“So, as you know, Mrs. Gail recently acquired a new boat. She invited us whenever you feel up to it. It’s one of those fancy yachts you see on tv.”
“Really? That’s great. I love The Clara. It’s so beautifully restored and runs great.” Lila handed the bowl of pasta to Shirly who filled her bowl with another helping.
Azrael sat near the sliding doors, listening to their conversation, his eyes moving back and forth between them.
She had introduced him to Shirly, who gave her a look that said she wanted to know who exactly he was. It didn’t escape her notice that she gave Azrael a long look, longer than she liked.
As she turned away from Shirly to lead her into the kitchen, she wore a scowl on her face.
Behind them Azrael chuckled.
He knew she didn’t want her friend checking him out. Now they were sitting here talking about a neighbor’s new boat.
Mrs. Gail had made a fortune in multimedia when she was younger and was the wealthiest person in the town. She helped fund many local events and charity organizations.
“Oh, you’ll love it, hun. She even offered to babysit if ever you need some alone time to yourself down the road.”
Lila smiled as Azrael gave her a look that was heated, “Everyone wants to babysit. I’m glad she offered just in case you’re ever busy with anything. I don’t want to burden you all the time.” She finished the glass of juice she had and sat back in the chair.
“She’ll have me to help with the baby, as well.” Azrael said as he leaned forward, setting his elbows on the table.
“That’ll be good. Every boy needs a father figure in his life. Most kids these days end up troubled without proper guidance.” She cleaned her plate of food and sat back.
Little did she know what Azrael was going to say next.
He smiled as he drank his coffee, “He’ll have proper care, I assure. I’ll raise my son to be a fine well-rounded young man.”
Shirly looked between us, back and forth, her mouth opening slightly.
“Lila, this is…him?” She hadn’t mentioned that Azrael was the father, it hadn’t crossed my mind.
“Yeah, I’m the father. I hadn’t found out she was pregnant until a few weeks ago, and I dropped everything to come here and be with her. I’ve been here for about two days now, today making the second. I am terribly busy with work, still, so having such loyal people around Lila will be immensely helpful.” His eyes held Shirly captive as he explained what Lila hadn’t.
“Oh, well, you two made up quite fast. I’m not pulling my offer to babysit, though, I love children.” She smiled, the light in her eyes dimming a little.
After Lila saw Shirly out to her car, she cleaned up.
Azrael was taking a shower, so she took the gift bag her friend had given her and took it to the living room where she opened it up.
Inside were various vitamins, goodies, and at the bottom she found a blue onesie with a matching grey blanket that had a similar teddy bear decal on it.
Somewhere inside a damn broke and she buried her face in her hands. With each passing day, the thought of having a baby terrified her.
What if she wasn’t a good parent?
What if something were to happen between Azrael and her?
She stuffed everything into the bag and went outside to the beach where she sat at the edge of the sand.
The water lapped at her toes gently as blue ocean spread for miles before her. A light cool breeze blew her hair from her face, diminishing the heat ever so slightly.
Her mind was filled with worries and questions that she hoped would go away. Azrael was back and she was glad about that, but she was conflicted about how her future would turn out and if the baby would be born healthy.
So much filled her mind and bogged her down that it was hard to concentrate.
Her mood was constantly fluctuating, and she hated it. She wanted to feel normal again and not have her mood all over the place.
“Hey, is everything alright?” his warm breath touched her neck, sending chills through her body.
Leaning against him she sighed, “My mood is all over the place. I feel happy and sad all at once for no reason. I can’t control it and it’s frustrating.”
He held her close and rested his cheek on her head, “It’s all part of having a child. I’ve seen it many times before and before you know it the baby will be here. Just come and talk to me if anything really gets bad. You know I’m always here.”
Like always, he managed to comfort her.
Lila gazed at Azrael as they walked through the store, adding groceries to the cart.
He looked restrained, like he was in pain.
This man was good at giving nothing away, but this was hard for him to truly hide. Not much fazed him, she found out, but something was.
She rummaged through the produce, adding all she needed as Azrael leaned against the large container that held tomatoes, his eyes seeing everything around them. He seemed on edge and she wondered why.
“Babe, are you okay?” she took his hand in hers as he wheeled the cart to the next section.
His grip on the handle tightened ever so slightly, “I’m fine, just tired, that’s all.”
“You’re always tired. Don’t you sleep well at night?”
“I do, but with my kind of work it doesn’t come with much sleep. Normally, I would be sleeping in until noon, have a few hours of relaxation, and then work. My routine has always been the same, so it’s quit the adjustment.” He picked up a jar of honey and read the label.
“Despite being utter exhausted, the ingredients in the food these days are just astounding. Whatever happened to mortals eating meat, fruit, and veggies?” he returned the jar to the shelf with pinched lips.
Lila felt his forehead with the back of her hand. “You don’t seem yourself. You’re burning up, Az. Does medicine work on you?”
He pushed the cart on, pulling away from her once she touched him, his hands gripping the handle tightly.
“Not really. It’s not something that medicine can help, unfortunately. I just need rest and it should help for a little while.” He looked paler than usual as they checked out.
As they packed her car with the groceries, she noticed his eyes were darker than they normally were, almost fully black with no iris. It only made her more curious than before.
On the drive back her mind was kicking into gear of how she could help Az and figure out what was wrong with him.
Night had fallen and Lila was fast asleep in bed.
Azrael stood at the foot of the bed watching her, his eyes not missing any detail of her body.
She looked serene in her sleep, like an angel in his eyes.
No one had ever come to compare to this woman. Nothing scared him but falling in love with Lila had.
He was scared she would reject him if he ever showed his true form to her.
It haunted him daily.
Once she had fallen fast asleep, he burst from human form and lied in bed feeling the tension roll off like waves.
Being in human form all day was painful and he could finally relax. The tension dissipated as he stretched his limbs, sighing contentedly.
Closing his eyes briefly, Azrael expanded his senses to Lila, feeling her soul at peace.
Whenever she slept, her unique soul was at peace, all of the usual tension was gone leaving her to sleep peacefully. She needed the peace, she deserved it.
Azrael yawned softly, exhaustion finally catching up with his body as he used his powers to make the bed spread cover his long legs.
He turned on his side facing Lila, gently stroking her pale cheek as she slept peacefully beside him, curled up beneath the covers.
By the powers that were, he loved this woman and would do everything he could to protect her from that dark energy he has felt if things came to that point.