2:56 p.m.

“All set!” Athena came out of her bedroom wearing the diamond-encrusted earrings Michael had gifted her for their second anniversary. Her neck was adorned with a silver pendant falling just above her cleavage. She always looked good, but for some reason, she seemed extra stunning today. “What’s the plan today?” She asked as she locked the front door.


Michael took her hand in his as they walked to the car, “do you like putt putt?”


Her entire face lit up in excitement. “Putt putt? I haven’t done that in ages!


“I’ve got the whole place closed off just for us. After that, we can catch dinner. How does that sound?”


“Perfect.” She stopped to kiss him on the cheek.


Michael opened the door to allow her to get in as Andy waited to close the door behind them.


“Hey Straw! Michael and the kids have you running all over the world today?” She asked once she got settled in the backseat.”


“No, ma’am, they haven’t.” Straw laughed. Bill and Javon loved Athena, and it was no different with Straw and Andy.


“Good. Save all that running around for Jayce and me. He says hi, by the way.”


“Tell him I said hello.” He nodded.


“Heyyyy, Ms. Athena.” Andy grinned as he got in the front seat.


“Andy, you know how Michael gets when you flirt with me in front of him. Save that for later.” She winked as she kissed Michael on the cheek.


Michael just shook his head and sighed. That was one of the reasons he didn’t exactly like Andy. Andy and Athena’s little make-believe on and off relationship was funny the first couple of times, but now it’s just annoying. Bill and Javon never pulled that crap.


“How are my babies? I haven’t seen them in what? Two weeks now?” Athena asked Michael.


“They’re fine. They miss you too.” Michael rubbed his bottom lip with his index finger.


“You think I’ll have time to see them tonight?”


“How about tomorrow?” With Jayce gone and the kids under Grace’s care, I just want to spend time with you. Is that okay?”


“Of course,” she nodded. “When Jayce comes back next week, we’ll set up a family day.”


“The kids would love that.” He said as he admired Athena as he always did when in her presence. “How’s work?”


She raised an eyebrow. “You really want that answer?”


“Uh oh…”


“First of all, my South African exhibit didn’t come in when it was supposed to. I already had three hundred tickets sold for the preview. And what happens? It’s stuck in New York.” She threw her hands up in frustration. “Now I have to deal with refunds and extending the Titanic and ‘Bodies’ exhibits for another week or two. At this point, I’m ready to retire.”


Michael rubbed her hand with his. “You know they need you up there.”


She pouted. “I know… And it doesn’t help that I still love what I do. The museum is everything to me. Always has been. Always will be.”


For over twenty years, Athena has worked at the National History Museum of Los Angeles County.


While attending UCLA in 1984, while Michael was on the Victory Tour with his brothers, Athena was interning at the National History Museum. History had always been one of her favorite subjects making museums her haven. It only fit that she worked in a museum for the rest of her life.


While obtaining her bachelor’s degree in history because she knew the ins and outs of the museum, they offered her a full-time position as an assistant director. And at the tender age of twenty-nine, she earned her Ph.D., applied for the museum curator position, and became the youngest curator in NHMLA history.


Michael and Athena’s mutual love of history is another thing that kept them together. Along with Jayce, Michael and his children would visit Athena’s museum often. Even paying for the membership fee, although Athena insisted that Michael didn’t have to do that. But he loved her, and he wanted to support her as much as he could, even going so far as to become a "Friend of the Museum," donating $25,000 at a time. And when he received his tour advance, he immediately donated two million.


“Matter of fact, next week, let’s go to the museum. The kids haven’t seen the ‘Bodies’ exhibit yet, and I’m sure they’ll love it.”


“Hopefully, Jayce won’t be so afraid this time.”

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