A myriad of words, tangled together like cotton. This was his poetry. The pages curled, feathering his nest.
I stepped across the white papers, bare feet rustling the remnants of his cut off wings.
Blood on my lips. His blood. I’d never tasted an angel before, but he certainly wasn’t an angel. Not now. Dark hair curved over my shoulder, slinking against naked flesh, as I cast him a gentle backwards glance.
He was out of it. His strong jaw left shadows against the snowy bed linen, crisp lines and silhouettes.
He was beautiful. More beautiful than I ever could have imagined.
I dragged my gaze away and carried on to the bathroom, closing the door behind me with barely a whisper. Everything was clean and white like an earthbound heaven. My fingers curled about the edge of the sink, somehow dark against that whiteness. The mirror carried the reflection of a troubled soul.
Had he loved her very much, the woman he had fallen for?
There were snowy roses on the window ledge, both reminders of love and death. A hot ache rose in my eyes and trickled down my cheek. The salty water collected on my lower lip, but I wiped it away with the back of my hand.
I was already damned and I ought not to cry for one as beautiful and as pure as he. Rachiel. That was what he called himself now, dropping the first letters for something more acceptable, more mundane. More tears clamoured in my eyes. I was damned. I couldn’t help him.
The bite was all I had to offer, not that it would do much good.
Once angelic flesh could not be infected by old demon blood, diluted and passed through mortal veins. I wept harder, covering my mouth with my hands and closing dark eyes until I could stand no more and had to crouch low against the stem of the wash basin, clutching myself like some human fool.
The pale purity of his heart, his heavenly disgrace, was everywhere and I could not look.
I choked back my sobs and lifted my eyes to find him standing in the doorway unabashed by his own unclothed form. My cheeks heated. I turned my gaze away, lashes damp and sticking. Words petered out in wispy betrayal. “I’ll be back in a minute…”
He didn’t move, proud male form absorbing all the light and focus of the room. “Why are you crying, Seraphim?” His tone was soft. Had he used this tone with her?
I was so unworthy.
“Please, I’ll be back in a minute.”
After a considerate pause, he nodded and freed the doorway. My stiff limbs unfolded beneath me, shaking from the recent haul of emotion. This had been a foolish endeavour. How utterly ridiculous was I to think that I could help him in some way?
He had been a heavenly beloved. If anyone was going to help him, it would not be me; it would be a higher power.
I splashed my face with icy water, hoping to revive something less sentimental. I was not heavenly. I was not beloved. I was the mortal scum too terrified to die that I begged for another way. And now I had blighted one of the loveliest creatures in the world, knowing that it would not help him.
Knowing that I could not keep him for my own.
Even his towels were downy and white, soft as loose feathers. My mind paused on a subject that had troubled me greatly those past few weeks. I had heard of them before. I had heard what they had to do to become human, but I dared not ask him.
In our lovemaking, my palms had smoothed against those barely healed notches that weal his back. He’d hissed, sucked air in through his teeth, and I had carefully removed my hands, touching and stroking with more intimacy than I had ever possessed.
Tears started in my eyes again, but I took a deep breath and refused to let them fall. Instead I moved to the doorway, peering in at him with dark lashes across the floor of heart-strewn papers. He was sat against the plush pillows, watching me in a quietude that held me almost still.
“I need to know, Barachiel–”
“Rachiel,” he corrected in a pained voice, as if I reminded him of someone that neither of us could mention by name.
“I need to know… Why do you want this when you could die and be with her?” Even I have noticed my voice shaking by the end of the question.
He watched me carefully from the bed, arms folded across his strong chest. Maybe he’d experience too many eternities to understand how uncomfortable his piercing stare was in the silence of that stainless room.
I was a stain. I was a dark shadow of unholy life residing in his room.
“People need more human angels than they need those up in the clouds, sometimes…”
I nodded. Self-sacrifice. Why was I surprised? He’d sacrificed so much already just to be here with her. He’d given up forever in a place that no one could touch, surrounded by beauty and ecstasy, to fall here and land in a place of burning conscience and pain.
“And I think you need me too…”
My eyes lifted from the floor, finding his in all their dewy glory. Did I need him or did I want him? And what was the difference? Something inside my chest awoke and began to beat again, disjointed in the stillness but somehow alive nonetheless.
“I don’t know…” My voice trembled and I looked away, feeling my chin quiver with a childish shyness that had been dead since the first bite I’d procured from my first mortal throat. “I don’t know what you mean…”
“You’re in love with me, Seraphim. I can see your heart.”
“I haven’t got a heart,” I choked.
He smiled the most beautiful, most scary smile I’d ever seen, lighting up the room. It washed over me as a wave of risk and fear.
“Yes you do.”
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