(Earlier parts are linked on the Amie’s Fiction page. I’m working on turning this into a full novel and have revised a lot of it to accommodate a longer and more involved story.)
“Death,” I said as I put the first tarot card in my cross formation down on my desk. No, I didn’t get a chill down my spine or gasp in terror. Death in tarot means a change, nothing more. I leaned over, tracing the sunset in the background with my finger.
The deck belonged to my grandma. She was a part time “psychic” in the fifties. The thick cards were heavy in my hand, cracked and soft with age, faded dark purple with elaborate gold edges. The intricate, once brightly colored pictures on the fronts had faded like the backs, but were still beautiful.
I finished flipping. The Devil, upside down. Telling me to look deeper at a situation, don’t just believe what I saw on the surface, and I wasn’t in control of my life. The Chariot. Ambition and a signal to move forward with something. Judgment. A swift and conclusive decision was going to be required. It’d lead to the resolution of a matter that had been dragging out. And maybe a change in someone’s point of view, usually towards greater enlightenment. And finally The Hanged Man. A crossroads.
Oh dear. Most of the cards were saying something was happening, something I made assumptions on or was going to. That I was enslaving myself by my assumptions and a change was coming.
The Hanged Man seriously scared me.
He’s the symbol of a time of suspension when you can think, a time to see things in a new light and make a decision at a fork in the road. The card’s also about sacrifice so you can get that illumination to make your decision. It was the twelfth card, the opposite of the twenty-first, the last one. And today was the twelfth of December. Suddenly that felt relevant.
All major arcana. That was telling in of itself. The major arcana represent life lessons.
“Why do I have a bad feeling… well, a worse feeling, about setting up a meeting with Apollo now?” I asked Webber on my lap, running my fingers over his soft curls.
Brrrrring. Brinnnnnng. BahRING, my phone trilled, vibrating on the desk next to my soda and what was left of my chicken sandwich dinner.
Speak of the devil? Maybe.
I grabbed the phone. The caller ID said unavailable. Of course it did.
“Here we go,” I whispered, hitting talk. “Cassandra Berry.”
“I have Apollo calling for you, Ms. Berry,” a professional sounding male voice said. “Will you please hold?”
“Sure,” I snorted. Geez. He couldn’t even call me himself. Nope, had to have the secretary call.
A lot of snotty lawyers do that, too. And don’t get me started on politicians.
Tinkling lute music came over the line and I took another sip of my soda. What would the secretary have done if I said I wouldn’t hold?
Huh, the sounded just fun enough to try next time I called someone who put me on hold. Maybe I’d-
The music switched off.
I resisted the urge to shiver. Apollo was the god who was the epitome of youth, health and strength, and his voice reflected it. Just deep enough to be truly masculine but not bone rattling, smoky, silkier than snake oil, and always sounded like whatever he was saying was vaguely dirty. The Greek accent gave it an exotic edge.
Yes, I’m into voices.
There was a reason I was avoiding the pain in the ass. My heart was racing just from him saying my name.
“Hi Apollo. I need a favor.”
He was silent for a few seconds.
I was about to say, ‘Can you hear me now?’ when he said, “No small talk, no buttering me up, just straight down to business? Cassandra, you shock me.”
“A man who actually wants foreplay? Trust me, Apollo, I’m more shocked than you.” I slapped my forehead. The joke just came to me. With a normal guy it’d be funny. With Apollo it was an invitation.
“Oh, Cassandra,” his voice dropped half an octave, “you should know by now how much I enjoy foreplay. We’ve been having it for two years.”
I was blushing. Dammit! This was so not a good idea. Even talking on the phone with him was dangerous.