I smiled to Primrose as she walked away; she had always been so flattering and kind to me. She seemed a lovely girl, though changed from when I had last seen her. I am sure I did not appear so pretty as she with her glittering gold hair and spectacular gown; I feared I actually faded in the glamorous crowd of God and Goddesses, many of which I only knew by name.

It was my best gown, from what I thought. Much of it was black, sharp and tight at the top with a low neckline to show my pale neck and shoulders, the curve of my collarbones and accentuating the amethyst necklace that hung there. Yet the top seemed to glint softly with violet and indigo as light hit it, like my hair at times. The rest of the dress cascaded in dark waterfalls at my feet, a wide slit along the side to reveal the underskirt, pale lavender that shimmered silver made of a veil-like material appearing like a strike of whimsy. I took my shawl from where I had set it on a chair beside me, feeling suddenly cold upon my shoulders. It did not appear to help with my chills, looking like the material of my underskirt and nearly transparent to still show my white, barren skin, though it was somewhat comforting. I briefly glanced around, adjusting the jeweled midnight black mask on my face.

"You look good tonight, Anaxandra," the familiar voice of Thantos slid over to my ears, making me jump slightly as I turned to look at him directly. I could not help but color darkly with a soft flush of pink, giving a bashful smile as I did my best to hide it.  Was it just me, but did he appear a bit flustered?  A tad of annoyance still lingered on his expression as if he had bitten into something sour.  But my own reaction to him made him grin slightly, making a piece of it dissolve. "Fantastic, actually."

"You do not look so bad either," I managed, my voice suddenly darkly playful, and it seemed to surprise him. I felt a little  empowered by my appearance, almost. I was the Goddess of Dreams, Nightmares, and the Unknown...Why should I be so shy and afraid? I had known Thantos long enough....hadn't I? My confidence wavered for a moment and I failed myself by blushing again. He chuckled lightly; it appeared to.....amuse him. I felt even more stupid.

Really, he actually looked quite good. Elusive and dashing, cast in his shadowy, almost thrilling way. I was going to say something more, but didn't muster enough courage. It looked as if Thantos was going to open his mouth to break the awkward pause but Nyx stepped in and grabbed at his arm. There was an expression in her face that appeared very similar to Thantos', as if her eyes still had the embers of anger in them. As she took the place at his side, I could feel the sting of envy bitter my tongue, the heaviness of disappointment in myself that....I couldn't put myself together right, I suppose.

"Hello, Anaxandra," she smiled to me, covering some of her former feelings, whatever they may be or from whatever event they may be from, though there was still a small shadow of them there. "You are beautiful tonight."

"Thank you," I lowered my eyes with a smile in return, observing her own outfit. "I could say the same of you, if not more--you look stunning." And it was true.

"You are kind, Anaxandra," answered Nyx.

Unsure of how to continue between the three of us, I quickly and courteously excused myself, drifting through the crowd at a rapid pace as if I had something on my mind. It wasn't long before I made a fool of myself.

"Oh, dear, I am so sorry," I recovered from my stumbled after running head on into someone. I looked up, meeting the brilliant sky eyes and dashing, pure face of Cupid, an angelic warrior with the arrows of love across his well-muscled back.  I threw a glance over my shoulder to steal a look at Thantos to see if he noticed, relieved when he appeared to be deep in a conversation with Nyx. I returned my eyes to Cupid, who was looking at me with a certain slyness. I feared the worst.

"What is wrong, Anaxandra, beautiful Goddess of Dreams, Nightmares, and the Unknown?" he grinned, taking one of his gentle fingers and running it along my jawbone. I shivered. "Why are you so scared? Are you scared of the Unknown?" he laughed, his voice like many harps trilling.  I stiffened at his remark. "You haven't the least idea of how to approach him, unknowing and so, so innocent. Still so young...." He tapped his lips thoughtfully, "Perhaps I should give you some assistance...."

"Please!" I cried, taking his hands as he began to reach for the arrows at his back. I begged, "Please, I am quite well off as I am at the moment." He smirked, as if still not taking me seriously. My eyes darkened, I straightened, I advanced on him, almost standing over him. My voice had darkened as well, a soft hiss, threatening, "I do not need your mettling around in my life. If you do," I paused, adding extra emphasis as I took his chin in my own grip to capture his attention. He raised an eyebrow, half impressed and half frightened. I held my face inches from his, "I can have the worst of nightmares haunt your head, day and night, with no way of escaping. I can make your mind a living hell." I backed off a little. "Do you understand?"

"Alright," he nodded. He smiled once more, turning to walk away, "Has anyone told you how enchanting you are when you are angry?" Before I could reply, he was strolling lazily away, yet still speaking loudly enough so I could hear, "Looks like you'll be able to do just fine without my or Aphrodite's help--if you get your head out of it and stop blushing."

The End

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