IT HAD been several months since the trauma around Supay and Yossele had died down. From that time on, Juno had carefully avoided seeing Supay. She spent most of her days at home with her new-born daughter, Maia. Wrapped up in the joys of motherhood, she had managed to put the tragic events out of her mind temporarily.
Turning a corner, Juno sighed in relief. Circe must be out for the day. Soon enough, Juno’s training ought to begin. Hopefully, she would be able to spend more time with her daughter before that happened. Upon hearing the gurgles and giggles of Maia, Juno returned to the nursery. She picked her daughter up, sat down on a rocking chair in the room and began to play with her.
“You look just like daddy,” she cooed as she tickled Maia under the chin. Her gentle tickles were rewarded with a beautiful smile. “We’ll see him someday, my love. We just have to wait for the right time.” Juno held her daughter closer and started to rock gently back and forth. Before long, the motion would help Maia return to dreamland. Sighing in happiness, she relaxed for a few moments. Without Circe here, she could stop being so tense.
Juno set her daughter back into the crib and tiptoed quietly out of the room. Turning around, she ran into Circe. Juno smiled pleasantly as she tried to hide her surprise. “I did not expect to see you here, Mother. How has your day been?” she asked.
Circe motioned for her to follow her to the kitchen. “My dear, I am afraid that it is time for you to finish your training. I have just the dress in mind.”
Confused, Juno followed her into the kitchen. On the table, a button-up black dress was carefully laid out with matching heels. She looked at Circe inquisitively. “What do you mean… finish my training?”
Shaking her head, Circe handed Juno the shoes to try on. “It is not quite over with. A siren’s training is unique to each siren. Since you reached adulthood a year ago, I had waited patiently for you to take your first lover. Like every young siren, you were unable to control yourself and soon were with child. Your actual training started on the night that you had to end the affair. Sirens do not love. We manipulate and we wreak havoc on the humans around us. Your first test was to do so with the man that you loved. I had thought at the time that you had done an admirably good job. Unlike many young sirens, you were able to manage the matter without leaving your fingerprints upon the results.”
Circe sat down and crossed her legs delicately. “Unfortunately, my suspicion about the parentage of your child was confirmed by what I just heard in the nursery. You still have to end things with Supay. If you are able to ruin your relationship well enough for him to never return, I will allow your daughter to live.”
Juno’s eyes flashed angrily and fear crept into her mind. She consciously tried to control her thoughts. Somehow, she had to get free of the siren world. She would never be able to love who she wished or raise her daughter if sirens were involved. For the moment, her primary focus would be to ensure the safety of her child. “What will happen to Maia if I do this?” she asked in a cold monotone. Never again would Juno let Circe realize her pain.