Except in the way of books
Except in the way of books
The ornament is no longer talking to me. I took it off the tree as it asked and brought it up to my apartment. No one saw me. I hope. I set it on my coffee table, sit on my couch, and stare at it. Simone and Jonathan jump up on the couch to sit beside me, Simone on my left, Jonathan on my right. They stare with me. I wish they could talk. I tell them what happened..
So, i was walking through the lobby on the way to lunch, you guys, and i saw Asa and Nat talking out front. Then Natalie left and Asa walked in. I hid so he wouldn’t see me. He walked to the tree, then walked around it and disappeared. It was crazy. I went over to the tree to see what the hell was going on, and this glass kitty talked to me. He told me to take him off the tree and see what happens. I did, and nothing happened and here we are. Short version.
Cat and dog look up at me like i’m nuts, but i talk to them like this a lot. Like i said before, i really need a human friend i can trust. Not sure i can trust Natalie anymore. Ditto Asa. Then i remember i’m supposed to meet Asa at our favorite bakery at 2. I have forty five minutes. If i decide to go, i’ll need to drive.
I say to Simone and Jonathan, what do you think, my sweethearts? Should i go and meet him? Then i remember that he disappeared behind the Christmas tree. Tell you what, if i wasn’t a goddess, i’d think i’d gone bonkers. But i’ve seen stranger things.
Wait! I hear kitty ornament clear his throat. He says, i need your assistance, Chloe.
I say, oh, so you can still talk. I wondered. So who are you anyway? You’re obviously not really a Christmas ornament. Why the disguise? And where is Asa? What have you done with him?
Chloe! So many questions. Doesn’t my voice sound familiar?
I think for three seconds, and say no.
Are you sure? Remember that party at Dahlia Forest Mansion? 1925? Right here in Portland?
I swear my heart stops for a few seconds. I remember, and i say, but it can’t be you! Duncan! Duncan de Seckcee! So you’re a cat now, and not even a real cat, but a glass Christmas cat?
I’m disguised, though i do need your help to get back to my sexy Seckcee self. Please, Chloe. For old times’ sake?
I don’t know, Dunc. You sound kinda whiny. Did you forget your own spell?
No. I didn’t forget, exactly. I wanted to see you after all these years. I’ve missed you, sweetheart. And that Asa dude is no good for you. He has secrets.
If i help you get back to normal, will you share his secrets with me? Tell me where he went when he disappeared behind the Christmas tree?
Kitty Duncan sighs.. yes Chloe. I’ll tell you what i can.
I look at my watch, and i think, well, i won’t be going to see Asa now anyway. Duncan seems to read my mind and says..
Asa will be busy for the next three or so days. If you had plans with him, they’ve been nixed. Isabelle sent him on a mission to Thirteen Buoy Bells Four Emeralds.
I feel my blood pressure go up. Then i feel nauseated..
You mean to tell me, Duncan, that Asa works for the Fates?
Yes, Chloe. Indeed he does.
I begin to seethe.
Now don’t get too upset. After all, Cupid.. i can call you who you are, right? You have many secrets of your own. Help change me out of this feline ornament form, and i’ll help you out. Then we’ll work as partners. It’ll be just like old times.
All right, Dunc. Will do. But wait, does this involve an elevator, aluminum foil, a ring or necklace or food passwords?
Kitty Duncan laughs out loud. Simone and Jonathan are riveted.
No, my lovely Cupid. But it does involve a bottle of gin and eight olives…
It can be stressful being Cupid. Keeping as many secrets as i have can be difficult. The only two beings in the Universe who know everything about me are my mini schnauzer, Simone and my kitty, Jonathan. Not even the other gods and goddesses know all, and thank goodness for that. I’d be in some big trouble.
So, yesterday, i got an invitation to a holiday party. Can’t wait to go. It’s only four days away, and i have to formulate a plan. My boyfriend, Asa will be my date. This party will be full of couples and some singles as well. No one who will be there knows i’m Cupid. They know me as Chloe, and i want it to stay that way.
I’m on my way to meet my friend, Natalie for lunch. I confide in her a lot, but she doesn’t know my true identity. Not yet. I’m going to tell her about a love case i’m working on and judge her reaction. It can be lonely working on stuff like this. The other goddesses are like siblings. I could use a human friend who i can trust with everything, but i have to be careful. Of course, i love my kitty and my dog, but that’s just it. They’re my kitty and my dog. They can’t give me feedback.
I check my hair and lipstick. It’s time to head out. This is scarf and wool coat weather, not normal for NW Oregon in December. It should be warmer with rain, but the weather isn’t my responsibility. That’s for Claudia, the weather goddess to deal with. She can be moody.
I decide to walk because, though cold, the sun is intense. I say goodbye to Simone and Jonathan and leave for downtown. I board the elevator. I could take the stairs, but i’m not in the mood. I live on the fifteenth floor, and i want to get outside. I step off in our lobby, button my coat all the way up and put on my mittens. I walk to the front doors, but stop in my tracks. I see Natalie and Asa standing beside Natalie’s BMW. The car is parked illegally right out front. Are they waiting for me? I’m supposed to meet Natalie at the Three Emerald Firs restaurant for lunch in thirty minutes, and Asa is supposed to be working today. As far as i know, they barely know each other. They’ve only met two or three times. What’s going on?
I watch from behind the large decorated ficas tree to the left. One couple walks in past me, but they’re too busy chatting to notice me. Good thing. I look like a spy staring through the lighted branches.
I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like Nat and Asa are arguing. Wait! Natalie reaches into her purse for her phone. She’s writing a text. My phone buzzes. I think, not now! But i read my message, and my heart pounds. It’s from Natalie. It says, ‘sorry, Chloe. Can’t make it to lunch. Got called in to work. Maybe next week?’
How do i respond to this? No, you’re not working, you lying jerk. I can see you right outside my building! No. Not that. I take a couple of deep breaths and type, ‘no worries, Nat. Haven’t left yet. Sure, next week. Maybe Wednesday?’
I wonder why she’s even here. Didn’t she know she’d be taking a chance i’d see her? Asa too. I know one thing. I’m glad i never told Nat who i am. Asa either. I need to find out what they’re up to. I want to walk back to the elevator, but i don’t want them to see me. If i can make to the tree unseen. The big Christmas tree is in the lobby’s center. Closer than the elevator.
My phone buzzes with another text. Maybe it’s Asa. I see him typing on his phone while Nat looks all around. She looks afraid. Yep. It’s Asa.
‘Chloe sweetheart.. I roll my eyes.. Please meet me at 2 at Ten Vanilla Custards Bakery. Bring a notebook. Can you come? Please come.’
And i think, now what am i supposed to do? Do i go and confront him? Do i pretend i know nothing? That’s what a good detective does sometimes. One can learn more about people by keeping things close to the vest.
I text back, ‘Sure. My friend Nat cancelled lunch. You remember Natalie, right? Will be there at 2.
I see Asa smile and put his phone away. I feel sick to my stomach. Then i see Natalie get into her car, and pull away from the curb. Asa waves as she drives away. I’m still hiding behind the ficas like a kid playing hide and seek.
Then, Asa walks into the building. Is he coming to see me? He’s never mentioned knowing anyone else here, but then, he never mentioned that he and Nat are friends. He heads straight for the Christmas tree. Does he want to get a closer look? I admit it’s a gorgeous tree. It’s a real noble fir, about twenty feet tall and full. It’s decorated with white and red lights and large white satin balls. They’re not tacky decorations. There’s a gorgeous, shining silver star at the top.
I see Asa pull a piece of blue paper out of his right pants pocket. He reads it, looks up at the star on the tree, then walks around the other side. Dang it, i can’t see him. What is he doing?
I wait. I wait some more. No Asa. What the hell?
I decide to just walk over there and confront him. But i walk around the tree, and he’s not there. I watched the whole time! He didn’t walk past the tree. It’s like he walked into it or something! Now i know odd things can happen. After all, i am who i am. This is bizarre. Possible i guess, but crazy. I back up a little and look up to the top. Then i move in for a closer look. It seems a perfectly normal noble fir to me.
Then i hear a voice. I look around the lobby. It’s deserted.
The voice says, Chloe, it’s me! Psst! Right in front of you. Reach out with your right hand, then up about six inches. It’s me.
Okay. I’m game. I reach out and up, and my hand touches not a white satin ball, but a beautiful vintage glass black cat ornament. The kitty has green jewel eyes and a tiny jeweled blue collar.
It says, go ahead, Chloe. Take me off the tree and see what happens…
Next episode: Cupid/Chloe finds out she’s not the only one who keeps secrets.
I begin my story by confessing that i am the real Cupid. I’m not a boy, and i’m not a baby. I’m a full grown woman. I’ve no idea how old i am, but have been told i look about thirty eight to forty three in human years. I don’t carry a bow and quiver everywhere, though i possess those things. They’re gifts from the Fates. I’d look ridiculous if i took them with me all the time. I have many ways of making people fall in love or indifference. Sometimes i do it with gifts of pastries. Sometimes my method is my magic chartreuse velvet couch.
It can be complicated, this love thing. I don’t always consider that. I’ve had many disagreements with Fate and Time. Even Discord has been pissed at me a few times. I had an outright brawl with Lena once. If you don’t know, she’s the oldest of the three sister Fates. The younger two sisters, Isabelle and Stephanie, are more even tempered. Most of the time, we get along, but sometimes the stuff hits the fan.
I’m getting off track. I should also let you know that i’m a detective. I don’t have a private eye license, but i’m a goddess and have no need for permission to detect. Right now, i’m working on four cases. I’ll tell you all about them here. This is my diary of sorts. There are these cases, plus i’m working on five love affairs. Strange way of putting that, i know. But sometimes my methods miss the mark. Sometimes people are stubborn. They don’t fall in love the way i want. What i mean is, i’m a goddess, and i’m powerful, but humans have strong will. They’re not as easily led as i’d like them to be. It’s frustrating.
My sidekicks on these missions are my red tabby, Jonathan and my mini schnauzer, Simone. Every once in awhile, i trust a couple of my human girlfriends with a case’s juicy details. Then there’s my boyfriend. Well, this week he’s my boyfriend. That could change soon or not. Asa Rex Andersen is a great guy, but sometimes my job is dangerous, and he can be a little absent minded professorish at the worst times.
So, this is the start of my log of adventures in detecting, matchmaking and sometimes wrecking . Yes, sometimes i break couples apart. I’m a goddess, and i can do things like that. But usually i wreck in the name of love. You’ll see.
Oh, and before i end this first entry, i should introduce myself with my human name. I can’t go around calling myself Cupid, now can i? My human name is Chloe Winn. There you have it.
I’ll be back soon with some love case news! Stay tuned!
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