As she entered the restaurant and walked toward their table he gave her an appraising look. She was stunning. Always had been, probably always would be. He stood up and kissed both of her cheeks, “Hello, love, you look good…for your age.”
She gave him a cold smile, “Oh thank you. And you look like you might still be able to get an erection with only minimal pharmacological help.”
“Look out, kitten’s got claws, rawr!”
“Oh, I didn’t realize you were back in one of your animal phases…”
“Guys, please!” Their son pleaded for a moment where they weren’t at each other’s throats. “I didn’t ask you both here so you could fight. I need to talk to you.”
She leaned over and kissed her son’s cheek before sitting down shooting one more icy look at his father, “Of course, darling, what ever you need.”
He couldn’t really think of a way to ease in to this one so he just blurted out, “I’m getting married.”
Now he had their attention.
“Why on earth would you want to do that?”
“It’s what people do, Mother, they fall in love, they get married. It’s the normal cycle of things.”
His father cleared his throat, “It might be what other people do, but it isn’t what we do. Have you thought this through?”
“No, I just woke up this morning with this wacky idea in my head and decided to impulsively make a decision that would change my life forever.”
“There is no need to take that tone, darling, we are just concerned for you. This is so…unexpected.”
He shook his head. Of course his mother would see it as him taking tone with them. His parents were nothing if not predictable.
“Sorry, Mother. I understand you are both shocked. But I need you to understand that this is happening. I have already made the decision. I already asked her and she said yes. I just didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else before I had a chance to tell you myself. I also wanted you both to hear it at once. I am not going to have this conversation again after today.”
His father sat up very straight in his chair, trying to look his most intimidating, “Who is this woman? Do we know her people?”
“She doesn’t have people. She has a family. That’s what most people have, you know, families. That’s how we like to refer to them anyway.”
“Does she know who you are?”
“Of course she knows who I am, Father. Do you mean does she know who you and Mother are?”
“Well…yes….of course that is part of who you are.”
“She knows enough.”
His mother gave a wry smile then, “Enough? Really? So you are marrying her without giving her a chance to understand what exactly she is marrying in to?”
“Well technically, as far as the last word from Father, when I marry her there will be nothing left for her to marry in to as I will be cast out. Disinherited. Renounced. I believe the word forsworn was tossed about.”
She nodded then, “Oh yes, well, I guess that is true. But does she realize what you will be giving up to be with her?”
“More importantly, does she understand who you are. What you have accomplished in your life. What you have done? What you are giving up for her? For,” his father made a face and practically spit the word out, “Marriage?”
“She understands that my family is not big on the traditional,” with that both parents made disgusted noises, “traditional stance of marriage. And that I will be losing my inheritance and my place within the family by choosing to marry. She knows that she is the most important person in my world and as such I am willing to do this. And, honestly, I rarely see you guys anymore anyway. It’s not like we are getting together on the holidays or anything.”
“Whose choice is that? You know where we are. You know how to come to us. You choose to live in the valley. Other family is there. You were the one who decided to seek your own fortunes here.”
“And I’ve done well for myself.”
“Yes, darling, you have. But have you considered how this will affect your position with the pentagon?”
He shook his head confused, his mother never brought up his job. To work for money seemed like something she could not even comprehend. When he decided to give it a try, out of boredom more than anything else, she had viewed it as beneath him. “There are no regulations in place around marriage.”
His father looked at his mother and nodded, they were sharing some realization that he had not yet figured out. “There might not be regulations, but are you certain you will still be able to perform your job as well? Once you are married.”
“Of course I will. Why wouldn’t I? I don’t work 24/7. I have plenty of time for a social life.”
“But marriage…that changes a…man…like yourself.”
“Yes, darling, once you say those vows, well, you aren’t the same are you?”
He finally understood what they were telling him. The realization. The full weight of his decision. What they had grasped but he hadn’t. Dammit.
They were sure they were going to win now. They could see it play across his face. He hadn’t thought about what being disinherited really meant. After all, his job, his whole life was built around who he was, who they were. What that meant. Once he got married, once that was removed, would he have anything left? His family ties were stronger than he had realized.
“Ares, darling, we aren’t trying to insist that you leave the mortals alone, your father doesn’t have a leg to stand on there, but you cannot marry them and remain one of us. Once you take that step you will no longer be Ares God of War, you will be…well…one of them.”
“Hera’s right, son. We just want you to understand the full ramifications of this decision. And I would imagine that your human love would never really understand your relationship with your sisters.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Z, they all are watching Game of Thrones these days, it’s not so shocking as it was when we first had children.”
And with that his parents shared their first genuine laugh of the night.
Ares shook his head, he hadn’t told Marisol that he had children from previous relationships, after all that was ages ago, they were all grown and living their own lives now. Or that some of those relationships were with his sisters. Or that really where he was from it wasn’t all that big of deal. He had been avoiding the fight. Oh blast. The changes were already starting. Avoiding the fight? He was the fight. What had he been thinking?
“Well, darling, if that is all, should we order now, I really do need to attend to some other things, and I’m sure your father has…well…whatever he does these days.”
Zeus laughed. “Always so dismissive. But you really do look lovely, my dear, have you been bathing in the blood of virgins?”
“You know as well as I do that that was never really a thing. Nobody ever used the blood of virgins for anything. It was just something Eros said to convince women to sleep with him. He’s a bit of a cad, like his grandfather you know.”
Ares’ vision clouded. Eros. “A cad like Father and a prankster like you, Mother?”
Seeing the twinkle in her eye Ares knew for sure that he had been had. His mother and his son had teamed up to play a prank on him. Just the sort of thing they would find amusing. Thank the gods he hadn’t married Marisol before speaking with his parents. And curse the gods for whiling away the ages playing these ridiculous tricks on each other and on the mortals they viewed as beneath them.
“Oh, darling, don’t be mad, you’ve been so busy lately that we thought a little dalliance would do you some good. And then well, the thought of the God of War falling for a mortal woman? And one who considers herself a pacifist? Oh, darling, how could we not? But don’t worry, mummy will take care of Marisol’s memory so she won’t be heartbroken over you. You will just be a fond memory.”
“I could help with that…” Zeus started.
“NO!” They both shouted at once.
“I didn’t mean like that…” Zeus tried to plead innocent but one look from Hera and he knew he couldn’t get away with it, “Okay, I did. But it works.”
Hera rolled her eyes and sighed, “Gods.”
Ares cast a dark look toward his mother, “Goddesses too.” And with that he turned on his heel and left his parents sitting at the table.
Hera watched him storm out of the restaurant, “Well I thought it was funny.” And with that Hera also left.
Zeus realized his ex and his son had left him to foot the bill. Typical. After doing a quick quick in his wallet to make sure he had more than drachma with him he signaled their waiter back over to the table, “Ouzo for everyone! My son’s not getting married!”