It has been three days since I had last seen Cal and I dare say that it made me uneasy. It wasn’t that I missed him but what was he exactly up to. Was almost dying another warning? Was he going to sneak up on me and torture me to death again? I was just waiting, biting my nail in anticipation. But I was ready for him. I wasn’t going to fool myself and pity him with the sob tale of his unfortunate existence. He had condemned himself. Yes he was misunderstood but I was done giving him the benefit of the doubt. I was afraid if I fall for it again that I wouldn’t live another day.
I watched the sun set and thanked God I wasn’t killed. The sky went from pink to purple to a dark blue. I’d sit for hours just staring up at the magnificence of it all. It was art at its true form. Those colors could never truly be replicated. The sudden quietness in my life scared me. I wasn’t used to no one trying to hurt me, but I knew it couldn’t last. I mean come on, it was my life we were talking about.
I swept through lanes on the abandoned streets in the backside of town. I was racing to my favorite spot where I always watched the sun set. I had to do a little off roading but I didn’t mind. I liked pushing my motorcycle to new limits. The obstacle of trees was easy enough to avoid since this wasn’t my first time dodging them.
Once out of the forest the clearing to the cliffs filled my view. A random burst of joy warmed my body. It was pathetic to think this was the only thing that brought joy in my life at the moment. It was sad. I was young and should be living my life like it was my last day. Lately all I could do was praise God’s playground. Yeah my life was chaotic but I could be dead right now. I wasn’t ready to leave this earth yet. I wasn’t done fulfilling my purpose.
I placed my helmet on my bike and sat on the edge of the cliff. My legs dangling over the fall were blown slightly by the wind. I wasn’t afraid of heights. I was kind of coming to the conclusion that I would die when God wanted me to die. I never had a say in my life anyway.
The snap of a twig made me swipe my head around. His piercing baby blue eyes were glowing in the dark but the bags under his eyes were a strange conundrum. The way he was looking at me was as if his soul was crying out to me, pleading for me not to run.
Cal took another step towards me and I jumped up to my feet as quickly as I could. My fist clenched to my sides and I assessed his every move. There was no way I was letting him get choose enough to hurt me again.
“Laken let me explain,” he raised his hands in surrender.
The buildup of pressure made it harder for me to breathe. “You killed me.”
The windows to his soul were open as he tried making sense of it all. “No. You are still alive.”
“I probably have your brother to thank for that.”
Cal lowered his head. “I’m sorry. I-”
“You’re sorry. You’ve threatened my life over and over again but I thought things changed. But you actually killed me.” I wanted to deny that fact.
“I didn’t see it...not until...” He paused to take another step towards me.
I staggered back. I needed space. He frowned and my stomach twisted. He seriously looked wounded by my withdraw. I don’t get it. I couldn’t read him. What did he want?
“When you were close to death, I saw it. There was this kindness I did not deserve. I saw...I saw,” it was like it was killing him to tell me. “I saw genuine love...for me.”
I swallowed hard. To deny the love I stupidly had for him I’d be lying to myself. I don’t know why but I did. I loved Cal. I didn’t just pity him. I loved every part of his broken soul because deep down I understood him. His pain was my pain. And I knew with all my heart he wasn’t all bad. There was still a little bit of angel in him.
“I didn’t want to believe it at first. How could you?” His voice cracked and my heart felt like it was being squeezed. “How could such an innocent, blessed soul forgive me, love me?”
It still didn’t make sense to me. I believed sometimes we couldn’t help falling in love with the people we shouldn’t. Love was a gift from God. Love was sometimes given without our knowledge, without our consent.
“I was meant to kill you. I was meant to end you not...not love you.” He confessed pitifully.
The solemn look in his eyes was tearing at my heart. I was slowly letting him in without knowing it was happening. I could see it, now in his eyes. Those blue lost eyes had no room for lies. He was telling me the truth. I could feel it in my bones yet I still wanted to refuse the idea. He didn’t know how to love.
I shook my head in anger. “You promised you’d never lie to me. You can’t love. You can’t.”
“I tried so hard to stop it. I thought I had lost that part of me, that part willing to purely love another soul.”
My head was exploding. “What is this all about? Why? Why were you meant to kill me?” My voice grew louder with each word.
“My brother,” He dropped his gaze, releasing me from its hold. “When I found out he was your guardian I came after you. I wanted him to feel the same torture and betrayal I had gone through. I knew I could only do that through you.”
What were the odds?
“Only special angels are put to the tasks to guard the blessed. I knew my brother was more than equipped. All our lives we protected and fought for the innocent.”
I closed my eyes because the buildup of tears was too much. What now? What do I do? My emotions were all over the place. My vulnerability was out on my sleeve. I couldn’t hide it anymore and honestly I was afraid.
“You stabbed me.” I whispered.
“I wanted to believe it was all in my head. I thought perhaps once I killed you those feelings would disappear.” I heard his voice draw nearer. “I was made to care for your kind but somehow I lost my will to live. I merely existed after I was exiled. But I died again when you drew your last breath.”
The warmth of his hand cupping my face not only sent tingles down my spine but also wake me up. I felt like I was asleep before this very moment. I opened my eyes and took in the desperate plea of his expression.
“I felt it,” he cried. I watched as a sweet tear ran down his beautiful cheek. “The stabbing pain was nothing compared to the thought of never seeing your eyes open again.”
Matthias once told me Callias loved far too deeply. That was, after all his downfall. He cared and loved with all his heart. Isn’t that the very meaning of what an angel is? They can’t feel what humans feel. Never will an angel actually have to go through the despair and torture most humans feel on a regular basis. But once Cal was cast on earth he was bombarded by theses incredible foreign emotions that he couldn’t ignore. Yet when he was an angel he connected with souls.
Having him hold me now only made me that much more aware of it. We had some kind of bond between us. This magnetic force drawing us together and attaching our souls.
“I couldn’t do it. Matthias as an angel has the gift of healing. He restored your life before it was too late. So I guess you were right. You have my brother to thank for your life.”
Sorrow couldn’t begin to describe the feeling washing over me. “Your heart is still pure.” I wiped his tear away.
“It turned cold for a long while. My hatred for God’s crude treatment of humankind, I just couldn’t understand. I refused to see his logic.” Another tear was shed. “I loved every person under my protection and to watch harm come to them and even death, was what drew me over the edge.”
I had to wonder did he love me the way he loved them. Or was it more? Could a broken fallen angel actually be in love with me and not just care for me like a sister?
I wasn’t sure what I could handle.
“I thought I understood what love is but you make me question it’s mysterious depths.”
His other hand gripped the back of my neck to hold me in place. Cal closed his eyes and leaned in to rest his forehead against mine. It was quiet. All that could be heard was the uneven beats of our hearts in sync. I placed my hand over his chest so I could feel it too. The steady patterns of our hearts were so in tune, you could say they were one.
“It’s strange,” he laughed wholeheartedly. “I had suppressed any possible feeling of love but now it’s all coming back to me.” He curled his fingers in my hair. “I feel everything.”
“Describe it to me.” What could an angel really feel?
“I can feel the unconditionally love and kindness you possess in your veins. It is what pumps your heart to see the good in everything. Your forgiveness is the light that has awaken me again.”
What was next for him? Would he go back to torturing me or would this new Cal try to stay on the good side? I prayed he would. As much as I loved his playful nature, that was sarcasm, I wanted something more for him, for us.
“What about you? What’s inside of you?”
Cal pulled away so I got a better view of his expression. “I can’t hate you. All I want to do now is protect you, but I believe that’s an old habit from my guardian days.”
Was I stupid for thinking an angel could actually fall in love with me, me a mere human?
“What’s really going on?” There was no way he was keeping it from me any longer.
“I was sent to kill you. Your whole family is a threat.”
So it was truth telling time. This was what I was waiting for. “You were working with Satan?”
He nodded shamefully. “When I found out you were my brother’s charge I volunteered to handle you myself.”
“We have had targets on our backs since birth.” I still wasn’t grasping the concept of Satan’s plan. We have killed every demon we had come across.
“It’s a bit different now. Lucifer has now recruited former angels to help him deal with your kind.”
I knew we weren’t the only blessed ones with the gift of seeing evil. There were more of us scattered about the world.
“Angels that have recently fallen from heaven are stronger than the angels that followed him to hell in the beginning. We are created differently than them, mentally somehow. We know more about the human race.”
Processing this information was causing my brain to over load. “Was there a catch?”
“In return for our loyalty Lucifer each promised us something for our services. Our mission was to kill all those blessed with your gift.”
I froze and Cal watched me cautiously till finally he rubbed his thumb over my cheek. Most likely in an effort to grab my attention and pull me back to reality.
“Ares came to me yesterday.” I suddenly remembered.
His body stiffened. “What did he want?”
I could see the rage in his eyes. “He said he was checking in. He seemed surprised to see me alive. He told me to tell you he’d be back.”
Cal pulled me into a hug and I melted into the comfort of his embrace. “I won’t let him hurt you.”
“What about my family?”
I felt his lips kiss the top of my head. “There will be more. They’ll come for all of you.”
“We’ll do what we always do; we’ll fight back.”
We stayed there, quiet and unmoving. Was it always going to be like this? Cal couldn’t complete his mission but Satan could always send more fallen angels to finish us off. I will forever have to look over my shoulder.
“This is never going to end.” I muffled into his chest.
“I may not be a guardian anymore but I promise I won’t let them get to you. I believe there’s a reason why our paths crossed. You’re special Laken.”
I laughed wiping the stupid tears running down my cheeks. “You are too.”
He smiled and my crazy gut was making me melt into the comfort of his beautiful smile. It honestly felt like a promise. His smile promised me that it was going to get better.
“Promise this isn’t just a fling, promise you won’t turn your back on me and betray me, promise me you feel the same way-” I ranted but was stopped by the touch of his fingers over my lips.
“I promise. You are my future.” The illuminating blue in his eyes made me feel like I knew every part of him; that we had known each other for more than an eternity.
Awwww, damn my stupid hormones. He couldn’t love me the way I wanted. Cal was an angel, a fallen, but still an angel. Loving a human was practically forbid, right? He probably loved me like a brother would. Some people think we don’t choose who we love, it just happens. It sneaks up on us and we wake up to the realization that we can’t live without that person.
I can’t believe I was listening to myself. Stop it Laken. All he wants to do is save you; not have a romantic relationship with you. Stop fantasizing about it. I was embarrassed to think it let alone have him discover I was falling in love with him. I’m so stupid.
“I think we should tell my family.”
He nodded. “You’re right.”
Telling my family that a dark angel had been stalking me was not an easy task. I decided to keep the near death experience out of the conversation. They were going to hate Cal regardless.
“What do you mean he’s a fallen?” Rob asked intrigued.
Cal took the reins and thoroughly explained what he was and how lethal our situation was. My family calmly stood back and listened but I knew the silence was short lived.
“Lucifer has recruited fallen angels to take down the blessed ones all over the world.”
My brothers were staring him down with malice.
“You’re one of them.” Pierce without hesitation drew out his gun and pointed it directly between Cal’s eyes.
I panicked. Pierce was an incredible shot and I had no doubt he would blow Cal’s brains out for the way he treated me.
Cal stayed completely calm and still as Pierce scouted closer to his target. I stepped forward trying to block my brother’s further attempt.
“The situation has changed. Cal is on our side. Killing him won’t solve anything.”
Wait, could a fallen angel die?
Pierce was shaking with anger. “Actually it will, with him dead there’s no doubt he could ever try and kill us.”
That was true. Could I honestly trust him?
“What do you mean the situation has changed? How?” My mother was the voice of reason.
“I can’t explain it.” Cal struggled for the right words. “I couldn’t kill Laken. I...she’s opened a part of my heart I thought I had lost.”
My mother, like myself, fell in love with his words. His broken testimony had melted our resistance but my brothers wouldn’t see past his betrayal.
Pierce teased the trigger causing my chest to combust in pure fear. “What have you done to my sister?”
“Nothing!” I yelled to defend Cal. “He hasn’t done anything. I’m still alive.” That last part was true.
I could tell my brother was in no way backing down. “Laken get out of the way.”
I clinched my teeth and bit down my ridiculous nerves. “No.”
My brother shook his head disgusted. “He’s seduced you. Can’t you see that?”
It wasn’t true. I mean, yes I had developed romantic feeling for him that I should never have but he didn’t seduce me into them. It was quite the opposite.
“I need you to trust me.”
The fierce fire burning in his eyes did not lose their essence. Yet he huffed before lowering it completely. I relaxed a little and without my conscience awareness searched for Cal’s hand. This action did not go unnoticed by my family.
“Laken how could you be so stupid? He’s playing you. He wants you to fall for him. Once you trust him you’re vulnerable.” Gabe fumed.
I gulped. That thought did cross my mind but I trusted my gut feeling.
Before anyone else could yell at me accusing me of stupidity my father raised his voice. “Because of Laken’s trust for him, Cal will remain innocent till proven guilty. We have other things to worry about now.” My father racked through his hair.
“One wrong move and I’ll finish this,” Pierce warned.
Cal dropped his gaze and I squeezed his hand. The random urge to protect him was definitely something new.
“I’m not going anywhere and I intend on keeping Laken alive as long as possible.” It was the only promise he could make.
“We’ll talk more of this tomorrow. It’s late. You should go now.” My father directed to Cal more politely than I expected.
I walked him to the door and for a moment I wanted to ask him to stay. I knew he couldn’t though. Cal took both my hands in his and we paused time.
“I won’t be too far.”
He probably saw my discomfort. Without me knowing it a tear ran down my cheek only for Cal to touch.
“How is this going to work?” Why was I having doubts now?
“One day at a time I suppose.” He pressed his lips to my forehead for a lingering moment.
“Why do you do that?” The phrase caught in my throat.
Cal panicked like he did something incredible wrong. “Do what?”
“Kiss me so affectionately?” It was treacherously torturing me.
He shook his head like he didn’t know the answer either. “I don’t know. I guess it just feels right.”
It was my fault I was being teased by his simple gesture of affection. I was the one developing stupid romantic feelings for an angel. Cal walked off the porch and instantly it was getting harder to breath. What was happening to me?