Authors: Keary Taylor
Tags: #romance, #love, #angels, #contemporary fantasy, #keary taylor, #fall of angels, #fantasy scifi humor action history immortality adventure urban fantasy contemporary fantasy vampire
Yeah,” I said with a nod.
“And then Cole came and screwed everything up.”
Well, why hasn’t he
proposed then? I mean, you guys are practically married
I gave a sigh, not really wanting to
think about it now. I should have just left things alone. “I don’t
really know. He just says that he’s too unsure of everything now
that he’s changed.”
That’s lame,” she said as
she took another swig and wiped a stray drip from her
That’s basically what I
Emily downed the rest of her drink in
one swallow. “Well, I don’t see what it really matters. Like I
said, you guys are basically married already. What difference is it
going to make?”
I didn’t answer Emily. I didn’t want
to tell her how to me it would make all the difference. I didn’t
tell her how badly I wanted to be Jessica Wright, how badly I
wanted to call Alex my husband, or even just fiancé. I didn’t tell
her how badly I wanted to be with Alex, all of Alex. And I couldn’t
do any of those things until Alex asked me that life changing
question. What I had with Alex was more than I could ever have
hoped for in a million lifetimes but now that I knew what else was
supposed to happen, it didn’t seem enough. We just didn’t seem…
I think you should get
over this. You’ve already got the most amazing guy that has ever
existed. What more could you want? Just enjoy what you’ve got.” Her
voice dropped just slightly as she added “At least you have
Her last sentence caught me off guard.
Guilt suddenly washed over me. “I’m sorry, Emily. This must sound
really immature and selfish.”
She just brushed it off, rolling her
eyes at me. “Whatever. I can understand I guess. Every girl dreams
of their fantasy guy and their dream wedding dress and
I gave her a half smile. Emily really
was a good friend. Even though it wasn’t really working, I
appreciated her trying to cheer me up.
Moping time is over,” she
said as she sprang to her feet and pulled me up with her. “Let’s
I tried to relax and just enjoy
myself. I didn’t dance often; actually, I couldn’t remember the
last time I had danced. Several guys came and went, mostly dancing
with Emily because she didn’t clam up and shy away. Even if Emily
thought it was just dancing, it didn’t feel right to be doing it
with another guy.
A pair of black eyes watching me from
across the club caught my attention and my head whipped around to
get a better look. The man turned and started walking away, his
dark hair covering his face. I whipped around again as Emily danced
Are you okay?” she
shouted at me.
I took two steps toward the guy when
he suddenly turned toward me. Relief and embarrassment washed over
me. I was getting paranoid. Of course it wasn’t Cole.
Do you want to go home?”
Emily asked as I turned back to her, her face showing
I gave a little half smile. “Only if
you don’t mind.”
Come on,” she said as she
looped her arm through mine. She dug into her handbag and handed me
the keys to her car. “You’re going to have to drive
I have to go to work
now,” I said, frustration obvious in my voice. Not looking at Alex,
I grabbed my purse off the table and walked out without looking
back or saying good-bye.
I slammed the door to my car as I got
in and hurled my purse in the passenger seat. Throwing the car into
reverse, I backed out of the driveway too quickly, nearly hitting
another car in the process. I got a nasty scowl from the man but I
didn’t care enough to feel bad for nearly hitting him.
Two cars honked at me as I drove to
the bookstore, evidence that I probably should not have been
driving. One minute I was driving way too slow, the next I was
speeding and swerving in and out of lanes.
I finally broke down as I pulled into
the parking lot of the bookstore. My breathing came in sharp gasps.
I could feel panic boiling up in my system, threatening to take me
over. Tears sprang to my eyes and came down my face in angry
Alex and I had had another fight, yet
the same one we had been having over and over again. I wanted to be
his wife, to have all of him. And he wouldn’t do it.
I hated that we were fighting, I
wanted it to end. But I wasn’t going to give up on this. On him. I
would deny that he might not be with me someday until the day he
I squeezed my eyes closed and leaned
my forehead against the steering wheel. It felt good to let it all
out. I couldn’t let Alex or anyone else see this. But it felt good
to release everything.
And yet it shredded me to pieces at
the same time.
Taking a deep breath and wiping the
tears off my cheeks, I realized I was now almost ten minutes late.
I pulled the sun visor down, checking my reflection in the mirror.
My heart leapt into my throat as I caught the reflection of
something moving behind my car, just a quick white blur. I whipped
around in my seat, my eyes searching frantically for whatever it
had been. I found the parking lot devoid of any
The feeling that a pair of eyes were
watching me made my skin crawl. Even though I couldn’t see who the
eyes belonged to, the gaze was intense. It took every ounce of
courage I had to jump out of my car and run into the
I clocked in and set to stocking a few
shelves. My hands were shaking violently and my stomach felt
queasy. This wasn’t the first time in the last week or so that I’d
felt invisible eyes watching me.
Are you okay, Jessica?”
Rita asked as she walked up to me, her expression
Yeah,” I sniffed and
tried not to look at her. I realized then that signs of my
breakdown must have still been evident on my face. Crying did
horrible things to my skin. “I’m fine.”
Oh sweetie,” she said as
she placed a hand lightly on my shoulder. “You don’t look like you
feel fine. And you’re pale as a ghost. Do you want to talk about
I could only give Rita a half smile,
touched by this woman who cared so much. I missed having a motherly
figure in my life, one that cared about me and asked if I ‘wanted
to talk about it’. “No, it’s fine. Thanks though.”
If you’re sure,” she said
as she gave me a sad smile. “You’re welcome to use my office if you
need some time to yourself today.”
Thanks,” I said again,
fighting back the tears that wanted to spill now at her compassion.
I tried to ignore the fact that Austin was watching a little too
I pulled a few more books out of the
box at my feet and set them on the shelf. My hands still shook
My nerves were even more on edge the
last week than normal. I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone
was watching me, even following me. That there was someone lurking
in the shadows that I couldn’t see.
And then there was the increase in
fights between Alex and I. It had gotten so bad one night I had
nearly called Emily to ask if I could come stay with her for the
night. I knew he wanted me to just let this go. How did he even
think that was possible for me?
Not all of us are so
My body froze as the words prickled
somewhere in the recesses of my mind. It wasn’t like I had even
heard the words. It was more an impression of the idea.
always waiting for
Black spots formed in the edges of my
vision and my knees started shaking.
This isn’t real, this
isn’t real. He’s gone.
I repeated that
over and over in my mind, trying to convince myself that it was
My eyes flashed back open as a pair of
hands suddenly wrapped around my arms. I flung my hands at them, a
scream escaping from my chest. That was when I realized it was
Austin who had grabbed me and I was half on the floor.
Whoa, Jess,” he said as
he backed his face away from my hands. “You looked like you were
going to pass out there. Calm down. Are you okay?”
He lowered me onto the ground, his
eyes searching my face. I squeezed my eyes closed and shook my
head. I hid my shaking hands in my lap.
What happened?” he asked,
looking around for what I assumed was Rita.
I…” I stuttered,
struggling to come up with an answer. “I just got light-headed,
Here,” he said as he gave
me a hand and pulled me to my feet. “Maybe it will help if you eat
something. Have you eaten anything today?”
No,” I answered him. In
fact, I probably hadn’t eaten anything in three or four days. Alex
and I had been fighting so much he hadn’t thought to force any food
into my system.
Maybe that’s all it was. My body
needed food, and in response to its starvation, I’d had a
But I knew I was lying to
That night I lay alone, staring up at
the ceiling. I glanced over at the clock on my nightstand. 1:37.
I’d been lying awake in bed for the last two and a half hours,
staring into the dark, telling myself that the impressions I’d felt
earlier weren’t real.
I thought to myself again.
It wasn’t real.
I jumped violently as the phone rang.
I reached over and picked it up after only one ring. Who was
calling at this time of night?
Jessica,” I immediately
recognized Emily’s voice. “I’m in trouble,” she sounded like she
was crying. “Can you come get me?”
Of course,” I said as I
sat up and turned on the lamp. “Where are you?”
She gave me an address with a quick
request that I hurry before we hung up.
I flung some pants and a jacket on
before I grabbed my purse and headed upstairs. Alex was sitting at
the kitchen table, working on something at his laptop.
I’ve got to go pick up
Emily,” I said, not even looking at him.
Do you need me to come?”
he asked, worry in his voice.
No,” I said shortly. I
walked out the door and closed it behind me before he could say
As I drove to the address Emily had
given me I felt a bad vibe creep over me. This was a sketchy part
of town in the middle of the day, it was downright terrifying
looking in the middle of the night.
I found Emily sitting on the curb
under a street lamp, clutching a jacket around her shoulders. I
pulled up and pushed the passenger door open for her. She climbed
in and pulled the door closed.
I glanced at her as I pulled away. Her
face was streaked with dried tears and running make up. Her hair
was tousled looking, her clothes looking disheveled.
What happened?” I asked,
feeling a large lump in my throat. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to
She squeezed her eyes closed and shook
her head. I glanced away from the road and saw the tears break free
from her eyelashes, sending black trails down her face
What am I doing?” she
half whispered. “I’m going to get myself killed.”
My heart hammered chilled blood as I
considered what she said. “Are you okay? Did someone do something
She opened her eyes again, pursed her
lips tight and looked out the window. “I went out with this guy. We
went for drinks. He must have slipped something into mine. Most
everything is a blur but I remember fighting him off me and not
knowing what to do. I found a payphone and called you. I didn’t
think to grab my purse. The creep will probably steal everything
I didn’t say anything for a long
while. I didn’t know what to say.
Hey,” she said as her
awareness perked up a bit. “You just missed the turn off to my
I shook my head. “You’re staying at my
house tonight. There’s no way I’m letting you stay by yourself the
rest of the night.”
Emily was quiet for a second. She
reached over and gave my hand a quick squeeze. “Thank you,
The night was cooler than
it had been for a few weeks. I breathed it in and out, wishing it
could clear out all the bad feelings I had coiling up inside of me.
I took a seat on the front step and soaked the cool air up. It felt
a little weird, sitting in the front when the back view was so much
nicer. The back deck was just kind of
spot and I needed to escape the
turmoil that was surrounding Alex and I right now.
Alex had taken off to the new house,
saying he needed to get a few more things prepped before they came
to install the carpet the next day. The time apart came as a relief
to the both of us. We both needed some air, some space to breathe.
We’d still been arguing a lot lately, or at least I was doing a lot