Within seconds, he’s teleported us to the Heavens. Or rather, the Mansion. Its big golden gates part for us and, shoulder to shoulder, we enter. I will admit, it is a gorgeous place—even the grass on the massive front lawn is flawless. The walk on the long cobblestone path from the entrance to the front door is over quicker than I’d like. Before I know it, Hermes is ringing the doorbell and I can hear a Bach sonata being played from inside. Aphrodite swings the door open and begins waving jewelry in my face.
“Oh, you both look just wonderful!” she squeals at us, flashing her pearly teeth.
Aphrodite, of course, will be the most beautiful woman in the house. Her sole presence is enough to make anyone fall in love with her, or at the very least catch the burning desire to please her. She exudes beauty, happiness—warmth. Try as I may to deny it, but if there is anyone I want to be, it’s her.
She beckons us forward and doesn’t hesitate to place a necklace with a rather weighty pendant around my neck. I look down at it, my eyes widening in alarm—it’s massive.
“What the hell?”
Aphrodite’s smile falters just a bit. “Sweetheart, it’s a necklace for love and good health.”
The pendant is a huge, heart-shaped ruby that sparkles every which way; it may have looked lovely had it not been made so large.
Aphrodite has a matching bracelet, the ruby thankfully normal-sized. She puts it around my wrist and beams. “There. You look beautiful, Charlie. They’ll love you.”
I find it oddly depressing that she would say that based on a compliment simply about my appearance, rather than, say, my competence and proficiency in the area of Apocalypse prevention.