My chest was very heavy when I opened my eyes. It felt like I had been a victim of a stampede with my chest being stomped over and over again. It felt raw and utterly sore. But despite this, slowly, I straightened myself to sit.
Not having any idea where I was, I purposefully scanned the area to find any familiar landmarks. But, I could see none. Actually, I couldn’t see anything at all except for the white clouds that surrounded me.
What? Am I actually in heaven?
“No, you are just in the realm where it is neither Heaven or Hell. Not in between, not beyond,” a voice from behind me suddenly spoke.
I quickly stood up and turned around to find a very - hmmm...what can I say - a very pretty man wearing Greek men’s clothing and standing a few feet away. The fabric’s borders were adorned with gold and metallic blue embroidery. He had golden bands on his wrists and the same color of belt around his waist. Pretty much, all of him was eye-catching, especially his yellow-green eyes and his Legolas-inspired straight hair that was the shade of red.
His presence didn’t give me any anxiety or sense of fear. His unexpected company was even a welcome in this kind of empty place.
“I see,” I answered calmly. “Why am I here? And who are you?”
“I am Michael, and this is the Dasmas,” he replied, pulling a perfect tight-lipped smile. He approached me closer, looking as if he was floating, and said, “Andrea, do you remember what happened to you?”
What happened to me? I echoed in my thoughts.
Blinking for a moment, my last memory with Eriol became clear in my head. I was embracing him while he was chained in both hands, looking hopeless and fatigued, ready to be imprisoned in Hell.
“Eriol!” I gasped and the feeling of panic spiked up inside me.
“Andrea, you are dead,” he stated without warning. Talk about dropping the bomb.
“Your soul ended up here because the circumstance of your death was different than any other humans,” he explained, acting unconcerned with my obvious stupefied state. Honestly, who wouldn’t be surprised to hear that dreaded news?
“Your soul will not gain a chance to be reincarnated into the human world. You will be trapped here forever, locked in a time stand still, and without any closure with your past life. But, if you prove yourself worthy, you will have the chance to become an angel.”
“An angel?” I echoed, my ears ringing up with the word.
“Yes,” he replied without any hesitation.
I can’t deny that it was a tempting offer. But, I don’t need to prove myself worthy. I don’t need to be an angel at all! My stupefaction was quickly replaced with anger and disappointment. I can’t believe he just asked me that!
“Why would I want to be an angel? Eriol is still there!” I pointed my fingers downward thinking that Earth was below where I stood. “He is losing the battle Michael. He is struggling to keep himself from being dragged to Hell! Why would I forsake him when I know that he needs me?!”
He gave me a smile again, but this time, I can sense that he was pleased with my answer.
“True,” he said and then disappeared.
I was surprised. Odd of him to just disappear like that and leave me hanging with my distraught emotions. However, seconds later, I heard his voice linger in my ear.
Then go back to him. He is no longer a demon Andrea. He is a Fallen Angel again. Your Fallen Angel. Go back to him...
And with that, I heard Eriol’s voice pleading me to open my eyes.
Although it pains me to leave, I have to go. I understand your decision to back out on our wedding and I understand the reason why.
You love Eriol. It is clear to see. And he loves you deeply too. I can accept that.
I wanted to love you more than he does. I yearn for you by my side forever. But after yesterday, I realized I could never contend with a black-winged angel. (Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.)
Andi, may you be happy with your true love. I will be praying for your safety always.
I folded the letter after reading its contents thoroughly.
So it seems Lorde saw me and Eriol in my bedroom huh? I guess it was inevitable anyway. Based on the information in this letter, he saw Eriol’s true form; particularly his black wings.
Lorde was special in his own way, and I do love him as my childhood friend. He was right however when he said he can’t contend with an angel. Seriously? Who would? This probably explains why he didn’t press further on our wedding or even demand me the reason why I backed out.
But, I feel sad anyway that I wasn’t able to give him a proper explanation. I do really want to talk to him face to face, but it seems he was quick to leave the Winner Mansion yesterday night back to Mexico and leave me with this letter. Auntie Marcella gave this to me early this morning, but I only had the courage to open the letter just this moment.
I am in Wisconsin now, heading to my apartment riding a cab after a grueling five-hour flight. My parents took a cab of their own and we parted our ways.
The cab ride was worth my time shedding tears to myself. Mixed inside me were emotions of sadness, joy, and love. A lot has happened to me during my vacation in Luxembourg. Each of the memories were worthy to be cherished. And yes, including those awkward moments that were most especially Rated Rs.
Never had I realized that I am born with a greater purpose. Never had I realized that I am born already loved by a man of my past, and now my future.
I don’t regret going to the mansion at all. I am even thankful that Auntie had been very persuasive of me to visit her. If I had continued my volunteer work, Eriol would still be looking for me until now and also, I would still remain incomplete.
“This is the place Sir,” I announced when I caught sight of my apartment building. I immediately wiped my tears dry and took a deep breath to adjust myself with the new surroundings.
“All right,” he answered, then carefully parked the vehicle near the entrance glass double-door.
After paying my fare, I gathered all of my belongings. Sir Caleb, the building’s main guard, opened the car door for me, while Tristan, a bellboy approached and helped me with my luggage.
“Good to see you back, Ms. Anthoni. An early good evening to you,” Sir Caleb greeted with his signature warm smile; wrinkles in his forehead were readily seen. I always loved how he wears his guard uniform; filled with pride and courage.
“Welcome back Ms. Andrea,” echoed Tristan thereafter.
“Hi! An early good evening too! I missed you Sir Caleb, Tristan,” I said the moment I disembarked the car. I gave them a wide smile that matched their welcoming ones.
“You have a gift waiting for you in the front desk, Miss. It just came minutes before you arrived.”
I raised a good brow at him, intrigued. “Really? What is it?”
He only smiled some more and said, “I think you should see it for yourself Miss,” and then gave me a wink.
Making a lopsided grin at him, I entered the building and advanced myself to the front desk with excited bubbles on my stomach.
I wonder what the gift is though. I certainly don’t expect receiving anything right now.
“Welcome back Ms. Andrea,” Sherry, the front desk officer, greeted me as soon as I neared the station.
Shooting back a smile, I immediately asked her.
“Yes. Thank you Sher. It’s good to be back here. Uhmm, Sir Caleb informed me that someone had sent me a gift?”
“Oh yes, Ms. Andrea,” she answered and turned to her back to pick up a beautiful bouquet of red roses from her table.
“Oh!” I quickly gasped upon seeing it. Didn’t expect that flowers would welcome me in my arrival at all.
“A guy named Eriol Lascenter De Angelis left this bouquet to you as a welcome gift, Ms. Andrea.”
She showed me the pink greeting card that came along with it and the moment I heard Eriol’s name, a smirk appeared on my face. He does know how to surprise me all right.
“Do you know where he is now?” I asked after I cuddled the bouquet and the card in one hand.
She shook her head and gave me half a saddened face. “I’m sorry but he didn’t leave any messages to me,” she said initially, but her eyes suddenly lit up looking at the bouquet again. “Just that bouquet Miss Andrea and well, the gorgeous ring box tied to it.”
I flinched my brows in response. Ring box?
I glanced down and there it was, a dark blue ring box on top the beautiful blossoms. My cheeks flushed immediately. I had already returned Lorde’s blue sapphire engagement ring to Aunt Marcella before I left the mansion. I thought I would be free of any jewelries, but I guess I was wrong.
“Th-thanks Sher,” I said, giving her a shy look and left the front desk with my heart almost pumping out of my chest.
Gods. What is Eriol doing? What does this ring box mean and where the hell is he? That’s what my mind immediately asked.
Yesterday, my mother, step-dad and Auntie maintained their presence with me for half a day of unending questions and talks. Why I suddenly changed my mind? Why I canceled the wedding? Do I not love Lorde anymore? And others.
I let them vent out their frustrations and confusion the whole time until they became silent when I answered them that I love another man. Luckily, the three of them understood. Most especially, my Auntie who knew already who I was talking about. She was very cool with it. I am still wondering if she knows about Eriol’s true form though.
When Uncle and Auntie left, I had a heart-to-heart talk with my mother. True to her word, she supports whoever man I choose, but encourages me to introduce ‘this man’ to them as soon as possible. Of course, I nodded in agreement. I wouldn’t want to keep my relationship with Eriol a secret with my family.
She chose to stay with me the whole night as apparently, she thinks that I still needed some comfort. So, in the process, Eriol had to stay out of my bedroom.
The last time I saw him was early this morning, and he told me that he will follow me back to Wisconsin.
I expected that he would fly given the fact that he still has his magnificent black wings. Teleporting was not an option since he wasn’t a demon anymore, but that was just my theory though. I actually don’t know yet what he was capable of doing as a Fallen Angel as I haven’t had a long conversation with him since yesterday.
I stepped onto the elevator and pressed the eight floor. This building requires a bit of maintenance as it has up to fourteen floors, with each floor containing four studio-type apartments. Mine was on the north side, facing the street towards downtown.
While waiting for the conveyor to reach my floor, I took the box from the bouquet and opened it with eagerness. However, to my full surprise, it was empty.
Now, why would Eriol give me a ring box with nothing on it? I intend to find the answer as soon as possible.
As I arrived on my floor, I found that my luggage were already placed beside the door. Tristan must have left them here; which was already expected since I have the door key with me.
After unlocking the portal, I hauled the luggage inside. I closed the door and turned to switch on the lights, but I was stunned immediately as what greeted me when the lights flickered on was a man standing in the open veranda, facing the downtown evening scenery ahead. My mind immediately processed one man’s name and it was Eriol.
Sweet Lord. He really knows how to make an entrance. Demon or not.
My expression was far from peaceful as I slowly stalked behind him. I don’t know why I was suddenly nervous, but being here alone with him, send my mind reeling with the many possibilities that could happen. Yes, that, and the fact that his aura was definitely different. Very calming. Holy, yet with still the residue of darkness.
“Er..iol?” I called when I was but a meter away from him.
The soft breeze of the wind played with my hair just like it always does. I do make it a point to spend my evenings in my veranda and in here I have wished countless of times to spend it with someone. Never have I realized back then that I would be spending it with a man...a supernatural entity even, and who loves me true.
Eriol turned around and faced me with a pleased expression. I gave him a questioning look when I noticed him wear a black tuxedo similar to a butler suit.
“Milady Andrea, welcome home,” he said, whilst bowing his head for butler effect.
I immediately contained a giggle.
“You are seriously not going to play the master-to-servant game again are you?” I said and advanced myself closer to him. “We aren’t in the mansion anymore Eriol and also, Auntie Marcella had already fired you.”
He grinned and quickly pulled me against his chest; the petals were immediately squished in between us.
“No, I am not, but I am your servant Andrea. You hold my heart forever,” he answered with gentleness against my ear.
Did my heart swell because of it? Yes. Greatly.
“And my heart to you,” answered I, closing my eyes when he trailed kisses from my forehead down to my lips. I welcomed it with complete abandon and responded the moistness of his mouth on my own with unrestrained zeal.
We were like that for a few minutes, just tasting each other, until he broke our kiss and hastily lifted me up, bridal-style, inside my bedroom. I just remained silent and hooked an arm around his neck, while the other still held the bouquet.
I heard him groan in satisfaction and went to ask, “How do you find the bouquet of roses my Dear Heart?”
“Beautiful,” I answered quickly. A scanty word it was but an understandable one.
“Good.” A small tug at the corner of his lips appeared briefly. “Expect more from me starting this night.”
Oh. My heart swelled again. Good thing I am not allergic to roses.
“Eriol, does my Auntie know what you are?” I asked him promptly, not wanting to miss the chance.
“No,” he simply stated, and I left it at that. So it turns out that only Lorde and I knows what he truly is.
My bedroom was of decent size. It wasn’t as huge as Eriol’s penthouse bedroom back in Luxembourg, but it was enough for my needs. It was dominated with a white paint and was accentuated with a blue molding in the ceiling.
Eriol didn’t bother turning the lights on when he entered, so my eyes struggled to adjust with the darkness surrounding us. Good thing that he kept the door open though, otherwise it would have been pitch black without the light coming from my living room.
He gently arranged me in bed, a position that was preparatory for what lies ahead. I looked at him, smiling warmly, while he stared at me with passion and desire, kneeling on the mattress.
“Uhmm... Eriol?” I asked when he took the bouquet out from my hand and placed it on a nearby table.
“Yes, Love?” he answered, after returning his gaze on me.
“What is the empty ring box for?”
“Hmmm...” I heard his sexy groan then. He stooped low and commenced on trailing his hot breath on my cheek.
“That’s for you,” he replied when he stopped just near my mouth.
“For me?” I said, acting clueless, but deep inside I knew already the answer.
“Yes,” he groaned again and slipped his hands inside my blouse. I whimpered slightly when he stopped his caressing just below my sternum.
“Then why is it empty?” I asked again. I direly need to know the answer to this question now.
He chuckled lightly and landed his gaze on me. “Because I have it here.”
He raised his right hand in between us and showed me the magnificent ring that was housed on his pinky finger. It was broad and thick with small diamonds blanketing it and on the center, a blood red ruby was inlaid. He pulled it off and took my hand gently, putting it in place on my ring finger.
I had to pause my breathing just in order to focus my mind on the momentous moment. I can’t believe he is giving me a ring!
“Andrea, do you know how much I am happy that you came back for me?” he asked and I had to peel my eyes away from the imposing object.
My mind immediately processed what he was talking about. I remember Michael telling me that I am dead; that my soul will forever linger in that empty realm. He offered me a chance to become an angel, but I declined it. I didn’t regret my decision in the end. All I ever wanted was to return to Eriol’s side and save him.
Whatever it was that brought me back to life, I know that it was strong enough to break through the barrier of death.
I smiled and took the opportunity to rake his beautiful hair. “I can’t just leave you,” I said with utmost sincerity. “I love you.”
He looked at me with intensity. Blazing was his desire, but I could see that he was controlling it pretty well.
“Andrea... I am no immortal, nor you. Our precious time together remains within the limitations of humans, but know that our love will extend until our next life. I love you true and I am giving you a ring as a sign of our bond and a promise of forever.”
He eyed the ring again and took my hand to kiss it.
“Then I accept it,” I said, kissing the ring too.
Afterwards, our mouths molded in one. We can’t defer our longing anymore. It had been weeks already. The craving to feel each other’s desire was beyond control.
My breath hitched when he trailed kisses on my neck down to my chest. Slowly, he opened my blouse and accessed my already hardened nubs with his eager hands.
“Ohhh Eriol...” I whimpered, particularly aroused by his ministrations. I closed my eyes and let myself get carried away with the heavenly sensation. No, he wasn’t the demon of lust anymore, but his skill of making me moan in pleasure was still perfect. Beyond perfect.
He traced his palm on my legs and slowly parted them to access my already wet cavern. I knew then that he can sense my arousal heating up. I touched his bulging member against his slacks and I knew too that his arousal was at its best.
“Let’s explode together Love,” he sexily suggested.
“Yes please,” I almost immediately answered.
My head was pressed on Eriol’s chest, while he was leaning with pillows on his back against the headboard. Ultimately sated, we both were, after exploring ourselves and our passion over and over again. I was sleepy and was about to doze off when I heard him ask, “Where do you want to go Andrea?”
“Hmmm?” I hummed, struggling to open my eyes.
He chuckled lightly and cuddled me close. “I said, where do you want to go?”
My alertness shoot up and I immediately straightened, giving him a skeptical look.
“You can still teleport?!” I asked, sounding doubtful.
His fingers moved to caress my bottom lip and answered proudly, “Yes, I still can.”
“But..but you are no longer a demon.”
As far as I know, demons are the only beings who can teleport. Angels and Fallen Angels can only fly. As Michael had told me, Eriol was reverted back to being a Fallen Angel. So in effect, he doesn’t have that power anymore. But now, he still has it. The big question was why?
“It confounds me too, but I don’t care about the reason anymore, Dear Heart,” he stated with ease. “What I want to focus now is you.”
We met eye to eye.
I can’t help, but admire his beautiful eyes. There was no mixture of red in his grayish-violet orbs anymore; only golden streaks were seen on it. This was a definite change that I can easily adjust with.
“So...” he started again, “where do you want to go?”
I paused for a moment and stared at him with a hint of mischief and warmth. It doesn’t matter really what place it would be. Heck, I’m willing to go to Hell and back as long as he was with me.
I pressed my palm into his chest to feel his calming heartbeat and said, “Anywhere, my Fallen Angel...anywhere, as long as we are together.”
He smiled and kissed my forehead.
“That sounds good.”
In an empty veranda on the ninth floor, two angelic beings stood. They were looking down at Andrea’s sole bright living room with looks of pleasure on their faces.
“I didn’t expect it is this hard to be a villain,” Raphael spoke after reflecting silently what had happened the past few days. He had no guilt or disappointment of his actions; only the feeling of accomplishment.
“Yes, but you were able to pull it off right? Look at them. It is exactly what the Boss wanted,” an archangel answered behind him. He leaned onto the railing and bobbed his head towards Andrea’s room. His pretty face was glowing and not a tangle of his red strands were seen.
“Hmmm... indeed,” Raphael voiced out. “Aeshma is blessed to have her.”
Although he can’t see the two lovers inside the bedroom, he was certain that they were having another stellar night in each other’s arms. He inhaled deeply after releasing himself with his contemplative state. Being an archangel, it was necessary for him to be honest with himself.
“Thinking about their love, it makes me want to find a woman for myself,” he declared showing no fear of being scolded by his comrade.
The latter only grinned at him and shook his head. “Hmf! You are not thinking about becoming a Fallen Angel now are you?”
Raphael’s lips quirk briefly and flew up into the night sky after saying, “Who knows, Michael. Who knows...”
Because love goes beyond time and space... Goes beyond what lies ahead.
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