“Yo, Jove!” Anna smiled until she saw the look on Jove’s face. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Thalassa broke up with me last night…”
“Holy shit!” Johann exclaimed. “I thought you two were like this!” He crossed his index and middle fingers.
Jove set his guitar case on the floor. “I did too until she packed up and left in the dead of the night.”
“She didn’t take Apollo, did she? Anna asked. “Because between you and me, Apollo seemed to like you more.”
“Anna!” Nate exclaimed. “Don’t say stuff like that.”
“What? I’m just expressing my honest opinion.” Anna leaned against a table. “Well?”
“I’m not sure yet. Thalassa said we’re gonna let Apollo decide.”
“Pff, then you’re a shoo-in.” She said. “That kid clings to you like Velcro.”
Jove smiled. “Thanks Anna. Now enough about me. Let’s start working. I have to pick Apollo up at three.”
He pulled out the slightly wrinkled sheet music for the piece they were working on. The band had to arrange an instrumental cover of some power ballad that was going to be played at a wedding.
“Y’know, after a while all these power ballads sound the same.” Anna remarked as she oiled the valves of her trumpet.
“Well, there is a formula to these things.” Jove replied.
Anna sighed. “I guess. It’s still annoying.”
“You think everything’s annoying,” Johann remarked.
“Well with people like you walking the Earth, I have ample reason!”
Johann prepared to throw his drumstick at Anna when Jove stepped in.
“Alright, break it up you two,” he said. “You’re about as distracted as I was last night.”
Anna burst out laughing while the other two men stared at Jove, their mouths agape.
“I can’t tell whether I should say ‘too soon’ or not.” Johann managed to say.
Jove smiled with his mouth closed. “I tell jokes to hide the pain.”
Nate patted Jove’s shoulder. “We all do.”
. . .
Jove received a call during lunch. “Hello? This is Jove Justice speaking.”
“Hello Mr. Justice. This is Mindy Young. I’m Apollo’s teacher.”
You’ve been teaching my child for half a year now. Of course I know who you are.
“I was calling to tell you that Apollo’s having a bit of a bad day.”
Jove knit his eyebrows together. “What’s goin’ on?”
“During lunch, Apollo started crying about missing you. I was wondering if anything was going on at home?”
“Yeah, my wife and I split up last night.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s fine. But Apollo went to bed later than usual, so he’s probably just tired. Does he want me to come down there?”
The line was silent for a few moments. Ms. Young was probably talking to Apollo. “If you could that would be wonderful.”
“I’ll be there soon. Thank you for calling me Ms. Young.” Jove hung up. “I have to pick Apollo up early. I’ll be back in about half an hour.”
The other band mates said goodbye and Jove got into his car.
I didn’t think Thalassa and I splitting up hit Apollo this hard. I’ll have to ask Thalassa to talk to him and make sure he’s okay…
Jove was greeted with a hug from Apollo when he arrived at his school. “Hey little man! How’re you feeling?”
There were still the remnants of tears on Apollo’s face but he just wiped his eyes and shrugged. “Okay…”
“Let’s get you something cold to drink, yeah? Then you can hang out with me and my band mates.”
Apollo seemed to perk up a little at this. He wiped his eyes and looked out the back seat window.
How do I talk to Apollo? I don’t want to make him start crying again, but he needs to know that his father’s there for him…
“…It’s okay to cry.” Why had he said that?
“Hm?” Apollo seemed to be wondering the same thing.
Guess I just have to run with it now.
“If you’re sad, it’s okay to let others know. When you tell someone, they can help you. If… if you need help, you can always talk to your mother or me about these problems. We won’t get mad. Okay?”
Apollo nodded and Jove drove back to his studio. Anna was there to greet them.
“Aw, there’s my favorite mascot!”
Apollo frowned. “I’m not your mascot!”
“You’re not? So we bought the special mascot chair for nothing?” Anna gestured to a swivel stool. Apollo’s eyes widened.
“I wanna sit on it!”
“Only the mascot gets to sit on the special mascot stool.”
Apollo crossed his arms.
“Anna, leave him alone.” Jove said. “Apollo, you can sit on the special mascot stool.”
“Yay!” Apollo hopped onto the stool and spun around.
“Alright, now that Apollo’s taken care of, let’s get back to work. That power ballad isn’t going to write itself.” Jove picked up his guitar.
Apollo stopped spinning, and rolled over to sit next to his father. “What’s a power ballad?” He asked.
“It’s a really sappy rock song about how much you love someone.” Anna said. “It’s perfect for weddings.”
“Did you and Mommy play a power ballad at your wedding?”
All the other band members except Jove tensed up. “No, we played ‘Banditos’ by the Refreshments. You’ve listened to it in the car.” Jove sung a couple lines from the chorus and a flash of recollection crossed Apollo’s face.
“Oh yeah, I remember! I like that song.” He said. “I like the one about Mexico too.” Apollo hummed the chorus.
Jove smiled. “My son has very good taste in music.” He said. “Let’s try to get back to work… again.”
There was a lot of moaning from Anna about how much she hated the song. Once it was done, the band let out a collective sigh.
“I can’t wait until our album gets published and we won’t have to do this anymore.” Johann said.
“You called the record dealer, right Jove?” Nate asked.
“Yeah, he’s giving us three months to release a demo.”
“Looks like we need to get to working on it,” Anna said.
“I wanna help!” Apollo stood on his tip-toes to peek over the table.
“I don’t think you-”
Jove cut Anna off. “You can listen to our songs and tell us whether it’s good or not. That alright with you, Pollywog?”
Apollo nodded and started spinning around in the special mascot stool. “I’ll be the best listener ever!”
“I’m counting on you!”
Apollo told them everything was perfect even though the song was still extremely rusty, but at least he felt like he was doing something.
The band started packing up at six.
“See you tomorrow.” Jove picked up a dozing Apollo, and carried him to the car.
“Can we do that every day?” Apollo was half-asleep.
“That’s the plan.” Jove replied as he snapped his son into the car seat.
“I wanna live with you, Daddy.”
Jove hid his smile. This is great! But… “Why don’t you visit your mother before you decide?” Why is he saying this? “I don’t want you to make an important decision without seeing all your choices.”
Apollo nodded slowly. “I love you Daddy.” And then he was asleep again.
Jove smiled. “I love you too, Apollo.”
. . .
“What kind of music do you listen to?” Thalassa and I were sitting outside the steps to her school.
I smiled. “Well, there’s this one band that I listened to all the time.”