse a little of my essence into your work here, it may make things go easier.”
If I thought she was excited before, it was nothing compared to now. “Really!? Oh, Amph!”
I smiled softly and let a little sea out of my essence as I walked around the room. Selene just stood back and watched as I moved, my arms and fingers floating as if I were underwater.
My blue aura radiated through the lab. “So much work here, Selene. It’s wonderful.”
“Thank you truly. Is there anything you’d like to see? Do you need to rest or anything? You seemed a bit run down when you came into the room earlier,” she asked softly, worried for me. It touched my heart that I had my old friend back and that we seemed to be picking up where we left off.
I smiled over and pulled my aura back in. “No, well, maybe some more drink, and good company…”
“Sure, how about my office then?” I nodded, and she showed me to her office, opening the door and motioning to the sofa. “So, scotch?”
I followed her to the sofa. “Let’s try it.”
Selene smiled, opening a drawer and pulling out a bottle of scotch and two glasses. She poured us both a drink. I took one of the glasses, smelling it carefully. “It’s old and strong…”
I wrinkled my nose but took a sip. The liquid fire coursed down my throat, and I sputtered. “Whoa!”
Selene snickered, finishing her glass in one gulp. “Watch yourself there, Amph. I told you it was strong.”
I coughed a little and took a slower sip. “Yes, you did warn me.” I took a third sip and smiled. “I can see why you like it, Selene.”
Her smile widened. “Just don’t drink too much until you get used to it. We don’t know how your mortal form will take it, okay?”
I nodded once more and put the glass down, letting my body acclimate to the drink. “Granted, if someone wanted to get me drunk…that would be a good way to do it.”
Selene just chuckled. “I’d imagine. None of it affects me at all. It’s like a soda or water. I drink it for the taste.” She shrugged slightly at the admission.
“We are all different,” Selene said.
“Yes, we are. I’m hoping my mortal body this time around won’t be as feeble as the last one.”
I took one last sip and let the warmth wash over me.
“Good then… Any questions for me? Or would you like to tell me more about your hotel?” Selene asked.
I flushed from the drink and smiled. “Nymphaeum. It’s more of a resort than a hotel. It’s got everything, miles of pristine, private beaches, a casino, restaurants, suites under the surface.”
“Oh,” she said and shifted on the couch beside me. “Sounds divine.”
“It is.” My face softened as I thought about it. “Actually, I never really noticed, but it reminds me of Atlantis. You’ll have to come to visit, have a spa day, something.”
“Definitely!” Selene replied quickly.
I knew I couldn’t leave it at that. “And any special friend you may have.”
“Oh!” Her eyes twinkled at the thought, and her glow filled the room. “Yes..I, um…I am happily in love with Artemis. We are in a beautiful relationship, a few months now.”
“I’m so glad for you, Selene!” I pulled her into a hug and smiled genuinely at her. “That’s wonderful.” I stood up slowly and stretched out. “I need to be heading out, but we need to do this again. Also, let me know when you and Arty would like to come to Nymphaeum, I’ll set aside the best room for you two.”
Selene stood and hugged me tightly, our bond connecting fully, and we smiled. “I will, Amph, I will. Do you remember your way out?”
I nodded and pressed my forehead against hers. “I do, and I promise, this is not the last time I’ll be up here.” I squeezed her hand and turned to the door. “Have a good night, Selene.” And with that, I walked back through the lab and made my way downstairs.
~Written alongside Renee Christian