My brows inched up. “Wait. That isn’t particularly helpful. We don’t have another demigod other than Josie. Unless she can sense them out.”
“She can’t sense them out,” he replied.
“I couldn’t even sense you when you showed up,” she said, shoulders slumping. “Why don’t I get some kind of cool internal warning system?”
“You do.” Apollo turned the icy-blue stare on me. “But you’re new at this and I’m going to hazard a guess here and say you were too distracted to recognize what you were feeling.”
I smiled at him, the kind of smile I knew he hated.
“Oh,” Josie murmured from where she was perched. “That’s kind of awkward.”
“Anyway.” Impatience colored his tone, and of course, it was directed at me. Whatever. “An original demigod can sense other ones. They actually have some kind of internal homing signal. Has to do with the amount of aether and recognizing the similarity.”
“Huh.” Josie glanced over at me, her eyes widening as our gazes locked, and I did everything to hide my smile.
“Once we get a demigod down here, in this realm, it will take no time for the other demigods to be located,” Apollo explained. “The only hold-up is getting one of them here.”
“Of course,” I murmured.
He shot me a wry look. “It’s going to take some finagling. With the exception of our most recent offspring, demigods have been forbidden to enter the mortal realm for thousands of years. Their presence could have . . . consequences.”
“Of course.” It was Josie who murmured that this time.
“I do not like how similar you two are becoming,” Apollo stated.
Josie flushed. “What kind of consequences?”
“Thank you for asking,” he returned, and I started wondering how much longer this conversation was going to take. “As you know, all lesser beings tied to Olympus are no longer allowed in the mortal realm.”
“Except for pures, halfs, and Apollyons.” I paused. “And the occasional nymph and demigod.”
“Exactly.” The intensity of his blue eyes heightened. “If we allow one of them to come through, there’s a chance that other . . . things will too.”
“Like what?” Josie asked.
“You know, the occasional Pegasus or Hydra. Maybe even a Minotaur. Ultimately nothing to be too concerned with.”
“Hydra?” she squeaked. “Nothing to be too concerned with. Okay.”
Apollo smiled as he nodded. “I should have the release of the demigod shortly. Still waiting on Hera to sign off on it, but she’s currently pissed at Zeus, and that’s slowing everything down.”
I decided not to comment on that. “Okay. So what demigod are we talking about here?”
His smile turned creepy, like hide-your-kids-level creepy. “You’ll see.” A shimmery blue light appeared over him. “Now I have to—”
“Wait just a second. Please?” Josie rose. “How is Erin?”
The shimmer around Apollo faded. “She is doing very well. I have a feeling you will be seeing her soon.”
The blue shimmer increased around Apollo and within a heartbeat, he was gone.
“—about my mother?” Josie finished, throwing up her arms as she twisted toward me. “Why does he always do that?”
“I think it makes him feel cool or something.”
“Well, it is kind of cool. I mean, he can pop in and out of, like, anywhere, but I really wish he had better timing.”
I snorted. “You and me both. He’s the king of bad timing.”
Josie smiled a little as she sat back down on the arm of the chair. “I wish he actually hung around so that I could ask him about Erin and my mom.” She paused, and her shoulders slumped. “Or, you know, spend time with me.”
Watching her, I tried to think of something . . . supportive to say, but what could you say in a situation like this? Her father was a dick and he was on the absentee list. It was obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that it bothered Josie. The fact that he didn’t actively try to fix that somehow confirmed the first fact.
“Who do you think the demigod is going to be?” she asked.
“I don’t know.” I rubbed my fingers through my hair. “But knowing Apollo, it’s going to be the most annoying demigod he can get his hands on.”
I had another nightmare last night.
This time I’d been training with Seth, hand-to-hand combat. He’d taken me to the ground, except it hadn’t been Seth I stared up at.
It had been the same unfamiliar face.
And he’d said the same thing he’d said in every dream. I’m going to find you. But this time, I was so lucky and got four extra words of warm and fuzzy. I’m coming for you.
I’d woken up in a cold sweat, with a scream stuck in my throat, and somehow I’d managed to not wake up Seth this time, but my entire day was off. I didn’t think it was just the dream throwing me off, though.
I was also rocking some hardcore daddy issues.
And some mommy issues too.
Part of me was thrilled that I’d gotten to see Apollo yesterday, even if he’d only been there for a few minutes. I was like a sponge when it came to him, soaking up every precious second, because except for that one summer, he’d been gone all my life. I was like a puppy. Any attention was good attention. It was still hard processing that I had a dad that was in the picture, albeit not often. And even more crazy to process that said dad was Apollo, the Sun God.