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Love, Drunk, and Cupid by Jemma Weir
The high-pitched beep was enough to drive Ernie to violence. He followed it, forcing himself to take slow, calm steps as he entered the kitchen.
He wasn’t sure what he had expected to find, but it certainly wasn’t a naked man slumped half inside the fridge.
The man was almost six foot tall, with dark hair, blue, somewhat bleary-eyes, and looked barely old enough to drink. His knee was bent, preserving a small portion of his dignity. All of that alone would have been enough to make him stand out among the pensioners at Gard Village - Senior Living. The wings were barely even noticeable among all that.
“Can I help you?” Ernie asked, crossing his arms to glare at the man as the fridge beeped again.
The man blinked rapidly, as if he couldn’t quite bring Ernie into focus. He waved a bottle of milk in Ernie’s direction, then slurred. “Who’re you?”
“Since this is my house, how about you answer my question first?” Ernie considered slamming the fridge shut as it beeped again, but the man’s wing twitched where it was caught in the door.
“Not yours.” The man sniggered, taking a swig from the bottle. It had a suspicious yellow tint. “Retirement Home.”
“You’re drunk.” Ernie snatched the bottle out of the man’s hands as he moved to take another swig. The sickly sweet smell was overwhelming. No wonder he was drunk.
The man tried to catch it, but the fridge proved to be to complicate a trap for his milk and honey addled brain. He grunted. “Not drunk.”
Ernie rolled his eyes, choosing to ignore the obvious lie. “Are you not supposed to be working?”
The man’s eyes filled with tears, and he slumped back. “Fired.”
Ernie looked at the man’s wings again. They were intact, despite what looked like honey sticking the feathers together. “What happened?”
The man sniffed loudly and dragged a broken bow up off the floor beside him. The wood was burned into two pieces, the string the only thing keeping it together. It was barely big enough to fit in the man’s hand.
“I was the best.” Cupid shook his head. Blinking away the tears. “I didn’t know what she was. If I’d known, I’d not have shot her.”
“Who did you shoot?” Ernie chose his words carefully, trying to sound polite. At least it would explain why the man was human sized and naked, if not why he was now in Ernie’s kitchen and still had his wings.
The magic that made all Cupids quick, small, and agile was in their bow. Without it, they were effectively barely more than humans with wings, glamour and really good matchmaker skills. When it broke, he would have gone from two feet tall, to the size he was now.
“Freya,” Cupid said, growling the word. “She made them sack me, called me incompetent.”
Ernie winced. That sounded like his sister all right. But Cupid was still missing something out. “And they left you with wings?”
Cupid looked away, not answering, both wings twitching. The wings were what made Cupid Immortal. To lose them as well as his bow would truly make him only human.
Ernie narrowed his eyes. “Tell me you didn’t run?”
“I didn’t run,” Cupid said, wincing as he glanced at Ernie. He was starting to sound like he was sobering up. “I hid.”
Ernie rolled his eyes. Of course he had. Why else would he be sitting in Ernie’s retirement home kitchen, in a town in the middle of nowhere? “And you didn’t think I’d notice?”
Cupid gave a weak smile, tried to lean forward, but his wing got stuck. He blinked at it as if only just noticing it was stuck.
“You should probably hide them. Mortals get a bit excited about people who have wings,” Ernie suggested with a sigh.
Cupid was able to hide the wings with glamour after the third attempt, though Ernie was sure the fridge was never going to close properly again after the dent. But it had at least stopped beeping. He had even found some clothes for Cupid. The trousers came up to his mid calves, and the shirt didn’t close, but it was covering the important parts.
“My head,” Cupid groaned, holding his head in his hands as he leaned on the worktop.
“Stop whining, you chose to drink,” Ernie said, hiding his smile as Cupid grumbled.
“What now?” Cupid asked, looking at Ernie with fear. “You going to call Freya?”
Cupid was not stupid; Freya had a reputation as a huntress. She wasn’t going to let someone hiding stop her hunt. She would want to make sure Cupid was mortal.
Ernie considered him for a moment, then sighed. “Hell no.”
He slapped Cupid on the back. A deep power vibrated through Ernie’s fingers as he cast magic out over Cupid in a kind of net. It would wear down over time, but it would give him a few years to stay hidden. After that, Cupid would have to find his own way to hide. That would drive his sister up the wall.
Cupid stared at him in surprise. He knew enough about magic to know what Ernie had done. He exhaled slowly, nodding his head. “Thank you.”
“You’ll need a new name,” Ernie said, turning away. Cupid was going to need a lot more than that if he wanted to survive in the human world. But a name was a good start.
He looked down at the broken, singed wood that used to be his bow. “Archer?”
“As good as any,” Ernie said with a shrug.
“Thank you, Freyr,” Archer said, using Ernie’s true name as he offered his hand. “I don’t know how to repay you.”
“If Freya finds you, tell her I helped hide you,” Ernie said immediately, enjoying the image of his sister having that tantrum. Hopefully, after quite a few years.
“Let me know if there is ever anything else I can do to return the favour,” Archer said, smiling as he pushed back from the counter.
Archer left the bow on the floor as he walked out of Gard Village - Senior Living to start his new life.
Ernie felt his sisters’ presence tickle against his skin a few moments later. She practically walked past Archer and never even saw him. Ernie smiled. Her frustration stained the air. This was going to be fun.
Want to read more about Ernie?
Check out FINDING DEATHS SCYTHE. It's free with my newsletter and the first released in the Ernie Smith and the Seven Sins story.
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Love, Drunk, and Cupid by Jemma Weir <-- You are here