Athena Mortem Chapter 15: One For Another

We’d been out searching all day. Warehouse after warehouse, barn after barn. So far, we’d turned up nothing. Just spiderwebs, straw, and old logs. We hadn’t come any closer to finding my baby boy. It was starting to get discouraging. I was losing hope. But I wouldn’t admit that to anyone. I wasn’t coming home without my son, and I meant that. There was no way I could spend another night in that house without him.

“Okay, this is one of the last warehouses around here, Thena.” Hillary told me hesitantly. I thought maybe she could sense my discouragement, I just hoped she wasn’t getting discouraged too.

“Maybe we should head back after this one.” Sebastian suggested. “It’s started to rain, we shouldn’t get sick right now.”

“No. You guys can go home without me, I’m not going back without James.” I knew I was being stubborn, and probably very stupid. But I couldn’t stand the thought of my son out in the world without me.

“We’re not leaving you out here alone. We’re going back when you’re going back.” Hillary was just as stubborn as I was.

“Alright, then lets get moving.” I ushered for them to follow me into the warehouse.

“Oh god.” Hillary’s hand shot up to her nose. The stench inside the warehouse was absolutely horrific. It was full to the brim with trash and boxes. The smell was like death mixed with garbage.

“Well, I guess we better start looking.” Artemis sighed. We started to fan out to search, but something stopped us in our tracks.

Voices.

Upstairs, we heard the soft murmur of a few different voices. Everyone looked at me, and I used two fingers to point towards the stairs.

I slowly started to move up the stairs. The voices were still talking, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My heart was pounding. What was I going to find at the top of these stairs? Squatters? People just looking for shelter in the rain? Or was I going to find that man, and my son?

Was I prepared to do whatever I needed to get my son back?

I was about to find out.

I gestured for everyone to follow me up the stairs. Hillary was directly behind me, it was a comfort to have her so close. Having her there made this easier, I knew she would do anything to help me get my son back. It was reassuring.

We all got to the top of the stairs, and everything fell apart. Artemis immediately started to break down. Hillary and I started yelling, Zeus threatening lives.

My son. He was there. His head was shaved and all he was wearing was a diaper, but I knew it was him.

He was sitting in the middle of some weird sigil, surrounded by people dressed alike and reaching for candles.

And we knew some of them.

The man who’d been calling me, I finally realized where I knew his voice from.

It was Anson Fernandes, my sister’s fiance.

“You motherfucker, what the hell is wrong with you?” I screamed at him. I always knew he was slightly creepy, but I didn’t think he’d do something like this.

“Ah, dear Athena. So you’ve found us. I told you not to come looking for me. It’s sad, really. I didn’t want to have to kill you.” He sighed, like he was being asked to do a mundane task for a boss, not willingly commit murder. “And you, my dear Artemis. I’m so sorry you had to find out this way.”

“Fuck you.” She sobbed. My heart broke for her.

“Ah, that’s no way to talk to your fiance.” He smirked, then laughed maniacally. “I guess I’m gonna have to kill you too. All of you actually. This’ll be fun.”

“Leader, should we…?” The pretty blond woman next to him trailed off.

“Yes.”

And just like that, everything dissolved into chaos.

His people jumped up and formed a line, immediately shooting off spells at my people. We all jumped into formation as well. Each on of us with an opponent. Athena and Hillary took on the two girls, Sebastian and Brooke took on two of the guys. Zeus took on Ricky, the guy who stood me up for homecoming. I thought it was slightly fitting.

And I, I took on Anson. I wanted to kill the son of a bitch.

All of the rage I’d been feeling the past few days came to a head. All I saw was red. I needed blood, and I was going to get it.

I immediately started with the strongest blinding spell I knew. I wanted to blind that asshole, I wanted my enraged face to be the last thing he ever saw. I was going to do whatever I could to destroy him.

But by the time my spell reached him, he’d reduced it to sparkles.

“You idiot, you think you can defeat me? I’m the strongest witch of the century. Your pathetic little spells won’t even affect me.” Anson laughed.

“You can’t defeat me. I’ll always win. My followers? They’re expendable. I’ll get new ones. But you can’t get new friends.” He laughed.

“Ricky, do it.”

Ricky drew back his wand and prepared to aim. I wasn’t sure what he was aiming for or what he was supposed to be doing, but I intended to find out.

But my attention was pulled away from him and back to my opponent, when my wand went flying out of my hands. Anson had used a spell to fling my wand across the room.

I looked back to him, and he was suddenly on top of the creepy alter. There was no way he could’ve climbed up there in the second I looked away from him. Maybe he really was the best witch of the century. Normal witches were not strong enough for teleportation.

“Athena, I will spare you. Your friends, they’ve maimed all my followers. They’ve won the battle. Except you. You can’t defeat me, you can’t kill me. There’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to have to live the rest of your pathetic life knowing that you couldn’t kill the man who kidnapped your son.” He chuckled. “And well, I think the repercussions of this battle will be punishment enough.”

“I will fucking kill you, even if I have to do it with just my hands. You’re not going to get away with this.” I growled. I started to come for him, but was frozen in place. He’d managed to do a freezing spell without lifting his wand or even saying anything aloud.

“Ah Athena, you’re so naive. You really think I’d let you get close enough to do that?” He laughed. “I’ll be back. For both of you.” He stared at me for a few seconds, but it felt like it went on forever. He had such a creepy, dead look in his eyes. It was like there was nothing but pure evil behind them.

And with that, he jumped over the railing and into the pool of garbage on the floor below. I turned to rush down the stairs, to follow him, but I was stopped dead in my tracks by a scream.

“Zeus! Zeus no!” My sister screamed in such a way it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Artemis kept screaming his name over and over. Hillary was crouched next to her, trying to get her attention. Trying to comfort her. Brooke was latched onto Sebastian, crying into his chest.

We’d defeated all of Anson’s followers, but not without a casualty of our own.

Zeus Garnet, my first love and the father of my child, lay dead on the cold, disgusting floor of that old warehouse.

Before I even really registered what I was doing, I ran over to him. I pulled him into my arms. I’d never felt anyone so limp in my life, his head just flopped right over. It made my stomach turn, I thought I would puke. The feeling was so different from the usual strong and comforting way of his body. It didn’t even really feel like him.

“Zeus, Zeus.” I couldn’t cry anymore, not after the past few days. I was numb. “I’m so sorry. I’m so fucking sorry. I wish we could’ve worked things out. I wish we could’ve co-parented.”

No one could really hear what I was saying. Artemis was having a full-blown breakdown. I didn’t blame her. Her fiance was an evil mastermind, and now her best friend of all time was dead.

I was glad no one could hear me though. This was just between me and Zeus.

“I’m so sorry. I know you wanted your son to have two parents, unlike us. Fuck, I’m so sorry.” I pulled his limp, cooling body to my chest. “I really did love you, Zeus. I always will.”

I held him close to me for a while. I lost track of time and my surroundings.

Despite all the noise, a tiny little voice pulled me out of it.

“M-mama?” My little James. He sounded so small, so terrified. Gently, I laid Zeus back down on the ground.

“Baby, it’s okay, Mama’s here.”

I scooped my son up into my arms. He clung to me, as I did him. I held him so tight, I never wanted to let him go.

“Mama.” He sobbed into my chest. He was scared, his entire body was trembling.

“It’s okay my love, you’re safe now.” I told him. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to my baby ever again.

“Athena, we should leave. He might come back for us. And we don’t know if these people are dead, knocked out, or stunned. We should get out while we can.” Sebastian interrupted my moment, but I knew he was just looking out for us.

“We can’t leave without Zeus.” I told him sternly.

“We won’t. I’ll take him.” He offered.

It was dark when we left the warehouse a few minutes later. It didn’t seem like that much time had passed, it felt like everything that happened only happened within the span of a few minutes. But it must’ve been at least an hour.

As we left, I scanned the entire area multiple times. I was anticipating Anson behind every tree and around every corner. Maybe he’d changed his mind, maybe he wanted to kill us all after all. But I didn’t see him anywhere.

I hoped no one saw us, because we looked like such a mess. A dead man, multiple crying woman, and a terrified mother clutching onto her son for dear life.

I was dreading our return home. As happy as I was to have my son back, I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with the aftermath.

I couldn’t fathom having to tell Winter her son died to make sure my son got home okay.

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Athena Mortem Chapter 14: We Can’t Be Sitting Ducks

It was about five in the morning, usually normal people would be asleep at that time. But we were no longer normal people. We no longer had lives, at least for the time being. For now, there was no such thing as work or school. There was nothing outside of this situation. All we did was sit around and wait.

What were we waiting for? My toddler to just walk through the front door? Sure, there were police officers leading search parties, but I knew it was fruitless. They wouldn’t find Jj out in the corn fields. They wouldn’t find him out there. Someone had him, and we needed to be doing more to track this person down.

After the events of the day before, none of us could sleep. Zeus, Artemis, Hillary and I sat on the floor of Hil’s bedroom. I still couldn’t figure out why Hillary telling me she loves me as her best friend was so heartbreaking, but that was at the back of my mind. For the most part.

Otherwise, we were just basically sitting in silence.

“Am I the only one who thinks this is bullshit?” Hillary aggressively broke the stifling silence. “Why do they want us to just sit here? We should be helping, we should be trying to track this motherfucker down, not comb through crop fields.”

“Don’t you think the police know what they’re doing?” Zeus retorted, defensively.

“Do you really still think they know what they’re doing? They’re not doing shit, they’re not trying to track this call, they’re not searching houses or sketchy areas. Just crop fields. It’s bullshit.”

“That is fucking bullshit. We should be out there doing something.” Artemis slammed her fist down on the ground. “We shouldn’t just sit here, Athena, we should be out there finding your son.” She spoke to me and only me, implying I was his only parent here.

“We can’t just rely on these incompetent desk jockies to find your son. We need to be proactive.” She sighed. “I’m down to go out searching if you are.”

“B-but the caller…” I trailed off. I wasn’t supposed to look for him. He told me not to come after Jj, that he’d know if I did. “He said not to.”

“How will he know?” Artemis scoffed.

“He’s probably watching me. Hell, he’s probably been watching me for months.” I sighed.

“We can’t just be sitting ducks, Thena. We need to look in different places, not just the fields.” Hillary chimed in. “I don’t think anything is gonna happen.”

“I can’t risk it. I don’t know what that man is capable of.”

“Then you stay here. We’ll go out, we’ll look for him ourselves.” Zeus had seemingly changed his mind, perhaps Hillary had swayed him. She was a very passionate, persuasive person. She could basically convince anyone to do anything.

“Yea, you stay here, watch the phone. Make sure he doesn’t call again. And if he’s watching us, he’ll know you’re not coming with us.” Hillary explained.

“I don’t know…” I thought it sounded like a bad idea.

“I don’t want to just sit here and wallow, either.” I addressed Hillary directly. “It sucks, it’s the fucking worst but I don’t want to go out there and risk my life or my son’s life.” I sighed.

“We’re not gonna let that happen, Athena. We’re going to make sure our little Jj gets back here safe and sound.” Hillary told me confidently. I wanted to believe her, I really did. But was it really worth the risk?

“Where would we even look?”

“There are a lot of old warehouses on the edge of the forest, it used to be a lumber yard until they shut the company down to conserve the forest. There are also a lot of abandoned farm houses on the outskirts of town.” She explained. “If some creep from out of town is holding him somewhere, it would probably be in a place like that.

I had to keep myself from crying after hearing that, the image of my little baby in a gross, dangerous warehouse was enough to make me scream. But I couldn’t.

“I’ll go, but we’re waiting until later. I want to wait for Sebastian.” My uncle had been out of town, on a vacation with his girlfriend. I hated that this was cutting their trip short, but I was grateful he was coming. I missed him, I needed him right now.

“We can do that.” Hillary smiled softly. “Anything you want, you’re in charge of this mission.”

“Okay.” I smiled slightly at her. She smiled back at me, making my heart flutter for a reason I could not explain.


It wasn’t long after we decided to go out to look for Jj on our own that Artemis and Hillary suggested we rest up before going out. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to sleep, but I was going to try anyway. Artemis was the first out of the door, heading to my bedroom where I offered to let her sleep with me.

But on my way out, the door quickly shut behind me, leaving Zeus and Hillary alone. I stopped in front of it for a second, eavesdropping.

“Hey, Hillary.” I heard Zeus say sleazily, I’d never heard him use that tone before.

“Yes?” She responded, sounding slightly confused.

“I was wondering, if after this whole mess is over, would you like to go out?” He asked her. My heart dropped to my feet. My ex, asking out my best friend.

“Um, are you serious right now?” Hillary retorted in disgust. My heart lept back up into my chest as she said that. It felt good to hear him get rejected. Especially by her.

“What?”

“Your son is missing, and you’re calling that ‘this whole mess’ and asking me out when its over? That’s fucking sleazy.”

“What? It’s sleazy to think this is all going to work out okay? It’s sleazy to want to celebrate that with a pretty girl?” He pleaded. I internally chuckled, he sounded so pathetic.

“I’m not interested, get out of my room.” Hillary demanded sternly. I leapt away from the door, anticipating Zeus’s exit.

But before he could even leave the room, the house phone rang.

Everyone came running from their respective rooms. Even Dexter came running from my room behind Artemis.

Within seconds, I was in front of that phone. My heart was pounding so loudly in my ears, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to hear whoever was on the other line.

“Hello?” I answered confidently. If this was the man who was holding my son, I didn’t want him to give the satisfaction of knowing he was upsetting me.

“Ah, Athena, how are you?” That smooth, creepy voice poured through the phones speaker. It sent shivers down my spine, because I recognized it from somewhere. I just could not for the life of me place where.

“What the fuck do you want from me?” I snapped. I didn’t want to play his fucking games. I just wanted to know where my son was.

“Oh, Athena. That’s no way to talk to someone doing you a favor. I called to let you talk to James.” The man laughed slightly. “I wanted to let you say goodbye.”

“What the fuck do are you talking about?” I started to panic. We should’ve left earlier, we had to find him as soon as possible. “What do you mean ‘goodbye’?”

“James Jorge is our son now. And tonight, since it’s the full moon, James Jorge will be descending into hell. He is a crucial sacrifice to our one and only.” He sounded absolutely batshit crazy.

“I swear to god, if you hurt him, I will tear you limb from limb with my bare hands.” I threatened. The thought of my son being… sacrificed… made me incredibly angry. I was ready to fight.

“Your god can’t help you now, Athena. And since you’ve been so awfully rude to me, I don’t think I’ll let you speak to James. Except, one goodbye.” He laughed, and I heard some slight scuffling on the other line.

“Say, goodbye Mama.” The creepy man urged from a distance.

“Goodbye Mama!” Jj’s precious little voice came through the phone set. I nearly lost my shit.

“James, I love you baby. I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna save you. I promise.” I told him as fast as I could.

The phone call came to an abrupt end. The man must’ve heard me promising him things, and ended the call. My heart sunk. Hearing my little boy’s voice again was too much to bare. I had to go and find him, and I had to go now.

“C’mon, we’re going.” I gestured towards Zeus, Artemis, and Hillary.

“Without Sebastian?” Hillary asked.

“He can welcome Jj back home.” I clenched my jaw. I wasn’t coming back without him.

We grabbed our wands, and stormed out the front door. I almost broke the thing off the damn hinges, but I didn’t care. I was enraged, and I needed to find my son. But as soon as we got out onto the front lawn, we were surprised by someone we hadn’t expected to see until later.

“Um, hey.” Sebastian stood at my gate awkwardly, unsure of what to do or say. Brooke, his girlfriend and one of Artemis’s best friends, stood behind him. She was visibly upset, she looked as if she was going to cry.

Sebastian started to take a few steps towards me. “Are you alright?”

I flung myself at him. I had never been so glad to see him in my life. We’d grown apart a little since Jj was born, and since I’d moved out. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. But none of that mattered now. He was here, and it felt like the best thing in the world.

“I’m not.” I answered honestly. “But I’m so glad you’re here.” I hugged him as tightly as I could without hurting him. He hugged me back, which I really appreciated, considering he didn’t like physical affection very much.

“Where were you all going?” Sebastian asked me as I buried my face into his chest.

“We were going out to look for Jj on our own. We don’t have much time. They’re going to hurt him tonight.” I told him. I heard Brooke sob sharply behind him.

“Well, we better get going then.” He let go of me and dropped his arms. “Do we have a specific area we’re searching?”

“Hillary wants to look in the old warehouses.”

“Well, it’s a good thing Brooke and I brought our wands. Let’s go get Jj back.” He smiled softly at me and immediately turned to leave.

I was so glad I had such a confident, capable group of witches with me. We were going to find my son and get him home safely.

I was also going to tear apart the son of a bitch who took him in the first place.

Athena Mortem Chapter 13: Family Matters

After my conversation with Zeus, I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed. I sat there for a while, trying to will myself into being tired. I’d barely slept the night before, but still I just wasn’t tired in the slightest. I knew that if I didn’t sleep, I’d probably collapse from exhaustion tomorrow, which would be pretty embarrassing.

But it was hard. I’d gotten accustomed to the sound of my son’s soft breathing lulling me to sleep. I was used to going up to his crib and stroking his beautiful black hair to help myself feel safe and comforted. I didn’t have that comfort anymore.

My door started to crack open, and the person turning to knob caught me by surprise.

“Hey, can I come in? That garage is cold as fuck.”

“Sure, take a seat. Though, I won’t be doing much sleeping tonight.” I told Artemis as she came and pulled herself onto my bed.

“I figured. None of us can really sleep either.” She sighed and pulled her legs up to her chest, almost identical to the way I had mine. Before that moment, I’d never really realized how much we looked alike. I mean, we were twins after all. “This really sucks, dude. I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“I mean, I don’t know. I’m just sorry this happened to you. I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you. I know I’ve given you such a hard time while we were growing up, but you’re still my sister. You don’t deserve this, Jj doesn’t deserve this.” She blurted out. I’d never once in my life heard my sister apologize to me. Ever. It was nice.

“I know I should’ve been nicer to you our whole lives, I don’t know why I was so bitter towards you. I don’t think I’m that self-aware yet.” She laughed, making me chuckle slightly as well. “But I promise, I’m gonna try to be nicer to you. And I’m not doing this because I pity you, because I don’t. But this whole situation has made me realize how important family is.”

“Really?”

“Yea, I mean, I’m gonna have a family of my own pretty soon, but that doesn’t mean I want to abandon this one. I want us to be closer, I actually want to have a sister.” She admitted to me.

“What do you mean you’re gonna have a family of your own?”

“Anson proposed to me, we’re getting married next year.” She smiled excitedly. I smiled for the first time in a few days.

“Oh my god, that’s amazing, Artemis. Congratulations.” I smiled at her. I didn’t particularly like the guy, but I was happy my sister was happy.

“Thank you. Both the engagement and Jj going missing has made me realize how much I love you guys. I want you in my wedding. I want Jj as my ring-bearer, if you’ll let him.” She smiled sheepishly.

“Of course I will.”

“We’re gonna find him, Thena. I know we are, Grandma is an amazing witch. I think she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve.” She alluded, making me wonder if there was something she knew that I didn’t.

“I hope so.” I said softly. I didn’t want to think about it right now. It made me feel like a terrible mother to feel that way, but I needed a break from the constant grief. I just wanted to have girl-talk with my twin sister, like I’ve always dreamed.

“Do you have a date set for the wedding?” I asked her after a moment of silence.

“No, but probably a summer wedding. I want the sun to be out and I want to be able to wear a strapless dress without being cold.” She smiled. “I’ve always dreamed of that.”

“Where would you want the wedding to be?” I asked. Artemis stretched out and started to turn around.

“Do you mind if I lay down?”

“Not at all.”

We laid down next to each other and it felt like a scene from a movie. Like when two sisters or best friends in a movie have a sleepover and just talk about boys and gossip. It was something I always wanted.

“Well, I was thinking the old gazebo in town.” She answered my question as soon as she got situated. “I was thinking about doing a location wedding, but that would be too expensive.”

“Where would you want the location to be, if you did have a location wedding?” I kept asking her questions, it was nice to learn about what my sister was thinking.

“Egypt, maybe. I don’t really know though. I never really thought about it since it seemed so impossible.”

“What about you though, what’s your dating life like?” She asked, it was so strange to see my sister asking me questions in a friendly way. I wasn’t used to her being nice to me. It was a nice kind of strange, though.

“No dating life, really. I’m more focused on being a good mom.”

“No cute guys at your school?” She sounded slightly disappointed.

“Nope, not really. Just super nerdy guys in my pre-med program.” I laughed.

“Isn’t that your type though, I mean you went for Zeus when he was super nerdy. He’s not so much anymore, but he used to be.” She giggled. Zeus had changed a lot since the last time I’d seen him.

“Nah, not really interested right now.” I reiterated. I really wasn’t. I didn’t really have my eye on anyone there just yet.

“Oh okay.” She went silent for a few moments. “Do you ever wonder about our parents? Like what they were like and what not?”

“Of course. Why?”

“I don’t know. I’ve just been thinking about it, the wedding and all. I won’t have Dad to walk me down the aisle, or Mom to help me do my hair and tell me how beautiful I look before I go out there and marry him. It just… sucks.” She sighed.

“I know. It does. I’ve thought about that too. And how my son doesn’t have his grandparents. I mean, you have grandma to do those things, and he has Winter, but still. It’s not the same.”

“You’re right, it’s not.” She sighed. “I mean, yea, I do have Grandma. But she’s getting old, Thena. She’s putting on a brave face for you because this situation is shitty enough as it is, but she’s not doing too well.”

“What do you mean?” My heart dropped, I couldn’t lose my grandma too.

“I don’t think it’s too serious.” She quickly responded, noticing the fear in my voice. “Probably just arthritis, or something like that. But you know grandma’s tough.” She smiled at me.

“Okay.” I sighed, I knew she was just saying that to make me feel better. But I didn’t want to delve into that right now, so I believed it for the time being. “Why do you think she did it?”

“Who?”

“Our mother. Why do you think she killed herself?”

“She couldn’t live without Dad, I guess. It’s tragic, but romantic in a sense.” She tsked. “It sucks, since she left us without either parent. But I guess it makes sense.”

“Do you forgive her? For leaving us?” I asked.

“No, do you?”

“No.”

“Do you forgive me?” She sounded timid, like a small child.

“You tortured me throughout my life, Artemis. I really appreciate that you’re trying to make things right, but it’s gonna take some time for me to forgive you.” I told her honestly. Maybe it was a little brutal, but she needed to hear it.

“That’s fair.”


No one could sleep that night, especially not after a random knock at the door at three in the morning. The cop who’d been staying with us nearly had a heart attack, but it turns out it was a visitor for my grandma. They gave her a package, and left, before any of us could even see them. She had all of us gather in the kitchen, except Winter who was working on her novel before a deadline.

“What is this, Elsa?” Zeus asked suspiciously.

“It’s a lamp. It’ll help me see where Jj is.” She said carefully, I knew she was using to see if he was still alive.

“Athena, are you sure you want to be here for this?” My grandma asked, kindly. I didn’t appreciate the pity though.

“I’m staying. I want to know where my son is.”

“Okay.” She gave me one last look before deciding to move on with her ritual. My grandma started to chant some strange language. It sounded like gibberish. There was no way it was a real language.

Suddenly, the lamp started to glow a bright red. My grandma’s eyes opened wide and her jaw dropped.

“What is it grandma? What’s happening?” I asked frantically.

“I-I can’t see where he is. He’s alive, but he’s under a protection spell. I can’t track him.” She still looked terrified.

“Why do you look so scared?” Hillary asked bluntly.

“Because, red means he’s in danger.”


Not long after that, Hillary rushed outside. We were all upset, and I assumed she just needed to be alone. But after almost half an hour, I decided to go check up on her. Yes, I was upset myself but I cared about Hillary. I didn’t want her to freeze to death.

“Aren’t you freezing?” I commented as I came up to stand besides her.

“What does it matter?” She sighed. “I feel so useless, just waiting around here. I feel like I should be out there, helping search. Doing something.”

“Then why are you here?” I asked, gently. I didn’t want her to feel like I was accusing her of anything.

“Because, I want to be here if we get any news at all. Also…” She paused slightly, glancing at me quickly. “I want to be here for you. If you need me.”

“Thank you.” I smiled. It was nice to know she was here for me. It made my insides tingle, for some strange reason.

“Of course. I care about you. And Jj. That kid brings so much light into my life. You both do.” She blushed slightly as she smiled at me.

“He really is such a bright presence.” I felt myself on the verge of tears again.

“He is, and he will be again. He’ll be back before we know it.” Hillary pulled me into a tight hug.

“Do you think I’m a bad mother? I mean, someone was in our house, my bedroom! And I didn’t even notice.” I gripped onto her for dear life. It felt like she was an anchor, and I was a ship about to float away.

“Not at all. How could you have known? It’s not like we live in a bad area. It’s not your fault at all.”

“It feels like it is.”

“Then if it’s your fault, it’s my fault too.” She told me firmly.

“No, it’s not your fault.”

“Why? I should’ve known there was someone in the house too. I live there too, Athena.”

“They didn’t go into your room, though.” I reasoned.

“We don’t know that.”

“I guess, but it’s still not your fault.”

“Then it’s not your fault either, Athena. You’re an amazing mother, to an incredible little boy. This is going to have a happy ending, I promise.” She got on her tippy-toes and kissed me on the forehead.

“Thank you.” I choked out a small sob. It was hard to keep myself from crying.

“Of course, I love you, Athena.”

“You… love me?”

“Of course, you’re my best friend.” She smiled at me and gave me another hug. “Now, get some sleep please. We need you well rested if we’re going to find our Jj.”

“Okay, goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Athena.” She told me before heading inside.

Hillary told me she loved me, that I was her best friend. I’d never had a best friend that wasn’t family before. Her saying I’m her best friend is a good thing, right?

Then why did I feel so heartbroken about it?

Athena Mortem Chapter 12: Get Your Sh*t Together

That phone call was absolutely devastating. Someone had my son. There was no lead on who it could possibly be. The police were trying to trace the call, but they couldn’t. They needed him to call again. So far, he hadn’t. But there was a police officer staying here with us tonight just in case anything else happened.

Everything was so overwhelming for me, it was too much to take in so I retreated into my room. Seeing his empty crib made my heart break all over again. I just sat on my bed and cried. This room felt so empty without my son. It hadn’t even been twenty-four hours yet but I felt like my life was ending.

“Athena?” I hadn’t even heard her come in, but there was my grandma standing right in front of my bedroom door. She looked tired and stressed. Her face was red and raw, like she’d been crying. She probably had been.

“Y-yea?” I replied hesitantly. I wasn’t exactly in the mood for conversation but I wasn’t about to be rude to my grandmother.

“Can I sit down? I’d like to talk to you.” She spoke softly, like she was trying not to upset me.

“Sure.” I scooted over to make room for her.

As she sat down on my bed, my cat Dexter, followed suit. I smiled slightly at the sight of my cat. He was such a calming presence, I was glad he followed her in here.

“I’m so sorry Athena. I should’ve protected this place. I didn’t even think to. I’ve gotten so complacent with the peace we’ve had in recent years. I thought I didn’t have to fear for your safety anymore. I thought we were finally being left alone. I’m so sorry you’ve had this happen.”

“It’s not your fault, Grandma. I’m a witch too. I could’ve protected this place but I didn’t.” Sure, I didn’t really know all that much about protection spells, but I could’ve learned.

“I didn’t teach you very much. I worked so often during your childhood and teenage years that I didn’t have time. But I want to change that.”

“What? What do you mean?” I asked hesitantly. Now didn’t seem like a good time to learn something new.

“I’m gonna teach you. Defensive spells, offensive spells. All of it. I know it’s a little late, but if we’re gonna find Jj and get him back, we’re going to need all the knowledge and all the witch power we can get.” Grandma told me confidently. I wish I could’ve shared the feeling.

“I don’t know Grandma, are you sure I can handle this?” I asked. My hands were still shaking, my legs felt numb. I didn’t feel like this was something I could do right now.

“Get some rest. We’ll start in the morning.” She told me, matter-of-factly.

“How can I sleep at a time like this?” The thought of sleeping, while my little boy was with that creep… It didn’t feel right.

“You need your strength, Athena. I’ll wake you if we get any news. Now, get some sleep.” She ordered. Grandma kissed me softly on the forehead and smiled.

“I love you.” She told me.

“I love you too.” I replied, though my thoughts were elsewhere in that moment.

Where was my son?


That night I didn’t sleep much. My body was exhausted, but my mind was racing too fast to rest at all. So when my grandma came in my room early in the morning, I almost cried from exhaustion. But I didn’t want to stay in bed all day, I needed to get up and work towards getting my son back. I knew I’d never rest normally until he was back in my arms.

It was hard to concentrate while so exhausted. The spells were not incredibly hard to remember, but there were quite a few.

Maybe it was petty, but I was trying extremely hard to beat my opponent. I was absolutely just doing this to learn how to fight to get my son back, but the idea of finally being superior to my sister was so appealing.

I kept hitting her with a blinding light spell, and she was starting to get frustrated. “Goddamn Athena, give me a chance to get my shit together!” She yelled, though she wasn’t looking in my direction. She couldn’t see, it was quite amusing to see her looking so lost.

“Attackers aren’t going to give you a second to get your shit together, Artemis.” I told her condescendingly.

“Ugh.” She pointed her wand in my direction and cast a blinding light spell as well.

But, my reflexes were better than hers. And, well, I could actually see. I blocked her spell with a shielding one.

“Athena! Geez, just let me get one good shot in!” Artemis exclaimed with frustration.

“This isn’t a ‘lets take turns blinding each other with spells’ exercise. This is a battle, Artemis. You’re my enemy right now and I’m not gonna let you win.” I told her, while sending another blinding spell her way.

“Don’t be a poor sport, Artemis. That’s not gonna fly in a real battle. You’re gonna end up dead if you keep talking like that.” Hillary chimed in from next to me, while masterfully blocking all of Zeus’s spells.

“Have you done this before?” I asked in awe.

“Nope. Zeus here just sucks.” She chuckled, while sending a freezing spell his way.

“Oh shut up.” Zeus grumbled, while trying his hardest to actually hit Hillary with his spells. It wasn’t easy, she was good and he had terrible aim.

“If anyone should be shutting up, its you and Artemis. You guys should be focusing on actually trying to beat your opponents.” Winter sighed from behind the two of them.

So, for the rest of the day, we all shut up and worked on our spells. I felt ready to take on the son of a bitch who had my son.

All we had to do was find him.


That night, I sat alone in the kitchen after everyone was asleep. They’d set up some sleeping bags in the garage and were staying there. I offered my grandma my bed but she refused to take it, she was so stubborn.

It was hard for me to be in my bedroom. My son’s cold, empty crib was a sore reminder of how I screwed up. I wasn’t diligent enough. I should’ve set a protection spell, or at the very least an alarm system. I felt like such an awful parent. How could I let someone kidnap my toddler?

“Hey, can we talk?” Zeus came through the garage door and stood by the table. He looked sheepish, like a young child being scolded.

“Sure.” I sighed, I was so exhausted and didn’t want to get into it, but I didn’t really have a choice.

“How’re you holding up?” He asked tentatively.

“Oh, I’m just fantastic.” I rolled my eyes at him, I knew it was rude and childish, but he asked a dumb question.

“Okay, yea I deserved that snark.” He smirked slightly for just a split second, before looking remorseful.

“Listen Athena, I’m so sorry. I’ve been such a dick. I’m sorry for the way things went down.” Zeus couldn’t make eye contact, he just stared down at the table.

“You were an asshole to me. To both of us. You didn’t make any time for us, you blamed me for keeping him, and you said you didn’t want any of this. That sucked, Zeus.”

“I know. I wish I could take it all back. I’m not much older than I was then, but I still feel like I’ve grown. I don’t feel that way anymore.” He sighed.

“What way?”

“I don’t think keeping him was a mistake. I don’t blame you. I was an asshole, I should’ve spent more time with both of you, I should’ve helped more.” He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I wish I could take it back.”

“I wish you could too. You hurt me, Zeus.”

“I’m sorry Athena. I know I was cold to you. I just couldn’t handle the amount of stress I was under.”

“You’re making excuses, Zeus. You’re only saying all of this because he’s not here. He’s missing, and you only give a shit about him now because now you don’t get to decide if you ever get to see him again. Before, we were just in the background of your life. If you ever wanted to see us, the option was there. But now that option is gone and only now you give a shit about it.” I ranted. It was rich that he was doing this now. How he only cared now that Jj was missing.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I only care now because he’s not here. But, we’re going to find him. We’re going to get our son b-” He started, but I stopped him.

My son. You gave up the right to call him your son when you decided to never call us or see us.”

“That’s not fair Athena. He’s still my son. Give me another chance. I promise, when we get him back, I’ll come around a lot more. I’ll be a part of his life.” He was practically begging me.

“I’ll think about it. I don’t want to set my son up for heartbreak.” I told him. And with that, I got up and went to bed.

That was the moment I realized I was absolutely, completely over Zeus Garnett.

Athena Mortem Chapter 11: Lost Cub

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Immediately after realizing Jj wasn’t in the house, I dialed Zeus. Maybe he decided he wanted him in his life after all? I wasn’t thinking straight, but I had to know if he was with his father.

The phone rang, and rang, but there was no answer. My next line of thought was to call Winter. Maybe she was with them.

“Hello?” Winter answered groggily, I must’ve woken her up.

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“Winter, is Jj with you guys?” I didn’t even bother to greet her, this was too important.

“What? No, why would he be here? Is everything okay?”

“Are you sure? Is he with Zeus? Can you check?” I fired my words so rapidly I wasn’t sure if she even understood what I said.

“I’ll check but I don’t think so. What’s going on?” She sounded much more awake than before, panic rising through her voice.

“He’s not here, I can’t find him anywhere!” I started to feel myself lose control. My son was missing and we had no idea where he was.

“He’s not here. Call the police. We’ll be there as fast as possible.” Winter said, before hanging up.

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“What’s happening?”

“They don’t have him.” I told Hillary quietly. I almost forgot she was there.

“Call the police, Athena. We don’t know how long he’s been gone for. We need to start searching now.”

“Already dialed.” I held the phone up to my ear. I just hoped I could hold myself together.


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After calling the police, Hillary made sure I got dressed. She told me there would be people talking to me all day, and I probably wouldn’t want to be in my bra while they did. She was right, and I was so thankful to have her in my life in those moments.

It wasn’t long after that before the cops arrived, then my family. Even Zeus. I was surprised to see him, I had no idea he even cared. My heart ached slightly, I hadn’t seen him in a while and he looked good.

The police got all our statements, then the crime scene investigator started searching my room. The rest of the cops went out to canvas or something. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was in shock.

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“Don’t worry ma’am, we’ll find your son. There’s never been a missing person’s case that the Riverview police couldn’t solve.” The cop who stayed at our house with us assured me.

“You’re damn right you will.” Hillary retorted. She was just as protective over him as I was.

“I assure you we’re doing everything we can. He’ll turn up.”

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“You’re damn right. He better come back without a scratch on his perfect little head or else I will raise more hell than this town has ever seen.” Hillary rubbed my back comfortingly, “Don’t worry Thena, we’re getting our Jj back.”

“Are you his mother as well?” The cop asked. Hillary blushed a deep shade of red and dropped her hand from my back.

“No, just the roommate and babysitter. But I love that kid like he’s my own.”

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I’m his other parent.” Zeus chimed in from his spot near the desk. “I-I haven’t been around, t-this is a-all my fault.” He started to sob. No one jumped up to comfort him.

“It’s not. It’s mine. I was the one caring for him.” I chimed in. The cop looked uncomfortable and announced he was going to check on the crime scene investigator.

“That’s not true. You were caring for him, but it isn’t your fault. He needed me and I wasn’t there for him. I fucked up.” Zeus buried his face in his hands. I didn’t know what to say.

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“I don’t think anyone is at fault here. This isn’t the first case of this happening.” Artemis chimed in from her place on the floor. She’d brought her laptop with her, and was doing some research on it apparently. “The towns around us have missing toddler cases as well. All witches too.”

“W-were they ever found?” Zeus asked hopefully.

“No. But, maybe it’s different this time. Maybe they’re not related.” She turned to me and smiled, something she’d never done before in our lives.

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“Hopefully, Artemis. Why don’t you go pass that information onto the cop? They might know already but it’s still a good idea to tell them.” My grandma suggested. She looked so old in that moment, so tired. I knew she’d been through hell in her life and this was no exception. I hoped she would live long enough to at least see Jj start school, hopefully even more than that.

“Okay Grandma, I’ll be back.” Artemis closed her laptop and stood up. “I’m so sorry, Athena. We’ll find him.” She stopped before me and smiled slightly. I wondered where my sister was and what kind of alien was in her place.

“T-thank you.” I replied softly, trying to keep myself composed.

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But it didn’t work. My son wasn’t here. We had no idea where he was. I couldn’t handle the idea that I might never see him again, or hear his laugh again. It was too much.

“We’re gonna find him. I’ll search the entire world myself if that’s what it takes. But we’ll find him.” Hillary told me quietly.

“Thank you.”

Just as she was about to respond, our house phone rang.

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I jumped up and immediately made my way towards the phone. Just as I reached to answer, I stopped myself. Did I want to know what the person on the other side of the phone was gonna say? Was it good news? Bad news? Was my son dead? Was he hurt? So many possibilities ran through my head.

“Answer it, Athena.” Winter pushed slightly.

I grabbed the phone with shaky hands and pressed the talk button. “H-hello?

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“Athena, you don’t sound so great. Mama bear lose her cub?” The voice teased through the phone.

“Who is this?” I answered angrily. Right now was not the time for a prank call.

“Doesn’t matter right now, sweetheart.” The voice replied. It sounded familiar, they had a deep manly voice and a strange accent, but I couldn’t place who it was.

“Who the fuck is this? This isn’t funny.” I felt myself grow angry.

“Oh, dear I know this isn’t funny. But don’t worry, your cub is in good hands.

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“What!” I screamed into the phone. “Do you have my son?”

“He’s not your son anymore.” The man turned angry. “He’s ours. There’s nothing you can do to get him back. Don’t even try.”

“Who are you! Is he alive? Give me my son back!” I screamed as loud as I could into the phone.

“I can’t do that, darling.” His voice returning to that creepy, faux-pleasant tone it was at before. “He’s ours now. Don’t you dare come after him. We’ll know if you do.”

And with that, he hung up.

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I dropped to my knees and started to scream. Behind me, I could hear my family jumping up to comfort me, asking me what happened. I could hear the cop and my sister running from the next room.

But the only thing I could focus on was the fact that my son was gone, he was in that man’s creepy little hands and there was nothing I could do.

My precious little James was gone.

Athena Mortem Chapter 10: Lost or Found

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Hillary, James and I got our own place shortly after Zeus and I broke up. It was a small two-bedroom rental near the school, which would be nice in a few years when Jj was old enough. Hillary was an author, so she did all of her work at home. That worked out perfectly for me, she could watch him while I took classes at the local community college.

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“Hey, Thena?” Hillary said while draped over the couch, watching something or other on the tv.

“What’s up?” I replied, not looking away from my son sitting in front of me, happily playing with his toy.

“Have you talked to Zeus lately?”

“I haven’t. I mean I tried to reach out shortly after I moved out but he never answered. The ball’s in his court now, if he’s interested in seeing his son then he can reach out to me. If not, that’s his loss. And that just means we get more time with this little guy.” I smiled and reached out to touch Jj’s face gently. He was so precious.

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“That’s true, but doesn’t he like, need to pay support or something?” Hillary inquired.

“I haven’t really thought about it. But I don’t need his help. He can be a deadbeat if he wants to be, I’m not gonna force him to be involved in any way if he doesn’t want to be.” I shrugged. Sure, we weren’t rich, but we had a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. We didn’t need much more than that.

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“Maybe Zeus needs a little push.” Hillary suggested wearily. We still didn’t know each other very well and it seemed like she was afraid to upset me.

“Maybe. But I’m not his mother. It’s not my job to push him, y’know?” I responded, no hint of anger in my voice. “If Winter wants to push him, she can be my guest. Not my job though.”

“Don’t you want Jj to know his father?”

“Not if he’s gonna act like we don’t exist.” I chuckled, Jj was slamming away on his little xylophone without a care in the world. “I don’t want Jj to get his heart broken. He doesn’t need to get his hopes up just for them to be destroyed.”

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“That’s actually probably a good idea.” Hillary mused while lazily reaching over to pet Dex. “My father always promised to show up to things, but he’d never show. It hurt every time. Probably best to save him the heartache.”

“Exactly.” I turned to smile at her, though she was still focused on the television.

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I turned my attention back to my son when he threw his toy mallet. The ding from the xylophone startled me.

“Jj, what’s wrong baby?”

“I hungy” He frowned sadly, breaking my heart into a million pieces.

“Mama will get you a bottle right now.” I stood up and made my way to the kitchen, noting the time. It was six-thirty, half an hour later than I usually feed him. Time sure flies when you’re having fun…

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As soon as I handed my little James his bottle, he stopped crying and smiled. It didn’t take much to make him happy at this age. I smiled to myself, I wished he would stay this size forever.

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While he ate, I made my way over to Hillary and Dexter. She was draped across the couch, so I opted for the floor next to my cat.

“Are you sure you don’t mind us living with you?” I asked, constantly worried that she’d get sick of having a toddler around.

“I really don’t mind Athena. And besides, you guys don’t live with me. We all live here together. It’s not like you’re living here rent free.” She tried to laugh, but it came out as a weird snort due to her odd angle.

“Having Jj around isn’t a nuisance?” I looked over at him as he happily drank his bottle.

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“He is absolutely not a nuisance. That kid is a gosh-darn gift to humanity.” She smiled. Hillary was a little rambunctious, but she’d been keeping her swearing in check in front of Jj. For which I was very grateful for.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.” I chuckled. My son was the absolute light of my life.

“I should probably get dinner for us started.” Hillary flipped off the couch and headed towards the kitchen.

Life was really good.


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“Are you gonna be a good boy tonight for mommy?” I held Jj in my arms, getting ready to put him down for the night. He’d recently started having issues sleeping through the night.

“But mama, da boogie man.” His eyes grew wide with fear. “He gonna get me tonight” He looked like he was about to cry.

“Shh, no he won’t baby. Mommy will be right here, I won’t leave the bedroom at all. I’ll protect you from any boogie man.” I rubbed his back, reassuringly.

 

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“Mommy, you promise?”

“Of course my love.”

“Otay.” He smiled, and the two of us made our way to the bedroom to go to bed.

I didn’t think I had anything to worry about that night.

But I was wrong.


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That morning I woke up feeling refreshed. Jj hadn’t made a sound last night, and I was hoping this was the end of his bad sleeping phase.

I stretched, yawned and got out of my bed. “Good morning, my love. It’s time to get up.” I spoke lazily as I made my way to Jj’s crib.

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But he wasn’t there.

“Jj?” I called out, starting to panic. Maybe this was a new phase? Climbing out of his crib? He had to be hiding around here somewhere. He had to be.

I searched the whole room. Under the bed, in the dresser, even the attached bathroom. He was nowhere to be found.

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After thoroughly searching the kitchen, garage and living room, I rushed into Hillary’s room.

“Hillary, wake up! Is Jj in here?” I yelled, while frantically looking over her room.

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“What? No, of course not. He never comes in here.” Hillary replied sleepily as she climbed out of bed.

“Fuck!” I screamed, my heart pounding out of my chest. Hillary jumped out of bed, my swearing and frustration waking her up fully.

“Woah, what’s wrong?”

“Jj, he’s gone.” I panicked.

“Oh shit.” Hillary’s face dropped, along with my heart and stomach.

Athena Mortem Chapter 9: Stress

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“Hey Zeus, do you think you could watch Jj for a bit? I’ve been with him all day and I really need a nap.” I carried my son out to the living room where my boyfriend was sat on the couch. Zeus didn’t even look up from his video game.

“Zeus, can you hear me?” I asked after a few moments.

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“Yea Athena, I heard you. I just got home. I’m exhausted too.” He complained.

“Seriously? You’re not going to help at all? You’re just gonna play video games?” I was getting frustrated. Jj was a few months old and Zeus was barely helping. He was either at school or playing video games. Raising our son was solely on my shoulders at this point.

“I’m sorry I need a few minutes to myself. It’s overwhelming sometimes.”

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I put Jj in his swing, I didn’t want to be holding him while I talked to Zeus. I figured it would get heated.

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“Look, I know you’re tired but I am too. Raising a kid isn’t easy. I’m really stressed out, okay?” Zeus’s temper started to show.

“I know raising a kid isn’t easy, I’ve basically been doing it on my own. When you’re at school, I’m with him. When I’m at work, my grandma or your mom is with him. You never spend time with him. Or me.”

“That’s not true at all. I spend plenty of time with both of you.”

“Sleeping in the same room as us isn’t spending time with us! You only play with Jj when he’s in a good mood, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you change his diaper. What exactly is your role here?”

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“I’m trying to finish school so I can get a decent job. I don’t want to be a high school dropout, like you.” He accused.

“I’m not a dropout, I’m in online school. You know that!” I yelled back. He was being an asshole for no reason.

“When’s the last time you’ve actually done any school work?”

“It’s been a while, I’ll admit. But my son comes first. He’s my priority, and I can’t just drop him and do schoolwork. He needs to be taken care of, and I’m the one who’s here to do it for him.” I was getting very frustrated.

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“Look, I’m doing the best I can, okay?” He told me. Bullshit.

“Playing video games instead of looking after your son is the best you can do?” I balled my fists in anger.

“I need some time to de-stress after school.”

“I never get time to de-stress. I’m always stressed. But you know what, fine. De-stress. I don’t care. I’ll just look after our son on my own. Because it’s obvious that I’m the only one of the two of us who actually gives a shit about him.”

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“Of course I care about our son. I love him. If I didn’t care, I would’ve left.”

“You’re as good as gone!” I yelled. “You don’t do anything!”

“It wasn’t my decision to keep the baby!” He screamed at me. “You are the one who couldn’t go through with an abortion. You decided to raise him. I don’t want any of this. I’m a teenager. I shouldn’t have a baby!”

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“A-are you serious?” I stared at him in disbelief. Sure, it wasn’t an ideal situation, but our son was so incredible. I just couldn’t see how someone wouldn’t want him.

“Yea I’m serious. We had plans, Athena. We were going to go to college. You were gonna be a doctor, I was gonna be a musician. We were going to have an amazing life. But now we’re stuck with a kid. How are we supposed to do anything now?”

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“You don’t have to stay. I love Jj enough for both of us. He doesn’t need a shitty dad like you.” I glared at him.

“Athena.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t want to abandon you. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that I don’t like this situation and you shouldn’t expect me to. I can’t just magically enjoy being a teen father.”

“We have an incredible baby, and if you don’t enjoy that you can go. Life gets hard sometimes, but you don’t just give up. You make it work.”

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“I can’t just do something I don’t want to do.”

“You’re gonna have to, Zeus. That’s life! But if you really don’t want to be a father, you can leave. I don’t need you.” I seethed.

“Fine.” He stormed off, out the front door.

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I sat down on the couch and started to cry. Jj was so amazing, I just don’t see why Zeus didn’t want to be there for him. Sure, it was a lot of work and it wasn’t easy, but Jj’s smiling little face made it all worth it. Zeus was on board before Jj was born, and now everything changed. I just couldn’t understand.

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I just really hoped that after Zeus calmed down, he’d change his mind. He could just be really stressed and over tired. He could just be saying things he didn’t mean.

Everything was a mess.

———-

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After I had calmed down and Zeus came home, we went into our room to talk. I put Jj down for a nap and Zeus and I were going to try and calmly discuss our future.

“Did you really mean what you said?” I asked him.

“Well I mean I didn’t really decide to have the baby. It was your decision.”

“Does that mean you don’t love him?” I felt extremely hurt. He seemed like he was supportive, but now he was throwing everything back in my face.

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“I love him.”

“Then what are you saying?”

“I don’t love you. I don’t love that you put me in this situation. I thought I could do this, but once he came it was just too much. I’m not ready for this responsibility. I can’t handle it. I want to be in his life, but I just can’t do it right now.”

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“I thought you said you’d support me, no matter what.” I tried to keep myself from crying.

“I’m sixteen, Athena. I’m a kid. I thought I could support you but I just can’t. I’m not ready for this.”

“Are you breaking up with me?” I asked softly.

“I’m sorry Athena.” He looked down at the ground.

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“I just can’t see a future with you anymore. Having a baby so young, it just ruined us. It ruined what we had. I’m sorry.”

“Well, if you’re really breaking up with me, then you can say goodbye to your son. He doesn’t need a wishy-washy asshole in his life.” I stormed out of the room.

————-

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I made my way out onto the balcony. I didn’t know what I was going to do from here. Jj and I couldn’t stay here. We needed our own place, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. Being a teen parent was hard, especially a single teen parent.

I could drop out and get my GED. From there I could get a full-time job to provide for my son and I. It wouldn’t be easy, but I would do it.

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“Hey, are you alright?” Artemis’s friend Hillary came out on the balcony and sat next to me.

“Not really, Zeus just broke up with me. So now it’s just me and Jj.” I sighed and wiped the tears off my face.

“What an asshole. I don’t see how anyone could leave their kid like that. You’re better off without him.”

“Emotionally, maybe. But raising a baby isn’t easy. I barely have the funds to buy what he needs. How am I supposed to move out?”

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“Why do you need to move out?” She asked. Over the years, I’d realized that Hillary was extremely kind. I wasn’t sure why she hung out with my sister and her crew, but it was nice to have a friendly face around.

“I share a room with my now ex. I just want to get away, me and Jj.” I sighed again.

“I’ve been wanting to move out too. Wanna put our money together and become roommates?” She asked.

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“A-are you serious? Why would you want to live with a teen mom and her newborn?” I asked her.

“I live with emotionally distant parents. I want to get out. I think it would be good for both of us. If we put our money together, we could get a decent place.” Hillary offered.

“Okay. Do you have a place picked out?”

“I do, I could get us in there in less than a month. Are you ready?”

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“I’m so ready.” I told her. This was the fresh start that I needed.


A/N: I’m so sorry for the long wait, things in my life have been a little crazy recently. This year has been a roller coaster so far. But I’m in a really good place right now, so hopefully I’m back to updating regularly. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the chapter 🙂