Angel

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Chapter 1. Moving On

When I wrote this book, it was divided into two books in one book. That is the end of Angel’s Point Of View.

Half the book is in Angel’s Point of View and the other half is Mia’s Point of view.

Now I present you with MIA’S BOOK. This means the rest of this book is in Mia’s Point of View.

***

Mia’s POV


“Hey, Mia,” Zayden said. He smiled at me as he passed me. Zayden was tall with blond hair and blue eyes.

“Hi, Zayden,” I replied.

“Girl, that guy is so sweet on you. It’s disgusting,” Cecilia said and smirked. Cecilia had dark brown hair and blue eyes. She was thin with a porcelain face.

I sighed. “I know,” I muttered.

“Give him a chance,” Cecilia said. “You could do worse.”

“I’ll pass,” I said. I liked Cecilia and her friends. Zayden is one of her friends. Cecilia had quite a few friends that I made friends with. I had been in Isla Vista for several months, which wasn’t far from Goleta.

I started law school and worked at a coffee shop just down the street from the college. My parents lived in Goleta, in a small two-bedroom house. It wasn’t at all easy to start over, but we made it work. After school started, I moved to the dorms.

My dad said he had enough money saved, that he bought me a car. It was in better shape then my Mazda was, which I was forced to leave behind in Los Angeles. I went back to Los Angeles with my parents for a day to sell our cars about a month after moving here.

We had no problems with anyone trying to find us. Some part of me wished someone would find me; I felt so lost.

After handing a cup of coffee back to the customer, I walked to the back. My shift was almost over.

“What is the matter with you? You have known Zayden for almost a year. You must be interested in someone.” Cecilia hounded me as I knew she would.

“I’m not,” I snapped and turned to face her.

Cecilia looked taken aback by the venom in my voice.

Guilt washed over me. “Look, I’m sorry. Okay? I just don’t want to date right now. It’s been a hard year for me, and I don’t want to complicate things.”

“An ex?” Cecilia asked. “It’s honestly the only thing I can think of.”

I took a deep breath and felt another piece of me break. It wasn’t the type of break you could see; it was inside. It was the kind that hurt most. I was broken. He broke me—the kind of break that doesn’t heal.

“Yes,” I answered. “I don’t want to talk about it.” I spun back around and headed for the time clock. I punched out and turned for the back door.

The back door suddenly opened, and I fell into a set of arms.

“Oof,” I huffed.

Zayden’s arms were around my waist. He looked down at me and chuckled. “Damn, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I said softly. “Sorry, I’m just leaving.” I pulled away from him.

“Um, there is a party this weekend at my place. If you’re interested, feel free to come. Cecilia and the others will be there too.”

“I’m not sure. I have some tests to study for,” I said. I looked back, and Cecilia was giving me a questioning look. I hoped she wouldn’t call me out on the lie. I found myself lying more often. I hated lying. So many people lied to me, why should I care?

Cecilia climbed into the car with me. She didn’t have a license. She was too petrified to drive. Cecilia informed me that she was in a car accident that killed both of her parents, and she remembered it in detail.

“You lied to him,” she said. “You studied for that test already.”

“Ugh! Fine, I lied!” I shouted. “I might go, okay? I don’t know.”

“I think you should go. All he did was invite you to a party, Mia. He didn’t ask you for your undying love and affection,” Cecilia muttered.

“Tomorrow?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Okay,” I nodded.

Cecilia was my roommate at the dorms. When we got back, we ate and got ready for bed. I needed to find a new restaurant. I was tired of microwaved hot pockets and pizza rolls.

When Cecilia and I finished eating, we turned the television on to watch Pretty Little Liars.

Cecilia and I had a lot in common. We liked the same TV shows, food, drinks, and music. Cecilia grew on me quickly, but I hated getting close to people. It seemed like when you got close to someone; you lost them.

“Will you tell me about him?” Cecilia asked.

My gaze met hers. “I-I don’t like talking about it. It hurts. I try hard not to think about him,” I murmured.

“He really did a number on you, huh?” Her voice was full of concern. “Did he hurt you?”

“Not physically,” I muttered.

She sighed.

Maybe, I need to talk about it. I looked at Cecilia briefly. I didn’t even know if I could choke out his name. Even if I did tell her, I couldn’t give her details about the Latin Kings. I promised him that I would never tell anyone, and I haven’t.

“His name is Angel Garcia,” I murmured. My chest tightened as I said his name. It felt like my heart would physically burst.

Cecilia looked at me worriedly.

Tears built in my eyes, but I quickly wiped them away. “We were together on and off for almost a year. I confronted him about something, and he denied it. He lied to me, and I told him if I ever found out he was lying that we were over,” I said. “One night, he came clean about it, and I just felt so betrayed. I felt like I didn’t even know him at all. It seemed like he tricked me. He chose not to tell me so he wouldn’t lose me. It was like all the time we spent together meant nothing to him. It was the best year of my life, and he destroyed it in seconds.”

She looked at me sadly. “What was it he lied about?”

“It was something big, that is all I can say,” I murmured. “It was sort of a secret, and it isn’t my secret to share. I promised Angel I would never speak of it.”

“Why keep a promise to him when he lied to you, though?”

“It’s a big secret. Like, life-changing, I can’t say anymore.” Angel swore me to secrecy. He said if I spoke of it, he would silence me. I’m not really sure he would, but I don’t want to find out.

She shrugged, but I could see the curiosity in her eyes. “Did Angel apologize for lying?”

“Yes, but I feel like he would have kept it from me forever if he knew he could get away with it. So, what else would he be willing to hide from me? I just can’t trust him,” I said.

My phone started to ring. I stood up off Cecilia’s bed and grabbed my phone from my end table.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Mia?” Dad asked.

“Hey, Dad,” I said. “What’s up?”

“Just checking in,” Dad said.

“I’m good,” I said.

“Good,” Dad said.

“How is Mom?”

“She’s good.”

“Okay, well, I’ll talk to you later. Love you.”

“Love you too, honey,” Dad said and hung the phone up.

It wasn’t unusual for him to call and check on me. He did this almost every day. My dad was worried that the mafia would find us.

“Your dad checks in on you a lot,” Cecilia said.

“He’s a very paranoid man,” I laughed. It’s all I could do. I couldn’t tell her the truth.

“So, did you love this guy?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “A lot. That’s why I’m not ready to move on.”

“Girl, why not? He probably did.”

“Maybe. I’m tired. I’m going to bed,” I said. I went into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and hair. I changed into pajamas. I crawled into my bed and turned the light off. Maybe she is right. Perhaps it’s time to move on. It’s not like I didn’t try to get over him once before. It seemed like an impossibility. He was perfect. Of course, up until the end...

***

“Hey, glad you made it,” Zayden said and smiled. His house was packed full of college students.

“Thanks for the invite,” I said. “This is your parents’ house?”

“Yeah.”

“Nice place,” I said over the roar of the music.

Zayden’s house was on the beach, and it was big. He pulled me toward the kitchen. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and handed it to me.

“Thank you,” I said.

“No problem,” he said. “What about studying?”

“I finished early,” I lied.

He pursed his lips and nodded. “Cool.”

It didn’t seem as if he believed me. The moment felt a bit awkward. I wasn’t an idiot. I knew this boy liked me, but I wasn’t so sure the feeling was mutual. Of course, I didn’t give it much of a chance either. After I met Angel, it seemed impossible to give anyone else a chance. It seemed harder after our break-up than ever before.

Cecilia came barging in. She grabbed my arm and pulled me away from Zayden.

I gave him a small smile and a wave. I didn’t want to seem rude. “You saved me,” I said in Cecilia’s ear so she could hear me over the music.

“I thought so,” she said and laughed. “You two looked awkward as hell.”

A giggle escaped me, and I nodded. I let Cecilia pull me to the dance floor. The other girls were here too. They all greeted me.

We danced around until the song ended. I headed off to the kitchen to get another drink. If I had to come out to appease people, I was going to make it worth it.

The room spun chaotically. A pair of arms wrapped around my waist. My eyes locked with Zayden’s.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” I slurred.

“Can we talk?”

“Sure.” I let Zayden pull me away from our friends.

Zayden led us upstairs. After passing a few doors, he stopped in front of a door and opened it and pulled me inside. The bedroom was large and dimly lit by two lamps on the bedside tables.

I assumed it was his room. “Uh, what did you want to talk about?” I slurred and staggered slightly. I had way too much to drink.

“I’m glad you came tonight,” he said.

“Oh yeah, sure. Me too,” I said and shrugged.

“I’m not even sure if I should be talking to you about this right now. You’re a bit drunk,” Zayden said and chuckled at my state as he steadied me.

I formed an inch with my thumb and pointer finger, which made him laugh.

Wow, he is easily amused.

“Mia, I really like you,” he murmured. “I was hoping maybe we could go on a date sometime.”

“Mhm,” I hummed. “Maybe.”

He lowered his lips to mine.

I stood frozen. I haven’t kissed anyone since...

My thoughts stopped when he pressed his lips to mine. There was nothing. There was no fire, no spark.

The kiss was short. It could barely be considered that because there was no effort on my side. I broke the kiss, and I staggered back.

“Um...” I trailed off. “Excuse me.” I turned and threw the door open. I staggered out of his room. The house spun like a tilt-a-whirl as I made my way downstairs.

“Cecilia,” I pulled on her arm when I found her. “Can we go?” I asked.

“I was looking for you,” she said. “Brad is going to drive us back. He only had one beer.”

“Great, let’s go,” I said sharply.

We headed out of the house and climbed into Brad’s car. Brad and Cecilia talked about the party as we drove back.

I didn’t want to join in on the conversation. I leaned my head back against the cool leather seat. I had to wrap my head around what happened with Zayden. It wasn’t easy to do, considering that I was obliterated.

“You’re quiet,” Cecilia said when we got into the dorm.

“Zayden kissed me,” I murmured.

“What?” Cecilia gasped. “That’s great. How did it go?”

“Not great,” I mumbled. “I don’t think I feel that way for him. You know?”

“You won’t know unless you give it a fair chance,” she said.

How could I argue? I didn’t give it a fair chance at all. I didn’t even want to. Every time I looked at another guy, Angel was the first thing that would pop into my head.

***

Zayden ignored me at work all day Monday. I felt guilty. I felt like I needed to make it up to him. So, after work, I caught up with him before he reached his car.

“Zayden,” I said and grabbed his arm.

He clenched his jaw and took a deep breath before he turned to face me. “What, Mia?”

“Look, I’m sorry about Saturday. I was drunk, and you caught me off guard. I haven’t been with anyone in like a year. My last relationship was a hard break-up.”

Zayden’s eyes became full of concern. “Oh,” he breathed. “Okay. Well, you could have told me, Mia. I didn’t mean to push you.”

“No, I know. It’s okay. I’d like to make it up to you. Maybe we could do a double date or something with Brad and Cecilia.” Brad was Cecilia’s boyfriend of three years.

“Sure, if you want, but we don’t have to.”

“I want to,” I lied. The truth was I didn’t want to. But I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my life pining for Angel. Angel was too perfect to exist. I should have known there would be a catch.

I would have to force myself to get over it, just like the times before. I used both Ricky and Matt in an attempt to get over Angel. It didn’t work, but I wasn’t with either of them for long. Mostly because Angel would appear out of thin air. It would be easier to get over Angel because he wasn’t around. I knew I wouldn’t ever see him again.

“Okay,” he shrugged. “When?”

“Pick us up at seven?” I arched a brow.

“Yeah, sure,” he said and smiled.

I watched as he drove away before I sauntered over to my car. I climbed in, and Cecilia was looking at me curiously.

“What was that?”

“We’re going on a double date,” I grumbled.

“Oh cool, with who?”

“Brad and you,” I said.

“Oh,” she breathed. “But I-”

“Nope, I don’t want to hear it. This is all your fault,” I growled. “You talked me into going to that stupid party. Then Zayden kissed me, and I ran from him, which upset him and made me feel bad. You will back me up on this. I’m going to try to give him a chance.”

She guffawed. “Okay, damn, whatever you say.”

When we got back to the dorm, we got ready for our double date. Zayden texted me to let me know it might be closer to eight o’clock.

***

“You know, he has a lot of good qualities,” Cecilia said.

“I know he does. It’s just he’s not...” I trailed off. “Nevermind.”

“He’s not Angel,” Cecilia said.

“Yeah,” I murmured. “Nobody is. God, some days I wonder how he could have been real. We used to talk for hours. He was so funny, but he had such an ego. He was good at everything he did. This one time, he took me to a fair, and he won me that big stuffed husky that is on the dresser,” I said and pointed at the dog.

A sharp pain coursed through my chest as I let the memory flood my mind. “He got me to get over my fear of water. He actually taught me how to swim. We used to go on these adventures and find different spots that had beautiful views.” I sighed and shrugged. “He was perfect and completely crazy.”

“He was real, right?” Cecilia teased.

I almost forgot Cecilia was sitting there listening to me speak. It was so easy to get lost when I thought of him. I opened a drawer beside my bed. At the very bottom of the drawer were three pictures. I pulled them out and handed them to Cecilia.

The air escaped her lungs. “Uh,” she stared.

One of the pictures was of Angel and me. I nearly tore them up and burned them about a dozen times, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

The first image was Angel giving me a piggyback ride. My cousin Emily took the picture. I had run across his front yard and jumped onto his back. We were both looking at the camera, smiling.

The second image was a picture that Angel took while we were kissing. It was taken on the beach, which was one of our favorite places.

The third image was the last picture that was taken of us together. It was taken at Angel’s graduation party. Angel’s mom Aria took it.

“Girl, I’d be having issues getting over him too, oofta!” She let out a wolf whistle. “These aren’t photoshopped, are they?”

“Oh my god,” I laughed. “No, of course not.”

“Seriously, though. He is gorgeous,” she said. She stared down at the images. “Both of you look so happy like the perfect type of happiness. Here I thought that stuff only existed in books and movies. I better up my standards.” Cecilia giggled.

I sighed. “Yeah.”

There was a knock on the door. I looked at the clock; it was ten minutes to eight.

“Give me those!” I hissed under my breath.

She threw me the pictures. She headed for the door as I stuffed the images back in the drawer. I stood up and fixed my skirt as she let the boys in. She shut the door behind them.

Zayden smiled at me.

I gave him an awkward smile back. I shouldn’t have been talking or thinking about Angel before my date with Zayden. I was regretting it now. How was I going to stay focused on Zayden? I was going to spend the entire night thinking about Angel. Is it too late to back out or pretend to feel sick?

“We were wondering if you wanted to get dinner then catch the late show at the theater or something,” Zayden said.

“Oh, sure,” Cecilia agreed.

“I’d love that. I’m really tired of pizza rolls and hot pockets,” I said.

Zayden and Brad both chuckled at what I had said.

Another knock sounded on our door. Cecilia and I both looked at it, confused.

Cecilia went for the door. She opened the door and didn’t speak.

“Is Mia here?” The voice was barely audible.

“Cecilia, who is it?” I asked.

Cecilia slowly turned around. Her expression was horrified. The blood drained from her face. “It’s for you,” she murmured.

The boys stared between the two of us in confusion.

Who in the hell—I thought to myself as I headed for the door. As soon as the person came into view, I stopped.

“Oh my god,” I breathed. I swallowed hard. It felt like someone reached inside my chest and squeezed my heart and lungs. I blinked several times to be sure that I wasn’t hallucinating. This can’t be real.

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