The Secret Kiss
They all exited the dining room after three hours. Cilia left while holding onto Althea’s arm tightly. The Prince was talking with the king, Cletus, and Epirus as the young Prince Catreus came over to the two girls. He hugged Althea tightly like he always did and she did the same. “Shall you be staying the night, Althea?” He asked her in a childish way.
“I’m sorry, Catreus, but I cannot stay. My grandfather is still not well so I must go help take care of him.” She replied sadly and he sighed with understanding.
“But you are coming back tomorrow for our practice since the weekend will be over, correct?” He asked her hoping that she would say yes.
“Yes, I will be here tomorrow morning for both of your practices,” She replied and he was excited.
Epirus walked over to the small group and smiled to Althea, “It is getting late and Cronus will not stop his blessing to give us more time. Shall we go?” He asked her and she nodded kindly.
“I will change quickly.” She replied and then left with Cilia to go to her room. When they got there Cilia helped Althea get out of the dressy clothes and back into to her usual ones. Cilia hugged Althea before she left, but after that Althea went downstairs without Cilia. She found Epirus still talking with the other three men in the front of the home so she walked over to him and set her hand on his arm. All four men stopped talking and looked to her. She smiled to them, “Thank you for the meal, my king,” She said and then looked to the prince, “And it was nice to meet you Prince Elius,” She walked to the door and Epirus followed her, “I will see you all tomorrow morning,” She added, “May Nyx, Selene, and Morpheus be with you.” She then left with Epirus and went to his horse outside. They silently rode to her home in the dark as the people hid from Nyx’s gift. Epirus stopped the horse in front of Althea’s grandparent’s shop. They both got off of the horse and she looked up to him kindly, “Thank you for the ride, Epirus.”
He smiled back to her and nodded, “It’s my pleasure,” He said and there was a silence of feelings for a moment before Epirus gently set his right hand on her face. He caressed her skin and she felt a hot chill slide from her face to the rest of her body. He walked closer to her as his smiled turned from kindness to lovesick, “At the dinner tonight I was surprised Aphrodite did not smite you because you were more beautiful then she could ever be.” He teased and she laughed quietly.
“Oh hush.” She replied and then froze when he got closer. He bent his neck so that his lips touched hers. She felt a fire burning in her body as hormones took affect. He took his hand from her face and wrapped his arms around her. He lifted her off of the ground as she wrapped her arms around his neck. They kissed each other secretly until a cat moved in a trashcan a few feet away. They were both startled and let go of each other, but both quietly laughed as they realized they had been scared by a cat. Slowly they smiled to each other, “Goodnight, Epirus.” She whispered lovingly and he slowly got onto his horse.
He looked back to her in a lovesick way, “Till tomorrow, my lovely Althea.” He whispered and she watched him ride off.
“May Nyx be with you.” She whispered to herself and then went into her home for the night. She closed and locked the store door and then quietly crept up the staircase of creaky wood the best she could. When she got to the top she had a choice of going to the left to her small room or to the right to a larger room that held her grandparents and the kitchen. She went to the right and knocked on the wooden door that had been cursed by the wrath of Cronus.
“Yes?” A low voice asked in a whisper so Althea slipped in with the shut of the door behind herself. She smiled to her grandfather who was sitting up in his old bed and watched as her beautifully old grandmother scurry from the kitchen and into the room. She had on a nightgown and an apron with a fork in her left hand.
“Finally you show up!” Her grandmother complained, “If it had not been for the kindness of Miss Belus we would have thought you had fallen into a hole reaching to Tartarus! You should have told us that you were leaving!” She said as she walked towards her granddaughter and swung the fork.
“Dear, don’t attack her with a fork,” Her grandfather argued and then slightly chuckled, “I would hate to tell people that my wife, given as a gift by Hera, was killed by our granddaughter because she tried to attack her with a fork. It is too embarrassing for me.”
“Shut your mouth, Abas! Or so help me I will use my blessing of Mania on you!” She threatened and he laughed even harder than before.
“Take a joke.” Her grandfather said with a frown as their attention was brought from their quarrel and back to their granddaughter who was in trouble.
“I am sorry, grandmother. The Prince of Ebony was here and the Princess needed me to help her with things.” Althea explained and her grandmother became intrigued.
“The Prince of Ebony?” She repeated, “My, my! What an odd occurrence!” She said and luckily seemed to forget her anger.
“He is here to look at candidates for his wife.”
“Oh?” The grandmother asked and then seemed to smile wildly, “Tell me, my girl. Does Aphrodite bless him? I have heard that he is very handsome.”
“Yes, I suppose so and he has the gift of Zeus which is very interesting.” Althea replied and her grandmother shook her head furiously.
“No! I mean how does he look at you, girl? Has he said a word about maybe accepting you as his own gift from Hera?”
Althea was slightly flustered by the thought of Prince Elius asking for her hand in marriage, “He has not even spoke about the topic and I hope he does not if it includes my name.”
“Oh don’t say that, Althea. It would be magnificent for you to marry a prince.” She said and Althea quickly walked to the door of the room. This discussion was making her feel uncomfortable and she wanted to be gone.
“I must go spend time with Hypnos,” She opened the door and moved outside of it, “I will be leaving early for practice and will be back late, can you handle the shop?”
Her grandmother nodded, “We will be fine.”
“Alright, goodnight then.” She whispered and then closed the door. She went over to her own door and opened it. She changed into cloths dedicated to the time of Nyx and lay in her small bed to look at the ceiling.