“Just a minute,” came the voice from inside the apartment.
Athena, Aphrodite and Hera weren’t really in a mood to wait patiently, but as the corridor they were in was quite busy with a lot of people walking in and out of their apartments at very irregular intervals, they had no choice. The lady in the apartment opposite was in and out every couple of minutes. A lot of the people seemed to stop and stare, which made Hera quite un-nerved.
“You should have changed your chiton, Aph.” she said, thinking that was the reason.
“We didn’t have time, you were both in such a rush” Aphrodite tried to hide the grease marks on her dress by folding her arms. She wasn’t very successful.
“Shush!” Athena commanded. “Remember, we are here to take Gerald, and that is all. These other mortals are meaningless; ignore them!”
Aphrodite and Hera looked at each other, and both rolled their eyes.
The door opened slightly, stopped by a taut door-chain. A friendly looking face peered through the small gap.
“Yes?” said the elderly-looking lady
“Oh,” began Athena, but she was instantly interrupted by the lady.
“Ah, it’s the three of you! Jean said you were coming by.” She closed the door to for a second to take the chain off, and then opened the door fully. “Please, come in. Jean should be finishing work in half an hour or so, you can come in and wait. My word, you’re tall girls. Jean said you were. You must be getting on for eight feet an’ then some!”
The lady walked into the room.
The three Goddesses had to bend to get in through the door frame, which they all did very regally, and in a graceful line.
The lady turned to face them, and she was now wearing a pair of spectacles. She first saw Aphrodite, then her dress, but didn’t say anything.
“Sit down on the sofa, if you can fit…” She said, looking at the height of the three girls. “What do you make of this weather? It’s like Armageddon out there with those thick black clouds, thunder and lightning”
“We didn’t notice…” Athena was interrupted again by the lady.
“That’s nice” she said. She was clearly taking in the details of the three strangers in her living room. “Look at how you young girls dress nowadays. I wish I could have had clothes like yours when I was younger. I’ve always liked the Roman look.”
Aphrodite looked at Athena and smiled slightly. She liked this lady.”Ath, we can’t stay here long… you said so yourself.”
Before Athena had chance to say anything, the lady spoke again.
“Ooh, is your name Ethel? Mine too! What a coincidence. Jean said you three were coming round before goin’ on to your party or something, but she never said what your names were.”
“Erm, yes” Athena replied quickly, glancing at both Hera and Aphrodite. “This,” she said pointing to one of the ‘girls’ “is Aph, and this, Hez” she then gestured toward the other.
“Hez? Is that short for Helen? Such a lovely name, I always thought. But Aph? What’s that short for?”
Aphrodite looked in a state of panic. She had never been put on the spot like this in her entire existence, especially by a mere mortal. She spoke without thinking.
“Ooh, lovely,” The lady smiled broadly; confused, but broadly. “Ruler of men. I know quite a few meanings of names. Yours, Helen, means light. And ours, Ethel, means noble maiden. I mean to say: can you see me as a noble maiden?” She laughed as a cry came from behind one of the doors from the back of the room. “Excuse me ladies, for a moment.” She walked out into the room where the noise was coming from.
“What a lovely lady” Aphrodite said. “Not all mortals are horrific, after all.”
“Well, yes,” Athena replied. “But we know that anyway. It’s obvious we’ve got the wrong address”
“That’s because you used your satnav system, Ath” Hera couldn’t help herself from commenting. “That device is useless. It always gets us lost”
Before anyone could say anything else, Ethel walked back into the room, carrying a small and gurgling package gently in her arms.
“There, there” she was saying, “You’ll be seeing Mummy soon.” She walked over to the crowded sofa, and turned so they could all see the baby in her arms. “This is my grandson, Gerald. Jean’s son. He’ll be one next week, he’s my pride and joy, and I love looking after him. I told Jean to go back to work just so I could, you know!”
The three Goddesses oohed and aahed, looking at the cute baby, but Athena couldn’t resist whispering to Hera. “Wrong address indeed. My device never lets me down.”
“Oh, look at the time,” Ethel said, looking at the clock on her mantelpiece. “I hope Jean’s got her umbrella. She’s got similar hair to you, Helen, and when it gets wet she looks like Medusa!” She laughed. “Back in a mo!”
She carried Gerald back to the bedroom.
“We’re too early!” Athena said, exasperated.
“Medusa!” Hera sighed.
“Let’s go before she comes back.” Aphrodite said.
“No!” said Athena. “We’ll take him now. This way, he’ll never be able to write what he’s already written about us.”
“Sometimes, Athena, your logic is totally flawed.” Aphrodite said, “We can’t go taking babies.”
“We’ll take them both” Athena stated, without thinking. “All three. We’ll wait for Jean, and take all three.”
Hera looked at Aphrodite. “Where did you get Andromeda from?” she asked, with a smirk on her face.
“I meant Ambrosia” whispered Aphrodite. “Athena, I think we should just go, and come back later. Literally. Like when this baby is grown up. We don’t have to take him now… let him enjoy his life.”
“Besides, Ath” Hera went on, “Those three friends will be here soon, and we can’t be here when they get here, but these two must be. And Jean. You’ll have to use your dreaded device to take us to another time in Gerald’s life.”
“OK,” sighed Athena, “but I’m sitting in the front this time.”
They got up to leave the apartment before Ethel returned, but there was a knock at the door.
“Oh” Athena said. She opened the door, and three girls dressed in fancy costumes were stood there.
“Is Jean in yet?” One of them said, taken slightly aback by the height of Athena.
“No, not yet,” Athena replied, trying to be helpful and appear ‘normal’ at the same time.
Ethel returned to the room and saw the three Goddesses in the doorway.
“We have to go now, Ethel,” Aphrodite said, “Lovely to meet you. Jean’s friends are here now, so we’ll give them and you some room.”
“Oh…” the baffled expression came across Ethel’s face again.
“We’ve realised that we’ve got the wrong apartment, silly us!” Hera did not sound convincing at all, as she followed the other two out of the apartment.
“Oh, OK.” Ethel said, welcoming the three new girls to her apartment. “I thought they were you!” She said to the newcomers. “Who goes around dressed like that nowadays?” She asked the gathered cat, witch and bunny girl.
“Some days are so strange.” She added. “Take a seat girls, Jean shouldn’t be long now…”
This is the next part to my Legendary Circles storyline. The link leads to the previous part!