I felt the presence of a god a second before energy rippled through the room. Two shimmery pillars appeared next to the table, and a second later Apollo was standing there.
He wasn’t alone.
Beside him was someone I’d never seen before. Some dude a little over six feet tall, and as wide as a damn linebacker.
“I’ve brought you guys someone,” Apollo said. No hello. Typical Apollo. Just popping in with random strangers with no greeting whatsoever. Such a douche. “Everyone meet Hercules.”
Apollo smiled as his all-white eyes gave way to blue irises that matched Josie’s. “Yes,” he said, “that Hercules.”
I’d thought earlier that today was the most bizarre day of my life, and I had not been wrong. It just went from crazy-weird straight to insanity-land. I’d seen Medusa, Athena, and a Pegasus today.
And now I was staring at my father, Apollo, who was standing next to Hercules—that Hercules.
My brain sort of emptied out, which was probably a good thing, because I’d been stressing since I’d left the library. Medusa’s parting warning was more than unsettling. I had a feeling they’d given me the toxin with the idea that it wasn’t just for the Titans. Knots of unease had formed in my belly. It wasn’t that I believed that I’d ever have to use it against Seth, but it was the fact that they thought I’d have to.
That was what bothered me.
“Holy. Shit,” murmured Deacon, breaking the silence.
I blinked once, and then twice. Hercules was still standing there, a smirk on his well-formed lips. The demigod was striking. A head full of blond, wavy hair. Eyes as blue as the morning sky, and his muscles had muscles. They strained the white shirt he wore, and even his thighs bulged in a way that made me think the seam of his jeans would explode at any given minute.
“I see you all know who I am,” Hercules said. “Not that I’d expect anything else. After all, I am the Hercules.”
My brows rose.
“Hercules is a dick,” Apollo stated, and the demigod shrugged his shoulders. Obviously that wasn’t the first time he’d heard that. “But he’s the only one Zeus would allow out of Olympus. He will be able to locate the other demigods.”
“Because I’m that awesome,” Hercules replied.
Apollo sighed as he rolled his eyes. “And as I said, he’s a bit of a dick.”
“A bit of a dick?” Seth murmured, his gaze moving from the tips of Hercules’s boots to the top of the blond head. “A small dick?”
Oh my God.
Alex smacked her hand over her mouth.
“You’d like to find out, wouldn’t you?” Hercules replied.
Seth snickered. “I don’t need to go on a search and find mission to discover what’s already obvious.”
Oh. My. God.
The demigod stepped forward. Empty bottles on the table rattled. “I’ve heard about you, Apollyon. I’ve heard all about you.”
“Oh my,” whispered Deacon. He elbowed Luke with glittering silver eyes. Aiden and Alex stood.
Apollo folded his arms. “You two will be making out soon, I see.”
“I’m not surprised,” Seth replied, ignoring Apollo. One side of his lips kicked up. “After all, I am that Apollyon.”
“Something to be proud of,” Hercules replied.
Well, this was going downhill fast.
Seth lifted his chin. “At least what you’ve heard about me is true. You? Mostly myth, right? I bet Daddy makes sure everyone thinks you’re a big, bad—”
“No,” snapped Apollo as Hercules raised his hand. A white glimmer danced over the demigod’s knuckles. “You cannot hurt the Apollyon.”
Seth’s smirk grew to epic proportions. “Damn straight.”
“Oh, don’t get me wrong, Issues Boy,” he said, and Seth scowled. “Herc here can hurt you, but I’m telling him not to. The same goes for you. I need both of you to behave.”
“That’s no fun,” pouted Hercules.
“Wait.” Deacon’s gaze bounced back and forth. “Can we call you Herc?”
The demigod looked over his shoulder. “Everyone else does.”
“So cool,” murmured Deacon, silver eyes wide.
I felt like I needed to sit down.
Apollo glanced over at the couple standing in front of the couch and he smiled, warming the ethereal beauty of his face. My chest squeezed. “It’s been too long since I’ve seen you two,” he said. “Both of you look very happy.”
“We are,” Aiden responded.
Next to him, Alex let out a little squeal and then she shot forward. Apollo chuckled as he opened his arms wide, welcoming Alex. He hugged her. She hugged him. The squeezing in my chest increased.
I stiffened and then forced myself to not have any reaction. I shouldn’t have one in the first place. This was . . . sweet. They obviously hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. Casting my gaze away, I focused on Herc. He was watching Apollo curiously, as if he’d never seen the god hug anyone before. The demigod’s gaze slid to mine. I looked away and saw Seth watching me. I smiled at him, because I didn’t have a reason not to smile. Everything was cool.
Everything was not cool.
Reaching up, I flipped my ponytail over my shoulder. I don’t know why it bothered me. Okay. I totally did. Apollo hadn’t even greeted me. His daughter. I was just standing over here like a doofus.
Aiden clapped a hand on the god’s shoulder and said something too low for me to hear as Alex drew back. She smiled up at Apollo, and I exhaled very slowly. Time to pull the big-girl panties up. Things were weird between Apollo and me, and Alex had known him for a long time, like really known him. I only knew the fake Apollo and the real Apollo, and I could literally count on both hands how many times I’d seen him.