Later that night after dinner, the family sat down to talk. We did this pretty often, with so many of us in the house it was easy to miss out on parts of each others lives.
“So, how was school today kids?” Grandma asked us all.
“It was great.” I answered with a smile on my face. I couldn’t wait to tell her I’d actually been asked out.
“Oh? And why’s that?”
“I got asked to homecoming!” I exclaimed.
“Oh honey, that’s awesome! Who is he?” She shared my excitement.
“His name is Ricky Fernandez.” I smiled.
“Ha! Yea right, he’d never like a girl like you.” Artemis laughed.
“Artemis!” My grandma and Winter both scolded at the same time.
“What? He’s one of the cutest guys in school, next to Anson anyway. There’s no way a guy like him would be interested in her.” She said, her voice dripping with disgust.
“Well, I’m happy for you Athena. That’s going to be a really fun night.”
“Thank you, Grandma.” I smiled softly.
“You’re freaking delusional, Athena. It’s pathetic.”
“Artemis, would it kill you to be nice to your sister for once in your life?” My grandma sighed.
“Probably, yea.” She mumbled.
“If you don’t start changing this attitude, you’re not going to homecoming.”
“That’s not fair!” She whined.
“I think it’s completely fair.” Winter chimed in. “You have such a bad attitude. It needs to change.”
“Whatever.” She crossed her arms and pouted.
“Anyway, what did everyone else do today?” Grandma looked around the table.
“I tried out for the orchestra. My audition went extremely well, I think I’m gonna get in.” Zeus announced.
“That’s amazing, baby!” Winter wrapped her arm around his shoulder and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Mom…” Zeus grumbled, embarrassed.
“Oh chill out.” She laughed. “You’re my only son, I think I have the right to be proud of you.”
“I passed my math exam today.” Sebastian said proudly.
“That’s a surprise.” Artemis huffed from her end of the table.
“Jesus Artemis, what did I just tell you?” My grandma glared at her. “I swear to God, one more comment like that and you’re not going to homecoming, or any school function for the rest of the year.” Artemis rolled her eyes, but didn’t say anything else.
“That’s awesome, Sebastian. You’re really improving.” Winter smiled at my uncle.
“Thank you.” He smiled back, but he was obviously still hurt about what my sister said.
“Can I go to my room now? I really don’t want to be here.” Artemis complained.
“Fine. Goodnight.” My grandma waved her off. “I’m going to be painting in the living room if anyone needs me.” She said, signaling the end of the day talk was over.
“Wait, Athena, can I talk to you?” Zeus called out to me before I could reach my room.
“If you’re going to lecture me again, save it. I don’t wanna hear it.” I scoffed.
“No, listen. I need to tell you something. It’s important.”
“Fine.” I gave up and followed him into his room.
“What is it?”
“Please don’t get angry with me, okay? I’m just trying to look out for you.” He stalled.
“Just tell me.” I sighed.
“I don’t like Ricky genuinely likes you.”
“You’re such an asshole, Zeus!” I yelled. “Is it really that hard to believe someone would actually have a crush on me? Jesus, you people act like I’m the ugliest person in the world.”
“Athena, it’s not like that, I swear. It’s just, I think Artemis is behind this. I think she bribed him to ask you out.”
“Wow, so you think someone would only ask me out if they were paid?” I was getting angrier and angrier. Why wouldn’t anyone believe someone would actually like me?
“Athena, I really don’t mean to upset you. I just don’t want to see you get hurt or humiliated.”
“I’m not going to be, stop worrying about me. We’re not even friends, why do you care so much?” I crossed my arms.
“I’ve known you my whole life, I do care about you.”
“That’s hard to believe.”
“Look, if you really want to go to homecoming, come with me. I just don’t think this Ricky guy is good news.”
“I’m not going to be anyone’s pity date! I’m going with Ricky, because he does actually like me, I know that’s hard for you to grasp. Now please, leave me alone.” I clenched my fists in anger.
“Alright, but if things don’t work out, I’ll be here and the offer is still on the table.”
“Whatever.” I spun on my heel and left the room, still fuming.
By the next morning, I had managed to calm down enough to talk to my grandma. She was always honest with me, I hoped she would give me some advice on whether or not I should believe Zeus. I thought about it, and it did seem like something my sister would do. But Ricky just seemed so nice, I doubt he’d do something so awful.
“Hey Grandma?” I asked quietly as I entered her room.
“Hi Sweetheart, everything alright?” She asked while petting Dexter’s head.
“I just wanted to talk to you before school.”
“Come, sit.” She patted the spot on the bed next to her.
“Well, Zeus pulled me into his room last night and told me he thinks Artemis paid Ricky to ask me to homecoming. He doesn’t think Ricky actually likes me.” I sighed. “What do you think?”
“Do you really know this boy?”
“Not really, I’ve only really talked to him a few times but he seems really nice.”
“Do you trust Zeus’s judgement?”
“Honestly, not really.” I admitted.
“And why is that?”
“Because, he acts like a jerk when he’s around Artemis and he tries to be nice when it’s just us. It’s sketchy and I don’t like it.”
“Understandable. I wouldn’t trust someone who did that either. If you’re having doubts about this boy, maybe you should get to know him a little better before you make any decisions.” She suggested.
“Okay. I’ll ask if he wants to hang out after school today.”
“Great idea. I’d say bring him over here, but we’re always full of teenagers and I bet you’d prefer somewhere private. It’s hard to get to know someone in a huge group.”
“Yea, and like I’d ever willingly hang out with Artemis and her group.” I chuckled.
“Well, we should get going. I hope you have a good day, Sweetheart.”
“You too Grandma, thanks for listening.”
“Anytime.” She smiled and kissed me on the head before heading out to start her day. I scratched Dexter behind the ears while I thought about the day ahead of me. Asking him to hang out was a good idea, but it was also kinda nerve-wracking. I just hoped Zeus’s suspicions were wrong.