It’s Cupid Killing Time is the thirty-fourth chapter of The Gift of a Best Friend. It was first published on December 30, 2016.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air.
I just love love. Love, love, love, love, love. It’s so pretty.
Annabeth, Emily, Luke, Toothless, and I were down at the Plaza, walking around. We went into some of the gift shops. Emily kept Luke out of them because she knew how much he loves to steal things, especially for her.
They’ve been dating for a few months now, and Emily’s powers have activated too. It was really cool.
At Christmas, I made them kiss under the mistletoe. Luke was wearing a Santa hat that Annabeth put on him. I’m going to try and do something like that again.
All of the gift shops were selling a lot of Valentine’s stuff. I saw a shirt that said ‘All You Need Is Love’ on it. I liked it, and Emily bought it for me in my size. Well, actually, Luke stole it for me first, another shirt with a heart in the center of it for Annabeth, and a heart pendant for Emily, but she went back and paid for all of them. It was nice of him to get those for us, but wrong to steal them too. I also got a heart tag for Toothless and put it on his collar.
We continued to walk down through the Plaza. There was a park right next to it and we headed for it.
We were crossing the last street when I noticed an odd man on the other side of the other street. He was wearing a big diaper, had a red sash across his chest and a bow and arrow in his hands. The tip of the arrow was in the shape of a heart.
Looking at him, I started to feel different. Stronger.
I knew who that man was, and I hated him.
Then my eyes went dark.
We got to the other end of the street before we noticed that Jasmine was gone. And it was only when Toothless pulled my shirt with his mouth, getting my attention.
She was walking across the other end of the street, diagonal from us, with her sword drawn (we came armed just in case monsters attacked us), and she was walking toward a man dressed in barely any clothes.
Was Jasmine going to kill him?
“Jasmine!” I called.
But she didn’t look like she heard me.
“Oh crap,” Emily cursed. “I forgot.”
“What?” Luke asked.
She didn’t answer.
She didn’t answer. She just ran across the street, right in front of oncoming traffic. No one hit her, but there was a lot of honking.
We ran after her.
“Sir!” Emily called to the man in weird clothing. “You have to run!”
He didn’t seem to hear her.
“Sir! Yo, Cupid!”
That time, he heard her.
He turned to look at her, then noticed Jasmine coming toward him with her sword. He didn’t look scared by her, just confused. Was the Mist hiding her sword? Maybe. But it wasn’t even her Celestial bronze one.
“You have to run, sir!” Emily told Cupid man. “She’s going to kill you!”
He seemed to realize that. He looked down at Jasmine, looking scared this time, then ran up the street. Jasmine raised her sword and chased after him.
“Jasmine, stop!” Emily called, but she kept chasing him.
Emily tried to follow, but once she got out into the street, Luke grabbed her arm.
“Emily, what’s going on?” he asked. “Why is Jasmine trying to kill that guy?”
“Because he’s dressed like Cupid!” she replied like it was obvious, which it kind of was. “We have to stop her before she kills him.”
Luke looked at me, but I was just as confused as he was.
“Whoa. Calm down,” he told Emily. “We’ll stop her. Does she hate Cupid or something?”
Emily took a deep breath and exhaled. “Yes.”
“We don’t know. She’s had this hatred for him since she was a baby. Every time she sees him—either as a doll, a cardboard cut out, or even as a freakin’ man dressed as him, which is odd considering how cold it is right now, though I guess it is almost Valentine’s Day—she tries to kill him. Literally. One time, Sarah got Jasmine a Cupid doll, by the next morning, she slashed it to pieces with a knife. Then Selena had dressed Peter up in a baby Cupid outfit and she started punching him. Then we tested her hatred for him by having Zak, her dad, put on a costume himself, and she went vicious. Her eyes—Why are you laughing?!”
She asked that to Luke because that’s just what he was doing.
“Zak put on a Cupid outfit?” he asked.
“Yes,” Emily replied impatiently. “He was reluctant to put it on, but he did since he was her father.”
“Did you take a picture of him wearing it?”
Emily got a little smile on her face. “No. I wasn’t even there at that time. Sarah did want to take a picture, but she didn’t want to embarrass him more than he already was.”
“But it’s funny.”
“Maybe. But how about I put a Cupid outfit on you, which I can easily do now that I have my powers, and see how funny you find that?”
Luke took a step back from her. “Don’t you dare.”
“Can you do that?” I asked Emily.
Toothless grunted in agreement.
Emily smiled. “It would be so easy.”
“Don’t encourage her,” Luke told me.
“Oh, I don’t know, Luke. It’s very tempting.”
“Emily, please don’t.”
“Then will you please stop treating this situation with Jasmine as some kind of joke? It’s serious, Luke.”
“Ok, ok. I’m sorry. You were saying something about her eyes?”
“Yes. Whenever she sees Cupid, her eyes turn as red as blood. And even if she sees a guy wearing that costume, someone she knows, like her father, she doesn’t see him. She just sees a man that she wants to kill and won’t stop until she does.”
“That’s weird and scary,” I said.
“That’s Jasmine for you,” Luke said.
Emily smacked his arm.
“Hey, I meant that as a compliment.”
Toothless seemed to agree with him.
“Yeah, well, did you mean this situation as a compliment?” Emily asked.
“Well, this does seem to be weird, even for Jasmine,” Luke admitted.
“Right. Luke, we have to stop her before she kills that guy. If she does, she will be put in juvie for the rest of her life, then jail. Or she’ll be put in a mental institution for the rest of her life, which is probably worse. Do you want that to happen to her?”
“Of course I don’t.”
“Neither do I. We have to stop her before it’s too late.”
“What should we do?”
“Find her. I doubt that she’s faster than that man, so she’s probably still chasing him. I’m going to go up this street where she went and try to catch up to her. Luke, you go down that street and try to intercept her. Annabeth and Toothless, fly up above these buildings and see if you can spot her. If you do, Toothless, signal me and Luke to where you are with your plasma blast as Jasmine has trained you to do. Everyone got it?”
“Good. Luke and I will call if we find her too. Let’s go.”
Emily ran up one street, Luke another, and I climbed onto Toothless’s back and we went airborne.
I thought about how I’ve known Jasmine for over three years now and that this was the first time I’ve seen or heard of her hatred for Cupid. It was odd since she likes love. She’s even started to watch and read romance. Isn’t that what Cupid’s all about?
Toothless and I soared over the buildings of the Plaza. He was even faster than any of the pegasi at camp.
After a few minutes, we spotted Jasmine. She was still chasing the guy in the Cupid costume, who looked terrified. I tried not to laugh.
Toothless flew us down next to her.
“Jasmine!” I called, but she didn’t even look at me. “Toothless, can you fly backwards in front of her?”
He did that, but he got a little too close to her and she slashed at him with her sword. But he pulled back before she could hurt him.
I looked closely at her eyes, and I saw that they really were red. It was so creepy.
“Toothless,” I said. “Signal Luke and Emily.”
He flew behind Jasmine, then he lifted his head up to the sky and blasted his fire into it, one every few seconds.
Luke appeared in front of us a minute later and grabbed Jasmine. She struggled to break free from him, even trying to stab him with her sword, but he managed to hold her.
“Jasmine!” Emily was running toward us. When she reached us, she grabbed Jasmine’s sword and pulled it out of her hand. “Jasmine, you need to stop.”
“No!” she replied. “I have to kill Cupid.”
“Why?” Luke asked.
“Because he’s mean at love. And he’ll hurt us with it if I don’t kill him.”
Seeing Jasmine this way really scared me.
She bit Luke’s arm.
“Ow!” he yelled in pain and dropped her.
She ran after Cupid man, who was still running up the street and didn’t even try to get her sword from Emily.
“Jasmine!” I called, but she kept running.
Then, suddenly, the man’s outfit changed. He was now wearing pants, a sweater, and a jacket. He stopped running and looked at his clothes. Jasmine stopped running too.
“Good riddance,” she said.
She was obviously the only one of us that wasn’t confused. She turned toward us, and I could see that her eyes were back to their normal black color.
“Grandma!” she called.
“Grandma?” Emily asked, confused.
Jasmine ran past us and hugged a woman that was, in fact, her grandma.
“Mom,” Luke said.
“Hey, guys,” Raylee replied. “I see Jasmine’s trying to kill Cupid again.”
When we got to my home, Emily told me what happened, because I didn’t remember any of it.
Grandma got a message from her green robotic watch, Jed, about a little girl trying to kill a man wearing a Cupid costume down at the Plaza.
I wonder who that was. Luke told me that it was me. I knew that and I smiled about it. I really am scary and weird.
Anyway, Grandma told us that she used her powers to change the man’s clothes so that I would stop chasing him and erased his memory of it so that he won’t press charges on me, whatever that means.
“Jasmine,” Daddy said. “I know we’ve asked you this before, but why were you trying to kill Cupid?”
“Because, Daddy,” I said. “He’s mean. He makes love look like a bad thing because he’s bad with love. Especially to people who hide their love.”
“How do you know that?” Mommy asked.
“I don’t know. I just do.”
I really don’t know how to explain it, not even to myself. I just have a very strong feeling that Cupid is not who everyone thinks he is. Yeah, he deals with love, but he makes it harder to have when he should make it easier. I don’t know how I know that about him, I just do. And I also know it’s true.
“Who would hide their love for someone?” Emily asked.
“There’s a lot of reasons why, Emily,” Grandma said. “I mean, look at me and Nick. We were friends for almost a decade before we became an official couple. We both fell in love with each other just a few years after we met, but we kept it from each other because we were both afraid that the other wouldn’t feel the same way and that it would ruin our friendship.”
“Are you still a couple now?” I asked.
She and Nick looked at each other.
“It’s complicated,” Grandma said.
“How complicated?” I asked.
“Very complicated,” Nick replied.
“I’ll tell you more when you’re older and understand more,” Grandma said.
“Do I have to wait that long?” I asked.
I crossed my arms. “Fine.”
“Good. Now let’s get back to the situation with you.”
“Jasmine, you don’t remember chasing that man with your sword?” Mommy asked.
I shook my head. “No.”
“What do you remember?”
“I remember seeing the guy and I knew I hated him. Then my eyes went dark like they were closed. And when they opened again, I was somewhere else, and I found Annabeth, Emily, Toothless, Luke, and Grandma behind me.”
“That’s different from the last time,” Daddy said.
“Yeah,” Mommy agreed.
“How?” Luke asked.
“When Jasmine no longer saw Cupid, and her eyes were back to their usual color, she could remember doing something to Cupid, like slashing him with a knife, or hitting him, or ripping him apart, you know, like on a piece of paper. But this time, you blacked out?”
I shrugged. “I guess. I don’t know.”
“Isn’t Cupid a god?” Annabeth asked.
“I think so.”
“We can go ask our godly expert on that,” Luke suggested.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
Our godly expert was Cassandra.
We went to camp to ask her about him, just me, Annabeth, Toothless.
“Yes, he is a god,” she said after we told her what happened with me today. “He’s the Roman god of love.”
“He shouldn’t be,” I said.
“Because you know he’s mean about it?”
That’s one thing I liked about Cassandra: She learns how someone is about something quickly and doesn’t keep asking questions about it, no matter how weird it is.
“Do you know what he really looks like?” I asked.
“No,” Cassandra replied. “But I do know that he doesn’t wear a diaper or shoots people with a heart arrow to make them fall in love like most people believe.”
“Do you know why Jasmine hates Cupid and knows that he’s not who everyone thinks he is?” Annabeth asked.
“Well, maybe it’s like with your visions,” Cassandra replied. “You’ve had a lot of visions of a boy whom you’re probably going to meet someday, and maybe Jasmine’s going to meet Cupid someday and not have a good experience with him.”
“Why?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. You say that he’s mean to people that hide their love.”
“Right. Maybe you fall in love with a boy someday and you try to hide it, but Cupid makes you admit your love for him.”
“Why would I hide my love for a boy if I love him? And who is he?”
“I don’t know, Jasmine. Maybe it’s the mystery boy from Annabeth’s visions, but don’t want to admit you love him because Annabeth loves him.”
“What?” Annabeth asked. “I hope not.”
“What?” Cassandra asked. “That Jasmine doesn’t love him?”
“No. That I don’t.”
“Well, we’ll see about that.”
Toothless and I laughed.
“What about you, Cassandra?” I asked.
“What about me?” she asked back.
“You hide your love for Luke.”
“What? No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. You look sad every time you see him.”
“And mad too,” Annabeth added.
“I’m not hiding anything,” Cassandra said. “Luke and I did use to date.”
“And you’re in love with him,” I said.
“Whoa, there, Jasmine. Love is pushing it. We didn’t date that long.”
“Neither did my mommy and daddy, but they fell in love.”
Cassandra sighed. “Of course they did. But can we please get back on our original subject?”
“Not until you admit that you love Luke.”
“That is not going to happen because I don’t.”
“You saying that just proves you do.”
“Oh, yeah? Then what would I say if I didn’t love him?”
“You said ‘if’, so that means that you do love Luke.”
“I—I . . .” Cassandra growled.
Annabeth and I smiled.
“So, Jasmine,” Cassandra said. “Since you don’t like Cupid, do you also not like Aphrodite, because she’s also a goddess of love, and his mother.”
“But Aphrodite’s Greek,” Annabeth said. “You said that Cupid is Roman.”
“He is. The Romans gave the Greek gods Roman forms when they adopted them.”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “But her daughters don’t seem to care.”
“They don’t, but it’s not like Aphrodite is that much better with her own love life. But she sure enjoys everyone else’s.”
“Even yours?” Annabeth asked.
“Everyones. Even yours.”
“I don’t have a love life.”
“Not yet. Now, you two go play somewhere. I want to be alone right now.”
“To dream about Luke?” I asked.
She glared at me, and it was scary with her gray eyes.
I wondered if Annabeth will be like her. I hope so, but not too much.
I thanked her for helping me a little bit with my weird hatred for Cupid. Then we said goodbye to her and left her alone in our cabin.
If she was right and I’m going to meet Cupid someday, I wonder when and who I’ll be afraid to admit my love for.
Now this chapter was interesting. It gave you guys some hints into the future. Lol. I was laughing at some of them while I was proofreading this.
Also, did you guys check the new cover for The Dark Prophecy and the excerpt? It's awesome!
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- Luke Castellan
- Emily Hollinger
- Raylee Hollinger
- Zak Saturday
- Sarah Saturday
- Selena Hollinger (mentioned)
- Peter Hollinger (mentioned)