Eros was in unfamiliar territory… He was at his desk; working.

The sculpted God had the system fool proof. There were just too many requests. If he were honest, he could have handled all requests on site personally, but it would have been a 24 hour a day event. Gone were the days where he physically had to shoot a person with an arrow. Instead, the prayers he receives are translated into paper form and one of four stamps, all immersed in his magic with a small arrow tip that pierces the paper, just need be applied.

There were two forms of ‘No’. A grey version that would let the person down easy, downgrading the prayer to a fleeting thought and the other was a solid black which provided the person with a harsh negative response, typically in public to push the point across, and usually only necessary for the overly infatuated. There was a pink ‘Yes’ that was reserved for people who worried about loved ones, generally parents for their children, and it offered the equivalent of a long lasting comforting embrace. Lastly, there was a red ‘Yes’ that when used, provided the person to have an unbreakable, irresistible, telepathic love bond with someone else, linking two people together for life while creating devotion to one another. Due to the potency, it was to be used only when the same two people prayed for each other. If used only on one individual, whoever asked for the prayer would simply get a slave devoted to them through their love; not a relationship; everything a God of Love hates. To all other matters, the humans were on their own. It was so easy, anyone could do it; even a human. His current assistant, Francesca, was a capable and beautiful woman plucked from Scafati, Italy. She was also missing.

“I swear; whichever God borrowed my assistant for the day is going to pay,” Eros grumbled as he stamped a grey ‘no’ on a sheet of paper before flipping to the next page. “It’s been ages.”

Eros wouldn’t do anything to the Gods directly. After the Love Debacle of the year 117 when he pierced every God on Mt. Olympus with love arrows out of spite, which took three weeks to get everyone to separate from the orgy and begin functioning again; he was forbidden from using his arrows on the Gods. But the God’s assistants? They were fair game. Whichever God decided to mess with Francesca, there will be repercussions.

“Except for Zeus, I suppose,” Eros shook his head in irritation. ‘Zeus doesn’t have assistants because all he does is throw lightning bolts to wherever he wants a storm. But seriously, couldn’t he use his left arm once in a while? His right arm has muscles on top of muscles fortified by steel on steroids while his left looks like it belongs to ninety year old woman.’

“Ah, Seth Partridge and Samantha Rose,” a smile etched Eros’ lips. It was his favorite part of the job when two hearts want each other… The rarity nowadays is one of the main reasons he prefers leaving everything to an assistant now. He grabbed the red love stamp and firmly applied it to the parchment for Seth Partridge. He then located Samantha Rose’s paper from the stack and stamped his red mark.

“Adam Ratliff? Again?” Eros’s eyes went wide at the name. It wasn’t what it appeared to be. Adam wasn’t looking for love himself, he was truly hoping for the relationship of his parents to survive; an absolute rarity for an eighteen year old in High School. He had heard his Dad hit his Mother, again. The problem was that Brandy and Edwin weren’t fighting. A pair of red stamps themselves, they love each other too much. They were having sex; and it wasn’t their fault that Brandy goes nuts when her husband spanks her.

Eros went to set the Red stamp down when his chamber door opened, “Francesca!” She stumbled into the room, clothes tattered. Eros rapidly stamped the sheet for Adam Ratliff four times, just to ease his tension, before racing to his assistant. He held her up as he guided her to a couch. “Who did this to you?”

“Dionysus,” Francesca mumbled before passing out.

“At least it wasn’t Athena or Zeus,” Eros sighed. Zeus because he wouldn’t be able to get him back and Athena because he really didn’t want to get into a chess match using each others assistants as pieces. It would be easy to get back at the God of Wine, Parties, and Madness. His assistants are going to be so preoccupied with sex, they won’t bring him a single drop of alcohol. “Rest easy, Francesca.”

Eros went back to his desk and flipped Adam’s paper to the completed stack, not noticing that the four stamp marks were red instead of pink.


The alarm began to sound. Adam’s hand slinked out from underneath the evergreen comforter and swiped at the nuisance and then swiped at it again, finally silencing the offending annoyance. He didn’t sleep well. He just couldn’t get the smacks and grunts that he heard out of his head. Together, they always seemed overly, and sometimes embarrassingly affectionate and very much in love but at night… He wiped the sleep from his eyes before running a hand through his black hair. He didn’t want to get out of bed, but knew his best friend’s Dad would be at his house to give him a ride shortly and that man did not like waiting. He slid on his glasses and forced himself to trudge to the bathroom.

The first time Adam woke up to an empty house, it felt odd; but after three years, it became his personal sanctuary. His parents both needed to get to work early, each needing to leave at five in the morning to ensure they would both be on time; but they were always there during the evening for whatever he needed with the lone exception being their Date Night Friday’s. In this time, he allowed his mind to wander between the rest of his senior year and whether he’d even have the grades to go to college, to his lack of a love life, to his next skirmish in Call of Duty, to how he can stay invisible to the cool clique. During the first week of school, he had accidentally tripped, causing him to spill soda on the platinum blonde cheerleader, Kelly Hill and the princess of Hilldale High, Serena Fisher with his spaghetti landing on the virtual male model and resident jerk, Liam Daniels. After that, life at school became a game of hide and seek. But today was different; today’s thoughts were only about his parents.

Adam followed his morning ritual; a shower, a brushing of his teeth, a shave, getting dressed in a grey t shirt followed by a navy blue hoodie and a pair of jeans, before heading downstairs and unlocking the front door. He went into the kitchen and filled a bowl with Apple Jacks before adding a splash of milk. Just as he dipped his spoon into his bowl, there was a knocking on his front door before it swung open and his best friend, Nolan walked in, “Hey, Adam.”

“You’re early, Nolan,” Adam spoke with his mouth full.

“Sorry, Man,” Nolan shook his head. “My Dad had to go to New York on business, so for today, tomorrow, and Friday…”

Adam’s attention was pulled to the car horn that sounded. He looked past his friend to see Nolan’s sister in her car. “Hannah, huh?” Adam gave a slight chuckle. He didn’t have a problem with the naturally curly locked brunette college sophomore; she was always nice to him. But the two siblings did tend to spend the little time they were in the same proximity of each other in irritation.

“And she’s in a hurry.” Nolan then noticed his friends haggard look.

“Be out in a minute.” Adam turned to go put his dish in the sink when the car horn sounded again.

Nolan then shut the door to the home of his friend despite getting ready to leave, more to annoy his sister, “You all right?”

“I’m just tired,” Adam threw his backpack over his shoulder.

“You must be worried we won’t be able to repeat what we did last night,” Nolan wrapped his arm around his friends shoulder as they walked to the white Jetta. “We kicked some serious ass.”

“That we did,” Adam opened the back passenger side door.

Hannah rolled down the window, “C’mon, Crotch Stain, I’m going to be late!”

“Shut up,” Nolan sat in the passenger seat. “You’re the reason God invented the middle finger.”

Hannah slapped Nolan in the arm, “I swear, you must’ve been born on the highway because that’s where most accidents happen.” She put the car in reverse with a huff and glanced in the rearview mirror, catching a glimpse of Adam. He didn’t seem right, but she was too pissed at Nolan for it to register.


Hannah pulled up to Hilldale High School, thankful that excursion was over. “Get out, you Parasite.”

“Eww,” Nolan opened the door. “Who would ever want to be attached to you?”

Hannah rolled her eyes, “If you were on life support, I’d unplug the machine to charge my phone.” She then looked back at Adam as he got out of the car. He really seemed disheartened. She rolled down her window as he walked behind her car and to the sidewalk to the school. “Hey, Adam, are you all right?”

“He’s just tired, You Waste of Good DNA,” Nolan walked past.

Adam paused in his step as his head shied down. ‘That was sweet of her.’ He turned and gave Hannah a soft smile. “I’ll be fine, thanks.”

It was as if a jolt of electricity shot through Hannah’s being. She put her hand to her chest as she felt warm and she suddenly knew something was bothering Adam. “Wait,” She put the gear shift into park and got out of the car. She stood straight, ensuring her assets were all at attention, doing her best to look her best as she smiled back, “Whatever is bothering you, just talk to the person. It may be uncomfortable, but its better than worrying about it. No one will fault you for being honest with them. Until then, try to relax. Focus on school or try and think about something you enjoy.” She then gave him a quick hug before pulling back. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow morning. If you need anything, Nolan can get a hold of me.” She finished by batting her eyes.

“Will do,” Adam nodded back. “See you tomorrow and thanks for the advice.” He then turned toward school, taking a deep breath… I’ll talk to my Mom after we drop off Nolan.

“Tonight’s going to be epic!” Nolan nearly jumped on Adam. “I just wished we had a class together, or even lunch so we can strategize.”

Having resolved to confront his Mom, Adam allowed himself the thought of tonight. “Don’t worry, man,” Adam chuckled. “We can’t lose.”

Hannah just stared at Adam until he disappeared into the building. When the door shut behind him, she shook her head. ‘Did I just flirt with Adam?’ She gave a slight giggle at herself before getting back into her car. She took a deep breath as she put the car in gear, “No, that’s Nolan’s friend.”


Chemistry. Due to budget cuts, there were seven students each surrounding five stations. Ms. McKenna Gordon learned quite a bit in her first year and consequently, now in her fifth year, she assigned the members to each station. Unfortunately, only four of the groups could be equally populated with good students and troublemakers, though one of the balanced teams were all the boys that only signed up for her class to ogle her dirty blonde, blue eyed, curvy form and she promptly put them in the back. The fifth group, however, she knew she would have to keep a close watch. Liam Daniels and his girlfriend Kelly Hill, Serena Fisher and her boyfriend Roland Barry, as well as the indifferent Robert Powell, she only hoped that the best of her class, valedictorian hopeful April Harmon and average student, but good natured Adam Ratliff would be enough to quarantine the distractions. Yes, she’d definitely have to keep a keen eye their way.

“All right class, since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I have a treat for you. I want you to add a few drops of phenolphthalein indicator and a drop of concentrated ammonia to 500 ml of water in your beaker.” McKenna walked around to all the stations to ensure not only everyone was doing as instructed, but they were all still wearing their safety gear of latex gloves and eye goggles. “Now it’s time for some heat. Place the beaker on your hotplate. As the solution gets hotter it causes a shift in the equilibrium between the unionized ammonia and the ionized hydroxide. The change in pH makes the pink-colored indicator turn colorless.”

April went to work with a steady hand, her midnight black hair with one strand perfectly braided on the left side touching the table as she leaned forward and to the side while she added the chemical.

“Umm, Ms. Gordon?”

“Yes, Josh?”

“Ours isn’t doing anything.”

McKenna went over to the third station to investigate.

Liam thought Ms. Gordon would never stop hovering around. He smiled wickedly as he grabbed the ammonia, “All right, Nerd, my turn.” He went to pour the solution into the pink liquid.

“Liam, no,” April huffed as she attempted to take the bottle from him. “The solution is already working.”

Kelly moved over to April’s other side. “Back off, Bitch.”

“Come on guys,” Adam pleaded. “Just let it be and we got an ‘A’ for sure.”

“Who asked you, Asshole,” Roland shoved Adam.

“Yeah,” Serena smugly pushed Adam as well.

Ms. Gordon instantly knew the issue. “You have too much ammonia in the solution. Let’s try diluting it with more water.” She waited as Josh began to add water. “Slowly, now. Add a little, and then add more if needed.”

Robert nonchalantly backed off ten feet and began admiring the periodic table hanging on the wall.

Adam gripped his fist in irritation and then shook his head. “April, I say we just let them fail,” he turned to see her response.

It was not good as the struggle for the ammonia was very real. Liam was pulling his way while April was pulling hers and Kelly was pulling at April’s arm. Liam’s lips curled with a sneer as he simply let go, allowing all the momentum, and the ammonia toward the girls.

“Look out!” Adam pushed both away, the force causing all three to the floor, but not before the bulk of the liquid crashed onto Adam’s back. He took a turn looking at each of the girls, finishing with April. ‘She tried to stand her ground… Her thirst for knowledge is admirable.’ “You two all right?”

April stared in awe at Adam. He had saved her. If he had not acted selflessly, all that ammonia would have hit her in the face. Her eyes would have been scarred, her sense of smell obliterated, and her face would have been destroyed. Adam was her… hero. A sense of warmth began to fill her being and her body shivered as if goose bumps just ran rampant over her skin. What was this feeling? “I’m fine,” April smiled. “Thank you so much.”

Kelly’s forehead furrowed in anger. ‘Why didn’t this Bitch next to her know her place and just give her boyfriend the bottle? How dare this Dork tackle her? And why was she thanking him?’ “Get off me!” She pushed at Adam.

“What happened?” McKenna rushed over to the three students on the floor.

“Adam got careless with the ammonia,” Liam was quick to answer.

“That’s right, Ms. Gordon,” Serena added.

Roland went over to Robert and put his fist under his chin. “You’re on our side, right?”

Robert gulped. Roland smiled and dragged the petrified teen back to the table.

“That’s right, Ms. Gordon,” Robert’s voice was barely above a whisper until Roland put a tight hand on his shoulder. “Adam spilt the ammonia.”

McKenna helped to get the students onto their feet before grabbing Adam by the arm and pulling him off to the side, “Tell me why I shouldn’t expel you?”

“I…” It was the only word that Adam was able to speak before a sharp hissing sound escaped his lips as the corrosive material had saturated the back of his hoodie, was seeping onto his t shirt, and was beginning to attack his flesh.

“Oh my God,” McKenna grabbed at the hem of Adam’s hoodie. “Take this off; and your t shirt, too.” Once accomplished, the giggles from around the room became apparent. “Okay, you six down to the principals office until we can figure this out. Everyone else, I know we still have a half hour of class, so I want you to clean up and start reading chapter 7 in your textbooks for the test tomorrow. Adam, come with me.” She pulled him by the wrist as she started running for the gymnasium lockers. “Coach Richardson, we had a chemical mishap, I need to borrow your shower room for a minute!”

Coach Richardson didn’t even take his eyes off of his students, “Go ahead.” He then blew his whistle, “That’s travelling. How many times do I have to say you have to dribble the ball.”

McKenna forced Adam into the shower with a small push, “Make sure you rinse your back well.”

Adam felt uncomfortable as he stripped down in the shower knowing full well his chemistry teacher was on the other side of the partition. Still, his back felt like it was on fire so he complied quickly and turned on the hot and cold waters.

McKenna leaned up against the wall, “You’re lucky you wore a hoodie or this would be exponentially more serious. It soaked up most of the liquid. At most, your back should only be red for a couple of days with minor irritation and I’d recommend throwing the shirt and hoodie in the garbage.”

“Remind me to thank that dickhead…” Adam cringed before correcting himself, “I mean Liam.”

McKenna snickered, “Don’t worry, I feel the same way about him.”

“Really?” Adam gasped in surprise.

“I’ll deny it if you repeat that,” McKenna smiled. “But that statement implies that you weren’t the one acting recklessly.”

“I wasn’t.”

“Want to tell me about it?”

“Not much to tell, really,” Adam shrugged. “April already had the solution pink and when you turned around to help Josh’s group, Liam grabbed the ammonia saying it was his turn. April disagreed and grabbed the bottle as well. Kelly came over to force April to stop her from interfering with Liam’s fun.” Adam turned the shower off and grabbed a towel to start drying off. “Liam then, in spite, intentionally let go of the bottle of ammonia… and I pushed the girls out of the way.”

McKenna poked her head around the partition, “Despite knowing the dangers to you?”

Adam jumped at the nearness of the voice before cinching the towel as tight as he possibly could around his waist. “I didn’t think about it like that.”

McKenna stepped forward, a folded towel in hand. “Turn around. I need to pat you dry and determine if any other course of action is required.”

Adam complied, “Is this really necessary?”

“Yes, it is,” McKenna applied the folded towel to Adam’s back. It was definitely irritated. “And now that we’ve talked and you knowing that this could have been far more serious than it was; do you wish you would have done anything differently?”

Adam turned to look his chemistry teacher in her eyes, “No,” he shook his head. “April didn’t deserve what would have happened to her.” He momentarily paused, surprising even himself at his next words, “And despite her attitude, neither did Kelly. And neither would Liam, for that matter.”

McKenna’s breath caught in her throat and she spun Adam around to hide her ungainliness. “How manly,” she whispered.

“What was that?”


“By the way,” Adam continued, “Thanks for taking your time right now. You’d be stunned at how many teachers would let me rot.” Adam’s head shied down… ‘It’s nice to know someone cares for you.’

A swelling began to rise from McKenna’s chest. Just the sight of Adam’s back sent shock waves through her body. She shifted her weight from side to side, nervously. ‘Am I falling for a student? No.’ Her head shook before her eyes found his back again. ‘He’s so dreamy… And what about John?’

“Am I dry, yet, Ms. Gordon?”

‘Was he?’ McKenna focused on the solution to the question to find yes, he was. “Almost.” She dabbed the towel a few more times. ‘I need to figure this out.’ “Okay, now after you get dressed, we’re going to talk to Coach Richardson about finding you a shirt and then I have some cream I want to apply to this.”