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
I’d only been outside for about three
minutes when I heard a car pull into the driveway and looked up. I
felt my stomach knot when I recognized the car and the man that got
out of it.
What are you doing here?”
I asked as Austin walked over, his hands in his pockets.
I’m not really sure,” he
said, his face reflecting what he said. “I thought maybe you could
use someone to talk to. You seemed a little down at work
More than just a little,”
I sighed as I slid over on the step to make room as Austin joined
Okay, more than just a
little,” he chuckled. When I didn’t say anything for a moment he
took lead. “So… what’s up? Why all gloomy?”
I don’t know if I want to
talk about it,” I said as I stared across the small patch of front
My mom and sisters say
I’m an excellent listener.”
I didn’t say anything for a while, not
really wanting to talk to the guy who was a little too interested
in me about the guy that was the cause of my turmoil.
Is there a little trouble
in paradise?” Austin asked teasingly. “Something wrong between you
and pretty boy?”
Don’t call him pretty
boy!” I snapped, glaring at Austin.
Whoa, sorry,” he
apologized, holding his hands up defensively. “Just trying to
lighten up the mood a bit.”
I’m sorry,” I said as I
rubbed my eyes. “I’m just… dealing with a lot right
You sure you don’t want
to talk about it?”
I finally looked over at Austin, met
his chocolate brown eyes. They were soft and curious, yet they
sincerely told me he wanted to help.
Alex and I have been
fighting,” I finally blurted out, looking back out over the lawn.
“I want him to do something but he won’t do it. He has his reasons
but I… He’s looking at this in totally the wrong way. We’re
supposed to be together, no matter what’s changed in the last few
And then, well, yeah,
there’s some other stuff I can’t talk about,” I caught myself
before I started babbling about how I couldn’t figure out why a
sadistic angel had come out of the land of the dead after me. Or
about how I was afraid he wasn’t actually ready to leave me alone.
“Everything’s just so messed up right now. I feel like everything’s
spinning out of control. It’s killing me.”
There,” Austin said with
a hint of a smile on his face. “You feel better?”
Eh, not really,” I
automatically responded. “Well, maybe just a little.”
He just smiled and we both sat in the
quiet for a little while. He picked a long piece of grass from the
edge of the steps and twirled it in between his fingers. “I know a
lot about fighting,” he finally said, his voice a little quieter.
“My parents used to fight every night. I’d cry myself to sleep a
lot as a kid. No kid should ever have to hear the things they
screamed at each other. They finally got divorced my sophomore year
of high school.
You’re fighting now.
Things only get harder as life goes along.”
It’s not like that,” I
said, feeling a lump form in my throat. My eyes stung as tears
sprang into them. “No one could really understand what we’re going
through right now. Things will work out though. They have
Austin just looked at me for a long
while. I could feel the mood turn all the more somber.
I hope they do,” he
finally said and patted me on the back. “You deserve to be happy.
Just remember he’s not the only option there is out
Before I could say anything else,
Austin stood and walked back to his car. Before he got in, he
looked back and waved. He then backed out and drove
It wasn’t the same as talking to Emily
but it was nice to talk to someone who didn’t know all the gory
I wasn’t sure I felt any better after
talking to Austin though. Two tears spilled down my cheek as the
clouds rolled in and the sun set behind the mountains. A few
minutes later the rain started to softly fall.
I still hadn’t moved when Alex pulled
in the driveway and parked. He walked up the sidewalk and stood in
front of me, his shirt slowly getting soaked as he stood in the
We didn’t say anything for a few
moments, just stared at each other. Emotions pushed and pulled
between us in unspoken hurt and grief. We didn’t have to say
anything. Everything that needed to be said had already been
Can we just be us
tonight?” he finally said. I hated myself when I saw the pain in
his eyes, the worry and uncertainty that was there. “No worries
about what’s going to happen in the future? No fighting. Just me
I stood up and joined him in the light
rain. I wrapped my arms behind his neck and looked up into his
changed eyes. “I’d like that a lot actually,” I said as another
tear rolled down my cheek, camouflaged graciously by the drops that
fell from the sky.
Come on,” he said as he
took my hand and led me down the hill in the nearly diminished
The lake was perfectly quiet as the
rain created endless patterns on the water. We were the only ones
Alex led me out onto the dock and just
held me for several long minutes. It felt nice, to just be together
like this, not worrying about things that felt out of our control.
It reminded me of everything that was really important, why I loved
him so much. This was home; this was where I belonged,
He looked down at me and his lips
found mine. They worked together in practiced unison, never tiring
of what they discovered together.
To my surprise, Alex’s hands tugged at
the hem of my shirt, lifting it up over my head.
What…?” I started to
Let’s go for a swim,” he
said as our lips continued to move together.
In the rain?” I asked
against his lips. At the same time I lifted his shirt off, my hands
tracing the perfect panes of his chest and stomach.
Why not?” he asked as
that smile tugged at his lips.
I couldn’t help but return the smile
and just gave a shrug.
I pulled my pants off, only feeling a
little self-conscious that Alex was seeing me in only my bra and
underwear. My stomach did a little quiver as Alex stripped down to
With a squeal, I jumped into the water
with Alex’s hand in mine.
It felt good, to just let things go
and just be us. I needed some fun, to get back to the here and now.
We chased each other in the water, creating a game of underwater
tag. Alex of course won, cheating with his lack of needing to
It was totally black for nearly an
hour before Alex gathered me back up in his arms.
He touched his forehead to mine,
looking at me intently, though it was hard to make anything out
with only the lights in the windows to see by. “You know I love you
right?” he said seriously.
Of course,” I
Okay, just never forget
that. That’s all that matters.”
I pressed my lips to his, gently at
first but ending with more force.
I love you Alex,” I
ever forget that.”
It didn’t change what I wanted from
Alex but after our night in the water I wasn’t quite so depressed.
I made an extra effort to not make Alex miserable anyway. And to
make myself not so miserable to be around.
My recent paranoia of thinking Cole
was stalking me brought that subject back front and center in my
mind. The thought that Cole had been lying to me before about why
he had come after me had never even crossed my mind before Emily
had brought it up. I had also tried very hard to block the whole
terrifying incident out of my head. But why would Cole lie about
that? Had there been something more sinister and complicated behind
it all the entire time? I felt like I was going in circles, always
asking the same question and coming up with no reasonable or even
The more I thought about this the more
it drove me crazy. Of course the one person who knew me better than
anyone would notice.
Is something wrong,
Jessica?” he asked me one sunny afternoon on the deck. “You seem
really distracted lately.”
I don’t know, I just…” I
shook my head as I stared out over the water, watching but not
really seeing the group of teenagers swimming. “Emily just said
something a while back that I can’t seem to get out of my head.” I
would leave out the part about Cole stalking me at all
What?” Alex questioned,
his brow becoming furrowed. I lost my train of thought for a few
seconds as I let my eyes wander over the perfection of his
Uh…” I stuttered for a
moment. “Well, Emily asked me about what happened with Cole when he
took me and I told her. She said something though about what he
said as to why he took me. She thought he was lying, that there
must have been some real reason why he came after me.”
You’re worried there
might have been more behind it?” Alex probed.
Yeah,” I said as I nodded
my head. “Why me? Was it just because I’m human? Did he just want
the long lost connection? He had to have known there was something
different about Emily, that she wasn’t the person on trial either.
Why not her? And after finding out about Emily, there has to be
other people out there who have gone through this too. Why not any
Alex’s hands suddenly but very softly
lay on either side of my face and his steel gray eyes burned into
mine. I felt myself suddenly relax and then realized just how
worked up I had been getting over all of this.
It doesn’t matter,” he
said softly but firmly. “No matter the reason he came after you, he
can’t touch you now. Not ever. I made absolutely certain of that.
You saw it yourself. You don’t have to be afraid of him anymore,
wherever he is.”
My insides that had felt so twisted up
for so long now suddenly relaxed. In truth, I had been terrified
constantly for the last few weeks. Even if Cole really was
following me around, he couldn’t touch me. Alex was right. He’d
given everything to protect me. And even if Cole could get me, Alex
was more than capable of protecting me.
I felt myself relax and
Alex wrapped his arms around my shoulders and cradled me into his
chest. Maybe I didn’t have to be afraid of Cole anymore but I still
couldn’t get the question of
out of my head.
Alex’s phone started ringing. As he
pulled it out and checked the caller ID, a smile crossed his face.
“Hey, it’s Rod!”
I smiled at Alex as he answered the
phone with an excited “What’s up!” and went back inside to give him
Rod was Alex’s best friend and could
have been his twin if not for the extreme difference in their skin
color. I had met Rod once but had not exactly gotten to know him
well since I had been having massive swings between normality and
being within moments of death.
I went to the fridge and pulled out a
bottle of water. I downed the entire thing in one breath, the same
way I used to down caffeinated beverages when I went without sleep
for days on end. It was the first thing I had drunk since Austin
had poured a massive amount of hot chocolate down my throat the day
I nearly passed out.
I spun around as I heard the door open
and Emily walked in. She dropped her purse on the floor and flopped
down on the couch.
Hey,” I said as I put the
cap back on the bottle and threw it into the recycle bin. I then
noticed the look of unrest on Emily’s face and could almost cut
through the unhappiness that was rolling off of her. “Is something
Emily’s eyes dropped and she started
picking at a hangnail. “I heard back from the University today. I
didn’t get the teaching job. They said they found someone ‘better
qualified’ for the job.” She made quotation marks in the air with
Oh Emily, I’m so sorry,”
I said as I crossed to the living room.
Just then Alex came back inside, a
wide grin plastered on his face. “That was Rod. He said he’s moving
up here for the rest of the summer. He’s found an apartment and
needs some help moving in. I’m going to help him unload the truck.
Sounds like it’s in the same area as your place, Emily.”
Who’s Rod?” Emily asked,
irritation in her voice.
Alex gave Emily a slightly surprised
look when he heard her tone. It lasted only a moment though before
that brilliant smile was back. “My best friend from California.
I’ll invite him over for dinner tonight.”
You sure you want to do
that?” I asked him. “Are you going to be able to fake eating an
Alex shrugged his shoulders slightly,
his smile and mood undeterred. “I’ll figure it out. I want you to
meet him Emily. And I want you to get to know him a little better,
Jessica. As long as you don’t mind him coming over that