Eris found out through Facebook.
She had been mindlessly scrolling through the app, trying to determine how many friends had blocked her. And there, after ten minutes of scrolling, was the post on Thetis’s wall:
“Seven days away, I can’t believe it! So excited to see you and Peleus start your forever together. Love, Aphrodite.”
Eris stared at the words, clenching her teeth. Aphrodite, goddess of idiocy, more like.
She clicked through to see who had “Liked” it; among the names were Athena and Hera.
Hera. Eris’s own mother. Eris leaned back her head and laughed. Oh, Thetis. Peleus. Stupid, stupid minor gods. How could they think she wouldn’t find out?
Eris read through the names again and again. Aphrodite. Hera. Athena. Zeus, of course, her idiot father. Not one of them had made a peep about the wedding to Eris. She thought back to the brunch she had with her mother a month ago; the woman was fidgety. Jumpy. She laughed too hard. And she declared a sudden need for the restroom when Eris asked if she had any fun plans coming up.
She would pay. They would all pay.
Eris stood outside the venue. It was grand, with sleek windows four stories tall. Ivy climbed the dark wood walls.
She thrust out her chin, smoothed the wrinkles of her white dress, and charged into the entryway. There was another set of doors in front of her; she listened to the muffled organ music leaking from the cracks.
“Excuse me, you’re not allowed in here!”
Eris turned to a frantic security guard running down the hallway toward her. His face paled as she stared into his eyes.
“You can’t be in here!” His voice shook as he raised his hands.
“You know who I am?” asked Eris quietly.
He jerked his head in an anxious nod. “I’ll--I’ll get Zeus!”
“If you know who I am,” said Eris, ignoring him, “then you know what I’ll do.”
His Adams apple bobbed as he swallowed. “I’m giving you one chance, Eris. Leave. Now.”
“I’ll talk, honey. And when I talk, people listen.”
She smiled and cocked her head to the side. A challenge.
The security guard opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it again. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“Are you sure?” Eris took a small step forward. “Are you really sure.”
After five seconds, he turned on his heel and walked the other way.
Eris smirked and faced the doors again. Squaring her shoulders, she swung the doors open and marched through, the train of her lacey white dress dragging behind her.
“Peleus, darling!” Eris’s voice echoed around the room and she smiled as every head turned toward her. The benches were draped with ivory fabric. Roses sprinkled the walkway in front of her, leading to the flowered altar where Peleus and Thetis stood, clutching each other’s hands and staring at Eris in horror.
Eris walked down the walkway, her heels piercing the roses. She didn’t take her eyes off the couple at the front.
After twenty seconds of astonished silence, the whispering started.
“Oh bloody hell, here we go.”
“Should we get out of here?”
Eris ignored them, focusing only on the couple at the front.
“Eris!” boomed a voice in the front row.
Eris stopped and looked to her left. Her father stood, towering over the guests around him, which included Hera.
“Hello, Father,” said Eris in a sweet voice, giving him a little wave.
“How dare you?” he thundered. “How dare you ruin this union!”
“Ruin?” She blinked in mocking hurt. “I’m merely here to correct the situation.” She turned and again stared, unblinking, at Peleus and Thetis.
“Pelues, darling, it seems my invitation got lost in the mail.”
Thetis stepped forward. She looked Eris up and down, curling her lip at the dress. Eris raised a smug eyebrow. She had threatened Arachne particularly harshly until the spider weakly agreed to weave the exact same dress as the bride.
“Get out, Eris.”
Eris pouted her lip. “That’s a rude way to treat a guest.”
“You are not a guest, you--you--”
Peleus put a hand on his bride’s arm and glared at Eris. “You were not invited. We stand by that choice. Leave.”
Eris gave a loud, dramatic sigh. “It seems no one wants me here.”
She faced the crowd and pulled a golden iPhone from seemingly nowhere. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll leave if--and only if--the fairest catches this.” Suddenly, she threw the iPhone high and stepped back into the shadows.
Several things happened at once. Athena, standing to Thetis’s side, lunged for the iPhone. Hera leapt from her seat in the front row and also dived for the device. Another person ran from a row near the back; Aphrodite, stunning in a slimming red dress, elbowed Hera and Athena aside.
After a scuffle in which all three women shrieked and cursed, they all stood up, each with a hand on the golden iPhone and looking as if they had just been attacked by rabid dogs.
“I’m goddess of beauty,” snarled Aphrodite, her dress ripped and her makeup smeared.
“Goddess of stupidity, you mean. I’m the fairest--” started Athena, pulling the iPhone toward her.
“Excuse me!” said Thetis, putting her hands on her hips. “I’m the bride here!”
“Shut up, you useless water goddess,” snapped Hera. Thetis shrunk into her groom’s side. Peleus stared at the quarreling women with his mouth agape, too stunned at the situation to say a word.
Eris melted into the shadows and rolled her eyes. Stupid goddesses. Stupid, vain goddesses.
“Ladies!” boomed Zeus. “How dare you disrupt this union? My wife? My daughter?”
Athena hung her head, but Hera tossed her hair behind her shoulders. “We’re saving this union, thank you very much. I don’t see anyone else working to make Eris leave.”
At this, some of the guests looked around for the goddess of strife, but Eris was nowhere to be seen.
Zeus was not sidetracked. “The fairest is the bride.”
“Leave me out of it,” mumbled Thetis. Zeus shot her an irritated look.
“Honesty is best here anyway, honey,” said Aphrodite, smiling cruelly at Thetis. “Clearly, I’m the most beautiful.”
“You dare disrespect the queen of gods?” hissed Hera. “You dare--”
“ENOUGH,” Zeus roared. The goddesses fell silent so quickly it was as if Zeus had slapped them.
“I will determine the fairest,” said Zeus. He walked forward and snatched the golden iPhone out of their hands.
“That’s not fair!” piped Aphrodite, crossing her arms. “Hera is your wife. Of course you’d pick her.”
“Or me,” said Athena, unable to stay quiet for long. “I’m his daughter.”
Zeus clutched his hair in his hands and glared at the women. Then he turned to the crowd of guests.
“You!” he boomed, pointing to a boy in the crowd. “Prince of Troy! Stand up and come forward!”
The boy, Paris, stumbled forward until he stood in front of the women.
“Choose the fairest,” ordered Zeus.
Paris gulped. “M-me? Are you sure?”
The young Prince of Troy jumped and turned toward the goddesses. He shot Thetis and Peleus a guilty look. Thetis looked at the floor, and Peleus eyed the golden iPhone, his mouth still wide open.
“I’ll give you power, boy,” said Hera suddenly. Paris looked at her in surprise.
“You’ll rule the world when I’m through with you.”
He opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted.
“I’ll give you something better than power,” said Athena, snorting. “I’ll give you infinite wisdom. No one will dare challenge you.”
Paris raised his eyebrows, considering. He looked expectantly at Aphrodite, who smiled widely. “Power and wisdom--children’s toys.” She walked up to him, standing so close he could count her eyelashes.
“I’ll give you the only thing you want, and need, young Paris.” Aphrodite bent down to whisper in his ear. “I’ll give Helen of Troy.”
Eris, hidden in the shadows, threw back her head and laughed.