That Damned Calendar

Mathieu had been hounding me for weeks. Every time I do something he asks or needs, there is something new. I finally faced my fears of the Trench and returned safely. After a short respite, he found something else. The calendar.

“I thought that was just a joke, Mathieu, something to drum up interest in the resort. We’re mere weeks away from the Grand Opening. We don’t have time to worry about this stupid calendar,” I commented, shocked and surprised when he brought it up. 

“Amphitrite!” Mathieu gasped, and I couldn’t help but giggle.

“What? You knew I didn’t want to do the photoshoot, to begin with,” I replied. “Why do we still need to do the calendar? Isn’t it just a little silly and vain?”

He waved his hand in front of his face. “Nonsense, I know at least a few people who will buy it.” I just raised my eyebrow at him. “I’m sure Lord Dionysos would like one.” I blushed and shook my head. “Lady Selene would probably want to support you, hmm…who else? Alessa definitely, she’s already been texting me asking when they’ll be released.”

I gulped. “They’re already in print?”

“Soon, Amph, very soon,” he commented with a smirk. I just groaned. “Would you like me to continue the list? Because I have a pre-order list.”

“Burn it, Mathieu, we’re not selling the calendars.” This little publicity stunt had gone too far. All the photos were classy and tasteful, but I still felt like a pin-up girl every time they were brought up. 

“Please, Amph, I beg of you. Do this for me? I can print them without your consent. You already signed the document.” Shit, he was right. I did. Stupid paperwork. “But I want to do this as a team. Please.” Mathieu was practically on his knees, begging me. I sighed.

“Oh, alright, but if I don’t like the final draft, it gets scrapped, deal?” I replied and stuck out my right hand.

Mathieu, my perky, amazing General Manager, just beamed at me and took my hand. “Deal! Now let’s call the graphic designer over and get started!” He pulled me back into Nymphaeum, talking about all the ideas he had. About an hour and a bottle of white later, the graphic designer arrived, and Mathieu dove into the discussion with them.

It seemed I was just overseeing the work. There were times that I chimed in with a comment, but for the most part, Mathieu knew what he wanted and how to keep me looking classy. It was all I could ask for until it wasn’t.

“No, not that one,” I stated emphatically as they were trying to decide on December’s picture. 

“But, Lady Amphitrite, it is customary to have a sexier one for December,” the graphic designer commented. That one picture, more than any of the others, was a joke to me. And no one was ever going to see it.

I stood up, wine bottle in hand, and looked down at the computer. “If you decide to go with that picture, you may as well kibosh the whole thing. I will not approve anything with my name, my image, to include something so…”

“Scandalous?” Mathieu chimed in, and I nodded. “Alright, we’ll use the other picture because I want this calendar out there!” He was exuberant and elated, and it made me nervous. I’d enjoyed taking the photos so much, but I honestly thought it was just for fun. The idea of a calendar seemed so far-fetched that I agreed without really thinking.

“Alright, you know which ones I like and which ones I don’t, so…I guess put them in the order you see fit.” I made my way to the door, but Mathieu stopped me.

“Amph, I promise we’ll make you proud.” He placed a gentle kiss on my cheek and smiled. I nodded and left before I could agree to anything else.

—–

A few days passed, and as I was going over the floor plan for the big night, Mathieu burst in, carrying a stack of, you guessed it, calendars. How did they get them printed so fast?!

“Amph, take a look!” Mathieu bustled over to the dais where I was standing. I jumped down and sat on the platform. I smiled, it was infectious, and he placed them down. Five copies, but I could see even the covers were different.

“What is all this, Mathieu?” I asked calmly, picking one up and starting to flip through it. The pictures were stunning, the touch-ups just right, and I have to say, I looked good. I then glanced down at my shambles of an outfit. There I was, chilling in sweats and flip-flops, with my long hair up in a messy bun. I did not resemble the goddess in those pictures. 

“Well, there were a couple of months that we couldn’t decide on between the two of us, so we did a mock-up of how everything would look with each of the options,” he stated simply.

“Okay, and?”

“And you get to decide.”

Of course, I do. I rolled my eyes and flipped open the one I had in my hands. It looked good so far, but then May caught my eye, and I shuddered a little. It was just a little too…much. “What was the other option for May?” The other one was cute, sweet, tender almost. I was wearing a pale pink dress with flowers on it, cute little sleeves, and a heart neckline. Or maybe it was called a sweetheart neckline? I don’t know. I felt pretty and cute when I wore it. “This one, Mathieu.” He made a note, and I continued through. 

November caught my eye this time. It was a choice between two comfy looking outfits. One was a dark purple, the other blues and greys. The second one was what I would wear normally, and yes, I stole all the clothing and added it to my wardrobe, so sue me. Mathieu smiled at me, having seen me rock the look around the resort on the chillier nights. It wasn’t so much that it got cold, but the nights were starting to freshen up. I’d taken to wearing a long sweater, like the one in the photo around here and back home.

“That one works just fine. It cuts the sexiness of October with the elegance of December,” Mathieu stated. “Any comments on the artwork, design, or anything else?”

“No, Mathieu, they all look amazing. Thank you.” I went to give them back, and he just smiled. 

“Keep them. They’re just going to go in the trash anyway,” he commented. 

I nodded and sighed. “Alright, I’m going home. Let me know if there’s anything you need from me tomorrow. I’m not coming in.”

“Understood, we could all use a break once the Grand Opening is over.” I couldn’t agree more. 

I picked up the calendars, PROOF—DO NOT REPRODUCE, watermarked on all the pages, and smiled down at Mathieu. “Thank you, my friend, for taking care of me, this resort, and everything else. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

He chuckled and stood beside me. “Oh, you know, crash and burn.” I laughed along with him, kissed his cheek again, and disappeared into sea mist. I had never really wondered about the extent of my teleportation. I was always near the ocean to draw power and strength. Any further inland, and I would start to dry out, to desiccate. It was not a pretty look. 

I popped into the lounge back home, wanting to grab a drink before heading back upstairs. I placed the calendar proofs on the counter in the kitchen before getting a water bottle out of the fridge. I leaned against the wall for a moment while I enjoyed the beverage, and when I left the lounge, I left the calendars behind, completely forgotten.

Published by Natalie Bartley

I am a 33-year-old Adult Fantasy author in Oshawa, Ontario. I hope one day to open her own Pagan store with her partner. I have been writing for most of my life but have only recently (in the last year) started putting those stories out to the world. My faith as a polytheistic witch leads me to many different storylines that involve the gods around her. My first book, Love and Pain in Zion, was a labour of love and heartbreak, and it took me many years to complete it. I live with my partner and step-son in Oshawa and is also completing my clergy status with the Correllian Nativist Tradition. My husband and I are planning on opening up a New Age/Metaphysical store, where I am running the storefront and he is running the services in the back. Since he is already a licensed interfaith minister and can perform weddings in Ontario, and a Reiki master, we can start offering services soon. I am enrolled in Witch School International as a seminary school of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. I have mostly completed my First Degree clergy status, and am almost finished my Second Degree. Brian and I run a local temple (Temple of the Night) which is a part of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. We are currently the only temple with full temple status in Canada. If you want to help fuel my writing, consider donating to my Ko-fi! https://ko-fi.com/nataliebartley

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