Love Stinks, Inc., an Uncollected Anthology story

Love Stinks, Inc., an Uncollected Anthology story by Annie Reed Page B

Book: Love Stinks, Inc., an Uncollected Anthology story by Annie Reed Read Free Book Online
Authors: Annie Reed
Tags: Fiction
things like a lack of appointment never stopped Hermes.
    Especially when he had a delivery from the Z Man.
    “I can’t believe he lets you call him that,” Dyte had said.
    Hermes just grinned at her while he paced back and forth in front of the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the calm waters of Moretown Bay, twirling his staff as he walked. The two snakes twined around the staff looked like they were about to get sick.
    For once, there’d been no morning fog, and the view from her office was spectacular. She could see the top of the Ferris wheel down by the waterfront, a huge thing that rose nearly seventeen stories tall, complete with closed-in gondolas instead of bucket seats so that the rainy weather so typical of the city couldn’t shut it down. She’d never been for a ride on the Ferris wheel, but every time she saw the wheel from her office window, she could almost taste cotton candy and hot buttered popcorn and feel the stomach-dropping sensation of riding the huge wheel.
    That was the stuff of dates, and Dyte didn’t go on dates. That didn’t mean she couldn’t appreciate the idea of a date on the Ferris wheel.
    She sighed and turned back to her unexpected visitor.
    She’d had a crush on Hermes when she’d been little. Like, really little. He was incredibly gorgeous, incredibly fit, and had enough charisma in his little finger to give her dad’s arrows a run for their money in the compelling willing virgins to give up their virginity department.
    Dyte’s adoration of Hermes had dimmed as she grew up and realized just how callous he could be, but he was still one of the most beautiful of the gods. Plus, he really knew how to dress. Today he looked like a cross between a metrosexual rapper and bodybuilding athlete, what with the white linen trousers and form-fitting V-necked silk tee that showed off his washboard abs, the white tennis shoes with little wings on the back, and a long white coat made out of what Dyte hoped was fake fur. She was pretty sure the rings on his fingers were real gold.
    “If they throw up,” she said, pointing at the snakes twined around his staff, “you’re dealing with it.”
    He grinned at her, but he brought the staff to a standstill. “You’re stalling.”
    The envelope Hermes had delivered looked like any other manila envelope except for the wax seal.
    A rich, ruby red, the wax bore the mark of Zeus, and she could feel the energy the seal created. The envelope bore her name—her entire name (Dyte, daughter of Eros, daughter of Psyche, granddaughter of Aphrodite, and on and on). If anyone else tried to open it—say a curious messenger god whose snakes were about to puke on her slate gray carpet—Zeus would know about it.
    He’d also know once she broke the seal and opened the envelope. Talk about your ultimate return receipt.
    Only she didn’t want to know what was inside. Missives from Zeus were never a good thing, and so far, she’d managed to slip beneath his radar. Even her little spat with her dad hadn’t caught Zeus’s attention.
    So why now? What had she done to warrant a personal letter from the Z Man?
    “I suppose you aren’t leaving until I open this,” she said.
    Hermes only smiled in response.
    Dyte looked down at the envelope and realized she’d been twirling it like he’d been twirling his staff. She made herself stop.
    Just get on with it already.
    She broke the seal and watched as the wax melted into nothingness, leaving behind an envelope with a single sheet of paper inside.
    She drew out the sheet of paper.
    It was an invitation to a naming day ceremony.
    Well, that wasn’t so bad. New gods and goddesses came along all the time.
    Back when Zeus ruled out in the open, naming day ceremonies were rare. No one had thought there’d come a day when the world would need a God of Diesel Engines or a Goddess of Fiber Optics. But these days, when prayers or pleas from the mortal world grew great enough (as in “Good lord, not another

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