Luna Bella Banks

Finding Meaning
By Hannah Sefton

Luna Bella Banks

(Coming Soon)
Finding Love
By Hannah Sefton

Finding Meaning

More from Hannah Sefton
Finding Truth Finding Love (To Come) Finding Hope (To Come) Finding Faith (To Come) Bad Boys High School Being a Vampire Monster Academy The Secret Life The Devils Bounty Hunter I Love You… www.xXsefoXx.deviantart.com www.haser101.deviantart.com

Finding Meaning
By Hannah Sefton

Dedication:
This Book is dedicated to a very special, inspirational friend of mine; she’s intelligent, beautiful and always full of joy. No matter whom you are or what your story is, she’s never too good to give you a friendly smile. Dedicated to Jiya Williams – The inspiration for ‘Jacinta’

Torch to Torch
I see people walk past me and wonder who they are. You see someone smiling, and wonder why they’re happy. If you talk to someone depressed, most likely you’ll walk away from that conversation with a heavier outlook on life. If you have a long conversation with someone happy, more than likely you’ll walk away in the same mood, smiling and whistling a tune from the wizard of oz. It’s like a light being past from heart to heart. Emotion’s passed from person to person. The flame of those emotions, from torch to torch… By Hannah Sefton

Preface
Should we go on? If you could live forever and never fear death, What would you live for? What would your meaning be? What do you fight to protect when all you love is gone? Do you carry on in search of a new life? Do you curl up into a ball and let the misery take hold of you? Or do you simply watch the times pass by as you stay still, watch the planet wither as you never change? I had lost everything I had once held dear, my family, my friends and now my love… there was no future for me now… no white light to lead me through the darkness, and no darkness to keep me safe from the blinding light that was my fate. I had nothing, I was alone, and loathing every minute of it. Sure I had Gabriel with me… but lately Gabriel had picked up on my mood, he knew it bothered me when he touched me which made it even more difficult to call what we had a relationship. It was more like a mutual understanding and want for the other to be happy… I loved Gabriel very much and I knew if I hadn’t met Adrian I would have married Gabriel as he asked, but I was still technically engaged. I didn’t

want to hurt Gabriel. On the contrary, in reality I wanted to make him happy, I wanted to be the one that could make him happy… but I couldn’t. I still loved Adrian and I wanted him more, how could I love Gabriel when I knew I was capable of so much more. I walked the earth with Gabriel, never searching for him… my love… my life… my soul! Because he was gone; he had left me to find greener pastures. I was never good enough for him, but I deluded myself into thinking it was the other way around, I had forced myself to believe it was him who needed me… and that it was I who could break his heart in the end. But I was wrong he shattered my heart into so many pieces it was worse than being hollow, I was in pain. Unbearable, heart wrenching pain that burned with flames more intense than the sun itself. He had left me to take his rightful place on the council of enforcers, he had begged me to go with him and yet I had refused. He had told me to come and seek him out if I ever wanted to see him again, the only trouble was I had no idea where to find him… and Delano was no where to be found. I had given up my love, my father and child… and I knew for sure they had given up hope on me as well. I knew I would never see my little Alexander again, and I honestly believe Adrian would never want me the same way again no matter what he had tried to tell me before he left... But I kept my hope alive, I kept dreaming and hoping that he would show up and swoop me off my feet like a knight in some medieval fairy tale, but I knew it was simply false unrelenting hope. The hole where my heart use to beat ached every time I even thought his name, if there had been actual stitches instead of painful feelings I don’t believe id ever stop bleeding. Each small stick would be yanked out violently and every once of blood in my body would spill onto the open ground. It wasn’t a bad interpretation for the two of us and what he had done to me… I envied his victims they only had a short time to marvel over how beautiful he was. They hadn’t had the time to get to know how perfect he was behind the face that haunted so many dreams. He was a wonderful. Intelligent, brilliantly insecure man who owned my heart from the very moment I met him. And I regretted that fact with more remorseful than I honestly ever thought possible, I wanted to retrieve my hear and stick back together the small shreds of feeling I had left… but no matter how hard I tried I was still a hollow shell.

Part One

New Beginning

Hell on Earth
Chapter 1

I sat there in that cold solitary room and rocked myself back and forth. I had pulled the thick quilted blankets all around me. But it didn’t help, I still felt cold. It had been so long, and yet I still couldn’t do anything to get out of this rut. Everyday I would wake up, make me and Gabriel breakfast and watch TV. At lunch and dinner I would cook again, and occasionally Raphael and Michael would come around. After 10 o’clock I would give up and crawl back into bed. I was always freezing in my bed, even though the heater was on and I was covered with three thick quilted blankets. His love had made me feel warm when I was freezing cold, and now that warmth was gone. My body was frozen. Gabriel had moved in, he decided I needed someone to take care of me for once. I couldn’t deny it was nice to know he cared. But still, I wanted something more. I wanted… what I use to have. I wanted my life back, I wanted to fell him press his frozen sculpted chest against me again. But I knew that would never happen. The first month after he had left… I wouldn’t talk; I couldn’t stop crying for long enough to be able to talk. But then I waited. I sat on the doorstep every day for a year and waited for him to come back for me. But he never did. I waited and waited for nothing. Even if it was raining I would still sit outside and wait. It had been fifteen months when I finally gave up on him, fifteen long months of agonizing pain. But I knew I still held on to him. I would never let his memory fade. He had been my rock for so long. But today would be different. Today I would try; I would try to pull myself together. I would… try. It had been ten full years… still nothing. No letters… no phone calls. Absolutely nothing had come from him, he could have died and I would never have known. How could he do this to me? Leave me broken on this stupid bed that still smells like him! I pressed my head against the pillow and breathed in the sickeningly sweet scent of him… how I missed him so. I knew this was coming and yet I did nothing to prevent my own sorrow. I let it happen, I let him take me to such extremes and now I’m left to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart. He was my life… my love… my fiancé.

I know I brought this miserable hermit like life on myself. But today I would stand on my own to feet, I would laugh and I would smile. But I would never cry again. Never again would I spill a single tear over… him. I would give him no sympathy… and I would try to suppress my love. I maybe feeling it, but that don’t mean I have to make Gabriel watch… but no matter what I did I knew it was over. He didn’t want me anymore. I knew that now, it was the only possibility left. He wasn’t being stubborn. If he was he would most likely win. I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t go to him, I would not become evil, and I would never hurt another. It was early, but today I had no desire to cook. I knew Gabriel would still be sleeping. The one unfurnished room in the house had been converted into a guest bedroom for Gabriel. He understood why I wouldn’t want to be touched by any man after… he had left. There was one year where I was contemplating suicide. But when I held the blade to my wrist… I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t scared of the pain; I wasn’t scared of the blood. It was disappointment I was afraid of. I was scared people would think me weak for taking the easy way out. And the only thing I was even more scared of than disappointment… was Adrian. It hurt just to think his name now. What if he came back the next day? What would he come home to? But no matter what I did, even now. There is always a small voice in the back of my head waiting for an opportunity. The first time was when I was walking home form the mall. A large red double Decker bus was driving down the road. I had no warning. A small voice in the back of my head quietly whispered “Just jump. What are you waiting for? Jump already!” it screamed. I froze. I couldn’t move. The voice had taken me by surprise. I had never been suicidal before, and never on this level. But I knew why I was having these thoughts. I was hurting more than I let myself know. That pain was always there. It always hurt. But I ignored it, it wasn’t until I started binge drinking did I realize how much I missed him. What can I say? Scientists are right! Alcohol is a depressant. It hurt more than I had ever expected it to hurt. My tears came freely… and for the first time I couldn’t control myself. I needed to cry. I flung back the blankets and got to my feet. I showered and dressed as usual. I didn’t put on make up or do anything with my hair. Gabriel knew what I looked like and I was never in the mood to be called beautiful, especially when I knew my beauty was a lie. Ten years and I hadn’t aged a bit. I remembered someone telling me I didn’t age unless I wanted too, I didn’t understand at the time. I was still naive and childish, but I understand now. I was 26 now, and yet… I still looked the same as I did the morning of my 16th birthday.

I hadn’t changed. My hair had grown longer and almost hit the ground, but I took care of that some time last year. I don’t know why, I was drinking at the time; I got out the scissors and chopped it off to my shoulders. Gabriel took me to get it done professionally the day after. I made no comment. It had been a year, and my hair slid just below my shoulders. Gabriel said he missed my long hair, I didn’t care. I walked down the stairs and cooked breakfast. At least I was eating normally now. I cooked a simple breakfast, eggs, bacon and sausages. I had learned Gabriel’s favorite foods and by now I was more than use to the recipes. I may have been pained and hollow now that he was gone. But I wasn’t oblivious and I still had a job to do. I was still determined to make Gabriel feel as good as possible. It had just been… hard. I remember when I use to tell Gabriel ‘baby steps’ whenever he would do something to affectionate. Now it was me taking baby steps. I was the one that had to wait. Everything reminded me of the broken emptiness he had left in my heart. Every touch… every word. I wouldn’t find anything in the world that didn’t remind me of him. But I suppose that’s what I’ll have to live with now. He’ll always be a constant reminder in the back of my head. He will always be there in my mind, silently watching… judging me. I heard Gabriel make his noisy entrance down the stair case. He had always seemed so silent, having someone as loud and obnoxious as Gabriel around really did kind of help. I was just about to serve when I felt a warm body beside me. I was frozen as he leaned down and kissed my cheek before sitting at the table. He was trying to help me out and we all have needs I suppose. I wasn’t making life as easy as I wanted to be making it for Gabriel. Actually I think it was easier for him to be away from me than it was to be here with me. I felt so cruel. I dished up the oddly uneven plates and served them, I was never hungry anymore. We ate in silences as normal, it had become second nature now… to be so quiet that is. I didn’t like to make noise anymore. I wasn’t the person I once was. When he was finished I cleaned both our plates as he went into the lounge room. He usually left at 9:30-10:00 and didn’t come back till about 5:30 or later. I felt like a prisoner really, like I was trapped in a loveless marriage. But I knew my relationship with Gabriel could be easily changed… I would try to change it. When I was finished with the plates I walked into the living room. Gabriel was sitting on the couch today that was good. He had been sitting in a white recliner he had brought lately; I was starting to think he was realizing I didn’t love him.

I walked towards Gabriel and sat next to him; he seemed confused by my actions today but as usual didn’t ask questions. As I examined Gabriel’s face he seemed tiered. It was as if he had been up for the past 10 years without sleep. In this light or lack of light… he seemed almost old. As if his face had been ravaged and withered with time and age. Had I done that to him? I decided to stop worrying myself; Gabriel still loved me, even if we were silent. I leaned my head against his shoulder and focused on the TV. My sudden change in attitude towards him didn’t seem to anger him, though he did seem skeptical, tense even. I looked up at him and gave him a small weak smile. He place one hand on my thigh. It wasn’t a sexual action; it was more like reassurance that my attempts weren’t futile. I placed my hand on his and massaged it for a moment. Gabriel really did deserve better than me, but if he wanted me I would not be the one to deny him. I had always been an actor, no matter what I did I was drawn to the dramatically arts. He would get what he wanted, he would come out of this twisted little love triangle the victor. He would be fine… and I would be alive. I wouldn’t be what I aspired to be. I would not be vibrant and thriving as I wanted to be, but I would live. I would go on with my life. Maybe he didn’t need me anymore, maybe he didn’t want me. But I was different; I knew I didn’t need him to live. But I did need him to thrive; I needed him if I wanted to be the same person I was once upon a time. But as I said I didn’t need him, I wanted him; but all in all I didn’t need him to survive. And yet, I wanted him all the same. I felt selfish, but how could I not be selfish when I was deprived of a perfection I once knew? My thoughts where interrupted when Gabriel stretched his arm out across my shoulders. I hesitated for a moment, and then leaned in closer to his chest now as he repositioned him self so he was lying down slightly. I lay my body down next to his, I felt warm and clam in his arms. It was the way I remembered feeling with Gabriel. He pulled me against his chest and stroked my arm. This was the most physical contact I had had in almost over ten years. Scary, if you think about it. My birthday had been almost ten years ago …I had always loved birthdays when I was little. Not because of the presents or the attention. Actually I hated the attention. But it was a time when all my family acted civilized towards one another. Everyone put on a happy face and pretended nothing was wrong. I wouldn’t do that this year… I never understood why we celebrate a birthday with presents. I didn’t want to get older, I liked being 16. I know that’s strange but what can I say? I am strange. I liked being 16 in Australia, I had no responsibilities. It was illegal for me to drink or smoke so my brain retained most of what I crammed into it. Despite the fact it was illegal it seemed like

everyone else around me was doing it, looking back on it now I fell a little proud. I was the only one that seemed to be strong enough to say no… I really was a freak. “So, what brought on the sudden need for physical contact?” Gabriel asked as he pulled me from my train of thought, the sound of his voice made me jump a little. It sounded almost the same as his face had looked to me, still young but dry and tiered around the edges. Almost as if in that ten years here with me, it had aged him decades. I didn’t turn around, I needed to think, why did I suddenly need human contact? At the moment I didn’t care, he was warm and my body was freezing cold. “I don’t know… I was cold… I’ve been cold for a while.” I said as I began to stammer as I searched for a way to explain it to myself. His arms wrapped around my waist and I felt his warm, wet lips kiss my cheek. I didn’t stop him, there was no reason to. This was what I would have to do from now on, whatever he wanted. “You’re safe now Luna, I’ll keep you warm.” He promised. I liked the way he said it. He didn’t sound sexual at all; it was more like he was just here to protect me… that thought made me smile. Gabriel chuckled slightly, I wasn’t sure why… but I didn’t want to ask. He seemed reluctant now, he was being very hesitant. He was probably scared I would run away screaming if he did something like… he would do. It was strange; I couldn’t even think his name now without it hurting or feeling a little spiteful. Every time I thought of it, it felt like my heart was slowly being stabbed with a rusty kitchen knife. My stomach would sink and I felt like someone had just delivered an awesome kick straight at my gut. The twinges of anger played at the back of my mind and tear drops formed behind my eyes. I didn’t blame Gabriel for being cautious with me now; I was like a frightened animal. I was traumatized and jumpy, even the slightest thing would set me off. But not today, I want Gabriel to have what he wanted. I wanted him to let me be here for him, not the other way around. I turned my body around so my face was resting against his chest. It took effort, but at the moment, I wasn’t going to complain. He shivered when my fingers traced there way from his stomach to his chest. I didn’t blame him; they felt like ice against the fire of his skin. Despite the cold ice like domineer of my touch he pulled my body against his so every line of his body was pressing against his. I hid my face from sight, for some reason… this felt good. And that scared me. I didn’t know why but I turned my head and gave his chest a small peck. I wanted to reassure him this was okay, and that it wasn’t too much for me. That’s what I told myself anyway. I could almost feel how smug he was, it radiated off his body, just like the heat.

“I love you” he whispered as he pressed his warm lips into my hair. I said nothing. Did I love Gabriel? Could I afford not to love him? Apparently Gabriel took my silence as a difference in opinion. “You don’t have to say it back, I know you love me. You’re just not ready to let yourself admit it.” He said in an exultant tone of voice. He seemed so triumphant when he spoke. But was he right? I couldn’t say the words, they sounded like blasphemy in my head. I still loved… him. But did I love Gabriel too? I didn’t know, I didn’t care, and it didn’t matter. I stretched my face up towards his and moved very slowly. This was what I was here for; I was here to make him happy. So what the hell was I scared of? I sighed when he lips touched mine, they where so warm. It was like he was heating my body through each simple touch. Maybe it was a lack of physical contact that had made me so cold. No ones ever actually done a study on that, maybe the ten years of neglect had gotten to me… maybe… maybe. My heat thundered in my chest as I felt the blood rush to my face and make my skin warm once again. Gabriel threw himself into the kiss with just as much passion as I had expected. He rolled me over onto my back and hovered above me. He didn’t break the kiss for one second. I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled him closer to me. I needed to feel warm again, I wanted this… no, I needed this. In this short moment while our lips where connected I realized how much I had missed this. Not kissing Gabriel, but kissing in general, any physical human contact. I had shied away from human contact for to long, and now my body was reacting to the sudden change. That’s what I let myself believe at least. But like all good things I knew this had to end, he had business to attend to as usual and next week I would be starting school. I needed to go into town and get some supplies. For some reason I didn’t want to go back to school. I never wanted to go back to school; I didn’t want to have to put up with hundreds of other Adolescent humans. But none the less, I would go. I couldn’t even recall the name of the school. But at least this would be my second last year. Gabriel’s passionate kiss eventually slowed down and became more tender and loving. It was strange he could still love me after the past ten years; I had practically ruined his life. Well, that’s how I saw it at least. The one time I had asked him he said ‘I’m just making a good investment with my time.’ It seemed so business like, almost cold. But I understood what he meant. He was hoping if he put the effort in to help me back to my feet it would pay off for him. And much to his enjoyment it seems it has. He pulled back and kissed down my chest letting me breath; I was becoming dizzy and light headed. His lips left a trail of warmth

down my body, damn this felt good. He smiled up at me and gave me one final loving kiss. “I knew you’d snap out of it.” He whispered… the truth was. I hadn’t snapped out of it, I was just acting… or was I? I said nothing; he slowly traced a pattern to my ear with his lips and whispered. “I’ll make you forget all about him. Just wait.” He said. He smiling seductively at me and I couldn’t help but throw him a small smile back. I watched as he pulled his body from mine and without another word walked out the door. What was that all about? I know I gave him a passionate kiss, and considering I haven’t had any real physical contact in so long it probably seemed like a miracle. But he didn’t have to be so… smug! Where was he going? I felt like running after him and yelling ‘Come back here! I wasn’t finished yet!’ And that simplistic thought scared me more than you will ever know. I didn’t love Gabriel, did I? Well one things for sure, my emotions where back. I was getting pissed off over nothing. That was definitely me. Maybe I could move on… maybe I could be normal. I would never be the same… but I could be normal. Couldn’t I? I wanted to believe I could, so I did. I pushed myself off the couch and stood. I didn’t know what to do now. But I never knew what to do. I decided to go for a run. I’d been doing that a lot lately when Gabriel was gone and there was nothing good on TV. I ran up stares and quickly changed into a pair of old grey sweats and a tight fitting blue tank top. Id have to shower when I got back anyway, I saw no need to have one now. I swiftly ran down the stares and out of the house. I decided to take my normal rout around the neighborhood. I started running, the wind felt good as it blew through my hair. It reminded me of flying. I had missed that feeling, Gabriel use to take me flying all the time… but not anymore. I had never asked where he went during the day, all I knew was that he went and came home. That’s all I cared about, he came home. It seemed strange that my home was now Gabriel’s. I didn’t know if … he still wanted me, but I knew that by his leaving he had pushed my straight into Gabriel’s arms. I tried to shake the thought from my head and started to push myself harder, the road was fairly straight and there weren’t very many hills. I decided to do a few laps. I was halfway through my first one and I wasn’t even breathing heavily, but the routs were only about three Kilometers long. If one good thing has come out of this is that I’m pretty sure I’m healthier… or at least fitter than I use to be. The cold air whipped violently as I pushed myself around the neighboring blocks. I knew I was still in London and I wasn’t far from the town. The smell of lilacs and roses filled the sweet chilling air. It was winter, and soon it would start to snow.

I guessed from the sweet floral smells that I was near Mr. Wicomb’s house. It was covered in the sweetest smelling flowers I had ever had the pleasure of sampling. Her husband had past away a few years ago and a few of the neighbors think she has dementia. I felt sorry for the woman, but in some ways we were very much alike. The love of her life was gone, taken before his time… almost. And she was left broken and changed, probably going insane. Her story was so very similar to mine. Loss, tears, and mental disorders our stories where thus. We were so very pathetically similar. His name was William, I wondered if she had screamed his name as many times I had screamed… his name. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t bring myself to utter his name. I knew it wouldn’t kill me, but it hurt all the same. It was like say his name made someone squeeze on the space around my heart. It hurt so very much… I missed him so. I kept running as fast as I could and soon felt my muscles reply to the work out, I had only done two laps of my regular rout. I slowed my pace and headed back to the house. I didn’t feel like pushing myself to the point where I would strain something. The wind slowed to a gentle breeze as I ran back. I couldn’t have been out for more than two hours. When I got back to the house I could tell it was about midday. The sun was shining but the air was still freezing cold… just like him. I walked through the door and slammed it closed behind me. I didn’t want to think about him, it would only give me another mood swing. I walked into the lounge room and took off my sneakers. “We were wondering when you where coming home.” I heard a familiar voice call. I whipped my head up and smiled at Raphael. “Well this is a nice surprise. Are you staying for lunch? I can make you something if you want.” I offered. He and Michael exchanged a glance and smiled up at me. “Please” they both said in unison. I giggled and walked back into the kitchen. I was still sweaty and I’m sure my hands where less than sanitary. I gave them a quick wash in the kitchen sink before dousing my hands in detol. “What do you guys want?” I called out. “Anything hot!” I heard Raphael call out. I watched as Michael walked through the door and smiled over at me deviously. “Why don’t we just serve you on a plate?” he asked. I scoffed at his horrible attempt to cheer me up. I hated when people called me pretty, I knew it was a lie. “How about some French toast?” Raphael suggested. I smiled and nodded. I rummaged through the fridge again and eventually came up with everything I needed. A good thing about living with Gabriel, he always thought about his stomach.

The boys sat at the dining table and talked about some gossip going on with the council. I tried not to listen, I hated hearing about them, and I hated this stupid war! At least that hadn’t changed for me. I continued to cook and tried my hardest to loose myself in the process. It didn’t work. “Cant believe there going to send Gabriel to pick up the pieces again.” Michael complained. I couldn’t help but be intrigued; I never had known what he did for the council when he wasn’t away ‘preventing evil’ as he said. “Yeah, but I suppose he’s the only one willing to get his hands dirty” Raphael said with a sympathetic look on his face. “Ever since Adrian’s been back with the enforcers he’s been making a real mess of things. Stupid vampire bastards!” Michael exclaimed loud enough for me to hear easily. I winced when I heard his name, it hurt just to think of him. I turned around and looked over at them. “Huh?” I asked. I didn’t want to arouse suspicion. Raphael looked up at me and smiled. “Nothing Luna, just Michael forgetting proper manners while being in a lady’s presence.” He said. I rolled my eyes and turned back around. I knew I really shouldn’t have been eaves dropping but I couldn’t help but listen. I shoved the toast in the oven and set the timer. I didn’t have anything else to do and I didn’t want to go ruin Raphael and Michaels bickering, so I decided to do the dishes. Dishes where the only part of cooking I actually hated. Despite the fact I was only two meters away Raphael and Michael continued there conversation with hushed voices. I tried not to listen… but it was too hard to resist. “What about the French guy he killed last week? Adrian’s not even making sense anymore. Do you think he’s actually doing as he’s told? This cant seriously be Donavan’s will. What does he want with all these people? They’re just every day citizens; I think they’re going crazy Raphael. ” I couldn’t help but shudder. I knew he was a murderer… a vampire, but I didn’t like the image of him murdering. But then something hit me. It was hazy and I’m not even sure if what I was remembering was a real vision. I remembered people in cages… so many people. They were food. “I don’t know Michael. That’s what I’m going to find out. Gabriel’s been following Adrian around making sure his sudden random murder and kidnapping spree isn’t discovered. The last thing any of us want is to be discovered, but it seems to be more personal for him. I don’t think he want anything to happen to someone… she loved.” He said. I made sure I was still focusing on the dishes. I could feel those staring holes into the back of my head.

They eventually continued on with there conversation as I contemplated weather or not to tell them about the people. I didn’t even know if that’s what he was doing… that’s what it sounded like. But I don’t know if that’s what was really going on. I finished with the dishes and pulled the toast out of the oven, they where perfect. I dished them up and served. I sat in front of Raphael and Michael and watched them eat. I looked down at my hands and tried to swallow the lump in my throat and exhaled aloud. “If I ask you something will you promise to tell me the truth?” I said as I looked up at Raph. He smiled skeptically, but nodded all the same. I took in another deep breath and readied myself for what I was about to ask. “He’s… collecting people isn’t he? Not just killing them, he’s taking them.” I said. Raph and Michael exchanged a quick glance and both nodded. “You don’t know why, do you?” I said. It was more of a statement than a question. I knew they had no idea what… he was doing. But I did. He looked at me and swallowed the manly bite sized piece of toast in his mouth. “No, we don’t.” he said. It was almost as if he was implying something else. I nodded and bit my lip. “I do.” I said. I looked down at my hand. When I looked up at them they where staring at me. This was obviously incredibly important; Raph’s eyes connected with mine and held them there. “And?” he asked impatiently. “Ok, well I’m not even sure if this is right. I could be remembering it wrong. But I had a vision… when I was with Adrian. So this was a while ago.” I said as I tried to avoid actually telling them. “Just spit it out!” Michael yelled, it made me jump. He was obviously getting impatient; I wanted to say I’m sorry but that would probably just aggravate him further. Raphael stared him down. “Cool it Michael! This is involved; it must be hard to say. Patience is a virtue my friend.” He said. Honestly at this moment I couldn’t distinguish between him and a wrinkly little green man named Yoda. ’hmm, be still young padowan…’ “Ok, well… I was a vampire.” I said. I saw Michaels eyes bulge wide. I knew what he was thinking. I continued on with my story anyway. “He was taking me out to feed. We were at Donavan’s castle… he took me out back and there was… it’s hard to explain. There where hundreds of thousands of caged people… I think they where going to feed something. Something… big.” I said. I felt a shudder go down my spine. Not because I was sickened by the idea or scared of what they wanted to feed. I was scared of the fact in my vision I had enjoyed the experience… I wanted to do it again. But they didn’t need to know that.

“An army…” Raph said his voice no louder than a quiet whisper. I nodded. “One of my very first visions… an army…” I said repeating the exact two words he had said. He looked up at me again. Apparently everything I was saying was very important. To think my visions had been so pathetic lately. Nothing but re-runs of my day to day life. I felt bored by myself. As time progressed I had slowly learned to loath myself. Hell, for the past few months I hadn’t had visions at all, I hadn’t had anything. “What had you seen?” he asked. I sighed and crossed my arms. “I saw… blood and people screaming… running and large scary creatures biting. Demon things with horns and sharp jagged teeth… so much blood and strange looking animals, fangs… death, it was everywhere” I trailed off as I pulled my arms up on the chair and pulled them against my chest. Just thinking about it made me scared… such evil. Attacking for no real reason… it was chaos! Hell on earth! Raphael moved from his seat and swung his arms around my shoulders. “Its okay Luna, nothing can harm you while you’re in London. Nothing will ever hurt you as long as you are here. ” he said… What was he talking about? “What do you mean? Why am I safe in London?” I asked. “London is one of the protected cities; I think there are only 7 under the sister’s protection.” Michael answered as he continued with his lunch. I stared at him perplexed. None of what he was saying was making sense. “I’m blonde. You have to explain things in detail.” I said as I looked over at him angrily. Raphael chuckled from behind me, I didn’t find it amusing. “I’m a blonde to you know.” He said defensively. I giggled and nodded. “But I suppose we should explain. I’m surprised they haven’t paid you a visit yet. But I suppose you where meant for higher things.” He was still confusing me, I hated feeling lie the dumb blonde… I liked feeling intellectual. But I suppose there was no reason to deny the obvious, I was blonde. “Well let me explain. You’ve probably heard this before. But in the beginning when the Wicca’s where first created there was dark and light magic within them. Lucifer made sure of that. There was a king and queen, the originator’s they where King William and Queen Veronica. They had three daughters and three sons. Adman and Eve where the parents of man, while William and Veronica where the parents of … well I suppose there isn’t a word for it. Magical creatures doesn’t extend far enough but creatures extends to far, so I suppose we should just say… they where our parents.” Raph explained. I absorbed the information. It was news to me, but I knew I would need to remember this.

“I bet they heard about all your meetings with the councils, which is probably why they didn’t offer you a position.” Michael theorized. That made sense, but what position? “Anyway, they had three sons and three daughters. Victoria, Vienna, Violet, Arthur, Aaron, Allan. They are the three sons of night and three daughters of day. Vienna was much as you are, a Wicca beyond her years. Violet was different, she was what they called an elemental manipulator. She can control any substance she has come in contact with; to bad she can’t control people. And Victoria, no one knows exactly what she was, over the years people theorized many different reasons for her abilities. But what we do know is from her all fairies and pixies came. Just as mental and elemental gifts came from violet where as Wicca’s and Wiccen’s come from Vienna. I’m surprised Pandora didn’t tell you all this, but I suppose it wasn’t necessary at the time. She never much cared for there families anyway. Being like Vienna didn’t matter to them; she wasn’t family so she wasn’t important.” Raphael concluded. “Then Arthur was a demon, most annoying creatures they are. You know how a vampire is technically dead, and yet they still do things as a living person?” Michael asked. I nodded. “Yes well, it is because a vampire is not one person. He has two personalities living within the one mind; I suppose it’s like being skitsefrenic, only not quiet distinct. A vampires demon doesn’t talk to him, its just apart of him” Michael said. I nodded and considered that. So… he wasn’t bad, well not all of him… he was good… deep down, he was still human. “Yes, then you have Aaron, his talents where much like a shapeshifters… only much more powerful. He had no restrictions. And then there was Allan. His powers where much like Vienna, in the same way a Wicca’s power is like that of a witch, the only difference being the neutrality of there gift, not to mention there choice in how to use it. When god came to there family and told them of the war, the family was split into three. Vienna violet and veronica sided with the white lights, where as Arthur, Aaron and Allan sided with the darkness. The king and queen didn’t want anything to do with the war; they saw it the same way as you. So they formed the neutrals. There are more neutrals than either darkness or white lights combined. Did you know that?” Raphael asked. I shook my head; this was all a little much to take in at once. Honestly it was quiet pathetic that a family feud had formed the three sides of this fast approaching epic battle. So many magical creatures spring from such a strange little family. I knew humanity had its faults but we where no better. “So they're protecting London?” I asked. Michael nodded. “As I said, London is a protected city; there are only 7 in the world, one for each of the family.” Raphael said. “But there are 8 members of the family.” I said. He nodded.

“Yes but The king and queen are never apart, they protect there territory together. There range of course is much larger, they have guards and protectors that help patrol the city. As long as it is under there control nothing bad will ever happen to that city. At the moment I think there territory is somewhere in the states.” He said. “Ok, so who’s protecting London?” I asked. He smiled and thought about it for a moment. “I believe at the moment Vienna is the one watching over things here. If you ever get the chance to meet her, let’s just say that you’ll know her straight away. ” he said, emphasizing the ‘you’ll’. What did he mean by that? Why would I recognize her straight away? “Have I met her or something?” I asked. She chuckled and shook his head. “No, but she takes knew form every other hundred years, usually someone who has passed. I believe she’s taken the form of someone you knew very well.” He said. “Who?” I asked. He shook his head. “I don’t think it would be wise of me to tell you” he said. That pissed me off! “Fine, if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll take a shower. You kind of caught me at a bad time, I was out running. I probably smell atrocious.” I looked up at Raphael who’s arms where still wrapped around my shoulders. “Sorry.” I said. He chuckled and kissed my cheek. He was like my best friend. I could tell Raphael anything and I knew he would never tell anyone else. “Don’t worry about it. Actually I like the way you smell, it’s like wild berries.” He said. I shuddered, I remembered… him saying that. This wasn’t the first time I had been told such a thing. I shook off his arms and walked towards the bathroom. I didn’t want to think about him. It made me angry. I locked the bathroom door behind me and exhaled heavily, I wanted to scream… but I knew I was not alone. I turned on the hot water and undressed. I hoped it would help to clear my mind. But as I climbed in and reached for the shampoo bottle but I stopped. I threw the bottle across the room and covered it with a towel… it was a pink bottle of strawberry shampoo. It was my favorite… and his favorite. My entire body started shaking, I was freezing cold. Was there anything that wouldn’t remind me of him today? Couldn’t I get through just one day without thinking about him? It was bad enough that his face played over in my mind, no matter what I wanted to think about he always found a way of entering my thoughts. But lately I hadn’t had any visions. Over the past month I had not woken up once gasping or sweaty… it was as if I where dreaming. And yet I never remembered the dreams, I always remembered my dreams. I wanted to remember my dreams; they use to be the only

thing enjoyable when I was with him… the only things I held on to. And yet every morning so far, I have woken up sad, or crying, but not today. Why not today? I missed him so much; I missed his frozen arm… I missed the way he whispered my name in the dark. I missed his sky blue eyes that shimmered in the moonlight. I don’t think there was one thing I would ever not miss about him. I loved him, and I hated myself for it. I tried as hard as I could to control my breathing… I felt like I was practicing for a birthing. In… out… in… and out. I was breathing rhythmically. But as time went on I soon was able to control my breathing and calm my thoughts. I loved him so much, and yet I couldn’t kill for him. I would die for him, but not kill… never would I kill someone. I couldn’t do it… I didn’t understand why right now, I was too confused, but I knew I could never do it. It had been almost more than ten years since he left me… and still… I couldn’t let him go. I couldn’t forget his face. I looked down at my ring finger and stared at the small rusted gold flaking from its surface. I couldn’t even take it off, I felt like I would loose him if I did. But I knew I would have to take it off soon. I knew that Gabriel was well aware I still wore it. And I knew it wasn’t fair to him, I would have to take it off sooner or later. But I couldn’t… it was the last real piece of him I had. And somehow, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t part with it. I got to my feet and turned off the running water. I needed to go into town anyway, and I know I didn’t leave Raphael and Michael in the politest way possible. I quickly dressed and put on my make up, I fiddled with my hair for a while before finally deciding it looked better down. I walked back out into the lounge room to find Raphael and Michael sitting on the couch watching a game of football. I walked up behind Raph and swung my arms around him, just below his neck. “I didn’t know angels watched sport.” I said as my eyes flickered from him to the TV. Raphael chuckled and nodded. “We may be angels but where still men.” He said. I’ve heard that one before. “Look’s like all men have the same basic needs.” I said. Michael chuckled beside me and I slowly moved my head to face his. “Yes we do; all the basic needs” he said in a sly seductive tone of voice. I whacked his arms and walked over to my sneakers. “Where are you going?” Raphael asked in an inquisitorial manner. “If you must know, it’s boring as all hell around here. I’ve decided to go back to school for a while, my mum would have wanted that.” I said as I slipped into the black running shoes. Raphael stood and Michael followed.

“Would you mind some company?” he asked. I smiled and linked arms with him. “I’d love some company” I said happily. Michael linked onto my other arm and smiled down at me. Something about the way we were linked and them way we were all smiling triggered something in my memory. Something I use to love during my childhood, a childhood I missed. “Do you know what this reminds me of?” I asked as we made our awkward exit out of the small white house. “What does this remind you of?” Raphael asked. “The wizard of oz! I feel like Dorothy!” I said as Michael broke out into a hysterical laughter. It wasn’t that funny. When Michael finally calmed himself Raphael and him shared a small devious glance. “We’reeeeeeee” they started to sing. “Oh no! You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. They weren’t. They started singing and skipping down the rode. And to my astonishment I started singing along, after I stopped laughing and feeling embarrassed at how pathetic it was two grown… angels were singing ‘were off to see the wizard’. I hadn’t sung anything in so long… I had never felt happy enough to. But I suppose that’s the effect angels seem to have on me. After a while we stopped skipping and singing, I felt like the biggest fruit cake ever! “Luna, what’s happened?” Michael asked. I looked over at him, his question was confusing. “What do you mean? Nothings happened.” I said, perplexed by his choice of words. “What he means is, you seem… happier. I don’t think you’ve noticed but this is the first time I’ve actually seen you smile since… well you know.” Raphael explained. I had noticed that, I was happy today. And I wasn’t sure why, probably Gabriel’s wake up kiss. Or maybe it was because I decided to stop wallowing in self pity. I didn’t know what the reason was. It wasn’t because I was with my wonderful three guardian angels; I had been with them before today. Maybe it was just something about today. Everything was better, brighter even, almost as if I were seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. My world seemed dark and grey, but today it was colorful. It was like switching the TV from black and white to color. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even sure what the date was. But I knew it had been at least ten years, and about half a week. I started counting the days when he left; I wanted to measure the amount of time it would take me to get over him… I still wasn’t over him. Yesterday it was my 10244 day without him… so I suppose that means today is my 10245 day. And I still can’t let go.

“I don’t know why I’m happy… I just am.” I said. Raphael nodded; it was obvious he didn’t understand. But none the less he didn’t push the matter anymore. “Well, whatever. It’s good to have you back; I was starting to think we’d have to have you committed!” Michael announced, I rolled my eyes and swapped his arm for his hand. I loved them both so very much. They where like my big brothers and I was there little sister. Soon enough we found our self’s in town. We walked into the mall and within only two hour I had everything I needed. I loved the mall, smiling happy people everywhere. I usually hated going into public places, I didn’t like remembering other people had real happiness, when I was forced to try and make my own. But it happened again. I saw him… I knew it wasn’t him. I knew it was just my mind playing tricks on me again. But I saw him. Saw the man I loved and the man I lost. He was just a face in the crowd. He turned and smiled at me… but as soon as I took a second look… he was gone. Seeing his face always made my heart race. But the second I looked away, he was gone. I felt the tears behind my eyes… but I forced them back. I had promised myself I would never shed a single tear for him again. Never would I think of him and cry. I wanted to take away whatever good experience I could from my now shattered relationship. He had loved me, once upon a time. But I still loved him. Never would I let him know how much it had hurt me to see him go. Because it was obvious to me… his leaving had been beneficial to him. He was working and he was enjoying it. From what Raphael and Michael had said-cryptic though it was-he seemed to be enjoying himself a little too much. I knew I had taken him away from his family but the more I thought about it the more unfair I believed it was. He had taken me away from my family permanently and yet he couldn’t give up seeing them every day. He was the one acting selfish. He was the one being unfair. He was the one who never gave anything in return. No, that wasn’t true. He gave me his time, he gave me his love, and most importantly… he gave me memories. I may never see his face, for real, ever again. But I will have the memory. I may never hear his voice again, but I will have the memory. And he may never touch my body the way he once had, but I will always have the memory. We walked back and strangely I wasn’t tiered. I felt fine. It was about three o’clock and unfortunately Raphael and Michael had plans, it was something to do with Gabriel. After they mentioned his name I tried not to think about it. Now that I knew what both the men I loved where doing… it was too hard to think about. Work suddenly didn’t seem like a fun place to be.

Though I did think it was incredibly sweet that Gabriel would do that for Adrian. I knew he could be very under-appreciative and insensitive at times… but I knew he was good. When it came right down to his soul, he was good. No matter what he was doing; and no matter who he was with… he was still good. If he where truly evil he could never have loved me, not even for a minute, not ever nor at all. I walked back over to the couch and flipped through the channels. I had two hours until I needed to start cooking. And two-ormore hours until Gabriel came home. I didn’t know what to make, I started running recipes over in my head. I cooked chicken last night, and beef two nights in a row before that. I didn’t really want to cook tonight, it would only mean another little pathetic dinner followed by silence. Not awkward… but a silence all the same. I walked up to my room and grabbed my phone, maybe Gabriel might want to go out for tea. I’ll ask Raphael to recommend somewhere. Hey Gabriel, I don’t feel like cooking tonight, are you ok with going out for tea? I sent. I held the little silver phone in my hand and watched the random comedy show on TV. I hadn’t laughed in so long; and yet now… I couldn’t stop. It somehow made me feel incredibly happy. The phone in my hand buzzed, so I assumed it was Gabriel. No problem love, Any place you want to go in particular? Nope, I was thinking about asking Raphael if he has any recommendations. Or do u have somewhere you want 2 try? I asked. I didn’t want to force him to go somewhere he didn’t feel like going. He had done far too much lately; I didn’t want to spoil my sudden good mood. I was surprised no one said it looked a little forced… it sure felt forced. Sure enough within only a few seconds he sent me a reply, count on Gabriel’s nimble fingers to text quicker than me. Well, actually there was a place I wanted to take you to, but I’m not sure if today’s the right day to go. Well we’ll go anyway, if you like it we can come back another time. KK

That sounds reasonable. I’ll get ready then. Luvs u!  Luna I quickly shoved my phone in my pant pocket and ran back up stairs. I didn’t get half way before the phone buzzed again, I decided to ignore it until later, and it couldn’t be anything to important. I went through my wardrobe and found one of my favorite black cock tail dresses. I pulled out a pair of black pumps and fishnet stockings. I dressed quickly and looked at myself in the mirror. Sure enough it reminded me of a day I had, had with … him. I shook my head, hoping to shake away the horrible thoughts. My make up was still intact but it was lighter than usual. I decided to add a little color to my cheeks and my eye make up heavier, adding foundation and eyeliner where appropriate. When I was finally finished I realized it had taken me all but half an hour to get ready. I was use to everyone saying women take forever to get dressed and ready. I was a disgrace to women everywhere, I was organized. I stared at myself in the mirror… I don’t know why I did. I just did. And for once in a very long time… I wasn’t disappointed in what I saw looking back at me. I was ashamed… but never disappointed. What I was doing to Gabriel wasn’t right, and I knew it. But I need to make someone happy; maybe I should talk to him about it tonight. I’d have to confront him and tell him if he doesn’t want me he really doesn’t need to be doing all this. But what happens if he does want me? What happens if he… loves me? I don’t want to hurt him, if nothing else I want to avoid hurting him, I still love him… just not in that way. Or, at least, that’s what I would tell myself. Did I love Gabriel? I knew I wanted him to be happy, and when he kissed me this morning… it was good. It was better than good, I want to keep going. I never thought I could feel that way again. I never thought I could feel that way for anyone ever again. So does this mean I love him? Or was it just the fact he was the first guy I had kissed in five months. I didn’t know, but I need time to figure it out. I didn’t know what to do now; I had another hour and a half to kill. I pulled out the silver phone and remembered I had a message from Gabriel. It probably just says ‘KK’ or ‘bye’, but still. I flipped open the little silver phone. See you in an hour I love you Luna, Don’t ever forget that. I love you, Gabriel I closed the phone… he did love me. Well, at least that was half my question solved. He loved me, but did I love him? Could I afford not to

love him? I don’t think I could stand to live by myself in this house, I don’t see how Pandora did it. I sat down on the bed… should I send a message back? See you then I know… I luv u 2. Luna I closed the phone, it wasn’t a lie… but it wasn’t the truth either. I couldn’t seem to tell the difference anymore. I knew Gabriel would probably prefer me to never wear… his ring again. But I just couldn’t do it. I walked down stares and pulled out the thing gold chain from one of the shopping bags. This was the only way I could think of wearing it without having it on my finger. I slipped the small rusting piece of gold off my finger. It had left behind a small rusted silhouette of it self, a permanent mark… no. I slipped the ring through the chain and clipped it around my neck. It dangled from my neck perfectly as the ring came to rest near my heart. It was fitting. I may never see him again, but I will always keep him close to my heart. No matter what else happens in my life I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take it off… I still love him. I would still want him, but I could not go to him. I could not give in, not now. I had endured ten years of painful agony because he had left, it was too simple to just give in and join him in his blood shed. I wasn’t just being stubborn, though I knew that was definitely a big part of how I was acting. I didn’t want to kill anyone, not ever. I would kill for Adrian’s life, but I couldn’t just kill because he needs me to. I couldn’t be a vampire and I knew if I joined him, that’s what I would do. I would become something that fed off death, something that killed more life than this stupid war will. Everything was so confusing. How could I claim to love him and swear to do anything for him… except kill? Why was I so against murder? I was sure everyone I had been involved with in the past ten years would have killed at least one person in there time. And vampires would have to kill frequently. I played with the beautiful ring around my neck. It was the exact opposite of him… he was beautiful on the inside. But the ring was withered with age, and falling apart slowly. On the inside, it was pure gold, beautiful and pure. But what I feared was on Adrian’s inside, was murder. I snapped out of my currant train of thought. I shocked myself. What? How could I honestly call him that? He was not just a murderer! He had no choice! But that wasn’t true; even I knew I was lying to myself. I had lied to myself about him so frequently to myself. Why did I still feel the

need to protect myself from thinking lesser of him? He was the one who left me. He was the one that walked out on me. I loved him, but that wasn’t enough. He had killed my family. I know he only killed crystal so that they could use her blood. And I know they killed riley and Jennifer to keep them from coming after me. But he didn’t need to do any of that! I bet that if he had of just explained it to my mother she would have probably given herself over freely. And mark would still be alive; he’d still be my father. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Delano. But I missed mark, I missed my daddy, no matter how juvenile that sounds I do. I know Jennifer would never have gone anywhere near the police if I told her not to. She was a wonderful sister, and riley would follow her to hell and back without questioning. But he never had to lay a finger on Pandora! He never had to kill her; he did it because he wanted to. There was no other reason. He wanted her dead and that was the end of it. I had no say. That was just him that was who he was. He was arrogant, egotistical, cynical and incredibly insecure… but I loved him. Sure he got angry; sure he could be full of himself some times. But none of that bothered me; it was only the murdering that ever bothered me. It hurt me more than he would ever know, more than he will ever be able to comprehend. But I suppose none of that mattered now. I would never see him again. He would be happy. Gabriel would be happy. And maybe… just maybe I could find a way to be happy. Maybe I could find a way to survive without forcing a smile. I glanced up at the small white plastic clock. And for once I smiled. I had let my mind get carried away. I had wasted another half an hour. That was good. I didn’t want time alone with my thoughts right now; I wanted to do something different for once. I wanted to be spontaneous. But I knew with Gabriel that wasn’t going to happen. I knew he had observed my behavior over the past couple years, but I had observed his as well. He had always reminded me more of a business man than anything else. I felt like I really was married to him. I felt like I was being trapped in a loveless relationship. No, not loveless. Just more love on one side than the other, I felt cruel just thinking it… but it was true. Gabriel did love me more than I him, but I still loved him. I knew it was a different kind of love to the one I shared with… him, but it was still love. I cared for Gabriel; I wanted him to be happy. I wanted him to be happy and feel loved. I didn’t know if I could love him… but I knew I could try… I could make him believe I loved him. I hated my thoughts. There where times when I felt like my thoughts could hurt someone more than anything else. My thoughts where harsher than anything I could ever say. But they where still there… and I still felt them. I always felt them, I was the only one who

knew the real me. They were apart of me, no matter how much I wanted to deny it… that’s what they where. They were the truth. But maybe I didn’t need the truth anymore. The truths had done nothing but scare and harm, not only me, but everyone around me. It had hurt more to know the truth than to believe any lie. So now, I would lie. I would lie to Gabriel, to Michael and Raphael… to myself. I would make everyone think I loved Gabriel. I would. I had to. I would make everyone believe beyond any doubt that I loved him, and I would lie to myself. I would force myself to believe the lie. I would believe it. No matter what happened to me now, I would believe it. I would believe it all was true. I loved Gabriel we where happy… that’s all that mattered. I walked into the lounge room and curled up on the sofa to watch whatever random show was one now. I didn’t take much notice of what was happening. These days I just really enjoyed the sound. I didn’t like feeling like I was alone. I wanted to feel like someone else was there, but I didn’t really want someone to be there physically. I thought it would hurt more to watch me go through this than have someone go through it themselves. I wasn’t watching the screen anymore. I turned my attention to the large open window and watched the scene before my eyes. The streets of London where beautiful at night, the cars, the people, the lights, they all seemed so extravagant. It all seemed so very glamorous on TV, and yet, to me, none of it mattered in the slightest. Nothing impressed me lately. I had reverted back into the permanent numbness I had once loved, feared and respected. I watched the world unfold through my own eyes; I felt the warmth of sun and enjoyed company of others though myself. And yet, I was not really there. I was sitting across from the people I was talking too, but the lights where off, no one was really home. No one wanted to be home. It was too painful to be home. The sky out side was still a bright blue with clouds hear and there. The sun shoot colored rays around the sky that seemed to set the clouds aflame with streaks of orange and red. The people on the streets looked like silhouettes of life rushing about there business. And the houses reflected the small shimmering gold light that made the paint sparkle and gleam with warmth that can only be described as beauty beyond words. The bright green leaves on the trees sparkled as the night slowly creped forward. Night was soon approaching. I watched as the last few rays off light disappeared over the clouds and the streets suddenly plunged into darkness. It was time. I sprang to my feet and gave my appearance a once over in the mirror. Gabriel would be here shortly, that much I knew. I turned off the TV and grabbed a thick trench coat I found in the closet a few weeks back. Jennifer really had been prepared for anything. Damn

she was resourceful. It made me remember how much I missed her. But I had no time for that right now. I had no time for tears, not now and not ever. The door bell rang. It was a nice surprise from Gabriel barging in, but still… he did live here to. I walk towards the door and forced myself to smile. I yanked open the door… and there he was. Gabriel stood in the door way holding a dozen white, long stem roses. They were beautiful. Soon enough the smile on my face wasn’t forced anymore. I was happy to see him, or maybe I was happy to see flowers. No, no I was happy to see him. I loved him, and we where happy. Remember that. I ignored the flowers for a moment and took in Gabriel’s glory. He loomed over me, most people would have found that intimidating considering his muscular appearance. But I didn’t. He was wearing a pair of black formal dress pants, and a simple white shirt. It was simple, and clean… beautiful described him best, one word that meant so much more. He was more than handsome, any woman would have been lucky to have him. So why was I being so horrible about it? This wonderful creature wanted to give me his heart when he could have any woman he wanted. So why wasn’t it enough? I shook the thoughts from my mind and stopped ogling his body. He was beautiful, but I didn’t want to make him feel embarrassed. And somehow… strange as it was I felt my cheeks blush. I had missed that feeling. I had missed the feeling of blood rushing to my face, the warmth and the sheer glowing sensation was enough to make me want to sigh. But I didn’t, I restrained myself and looked up into Gabriel’s beautiful sky blue eyes. They were captivating. He chuckled and beaconed for my hand. I gave it to him without question. He smiled at me deviously and kissed my hand. I felt my cheeks blush brighter. Strange, I hadn’t had this reaction in a very long time. I could actually feel my skin, a warm tingling sensation spread throughout my face. He chuckled and handed me the beautiful long stem white roses. “For you” he said. I fought back the erg to say ‘yeah, figured that’ and inwardly scolded myself for even thinking something so rude. I took the flowers and took a deep breath of its intoxicating aroma. I loved the smell of flowers—especially white roses—and Gabriel knew it. He was going through a lot of trouble to make me feel good tonight. I didn’t blame him. He was probably scared at any moment now I’d turn back into the lifeless zombie I once was. Maybe I would. I smiled up at him as if to say thank you, and quickly followed with words. “There beautiful, thank you” I said as I stretched up on my tippy toes to kiss his cheek. He must have miss read the invite because he went straight for lip contact. It wasn’t unpleasant, far from it actually,

but it was surprising. He had me taken off guard. None the less I kissed his lips with just as much enthusiasm, delayed enthusiasm but enthusiasm all the same. I kissed him calmly, the same warmth spread through my body. It made my skin tingle, I felt warm. It was like a corpse being reanimated. Actually, in all honesty, it felt much like I feel when I’m using magic. I’d shiver and the magic would move through my body, leaving behind a warm tingly feeling. Gabriel was able to fill me with the same warmth my magic gave me. Maybe that was why, maybe Gabriel was magic. That I could believe; he was too good to be real. When he finally pulled away he left with a number of small kisses. He smiled his beautiful cheesy grin and I felt my skin blush even brighter. Looks like I didn’t need the color on my cheeks after all. “Are you ready?” he asked. “Maybe I should go put these in a vase first, I don’t think they last our date and I’ll probably forget about them by the time we get home.” I said as I walked towards the kitchen. I pulled out a large crystal vase and filled it half way with water. I un-wrapped the flowers and placed them inside the vase. It was beautiful. I had always loved white roses; something about them just seemed so… pure. I turned back around to find Gabriel, and there he was. Leaning against the door frame he managed to look both masculine and graceful. Something I’ve never seen anyone manage before. He was too perfect; it wasn’t fair that he should want me. I wasn’t good enough for him; he deserved a lot better than me. It seemed almost criminal that Gabriel should want me, he could find someone absolutely stunning… but he didn’t want that. Why didn’t he want that? Maybe clumsy and forgetful was his… type, as they say. He smiled over at me, it was a nice smile. It was as if he had never seen me before, and now he liked what he saw. Tonight would be his reward. I would make him feel better about everything. I will do everything to make him happy, he’s all that matters. He walked towards me and wrapped his arms around me. At first I was surprised, human contact was somehow foreign to me. Even now it seemed like he was the only thing in my life I had left, the only thing I could ever touch again and know he would never leave me. I hesitated but slowly let my hands slid up from his chest and around his neck. I had to stand on my tippy toes to manage it and even then my fingers didn’t connect around the back. I hated felling short. I looked up into his beautiful sparkling blue eyes and was suddenly lost. No one should be aloud to look so stunning. I felt safe in his arms, like nothing would ever hurt me again. And foolish as it may seem, I believed it. I believed that as long as Gabriel was here nothing could harm me. Never would anything harm me… it was a strange feeling. It was as if he where protecting me, guarding me. Gabriel was my guardian

angel. I suppose it made sense. His presents made me feel secure and safer than ever. That had been his job for the past 26 years… but I didn’t want to think about that. If I though about that I would think about… him. “Are you ok?” He asked, noticing the sudden change in my train of thought. Trust Gabriel to notice something I didn’t want him to know anything about. “Yeah, I’m fine. We better go.” I said. He looked me in the eye and gave me a warning glance. And from that one glance I knew that wasn’t what he was talking about. But he decided not to push his luck. Smart man. I let my hands slid from his neck and gracefully slid my feet back down to the ground. He walked me out the front door and opened the passenger door to his snow white 2007 BMW M6 Convertible E64. Gabriel had taken the liberty of perchasing a car, he never used it and tried not to. I had a licence, but I still didn’t like the feel of a convertible. As I slid into the BMW I took the liberty of admiring the white leather seats and gold trim. I suddenly felt strange being dressed in all black. I didn’t match the car, but gabriel did. It was a perfect car that looked just as he did. It remeinded me of him when he was gone. He gave it a nick name and everything, boys and there toys. “Where did you get the guardian anyway? I never asked.” I asked. Gabriel slid into the drivers seat and reversed out of the driveway as he answered my question. “Raphael took the liberty of buying her, he didn’t say where, but I asume—knowing him—it was imported.” He said with a chuckle. He was probably right. Raphael never settled for second best. He had exotic tastes for everything, I never understood it fully… but I suppose when you live forever you need some kind of hobby. Damn, I need a hobby then. I turned on the radio and blasted the music as loud as I could. I loved the way the entier car vibrated with the sound waves. It was calming, like when your on a plane or a boat. The motion is wonderful. I could never understand why people got motion sickness, I loved the motion. Gabriel and me started singing along with the radio, the more I listened to gabriels voice, the more I realised how angelic it sounded. Why was everyone I met so damn perfect… it makes me look bad. I stopped singing when we suddenly turned down a familiar street. Raphael, michael and I had passed down it earlier today. It was one of the most exclusive streets in town, you needed reservations to get into any of the clubs or restaurants. That or you had to know someone very important. But I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me Gabriel would bring me to a place like this. He was a member of exclusive high society. I wonder if anyone rally knows who… what he is. But, unless they where all angels or magical creature too, I highly doubted it. We pulled up in

front of a flashy looking restaurant with two body guard like figures out front. It was tall for a restaurant so I assumed there was a second level for VIP’s or maybe a flat. A short bell boy ran up to Gabriel and opened the door for him and a second taller man wearing the same ridiculous red and white retro outfit came and opened mine. As I graciously stepped out of the car it looked like they where almost bowing, I tried to look one in the eyes but soon they looked away in an almost apologetic way. It seemed strange, for a second I almost thought they looked like they where afraid of me. I walked over toward Gabriel who handed the keys to his car to the shorter man. I assumed they where going to park it somewhere safer, that seemed plausible. But something about them… it just didn’t seem right. Gabriel held out his arm and I cautiously wrapped my arm around his. He smiled and flashed his stunning white tear. And with that one look I was suddenly reassured of everything. I was safe, I was protected, and he was guarding me. “Ready?” he asked. I smiled back and then thought about that for a moment. “What do I need to be ready for exactly?” I asked. He chuckled and walked towards the tall restaurant. That made me anxious. I examined the building closer. From the outside it looked like a cheesy attempt to copy a high priced hotel. But it was much to short. The walls where white cream colored, and there was a gold emblem above the front frosted glass double doors that said “Wings”. I had never heard of the restaurant before but it looked like it was the buzz of the town. The two, tall, body guard-like people opened the double doors for Gabriel and me. I was immediately taken in by the surroundings. The inside of ‘Wings’ was absolutely stunning. Everything was white and embellished with gold. Everything seemed so beautiful. The double doors lead out into a large lowered floor covered with tables and chairs. People dressed to the nines talked and sipped expensive wines while wearing even more expensive clothing. Old cherubs and pullers framed the room and murals of angels adorned the walls. It seemed so typical, and yet wondrously unexpected. The tables and chairs matched the décor and suddenly I felt even more out of place than I did. Most people where wearing white and looked like angels. But not me, dressed in my all black attire I felt like a weed amount flowers. But none the less, I persisted with trying t make Gabriel happy. Gabriel was on my arm keeping me safe and his ring was safely around my neck… giving me a peaceful reminder of those few weeks in my life that where noting but bliss. I took a deep breath and smiled up at Gabriel. He was examining me closely, but in a loving mindful gestured. It was almost as if he wanted to make sure I didn’t suddenly have a mental break down… that was understandable.

I placed my other hand on his upper arm and rested my head against it for a moment. I was trying to reassure him I was ok, I hope it work. He continued to lead me across the room to a set of overdramatic flash gold stairs that led up to the second story. It was like a theater, the stirs led up to a set of secluded booths that over looked the rest of the restaurant. I couldn’t help but feel it was a little over done, but who was I to criticize? Once we reached the largest booth I couldn’t help but fell impressed. Gabriel was even more angelic than I gave him credit for. How did he get a reservation in the largest booth in an exclusive brand new restaurant run by London’s elite? I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I felt like he was trying, but he really didn’t need to try. I don’t need to go out to fancy restaurants; I already know how much I mean to him. No amount of money is going to change that. He pulled out my chair for me and I graciously let him seat me. He sat across from me and smiled rightly. You’d think from all the smiling his face would start to hurt. “So, what do you think?” he asked. “In general or about this place?” I asked. He chuckled slightly and clarified. “What do you think about wings?” “The things on you back or the restaurant?” “You’re making this very difficult” he stated. I smiled deviously over at him; I hadn’t talked to anyone so much in a very long time. It was always quiet between the two of us. I suppose I didn’t really want to talk, but I had to remind myself this was for him… I wouldn’t hurt him. “I am aren’t I? I’m sorry. It’s nice, really.” I said as I looked around at the flashy over done restaurant. He chuckled and dragged my eyes back to his. “What are you really thinking?” he asked. Damn. He knows me to well. “Ok, it’s a little… extreme but it’s nice.” I said, he pursed his lips and scrutinized me further. I knew he didn’t believe me; but he wasn’t going to push it. I needed a subject change and the only thing I could think of was… “So, how was your day?” I asked. He face suddenly didn’t look so inviting. A flash of discomfort shone in his eyes before replacing I with his obvious poker face. “It was fine, and you?” he asked. I want going to let him get away with that. “Good, Raphael and Michael dropped by for lunch… did he get a chance to tell you… what I told him?” I asked sheepishly. He looked confused, but at least he wasn’t angry. “I know what… he’s taking people for. I know why there doing it. I had a vision a while back I couldn’t explain… but it made sense when I found out what… he was doing.” I said as I looked away from Gabriel.

I knew… Adrian was a touch subject for us. Just thinking the words made me flinch, the edges around my heart suddenly ached. I looked up at Gabriel, he wasn’t angry. He was smiling. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Gabriel said as he smiled over at me. “Don’t play coy with me Gabriel. I know what you’ve been doing for… Adrian” I winced at his name. “You don’t have to protect me from it. I know what he’s doing and I know why he’s kidnapping people.” I said angrily. He stared me down, but I wasn’t going to break on this. I hated people treating me like a child; it was one of the most annoying things I could think of. He put his elbows on the table and rested his head in them. “I didn’t want you to find out… I know it was hard… giving up what you did. I didn’t want you to know how evil he really is.” Gabriel said. “He’s not evil” I said under my breath. I was feeling defensive now. He was a lot of things… but he wasn’t evil. No one was evil. Gabriel looked up at me, and for a second I thought this was going to turn into a full blown fight. But no, we were in public… Gabriel was hot headed and arrogant some times, but he was in public. “Why is he taking them, I understand the feedings… but why is he… collecting people? It doesn’t make sense.” He said. I leaned forward and mirrored him perfectly. I rested my elbows on the table and le my head rest in them. “Its… for the army. There collecting people so they won’t raise suspicion, or so I would guess. The army’s need to feed, but the local towns wouldn’t be able to supply that much blood. I think it’s kind of like a farm, people in cages… it, it was scary.” I said. I suddenly felt cold again. The fact people where being used like cattle didn’t scare me. It was the fact I enjoyed the moment. I wanted to feed… again. I shock my head trying to dislodge some of the thoughts along with it. “Luna… look at me” he asked. I looked up at him; his hand was extended to wards me. I took it hesitantly and held his hand n mine. “As long as I am here, no one will ever hurt you again.” He said. I nodded my head, he was right. I should worry about that anymore. It didn’t matter. He was right, no on would ever hurt me again. Not even me. No one would come for me; Adrian… had made that more than clear. My heart hurt once again, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in myself. He was a painful reminder, but it was inevitable, everything will eventually remind me of him. And one day, I’ll break down. I wasn’t doing myself any favors at the moment. But I couldn’t help but want him back. He was the best thing in my life. The only thing that mattered more than life itself.

“I know Gabriel, I know. But… I, I don’t want to forget him. I don’t want to be safe… I want him back.” I felt selfish for hurting him… I wasn’t important. My needs where second to his, but it was true. “It doesn’t matter though, he doesn’t want me anymore.” Gabriel stared at me in wonder. But I knew he couldn’t deny it, Adrian had left because I wasn’t what he wanted. The war mattered more to him, he was a soldier first. I knew that now. I had forced him away from everything he had ever known; it was selfish of me to want him. But I couldn’t help it. How do you give up the love of your life when you know you could change everything with one plane ride? But that was pointless now, he would have moved on by now. “He was a fool to let you go Luna. He doesn’t matter anymore. I love you Luna… that’s all that matters now, you and me.” Gabriel said. I looked up at him, he was smiling at me, but it wasn’t a happy smile. If I hadn’t known better I would have said it was a sympathetic smile. But I did know better, it wasn’t pitiful or happy… it was love. It meant he understood and he did have nothing but blind obedient love for me. He would jump in front of a truck for me. I know that wouldn’t kill him, but the sentiment was the same. It was comforting to know someone care that much about me. This was why I was here; I wouldn’t make Gabriel suffer the way I suffer because of Adrian… I would make him happy. For the first time tonight when I said his name… it didn’t hurt. I couldn’t think about Adrian… he was my first and last true love. But Gabriel was my love now, it wasn’t the true blind faithful love I had shared with Adrian, but the love I shared with Gabriel was still real. I still wanted the best for him, and I always would.

Marry Me Broken Pottery
Chapter 2

“You know… I love you right?” he asked. That was an unexpected question. I smiled up at him, most of the meal had been quiet, and we didn’t say much these days, but then again, there was no real need to say much of anything. I understood him… and he understood me. “I do, you know I love you too, right?” I asked. He smiled brightly and chuckled. I loved the sound of his laughter, he reminded me of a little boy some times, happy and laughing. He was never the one to disappoint. “I was hoping you’d say something like that.” He said as he reached over and took my hand in his. His hand was warm and sweaty… was he nervous? “Luna, I don’t know how to say this. I’m not that good with words.” He warned me. This was starting to worry me, what did he need to tell me? How could it be harder than telling me he loves me? “I’ll understand.” It was the only thing I could think of. I knew no matter what it was I would most likely understand. I would try to understand. I looked up at his angel face and smiled. He was biting his lip and avoiding my gaze. He was nervous, he reminded me so much of my Alexander. I missed him so much. I wished, somehow, I could see him again. Even if from a distance, I’d want to see him. “Ok… here it goes. Luna, I know what he did to you was horrible and I know you still love him. But I think its time to move on. He’s not coming back… and he never will. Its not like there’s any point of holding onto him, he’s gone. What my point is… I mean what I’m saying is.” He took in a deep breath and looked into my eyes. “Luna, I want you to marry me.” I fell silent, and unresponsive. Did he just say… marry? I instinctively grabbed at the ring around my neck. Could I really give him up? Could I spend my life with Gabriel and never look back on my past? But most importantly… was I ready to take away his options? Gabriel could do better than me if he would just try. He could find someone who could give him everything a wife I suppose to give her husband. I was scared that I just… I couldn’t do that. “Umm, Gabriel… look, see-” he silenced me with his hand. “You don’t have to answer me now; I know you’d need to think about it. I mean, you don’t like limiting your options… I know that. Just, promise me you’ll think about it Luna, promise me that.” He said as he looked into my eyes. I felt like I could loose myself in those eyes. Everything was going so fast, it was rushing again. Or maybe my life had been moving so slowly that now I couldn’t keep up with the fast pace life I use to be living.

“Listen, I don’t think I can do that Gabriel. I mean, I love you… and I love him. But the thing is… I’m not good enough for you Gabriel. You’re doing so much for me, but… you don’t see it. You don’t want to. If you’d open your eyes you could see how many people out there would be better for you then me. I’m not myself Gabriel, and you know it. I’m broken Gabriel… broken pottery.” I couldn’t bring myself to meet his gaze. “Luna.” He said angrily. I looked up at him with blood shot eyes. “Luna, your everything I want. And everything I need. Sure you’re like broken pottery, but you’re my broken pottery. I love you Luna, and you are good enough for me. More than good enough… I love you.” He said. I really didn’t deserve him, he was too perfect. Or maybe there’s something about a lost cause he finds irresistible, or maybe its pathetic broken hearts he has a thing for. I wouldn’t know. “You know, you sound like an after school special.” He chuckled at that, at least my humor was still intact. “Just think about it Luna, I’ll wait as long as it takes.” He promised. But that was my problem. “You shouldn’t have to wait for me though, you could do so mu-” “Don’t tell me I can do better because there’s no one better than you. You’re my choice Luna, deal with it” he said, now it was much turn to laugh. At least he was being direct with me. He was so wrong… and he was happy to be wrong. “You may be deluded enough to think of me that way, but it is a delusion we don’t share. I know what I am Gabriel, I know who I am. You can do better than me, there’s no question of that… you just don’t want to.” I said. I didn’t want to meet his eyes, but I forced myself to do so. He needed to know I was serious. I know what I am, or, what I have become. He can do better… and he knows it. “Luna,” he said in a light loving tone if I hadn’t known better, I would have said he was amused. “You’re the one I want, because you’re the one I love. Don’t make this harder than it has to be. We could be happy Luna, if you just give me a chance to show you how happy you can be… you probably won’t believe me, but there is life after love Luna… if you try, there could be more than that. Just because he left doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, you need to believe that.” I almost burst out into tears. Not tears of sadness or because of the aching pain in my heart… but because I was angry. “Have you ever thought, maybe I don’t want to move on? Maybe I don’t want you! Maybe I want to hang on to whatever scrap of happiness Adrian left me with. I love him Gabriel, you don’t understand, so stop trying to act like you do!” I practically yelled at him. The room fell silent, the people below where staring. Great, this was just what I needed; an audience.

“Luna, I’m not trying to pretend I understand. Weather you like it or not, I understand all too well. I know how it feels to be forced away from the one you love; I know what it feels like to hang on to their memory. I’ve been through that Luna, if you had looked at me the way you looked at him, maybe you would realize who I was talking about.” He said angrily. Suddenly I lost my appetite. Wonder how that happened. “Look, just take me home Gabriel. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. You knew then just as well as you know now how much I love him. I want to be with you… I want to make you happy and marry you Gabriel. You don’t understand how much it hurts me to see you this way. Its killing me, I don’t think I can do it. No matter how much I want to do it… I just can’t. I love you Gabriel, but I’m just not ready. Give me time Gabriel, that’s how I ask.” I said. I really didn’t want to stay here anymore. I was so angry, I felt like I had betrayed myself. I didn’t want Gabriel to know what I was thinking; I didn’t want him to understand. I wanted him to be under an illusion, because I knew I could never give him the real me. Just my illusion. The illusion that I loved him, because the simple truth was… I didn’t. I wanted him safe, I wanted him loved… but I didn’t want to be the one to do it. He reached across the table and took my hand in his “Luna, you will have time. I don’t want to rush you into this… not if you’re not ready. I love you enough to respect your decisions.” He said. As the words flowed from his mouth, I realized how much this hurt him. He wasn’t trying to convince me, or comfort me. He was trying to convince himself, he was trying to comfort himself. He liked being the moral one. “Maybe we should just go, I think our audience is enjoying the entertainment… but I don’t exactly like the fact I’m giving them a complete show.” He nodded and let go of my hand. “Perhaps your right, best to leave before the scene worsens, though I don’t see how that would be possible at the moment.” He said. I knew he meant it as an insult, but honestly… I didn’t care. I let it slip this time; I wasn’t in the mood for a dramatic exit. I was tiered, though that seemed strange. Today had been a glimpse of happiness I use to have. But now, like the sun light, my happiness was spent. We stood and simply walked right out the door. Gabriel left a single note on the table; someone was getting a big tip. He made no attempt to touch me; that was a bonus in my book. He was doing it for me, but I still didn’t like the reminder. The feel of his skin against mine had because my blood to boil, and yet, it still felt nice. I felt human… I felt loved. He opened the door of his car for me, but he always did that. I had given him a lot to think about tonight. And I regret every little word that passed my lips. I wanted to take back this night, and make it

so that this had never happened. I wanted him happy, this wasn’t happy. I slid into the car without a word. I didn’t put my seatbelt on, Gabriel and I had fought about that before. He wanted me to be as protected as possible, but a seat belt wasn’t going to make that much of a difference. Not to me. If I got hurt, or broke a bone I could heal myself. It was no problem at all, simple magic. But it still angered Gabriel. As he slowly turned on the engine, I sighed audibly and gave up. I wanted him happy; I was deliberately pissing him off. That wasn’t like me. I wasn’t acting like me anymore, but maybe that was just it. Maybe I wasn’t acting anymore. Maybe this was the real me; moody and a complete bitch. I put on the seat belt and stared out the window, I didn’t want to make him angry… not deliberately. I wanted him happy, but something inside of me almost enjoyed his anger. He drove down the street and through the city; he must have gotten his keys back from the valet. I stared out the window, but I wasn’t looking. I made no attempt to see, it was a strange feeling. It was almost as if I was suddenly unaware of the world around me. It was there, the lights of the city flashed in my eyes. But I saw only shapes, I took no notice of what they actually where. Gabriel was silent, we said nothing. I made no attempt to retrieve the romantic mood he seemed to be trying so hard to create. And thankfully, he was happy enough to do the same. I used my peripherals and examined him. He was angry. His eyebrows had furrowed, he was gripping the steering wheel far too tightly that necessary. I could feel the tension in his body, the anger radiated from him. It was stronger than any emotion he had had in the past few months. My recent change in personality had affected him to. It had made him much like me, almost lifeless. His emotions had left him almost to the same extent mine had. It must have been more depressing than I could imagine. To see someone you love hurting… and not being able to stop it. Seeing some one you care for waist away… as slowly as it could possibly be. Seeing every little reminder the same way they did. I couldn’t imagine going through that. And yet, I cared for Gabriel, I had seen this happen. But I didn’t notice because I hadn’t cared. I’d been too preoccupied with my own stupid painful reminders. I hadn’t realized it hurt him too… I wasn’t being fair to him. But… had I ever been fair to him? Gabriel did more for me than I would admit, more than he would admit. I knew he wasn’t trailing after Adrian to clean up his mess. He was doing it for me. I would be crushed if something happened to him. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I would be able to carry on. Knowing he was safe and alive was the only comfort I really took in this life. Gabriel was doing this more for me than for our races safety.

If Adrian was a few hundred years older than me… then how old must Gabriel be? He was created alongside Lucifer, I wonder if they had been friends once upon a time. I would have to ask one day… but not right now. I pulled my legs up against my chest. It was cold, and I was stupid enough to be wearing a short black cocktail dress. The fact I was sitting in a convertible with the top rolled down didn’t help either. But still, neither of us said a word. Gabriel sucked in a breath of air as if he were about to say something. But stopped… I didn’t blame him. I wouldn’t want to talk to the woman who just turned down my proposal, especially when the proposal was marriage. He needed time, just as I needed time. But Gabriel, being as stubborn as he is, wouldn’t admit it. I knew he worried about how strong my love for Adrian still was. It would take him time to trust me enough not to run off to him the second I found out where he was. But the thing was. I knew where he was. It was my own stupid pride that stopped me from being with him right now. I would not run to him after abandoning me, and I would not become what I hated most. I would not become an enforcer… I could never kill another. I fiddled with the small gold ring, perched around my neck. It was cold and hard against my skin. It was a perfect reminder of him… cold and hard to the touch. And now… it meant nothing. I couldn’t talk to him, and I would never marry him… just like the ring. I couldn’t talk to it, and it would never be my wedding ring, no matter how much I wished otherwise. Gabriel pulled into my driveway and turned off the engine. I didn’t move, and neither did he. We sat there in silence, and for the first time in months, it was awkward. He was still gripping the steering wheel tighter than necessary. His chest raised and fell with each sharpened scattered breath he took. He was trying so very hard to calm himself; I really had made him angry tonight. I knew I was the one who made him angry, so it was my job to make him happy. Just like it was my fault he fell in love with me, it was my job to make him think I felt the same. I exhaled and moved closer to his body. I was nervous and hesitant at first. I took a deep breath and rapped my arms around his shoulders. I hoped he hadn’t noticed my moment of reluctance; it would have only strengthened his belief that I didn’t love him. He took one deep breath and exhaled sharply. I felt the tension instantly drain from his body. It was like letting air out of a balloon. He let his head rest against the steering wheel, pulling me down with him. He didn’t seem to notice, and surprisingly, I didn’t seem to care. I waited patently as his breathing became more even and his pulse ceased to race. I remembered what had happened the last time Gabriel was angry with me; I had walked out of that fight with a broken wrists. He had taken it out on himself something shocking. He hated the fact he

had hurt me, but he wasn’t alone. Adrian had broken my arm doing the same thing. They both gripped at my arm a little too tightly, until we heard a painful snap. I was lucky, if I hadn’t been a Wicca when Gabriel broke my wrist I could have sliced open a couple to may veins, then we’d of had a problem. “Why don’t you love me?” he asked. Gabriel’s vice was shaky and pain filled, he made no effort to conceal that from me. He knew I hated all that macho bullshit. As he said the words I felt as if he had yanked at my heart strings, like the stitches holding my shattered heart together where being ripped apart by his words. He wasn’t fighting fair anymore, but I suppose I deserved that. I hugged him tighter and hid my face in his back, if I where going to cry he definitely wasn’t going to see it. “But I do love you, you know I do. Why would you be living with me if I didn’t love you? Why would I kiss you if I didn’t love you? Listen Gabriel, I love you. But it’s hard to forget about him, he’s apart of me. And I don’t think I can ever forget him, no matter how much I want to.” I said. I felt my lower lip tremble; I bit down hard to stop the involuntary reaction. He had listened carefully; I could almost hear the clogs in his head turning like clock work. He was thinking, he was asking himself questions. “You said… when we where back in the restaurant. You said you wanted me to be happy; you wanted to make me happy. I can’t help but think that’s all you feel for me. I love you Luna, and I want you to be happy. But love and wanting someone to be happy are incredibly different things. So you’re going to have to ask yourself… do you really love me.” Holly shit. Did I love him? I didn’t know what to say. I stroked my hand up and down the small part of his chest it was lying upon, rotating the wrist as so not to provoke him further. Even if it wasn’t true, I had to believe the lie. He had to believe the lie. I had found truth; I had realized all it was good for. The truth did nothing but make life harder. A lie was safer, you could hide behind it. The truth was real, it was obvious. You could take shelter in a lie, it’s always more comforting that the truth. But no matter how much I hated it, no matter how many lies I told, the truth never changed. It was always there, and it was always staring me in the face. I kissed his back; it brought back memories of Adrian. I knew no matter how angry he got he could never rap me. He loved me to much… or at least he use to. “I love you” I whispered. My voice held so much warmth, it felt so true. But it wasn’t for him… it was for Adrian. I missed him so very much, I need him back. I could tell he believed me. More than that, I could feel it. I felt as if Gabriel was a part of me, I knew everything about him. I could feel his pain… I could feel his happiness. I had never been able to tell if

people knew what was telling was truth or a lie. I could never tell instantly if he was pissed or sad. Something had bonded us together, and for once it scared me. I didn’t like knowing his emotions, feeling his energy. It was scary. He moved off of the steering wheel and pulled me full circle into the warm embrace of his arms. He held me against his chest and I could feel his desperation. He was scared… he was scared he was going to loose me. He was worried I was going to leave. He did love me, I knew he did. But that didn’t make this any easier; actually, it made it harder. It made it worse. It made knowing the truth harder to bare. I shook off the thought and submersed myself in the helpful comforting lie. I covered my self in the arms of ignorance. All that mattered was me and Gabriel. I was here, in his car, in his arms. His strong masculine arms that wrapped around my corpse like body and warmed me with every touch, those arms that warmed my very soul and circled me to keep me safe. “Stay with me tonight” I whispered against his chest. He didn’t say anything at first; I could hear him scrambling for the right words, starting to speak then abruptly stopping. “I stay with you every night” he finally chocked out. I lifted my head to his face and brushed my lips against his. Kissing him lightly, I hoped that would make him happier. “You know what I mean; I don’t want to be alone tonight. Stay with me, in my room, in my bed, tonight.” I said looking into his frosted bright blue eyes. I could see his need, his desire. But that wouldn’t happen tonight, Gabriel knew as well as Adrian what my reservations on that subject where. My faith meant something to me, but not as much as what my mother would have wanted. She was one of the most Christian people I had ever known, I hadn’t believed in god until this year. It’s hard to disbelieve the existence of god when the man you latterly sleeping with is an angel sent by him to protect you. But now that I believe, it’s even more important. It’s one of the only things I share with her, I know she’s up there and I know she’s watching. “I will stay with you tonight” he said. He was nervous. I could feel his breathing stager and his pulse race. “I wont take advantage of you Gabriel. You should know that by now.” I said. He smiled and chuckled. It was a deep throaty sound that echoed from his chest. “Yes, how can I forget? That’s one of your few rules, no sex before marriage, you where always the tease.” He said. I should have taken it as an insult, the old Luna would have. But not now, I was different. He was right, I was a tease. I laughed along with him; I just didn’t want to be alone again. I was comfortable in Gabriel’s arm. I had no intension of going anywhere, and at the moment, neither did he.

I started thinking about Alexander. I missed him, I remember Gabriel reminding me of Alexander. Even though they looked nothing alike, his personality reflected it perfectly. He was childish and loved to play. He was intelligent and understood me better than most people. He was young and Gabriel wasn’t. He had brown hair, Gabriel had blond hair. Gabriel was tall and built like a god. My Alexander was only a baby, well not quite, but he was small and young all the same. I let out an audible sigh and let Gabriel run his hands up and down my back. It was soothing. If I where a cat I would have purred. “We better go inside, it’s getting cold.” He whispered. I nodded and pushed myself off of him. It was cold, it was dark. I could see the dimly lit pathway to the front door, if it had been far away I doubt I would have seen anything at all. I slid back into my seat and out of the car. Gabriel followed, one good thing about being an angel, he was always noisy. He roped one arm around my waist and pulled me against him. It was a cold night, but Gabriel’s temperature was always the same. We walked into the living room silently and took off our jackets and shoes. The lights where off and nobody was home. This house use to be so full of life, always someone in its walls. But now, it was hollow, completely shunned of all life. I turned to see Gabriel watching me; his eyes said more than words ever could. They stared at me with a love and devotion I had no words for. I had never seen such love, even when Adrian looked at me; I had never felt the incredible intensity of Gabriel’s eyes. I stretched my arms up and strained to pull them around his neck. I settled for his shoulders instead. I had found for the first time had actually wanted this. I needed this. I stretched up on my tippy toes and stained for his lips. He mercifully leaned down and met me half way. The feel of his lips against mine set my skin aflame. My blood boiled below the surface. He swung my legs around his waist as Adrian use to, it was a reminder, but I paid little attention to it. All I could see feel and think was Gabriel. He was every where; no line of my body refused his. He stared walking but I paid no attention to the fact, all that mattered was his lips. He carried me up the stairs and into the bedroom, flinging me down onto the bed all without breaking the kiss. “Luna” he grunted. My legs still clung around his waist, he truly was happy to see me. But I knew this wasn’t fair to keep going, I wasn’t going to go any further. It wasn’t fair to tease him. “Gabriel… Gabriel, we have to stop” I whispered against his lips. “What?” “Gabriel-…get-…get off me” I whispered. “Huh?” he asked, now I was getting pissed off.

“Get off!” I yelled as I shoved at his chest. He pulled away and captured my arms, pulling me up into a sitting position. “Why?” he asked. Damn, I hated the way he could do this. Looking into his eyes he seemed almost tortured. He looked like a wounded soul, it wasn’t fair! Not to me at least, he shouldn’t use me this way. I want him to be happy, but pulling the puppy dog eyes on me isn’t going to help. “Because if we go any further… I don’t think we’ll be able to stop.” I explained. He didn’t need to know how angry he was making me. Maybe if I made it look like the puppy dog eyes didn’t work on me, maybe he’d drop the act. “Would that really be such a bad thing?” he asked. It was strange how one sentence from his lips could make my skin blush. The way he looked at me, it was enough to drive a girl insane. I laughed quietly and gave him a small kiss on the lips. “Yes, it would.” I said. He chuckled and nodded. He let go of my hands, I slid down on the bed and lay on my side. I was so very tiered. He lay down beside me and kissed my cheek. He stretched his arms around my waist and held me against his chest. “Do you think were in danger of loosing control if I do this?” he asked. I laughed quietly and hugged his arms against my waist. “I think this is fine.” He chuckled and held me silently. It was silence, and it was divine. The quiet was my friend, the peace and calming silence. I could lie like this forever, but unfortunately, Gabriel couldn’t. “Luna?” he asked. “Yeah?” “I don’t want to ruin this… mood. But… why now? What made you choose today?” he asked. That confused me. “What do you mean?” I asked. “You’ve… you’re different today. You’re happy; I missed you when you weren’t happy. It’s like this morning, you woke up. Like you’ve been asleep this whole time, and now, you’re here. You’re my Luna again, you’re smiling and laughing. Do you know how much I’ve missed your laugh? I’ve missed you, and now… it’s like you’re finally back. You’ve come back to me.” He said. His arms tightened around me, I could feel every line of his body pressing against mine. It wasn’t a question, but I felt compelled to answer. Only problem was… I didn’t know what to say. He was right. It’s like I’ve been asleep, I haven’t been there, not in that sense. But… today I am. I’m here, I’m listening… I’m smiling. I’m back. “Luna?” he asked. “I don’t know what to say. Your right, I haven’t been there… not really. I don’t know why I started… living again today. I just did, I was determined.” I explained.

“Determined?” he asked. Damn, I didn’t want to tell him this during dinner; I definitely don’t want to repeat it now. “Don’t laugh ok?” “I promise I won’t laugh at you.” “Ok.” I took in a deep breath. “I saw what it was doing, kind of. I knew I wasn’t doing any good, being the way I was. And I wanted to make you happy. If I can’t be happy myself, people don’t have to know about it. I hate making people upset, it drives me crazy. I didn’t want to see you hurt anymore, especially not because of me. I love you Gabriel, I want to make you happy.” I said. He simply looked at me, as if he were trying to solve some advanced math problem. Maybe I was some advanced math problem, I knew I wasn’t easy to understand… but then again, what woman is easy to understand? “You’re back… because of me… acting all depressed?” he asked. I would have put I more like, ‘I couldn’t stand to see you hurting, so I wanted to do whatever I could to help’ but that’s just me. “Yes” I replied. I couldn’t see his face, I was grateful for that. I didn’t want to see how he was taking this. The silence was deafening, I thought it would never end. He kissed my shoulder and exhaled audibly. “I love you, you know that right?” he asked. I couldn’t help it, I laughed. “What’s so funny?” he asked defensively. “No, nothings funny. I just expected wrath and fury from god’s chosen one… but I do know you love me Gabriel, do you really think I’d be here if you didn’t? I would have probably set off to Italy by now… but he doesn’t love me, and you do. There’s no point in chasing after something I can’t have…” I said. As the words left my mouth, they seemed to have a reality I didn’t want to address. They seemed too truthful, to real… I didn’t want reality! I wanted to believe the lie, I needed to believe the lie… it was the only thing that could keep me going. The lie I needed someone, and someone needed me. The lie, that Gabriel was that someone. “Luna, if he doesn’t love you… that’s his problem. If he’s to preoccupied with his pathetic obsessing with blood lust that’s his problem, and his loss. I love you Luna, I’ve never said that to another woman in all my years. I love you.” He said. I turned around in his arms so I was looking up into his brilliant sapphire eyes. He was too perfect for words… and yet… it didn’t feel the same as when I was with Adrian. And yet, I couldn’t deny I did feel something for Gabriel. I moved my face towards his and kissed him softly. It wasn’t passionate, but it was love. “I love you too Gabriel” I whispered when are lips where freed from one another. He smiled down at me and kissed my forehead.

I turned back around and pulled the blankets as tight as I could get them around us. Gabriel wrapped his arms around me, sending pleasant warmth throughout it. I was calm, and I was happy. It didn’t take long before the welcomed pool of unconsciousness pulled me under. I was sitting on a beach, a beach I remember all too well, a beach from my dreams. I was sitting in between two palm trees, with him. I stared at the perfect god of perfection only inches away fro me. “You’re… Your back” I whispered. He stared at me; I had missed the way he looked at me. That blind obedient love that radiated from his very being. I didn’t know if anyone else reacted to him this way, but I knew how I reacted. He nodded and touched my face with his finger tips. I trembled and let a small drop of water leek from my eye he wiped it away and forced me to look at him. “Come back to me Luna” he whispered. His mouth caressing each word that past his beautiful red rose lips. I touched his hand with my own. “No.” I whispered back. A singled red droplet dripped down from his eye. I whipped away the blood and kissed his forehead. “You don’t love me any more.” I accused of him. He looked down at me perplexed. “Why would you think that?” he asked. “You left me alone, and you still expect me to follow you. You still want to tame me and you ask me how I know you don’t love me anymore? I won’t follow you to kill people. I know what you’ve been doing Adrian. Why are you willingly herding innocent people? What did they do to you?” I asked. His expression didn’t change at first… until it clicked. You could almost see the light bulb switch on over his head. “Gabriel.” He said. The word seemed to hold such hate and disgust. I looked away from him. I had missed Adrian so much. It took all the strength I had not to jump into his arms right away. I didn’t want him to know how much he’d hurt me. “Luna, look at me.” He commanded. I reluctantly did as he asked. “Do you honesty believe I don’t love you?” he asked. His eyes held a sorrow I knew all too well. “Yes.” I said simply. Another droplet of crimson blood dripped from his eyes. I couldn’t resist anymore. I swung my arms around his neck and tackled him to the ground. I let the tears out and refused to let go. I felt his arms wrap around me and hug me back just as tightly. He rolled me over so I was on my back and looked down at my face. Yet he said nothing, he didn’t need to. He did love me, he really did love me.

“I Love--” I put my finger to his lips. “I know you do.” I whispered. That’s all it took. His moved his face closer to mine, and with one passionate kiss. It was all over.

I awoke warm but not sweating, out of breath but not gasping for air. It was a strange feeling to wake up without knowing I had been having visions. I didn’t know why I wasn’t having visions anymore, maybe I was to heart broken to see my future… maybe I had no future. Maybe this was my life, from start to finish. There would be no epic changes in my life anymore. I didn’t need to see a repeat of my day to day life. It was horrible enough having to live it during the day; I don’t think I could live through watching repeats. It had been another visionless night. I needed to know what was happening to me; I needed to know why I wasn’t remembering anything when I slept. What was happening to me? Why wasn’t I having visions? I rolled over and sure enough, there lay my gorgeous angel. Radiating with heat and love, something I had missed. Everyone seemed less harsh with sleep, something about dreaming made people look innocent. It was something I had always wanted to see on Adrian, I wanted to know how he would look if he where sleeping and defenseless. But he was a vampire, he doesn’t need to sleep. He could, but Adrian hated letting down his guard, that much was obvious. I didn’t want to wake Gabriel, he seemed too peaceful. I didn’t want to turn him back into my sarcastic, beautiful angel. He was happy when he slept, the simple fact made me smile. I was happy; for once I didn’t wake up cold and alone. He had found me, he was with me. I doubt I’ll ever be happy again without someone with me. But that just made hat I was doing worse, I was using him just as much as I was letting him use me. I was making him happy, trying to at least. And just by being near me, he was making m happy. Just by the slightest touch of my hand he made my body feel warm again, it was almost as if he filled me with his own personal warmth. The ways the after shock of my magic made me feel. It was almost as if… almost as if he were filling me with life… bringing my body back from the cold inclusions of death, like I was nothing more than a reanimated corpse. It wasn’t a bad description of the way I was now; the lights were on but nobody’s home. Or maybe it was simply Gabriel. Maybe he just had another worldly energy about him that I pick up on. Maybe… just maybe. I’d much prefer to believe it was love. Yesterday I would have given anything in the world to believe that. But even though I wanted to

believe the lie, somehow… I still wanted to know what the truth was. It was as if I couldn’t trust what I believed to be a lie unless I knew it wasn’t the truth. I still needed to know the truth. I watched as Gabriel’s chest rose and fell with his heavy breathing. The sunlight shining in through my window hit his skin making it shine like gold, sparkle the way his eyes do when he smiles. A small lock of his blond loose curls fell in front of his face. I lightly stretched out my hand and whipped it away from his face and behind his ear in a smooth, slow motion. His eyes slowly fluttered open to star into my own. He looked beautiful, sleep revived and shining in the gold sunlight. He smiled and let one of his hands run down my cheek. The simple touch made my face tingle with warmth. I leaned in the last few centimeters that separated us and left a small peck on his lips. We may not be perfect, but were together. He’s mine… and I’m his. It I cant have the love of my life, I can live with a lover. Someone I love, but not to the best of my abilities… but that does not mean we can’t be happy. I’m sure not everyone ends up with there one true love, hell, I’m lucky I have anyone at all. There are people out there… that may never know love. But I have Gabriel, I got better than most. God must really love me. I know Gabriel does. “Morning, sleep well?” he asked. Why did he have to ask that? Dam him. “Well enough” I said. His eye brows furrowed, I knew he wouldn’t like the sound of that. If he didn’t realize I was having visions before he surely knew it now. You could almost pin point the exact moment he put it all together. “How long have you been awake?” he asked. “Only about a minute or two.” He raised his left hand and put it against my forehead. His fingers felt warm against my skin, calming almost. He withdrew his hands and stared at me, obviously perplexed. “You… Your…” he struggled for the right words. “Are you still having visions?” he asked. I bite my lip and slowly, slowly shook my head. “No Gabriel, I’m not. I don’t understand it… but I just don’t have them anymore. I… I don’t remember what happens to me when I sleep anymore. I don’t understand it. I wake up… like I use to. Normally, I don’t gasp or sweat or anything!” I said letting a small amount of panic ease into my voice. He kissed my forehead in a soothing manner and stroked my cheek. His Face did not mirror his actions; I assumed he was just trying to keep me calm. His face was still confused, almost as if he where trying to do an advanced algebraic equation he had never heard of before. “I will find out what’s happening Luna, I promise you that. I won’t let your questions go unanswered.” He whispered. He was comforting me, but it was him who was uncomfortable. It was my turn to help him

out. I leaned forward and kissed his lips, it was a slow passionate kiss. But it didn’t build, it stayed slow and sentimental. “I know you will. I trust you Gabriel, but… don’t strain yourself. You’re under enough pressure taking care of Adrian’s mess. You don’t need to be worrying about me. ” I said as I stroked the side of his face. His face was very close to mine, our noses touched lightly and lips brushed against one another’s. Not kissing, but close enough that even just to push our lips out would cause instant contact. “You’re wellbeing is my responsibility. My job comes second to you. You should know that by now, love makes money look like nothing.” “You earn money working for the guardians?” I asked. This was news to my ears. “Where do you think I get my money from exactly?” he asked. Well, I suppose he’s right. “Well, I never thought of where you got your money from, but I did ask Adrian a couple times… apparently. What can I say? I forget things easily.” He kissed my nose and chuckled. “Why do you think I tell you I love you so much?” he said. I giggled, and already hated the sound. I wasn’t use to so much laughter and pillow talk. But still, I couldn’t help but act the romantic fool. I loved him, it’s strange… but I love him. It’s strange, the more I thought the words… the truer they became. I did love him, maybe it wasn’t a lie. “You haven’t told me today” I said. He chuckled and wrapped his arms around me, turning us over so he hovered just above me. My breath caught and it was obvious he noticed, he chuckled again and kissed my nose. “Would you like me to prove my love to you now?” he asked. I raised my eyebrows, but decided to play along. “You can try.” I said with a playful smirk dancing along my lips. He leaned down still smiling devilishly at me. He kissed my collar bone. “You are the most talented” he kissed my chest “Wonderful” my neck “beautiful” my cheek “Attractive” and finally, my lips. “Most Brilliant woman I have ever met. I love you Luna, only you.” He said as he stared down into my eyes. His wonderful eyes, lighter than Adrian’s shine down at me. I knew in that moment everything he had ever said to me was true. He did love me; he did think all those things about me. It was heart warming. “Do you believe me now?” he asked. I smiled up at him and kissed his lips lightly. “More than believe, I’d bet my life on it.” He smiled brighter and kissed my lips gently. “Good”

“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked. He smiled down at me, though somehow, it didn’t meet his eyes. It wasn’t genuine. “Better than you will ever know” he whispered. Something about the way he said that told me he really didn’t think I loved him. How can he not think I love him? I know everything I said the other night contradicted what I was thinking now… but I did love him. I did believe that with every bone in my body… I believed the lie. But… maybe the lie was the truth. God knows it was easier. Gabriel noticed my mood change and his smile slowly faded. He kissed my nose and brought my attention back to him. “I know you don’t love me, at least, not to the extent I love you. But I’m hoping, in time… you will love me the way I love you. I’m willing to wait Luna. I’m willing to wait for you.” “But, I do love you Gabriel. I… I just don’t think I’m ready to love someone again. I gave my heart to Adrian after ten minutes of being with him… and look what happened. Look what his leaving did to me Gabriel. You remember finding me in the bathroom that night; you know how he affected me. I just don’t think I’m willing to take that risk. Not again.” I said. A small trickle of clear salty liquid fell down my face. I had promised myself I wouldn’t cry anymore. I had promised myself never to let another tear fall for Adrian. But nothing I wanted seemed to work for me anymore. Nothing was going my way, but I suppose this was my punishment. Most people would consider Gabriel a blessing… but not me. His love was constant torture, a constant reminder that I was causing someone else pain. His pain was my pain. And from what I could see, my pain was his pain. And then, I never expected the pain from Adrian to hurt so much. I never expected his memory to cut so deeply. I can picture his face, as if it where only moments ago I had seen him. “Luna, I will wait. I’ll never hurt you, not in a million year, and that’s a promise I can keep. If you stay with me for the next million years, I promise I would never hurt you. Never would you cry because of me, and more importantly, never would you bleed. I love you Luna, I could never hurt you.” He whispered. I felt another small droplet pass my eyelashes. Gabriel bent his head down closer and kissed my forehead. He rolled us back over to our sides and pulled me against his chest. I loved the fact he cared so deeply for me, but hated it at the same time. It was a blessing and a curse. If I had fallen in love with Gabriel in the beginning… my family would still be alive, all of them. But I would never have met Adrian. I would never have had the memories I had. I would never have the memories of my dreams, the dreams I would never forget.

As I was cradled in his chest I felt the heat in my face spread and the tears fall just as fast. I openly wept in the security of his arms. He was my lover, my protector, my guardian angel. It was just after lunch time. It was yet another sunny day in London, so beautiful, so warm. It made me feel better, livelier almost. Gabriel had decided to take the day off. He said I needed him more than they did today. I protested, but Gabriel always gets his way. Never say no to someone you love… not unless you have a chance of changing their mind. With Gabriel, I had no chance. I had cried for a little over an hour. It had made me feel weak and tired. My eyes where heavy and red, my cheeks felt both sticky and dry. The tears had even given me a head ache, I hated headaches. I cooked lunch as always, but today Michael and Raphael didn’t stop by. Not completely unusual, but… disappointing I suppose. I loved the two of them, they where more than just good friends. I almost felt… protective of them. I liked to help, I liked to fell like I was helping, shielding if you will. It was around two o’clock now. Gabriel and I had spent the last few hours rugged up together on the couch. He, cradling me in his arms comfortably, as I was planting small innocent ‘I love you’ kisses along his skin. No real reason, just because I could. He seemed to enjoy it more than I did, and that was saying something. The TV was on, but I wasn’t paying attention. TV didn’t interest me anymore. After spending around seven months in front of it, you think I’d have radiation poisoning by now. We’d been talking all day long, which was a pleasant change for us. We never talked lately, it was silence, but not awkward. Comfortable silence, and now, it was constant communication. “You know what we need?” he asked. I looked up at him and smiled. “No Gabriel, what do we need?” I asked. He smiled and kissed my nose. “We need a change. Maybe a haircut or something.” He said. I laughed and hugged him closer for a moment. “I like your hair. I’ll admit I should cut mine, or else I’m probably going to start tripping over it soon, but I don’t think you’d look the same with shorter hair. ” I said as I ran my fingers through his beautiful blond curls. “Maybe I should die it then, you to. But then again, I like your hair blond” he said, musing with he idea in his head. I let my fingers continue there senseless soothing motions. His hair was still partially wet from the shower, the liquid beads breaking against my fingers, drenching them to the same consistency as his hair. “Maybe… brown I think.” I said. He smiled down at me and kissed my lips lightly, the familiar warmth spreading through my body.

I loved the way he could do that. I loved the way he could do that. I loved the way he could make me feel loved with a simple brush of his lips, the enthralling tickle of his finger tips, or the captivating gaze from those beautiful blue eyes. “I think brown would suit you” he praised. I snuggled back into his chest and watched the large plasma screen, the news was boring tonight, noting but reports of swine flue and pandemic scares. I hated when people got worked up over nothing, it was incredibly annoying. It was relaxing sitting like this. The windows were open and the sun beat down on my skin. And yet, I couldn’t feel it. The warmth wasn’t coming from the sun, it was coming from Gabriel. He warmed and cooled my skin as I needed it. He was like my own personal air conditioner. I felt like going for a run, sitting down for a long period of time made me annoyed. I got to my feet and walked over to the door. “Where are you going?” Gabriel asked. He hadn’t occurred to me yet, oops. “I’m going out for a jog, I’ll be back soon.” I said as I slipped on my runners. He stood up from his chair and walked towards me. “Can I join you?” he asked. The look in his eyes was strange. It was weary; as if he were confused weather or not he would be aloud to come with me, which was incredibly ridiculous. But there was another look. It was almost… sad. As if he really feared the fact he may not be aloud to come with me. I grabbed his hand and smiled at him. He was so tall, and yet, he somehow seemed so naive, so fragile. His eyes weren’t grown up eyes, they were playful and child like. On of the many things I really did love about him, he reminded me so very much of my Alexander. Alexander O’Brian, he wasn’t my Alexander anymore… not anymore. The very thought almost brought tears to my eyes. But I would not cry. I couldn’t let things upset me so easily, not anymore. Life was unfair; I needed to learn that, I needed to learn the truth I had acquired last year. 1. 2. 3. 4. Life wasn’t fair There was no such thing as good and bad Love doesn’t last forever Seeing your own future sucks

And finally 5. Things don’t always turn out the way you expect I had learnt this the hard way. I had lost every one I held dearest to me. My parents, my sister, my son… and the love of my life. They

were all gone. The only one I still had beside me was Gabriel. Even Delano had left, granted he left to look over Alexander, but he left. But the worst thing… the worst thing is that I could have stopped it all. I could have still been with Adrian, I could have kept Alexander… but they wouldn’t have been the right things to do. If I had stayed with Adrian, it would have meant crossing over permanently. I would be bound to the darkness he loves so much, but I didn’t know yet what side I wanted to take. I would have been disappointed if I had chosen wrong because… I don’t believe I would have been able to leave Adrian. He left me, and he did it easily. But if the tables had been turned, I would have never been able to do that. Not in a million years could I possibly leave him, even now I was scared if he showed up I would go running into his arms. It was a thought that scared me more than I wanted to admit. I could have kept Alexander; I could be holding him in my arms right now. But that wouldn’t have been wise either. I did the right thing giving him over to the O’Brian’s. they were lovely people, people old enough to take care of my son… bunny’s son. I couldn’t have kept him, not after I knew what Adrian was going to do. Adrian left me… and in turn… took my heart with him. It wasn’t until now that I had seemed to really be here. I hadn’t been myself; I had been remote and distant. It must have been horrible watching me through Gabriel’s eyes, seeing me pine after someone I couldn’t have… someone who wasn’t him. I know if I had watched Adrian act that way… I wouldn’t have survived as long as Gabriel, I wouldn’t have been able to bare it. I wouldn’t have been able to care for Alexander, and I knew Gabriel didn’t exactly want to be number one dad. He loved me, and he would do whatever would make me happy, even if that meant babysitting duties. But I didn’t want that for them, Alexander needed a home with people who could take care of him. He needed human parents, not people like me and Gabriel. He needed humans, not Wicca’s, angels and demons. I didn’t want him to grow up that way. I finally understand why Wicca’s aren’t told about their powers until after they turn 16. My childhood is something I’ll always remember. I was happy, and I had my family around me. I didn’t have problems then; the worst things I had to deal with were not having enough time to study for a test. It was simple and uncomplicated. My mum did I great job of protecting me from her powers. I don’t know how she did it. I’ve been feeling it lately, the need to use my magic. Just for something little, I needed to get some relief. It felt like electricity building up inside a battery, more and more was being pushed into me, I had to get it out soon.

I stretched up on tippy toes and thankfully Gabriel bent down to meet me, I kissed his lips lightly and felt the familiar happy warmth spread through my body. Gabriel did something for me not even Adrian could do; he took away my fears. I always felt better, almost confident with Gabriel by my side. When he touched me, it was like a part of me was completed. Something deep down in my soul I had lost, I didn’t know what it was… but I needed to find out. It had to have a meaning; everything needs purpose. That was just another item to add to my list of things I needed to find a meaning for. 1. How Gabriel can make me feel better when no one else can. 2. What Adrian and I had 3. Why I was still here But more importantly 4. Me in general I hadn’t realized it until now, but I had no real meaning. Gabriel was the only thing stopping me from ending this all. He was the only one who held back the razor blade from my wrists. No one else came to my rescue, just Gabriel. I knew he was the reason I was getting up in the mornings, and the reason I was trying to be human. Strange sentiment, trying to be human for an angel. But there had to be more than just forcing myself to love someone who loves me. There had to be a better reason, a more powerful meaning, I couldn’t just accept that this was my fate. I couldn’t just accept that I would never have any other reason for living than Gabriel. I couldn’t accept it. I opened the door and started running taking Gabriel with me. Once I had a steady pace going I dropped Gabriel’s hand and drifted off. It was cold today. Winter was definitely just around the corner. The trees were stripped of leaves and the grass seemed thin and dry. It was gong to feel strange being around snow. I had never seen snow until I came here. We were silent as we ran, something I had become accustomed to. Silence was nice. We ran for what felt like hours. Maybe it had been. I didn’t care I wasn’t tired yet and Gabriel didn’t seem to be complaining. We ran past Mrs. Wicomb’s house, the sweet floral scent wafted in my face and drove a small sigh from my lips. Gabriel looked at me as if I was absolutely insane. He obviously didn’t feel the same about the smell that I did. Oh well, I liked it. The thought of how similar Mrs. Wicomb’s and my stories were ran through my head yet again. We had both be altered by our

partners leaving, for better or worse. We were changed women. Her husband dies, my fiancé leaves. She got the better end of the deal. Knowing your husband left, though he didn’t want to must be better than knowing your fiancé ran off because he missed chopping people up into little bits and pieces. He missed the stupid pointless pathetic little war that has destroyed so many hearts. Or was it just my heart? Was I the only one that felt so affected by this war? Was I the only one that hurt so much over all this pointless hatred and feuding? I didn’t know, I didn’t want to know. I would try to stay as neutral as possible for as long as I could. I didn’t want this to be my life, that’s why I gave up my Alexander. He deserved better than this war. He deserved so much better. I wouldn’t force him to watch this happen. I wouldn’t make him grow up in a world surrounded by war and magic. He needed love, and at the time, it was something I couldn’t give him. I wasn’t fit to love anyone, not Alexander, not Delano… and not even Gabriel. My little Alexander would have been neglected; I didn’t want that for him. And even though, I know I love Gabriel. He wouldn’t have been much of a father for my little Alexander. He wasn’t the kind of parent Alexander would have needed. He needed a real father, someone to play baseball with, to coach your little league team. Gabriel wasn’t that kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong, he could be that kind of guy… if he wanted to be. But he didn’t want to be that kind of guy. Despite being older than time itself, Gabriel was still very boyish. He had a charm only teenaged boys have… that kind of flirtatious nature that Adrian had. Adrian and Gabriel had always confused me. One minute they would be civilized to one another, and the next, they would hate each other. If they were friends I could have understood the feuding. It wasn’t because they were to different my Gabriel and Adrian, they were to alike. They were perfect mimics of one another on different sides of the playing field. Gabriel was fight with the white light, and Adrian was fighting for the darkness. They had their differences; there was no doubt about that. But more than that, they had so many similarities. It’s apart of why I hate them both, and apart of why I love them. I love that Gabriel took me in and I hate that Adrian left me. I hate that Gabriel left and I love that Adrian left me. If I wasn’t enough for Adrian, then he didn’t need to have me tie him down. But at the same time, why did he have to leave me? I loved him so much, and yet I still wasn’t good enough. I’m indebted to Gabriel for taking care of me in a time where I could not care for myself. It proved to me what we had was more than just pillow talk and romantic kisses. But I hate that he took care of me. I love him, but I still don’t want to love him. I know I should believe

they lie, I know I should take comfort in it. But I don’t. I don’t want to believe Adrian doesn’t want me. It’s like I can hear him in the back of my mind. It’s as clear as if Adrian had whispered it only moments ago. “I still love you…” he would whisper. The sound of his voice more perfect than I remembered, and yet… It wasn’t real. I hadn’t seen him in years; it was only wishful thinking that kept me going now. Only wishes on fallen stars that wouldn’t come true that made me hope he still loved me, in whatever small way a vampire could love another. “Are you okay?” Gabriel asked. I was standing still, I don’t remember stopping. I looked up into his beautiful light blue eyes the color of the sky on a sunny day. He was worried, I would be too I suppose. I was just thinking to hard I guess. “I’m fine, we better get back soon though. I’ve lost track of how long we’ve been running. How many times have we passed Mrs. Wicomb’s house?” I asked as I looked into those droningly beautiful blue eyes. He smiled and took my hand in his as he turned towards Mrs. Wicomb’s house. “That house?” he asked. “Yeah, the one covered in flowers.” “About four or five times now I think. I’ve been thinking a bit hard I believe. I wasn’t really paying attention until you stopped midstride.” He said. Wow, did I really stop mid-stride. “What were you thinking about?” “Mrs. Wicomb’s… her husband passed away a while back, she’s got dementia now. I couldn’t help but think… never mind, let’s just get back to the house.” I said. He stared at me, and the look said he didn’t believe me and I hadn’t heard he end of this. But at the moment, he didn’t press the matter. Good little angel. I didn’t want to think let alone talk about what I was just thinking. Not when I barely understand what I was thinking. I love Gabriel, I know this. But I don’t want to love him; I want to be alone again… even if only for a little while. I don’t want him… and yet I do. I can’t explain something that confuses even me, and yet, it seems so simple. But I suppose all women are like that. We’re never fully convinced of what we want, we act like it, but were not. Even when we think we know what we want, once we get it, we want something different. I suppose, all I can say, is no one really knows what they want. Not even me… especially not me. All I know now is that school’s just around the corner. It’s been ten years since I could feel this way and I have no real reason to live on. And yet, no way to die. I know my… species can die, but as long as Gabriel’s around, that’s impossible. I have no way to die, not unless… no. no one would willingly kill someone like me, not considering the interest both the white light and darkness have taken in me.

But I wouldn’t die. I promised myself no matter what happened in this life, I would live on for those who needed me. Those who wanted me that is. I would not condemn them to feel the pain I have felt for both my family and my lover. I will not make some one suffer the way I have suffered; never again shall people I love feel that way. Not if I could help it. People should feel happy; they should smile… the way I use to smile. It had no reason, and there was never a way to know how I would feel. But the smile was there, no matter what happened it was there. Somewhere. Gabriel and I ran back to the house, I was running as fast as I possibly could. Damned if I could say the same for Gabriel, he seemed comfortable no matter what speed we were going at. Lucky angel. By the time we were back I was all nice and sweat were as Gabriel was still his perfect self. Damn him, he really was too perfect. I kicked off my shoes just inside the door and walk towards the bathroom. “I’m going to go take a shower,” I called said walked away from Gabriel. I stopped at the door and turned to face the wondrous arch angel standing inside my door way. “Do me a favor though.” I said. He looked at me and smiled. “And what favor would that be exactly?” “No more strawberry shampoo.” I said before closing the door behind me. I could hear him chuckling on the other side of the door; I didn’t think it was funny. I undressed and turned on the shower to a nice cold temperature. I loved the shower here; it was hard pressure, the way I use to have it back home. Of everything I love most about this house; the shower is definitely at the top. I undressed and stepped into the nice cold water. I loved the way cold water felt on my skin after I had gone for a run. The cool clear liquid washing away the sweat on my skin, slipping away the sticky feeling I get after running. Feeling the water fill my hair and make it heavier. My hair was shorter now, so it didn’t get as heavy as it use to, but I had gotten use to it. I reached for the soap and took a quick smell. It was peaches and cream. Yum. I ran the soap over my body washing away all the dirt and leaving a sweet sensation of cleanliness. The sensation of feeling clean was wondrous. I had dirty and unwanted for so long. The soap didn’t just wipe away the feeling of uncleanly-ness it was as if it were wiping away my moral decay as well. It was a cleansing that can only be described as comforting, for me anyway. I washed my hair with a small bottle of non scent shampoo I had found in the bathroom cabinet. At least it wasn’t strawberry; at least I wouldn’t have to think of him all day long. But I would, even if I don’t want to, I will.

I spent a long time in the shower, washing my hair and scrubbing my body with the peaches and cream scented soap. The water seemed to calm me down. I don’t know why it did, but it did. It helped clear my mind and empty all other things. Like my heart. The water helped me stay neutral. I don’t know why, but then again, I don’t seem to know much of anything anymore. Hell, I even missed the new millennium thanks to my wallowing. But I wasn’t going t get over Adrian anytime soon. I’ve seemed to make more progress forgetting him in the last week than I have in the past ten years. The first few were the worst, but as time went on, things got easier. I was empty, but the pain slowed. I was still hurting, but the wounds around my heart were stitching themselves back together. It was a long and very painful process, but it was all I could do at the moment. All I could do without feeling like a complete failure. I would push myself forward; I would not slow because I was told to. I will see this through, I will. I have promised myself that. If I could not be with the one I loved, I would be with the one who loved me. I would make someone happy in this world and I would protect those precious to me. But at the moment, it was all I could do not to explode a moving vehicle. I wanted to use my magic, I needed to use it. But I had nothing to use it for. I had been levitating pointlessly while cooking and that helped. But it want enough anymore. I needed to do something big, something important and I had no idea what yet. It was as if my magic was charging the way batteries do. But at the moment I was worried it would burst out of me without warning. I didn’t want anyone around while that was a possibility. I wanted Gabriel to feel safe enough around me that he wouldn’t have to be on his guard. But no matter what I do now, he’ll never look at me the same again. Never again. I was always fragile and innocent to him, that much had always been obvious. But now it was different, it was more so. He looked at me as if the slightest breeze could shatter what was left of my fragile body. He wasn’t far off, it felt that way. He had the ability to make me feel safer, happier. But it was strange; no one had done that for me before. It was like there was something between us even I wasn’t aware of, something no one would tell me about. I felt like a little child again, being shielded from the darkness and secrets of the world. But I wasn’t a child anymore. I still looked 16, well… I had never looked my real age, but I still look the way I use to. But I was 26 now. I wasn’t a little child anymore, and I didn’t take kindly to being treated as such. It hurt, to think someone I love was keeping something from me. But Gabriel only did things to protect me, right? Maybe I didn’t need to know; maybe I was better off not knowing. Maybe.

I turned off the water and climbed out. The good thing about taking a cold shower, besides the feeling, was that the mirror didn’t fog up. I wrapped a towel around my body and looked at my face in the mirror. I hadn’t changed, with the exception of my hair. I looked the same. I was me, I was still me. I was normal height, blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin… nothing special, nothing important. If my face were to be erased, the world would not implode. Nothing bad would happen. Perhaps Gabriel would be upset, but Alexander still knew nothing about me. I hadn’t seen Delano since last Christmas, and even then, we didn’t talk. If I were not to wake up tomorrow and be dead to the world, it would still survive. The world would not stop for my death, nothing bad would happen. The people that love me most in this world would live; nothing else mattered as long as the world survives. But if I die, everything else still matters. Flowers will not cease to bloom and the sun would not decay or die. I may die, but the world shall live on. It will continue to spin in its own erratic flow of light and dark. I make no difference. Something about that deeply disturbed me. I was making no difference in the world. The one thing I had always wanted was to make a difference in the world. To help people through the pain and suffering of life I had been through. To watch over, to protect as my Gabriel does. He was a guardian, an ark angel even, but still… something about Gabriel was… I don’t know how to explain it. Something about him screamed protection. It was as if it was projected form his body. I felt safer when I was with him, protected, guarded. He was like a shield or a blanket I could pull around myself and feel safe. Nothing would hurt me as long as he was with me. Nothing would hurt, and nothing would die. I would smile and he would smile with me, I would laugh and he would laugh with me. I let my eyes drift along my reflection; my lips seemed to be plumper somehow. I had always hated how thin my lips were, but they seemed, fuller. Perhaps I was remembering wrong, though that didn’t seem possible for someone like me. I don’t think I’d forget my own face. Not likely, at least, I didn’t think so. My eyes drifted again until they found the small gold necklace draped around my neck… and Adrian’s ring… so delicate, so small. It seemed almost out of place, but I suppose it was a little… out of place. Rings should be on fingers, but I didn’t want to put Adrian’s ring around my finger. It was a fake promise to put it there. But as long as it as draped around my neck, it was nothing more than a sweet memory. A sweet memory I wished I could forget and leave behind… but I couldn’t. Not if I wanted to remember my family. Their memories were all too closely linked, even if I could forget

Adrian’s memories, I would undoubtedly forget the memories of my family. I didn’t want that. Knock…Knock…Knock I jumped “Yeah?” “Someone’s here to talk to you. I’ve got to go help out Raphael with some unexpected assignment. I’ll be back in less than an hour. Will you be okay until then?” Gabriel asked. “Who’s the guest?” There was a short silence before Gabriel said one single word that slid along my skin in an almost eerie fashion. Raising goose bumps along my flesh. “Delano…” he said. His voice lower than a whisper but angrier than anything I had ever heard. I expected that. Gabriel and Delano hadn’t exactly ended on a happy note. Last Christmas Delano had tried to talk me into going to Adrian. When I started screaming and rocking back and forth on the chair. Gabriel kicked Delano to the curb. “Why’d you let him in?” I called as I walked towards the door. “I can throw him out if you like.” He said. I was guessing by the tone in his voice he’d like nothing more than to do exactly that. I yanked open the door, fully aware I was in nothing but a skimpy towel that came from my chest just below my ass. “No, don’t do that. But why would you let him in? I expected you to punch his lights out the next time you saw him.” I said as I stepped out into the hallway. He smiled and pulled me into his arms. I had to hold onto the towel for fear it may slip. He chuckled and kissed my forehead. “It was about something important to you. So I didn’t lay a finger on him, but tell me if he speaks of Adrian. I don’t want a repeat of last year. I won’t let him put you through that again.” He said. “But him, do you mean Adrian or Delano?” I asked. He grinned and kissed gently, nothing more than a brushing of lips. “Both” he said. We both laughed and walked into the living room hand in hand. It seemed almost natural to touch Gabriel. Almost as if, some part of me was empty until he touched me. Something would become lit the second his skin touched mine. It was almost as if my magic sprung to life and crawled along my skin to meet him. I had thought it was him making me warm, and it was. But I hadn’t noticed the warmth came from me. It was my magic; his touch brought it to life, made it dance along our skin. I could tell he noticed it to. He took as much delight in touching me as I did in touching him; his skin sprouted goose bumps as my magic spread across his skin. He would always smile at me as if I had completed apart of him he had been missing, something he had lost until his skin touched my own.

Delano was sitting one the couch. I had a moment to notice the emotion on his face before he left to a quiet poker face. It was a mixture of confusion and anger. I didn’t know why he would be angry. I mean, I know Gabriel and he hadn’t ended on good terms but there was a time when Delano had told me he would be happy with who ever I chose. He would be happy as long as I was happy. It wasn’t until I walked towards him that I noticed. His eyes… they were not Delano’s eyes, though they were close. I had a moment to notice before they bled back to the aqua-ish blue that mimicked my own. His eyes were a crystal clear blue. A blue that haunted my dreams. “Tell Adrian not to listen to this conversation or it won’t take place. I saw his eyes, I won’t speak to him. Do you understand me?” I asked Delano angrily as I crossed my arms across my chest, it helped hold up the towel anyway. I don’t want to think about Adrian, let alone speak to him. He waited till his eyes were back to his normal off aqua colored eyes before he spoke. “If I can keep up my shield he should be a problem. Though I doubt it will last more than half an hour.” He said. I nodded and turned to Gabriel. “I’ll see you as soon as I can.” He said as he brushed our entwined fingers over my cheek. I smiled and kissed his lips. It was a long romantic kiss you never see on movies. It was partly because romantic movies always seemed to be PG and partly because actors never seem to be able to kiss passionately and be convincing. But I suppose it’s got to be hard pretending you’re in love with someone you just met. “I’ll be waiting” I whispered. He chuckled and kissed my forehead before turning and walking out the front door. It was a shame to see him leave. But the sooner he left the sooner he could come back to me. The sooner he could hold me in his arms and think of nothing but the quiet. I really did love Gabriel, even if I didn’t want to. Or even if I thought it was a lie, I still loved Gabriel. I walked over to Delano and sat beside him. “Gabriel said you had something important to say abut someone I care for. If you’re here to talk about Adrian, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t need painful little reminders Delano; I don’t think I could handle anymore of them. So if it’s about him, leave before I have to throw you out.” I said as I avoided his gaze. I didn’t want to know who I was saying this to. All I knew was this was how I felt and this was how it would go down. “I assure you my little Luna, this has nothing to do with Adrian and his hang ups. I’m here because there is someone you haven’t seen in ten years. You promised to meet with him on his birthday, did you not?” he asked. Was he talking of my little angel, my beloved Alexander? Was it time? Was it the end of his human life? Had it really been that long? I

had bought him a present ever year and sent Delano along to deliver it. I even had pictures on the fridge of him as he grew. But… was he already 16? Was my little boy already a man? “Alexander?” I asked as I turned to Delano. He smiled and nodded. It was the smile I loved on Delano, the pride smile. “Do you… do you think he’s one of us? A Wiccen I mean. Or… or do you think he was lucky?” I asked. Delano placed one hand on the side of my face and smiled down at me. “He is my grandson, and your son. He is very lucky, no matter what he becomes. He is not yet a Wiccen, but at 12 tomorrow night, that may be a different story. We will not know for sure until he has a master. You need to talk to your guardians for that. He will need a master, and to meet with an elder. We need to be sure of his race. And without an experienced Wicca or Wiccen we have no way of knowing for certain.” He said. I nodded in agreement. He was right; I wouldn’t be any help to Alexander. I couldn’t tell if he was one of us or not, but I could get someone to help. If I licked enough boot I could do whatever I wanted. I hoped. “I’ll do that. I’ll call in some favors, hell I might even get Rain to make a personal visit. As a personal favor kind of thing. It’s been ten years; I hope she doesn’t still hate me for threatening to kill her… oh well.” I said. He chuckled and pulled me against his side. “I forgot you tried to kill Rain for wanting to punish Pandora, what an interesting turn of events this has all bled out to be.” He said. He attempted to laugh, but the sound held such weight it was depressing. There was sorrow in his voice I had not heard in a long time. Sorrow I did not want to hear of. “Tell me more of my Alexander. Is he as handsome as his father? Does he still have his auntie’s eyes?” I asked. He chuckled a lighter happier sound and smiled. “He is more handsome than his human father, and his eyes remind me of yours every day I am with him. Their eyes I’ve missed for a very long time my little Luna.” He said. I lay my head against his shoulder and sighed. “I’ve missed you too daddy. But I haven’t been myself, in a very long time. I don’t think I’ve been myself for the past ten years. But now, I’m happy. I don’t think I’ve laughed in years, and suddenly, I can’t stop. I’m happy dad, and I don’t know why.” I brought my legs up to my chest and held them there. Delano’s arms encircled me and pulled me into his lap. It felt as protective as when Gabriel was near me. but Delano had a stiffness to him only vampires had. He was, by any medical standard, dead. He stroked the side of my face and rocked us back and forth. “I’ve waited ten long years to see that smile creep back onto your face. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you smile like that. And I know, as well as ‘He’ now knows, it has something to do with Gabriel.

He is your guardian after all. Its not unexpected.” He said. He seemed to be speaking more so t himself than to me now. But that was fine. Peaceful rambling was fine with me. “I’ve been waiting to see something, a flicker of laughter or the edge of a smile. But it never came. I waited for that smile, that flicker of hope, but it never came. And now, suddenly, you can smile and laugh and kiss Gabriel with no hesitations. I have to say Luna, I’m as perplexed as you.” He said. He was right. “I didn’t know what it was, something just… clicked. I pushed myself to appear happy, for Gabriel’s sake. I decided, if no one else wants me, I may as well give myself to the one person who still cares. He’s done so much for me, and yet, I don’t know. I love him, I know I do. It’s just…” “It’s not what you remember” Delano finished for me. I cringed in against his chest and felt the sting of tears swell in my eyes. I wanted nothing more than to shed those tears… but I wouldn’t. I couldn’t let myself cry about these things anymore. I was stronger than this. I could get through this, if I tried. I loved my Gabriel, there was no doubting that. But, I was missing something. Some big part of my heart had gone missing that even Gabriel couldn’t seem to fill. It was hopeless, because it was so damn simple. If I wanted that piece of my heart back, all I had to do was move and give up any sense of morality I had left. Easier said than done. “I came with a reminder of Alexander’s birthday. He doesn’t know yet. But the letter, I’ve made sure the O’Brian’s shall give it to him. They still think I’m his father, thanks to you.” He said. I could hear the smile in his voice. He liked that idea, he was proud of Alexander. The last picture I had seen of him was two years ago. It’s still on the fridge. No matter what happens I will never forget about Alexander. He’s my child after all. My son. Even though he is by any technical terms only my nephew, he was my child after his mother passed away. I think it best he believe his mother was alive. The photo was something I’d remember for a very long time. My little Alexander not so little anymore. He was fourteen and just as handsome as his father had been. His hair was no longer a light brown, but had lightened into an almost white blond that mirrored my own. It was either a very good dye job, or adolescence had made a bigger difference than I expected. His hair was longer than most men would have it. But I suppose… that was the theme a few years ago, as well. His strait blond hair was spiked and gelled into casual disarray making it look more like bed hair. But it suited him, I didn’t know why, but all the same it suited him. His bright blue eyes looked as my own, I could see so many people in those eyes. Delano, Marcus, Riley… even me. His eyes were

the eyes I had seen on so many people, and yet, they were special. Different, but in a good way, a unique way. He was sitting with Delano under a tall oak tree. I didn’t know where I’d seen that tree before, but something about it was… familiar. Something about the tree rang a bell. It wasn’t anything I’d seen in a vision; usually they triggered a repeat of the vision. But I had seen it before; I had touched the bark before. “Does… does he know he still has a… mum?” I asked quietly. Delano stopped rocking; if he was breathing I couldn’t feel it. “He believes you were… unable to take care of him. He knows you had no other way of keeping him alive. That is all he knows and all I believe he needs to know. He knows the O’Brian’s aren’t his blood family. They look to different for that not to become apparent. And I may have le it slip you’ll be seeing him soon, but I don’t know if he got the hint. He’s a smart kid, but he’s like you. Blonde.” He said. I had to laugh, I couldn’t help it. He was right, I was blonde. Just because you’re blonde doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it just means you’re forgetful and a bit zoned out. Not dumb. “When’s his birthday exactly?” I asked. “Tomorrow, as I said before.”… See what I mean about being blonde. Not dumb, just forgetful. Very forgetful. “I’ll do what I can with the resources I have. I’ll be able to get a meeting with Rain, I hope. Or at least a phone call. I think her numbers on the emergency list anyway.” I said nodding to myself. I could do this. If it was for Alexander I could suck up my pride and say I was sorry for pulling magic on her. Could pretend to be humble, couldn’t I? Well, I could try. “I must return to the crypt. The sunlight won’t hurt us, but I don’t think humans are yet ready to see a vampire light up like a Christmas tree.” He said. It was suppose to be humorous or at least, that’s what I thought. But there was the slightest edge of resentment in his voice that kept me form laughing, the slightest bit of anger in his words that kept me from a smile. I never knew Delano was… spiteful about this subject. He had never seemed so before. “I… I’m sorry you did this Delano. I mean, I know I wouldn’t be born if you hadn’t become a vampire. But still, I’m sorry; you don’t like being a vampire…do you?” I asked. He was silent and still. It was a stillness that scared me, a stillness I had never really become accustomed to. It was a stillness only vampires… and the dead had. The only bit of proof they were no longer alive. It made me want to shed a tear for Delano. But I would not. I would not cry anymore. Not for Adrian, not for Gabriel, not even for Delano. “You know, years ago you would have been bawling your eyes out by now. Your stronger, if that’s the only good you get out of Adrian then be grateful. The future is not likely to be easy, I don’t think you would have been able to survive.” He said.

“I survived having my heart ripped but and devoured in front of me. And still, I didn’t die. I’m stronger than anyone thought. Stronger than I thought. I’m grateful for the strength, but not for his leaving… I loved him Delano; I truly, honestly loved him. And he left me. Not because he didn’t love me, I know better than to think that. But he left because I wasn’t enough for him. I simply wasn’t enough…” I whispered into his shirt. He pulled me against him, it was tight from my perspective, but I knew Delano was definitely holding back. He could break just about every bone in my body if he pressed to hard. Delano was too careful for that. He was my father and he was the only man I could ever depend on. “He couldn’t of come back to you little Luna, even if he wanted to he is bound for eternity, to serve and protect, under pain of death. If he were to leave the enforcers, I doubt you would survive. He will not leave them, because his death is not what he fears. It is you he’s trying to protect” Delano whispered. I looked up into his eyes and saw only my father’s eyes. I did not see Adrian, and yet, I knew they were what he was thinking. I knew those words were not my fathers. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. “I… I don’t understand.” I said. Delano opened his mouth to speak but I silence him. “I don’t understand and I don’t want to understand. If he loved me he wouldn’t have left in the first place. If he loved me, truly loved me… I would have been enough.” I said. Delano nodded. Adrian either heard that or he didn’t. “You do not wish to be reminded of unpleasant memories, I understand. I shall try to forget about Adrian. It is very difficult to not speak of him little Luna. He is inside my head and I understand everything he does. His mind is my own, and at the same time, my mind is his own. He will know everything we have said tonight my little Luna, but at least he was not along for the ride.” Delano said. I took that as an invitation to slid off his lap. I had been sitting there vulnerably for long enough. I stood and re-adjusted the towel. You thin it would have fallen down or come untied, but it didn’t. It was a little looser than before, but still intact. “I’ll take my leave Luna and be back just after dark.” He said as he headed for the back door. Smart idea. “I wish to get everything sorted as soon as possible for our Alexander.” “I understand… I do too.” I said. He nodded and before I knew it, he was gone in an all too familiar gust of wind. That familiar unwelcome gust of wind was enough to bring me to my knees. I missed Adrian, it hurt to think bout him. But even so, I didn’t want to believe it. And Delano was right, I didn’t want reminders, but he just gave me the biggest reminder of all. That familiar gust of wind I hated so very much. The gust of wind I hated to feel against my skin. The

familiar gust of wind that left me breathless and screaming on the streets of London… the gust of wind that promised only goodbyes and heart ache. It spoke nothing of Delano. That move was all Adrian. Low and deceitful, and always, and underlining meaning. He wanted me to want him back. But, for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t want him back. It was strange to think a man I had spent so much time crying over no longer mattered to me. But it was more… it was foolish to think he didn’t matter. But at the moment, I was happier hiding in my lies. I didn’t want to know the truth, no anymore. I would no longer cry. I would no longer drink. I would no longer harm myself because of him. I was Luna Bella Banks, and my tears were shed for no one … Not even me.

Beautiful Moon
Chapter 3
It was a late in the after noon now. I had called Gabriel and told him about my conversation with Delano. He agreed we should address Alexander’s problems sooner rather than later. He was being very reasonable, it was scaring me. I don’t know what I expected from Gabriel. I thought he may be at least a little more emotional, angry… but nothing. He was acting very… neutral. As if he were scared what my reaction would be. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want him to be scared. He was my guardian, whatever the hell that meant. He was supposed to protect me, I think. Not… not be so… distant. I didn’t need distant. I needed a shoulder. Not a shoulder to cry on, but a shoulder to at least lean on. I needed him to hold me up, now more than ever. Adrian had cut me deep; he left scars that would never heal. But this was more important than anything he had ever done to me. This was about Alexander, nothing else mattered. I remember when my Alexander was just big enough to sit in my lap comfortably. He wasn’t that small anymore. He was a teenager. Tall and muscular for his age, from the tan and the muscles I guessed swimmer. But I’ve been wrong before. He wasn’t my little boy anymore. He was grown. While I had been hiding and wallowing in self pity… he had been growing. And I missed it, not just a day or a week. But all of it. I missed Alexander’s childhood. But the thing that hurt most… was that I didn’t help him. He couldn’t come to me for help or advise… because I wasn’t there. If I could do it again, I would. I wasn’t in any state to take care of a child, or even attempt to do so. I don’t regret giving him to the O’Brian’s, it was the right thing to do. Having a human life… is something I miss. I don’t like knowing I have powers, or using them for

that matter. I hate it! Having people expect things of you, being powerful doesn’t make you happy. It didn’t make me happy. I walked towards the kitchen and started cooking. I didn’t know if Raphael and Michael would come. Nor did I know if Gabriel would be with them. But I was use to cooking now. I had gone for a run with Gabriel this morning… I didn’t feel like doing so again. So I cooked. I had pleasantly of fettuccini pasta and cream. So the first thing that sprang to mind was carbonara. I cooked and forgot any and everything else. My worries didn’t matter when I cooked. All that mattered was the temperature of my boiling water and the quantity of ingredients I would have to mix for the sauce. Nothing else was relevant. Alexander, Delano, Gabriel, nothing… I was a million miles away. I heard someone say something but didn’t focus on them. I was onto the dishes now. Not many dishes to do when cooking pasta, but enough to need doing. I didn’t know or care who had come to say hello, good night or whatever, I was cooking. Dishes are a very important part of cooking. Well, important consequence of cooking anyway. It wasn’t until someone very tall and masculine wrapped their arms around my waist and started kissing my cheek did I realize who it was. “I said, I brought company.” He whispered low enough to go unnotice but loud enough for me to hear. I sighed and turned around. I froze. I expected Raphael and Michael. I always expected them at lunch, but they seemed to like stopping by for dinner as well. I didn’t mind, in fact it was kind of pleasant having them around. They were like extended family. They were family. But what I didn’t expect was Rain or another Council member. Shit. I didn’t know how I was going to do now. I needed more food. That was certain. The boys eat a lot; it probably looked like I was cooking for eight. But hell, I needed to cook more if they were staying. Were they staying? “Rain, its nice t see you again. Are the two of you staying for dinner?” I asked. She smiled politely and walked towards me arms extended. I didn’t know what to do, so I did the only thing I thought was appropriate. I walked towards her embrace and hugged her. She wasn’t as warm as I remembered. But she was still as beautiful as I remembered. She was tall, skinny yet surprisingly curvy and incredibly beautiful. Her brunette hair was still long and curly and her eyes, still the warm color of hazelnuts in the spring framed with lashes thicker than lace. She was beautiful. “You look well Rain.” I said as I moved out of her embrace and held onto her forearms. He smiled and me and mirrored my movements.

“I was going to say the soon young Luna. But your hair, were has it all gone?” she asked. I had forgotten about my hair. It would have been passed my waist line last time I saw her, and now it was only shoulder length. What can I say? People do funny things under the influence of Alcohol. I was one of them. “It was getting heavy.” I said. I didn’t really want to tell her the truth. She ran her fingers through my hair and smiled. “I can imagine. I know mine feels heavier as time goes on” she said. “No Rain, that’s just the weight of the world on your shoulders love. I can feel what’s coming, surely you can too.” I said. I knew the war was getting worse, and I feared… something bigger was coming. Something I wasn’t going to like. I’d had visions of these events… once upon a time. I knew it was coming… and I knew it was coming soon. “Yes, its getting closer. Every day seems to feel darker. It’s getting harder.” She said. Now that I understood all too well. Every day did get harder. No matter what you were doing it only got harder with time. “Are you staying for dinner, we’d love to have you.” I said. She grinned and kissed my cheek. “We’d love to.” She said. I looked over towards the tall blond. She was one person I would remember for a very long time. She reminded me of my blonde bimbo doctor back in Australia. She was one of the two elders who voted against giving me time to decide which side I would choose. She and one other elder had voted against the decision. I made a note to memorize her face. It seems it worked. I smiled and dropped my hands to my side. “I’m afraid I don’t know your name. Though I believe your Council member seven, correct?” I asked. She smiled devilishly. On a man it would mean he was thinking about something dark and dirty. Bedroom thoughts. But this woman made the look ferocious and bitter. “Council member six now.” she said. That’s right. Pandora was no longer a member of the council… was she? I had tried to protect her from their wrath by threatening Rain. It was something I regretted now. The one person I trusted most ended up being the one to end her life. Someone I loved killed every person I had ever loved. And I forgave him. Stupid Luna. “Congratulations” I said. My tone was sweet, the bitterness I felt on the inside at this moment I could deal with. I had learnt how to shield my emotions from others, Gabriel in particular. What could I say; I had learnt a new way to use my little blanket of calm feelings. She smiled, but it was not a polite smile. It didn’t meet her eyes. “How hungry is everyone?” I called out. I could hear the television in the lounge room. Michael had a thing for American football. Don’t ask me what that was about, a guy thing I suppose. Gabriel chuckled. I had forgotten he was behind me. He had been

minding the spaghetti. Good boy. He wrapped his arms around my letting them rest at the small of my back. “Starving” he said. I giggled at that and kissed his lips lightly. “Looks like I’m cooking for 12 then.” I said. He chuckled and kissed my forehead. It was nice to feel his skin against mine. It made me feel calm and safe. He was my guardian angel. My lover for all eternity. I popped the extra spaghetti in a second large pot and turned the heat on the first batch down. I preferred to have everything cooked at the same time. I doubled the sauce ingredients and left it for a moment. Sauce needed thickening, but I couldn’t start that for a while now. I turned back to the girls. The tall blonde still hadn’t given me her name. She was as skinny and just curvy as Rain, her eyes were the same color, but there was something about them that scared me. Something that made her seems, dangerous. Or at least, she seemed… unapproachable. Her cheek bones were high and her nose was slightly raised. It made her look beautiful, yet, stuck up I suppose you could say. “Can I get you ladies something to drink?” I asked the two of them. Rain and the unidentified stranger looked at one another and then at me. “Coffee” they said similtaiously. It made me smile, nice to know I wasn’t the only caffeine addicted Wicca. I walked over to the counter and pulled out my wide range of coffees. I had taken pride in collecting and sampling different coffees from around the world. I had ordered replacements of the one’s I liked and ever since Gabriel realized what I was doing he supported it. Strange, supporting my little caffeine addiction. He bought me a very large, very efficient coffee machine. It took about two weeks to understand how to use it, but now that I was educated, it didn’t seem right to use anything else. “How do you like it? Flat white, latte, Vienna, cappuccino, mochaccino, black, iced, decaf, soy milk? Hell, I think I have some Chai latte here somewhere.” I said as I dug around in the cupboard. “Raphael will have an English Breakfast cup of tea. Michael likes his black and I know Gabriel likes Chai Latte’s. ” I said as I pulled out the bag of roasted coffee beans. It was always better if you grind it fresh yourself. I checked on the spaghetti before I started grinding anything. It was fine, all it needed was time. “Two Vanilla Latte’s would be wondrous.” Rain said. I smiled over at her and nodded. I grinded the beans and got to work. I was getting better at using the gigantic piece of technology. All I knew was it was big, I could use it and damn did it make a nice coffee. I served the girls their coffee first and sat mine at the spare seat on my kitchen dining table across from them. I placed the guy’s drinks on a tray and carried it in for them. It was amazing how many people

loved caffeinated beverages as much as I did. I loved how Raphael’s face lit up around a good cup of English breakfast Tea. He took a sip of the tea and let out a long content sigh. It made me giggle a little. He was so sweet. I gave Gabriel a kiss on the cheek on my way out. He looked so out of place. Michael was more than into the game; Raphael was reading one of the books he had left here for himself and then Gabriel. Gabriel was doing nothing, absolutely nothing. He sat on the edge of the couch, staring off into space. He looked like he was thinking. He was thinking about something important, something that seemed to make him worry. But I didn’t want him to bring it up in front of company. I could do that later on. Yep. Later on seemed better to me. I made sure he looked at me before I left the room. His eyes seemed distant, like he didn’t recognize me. I kissed his lips lightly and made him respond. The heat and electricity ran through my body again, it calmed and warmed my body. It was the middle of winter and suddenly my skin went from freezing cold to warm and contented. When I pulled away he stared into my eyes and smiled. it was a happy smile, a smile that didn’t say anything, just that he was happy. It didn’t give a reason, but it gave an emotion. That’s all I wanted from Gabriel. I wanted him to be happy. If he could be nothing else, I wanted him to be happy. Nothing else would suffice. It was his happiness, and that was all. I stroked the side of his face and gave him a quick peck before heading back into the dinning room/kitchen set up. Rain and the mysterious blonde were very quiet. Silent almost. I sat down in front of my coffee and sipped. It was just cool enough to drink without being afraid of burning myself. “Rain, I have a favor to ask” I finally said. She turned to me and smiled. “I know you do Luna. Gabriel has explained the situation o the council and Frey here shall be your younglings Master. If you accept the terms.” She said. Frey, so that was her name. it rang a bell, but I wasn’t sure what bell exactly. “Obviously Gabriel hasn’t explained fully. I don’t believe he’ll become a Wiccen. His father was human, and his mother gave up her power before he was born.” I said. “But… I’m not sure. His mother was my sister, and like me, I was told she was powerful. She was still having visions after she gave up her powers.” I said as I sipped from my own Chai Latte. I loved Chai Latte’s; they tasted strongly of cream and cinnamon. Yummy. It was calming, just like Gabriel was calming. It warmed my insides the way Gabriel did. “I will have to inspect him then. Some children of mortal families grow to be Wiccen’s just from having great grandparents from magical lines. Though, it is rare, but possible. Even more so for someone of your line, power runs deep through you youngling. It’s why your

Guardian seems to be so energetic lately. You pass him your unused magic, a useful skill to master in times of war. And from living with you, your guardian has more than mastered such a skill.” She said. “I’m sorry, what do you mean I’m passing him my ‘unused magic?’” I asked. She smiled and took anther sip of her Latte. “You see Luna, if a Wicca refuses to use her magic, it builds up. If the Wicca happens to have a guardian, she can pass it to them. It’s the only way neutrals can contain there way of life. Someone must contain the magic. But when it’s passed to a non magic creature, they can’t hold it. It seeps back into nature. Your guardian is doing so for you. He could theoretically use it in battle, if he learns to control the power. But it would take time. I’m willing to help Gabriel do so, if you are willing to let him.” she said. “Gabriel can do whatever pleases him most.” I said. “He’s not mine to command. You’ll have to ask him, not me.” “But he is yours to command. He’s your guardian Luna, he protects you and will do you will at whatever cost. That is his goal in this life.” she said. “Why does everyone keep calling him my guardian? What the hell does that even mean? I know he’s on the guardian council and he’s my boyfriend. But, you all make it sound like its something else. What is it?” I asked. This was frustrating me. I still didn’t like feeling naive. “He is your Guardian, your eternal protector Luna. Well, actually, you have two Guardians. It’s never been heard of before, but the side effects are exactly the same. So, it’s true. Guardians have charges, people they protect. Both the charge and guardian are drawn to one another, like a moth to a flame. They have no choice in the matter, its fate. Honestly I don’t see why you tried to choose between your Guardians, it’s inevitable for a charge and a guardian to be together. If they don’t, one will eventually die. It would take a very long time, but either the charge or the guardian would die, whoever was weaker.” She said. She sounded so calm about it. She was talking about people’s death here. How could she do it and still seem so, unaffected by it? “Do you mean… do you mean Adrian is my Guardian?” I asked. “Its is strange, but not completely unheard of. I have heard a few rumors of such things occurring, but never to a novice. But I suppose, you have more potential than a novice. You were never a novice my dear, more a master in a novice body. Our offer still stands Luna, even after ten years.” She said. “I… I don’t know what to say. I’ve declined your offer before and I have not changed my mind since then. I’m sorry, but I intend to stay as neutral as possible for as long as I can. I don’t like this war. If it comes to the battle I fore see… I will use my power to defend my own country.” I said. “I won’t help fight a war I cannot understand.” She

opened her mouth to say something, but I silenced her with my hand. “I understand each point of view. I understand how it all happened. But I do not understand violence, I never did.” I said. Rain nodded and finished the last of her coffee. “I’ll go check on the food.” I said. I walked over to the food. My pasta was cooked so it was time to drain, mix in with the sauce and lit it thin out. There was too much to do at once. So I ended up using a very large bowl and cooking about two serves at a time. It took a little longer than expected, but all in all it gave me time to clear my head. I set out plates and cutlery and placed the large bowl in the middle. “Come and get it boys!” I yelled. As I assumed, they came running. “Sorry it took so long, I really wasn’t expecting company.” I said. I blushed a bright scarlet red. I didn’t know why it was embarrassing, it just was. “Its all good as long as it still tastes as good as it usually does.” Michael said as he sat down and scooped himself a full bowl. Damn the boys could eat a lot. He stabbed at the pasta and took a huge mouthful. When I said the boys had big mouths, I wasn’t joking. “All s forgiven” he said. The words came out half swallowed so it was hard to understand. Nor was it a pretty picture. Everyone sat down and ate. There was chatter between the girls and a few little conversations between the guys. But Gabriel and I stayed relatively quiet; adding yeah’s and ah-huh’s where required. We liked company, but conversation was something else. I was a listener at heart and I think Gabriel was too. I was finished at the same time as the girls, we all made polite conversation as the guys continued to forcibly choke down food. Some times I wondered if they did it because they were hungry or simply because I made it. I didn’t care. They were eating well, that’s all that mattered. I felt strangely maternal towards them, I hadn’t had anyone else to baby. So I guess I made do with what I had. When the boys were finished Gabriel gave me a hand clearing the table and washing the dishes. Tonight was crowded, but it would be fun. We had had our company. But tonight I felt like cuddling in front of a fire, just me and Gabriel. Quiet and happy, never to be disturbed until sunrise. We all made plans to meet at my house tomorrow night. Everyone wanted to meet my Alexander now he was grown; hell I wanted to meet him. The boys would come an hour after Frey and Rain. They had work they needed to do anyway, and I was very grateful. Gabriel, of coarse would come home early. He thought id need the support. He was right. I needed him there so I could keep myself calm. Or, give him my magic. I still wasn’t completely 100% on that. It didn’t make sense and yet, it made a lot of sense. I always felt most anxious when he was away and my magic always flared up when he

was at work. It was most tempting to levitate or explode something when he wasn’t touching me. But still… something about it just… it didn’t seem feasible. But then again, I had grown up thinking touching wasn’t always a welcomed thing. But now, touching seemed right. Scary thought that was. Raphael and Michael had escorted Rain and Frey home. So that left me and Gabriel upstairs on the couch in front of the fireplace. Gabriel’s bedroom was beautiful. He had taste. The walls were coffee and cream colored, with a deep purple feature wall. The carpet was as soft as the carpeting in my own room, but of a different off cream coloring. His furniture matched the décor. Modest, coffee cream colored furniture that suited the mood perfectly. It seemed so calming, the mood was his. We were half laying half sitting on the couch, my back pressed against the line of his body. The fire in front of us crackled and popped. The waves of fire sprouting like orange vines climbing towards the sky. The orange and yellow rays flickering together in a beautiful union of flame. He pulled me tighter against his chest and kissed my cheek. The warm electric feeling sprang through my body, I had heard of the kiss of death, but never a kiss of life. “Gabriel. If you’re taking my magic, why does it feel like something’s spreading through me instead of leaving me?” I asked. “I’m not really sure why. I remember Rain telling me once her magic was cold. When she used it or gave it away it was like a warm wave of power washed over and into her. She said giving away or using her magic made her warm again. It made warmth enters her body… is that how you feel?” he asked as he laid another kiss on my cheek. The same electric warmth spread through my body. He was right. “Yes, it is. It’s like you give me warmth I’ve been missing. Warmth I haven’t had in a very long time.” I said as I curled up against him and pulled his arms tighter around me. “I miss being warm. It makes me wonder, if I used my magic…what would happen to me? Is Adrian really my guardian?” I asked. I looked up into Gabriel’s eyes, he seemed so very conflicted. I wasn’t use to seeing my Gabriel like that. I liked to see him happy and calm. He let out an exasperated sigh and nodded. “Yes Luna, he is a guardian. He is your guardian and whether I like it or not, I have to share you with him. It is law.” he said. He was keeping his voice low and neutral. But the look in his eyes was anything but, his eyes screamed… anger. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling to friendly myself. “What do you mean? You have to share me. I’m not some pet the two of you can just share on and off. He left me, so, as far as I’m

concerned he dealt this hand so he can play with the cards he’s got.” I said angrily. “So, what your saying is that even if it is law to be with your guardian in one form or another… you wont let him?” he asked. “What bloody law?” I asked angrily. I didn’t like where this conversation was going. Mostly, because I didn’t like what my answer could be. Mostly, because I didn’t know what my answer would be. “Guardians have Law’s. One Law is that a guardian and charge must have some kind of physical or emotional bond. The need for contact is strongest in Wicca’s, so for Adrian and me, it is harder. I suspect he’s the reason you don’t have visions anymore. It’s a desperate attempt for your affection, but I don’t believe it’s below Adrian to attempt mind meetings. But, your mind seems, to strong when your conscious. So, subconscious intervention seems logical. Though, it was never like Adrian to be logic, practical, but never logical.” He said. Gabriel seemed worried again. The way I had seen him days ago. He suddenly looked… aged again. It was like he had been tiered out by this whole conversation. I didn’t like that look on his face. He seemed so, worried. I didn’t like that at all. I touched the side of his face and turned around in his arms. I looked into his eyes. Those eyes that made me smile in the morning, for no reason at all. Those eyes that watched over me, for so many years. Those eyes I could never look away from… were beautiful. I looked into those eyes and all I could feel… was love. “Your eyes…” he said in wonderment. A wide smile spread over those precious lips. To think only days ago I was trying to force myself to love him… when I never needed to. I never needed to force myself to love him… I already loved him. I’ve always loved him… I will always love him. I traced a circle under his eyes and kissed his lips gently. “You have nothing to worry about. I don’t want to join either side, for as long as one of my guardians isn’t forcing me to do so… I’m happy. I’ll stay happy because you love me enough to let me be myself.” I said. His smile grew even wider. I loved his smile; it meant I was doing my job. After all, I had only one reason for being here now, only one meaning for my existence. And that meaning was to keep Gabriel happy, to love him and make the last person who loved me feel everything wonderful possible. He would feel love and happiness to the full extent I could offer. I would do everything in my power to make him happy. There was no other purpose for me now. School would start soon, though I was having doubts of whether or not I would go through with it. I had to get to the bottom of what was going to happen to Alexander and myself.

He was 16 tomorrow. If he wanted, he could technically move out of his home. If he was to become a Wicca… that would be the best thing for him. He couldn’t be around humans because humans could not know of our lives. Humans could not know what we are, because they would not understand. A human could never understand magic. How can you understand something you’ve been told does not exist? But more importantly, humans don’t understand what their afraid of. They don’t want to understand it. Why understand something you don’t have to understand? If you close your eyes… it disappears. If only such thoughts were true. I wish humans could simply know about us all. Think of the wonders magic could do to change the world if humans knew about what we were. Think of the things we could accomplish if only we would work together. We could do so well… so very well. Humans would have no need to fight among one another when they realize were fighting over them. I yawned loudly and my eyelids got heavy. I wanted so much to sleep in Gabriel’s arms, but there was something I wanted him to know before I fell asleep. Something I wanted him to believe. I didn’t want to sleep, because I knew if I slept, id see Adrian. I didn’t want that. but if I had to sleep, I could think of no better place than in Gabriel’s arms. “I love you Gabriel” I whispered. “I love you too Luna, sleep and be rested.” He said as he lay down on the couch so my body was in line with his own. A perfect, warm, loving line of his body. I loved him so very much. He was better than any dream I could ever have. Any dream I would ever have. He was my dream before my dream. Or was it, the dream before my nightmare? It was cold. The night air nipped and tickled along my skin, leaving trails of goose bumps sprouting along my skin. I wanted Gabriel now, or at least a very warm blanket. I had been here before, so I knew were I was. I had been here on my ‘Early Honey-Moon’ with Adrian. This beach, those waters, the moon… it was all so very familiar. “Do you miss it?” Adrian asked. I didn’t have to see his face to know who it was. For one, I would know his voice anywhere and for another, I knew he’d invade my dreams. Gabriel had told me so. “Miss what?” I asked in a cold emotionless voice as I stared out at the rolling waves. It was low tied, but I was fairly close to the water. “Us” he said simply. I didn’t know what to say to that. I didn’t honestly want him to know how long I waited, nor did I want to know how much I wanted him back. I could feel where he was without seeing it. He wasn’t close enough to touch, not unless I took at least two steps towards him. We were like magnets, I wanted to run to him and wrap

my arms around him… but I couldn’t. He had a pull to him, just like a gravitational pull. I was afraid at any moment I would snap and go running into his arms. “I use to miss us.” I said. It was true. I did use to miss us, and I still missed us. “You don’t miss us anymore?” he asked. His voice was quiet; it had sadness to it that I simply couldn’t understand. Not because it perplexed me, but because I didn’t want to. He couldn’t make me feel something I didn’t want to feel. “I do. But I have someone now Adrian. You had your chance and you left me. You did that, not me. You could of com back to me… but you didn’t want me. I loved you and you left me for war, if you had been a soldier saying you’d come back I would have believed you. But you weren’t. You tried to force me to be something I wasn’t Adrian; at least I’ve found someone who cares for me Adrian. At least Gabriel lets me be who I am Adrian. I’m sorry… but what I am, isn’t yours anymore.” I said. Even I couldn’t keep the sorrow out of my voice. My head said not to cry but unfortunately, my body didn’t agree with me. a single salty droplet rolled down my face. A tear I had promised myself never to shed was now clearly on my face. “If we keep doing this, or not dong this… one of us will die Luna. Do you understand your stubborn acts could get one of us killed?” he asked angrily. “If I die, then I die. That is the end of it. But if you die, it will leave me hollow Adrian. It will hurt to loose you and I don’t know if I would survive anyway. But… I can’t be with you. I wont become what I hate Adrian. I won’t do it, not even for you.” I said. I knew I was stubborn. But I would not become what I had seen. I would not do the things I had seen me do. I would never become what Adrian was. For no reason would I become what Adrian was. Never… never would I become what Adrian wanted me to become. Never. “You will condemn me to die over you stupid pride Luna! You won’t even touch me for fear you will not want to let go. I know you Luna, I know you far to well. Don’t do this to me Luna, don’t do this to us. Touch me and tell me you never want to see me again Luna. Feel our love and tell me it is not what you want.” He said. “If I touch you its not love I’ll be feeling Adrian. I know you are my guardian; I’m not ignorant to that fact. If I touch you I won’t be feeling love. All I’ll be doing is giving you my magic. I don’t need o give away my magic right now.” I said. “I’m not cold because of my magic right now. I’m cold because of the temperature. And Adrian, I’ve felt your skin, your colder than how I feel right now… in more ways that one” I couldn’t see his eyes, but I could feel them. I could feel his eyes staring at me. They burnt holes in my skin like a candle burning away

its wax. He was burning my nerve. I didn’t want to love him, and I didn’t want to touch him. Not because the idea repulsed me… but because it scared me. I was scared of wanting to do it. I was scared of how much I wanted to run to him and wrap my arms around him. I was scared once I did that I would never want to let go. I didn’t hear as much as feel Adrian walking towards me. His hand stretched out to me and rested just above the skin of my shoulder. I could feel how cold his skin was. It was cold, even for him. But it was more than that. It took all the strength I had not to turn and close that last inch. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him to never let me go again. I knew if he touched me, all would be forgiven. But I wouldn’t let that happen. I had a duty to others now. He wasn’t the only person that mattered now. I had spent my time waiting; I had spent my time morning over the loss of him. But no more. I had already broken one rule by shedding a single tear for him, true I was dreaming, but it was still a tear. And to me, it was still real. It was just as real as if I had been awake. It was still there and it was still warm as if it were real. It was still salty and it was still very, very… wet. “You wont even let me touch you.” He said. Those words, those horrible words that hurt so much… I wanted so damn badly to comfort him. To take him in my arms and hold him. To press our body’s together until we were one and no more tears could befall him. It was as if he were apart of me, that hurting him hurt me even more so. But none the less, I would not go running to him. I would not hold him in my arms nor would I let him do so for me. I would not let him touch me. I would not, plain and simple. He was right, I was being stubborn. But stubborn was all I knew now. His hand pulled back from my shoulder and dropped to his side. I stared out at the ocean. Tonight really was a beautiful night. Or at least, my imagination was making some beautiful pictures. Or was it, his imagination? I didn’t know, I didn’t care. All I knew was the waters were darker than I had ever seen them. And yet, they rippled and sparkled with silver moon light the way I remembered. The sky melted into the water, making them seem almost as if they were one giant entity. And the moon, the moon was bigger than any I had ever seen. It was beautiful, so full, so round. “I still love you… Beautiful Moon” Adrian whispered. I had a moment for my head to swim and breathing to catch before I heard a second voice. A voice I loved so very much. “We all love her Adrian.” Gabriel said. It was loud enough for me to hear but quiet enough that it didn’t deserve the scenery. I didn’t want to see either of them, it would be… too distracting. I loved Gabriel, and I was use to him now. But there were moments

when his beauty still amazed me. I didn’t want to take that chance with Adrian. I sat down on that beautiful beach of memories passed and stared at the moon. The moon and sea had always intrigued me. It made little sense, but at least I was sure of it. At least the moon couldn’t trick me into loving it. I held out my hand for Gabriel. I didn’t want to see him, but I wanted to touch him all the same. “Gabriel, come sit with me.” I whispered. I knew he could hear me, he was as magical as I was if not, more so. He could hear and if he couldn’t, I’d just repeat myself. I didn’t like repetition, but I could do it. When I felt and heard no movement I turned my head to the side. I still couldn’t see them, but it was… an involuntary reaction. “Gabriel.” I said. It was more a question in most ways than anything else. Yet again, I heard nothing. I sighed and let my hand dropped to my side. “Why are you here Gabriel if not to comfort me?” I asked. It was his turn to sigh. “It is… unusual that you did not remember your… encounters. There are only two possible reasons for this. Either, our beloved Adrian here is preventing it, or, these ‘night-time meetings’ are having a severe effect on your brain. I had time to think of it when you slept. But when you started… when I saw the tear, I didn’t want anything to hurt you. So I followed you and Adrian into your dream. If these dreams continue Luna, I fear what could happen. I don’t want you harmed.” He said. His last sentence wasn’t directed at me, though I could feel a degree of his anger. And boy was he angry. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want anger. Strange but what I wanted from him at the moment… was nothing. I wanted to dream. I wanted to be peaceful and undisturbed for all of time. Or at least, that’s what I wanted in this moment. I wanted to dream, a long peaceful, resting dream. Something I could control. I knew, if I asked it, Adrian would come to me. He would sit by my side and stay with me. And yet, I didn’t want him to. I was still… scared. So, I held out my hand again. “Then why wont my Guardian come sit by me?” I asked. “Are you afraid the dream will hurt you as well? If that is the case, leave. Don’t hurt your self on my account Gabriel.” I said. I lay down on the sand and stared up at the beautiful, big, round moon and smiled. “I was already touched in the head, we all know that.” I said with a slight laughter. I could feel there eyes staring at me. I could feel the heat of their gaze. It was hurting. “If you keep staring at me like that you’re going to bore holes into my skin you know.” I said. I felt there gazes slip away, but the anger level was still heavy. “Do me a favor. Either start screaming at one another, or at least speaking of whatever it is your thinking. Or, let me have my visions

back. If I were alone with you Adrian I’d ask you to give me my dreams, but I’m not… So, I won’t ask it. But at least do what you’re here to do, I’m getting bored.” I said. I wasn’t acting like myself, but I was dreaming. I was aloud to act… restful. “Adrian, if she dies, so do we. Stop playing this game with her mind. If you love her, you’ll let her be happy.” He said. His tone confused me. I couldn’t decide whether it sounded angry or pleading. It wasn’t like Gabriel to plead; he wasn’t one for acting needy. Well, not to anyone else that was. He always seemed more… vulnerable around me. But maybe that had something to do with the fact he was my guardian. But, maybe it was because he loved me. part of me liked that idea and the other part liked that idea even more. Being some ones one in a million can be strangely satisfying. “I wont bother her in her dreams any longer. Not unless she wishes me too. I don’t want to hurt her. I love Luna” he said. I hate being talked about like I’m not in the same room. But I didn’t say anything. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t. He just said he loved me… and all I wanted to do was get pissed about them talking as if I wasn’t there. He just said he loved me… I didn’t know why that didn’t sink in sooner. Adrian never said anything to me he didn’t mean. I opened my eyes and rolled onto my front. It was as if I were weightless, and distant. Like I wasn’t really lying down on sand. It made me smiled; I knew this was a dream. “Did you just say you love me?” I asked. I looked up at Adrian, my breath caught. He was every bit as beautiful as I remembered. He was tall, his shoulders, broad and full just as the rest of his body. His cloths were dark, but then again, when had they ever not been. His dress pants, new and clean… his shirt loose and fresh from the laundry, or so it would seem. His first three buttons were undone and flashed a small slip of beautiful frozen flesh. Why did he have to look like the spokesman for a wet dream? Why could he look horrible and make it easier for me to hate him? It wasn’t fair. I didn’t want to look at his face; I knew if I did I would be lost. Unless Gabriel was able to snap me out of it… I’d be lost in Adrian’s eyes. Drowning in a sea of his beauty I doubt I could come back from. I stared at that gap of skin at his chest. I remembered him walking around in nothing but a pair of pants for so long. It seemed strange for him to suddenly be wearing clothes again. Maybe he knew it would make me uncomfortable… maybe it made him uncomfortable. How did we get to this point of awkward encounters so quickly? I looked up into those eyes. Too bad if I got lost. It was only a dream… or was it a nightmare? I stared into those lighter than light blue eyes. They froze my gaze and melted my heart. He was like no

one I had ever seen. I loved him. In that moment, I knew more than anything that I loved him. His lips were still as full and just as impossibly red as I had remembered. His skin still paler than full cream milk… but those eyes. They were eyes I had missed above all else. But more than that… the look in his eyes. It said more than words ever could. He loved me, nothing more, and nothing less. He loved me. Those eyes spoke of soppy love poetry and undivided attention, long walks on the beach and days of endless pillow talk. These things I remembered all too well. Well, bar the poetry. But in his eyes… it was unexplainable. Explaining the way he looked at me was like trying to explain the importance of religion to an atheist, or describing colors to a blind man. It was a look only one in love could understand. A twinkle in his eyes meant only for me and a smile that meant nothing to others… but everything to me. They were looks only members of a very specific club could understand… it was called love. Unexplainable, incomprehensible love. “I’ve always loved you Luna. You know that” he said. The way he said it confused me, it wasn’t cocky or confident, and it was a simple fact. I knew he loved me, and I did. I loved him, and he loved me. It felt strange to realize I had doubted that, on and off, for the past ten years. It seemed so… stupid now. So incredibly stupid. “Then why didn’t you come and get me? If you loved me… you would have come home.” I said. I felt the sting of tears at the corners of my eyes, but I did not wish to cry, no more tears. I buried my head in the sand. I probably looked like a sulking child from were Gabriel and Adrian were standing, or maybe I looked like I was crying. Either way, I didn’t like the way I looked to them, it made me fell… weak. I wanted this dream to end. I didn’t like this; I didn’t like having to see Adrian’s face again after all these years. I had missed his face; there was no doubt about that. But I hated that fact. I hated that I missed Adrian so much. I missed the way I wanted to curl my body around his and let him do whatever he wanted. I hated myself for wanting it… but I wanted it all the same. My feelings for him were real; I couldn’t keep pretending he was just some dark fantasy. Reality, it’s so damn different from fantasy. For instance, with reality, when you stop believing in it, it’s still there. If you close your eyes and count to ten it’s still there, staring you right between the eyes. Strength of will does not make it disappear. Never has, never will. But fantasy… when you stop believing, it just isn’t real anymore. It vanishes into a sea of impossible nothingness I know all to well. It does what you want it to, it goes poof and disappears forever. You can make fantasy whatever you want it to be, because that’s what it is. It’s fake. It’s a lie.

Frankly, I liked fantasy better. “You didn’t tell her?” this from Adrian. I looked up to find Adrian glowering at Gabriel. I expected Gabriel to return the favor; I knew they hated one another. They’d use any excuse to rip each other throats out. But what I saw on Gabriel’s face wasn’t anger. It was both embarrassment and shame. “I did attempt to tell her, more than once. But the state that you left her in took longer than expected to recover. It has only been the past few days I have seen this improvement. I was not about to give you the opportunity to rip her hear open once again. She is no longer broken and bleeding Adrian. Why can you not simply accept that her life is better off without you?” Gabriel asked. His shame had suddenly turned to the anger I expected. I expected Gabriel to be angry, I didn’t understand why, but it seemed natural for Gabriel to be angry. Gabriel had said that he could not look back on his past and smile the way humans could. I never understood that and in a way, I hoped I never would. I didn’t like the idea Gabriel could be unhappy about his past. Gabriel didn’t get upset about a lot anymore. For him to feel ashamed of his past… he must have done some things I don’t think I wanted to know about. His past was one of the things that confused me about the white light and darkness. How could someone so good have a horribly tainted past? Aren’t the good suppose to be pure and all that? A clean slate as they say? Then how I it my Gabriel could have done such horrible things and still be good? What does that mean for Adrian? Is he still good? Could he ever be good? My head started swimming and a feeling of unease passed over me. I was feeling cold again. I sat up were I was. The sudden movement only made my body feel more unease. I knew it was a dream, but I still felt… sick. Cold and uneasy at its best. Gabriel came to sit by me and took my hand. Calming warmth spread over my body, it trickled through my body like water filtering through my body. I waited as I felt the warmth spread from my hand all the way to the ends of my toes. I smiled over at Gabriel and dropped his hand. “Thank you Gabriel” I whispered. “Your welcome Luna” he kissed my cheek and pulled me against his side, one arm rapped around my waist the other entangled with my hand. I would have completely forgotten about Adrian, if he hadn’t come and sat by my side that is. “We cant be apart for much longer Luna, and you cant continue abusing your powers. They need to be used… or given up. But you can’t keep denying them. My intrusions aren’t helping, I understand that now. Your visions use the magic while you sleep, I’ve robbed you of that and I am sorry. I am very sorry I’ve caused you harm Luna” Adrian said as he stared up at the abnormally large moon.

I got the idea he wasn’t talking about my magic anymore. I slowly gave him my other hand. The feel of his skin and mine touching made my body flare with heat. Gabriel’s skin for once was no rival to the heat of my own. I had to let go. I pulled my hand back and stared at him. If Gabriel could make me feel warm, but Adrian could do that… what the hell did that mean? “What was that?” I asked. Adrian looked at me and smiled. It was part of the smile he had given me before. The smile that said simply that he loved me. But it was more; it was a kind of pride, triumph even. I don’t believe I have ever seen a look like that on anyone’s face before. I had seen love and I had seen pride. But this… this look frightened, excited and thrilled me. Something about this look made my blood warmer. “Jealous Gabriel?” Adrian asked. I looked over at Gabriel; to anyone else he would have seemed calm. But not to me. His muscles were ridged and his body was tense. I could tell he wanted so badly to punch something. I could see the veins on his arms growing more pronounced; he was angry… but why? “Are you okay Gabriel?” I asked. I took the hand I had snatched from Adrian and touched it to his chest, swiveling my body towards him to give him my full attention. It put Adrian at my back and made him easier to ignore. That was good, that was very good. I looked up into his beautiful blue eyes; they were glazed and shining with unshed tears. I moved my hand from his chest to his cheek. What was so wrong? What was hurting him? I felt my own eyes glaze over with unshed tears. I wouldn’t cry for Adrian, but Gabriel was different. I loved him, my life was devoted to him and that was the end of it. I would cry for him, but not for Adrian. Don’t ask me to explain it; I wouldn’t be able to, especially considering I didn’t even understand it. He leaned his head towards mine and our lips met. It was slow and romantic. The kind of kiss that was both loving and reassuring. I remember the curve of his thick and juicy lips. The way they tasted different at night than they did in the morning. I loved Gabriel, I knew I loved Gabriel. And yet, I couldn’t forget Adrian who was sitting right behind me. It wasn’t because I could feel the hate and resentment flaring from his skin. No, that didn’t bother me. It was the fact I hated he felt that way. I hated I could kiss Gabriel like this and still want to turn around and comfort him. I pulled away from Gabriel’s lips and rested my head against his chest. I didn’t want him to see what I was feeling. People had always said I was like an open book. My emotions showed to clearly how I felt on my face. I hated when people could see how I felt, it made me feel… weak. Like I had no control over how people saw me. But then again, I didn’t have control of how people saw me. Nobody has control over that.

Gabriel stroked his hand from my hair to the small of my back. His arms were long enough to reach that far without even straining. I felt calmer as he touched me. I was centered and clear headed; I hadn’t been like this in so very long. It felt good to be this way… great to be this way. “How can I be jealous when she touches me this way, but leaves you to fend for yourself?” Gabriel asked. His voice was lower than a whisper. I didn’t know if that was because he didn’t want me to hear or because he was being reluctant to say it. I didn’t get it, but I didn’t ask questions. I wanted to know what was on his mind and I didn’t want him to feel like he couldn’t say these kinds of things in front of me. I wanted him to know I loved him enough to want to know everything about him. I wanted him to be as vulnerable with me as I had been with Adrian. I don’t know why I was so ready for my big strong Gabriel to become vulnerable… I just was. I stroked my hand across his chest. I didn’t mean to make him move, was comfortable were I was. He lay down on the sand and took me with him. It was surprising at first and made me gasp when we landed with a thud. But as his hands continued there pleasant little calming motions I felt my muscles relax and settle into the mould of his body. I matched my breathing with his. The rise and fall of his chest below me was rhythmic and hypnotic. “How can I be jealous when my touch calms her this way?” he said quietly. I pecked his chest and closed my eyes. The coarse feel of his skin below my lips was warm. It made him… real. He wasn’t just beautiful and special like Adrian, he was real and warm. He breathed and spoke and was always… perfect. But it was a different kind of perfect from the perfect Adrian was. Adrian was the kind of perfect that made you fear he would disappear. His was the kind of perfection you knew was too good to be real and would simply disappear if you touched it. But Gabriel was different. He was perfectly flawed. He had his faults, but they just made him Gabriel. He wasn’t perfect because he was sculpted like the arc angle he was. He was perfect because he was more human than even me. He would get angry, he hit things. He wasn’t perfect, and yet, not being perfect made him perfect… perfect for me at least. I loved every little perfectly flawed inch of him. He was mine, and to me, he was perfect. “You know as well as I do that if I was with her in flesh she would not be yours as she is now.” Adrian said. His voice was low and gruff, for a moment I almost confused it with a kind of snarling. I wasn’t sure he was right about that, but I wasn’t sure that he was wrong either.

“But your not with her Adrian. You gave that chance up years ago. I won’t let you hurt her again. I will do everything in my power to protect her from you. I promise you if you ever try to harm her in anyway, even if she agrees to it, I will hunt you down and I will kill you. No if, ands or buts. You would die. End of story.” He said. His stomach rose and fell with each word. My eye lids were heavy and heart beak seemed lazy. “I will do whatever Luna wishes Gabriel. No one, not even Luna herself will get in the way of that goal. I love her more than you could possibly understand. Angels do not feel love.” He said. “No more than vampires” Gabriel said back. The acid in his voice was thick and harsh. They could both love this I was certain of. Or at least, I was certain I could love them both. Adrian and Gabriel had both confessed there love for me before… they loved me. Or so they had said. “You can both love, stop your bickering before I do.” I said angrily. My voice came out less impressive and dripping with exhaustion. I never knew you could be tiered while dreaming. But I suppose, I wasn’t really dreaming. I was doing some freaky Spock startrek mind meld thing. It sounded crazy to me, but then again. I was a witch in love with both a vampire and an arc angel. Hell, Gabriel was the arc angel. Neither of the boys said anything. But then again, I asked them to stop bickering. “Why am I tiered?” I asked. Gabriel looked down at me and ran one of his hands through my hair. His hands were so big, so warm. “We should end this before she gets hurt Adrian. Even you don’t want that, do you?” he asked. I yawned heavily and snuggled closer into Gabriel’s chest. He was warm and at the moment I felt freezing cold. Not because of my magic, no, I couldn’t feel any of it at the moment. But the night air was freezing cold; it nipped and danced along my skin raising big hard goose bumps. Gabriel ran his huge hands up and down my arms in an attempt to warm me. “I shall let her go tonight and I will reframe from using this means of … connection. But I will see her again Gabriel, I will see her no matter what you attempt.” he said. “I’d like that Adrian.” I whispered against Gabriel’s skin. I didn’t need to look at him to know he was smiling. “Your wish is my command… Luna” he whispered my name and a slow tiring darkness fell around me. The beach was gone but Gabriel was not. I was lying across his golden tanned chest on the same couch we had fallen asleep on. He was smiling… he was happy. I loved seeing Gabriel smile, it was infectious.

I lay my head back down and kissed his chest. His chest rose and fell with his heavy sleeping breath. I timed my breathing with his and slowly fell asleep in his warm angelic embrace.

I hadn’t had a vision last night after our encounter with Adrian. I didn’t really understand why. Gabriel had suggested it may be because my magic had been depleted moments before I fell asleep, or maybe because I was so emotionally and physically drained my mind couldn’t put the visions together long enough to get a clear picture. I didn’t doubt him, but somehow… I just didn’t think that was right. I had made dinner forever one again. Tonight was going to be a big enough even without the boys being grumpy due to hunger. Don’t ask me why, but guys are always angrier when their hungry. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s just the way men are I suppose. Everyone was here. Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, Rain, Frey, Delano, everyone was here. Gabriel and I had spent the day together. He was right; I did need him by my side for this. I needed him a lot more than I let myself know. We had gone for a run, just to clear my mind and talked about almost everything. I didn’t mention Adrian, I didn’t want to. I was going to see my Alexander that was problem enough. I didn’t need to be thinking about Adrian, it would only upset me. We had all ended up in the living room after Raphael and I had finished the dishes. It was sitting on Gabriel’s lap at the far end of our wide white leather couch. Delano was sitting next to me with his hand in mine, even though he was my father… the gesture seemed… unfatherly. But I suppose, as long as Delano was here, so was Adrian. That’s probably what I was picking up on. Michael was leaning up against the wall, looking at everyone with shifty eyes. If this had been another time and place I would have mistaken him for one of those mysterious cowboy stranger types. Raphael was sitting on the floor by our feet. I didn’t know why, but he seemed almost uncomfortable to be sitting next to Delano. Frey seemed to have the same problem. She stood next to Rain who had taken the seat next to Delano. At least someone wasn’t scared of the big bad vampire. I was still in pain from the magic over load Rain had inflicted on me. It was the only way we had to change my appearance. Not to look like a different person, just an older version of myself. We all agreed it would be best to put Alexander through as little shock as possible tonight.

If he found out his mother… well, his aunt looked sixteen years old; something told me he wasn’t going to react well. He’d probably react about as well as he would react to the reality he was… that he may be a Wiccen. I didn’t want him to go through more stress than was necessary. I was still shaking from the pain. My body had literally frozen. My skin iced over in a very thing layer of ice. Hence the reason I was sitting in Gabriel’s lap with Raphael at my feet covered in one hell of a thick blanket. His body heat was helping, and the fact he was absorbing little bits of the magic as it became unnecessary was helpful. Rain said it was okay for him to touch me as long as he didn’t deliberately try to take the magic away. It would seep out of my body and into him as it became unnecessary. He didn’t need to force it; he may run the risk of taking my own magic away permanently if he tried. I didn’t want to be a Wicca, but I couldn’t imagine life as anything else. I couldn’t imagine being human again. At least the convulsions had stopped. I was still shaking and every muscle in my body was latterly aching with growth pains. Gabriel was clinging onto my so tight I was scared my circulation would cut off. But I wouldn’t say anything. He needed the contact as much as I did. So I didn’t complain, I don’t think id be able to feel my toes anyway. I told Raphael to do my hostess work for me, and he gladly did. When it came to coffee and tea there was no one better for the job than Raphael. Michael was acting like security. I don’t think he trusted anyone at the moment. He had known rain and Frey for much longer than he had known me. But he didn’t trust them. That fact made me wonder if I could trust them. But then again. He had to watch rain show so much magic in me I couldn’t breathe and started convulsing on the floor. I could feel that my limbs had gotten longer. Not much longer, but longer all the same. I felt my face thin out and my skin turned less oily. It was strange being able to tell the different changes my body was going through so rapidly. I tucked my head into Gabriel’s neck and gave it a quick peck. It had been a long boring morning and a painfully agonizing afternoon. It made me wonder how tonight was going to turn out. Gabriel rubbed his cheek across mine and kissed my lips. Both for the warmth, and the sheer fun of it. His kiss was long and deep, and I knew everyone was watching. But I didn’t care; I don’t think Gabriel cared either. He let me curl back up in his lap. My head cradled in his neck and body curled into a fetal position in his lap. We would have to go soon. Delano had arranged to take Alexander out tonight. I hadn’t been in Alexander’s life, but Delano had. Mr. and Mrs. O’Brian knew Delano very well. After all, Delano was his… ‘Father’. Delano said he told Alexander he wanted him to meet

his mother tonight. The three of us were going out for dinner. I had made tea for everyone else so they wouldn’t be hungry when I got back. But I didn’t eat. I didn’t think Gabriel was too happy about the dinner idea. He saw Delano the same way he saw Adrian now. To him they were one and the same. So dinner with his competition didn’t exactly make Gabriel all too happy. But he had nothing to worry about. Delano was my father for Christ sake. Nothing would ever happen, ever. End of story. “I think I can move now.” I said. I was still cold and my body still ached. But it felt more like a day after running an iron man competition and actually placing. I was soar and I knew it would hurt to stand, but I didn’t want to keep Alexander waiting. We would be about twenty minutes late already, I was dressed and all, but we still had to drive across town. My dress was strapless and flashed a bit more thigh than I generally liked. It was a light flimsy material that swished in the breeze. I wore a pair of black mini short tights underneath the dress. I didn’t want to flash anyone by accident. My bra and underwear a matching black lacy pair. My bra was a strapless push up and was well covered by the dress. Thank god for the wonders of technology. I found my big black pumps and a pair of fishnet stockings in the wardrobe; they were my favorite par of the outfit. So damn comfortable for something so fashionable. I slowly and carefully pushed myself from Gabriel’s lap. He helped me steady myself as I stood. It hurt to suddenly put pressure on muscles that hurt so much. But pain I could live through, dinner… I wasn’t so sure. I felt light headed, but I suppose that was just another side effect of the magic over load. “She looks calm enough, there’s still color in her cheeks. She wont die, not yet at least. But she’s probably a little sore and light headed. Michael, go get Luna a drink of water” Rain Commanded. Michael wearily nodded and headed off to the kitchen to fetch me a drink. I took in a couple deep breaths and was finally able to stand on my own, even with the huge as all hell pumps. Michael reappeared with the glass of water and handed it to me. “Thanks Michael” I drank the cold clear liquid and felt better almost instantly. My head slowed to a gentle numbing, the light headed pain turned to a gentle throbbing. “Are you sure you want to do this tonight?” Gabriel asked. I turned and faced my beautiful angel. I looked up into those sky blue eyes and kissed his lips. I was still too short to reach them on my own. Even with the growth spurt and pumps I was still just too short. Damn him and his tall handsome glory.

“I’m fine. I haven’t seen Alexander in… far too long. I’d do this even if I had internal hemorrhaging” I said. I expected him to laugh, but he didn’t. He smiled, that was something. “The sad thing is; I believe you.” He said. It was my turn to laugh. I held him close to me and sighed a happy contented sigh. “I’ll be back in a couple hours.” I whispered. He exhaled and I felt more than saw his head nod. I gave him one final peck on the cheek and handed him the now empty glass of water to him. I followed Delano out of the house and into Gabriel’s car. I wasn’t in anyway fit enough to drive, so Delano took the wheel. I sat in the front seat and enjoyed the pleasant rocking motions the car made. I loved driving, I always had. Being behind the wheel felt so damn good, but just being along for the ride was even better. I liked having the wind rush through my hair and know I was moving fast. I liked knowing I could close my eyes and just feel for once. Not have to worry about listening or talking or even seeing. But just to be able to feel the car and nothing more that was close to heaven for me as I could get. It seemed to go on for hours, the wind rushed through my hair and the music blasted loud enough that I could feel it pulsating through the car. Like the music was a living organism combining with the car. The music pulsed through the car and traveled through my body. I had always love music, piano was something I had done since I was little. Jennifer taught me how to play, I remember her teaching me how to play the different notes, the difference between the black and white keys and explaining how the peddles worked. I miss her more and more as time passes by. When I was young I always hoped id see her again, I always knew that we would be together again. And when we finally were… she was taken away from me again, by the person I loved most in this world nonetheless. She was killed because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing more than that. But the worst part was… it was my entire fault, no one else was to blame for her death. Not even Delano and Adrian who killed her had more blame on their shoulders. If I hadn’t snuck out to see Delano, and there by meet Adrian… a lot of people would still be alive. Jennifer and Riley would never have had to give up Alexander… and Pandora… Pandora would still be alive. She would be helping me through this; she’d be here guiding me. I needed her, more than anyone. But I was alone now. I had Gabriel, but he was my guardian. I had Delano to whatever limited extent… and I suppose had Adrian as well to an even more limited extent. He was there in Delano, sometimes. But no more than that, somehow I still felt as if I were alone. Only when Gabriel was touching me did I really feel like someone was with me. Only when he touched me did I feel like I was loved. I hoped, one day I could be whole again.

I would love to say losing my family has made me stronger, the way people in books or in movies say it does. But it hasn’t. If anything, I feel lost. I feel more alone than I have ever felt in my entire life. I had no family left to speak of and no distant relatives to meet. My family had been a small and isolated one, and now, it was no more. I was the only one left to carry on my families name… I could not die and leave no trace of there existence on this earth. If nothing else, they would be remembered. They will be remembered as the wonderful people that they were. I will not be the last person to know of their existence. Especially not crystal… not my mother. She would be remembered as the mother of ‘Luna Bella Banks’, I would give her name the pride and honor it deserved. She would not have to die and be unknown; I have been far too selfish, even for my own tastes. “You coming?” Delano asked. I looked up at him standing just outside my door. Oops. I hadn’t seen him stop the car, or get out of it for that matter. I smiled up at him and nodded. “Yeah, I’m coming.” He helped me out of the car. My bones and muscles still tightened and twinged as I walked, but I found it was easier to ignore the more I did so. It hurt, but I could ignore it. Pain I could deal with, it was the emotional stuff that got to me. The O’Brian’s house was stunning. It was an old two stories Victorian styled home with white weather boards and the triangular roof tops. It was larger than most Victorian styled homes I had ever visited, but the again, I had only visited a few. I loved the only Victorian styled villa’s, they always seemed so historical. There were so many memories within a home, and they were almost never only one person’s. The porch was short and about three steps from the ground. I followed Delano as we walked towards the front door. He rung the door bell and waited. I hadn’t seen any cars in the driveway, perhaps no one was home. The door opened wide and a young Indian girl stood in the doorway. She was about medium height for a teenager; she was aged around sixteen or seventeen. You could never really tell with youth are days. Her complection was dark and her body very slim. Her stunning hazelnut eyes stood out on her face like orbs of light in the darkness. The beautiful dark raven hair pulled back in a high ponytail with a long thing blue ribbon and gleaming small bells. I imagined they would chime as her hair swayed. Hair did that when it was in a high ponytail. I never understood why, it just did. I looked over her stunning form once again examining the barely seeable freckles along her arm. Her shirt was long sleeved and V necked. Her pants faded light blue jeans. The blouses blue shade matched the blue ribbon in her hair. Her ears were pierced with two small gold circles, the color of the bells in her hair. She was beautiful.

“Oh, Hey Delano.” The dark skinned beauty cooed in a high pitched voice. Her smile stretched from ear to ear and her eyes sparkled with laughter. She seemed very… peppy. I liked that in people; genuine happiness was hard to come by these days. Such a pity that. “Alexander’s just getting ready, we were studying. He forgot to tell me he was going out, but you know how Alex can be. He’s always so forgetful.” The look of some form of pity and regret showed on her face. But it wasn’t a look I was accustomed to seeing; it was a look I was accustomed to wearing. The look that said you were thinking of a loved ones faults and loving them for those faults. If they didn’t have those faults… they wouldn’t be the person you fell in love with. “Your Alexander’s lover.” I said. It sounded more like a question than a statement. She blushed and nodded. “Yeah, I suppose you could say that. I’m Jacinta Watson, and you?” oops. I didn’t know how to introduce myself yet, should I say I was his mother. “I’m Luna Banks. It’s a pleasure to meet you Jacinta” I said. She smiled and shook my hand. Her smile seemed so very genuine… it was strange. Pleasant but still, strange. I suppose I was just surrounded by some much negative energy for so long, it’s had to see genuine happiness as genuine. Or maybe I had just become cynical. That made more sense to me anyway. “May we come in?” I asked. She blushed with embarrassment and stepped out of the door way. “Oh! I’m sorry; you must be freezing out there.” she said. We walked through the front door and into what I assumed was a lounge room. It was a relatively large room. Two long brown leather couches facing opposite one another were at the far side of the room and a grand fireplace was built into the wall. I didn’t know if it worked or not —a lot of them just get closed up over time—and I didn’t know whether or not to ask. The walls were a dulled white that contrasted the way only old houses contrasted with the dark wooden floor boards. There was a white fur rug the separated the two couches. I wasn’t one to know the difference, but something about the rug seemed both important and expensive. A dark cherry wood desk was between the door and the couch. It was thick and looked very heavy. A bunch of papers were strewn across the desk. I took a closer look at the papers. Well, at least they were telling the truth about studying. “Algorithms and trigonometry?” I asked. Jacinta turned and smiled at me again. “Yeah, math seems to get the better of me. But Alexander’s one of the smartest guys I know, it helps having a boyfriend that can tutor Me.” she said proudly.

I didn’t get it, I didn’t like people acting superior to me. Hell, I didn’t like it when the genuinely were smarter than me. But I suppose, not everyone can be the smartest person out there. But considering I only had an eleventh grade education, I definitely didn’t fit the bill. Strangely, for once, I was okay with that. We sat on the couch and waited for Alexander. I looked around the room for something to stare at, something else to think about. The walls were decorated with family photos. Alexander smiling with his ‘parents’… but the smiles, they didn’t seem real. Most photos didn’t have real genuine smiles in them, but Alexander seemed almost… angry, or sad. I clenched my hands into fits and grabbed at the flimsy material of my skirt, still trying to sit lady like while doing so. I was nervous, what if he didn’t like me? What if he hated me? Would he remember me? Could I hug him without it seeming offensive? How would we talk? Could we talk? “You seem a little tense.” Delano said as he smoothed his hand over mine. I leaned back and against the couch and exhaled. “I am, oh god I am! What have you told him? Does he know who I am? What will he call me? Do you think he’ll like me? Oh! This is driving me insane Delano.” I settled into the couch, crossed my arms and punted. “I want Gabriel.” I said. Even I would have thought I looked like a sulking child. But hell, that’s what I was. After all a wise man once said something like ‘child hood is not a certain point in time. A child enters adult who when they put away childish things.’… Or something similar to that. I don’t know, the exact words escape me. But I don’t think I was ever truly a child. Because if that was true, no way in hell was I ever a child. I had to put away childish things before I can even remember doing so. Delano chuckled and gave me a side ways hug. He was my father and he was still taller than me. I knew he was hundreds of years old, but he was trapped in the body of a much younger man. I knew his body had probably never looked that young, he was too muscular to look young. Muscles on some people look wrong and out of place, but on Delano they made him look both strong and sophisticated. “I told him… our truth.” He said. “Alexander told me about what was happening tonight. Are you… are you his real mother?” she asked. The playful happy twinkle in her eyes was gone now. She seemed to have grown up in less than five seconds flat. There are only two things that can do that to do. Danger or pain. I didn’t think this was danger, but I suppose it was probably pain on Alexander’s part. And I know; pain of a loved one is a pain greater than your own at times. “Yes.” I said. I looked over at Delano who smiled and nodded. “Delano… you don’t have to tell Alexander the truth. He likes thinking you’re his father… but… are you?” she asked. She watched

him closely, waiting for any sign of waver in his eyes. I watched him closely too. I wanted to know that as well. “Alexander and I do need to disuse this. I… I am not his father no. its hard to explain at the moment jazz, but I promise one day I will explain everything to you, or I will let Alexander tell you.” He said. Delano sounded so very sincere the way he was talking to Jacinta. I know it sounded odd to accuse my father as such, but he never seemed to like humans all that much. I was his daughter, and I knew Alexander was his grand child. But other than that, he didn’t really seem like he care much for any human. She nodded her pretty little head, the small bells in her hair made a delightful giggling sound as she did so. I noticed the playfully happy twinkle back in her eyes, I was glad to see it. Such a smile should not be lost over something so… so very confusing. No point worrying over something you don’t understand. That was as true for her as it was for me now. I straightened up in my seat and smoothed out my dress. Well, at least I know I can introduce myself as his mother. Or should I ask him to call me Luna? Damn! This is too confusing. I knew it would be best if he didn’t think his mother and father were dead. I knew that would be better for him. But… could I deny Jennifer’s memory? Could I erase her existence? She would always be in my heart, but shouldn’t her son at least know he had a mother who loved him? “I’m going to tell him the truth” I said abruptly. Delano and Jacinta turned to me and gave me a questioning look. “I’m going to tell him about Bunny and Riley and everything Delano. He should know the truth… the whole truth.” He took my hand in his and smiled. “I think that’s only fair.” He said. His smile was one of pride and joy. He was proud of me, had I really made the right choice? I didn’t know. But, I knew I made the hard choice. And as my mother use to say, the right choice is usually the hardest to make. It was going to be hard denying him as my son, and even harder to talk about Bunny. But I had to do it; I had to do it for Alexander. “Hey Jazzy, can you come up here for a minute?” someone called from upstairs. Was… was that my Alexander? I remember when his voice when it was youthful and high pitched. This deep husky teenaged voice did not belong to the youthful angel I once knew. But then again, I didn’t know him anymore. I would always regret that. “Yeah Alex, coming!” she called as she got to her feet and walked through the corridor and up a flight of mahogany stairs. Her foot steps echoed there way back to us sitting in that large white room. I leaned against Delano and sighed. “I’ll have to tell him I’m only his aunty. It wont make sense if I tell him both me and bunny were his mother. Even to me that makes no sense.” I said regretfully. Delano wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me against him.

“He will understand. He’s as smart as he always was Luna. He already knows he’s not… normal. I haven’t had the heart to explain everything to him yet, I thought it may be against the rules. We’re not sure if he is a Wiccen yet. I didn’t want to make a mistake and get him killed.” I remembered that. Bunny had said humans weren’t supposed to know about us, if they found out about what we were they wouldn’t understand. We would cause a world wide panic. “So… does he think I’m his… mother?” I asked. He had already answered this question, but I wanted clarification. My mind was racing a million miles a minute. “He knows you were… are more so his mother than anyone else. I was a little vague when explaining it. I didn’t know how much you wanted him to know.” I patted the back of his hand and stood up gracefully. That was a difficult feat considering I was wearing a pair of huge dolly shoes. Balance poise and grace were going to be my main targets tonight. I was so going to fail. “Hurry up you two or were going to be late!” Delano called from the bottom of the stairs. I hadn’t seen him move, that was bad. “Does he know what you are?” I asked. Delano turned to me and flashed his purely whites. “He guessed about two years ago. I told you he was a smart kid. He knows I’m not his father if your wondering, but Jazzy doesn’t.” he smiled at me wickedly. Someone was being a very bad little vampire. “Sorry Dad! We’re coming!” Alexander called. I bit my bottom lip and balled my hands back into fists. This was so not going to be good. Damn! I was more nervous than I had ever been. Even exams went by with less drama. “Breath Luna.” I looked over at Delano and took n a few deep calming breaths. Delano smoothed out my hands and took my right hand in his. I squeezed it and tried to centre myself, I was failing. I heard the echoes of footsteps as Jacinta and Alexander came down the stairs. He was so different. My little Alexander was no longer small enough to pick up. He was a tall athletic teenager. His hair was sandy blonde with colored streaks. It was gelled and tussled into casual disarray making it look more like bed hair than anything else. His light blue eyes were lighter than I had ever seen them, an icy blue I was not accustomed to seeing. His skin was lightly tanned and his cheeks decorated with small freckles. His shoulders were broad and strong. He reminded me of Gabriel, he reminded me so very much of Gabriel. His suite was a clean white tux with bright red trim. His tie was a solid crimson and fit in with the theme perfectly. Jacinta grabbed a small purple versa chi purse from the couch she had previously been sitting on and bounced her way back over to us.

“Okay, I’ll see you guys later.” She said. She turned to Alexander and kissed him lightly, for obvious reasons. “Happy Birthday.” She whispered before bounding off and out the door. Normal people don run off like that… “My, my, my, don’t you look special.” Delano said as he walked circles around Alexander. Alexander was roughly around the same height as me, if not a little taller. Delano towered over him the way Delano towered over me. But Alexander didn’t seem intimidated, I guess I understood. Delano was scary to stare at but once you get to know him, you realize his just a big muscley teddy bear. “What can I say, Jazzy picked out the tux.” He said, blushing like a school girl. “How long have you two been together?” I asked. He looked over at me and stared into my eyes. It was a strange realization. I could feel him; it was as if I could see into his mind. We shared a connection of souls I had missed for so very long. I wanted to run to him and swing my arms around him. But that would have seemed a little odd. I felt unshed tears glisten in the corners of my eyes. He walked towards me and stared into my eyes, he was just taller than me. And I had grown in the past two hours, damn! Was everyone I loved going to be taller than me, or was that just everyone I met in general? The silence was almost deafening, I wanted to say or do something. But I didn’t. I stayed silent; even if I had the strength to say something… what would I say? “L—Luna?” his huge ice blue eyes gazed into my own. There was a longing within them I knew all to well. I had missed him; I had missed him so very much. I nodded, the first small clear salty tear streaked down my face. How I had missed him so. He took me into his arms and hugged me. I tightened my arms around him and hugged him with just as my force. He was not as muscular as Gabriel, or even Adrian. But he was young; the muscles would come soon enough. He was so different from the Alexander I once knew. The Alexander I use to take in my arms and sit in my lap. The Alexander I would hold until we both fell asleep. I had missed him… I had missed my little Alexander. “I missed you… Mum” Alexander whispered in my ear. I let another tear roll down my face and a small whimper escape my lips. “I missed you too my little angel, I missed you too…” My voice broke in several places as I tried to chock out the sentence. I kissed his cheek and pulled him even tighter against my body. “I’ll never leave you again.” I whispered. He let out a breath I didn’t know he was holding in and the slight tension in his shoulders relaxed.

“You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear you say something like that.” he said. We pulled away from one another but held on to one another’s arms. I stared into his eyes and smiled. He was crying, he really had missed me. I didn’t think he’d even realize who I was… but he remembered me. He remembered me… I had wanted him back for so long, I just hadn’t been thinking about it. Seeing him now was like having a piece of me given back, a piece I hadn’t realized was missing until just now. I wasn’t as hollow anymore. I was with my son, he wasn’t my birth child, but I had just as much claim to him as anyone else left in this world. Maybe more, considering I was technically his aunt. “We better get going” Delano announced. We both turned to him abruptly, but my smile never wavered. I knew Adrian was in there somewhere, but at the moment, nothing was going to make me cry. I was happy, my son was home. I know that sounded strange considering we were in the house of Mr. and Mrs. O’Brian, but wherever he was… it was home to me. He was my son after all. I had my faults, as did everyone else in my life. But no matter how far apart we may become, he was still my son. Just as Gabriel was my lover and Delano was my father, Alexander would always have a place in my heart, he would always have a place in my life. I loved him. Not because I was suppose to love him, or because I had to. I loved Alexander because he was special to me. I was the last in my family that last of my blood line. But Alexander made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I still had family as long as he was alive. I wanted to thank Adrian now. I wanted to thank Adrian and Delano for not killing my Alexander. They knew he was special, they knew I would never forgive his death. The death of a family member hurts, but the death of an innocent child, let alone a son, that would be… beyond devastating. I wanted to thank them for that, it seemed silly, to thank someone for not committing murder. But still, I felt like I should. They saved a piece of me I didn’t know I was missing. A little piece of me I loved, and had once lost. He was here, and I would never let him go.

Part Two

Alexander’s Magic

Salt Water
Chapter 4
Tonight had been an interesting night to say the least. After we had gathered ourselves and left for the restaurant Delano and I came crashing down with all the magical news. Let’s just say Alexander didn’t take it as well as I had taken it. At first, he cracked up laughing. He thought it was a joke, I found that funny. But obviously not for the same reasons he had. I had to remember he was a teenage boy, a child none the less. Gabriel had once said I took the news so well because I had never truly been a child. He quoted a famous poet, but the words escaped me. What he meant was that age doesn’t determine the faze between childhood and adulthood. It is the child who puts away childish matters and becomes and adult. I had to deal with adult situations and put away childish matters long ago. But Alexander hadn’t. He had grown up in a perfect world of what I assumed was happiness without falter. He never had to see his parents fighting with one another, screaming until their lungs gave in. he had never seen the O’Brian’s crying until there tears ran red or watched them as the light slowly withered its way out of their eyes. My birthday had been the first day either of my parents had smiled in such a long time. I had missed their smiles, I always felt so helpless. I tried my best for them, reaching out were I could. Doing whatever little task I could to make their lives that little bit easier. But it wasn’t always easy. Looking after people either becomes a habit or a reason to commit suicide over time. Suicide was out of the question for me, so force of habit was the way it all turned out. That’s how I saw it at least. It took Delano about an hour before he finally convinced Alexander he wasn’t joking. The reality of his situation hit Alexander like a hammer. I knew how he felt, though it didn’t affect me the same way. It took me time before the shock of everything really set in. it was as if it were Christmas eve and he had just been told, not only would Santa not be visiting, but that Santa had never really existed at all. Alexander was questioning everything he believed in. if this was reality for him, what had he grown up in? Was that reality or fantasy? Was what we were telling him truth or fiction? I had asked myself these questions a million times. My life never seemed like reality anymore. Everything was like a great grey ocean. Tiring and dull, and yet, there

was something that made the ocean, my life, mystical and special. It was something that made my life more than what it was. Delano and I had to clarify everything with him, explain who was who and how they were related to him. Some how, speaking of bunny… Jennifer, it made me feel better, proud almost. I saved her story for another time, but just thinking about what she had done for her family, and for her loved ones… it made me smile. She had given up magic, the thing I have found most important in my life. I understood why she did it; there was a time in my life I thought I would give up magic for Adrian. But that didn’t work out as we had planned. I couldn’t give up what I believed in just to make him feel better. I couldn’t live a life of murder just so I could be with someone I loved. I wasn’t sure why, but I couldn’t do it. It was like something told me if I did it I would regret it. Not consciously, but something deep inside me would be lost. Something I wanted to keep would go missing… and I may never find it again. I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t know why I didn’t, I simply didn’t. I was scared I suppose. Even after all this time, I’m still scared of the unknown. When the unknown becomes your familiar what happens to what once was familiar? Does it become your unknown? Or does it simply get pushed into the back round of the person you once were? I thought I knew the answer to such questions… but I didn’t. I thought I had gone through enough problems and scenarios to realize the truth, but I hadn’t. It was like selective hearing. I didn’t know the truth; I knew the truth I wanted to be true… selective truth. Needless to say after hearing so much, and yet so little, Alexander didn’t feel like eating a whole lot. I said I’d grab something later; I too wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal. Delano had picked a steak house of all places for this conversation. Perhaps he was hoping we wouldn’t eat, Adrian didn’t find it sickening, but then again, he probably wouldn’t let it show. There was so much I wanted to tell him, but he would never be able to take it all in at one time. Not only the personal things I wished to share, but all the wonders of magic, and what I have experienced in my short life. Magic was the best part of it all. And yet, I couldn’t help but begrudge him the magic. It may be the best part of my life now, but what would it be for him? I had nothing better in my life, and no home to go back to. My family was dead and magic was my only future. I had no choice but to embrace it. The fact was sad, but true. But Alexander had a home. He had a family that loved him, a girl friend that was loyal and more than one home open for him. But magic may conflict his life. Humans were not allowed to know of us. That didn’t just include his parents… but Jacinta too. Could he give up her for the magic?

I had been lucky. The man I loved wasn’t considered human. His race already knew of my kind. I didn’t break any rules by being with him. But if Alexander loved Jacinta the way I assumed he did… what would happen to them? Would he give up his magic like his mother before him? Or would he give her up? Would that child like sparkle leave Jacinta’s eyes for good? These were questions I didn’t know the answer too. They were questions I never wanted to find an answer to. They were good kids. I didn’t want to see them go through those kinds of decisions. No one should have to make choices like that. We took Alexander back to the house; everyone was still sitting in the lounge room. It was as if no one, accept Gabriel whom answered the door, had moved. Rain said she needed privacy for her magic to work for Alexander. I didn’t understand it, but Pandora had told me once that the mind connections worked better when they were done privately. I didn’t understand why, probably less to distract the two participating parties. Yeah, that made sense. We all sat in the lounge room and waited for rain and Alexander to return. They had been gone for little over half an hour before I felt it. I wasn’t sure how to describe it. It was almost as if an invisible hand stroked the magic deep within me. As if my magic was a living breathing creature being patted by an invisible force. I gasped. The feeling of having my insides stroked by some great heavy invisible hand was not exactly a pleasant one, though I won’t say it was painful either. It was… a strange sensation, one that left me completely breathless and tense down to the bone. Gabriel’s arms constricted around me and held me tight against his body. I looked over towards Frey; she was leaning back against the couch, and back arched mouth wide open gasping for air. She could feel it too. Gabriel tried to pull away at my magic, but it wasn’t my magic doing this. It was rain, whatever she was doing; it was affecting ever Wicca here. “What’s happening?” Raphael asked. He had turned and was now kneeling in front of me, arms pressing my legs against Gabriel’s. “Rain…” it was all I could say. Her magic was tightening my magic, making it build. I was glad Gabriel was touching me, otherwise, I doubt my ability to last this long. Delano took my hand in his and made me look at him. Those eyes were not my father’s eyes, but Adrian’s. He was trying to help me as much as possible, I was grateful for that. I let them take my magic, whatever Rain was doing was making it build to the point were my own magic was almost suffocating me. It was freezing me from the inside out. I let Gabriel and Adrian try and take as much of that magic from me as they could. But no matter how much they took, it just kept building.

I had to use it; I had to get it out of me. Gabriel and Adrian were trying but it just wasn’t coming out fast enough. I centered my magic. Curled it into a ball within my body and screamed. With the scream came my magic. My magic had always shot from my hands. But as I screamed the magic left every pore in my body. As if it was being projected. The magic left my body with such a force it felt like the harshest of winds whipping from my body and into any other corner of the room. It felt almost like a wave of magic, it rippled until it came in contact with something, anything. The walls shook and the photographs smashed. Everything was pushed away from me in a sudden push of power and strength. The sudden explosion of power made everyone either stagger or throw their heads back. The invisible hand stopped clawing at my insides, and the build up of power was officially expelled. I hadn’t felt this… human in so very long. There was no power in my body, it was as if I had lost some ability I never knew was there, and now it left me felling… weak, human. “Are you okay?” Gabriel asked. It took me two tries before I found my voice. I guess expelling that much power took more out of me than I thought. “Yeah… wish I could say the same about the room.” I looked around the room. Everything was either broken shattered or completely destroyed. The only things that seemed too survived were furniture beneath human bodies. “Material objects can always be replaced.” Raphael cooed from my lap. He leaned his cheek against my lap and I couldn’t help but stroke back that Blondie brown hair. He hugged my legs with his tree trunk arms and rubbed his cheek against my leg. He muttered something angrily against my leg. “Don’t ever scare me like that again!” I wasn’t sure if I got it all, but I didn’t feel like asking him to repeat it. “What the hell was that?” this from Michael now leaning over the back of the white leather couch. He was inches away from Delano, guess he wasn’t so scared of the big bad vampire after all, or maybe he just forgot. “I… I don’t know. But… but…” “Jesus Christ! I hate when she does that!” Frey yelled. I looked over at her and stared. She was on the floor now, lying flat on her back breathing heavier than even I had been a moment ago. “You could feel it to could you? I saw it, when you were writhing on the couch. You could feel it… what… what was it?” she stared at me as if I were some freak show side attraction she’d never seen before. It

excited, amused and perplexed you all at once, but you can’t look away. “You’ve never done that before… have you?” she asked. I laughed and shook my head. What the hell was it? “Why would I ask you what it was if I had already been through it?” she laughed and nodded as well. “It was a pretty stupid question wasn’t it?” she shook her head and sighed, as if suddenly she was tired, exhausted even. “She was trying to call Alexander’s magic. We wont know until Rain tells us if he is or isn’t a Wicca. Considering you’re still young, I think that’s why your magic flared up. The fact you’ve been denying it lately definitely didn’t help. You were lucky you had your guardians with you. You could have blown the house to kingdom come if you hadn’t had them to help you.” She looked up and me and Gabriel and smiled deviously. I knew that smile a little too well, it was a smile Adrian use to wear all too casually. “You should reward him… them.” She said suggestively. I looked up at Gabriel; he was smiling that same suggestive little smile. I had to laugh. I touched my finger to his lips and smiled. “Not tonight Gabriel” I whispered. He kissed my finger and let the suggestive smile fade. I took my finger away and leaned my head back so I could rest my cheek against his. It was for comfort sake, nothing more, just warmth and comfort. It was a comfort only Gabriel seemed to give me these days. He rubbed his cheek against mine and planted a small wet kiss against my cheek. I closed my eyes and let the tension ease away; I let it seep out of my body and fall away in pieces. I was so comfortable. Gabriel was below me, cradling my body against his. Raphael was at my feet, head in my lap hugging my legs. Michael was leaning forward over the couch. I didn’t get why, he just was. Maybe he needed the contact just like we did. But, then again, maybe not. Maybe he just wanted to be close by incase some more waked up junk happened. I know Michael; he’d want to be in the middle of it. Most people would be smart and run away, save their own tails. But not Michael, no. he was hung up on the whole big boy macho stuff. I didn’t get it. But that wasn’t the point that was just Michael. He always had to prove he was the big bad guy everyone ran screaming from. But, sadly, his main goal at the moment was to prove he was stronger than Gabriel and Raphael. I really don’t understand what his beef was. I never expected anything to actually happen between Gabriel Raphael and Michael. But, I guess, that wasn’t the point. He just wanted to know he was better than them. All guys want to know their better than the best. But, it doesn’t and wasn’t going to happen. Even if he got the chance to take on Gabriel, my angel wouldn’t go down. It wouldn’t even be a close fight. I didn’t doubt Michael’s abilities, never would I do that. I just knew

Gabriel was better. It wasn’t a show of favoritism, just a fact. Not only was Gabriel bigger and a hell of a lot stronger, but he had the experience. He was god’s right hand man after all. There had to be a reason he was god’s second and not Michael. I won’t pretend to know gods motives, I doubt anyone could know something like that. But what I didn’t know was that he wouldn’t make his decision lightly. Doesn’t sound like the big guy, does it? Not from what I’ve heard anyway it doesn’t. I heard the door creek open and automatically my eyes flew open. I couldn’t push Raphael off me, not even if I tried. And Gabriel had me in a vise tight grip, it was like he was afraid if he let go… I’d disappear. I inclined my head towards him and pecked him on the cheek. “I’m not going to disappear Gabriel. Let me up.” I said. He sighed but nodded. He loosened his arms as I turned my attention to Raphael. “Raphael, let me up please. I’d like to speak with Rain for a moment if you don’t mind.” I said. He reluctantly slid his arms away from me and got to his feet. “As my lady commands” he said as he offered me a hand. I took it and let him help me to my feet. “Thank you Raphael.” I said as I walked towards the door. Alexander was leaning against the wall and Rain was smiling brightly. I walked towards her and offered my hands. It seemed to be a respectful sign among them. The council member always seemed to be touching, in one way or another. She took my hands and her smile became even brighter. “May I speak with you and Alexander privately?” she asked, he voice still calm and sweet. He voice felt as if I could reach out and stroke the warmth. I nodded and stretched out one of my hands towards Alexander. He took it, his body both warm and cold at the same time. The outer layer of his skin seemed boiling hot, but the flesh underneath felt like ice. I wondered if this was how I felt to Gabriel. If it was, I almost felt sorry for him. We all walked into the kitchen. It was a safe place to talk, I suppose and it wasn’t a bad idea to make some coffee. We got settled shortly after I made everyone, including my multiple guests in the lounge room. I found it… rude to make myself something without at least offering something for everyone else. So, once all that was settled Alexander, Rain and I settled down at the dinning room table for our little discussion. Alexander had taken his coffee that same as me, cream and two sugars. Good boy, if he had of refused coffee, I don’t know what I would have done. No one in there right mind refuses hand made coffee. Not even if you won’t drink it. It’s just something you don’t pass up. Ever.

“Okay, so, what do we need to discuss?” I asked. “Well, Alexander, his training, the rules est.” the look on her face was so casual. Even I didn’t feel that comfortable around magic yet, and I’d had to live with it for the past ten odd years. But then again. I didn’t have to live eat and breathe magic. Suddenly, Rain’s life seemed to really suck from where I was standing. “Okay. So, he is a Wiccen then?” I couldn’t help but poke at it. If there was hope he didn’t have to lead the same life as me, I was going to hang onto it. “Yes, but…” “But what?” why was she stalling? What had gone wrong? What if it’s something bad, something we can’t fix? “He’s… he’s a late bloomer I suppose you could say. It is very odd. I suppose it must be due to the fact he has grown up around non magical families for most of his life. People really do learn how to… grow from watching those around them. It’s how you say ‘Monkey see, Monkey do.’ Or at least that’s how I preserve this situation.” She said firmly. She was trying to explain, not only to me, but to herself as well. Or at least, that’s the impression I got from her. “So he doesn’t have his… magic yet.” I said. She shook her head and giggled in frustration. It wasn’t a laugh I heard often, but it was a laugh I would recognize anywhere. “No… he has magic, and let me tell you, that’s stuff’s going to be powerful one day. Maybe, even as powerful as your own magic could be… maybe. It’s just… resisting the call. He has magic, but it’s just not ready to come out yet.” She said firmly. “When do you think it’ll be ready to come out?” she rubbed her thumb and forefinger over the bridge of her nose and exhaled. “It could be anywhere between a couple of months to a couple of minutes. I really don’t know. Usually, late bloomers are triggered by wither a traumatic incident, or, contact with a greater power. But it has to be a power strong enough and familiar enough to coax him into using it.” She said. I relaxed into my chair and took a deep swallow of my coffee. I needed something in my mouth to distract me from talking. “I tried” Alexander muttered under his breath. I covered his hand in mine, and drew his attention to my face. “I don’t doubt that for a second Alexander. You’re still just as smart and determined as I remember… but this is not something you can force. Maybe it’s a good thing you don’t have them yet. Maybe it’s a good thing you haven’t come into your powers yet. Think of it this way, you have more time to prepare, I promise you, it’s a lot to take in at once.” I said. That much was true. He could use this time to prepare and learn about his skills. Kind of like studying for a big test, it’s the better to have prepared that to of simply dived into the test not know what to expect. “And then, you’ll have more time to learn the rules.

Like the ones about humans and magic and choices you can make.” I hadn’t had many chances, and I had had very little time to learn the rules. I was thrown in the deep end and expected to swim. I had learned a lot from Gabriel over the years. Enough to know there were classes and schools late bloomers could take. There were academies all over the glob. The kinds of academy’s that could take who ever they wanted and not worry about costs and expenses. The kind of academies I had always wanted to go to when I was younger. When I had a chance I should say. “What do you mean, ‘laws about humans’? What kind of laws?” he asked. Damn, he was a smart cookie. I both loved and hated that fact. “I dint want to tell you this. But… I suppose its inevitable now.” I dropped my gaze from his and took back my hand. “Humans aren’t aloud to know about magic, or be with a magical creature. You’re a magical creature now Alexander… and, Jacinta’s still a human girl. It’s against the law…” my voice had grown lower than a whisper. I really didn’t want him to know this; he didn’t need to know this… not yet at least. I waited for him to say something, and when he never did I had an idea. A stroke of genius, if you will. “Rain?” she looked over at me, her fake little smile perched upon her dainty red lips. “He hasn’t come into his power yet, so, technically… he could still be with her, couldn’t he. Just until his powers come in, couldn’t he?” I asked. Rain’s smiled turned from a fake plastered smile used only for show, into a full blown grin. Something told me she was a hopeless romantic at times. “I believe you’ve found a loop whole my dear. Cleaver girl” her tone of voice was appraising and feather light. It tickled across my skin the way no words should ever touch you. I didn’t think that would change anything. He would still have to give up Jacinta, eventually. I didn’t like the idea of putting them through that. Maybe… maybe Jacinta could make the decision Delano had made. Delano had given up his vary soul to stay with my mother. But… after little more than three hundred and fifty years… it all went south. But I would never wish that kind of a choice on my Alexander, or his lady love. I didn’t want to put him through any more hurt, and if his lover suffered… so did he. It was the way I was, if someone I loved was hurting, I hurt to. It was strange to imagine Alexander thinking differently. But, maybe that was just me. I finished my coffee and rinsed out the cup. I wasn’t in the mood to stay on this subject. But I didn’t have much of a choice now did I? Answer: a big fat ‘Nope’. I stayed at the table and listen to Rain’s proposal. She wanted to enlist him in one of her most favored Academies. ‘ELA’ or ‘The

Academy of Eternal Life’, now there was a title that grabbed your attention. School year for them was twice as long as a human year. But I suppose, when you live forever, what relevance does time have? None, absolutely none. I told her we’d think about it. I was Alexander’s mother… in my own way. But I wasn’t his legal guardian anymore. It was up to him and his parents. But, then again. He was sixteen now, the law said he could move out, if he wanted, and nor parents or the police would be able to stop him. It would be completely legal. No formalities no repercussions, he would simply be living with someone else. If he moved out, into the academy, or even in here with Gabriel and my self… he would be more than welcome. He could have Gabriel’s room and Gabriel could bunk with me. I wouldn’t mind Gabriel’s company of a night and I’m sure he’d have no objections either way. We had finished up our conversation and Gabriel had offered to take everyone home. He knew they could fly just as easily, but he seemed to like making a human appearance stick. It would help for Alexander as well; maybe that was Gabriel’s prerogative. Whatever the reason, it left me Alexander and Delano alone in lounge room together. Delano and Alexander had finally agreed they’d both stay the night. I didn’t know where Delano would be bunking, though he probably wouldn’t sleep anyway. He didn’t need to. People tend to not do things that were not a necessity. Vampires were still people; no mater what Hollywood wants us to believe, they’re still people. That left me and Delano alone together on the impossibly wide couch. I lay down with my head resting on Delano’s thigh. I was tiered, but I didn’t want to go to be without Gabriel. I wanted to wait for him, I know it sounded stupid, but it was what I wanted. “Luna… are you happy?” Delano asked. I turned my face so I could look into his eyes. They were my father’s eyes. “Yes, I know it sounds strange… but yeah. I’m happy Delano. I spent to mush time waiting dad, it wasn’t worth it. I still love Adrian, and I’m scared of what I’ll do if I see him again. But, at the moment… yeah, I’m happy dad. I’m happy and I don’t understand why. But I suppose what’s the point in knowing the reason?” I loved my father enough to know I could tell him the truth and not worry about it. If Adrian wanted to listen in on this conversation, I couldn’t really help it. “Gabriel is your guardian, you’re supposed to be happy with him.” that much was true… I guess. I still didn’t understand though. What the hell was a guardian? Why did I have two and why was it so strange I had two? “Delano, I know Adrian and Gabriel are both my guardians. But… what are guardians exactly. I mean, I know Gabriel is a member of the guardians and Adrian is an enforcer… but I really just… I don’t

understand it.” I was getting frustrated now. I had always hated being the ignorant naïve one. It annoyed me more than it should. “Every human has a guardian Luna. A magically bound creature that, I suppose you could say protects them. Magical beings are draw to their human charges; they share a kind of bond I suppose you could say. The kind of bond that allows Wicca’s to give their magic to another, the kind of bond you have with Adrian and Gabriel. But your case I very strange, you are not a human and therefore technically you shouldn’t have a guardian at all, late alone two. And your guardians are not magical creatures either. Your guardians are an angel and a vampire. If you would have asked me before a few days ago, I would have told you such a thing was impossible. I’ve never see, let alone heard, of anything like this.” His voice held sorrow and regret. He didn’t need to be feeling bad because he didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what was happening. So, I suppose, at least I’m on the same page as everyone else. That’s something at least, I guess… maybe. “I thought humans weren’t aloud to know about magical creatures. I thought it was against our laws.” “Not if you don’t tell them. It’s different for lover and friends. Creatures of magic can keep company of a human, but not the love of one. Strange to think most guardians will either end up very close friends with, or the lover of their charge.” Delano said laughter clear in his voice. “But isn’t that against the law?” “For a charge and a Guardian is different. A guardian will be with the charge indefinitely. There bond is stronger than any human ceremonies, such as engagements or marriage. A guardian’s vow is permanent and binding. ‘Till death do us part’ is not just another expression. A guardian is bound to their charge until death do they part.” “So… if a guardians charge is human, they can be with the charge because… that’s their job anyway?” “… Not exactly, but it is a close enough analogy. A guardian lives only for their charge; a relationship can only strengthen that bond. Why hold back from a love that could be stranger than most family blood ties? Why deny yourself the true happiness that comes from indulging in you guardian?” he said. His voice sounded so neutral, so calm. This wasn’t the kind of every day talk, and yet, Delano was able to make it sound like it was something he had said a million times. Something inside me made me doubt this was normal conversation. “Why do I get the feeling your not talking about guardians in general, but more o about one specific guardian?” “Because, you’re not an idiot.” That made me laugh, only Delano could break tension like that.

“Okay, may I ask… what happened. Ten years ago you said I should do whatever makes me happy, even if it hurts to do. But now, now it’s like your pushing me into Adrian’s arm. I don’t think I want to go back there dad. I’m… I’m scared.” “Scared of what?” “I’m scared that if I run to him again… I won’t want to come back. I’m scared if I love him this much while he’s away… I’ll give up my morals. I’ll join the darkness, even after all this time…” “Even after all this time of running, you’ll do it for Adrian.” “Yeah…” Delano stroked my fore arm and relaxed into the chair. “You really do love him, even after all this time and all he’s done to you, you still love him.” I didn’t know what to say to that, so I said the first thing that came to mind. “Yeah…” “Why?” he asked “Excuse me?” “Why do you love him?” “Why did you love my mother?” That stumped him. “We don’t get to choose who we love Delano, we just love. You can’t just make up and excuse for loving someone. I couldn’t make a list long enough of all the reasons I love him. Mostly, because all the things I love about him are the things I hate about him. He’s stubborn and murderous and absolutely psychotic at times, but I love that. I love the way he was so insecure about us, I loved the way he treasured me. But I hated it all at the same time. I loved him and I hated him. For me, that’s about as close to love as I’ve ever come. Love isn’t supposed to be easy, just real.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. “But I’m scared. I’m scared if I run to him I’ll loose whatever decency I have left. I loose the part of me I treasure most. I’m scared I’ll love him more than life itself. I’m scared I’ll never get to see Gabriel again if I got to Adrian. But I’m scared I’m doing the same things by staying with Gabriel. Gabriel makes me calm, but I don’t always want calm. I like being reckless and irresponsible. I miss just having fun the way I use to. I miss everything about me and Adrian, but I don’t want to give up what I have now. Not when everything is finally working. Alexander’s back, I and Gabriel can touch one another without flinching or breaking down in tears. I miss him, but I wish I didn’t miss him.” A small tear escaped the corner of my eye… but no more. I wouldn’t cry for Adrian. That was the second tear he had gotten from me. He wouldn’t get a third. We were silent for most of the night after that. The odd question here and there, but nothing incredibly important. When Gabriel came back Alexander had already retired into the guest bedroom ‘Gabriel’s

room’ for the night. Delano said he had some things and people to check up on anyway and he’d be back before sunrise. Gabriel and I had showered dressed and got into bed. His body was pressed behind mine. One arm was under and around my waist while the other pulling me against his chest. His legs pressed up against the back of my own, and his head rested only inches behind my own. It was nice to just be held at night. It was a feeling I had missed. A felling I wanted for the rest of my life. When someone holds you and tells you they love you, for no special reason, just because they can… its indescribable. To feel love beyond fear was the only way I could describe the way it made me feel. Gabriel could make me feel like the only person in the world that mattered. And to him, I didn’t doubt that was true. But he wasn’t the first man to make me feel this way, but I hoped he would be the last. I didn’t want to have to feel this way for anyone else. I loved Gabriel and Adrian to the point was I knew I would do anything for them. I would die for them, and as time went on, I was thinking I would kill for them. If the reasoning was sound I didn’t doubt my ability to do it. I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t doubt my ability. Gabriel stroked one hand along my arm and kissed a long sensual trial along it. It made me smile. He was so… breathe taking. Why did people so wonderful seem to love me? Me, of all the people in the world they could love, they chose me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t complaining. I just found it… odd. There were so many supermodels out there and yet they chose to come to me. It was a stupid decision, but one they had made. Gabriel had had a go at me for not eating when he got home. But I told him there was no point in eating when you’re not hungry. He gave up on the mini fight about ten minutes after. Not point fighting with someone stubborn. Not unless your willing to be the loosing party. We had curled up into bed with the lights of and the window open. I loved the smells each season brought. It was winter and the air was fresh and cold. But Gabriel was with me, and his body was more than enough to keep me warm. The fact he could warm my body with a simple touch was enough to keep me happy. For now at least. “You seem upset.” Gabriel said. Well, if that wasn’t painfully obvious then he was blind. “I am” “Why?” I took in a deep breath… there were so many reasons for me to be tricked off right now. “Well, for one thing, we just had a fight. We never fight, ever. I had to tell my father even though I love my exboyfriend I don’t want him back, and I had to tell Alexander about the laws of humans. He has a girlfriend Gabriel, she’s beautiful and wonderful… but she’s human. Well, as far as I can tell she is.” I exhaled

sharply and relaxed the tension in my body. “This isn’t fair to either of them. There just kids Gabriel… they should have to go through this. It’s hard enough without having to give up a relationship… but he could give up his powers… but I really want him to know how this feels. Magic isn’t something you can take lightly. Bunny gave it up, and she said she didn’t miss it. But I would. I know I would miss magic more than anything else in the world.” I said. “Well… almost anything. There are other things I think I’d miss just as much, or even more.” That was true. I would miss Delano and Alexander… I would even miss Adrian. But I know id miss Gabriel more if he left. I had already lived through Adrian leaving me; I don’t think I could live through seeing him leave as well. Granted, I didn’t actually see Adrian leave. He was too quick for me to see. I may be a Wicca but I’m not wonder woman. His arms tightened around me and his cheek pressed against mine. “I would miss you more than anything Luna, not just your magic or the way your voice goes high pitched when your angry… just you. I would miss not waking up every morning and seeing your face, I would miss not being able to hold you when you cry. I would miss you Luna. I love you.” He whispered the last part in my ear. I wanted to cry. Not because I was sad, or unhappy. But because I was overjoyed. He loved me; he really, really loved me. No if and’s or but’s about it. He simply loved me for me. He wouldn’t want to change me and he wouldn’t want me to act different. He liked the neurotic mess I was, he like it just fine. I turned around in his arms and kissed him. It was a long deep passionate kiss that ended in sleeping eyes and silent smiles. It wasn’t the end of my tears, but for tonight… they would be silent. The silent salty water of my sorrow.

Tonight I was happy, tonight I was content. No more meaningless meetings with Adrian in my mind. No more waking up and wondering why I’m not crying or screaming, no more wondering why if I was dreaming why I didn’t remember. No. I was happy tonight, I had my explanation. My visions had returned and they were just as real as they had ever been. But as the visions jumped from snippet to snippet, I couldn’t help but feel confused. They jumped from me and Gabriel lying in my bed, to me and Adrian doing the same, from me and Adrian striding along a beach to me and Gabriel going to a late night movie. The scenes progressed in a jumble of confusion that were more than willing to call my brain home. I trusted my visions more than I trusted anything else. They weren’t giving me a play list of what I would do this week. No. they

were telling me, I still had a choice. I could still choose between the two of them. But the simple truth was… I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to choose between Gabriel and Adrian. I didn’t want to have to make that choice. I was content with what I had at the moment. I had Gabriel will me forever, and I still carried Adrian along in my heart. I still wore his wedding ring around my neck. All because… I couldn’t let him go. If that wasn’t true love, then I didn’t want to know what was. You’d think I’d have my answer after saying that. But the thing is… I felt the same for Gabriel. I had been attracted to him the moment I lay eyes on him, the same way I had felt for Adrian. But that was my problem, I loved them both, more than anything, I loved them. I would never put either of them through pain if I could help it. Though it sounds cliché I would take a bullet for them, though it would probably hurt me more than it would them. I would still do it. I would help them with whatever they asked me to help with. I would willingly lay down my life if it meant I could help them. Would do it all if I could… but I couldn’t. I had to make a choice. It would hurt them more if I kept playing this game. Though I didn’t mean to be doing this to them, I knew I was. Not choosing someone would be torture, but making them watch as I was with the other would be pain beyond description. Murder would be a lesser crime. I had to choose someone. But the tough part hadn’t even started yet. If I choose one of them, I will have to deal with their council more. I will have to join a side. How can I choose between these two and remain neutral? It wouldn’t work. No matter how much I hated that fact, it was true. I couldn’t continue being this close with either of them and have no tie to something this important to them. I would choose a man, and I would choose a side. No more fence sitting for me. I had always been a commitment girl. But now… the idea of committing to one of them was terrifying. It was scaring me to death; I didn’t want to choose… because either way, I’d be giving up something. I’d be giving up someone more important to me that life itself. But I won’t deny how I feel. I love Gabriel, god knows I do. But… I miss Adrian. I miss him more than I miss anyone. Even Bunny… I miss Adrian more than anything I have ever lost, anyone I have ever lost. I will always love him. This, I know for sure. I miss him… because I love him. Who am I to deny love? But then again, I don’t only love Gabriel, I am indebted to him. I owe him my life. He saved me and stopped me from going over board more times than I can count. And yet, he’s never complained. I recall him telling me he was simply putting in what he wanted to get out of our relationship, when I was drunk nonetheless. I understand that now. He wants me to choose him. More than he wants

me to love him, he wants me to be his. He does love me, and I know that for sure. But he wants me to be his more than to lobe him. But, then again, Adrian wanted the same thing. He wanted to own me and mould me into something he wanted. I wasn’t going to do whatever he asked of me, he needed to know that. I wasn’t a kept woman, I was my own person. Not just some Barbie doll he could play with until he got bored. He made me angry, and he didn’t always treat me the way I deserved to be treated. But I loved him. I still don’t know if that annoys or humors me, but all in all, I love him. I miss him and I want him back. I want what we use to have. I want my fiancé back, back for good. I couldn’t leave Gabriel; I’d always want him in my life. One way or another I want him to be apart of my life. I wanted to wake up and hold one of them in my arms. I wanted Gabriel to make me warm, the way only he can. I wanted him to crush me in his strong as steel arms and tell me everything would be okay, even if tomorrow I would die. I wanted to feel that warmth, the warmth only he provided. I wanted Adrian to cool me down the way he had done in Italy. I missed Italy. I wanted him to kiss me and declare his love the way he uses to. I want to tell him I loved him and feel his frozen lips below mine, savor the smooth marble texture and feel the foreign sensation of his cold tongue dancing with my own. After thinking about it, I realized… I did love them both. But I loved them both differently. With Adrian and I, it was the crazy just married kind of head over heels love. It was the kind of love that sent you on an extended honeymoon because you couldn’t keep your hands off one another. But with me and Gabriel it was different, more serious. It was if we had been married for the past ten years. And in a way we had. We were past the head over heals I cant keep my hands off you faze, not that we had ever actually had one. And now, now we were in the happily married with four kids and a mortgage stay of love. We loved each other, but time didn’t stop because of it. In a way, my love with Gabriel was more sensible. It would work better because it was more mature. But I didn’t want mature. I wanted Adrian. I wanted what we use to have; I wanted that crazy out of control I love you phase back. It worked for us; it wanted to believe it would work for us. Troubles would never come our way as long as we loved each other. It was the kind of fools thinking that got me in the position I was in now. It was that kind of thinking that made me find Gabriel’s love so… intriguing. I wasn’t use to it, but it worked. It was a love that would last a thousand years—I would say a life time, but Gabriel and I had longer than that—and then some. He loved me, and he would always love me.

He would always do whatever he could to make me happy… just as I would do for him. I wanted to run to Adrian… but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I owed more to Gabriel than I had to offer, so I would offer him everything I had to give. Marrying him wouldn’t be a problem, I could get through that. I didn’t see the big deal in marriage; it had never mattered to me. Why do two people need to stand up in front of the world and proclaim their love to a bunch of random people? I didn’t see the point, well; I don’t see the point in it anymore. I use to believe in marriage and the union and souls so on and so forth. But not anymore, not since Adrian made me see he could take away such a stupid dream away in seconds. I wanted him to marry me and tell me he’d be with me forever. But he broke that promise, the promise that he would always love me, the promise he would never leave me, that promise that he would be mine. He had lied and he had betrayed my trust. How could you love a man who betrays you? Though it seemed silly, I knew the answer. Love wasn’t logical, it was erratic and mind blowing. The thing I loved most about love itself was that it was unpredictable. You can’t plan love and you can’t force it to do things you don’t want it to. You can say and wish you loved someone, but that doesn’t make it so. You can scream and curse a mans name and swear you hate him, but that wont change your feelings. Love is love, undeniable, in all forms. Inequitable, unpredictable, undeniable love, it was confusing to say the least. Was it wrong to love two people at once? Was it wrong to have to choose between the two of them? What did their being guardians have to do with this? Was it that I loved them more because of that fact? Or was it that I only loved them because they were my guardians? Why did I have two guardians? Simple… I didn’t know. I doubted I would ever know. But I suppose, the answers weren’t important now, it wasn’t important weather something was truth or something was fiction. I had found as much truth as I ever wanted to learn ten years ago. What mattered now was what I did. How would I decide what path to take? I wanted to be neutral, I really did. I saw no point in this war, no point in this endless struggle between good and evil… because if you think about it, there is no good nor is there any evil. If evil people can do good deeds and good people can do evil deeds, how can you distinguish between the two? What is the line one must cross to distinguish ones self as good or evil? I know good and evil are not distinguished from birth; I had not chosen a side before my sixteenth birthday, nor have I chosen one now. But I do not consider myself evil because of that, nor do I

consider myself good. I wasn’t even sure I was really neutral. I spent more time with Gabriel than Adrian and more time with the angels than any of my vampire friends. And yet, I didn’t agree with there side. It seemed… pointlessly pathetic to say the least. I didn’t understand why they wanted the darkness destroyed, it perplexed me beyond comprehension. Why wipe out an entire group of people because they see things differently to you? It’s worse than racial discrimination! Killing a group of people simply because you disagree with there life styles and points of view. I hated things like that! It was so pointless it was stupid! Could God really be behind such reasoning? Could the all mighty really want such tragedies to befall entire races? I didn’t agree with the darkness either. I understood how they felt and to a degree their thinking made sense… in a twisted murdering logical way. It wasn’t that they simply wanted to kill and enslave all man kind that I found them easier to agree with. Far from it, that was the reason I disagreed with them. But, being human—once upon a time—has given me a deeper understanding of them. In a way, humans are no more innocent than the darkness. Humans treat cattle the way the darkness believes humans should be treated. Human—like cows to the darkness—are beasts of burden, food and nothing more. Being human once and seeing an animal that way has made the darkness easier to relate to. I was never a vegetarian or a vegan, I liked my meat. And I believe the dark creatures of the darkness liked the blood and flesh. It was a hunger that only a human seemed sufficient to suffice. I understood, I hated that I understood, but nonetheless I did. It made sense to want to own humans the way one can own an animal. That didn’t make it right, it just made it understandable. And yet, the light made sense as well, in a similar way. They have been told to protect what god finds precious. We are precious… they are precious. The humans were chosen, they were given a choice. And yet, angels were made to serve, they had no choice. It was the main reason Lucifer got so jealous. He had never been shown that kind of love and devotion… it must have hurt. But it gave him no right to do what he has done. He had no right to put the world in such a miserable state. But then again, good would not exist without evil, how would we know the difference if one was not present in our world? But that’s just it. One cannot survive without the other. There cannot be good without there being evil… does that mean… that good can act evil to reach its goal? Does the end justify the means? And would that work in reverse? Could Evil creatures have goodness within them? I already knew the answer to that. Adrian was ‘Supposedly Evil’, but he was good. He loved me; love is not an emotion someone purely

evil could portray. He could not love me and be fully evil. There was good within him… just as there was evil within Gabriel. One could not exist without the other. I had my answer, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to believe Adrian wasn’t as evil as I had started to believe. I wanted to know I could have a future with him that was not condemned to hell. I wanted to be good, because underneath it all… evil still scared me. The possibility of wanting to willingly hurt someone… it was enough to make me cringe in fear. But if one cannot truly live without the other, then there was no questioning that Adrian had goodness within him. He was not purely evil, for love is not evil. It can be hard and ugly at times, but underneath it all, love is pure. A full devotion of your soul for another cannot be an evil act, I refuse to believe that. How could something so beautiful be wrong? How could something that had the ability to keep people alive and together be evil? It couldn’t. There was no way anyone could ever convince me that love was wrong and evil. I knew love was pure and good, but above all, love was a divinity. Divinity is not evil, it is a godly creation. If Adrian was capable of loving me then he could not be pure evil. He loved me, and I loved him. I know Love doesn’t conquer all, but it conquers the heart. And no matter what anyone wants to believe, we all tend to listen to our hearts more than anything else. The brain tells you what is logical, but just because it makes sense doesn’t mean its right. It means exactly what it means, it’s logical. But neither humans, nor any other creature are purely logical. We love, we hate and we cry and we are all based on our emotions. We all have hearts; we are all capable of love. And love, as I said, is divine, and anything divine is a creation of God, and then, if god is truly… good. Does that not mean we are all capable of being ‘Good’? It didn’t matter; all that mattered now was that I knew I should follow my heart. My head understood now, and there was nothing holding me back… nothing but Gabriel… and Alexander. They needed me now. Gabriel needed more than anything was someone to love. He had been alone for so long, and now that I was his charge… and he was my guardian. He felt loved. I know my Gabriel had a past, a past he is ashamed of. And to him, he doesn’t believe he deserves love. But I love him, and he knows it. He just hates that he’s not the only man I love. And… he’s scared Adrian will take me away from him. It’s a fear I know all too well. Fear that someone will take what you love most from you; fear someone you care for could hurt you so deeply. Adrian had ripped out my heart that day he left, and every day after he never returned… it was like rubbing salt in the wound.

Knowing he would never be mine again, I would never run my fingers through his hair or trace the soft skin below his eyes ever again. I would never wake up to his arms wrapped around my body as if I were the last person alive… I would never have him to love me ever again. I wanted a clean wound; I wanted to stop twisting the knife in my heart… I wanted to love again. And I’ve turned to Gabriel. I needed him just as much as he needs me. It’s true… it’s sad, but it’s true. We love each other, but I don’t know if it’s enough. I don’t know if it’s ever been enough. He’s always loved me, and in my own way, I’ve loved him too. If it’s enough, then it’s enough. But if its not… I don’t know what to do. But I know what I must do… for now, I need to take care of Alexander. As I had told Gabriel once before… my allegiance is for neither him nor Adrian, my allegiance and loyalty, lies with Alexander. I will help him, and I will follow him. I trust he’ll make the right choice, the choice I can’t make. And I… I will follow him. Not only because it is a decision, but because I want to be there for him. If he sides with the darkness there will be no Wicca or Wiccen’s to help him. There will be no one I can trust with his life. I couldn’t even trust myself with his life. I still know I’m not an idea mother for him… but I will help him with what I can. I am broken beyond repair. But that won’t stop me from trying to help the one family member I have left in my life. I will do everything in my power to help him through this. He will know he’s not alone. He will know there are people who love him. I would follow him… and I protect him. I swear I will protect him. And the decision was made. My eyes opened wide as I gasped for air. The familiar feel of sweat covered skin filled my mind… and Gabriel less than a few inches from me, sleeping soundly. Angels needed sleep too I suppose. That was one thing I liked about waking up with Adrian more than anything. The fact he was right there, pressing me against freezing skin, cooling my body and soothing me as I fought for control of my breathing. Obviously, that wasn’t happening with Gabriel. Damn. I sat there and rocked my self as my heart rate slowed and breathing became calm. I welcomed this. I had missed this. Strange, but tonight had been insightful. My visions had been so… boring lately. But then again, I suppose our futures depend on the decisions we make. I wasn’t capable of making a decision a week ago. So I guess I wouldn’t be able to really have a future. But now… now I could. I could have a future. I could have my visions and I could make my own choices. And best of all, I got to see what others can’t. I could be prepared for what was to come… and best of all… I could change it. Well, I could attempt to change it. I could try to make things better. And all in all, that’s all I really wanted.

If I could make someone’s life just that little bit better… then I would. It was how I’d learnt to be. How I had come to work my way through life. I had always been what someone else wanted me to be… but I had never really been… me. I suppose that sounds odd… but I was never just ‘Luna’. I was always somebody’s Luna. I was whatever that person needed in that moment, because more than anything I’ve ever wanted, I’ve wanted people to be happy. I watched my parents, my own flesh and blood fight and cast them-selves into such misery… I never wanted anyone to feel like that again. If it meant giving up just a little bit of my own happiness, I could more than afford the bill. I had always been happiest when everyone around me was happy. So I guess it was what you’d call a win-win situation. The last time I tried to make myself happy I ended up hurting myself. So, I guess that kind of happiness was just out of the picture for me. But… I could find happiness… I could find happiness in others. Its how I’d survived for more than 16 years, surely it would still work now. Surely… I got out of bed slowly and walked down stairs and into the bathroom. I undressed and climbed into the shower. I let the water slowly coat my skin and drench my hair. I reached for the shampoo… and paused. It was still strawberry and it still reminded me of Adrian, my heart strings still felt that harsh painful tug. But I didn’t throw the bottle or cover it with a towel. I squirted the think pink liquid into my hand and lathered my hair. Maybe I was finally growing up… or maybe I was finally getting over Adrian. Na. I spent a little longer than usual in the shower, washing my skin with strawberry scented soap I had been neglecting. Not that I had not been using soap, just not the strawberry stuff. I had missed the strawberry scent, and so had Gabriel. He’d told me so more than once before… I wonder if he’d notice. I dried my hair and stared at my face in the mirror. I was back to my imperfect 16 year old body complete with horrible pores, blotchy skin and worst of all… morning breath. Needless to say, I brushed my teeth… twice. After I had dress and made myself a mug of coffee (which let me tell you doesn’t taste all that great after brushing your teeth), I sat down on my favorite white leather couch and settled into one of my most favored classic novels ‘Great Expectations’. Gabriel had turned the office into more of a library lately. Turns out we did have a lot in common. From the way we had our coffee to the kind of nonsense book that we read and even our views and more so outrage of the 9/11 bombings. But… then again, a lot of people were probably like that. but, I guess not everyone loved the Barbie girl theme song or wore my pink fuzzy bunny slippers when he thought no one was watching. Raphael

caught him in the bathroom with a hairbrush in front of the mirror singing ‘… I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…’ lets just say he locks the bathroom door for more than one reason. I dressed in a simple pair of faded blue jeans and with black and gold beading of the word ‘Love’ across my left thigh, I thought it was cute, needless to say, Gabriel agreed. The top was a black long sleeved turtle neck. Just like almost everything else in my closet at the moment they were all originally presents for Jennifer. When I’d first one here, she’d given me a complete wardrobe of some of the world’s top designers… I hadn’t realized that at first. I hadn’t been nearly as grateful as I should have. I wasn’t half the things I should have been for everything she had done for me… same went for Pandora. I owed her more thanks than she got. She taught me how to use my magic, within a day no less. She gave me a house to live in, though, technically Gabriel took care of taxes and moorages and such. But still, she did more for me than I could have ever asked for. She did more to secure my future in those short few days than anyone has done for me my entire life. I never got to tell her how thankful I was… and no matter what I do, she’ll never know. I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and turned. I had expected Gabriel… but the person I saw was a very young looking Gabriel. Shorter and less muscular, obviously still a teenager. Darker hair and wider eyes… Alexander really did look like Gabriel. A young pre-pubescent Gabriel, but Gabriel all the same. Maybe that was a sign… then again, maybe not. “Morning” I said. He stopped in his tracks and stared at me. “Who are you?” he asked. “I don’t seriously look that much older do I?” I asked. He was quiet for a moment and scanned my appearance. I even did I little twirl for him. I knew stuff like this was supposed to be hard for someone to take in… but I’d never had that problem. “Luna?” he asked. “The one and only. Hey, you want something? I’ve got the faema going if you want a coffee, or I think Gabriel’s got a couple cans of coke left in the fridge.” “Don’t you have anything that isn’t caffeinated?” he asked. He walked down the stairs towards me and I smiled. “Sorry. Water’s about the end of it, or if your really desperate there’s a little corner shop a few blocks down. I was going to go for a jog anyway. I could pick you up something on my way if you’d like.” I said. He considered it for a moment and smiled. “That would be awesome.” He said. Relief clear on his face, I smiled and set my mug aside before walking over to the door to put on my shoes. “Anything you’d like in particular?” I asked as he plunked down on the couch.

“Orange juice and cereal would be great.” He smiled. I missed that smile. “Sure. I’ll just tell Gabriel I’m going out for a bit he’s got work today anyway… I think.” I ran half way up the stairs and turned around. “Oh and if Michael and Raphael show up tell them I’ll be back in a few and to not raid my cupboards again or they’ll get more than the wooden spoon.” The last time Raphael and Michael had decided to use their culinary skills I ended up spending the entire day cleaning the kitchen. Don’t ask me how they managed to get flour on the floor ceiling and all four walls, but they did. Being supernatural was both an advantage and a set back. And it gets even worse when supernatural people desire to have a food fight. Or would that be flour fight? The point is, never let angels use your kitchen. I opened the door to my bedroom and walked inside. Gabriel was sleeping like an angel, but I suppose that analogy doesn’t work all to well considering he is an angel. But he still looked so… innocent. I knelt by the bed and stroked a few strands of golden hair from his face. His eyes opened and focused slowly. “Morning Gabriel.” I whispered. “Morning” he whispered back. “I’m going out for a couple minutes, Alexander’s down stairs. Do you want anything while I’m out?” I asked. He shook his head and closed his eyes again. He looked so restful… so utterly at peace. I kissed his forehead and left. When I ran down the stairs Alexander had made himself comfortable sitting on my couch legs resting on the coffee table as he watched some music video. He wasn’t my little boy anymore… I don’t know how I felt about that. “Okay, I’m heading out.” I called from the door way. He looked over at me, a slight smile playing on his lips and nodded. And with that, I took off running.

When I had gotten back, Raphael and Michael were chilling out with Alexander watching some documentary on some emo-punk rock band. Honestly I’d never understood how people could like that kind of music, I didn’t like remembering times like that in my life, and music had always been very emotional for me. “Hey boys!” I called from the door way. “I hope your all hungry, I picked up some of that seasoning you like to go with the—” Raphael’s hand clamped around my mouth, his expression wasn’t happy. “Luna, what I’m about to tell you goes against just about every moral fiber in my body, but I don’t want you to die—“ his hand release

my mouth once he decided I wasn’t going to talk “—and no matter what Gabriel thinks you could very well die along with him.” “Gabriel’s going to die?” I asked. “Not me.” Gabriel walked down from the top of the stairs and leaned against the wall. “Then who?” I asked. Raphael and Gabriel looked at one another for a long time. Usually I’d be as patient as I could but excuse me if I get a little paranoid when someone tells me I could die. “Could someone please just tell me what the big secret is? Who am I going to die along with?” I asked. “Adrian…” Gabriel finally said. He spat the word out as if it caused him pain just to say it. In those few seconds the world seemed to stop all together. He could die. I wouldn’t let him die on me. I loved him. People you love aren’t supposed to die! Sure he broke my heart and killed off most of my family, but that was years ago. I was over it… wasn’t I? I miss my family, and I know nothing I could ever do would bring them back. I’ve accepted that, and I’ve accepted that he did it because he thought it was for the best. But, I think underneath it all, I was still mad. I wouldn’t let him die because was mad would I? The thing that scared me the most was in that moment, I wasn’t sure. It scared me to think I may very well let him die because I was angry. I couldn’t let him die because of me, I’d find a way to help him… one way or another. “How can I stop this?” I asked focusing completely on Raphael. Not only because I didn’t want to ask Gabriel how to save my ex-lover and watch the torment dance along his face. But mostly because Raphael had been the one who was most helpful, he was the one that had told me what I needed to know when I needed to know it with no hesitation. That’s what I needed right now. I needed a way to save boy Adrian and my own ass at the same time. Raphael would give me the answer. He wouldn’t sit there and try to spare my feelings or make things easier for me, he’d just tell me. He’d explain it to me and not worry about anything else but my understanding. “You remember how I told you that if I guardian and his charge were separated for to long, the weaker of the two would die?” I nodded “Adrian and Gabriel are both your Guardian’s. When a guardian takes your magic form you it’s not only to help the Wicca, even human’s have magic. ” That was news to me. “Guardians need to share magic with their charge as often as possible to maintain their full strength. However, they can survive for incredibly long times without the magic and still seem normal. But their power and energy slowly slip away.” He spared a quick glance at Gabriel. I didn’t dare look behind me to see how he was feeling. I could feel the hate generating off him, it

was like his warmth… only… more. It was angry and almost scolding as it prickled over my skin. “Adrian is dieing, and sometimes when a guardian dies so will the charge and vise versa. Usually the stronger of the two will survive… but the bond you too had was as strong as the bond you and Gabriel share. I do not doubt if either of them dies so will you.” As his words sunk in I got a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like ice freezing from my stomach outwards. Stabbing and tearing it was out. I gasped and reached out for Gabriel who took my hand. The prickling in my stomach slowed and eased away. I didn’t like that I depended on him or Adrian to calm me, or take my magic. But it was there, and it was the truth. I had wanted the truth, and I had wanted a lie. But now, there was no way out of this. If he died, so would I. If I died, so would he. “How can I stop it?” Raphael put his hands on each of my shoulders and stared into my eyes. “He needs your magic. Go to him, and hold his hand. Give him the support he needs. Over a few days his strength will come back into its fullness and you shouldn’t have to deal with him for another few years. Perhaps see him ever so often the further apart you all are the lower your powers will truly be. But if you were all together, all three of you, your powers would be a force to recon with. It could be the deciding factor in the war.” That did it. “I want no part in this war Raphael. If your here to persuade me to join a side your insane beyond belief! I have never wanted any part in this war and at the moment I doubt I will ever want one. If this is how the White Light would like to operate then there is even less point for me to hear them out. I want no part on their council and no part in your squabbling! I won’t kill anyway Raphael. Not for you, not for Adrian, not even for Gabriel. I won’t have another person’s blood on my hands!” I screamed at him. I was so damn angry. Before I could do anything to stop myself a violent shiver rocked my body and sparks of red flung from my hands and exploded into the wall behind Raphael. He didn’t as much as flinch. I slapped him harder than I think I’ve ever slapped anyone before and made his entire body turn one hundred and eighty degree’s. He stumbled but kept to his feet. When he turned to me his eyes held sorrow. But no from pain, it almost looked like… regret. I wanted to wipe that look from his face. But more than that. I wanted to punch his face in until it was black, blue and bleeding from one hell of a beating. But I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t do that to Raphael. I fell to the floor with a scream… and everything went black.

Rude Awakenings
Chapter 5

I awoke, tired dazed and with a whopping head ace. I half expected to wake to a pair of frozen arms coiling around my waist. But the arms holding my body were warm and alive. The one thing I noted right away was the lack of sweat or gasping. I hadn’t had a vision. I blinked away sleep and stared at who I assumed was Gabriel. It wasn’t Gabriel. “Raphael?” I asked. “Your awake.” he smiled down at me and pulled me up into a sitting position. I blinked around me, fighting of the annoying blotching in my vision to find we were in a very open garden. I had been to this lush green heaven before, this garden with wild flowers and mountainous trees. I had had visions about this garden; I had even visited once. “Why am I here?” I asked. I looked up at him, there were huge purple bruises underneath his bright red blood shot eyes… and tears streaked down his face. “Oh my god! Did I hurt you? I’m so sorry Raphael I didn’t mean… I mean I don’t know how that happened, I was just so… I was so damn angry and I don’t think I’d been using my magic like I had been recently… I guess. I don’t know. I’m so—” he put his finger to my lips and smiled. “You’re Babbling.” I smiled. He crushed me against my chest and a sob like shudder ran through his body. “I’m so glad you woke up.” He whispered. He held me there for what seemed like an awkwardly long time, and let me go. “If you hadn’t woken up, Gabriel would probably have marched himself down to Italy and killed Adrian. You would forgive Gabriel for a lot of things, but killing Adrian wouldn’t be one of them.” He said… and sure enough, he was right. “Your right, I wouldn’t have forgiven that. But why? What happened to me?” he smiled and swiped at the tears in his eyes. “You passed out from what Rain called Overload. She said it was probably worse because you had been building up so much magic and released it all at once. Talking about that, your front walls destroyed. Well, was destroyed. Gabriel’s had it fixed; their moving in all the furniture back into the last few rooms today so it should look like nothings happened.” “Wow. How long have I been out?” “About… six and a half days I think. I’m not sure we’ve been sitting here a very long time.” He said. The look on his face more than confirmed that. He really was dead tired. “Why aren’t you sleeping instead of holding me?” I asked. “It was my fault you got angry, and therefore, partly my fault you were in this state. My job among the guardians is that of a healer anyway, I was the best hope we had. So, I stayed and kept guard. You were getting cold and Rain’s gone for blankets. I was holding you to keep you warm.” he said.

“Who would tell you a silly thing like that? It’s not your fault I got angry. Actually, I’m kind of happy.” he gave me a look that questioned my very sainty. There were so many things I wanted to say to him, and yet, none would come out. I blushed, and tried my best to explain.“I-I haven’t been angry in s-so long. It felt good to be able to… be able to feel again.” I sighed and pushed myself to my feet. “Where’s Gabriel anyway?” I asked. I thought it was strange he wasn’t here and even more strange he trusted Raphael to look after me. Not that Raphael was untruth worth; actually, he was the complete opposite. But Gabriel was nothing but protective if not more or less possessive. “He wanted to be here, but Rain had an urgent errand for him to run. He was going to be back later tonight to see how you were. We were worried you mightn’t wake up.” He explained. “Why mightn’t I have woken up?” “Rain said, the fact you lost so much magic all at once after absorbing so much was enough to kill an average Wicca your age. And then a Wicca your age would certainly die from your circumstances with Adrian. But I guess you’re no average Wicca now are you?” I smiled at that. “As far as I’m aware I just developed a little early. I’ve always developed early though. I guess magic wasn’t a lot different.” The instant I said the words I wished I could take them back. Though true for just about every form that sentence could have taken… it was still embarrassing. I had always hated that fact, and now I was using it for justification. I walked over to the huge oak tree of my visions and sat at its roots. The tree would probably span the length for my house. My house was wider than it was long, but still. Raphael knelt in front of me and stared. I was getting use to Michael doing that, but not Raphael. Raphael didn’t stare; he had eyes for his designer hair products and imported Furnishings but not much else. “Why did you bring me here? To the tree I mean. Shouldn’t me staying in bed have been a better option for me? Like when you’re sick and need recuperation time?” I asked. He took my left hand in his and sat beside me. “The tree is the rout of all magic. When a Wicca is in need of healing, they come here and drink from the rivers. They live in the gardens for several days before remerging health and fully immune to whatever ailment ailed them. Similar to the side effects of human recuperation I suppose.” He theorized. I understood what Raphael meant. The more skin I pressed against the three the better I felt. I didn’t get warmer, I got colder. But it was a good cold. Not like the moment before I attacked Raphael. “What was that, a moment before I attacked you—when I reached out for Gabriel—it felt like my stomach was freezing from the inside out. As if some part of me was dieing slowly… Oh Snap! Is

Adrian okay? He’s not dead is he? Please tell me he’d okay.” Raphael smiled and squeezed my hand. “He’s alive Luna. Well, as alive as a vampire can be. But we can’t put it off any longer. Either you wait it out until one of you dies, or you go to him and give him your strength.” I pushed up against the tree and closed my eyes. I was so damn tired. “I don’t think I’m in the position to give anyone strength just now.” I said. “I can barely keep my eyes open. Maybe I should just sleep a little longer. Just close my eyes…” and with that, I was asleep within minutes.

I awoke in a bed I was familiar with, or should I say, a giant padded whole in the ground I was familiar with. The padding below me was still warm and stuffed with goose feathers and the pillows were still softer than any other pillow I’d ever had. It had to be a dream. Or so I thought, until a pair of very real, very frozen arms slinked their way around my waist. “Get. You’re Hands. Off of Me. Now!” I said through gritted teeth. His hands stopped, but didn’t release me. It was cold everywhere he touched. By like I remembered, the humidity made his touch more than bearable. “You’re awake?” a very deep, very familiar voice said. It took all my effort not to burst out into tears right that second. But I held my tongue and nodded. “Yes now get your hands off me!” I was surprised my voice sounded so calm and level. Nice, point for me. His arms didn’t retract. He squeezed up behind me until every line of my back side was pressed against his. He buried his head in my hair and inhaled… I was disgusted. Wow, I was disgusted. I never thought I feel so much… disgust for a man I’d been with before. Especially not this man… or, vampire I should say. “God I’ve missed you.” He said into my hair. I felt him kiss my neck with a faint brush of his fangs. I shivered and it wasn’t a good magical shiver. “I swear you bite me now and I’ll rip off something more important than you fangs.” He froze at that. Good. “Now, let go of me!” I shoved at his hands and this time he released me. I pushed as far away from him as I could get until I hit one of the walls surrounding the submerged bed. “Where’s Gabriel?” I asked. He looked up at me. His eyes said sorry, but his body posture said scary evil vampire. “I wouldn’t know where your ‘precious’ Gabriel is. Raphael dropped you off an hour ago and said he’d be back in a while. He didn’t think you’d wake up again… I assume.” He edged over closer to me. “What happened to you Luna?” he asked. I smiled at

that, well, at least he still cared. But then again, if someone drops off your unconscious ex-girlfriend without warning you’d probably have a few questions. “Nothing, I was tired, really tired.” “And what made you so tired?” he asked, a wicked smirk playing on his lips. “I blew up the front of my house.” I answered. “Well, the front wall anyway, I haven’t actually seen it, I blacked out before I got the chance.” A flash of anger flew across his features for a second, and then it was back to his usual fake, charming smiled. “And why did you do that?” I never understood how he could change moods so quickly. “I got angry.” “At whom?” his hands slipped across my feet and rested there. I wasn’t sure what I should have done. Where his skin touched mine I felt better, despite the coldness of his touch. It was strange, but comforting. “Who said I had to be angry at anyone? Couldn’t I have just been angry in general?” He looked away; I admired him as he did so. He was still the tall white brooding vampire I’d once loved… but he seemed to grow younger with each passing second. His hair was still a run your fingers through it black, and his eyes were still the most startling shade of ice blue I’d ever seen. And yet, it didn’t appeal to me anymore. He seemed thoughtful and yet, tired. His eyes were blood shot and his skin seemed paler than normal with the faintest blue tinge. “You were always angry somewhere inside. But you needed someone to aim it at; you are a Wicca after all.” He looked at me then, a kind of pain in his eyes I would never know. “Your anger is apart of you, just as much as you sorrow and happiness. It all feeds your magic Luna. If you’re upset about being angry at someone, don’t. You should be angry; often I would imagine.” He looked away again, and played aimlessly with my feet. It tickled, but I forced myself not to laugh. He was being serious… and that more than anything scared me. Adrian wasn’t the serious type. “A Wicca is only as powerful as her emotions.” He whispered. Strangely, that made a lot of sense. Not just because it was our emotions that triggered our powers, but because I had always found it easy. I was an emotional person and I always had been. I hadn’t understood why everyone thought my powers were amazing. But I understand now. Not everyone can make themselves go through an emotion. I’d been doing it all my life. it made my powers seem somewhat less impressive. I sighed and collapsed against the pillows to my right. “Why didn’t you tell me you were sick? I would have come… I would have tried something.” He lay down in front of me and took my hand in his.

“The day I left, I told you to come find me if you wanted me. I thought if I told you I was sick you would feel it was a trap. I didn’t want to trap you. I wanted you to come back because you loved me.” he ran are joined hands along my jaw and smiled “You’re doing what I need now, that’s all that matters.” I wanted, so badly to cry. Just to let one helpless tear roll down my check. But I held it together. I wouldn’t cry because I wouldn’t hurt him, and he wouldn’t hurt me. We weren’t together anymore, I had accepted that. And from the way Adrian was acting, he did too. So I lay there, not crying, holding Adrian’s hand and staring into the eyes of what I couldn’t have. He wasn’t evil, not even close. But he wanted to be apart of the war more that he wanted to be my one and only. And strangely, staring into his eyes, I was okay with that. I was okay with that because even if he didn’t want me and didn’t love me I still had someone who did. Gabriel wanted me, and Gabriel loved me enough to know not to push me into joining a side. It was getting to the point were I believed even if I joined with the darkness he’d still try to make it work. He’d love me enough to try. Because he knew I wasn’t evil, he’d probably think it wouldn’t last. And maybe he’d be right. Maybe I’d give up darkness in time, and if there was one thing Gabriel had it was time. He’d been around sense the beginning of time; I think he could wait a few hundred years without much trouble. Or at least, without admitting it was trouble. I was starting to realize how very little time the ten years we’d been together truly was for him. Ten years would probably feel to him what hours feel like for me. I know as I get older time seems to be more precious and short lived. If that’s how I feel, imagine being as old as Gabriel. Being able to be alive all those years and not find the passing world tedious. It was admirable. His fingers brushed my lips. At first I thought it was more of a physical warning until I looked in his eyes. They were a warning. “Quiet” he mouthed. I nodded and within the blink of an eye he was gone in one of those horribly familiar gusts of wind. I was silent, closed my eyes and stayed perfectly still. I couldn’t hear anything, not even the wind blowing through the trees outside seemed to stop and wait for Adrian’s return. And then I heard it, Gabriel’s bellowing voice screaming at Adrian. I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding and got out of the bed. I walked into the bathroom and splashed water on my face. I looked like an absolute mess. The color was drained from my face and my hair looked like it had been attached by a tornado. Wonderful. I ran my fingers through my hair until it was semi-bearable and walked out into the living room. I remembered the living room, the odd red brick styled part of his house. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but Adrian must have added extensions to a pre-existing cottage. It would explain the very different construction methods used throughout the house.

Neither Gabriel nor Adrian was in the living room, nor could I hear so much as a whisper of their voices. I don’t know what possessed me to do so, but I found myself walking out of the house and down towards the beach. It was a beautiful night. The moon was full in the sky and the stars were as bright as I had ever seen them. The water was a deep midnight blue that matched the sky and moonlight fluttered against the ripples. I sat at the stem of a tall palm tree and stared at the moon. Adrian had said we were one and the same, the moon and I. I watched over everyone around me and out shown even the most wondrous of stars. I though he was full of it, and I still do. The moon was all those things and more, but I was nothing by comparison. We are all nothing in the grand scheme of things, just little ants with pointless existences and meaningless lives. The second I thought it I wished I could take it back. We were all special and I knew we all made a difference in the world. Each one of us somehow leaves their mark on the world be it a small or a big one. The thing is that we can always change what and how much of an impact we leave behind. It depends on how we lead our lives to how big our footprint is. The trick is to not let our footprint decide how we think of ourselves. We can’t all make a huge mark on society. If we could, I have no doubt in my mind that the value of what we leave behind would mean nothing. If I die, I know what I leave behind. I’ll leave behind Adrian, Gabriel, Delano and my Alexander. We live on in our loved ones memories. As long as someone remembers you, they never truly die. I have many people to remember. People who have been loved and lost… but not forgotten, never forgotten. “What’s the matter Luna?” I jumped and gasped. Raphael laughed and smiled over at me. “Scared you!” I thumped him in the arm “That’s not funny” he scowled at me and rubbed his arm. “Well, that was un-necessary.” “Oh, get over yourself. It didn’t hurt.” He smiled and swung an arm around my shoulders. “The moons beautiful tonight.” He commented. “Yeah, the moons always beautiful here.” And it was true. I’d never been to Adrian’s beach without an almost perfect moon over head. It was strange how beautiful everything looked out here. “The moon is beautiful even when she has disappeared.” Adrian’s voice slithered across the beach to my ears. I turned and watched as he strode towards us. “Where’s Gabriel?” He smiled “Gabriel who?” “Don’t play coy with me Adrian, I heard him back at the house. Where is he?” Raphael took his arm from around my shoulders and put them in his lap.

“I’m here.” A pair of warm hands passed over my shoulders and made me jump. “You’re jumpy tonight.” I leaned back against him and laughed. “Yeah, you’d think after waking up in some of the strangest places at the oddest times and being flown half way across the world while I was unconscious that I’d be all nice and calm.” He ran his hands up and down my arms causing a nice friction-warmth. “I get your point.” He whispered. I closed my eyes and nodded. “Your still tired?” he asked amusement thick in his voice. “It’s not my fault the three of you are so emotionally draining.” I mumbled. I couldn’t stifle the yawn that caught me off guard. Adrian’s cold hand rested on my knee and Gabriel stiffened in response. “Play nice or we have to come back sooner.” Gabriel tried; I’ll give him that, but couldn’t relax. And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t sleep. “If you and Raphael are here, where’s Michael?” I asked. “Raphael’s heading back soon, and so are we.” I could feel his eyes on Adrian. “We’ll have to come back once a week or so, so that you can… feed Adrian.” “That’s not a very nice term for it.” I pouted. “Your right, but suck the life out of you is even worse so I’m sticking to feed.” With logic like that I couldn’t argue. “Okay.” It was the only thing I had left to say. There was no point disagreeing, but there was no point in adding fuel to the fire either. They hated one another, but Gabriel wouldn’t say anything as long as he knew it would upset me and Adrian wouldn’t say anything because right now he was getting what he needed. I pulled Gabriel’s arms across my chest and settled my head on his shoulder. He kissed my forehead and rocked my slightly. The only sounds were the waves of the ocean breaking against the sand and the seagulls trying to find a safe place to sleep for the night. It was a sweet soothing sound, the kind I would love to drift off to on any other night. But tonight, try as I did, I couldn’t fall asleep. “You never answered my question properly you know.” “Huh?” This from Gabriel. “Why didn’t either of you tell me Adrian was sick. And don’t try telling me you thought I would feel it was a trap. You both know me better than that.” “We believed you would prefer it that way.” “Then your both a couple of idiots. What lead you to that assumption?” “You have stated on more than one occasion you never want to speak Adrian’s name let alone see him ever again. Less than a week ago you were still… broken as you put it. We had to do something now or we would have lost one if not both of you.” “But loosing one of us was okay now wasn’t it Gabriel?” Adrian asked. His voice was dripping with hatred.

“What do you mean?” “Gabriel hoped I was the weaker of us. If I were, I would have died before you. If I were the weaker of us two he was hoping your neglect would kill me.” “Gabriel wouldn’t have done something like that Adrian. He loves me but unlike some people he knows where to draw the line. Murder is something I can’t accept anymore.” “You accepted it once.” Adrian stated. “And it was a mistake.” Once I said it, I wanted to cram the words back in my mouth and apologizing for even thinking it. I promised myself I would only take the good things out of our relationship. I had promised myself I wouldn’t feel hatred towards him for leaving me when I wasn’t the most important thing to him. I had promised myself I wouldn’t cry. Now, I wanted to cry. His hand tensed on my leg, I could feel his rage building up inside of him as if it were my own. I could see him hurting, I could feel him hurting. I pushed forward from Gabriel and put my hand on his shoulder. “Adrian, I didn’t mean—” “It’s fine.” He spat back. I shut my mouth and leaned back against Gabriel. I knew Adrian; he was about as stubborn as me. There was no point fighting him with this. Gabriel rubbed his hand up ad down my arm, trying to comfort me. He failed, but I’d give him brownie points for trying. Looking out on the beach I had to smile. The moon was full, the tide was high and the winds were low. I couldn’t ask for anything better. “I miss this beach.” I whispered. “We had fun on this beach.” “What kind of fun?” Gabriel asked. He didn’t sound angry, just curious. He knew better than to think I’d done anything… provocative on this beach. “The bonfire was fun, and swimming under the moon light, and when you told me all about your hobbies and stuff. That was fun.” Adrian looked around the beach. “We have a lot of memories on this beach.” He said. “Yeah. Yeah, we do.” I smiled at that. “And all happy ones too.” “I miss the house.” Gabriel pouted. I had to laugh. It wasn’t that seeing Gabriel miss something was funny, it was just the way he looked when he pouted. It was so… cute. “I don’t think it’s funny.” “No, no your right its not. I’m sorry.” We were all quiet after that. “I miss the house too.” “What do you miss most?” Gabriel asked. “Well, waking up in the morning and jogging past Mrs. Wicomb’s house, it always smells so… wonderful. And then, I miss coming home and cooking for Raphael and Michael… I miss Alexander most of all.” We were quiet again. There was no noise on the beach now that the seagulls had gone and the wind had died. Only the slow sound of the tide waves breaking against the shore were still audible.

It was a cold night, and yet, somehow with both Gabriel holding me, and Adrian’s hand on my knee, I felt warm. They hadn’t always been able to do that of course, but still. It was a pleasant feeling. Something my mother had told me rang through my ears. ‘Happily ever after doesn’t always look like what you thought it would.’ She was right. If there was one question I ever wanted to ask my mother, it was whether or not she found her happily ever after. I wanted to know if she was happy with Mark, or if she were happier with Delano. I’ll never understand why she stayed away if she loved him so much. But then again, there’s no point in hoping for an answer to a question I’ll never even gets to be asked. I snuggled in against Gabriel, and after five relatively quiet minutes of silence I groaned. “Why can’t I sleep?” Gabriel chuckled at that. “It might have something to do with the 84 hours of sleep you’ve already had. Or maybe you’ve recuperated to much magic; your body doesn’t like to sleep when it’s filled with magic. After all, magic is a life force.” “Then how do you explain the visions?” “That’s your body burning off excess magic that wont be used other wise. Your body is always giving off magic Luna; it’s a Wicca’s curse and a Witches pleasure.” Adrian explained. I didn’t get it, but honestly I don’t think I was really listening. I was bored. “Lets go for a jog.” I said. “What?” Gabriel and Adrian asked together. It made me smile, they were so different, and yet, so alike. “I’m bored.” I pushed myself up onto my feet and stared down at the two men in my life. They were my past and my future. So different, and yet, I wouldn’t be the same without them. After all, it is our past that turns us into the people we send out into our future. And it is our future that defines our destinies and gives our past’s merit. After all, how can we have a future if we have no past? And if we have no future haw can what has past be determined? If we are forever standing still, time looses all meaning and so do the terms that come with it. But were always moving forward. Time doesn’t last forever, but when you’re in my position, it doesn’t need to last forever, you do. I turned my back on them and started running along the beach. My feet crossed into the water as the tide pulled in and out. It was a fresh feeling as my feet. And, as I expected, soon enough Adrian and Gabriel were running along side me. I don’t know why I was running, I just… I needed to. Maybe it was just a routine I was missing or maybe my body was telling me the three days of sleep were making me fat. Honestly, either way I didn’t care. All that mattered was the cold night air the familiar scenery and the ever hastened beat of my heart and ache of my muscles. I didn’t even care that Adrian and Gabriel were beside me at this moment. It didn’t matter. Not that they didn’t matter, my thoughts

were just elsewhere at the time. When we reached the very end of the beach where the black volcanic rocks took over I had to stop. I wasn’t wearing any shoes and knowing my luck, I’d cut open my feet. But more than that, I was relatively tired. I sat down on the beach again, well, collapsed was more like it. And smiled up at Adrian and Gabriel. “I think I can probably get to sleep now.” Gabriel came down to my level, bending his lower back awkwardly and kissed my cheek. “Good” I leaned against him, and for all sense of this world I lost, I fell asleep. I remember faintly the sound of snarling and wing beats, but nothing that made sense. The sleep was calm, gentle and endless. I knew at some point Gabriel had put me into a bed. I wasn’t sure which bed or why he didn’t just sit there, but either way I didn’t care. I was sleeping, weightless and free. And the pillows under my head were soft and cool. My eyes were closed and my smile was permanently glued to my face. I’d seen Adrian tonight and I hadn’t even cried. I don’t think I’d screamed, or even yelled. But the thing I found most interesting, was neither did Gabriel. Did that mean he didn’t care? Did it mean he did care? I didn’t know, and at this moment, I didn’t care. Sleep was what I needed, and soon enough, sleep was what I got. A stranger was running towards me. She was beautiful, with thick chocolate brown hair and cream colored skin. She hugged me, as if we were good friends. I swear I didn’t know her, but then again, I may just not know her yet. She smiled at me and ran off into the darkness. All around, it was pitch black… not just any black either. It was like shadows, living shadows caving in on me. I screamed but no sound came out. The shadows were thick and Smokey… and I could swear I smelt tulips. Freshly cut tulips. I fell to the ground crumpled scared and alone. I didn’t know if this girl was the one who inflicted such shadows on me, or maybe she was keeping them at bay. But now, she was gone, I was alone and I was scared. I wasn’t hurt and I wasn’t dieing, I was just scared. Gabriel was nowhere to be seen, and the girl had vanished. I didn’t know why, but I thought that girl was important. Something about her scared me, and made me feel safe at the same time. I had the feeling Gabriel wasn’t coming to save me this time, or ever again. And that more than anything scared me. Dull lights moved towards me through the thick Smokey shadows. The kind made by candle light. They drew closer and brighter but I could see no shapes. There was just light and darkness. And then it was all gone. I sat up, sweating and gasping for air. A cold body rapped around me and rocked me as I tried to control my breathing. It took longer

than normal, probably because I was scared as well as out of breath. “This one scared you” Adrian’s voice ran through my mind and brought me back to the present. I couldn’t speak yet, so I nodded, a little too franticly. He rocked me back and forth but was a perfect gentleman. I suppose there’s no fun in trying anything if I won’t respond either way. He cupped my face with his huge frozen hands chuckled when I made a little sound of pleasure. Cold hands on sweaty face equal nice, okay? “Better?” He asked. “Yeah.” My voice was coarse and breathy. The only bad thing about sleep now was visions. I loved them when they were about good things, but then again that’s just stating the obvious. I guess we’d all like everything to be good. But then again, I suppose if we didn’t have bad things happening in our lives, we wouldn’t even understand the good. We wouldn’t have anything to compare it to, and therefore, no way to know it even exists. Adrian took his hands away from my face and wrapped his arms around me again. He kissed my cheek and rested his head on my shoulder. “You really haven’t missed me at all, have you.” I stiffened. I didn’t know if he could tell or not, but I knew I could. “I’m done with missing people who leave me. I missed you for ten years and I never got so much as a word from you. No phone calls, no messages… nothing. How can you expect me to miss someone who gave me up for nothing more than blood and pride?” it wasn’t a question, but he answered it anyway. “I didn’t give you up.” He said stubbornly “Yes, you did. You could have stayed and loved me… you could have been there with me through everything. But you weren’t. You were off collecting people for your sick little feeder farm.” “Feeder farm?” “I know what you doing with those poor people. You’re trapping them in cages like wild animals and feeding off them. I’ve seen it.” “When?” he asked. “More than ten years ago. But…” I stopped myself. If I went much further, there would be no coming back. “But?” “But I can still… it could still happen. If you’re still caging them, and feeding from them…” His face pressed against mine lightly and hands rubbed up and down my arms in a calming manner. The way Gabriel does when he holds me. It was cute, the way he didn’t even realize he was doing it. Everything Gabriel does, it was as if he did everything to comfort me. He was a place of refuge and safety. More than anything to me, he was my guardian. “What is it you saw exactly?” Adrian’s Voice snapped me back into the present. “Doesn’t matter. It won’t happen.”

“How can you be so sure?” He was right… how could I be so sure? “I just am.” “Your just sure?” he sounded amused. I hated when he was like this, I wasn’t a little girl anymore. I wasn’t a child. I looked the same, granted. But I was different… he wasn’t. “I’m certain. Now.” I pulled his arms from around me with incredible difficulty. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if he hadn’t let me go. I scrambled to my feet awkwardly and got out of the pit/bed. “Where’s Gabriel?” “I believe he ‘crashed’ on the bed.” Adrian did the little bunny rabbit quotation mark thing in the air as he said crashed. He wasn’t much of one for slang. But then again, when you as old as he is, that’s understandable. It’s hard to change your ways, especially if you’ve been living in them for hundreds of years. “Thanks.” I bounded off into the bathroom before he could say anything. Was it just me or was this week turning out to be drama central? I shook away the thought and sighed. I’d been without a lot of drama caused by others for so long… somehow it seemed weird to have to deal with everyone else’s problems now instead of just my own. Maybe it made me selfish and inconsiderate, but at the moment, I didn’t care. It was morning and I wasn’t a morning person. Well, today I wasn’t a morning person at least. I looked over my appearance and scowled. My hair was a train wreck and I looked like I’d just come back from an afternoon run; all windblown and sweaty. Yuk. I washed my face and did the best I could with my hair. When it looked semi decent I walked out into the living room. I loved the contrast in Adrian’s house. The back half of the house was modern and screamed 20th century, were as the front of his house was a red brick cottage style. I thought it was both strange and beautiful. Gabriel was sprawled out on the couch in all his glory, his 6ft+ glory that is. He was too big for the couch, and his feet dangled off the edge. I giggled and walked a little closer. He was cute when he slept, they all were, all my boys. Gabriel looked so young and carefree when he slept. He was still beautiful and strong, but with a childlike innocents. He was vulnerable when he slept; I think that’s what makes most people look younger when they sleep. They’re vulnerable, their shields are down and all attempts at being something different than what you are drift away. Maybe we are who we truly are when we dream. The world today is too caught up in appearances, or at least, that’s what I think. I don’t think it really matters who you pretend to be, because that can be taken away far too easily. All we have in the end is ourselves, in more ways than one. He started to stir. I walked around to the front of the couch and knelt in front of his face. I watched as his eyes fluttered open and his

hands brushing away trying sleep from his eyes. He turned to me smiling, his eyes covered in his golden locks. I tucked them behind his ear and smiled back. “Morning Gabriel” “Morning beautiful” my smile turned into a full blown grin. “How did you sleep?” There was a brief moment of hesitation in his eyes and his perfect smile seemed to faultier before he answered. “It was better than I expected. And you?” “Not as good as I expected.” He smiled and ran his hand down my cheek. “How so?” He asked. “Well, for one I didn’t wake up next to you.” I swear his face lit up like a 25 watt bulb. I kissed his lips lightly and stroked my own hand down his cheek. “Well isn’t this a heart warming scene.” Adrian walked into the room, a smug smirk firmly in place. “Said the vampire” Gabriel actually laughed. Adrian scowled. “Oh don’t get your panties in a twist.” I got up and shook out my hair. “Is it just me or is my hair getting thicker?” I use to be able to run my hand through my hair and have my fingers poking out through the top. But lately, when I ran my fingers through my hair I’d loose my fingers in the process. “I think it is.” Gabriel said in an, oh so mater-of-fact voice. I smiled down at him. He always knew how to say the right thing to say, even when the right thing wasn’t easy to hear he’d say it. He was honest with me, about everything. I loved that. “I don’t think it matters if your hairs getting thicker. Your still just as beautiful.” He smiled over at me. That stupid cheeky flirtatious smile. That smile used to make me melt into a thousand little tiny pieces. Why didn’t it work anymore? “Well, honey. That’s not saying much.” I walked into the kitchen and away from their eyes. I searched the cupboards and came up with 8 ten year old packets of pop tarts and a packet of baking power. I swear everyone has baking powder. Maybe it comes with a kitchen or something but people always have baking powder in their fridge. It’s weird but true. I took out the pop tarts and shoved them in the bin. “Why did you just throw them out?” I knew he could hear me, no matter where Adrian was. He was a vampire after all. “I guess I always hoped you’d come back to me. I didn’t see the point in throwing out something you could eat.” He appeared on the other side of the breakfast nook. Yeah, he really was that fast. “They have a use by date you realize” he laughed and nodded. “Yeah, I realized. I-I guess I just…”

“You didn’t want to let go.” My hand automatically clutched at the ring around my neck. “Some times you want to think things are possible, even if you know its not.” I unfastened the necklace and took off Adrian’s ring leaving Gabriel’s ring still intact. I walked over to him, and placed it on the table. “But fairy tales don’t come true. No matter how much we want them to.” He closed his fist around the ring and stared down at the table. “I’m sorry Luna. Truly.” I smiled and felt the wetness on my cheek. I hadn’t notice till then I was crying. “I know you are.” I whispered. “But we have to live with t now.” he pushed himself up from the breakfast nook and stared at me. His eyes were full of unshed bloody tears, turning his eyes a dark scary pink. He took my hand and gave me back the ring. “Don’t give up on me yet.” I crumpled. I swung my arms around his shoulders and hugged him. I could hear myself sobbing, but I couldn’t feel anything. I felt more like I was watching what was happening to me. I couldn’t feel it, but I saw what was happening. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry” I could hear myself saying the words. But I couldn’t feel… anything. Adrian held me as tight as he could without breaking something. “I-I didn’t, I w-wouldn’t, I can’t!” I felt another pair of hands on my shoulders. Adrian made me feel calm. But I’d been around Gabriel so long. He wasn’t just a calming influence. He was like coming home after living in some strange foreign place for days. He was like home, he was familiar. I turned around in Adrian’s arms and attempted to wrap my arms around Gabriel’s neck. If he hadn’t been bending down I would have failed. Adrian’s head rested against my back as Gabriel kissed the crook of my neck. I cried, Adrian cried, and I’m sure Gabriel let out a few manly tears of his own. I don’t know how, when or why but eventually we all ended up in a crumpled mess on the floor. We stayed like that until wordlessly, Gabriel scooped me up into his arms walked outside and took to the skies. I loved flying with Gabriel; the sound of his wings, the feel of the wind… his arms around me, keeping me safe. I think that’s another reason why I loved Gabriel so much. More than anything, he kept me safe. He loved me, but more than that, he wanted to protect me. I didn’t know what Adrian wanted more than anything; I’d been away from him for too long. But now I knew he was just as emotionally fragile as the rest of us. I’d keep his ring; I wouldn’t give up on him. I didn’t even realize I was giving up on him. Maybe it wasn’t me giving up on Adrian, but Adrian giving up on himself. I had never thought of how lonely he might feel. Being a vampire was like being alone. All your friends, all your family die way before you. And in the beginning you can never even say goodbye. You have to go away, to keep them safe.

I’d never thought about how scary that must be; to never know if someone loves you or not and to never be able to say goodbye. Maybe I’d judged Adrian too quickly. Maybe he just wanted me to e like him; to have no family, or real friends to speak of. Adrian was completely alone, and I’d never realized. I was the first woman he would have been with in a very long time. He had loved me, but the darkness was like his family. He didn’t want to risk it all just for the hopes that I might stay with him. He loved me, but he was still… fragile. He would have been skeptical. Hell, I would have been skeptical. In less than five minutes, the puzzle that was Adrian suddenly made sense. Gabriel landed and helped me adjust to being on the ground. We walked inside together silently. The silence today wasn’t awkward, but I didn’t like it either. I was use to the quiet now and usually reveled in it. But today seemed like a day when things should be said, it was a day when the silence was just uncomfortable. “We should go do something.” I said. “I feel… strange being here.” I told Gabriel he smiled and took my hand. I felt better almost instantly. His skin was rough and coarse, but warm and tender. I liked the way my hand felt in his. He was safe, he was mine, and he was Gabriel. He was my guardian angel, the guardian angel Gabriel. “Whatever you want.” I smiled and opened the door. I wasn’t usually picky about what I wanted to do, but today I think I had a pretty good idea. That was, until I opened the door and saw Raphael and Michael watching a game and longing across my couch. “Hey boys, what’s up.” I looked at the wall, nothing looked different. It was still the same yellowish egg shell color. The coat rack was still hanging perfectly adorned with jackets and coats I’d never seen before. And then I looked up at the roof. There was a black smudge that spread out across the front wall. The kinds you see on old house that had been burnt. I frowned at the ugly black mark, wishing it would go away. But wishing wouldn’t get the job done. “A crew should be coming in next week to fix the roof.” Gabriel said. I hadn’t even noticed when he came in through the door. Oops. “Oh, okay.” It was all I could think of saying. There was no point in saying I was sorry, because I wasn’t. If there was one thing Adrian had taught me this weekend, it was that my magic was apart of me and I shouldn’t be sorry if I get overly emotional. “I didn’t hurt you did I Raphael?” okay, just because I shouldn’t be sorry doesn’t mean I can’t get a little worried I might of hurt someone. I’m not completely immoral, just a little more enlightened when it came to my magic. Raphael smiled and gave me a little nod. “I’m uninjured.” “Good, I’m glad I didn’t hurt you.” And I was glad. It wasn’t just blood I refused to shed; I didn’t like making people unhappy. It had been my job for years to make sure people were happy. The people I loved needed that in their lives and I was able to give it to them. I was able to make people happy so easily. I didn’t like

seeing something I couldn’t fix, or someone I couldn’t help. It was even worse if I was the one making someone hurt… that almost killed me. But I was feeling a little better now. I’d figured out that Adrian’s torture had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his own insecurities. Adrian was alone, he would always be alone. I didn’t know if he would ever find another lover, and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to be with him again. I loved him, but I wasn’t in love with him. I was in love with Gabriel, and I was with him. And yet… I still couldn’t give him an answer. I guess I just didn’t want to make the same mistake with Gabriel that I almost made with Adrian. Sure I’d been with Gabriel for ten years now. But I wasn’t exactly myself for those ten years. I knew him better than anyone, and he knew me better than I knew myself. We were perfect for each other and I knew that. But I didn’t want to ruin what we had. What we had was special and different than what most people ever have. What would happen if I agreed to this marriage? Would it get better for us, or worse? Would he love me less when he realized I was all he could have for eternity? Would he still love me when he realized how flawed and imperfect I was? “Why do I need to marry you if what we have is already perfect?” I asked. I looked up at Gabriel and all I got was confused and questioning eyes. “Is what we have already perfect?” he asked. “For me it is. Why does wearing a ring and dressing up on one special day make any difference to what we have now? Why does it matter if we’re married or not? It doesn’t change the way anyone feels about anyone. At least, I don’t think it does.” I walked into the kitchen, and smelt roses. Wilting roses I hadn’t thrown out since my date with Gabriel turned bust. The kitchen felt familiar to me, I felt more like me when I was in the kitchen. I ran my hand over the garnet top bench and sighed. “What’s the point in changing anything?” “Is it really that big of a change?” Gabriel asked. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t even sure who I was talking to anymore. He leaned against the door frame and watched me. I could still hear the TV going, so the boys hadn’t left. I knew they could hear every word we were saying, but they’d probably know eventually anyway. Hello, they are angels. “It could be.” I threw the chain and two rings across the counter and scowled at the damn things. “It could be.” “Why would it be hard for you to just commit to me?” he asked. He seemed so… exasperated. He age twenty years, the way only Gabriel can do when he’s frustrated. “It’s not that…” “Then what is it Luna?” he wasn’t yelling, but the volume at which he spoke was louder than normal. It was as if he wanted to

scream, but was restraining himself. If its one thing Gabriel had, it was a temper. “Why don’t you love me?” “I do love you.” I said defensively. “I just…” I couldn’t find the words to tell him. “You just what?” He walked towards me. I could see the rage blazing in his eyes, and feel the anger radiate from his body. He did that at times. He radiated. It was the only way I could explain what he did. It was like; I could suddenly feel his anger, almost see it. It radiated the way heat or coolness radiates from the body. The closer I was to him the stronger it got. He moved so close that his bear chest almost touched my arm. “You thought you could just string me around forever? I love you and all you can say is ‘I just…’? That’s not good enough Luna!” he screamed at me. “That’s what I’ve been telling you.” I whispered underneath my breath. He could hear me, and I could tell he was listening. I felt him cool down a little. His anger stopped feeling so intense, and he breathed. I felt the familiar sting of tears at my eyes and blinked them away as best I could. “What if it’s bad for us? What happens if…” Gabriel’s hand landed feather light on my shoulder. He turned me to him slowly and pulled my face gently so he could stare into my eyes. “What happens if what Luna?” he was quieter now. “What happens if after we get married… you leave me. What if you get sick of me and throw me away. What if you finally understand I’m not good enough for you… or anybody? What happens when you tell me there’s someone else you want… something else you want? The way Adr—” “Nothing like that’s going to happen to us.” he pulled me into his warm familiar embrace and kissed my forehead. “I won’t ever leave you, and you’ll never have to worry about it. I love you and you’re the only one for me. Adrian has nothing to do with us. He made a mistake and that’s his problem.” He pulled my face back up to look at him. I was craning my neck and felt like I was going to pull something, but I didn’t care. He was the sweetest living creature on earth, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Me, of all the women in the world he chose me. “I love you and I want the rest of the world to know it’s you I’ve chosen. I’ll never leave you or throw you away; you’re far too precious for that. And Luna, there is no one in this world that would be better for me than you; any man would kill to have a woman as wonderful as you.” He stared into my eyes, deeply. “I would kill to keep you.” And in that moment, I didn’t doubt for a second that he would. And it scared me. “Don’t.” he looked back at me confused. I smiled and ran my hands over his that were placed on my cheeks. “I love you, but I’m

staying out of the war to avoid bloodshed. I don’t need more death on my hands, not for any reason.” He kissed me. Just a brushing of lips so sweet and tender they were hard to believe they were Gabriel’s. Not that he wasn’t all sweet and tender when it came right down to it; he was just so… manly. The very air around him seemed to change; it seemed to become denser and stronger. He made everything in comparison look like nothing. he made other men look like weaklings. I loved a strong manly man don’t get me wrong. But Gabriel was a little too… I guess insensitive at times. But then again, he was overly sensitive at others. I guess that’s just Gabriel. “Say you’ll marry me Luna.” He whispered. “Say you love me enough to give me your hand in marriage.” “What if it doesn’t work out.” “We’ve been together for ten years. What is there to work out?” “I wasn’t… I haven’t been myself Gabriel and you know it. That’s why you haven’t asked me until now. you knew it wasn’t me at the time… I was… different.” He kissed me once again and smiled. “I wanted to make sure you were over Adrian before I asked you to be mine. I want you to marry me because you love me, not because you want someone else to take your mind off Adrian.” “Nothing took my mind of Adrian.” I whispered. He exhaled sharply and nodded. “I know, and that’s why I waited. If you say yes now and it doesn’t work out, I’ll know it wasn’t meant to be. If it does, then I’ll be glad I waited.” “Cant you just ask the big man upstairs if it’s ‘Meant to be’?” “If I came back and told you we weren’t meant to be together what would you do?” Crap. “Okay, you have a point.” I didn’t know what I’d do if he told me that. “I guess, I’d probably leave you. Or, kick you out.” He smiled and pulled me into a soft comforting hug. He chuckled and kissed the top of my head before resting his cheek where my hair parted. “That’s why I’m not taking my chances.” “I love you Gabriel. I just don’t want to make a mistake now and loose you later.” “I’ll always be with you Luna. I’m your Guardian remember?” I sighed and breathed in the Vanilla and Coconut smell of him. “Yeah, I remember.” His body vibrated against me in a chuckle. If nothing else, I knew he was that. He would always be here to hold my hand or let me cry on his shoulder when I needed him. If this didn’t work out, that was okay. We’d figure something out. He loved me, and at the moment I loved him. We may not be together forever. ‘Cause lets face it, forever’s a very long time. But we’ll always be here for each other. No matter what else happened to us… at least I could count on that. “Please Luna. Say you’ll marry me.”

I bit my lips gritted my teeth and said it. “Okay. Okay, I’ll marry you.” He pulled back and stared me in the eyes. “What?” “I said yes Gabriel. I’ll marry you.” As I said the words… they sounded right. I felt better, I felt right. If worse came to worse, we’d get a divorce. No biggie. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. We’d make it work. we were already living together, getting married wouldn’t do anything to our relationship. Or at least, I hoped it wouldn’t. His face was torn between skepticism and absolute and utter joy “Really?” he asked. I smiled and kissed the idiot. “Really” I whispered. He picked me up and whirled me around the room. “WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!” he confessed to the world. I laughed as he spun me around the room. He kissed me but couldn’t keep the smile off his face. This was how I could make him happy. That’s what he said, but I hadn’t believed him until now. I understand it now. He was an angel, and therefore, Christian… obviously. It was right for him to want to get married. Or at least, it was the honest way and the best way for him to feel good about us. Good little Christian boys didn’t bed there intendeds before marriage. And then it hit me. Could that be his motivation? No, surely not. Surely that wouldn’t, couldn’t be the only reason he wanted to marry me. He’d been with me for to long for that to be why. He loved me and that was the end of it. No ulterior motives, no hidden little plans. No, there was me, and there was him. But if that was true, then why did I have a nagging feeling that had something to do with why he wanted to get married now. Something didn’t seem right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. He set me down on the ground and held me against him. “You’ve made me the happiest man alive.” I hugged him back and kissed his cheek. “I’d do anything for you” and in that moment, I didn’t doubt it. But there was something wrong with this. I didn’t know why, but something felt… out of place. Maybe I was just imagining things, or maybe I was just nervous about marriage. This would be my second engagement now… if it didn’t work out… I didn’t know how I would survive it. But all in all, I knew I would do anything Gabriel asked me to do. If he said jump, I’d ask how high. But isn’t that what love is all about? Giving everything you have without question and asking for nothing in return? I’ve always believed that love should be an effortless thing, as easy as the need for breath. You see Hollywood’s interpretation on love and think ‘I wish it were that easy’. But it’s not always like that. There are times when just

loving someone for who they are becomes difficult and there are times when you ask yourself ‘what’s the point?’ I know I’m guilty of that, for ten years I’ve been guilty of that. But the thing is, just because my very first love didn’t work out, doesn’t mean I should give up hope. There are 6.7 billion people in the world at the moment, what are the chances the first person anyone falls in love with is the right one? My first romance fell through, but when I look back on those short two weeks, I realize… it was never very serious, was it? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The difference between the way Gabriel and I are now, and the way Adrian and I use to be is simple. Adrian was youthfully minded, and so was I. We thought love was… physical. It was suppose to be about undying world wide proclamations of love. But I know now, real love isn’t anything like that or at least, not so extreme. The love that Gabriel and I share is different, and yet, similar. I know I love him enough to contemplate marriage at this point. He loves me, and I love him. Our relationship works, and I’ve never hated him for it. Even over the years when I told myself we weren’t together, he was always there for me. He was always there, even when I told him to leave, or let me die… he didn’t. He loved me enough to keep me. And more than any romantic gesture he could ever show me… that was the one that stood out the most. You read any number of romance novels and find it strange how people can describe love so well, but I find that writers know nothing of love. Anyone can describe a physical reaction, but since when does a heart beat increasing indicate undying love? And then, there are parts where characters want to scream undying love to their partners. But that wears of with time, because when you know someone, and I mean really know someone, there are bound to be things you don’t like. They don’t write about true love at all, they write what people want to hear. They write fantasies, not truth. “What are you thinking about? You look so serious.” Gabriel said. I hadn’t even noticed they were all staring at me. “Oops. It’s nothing” I unclasped the chain from around my neck and held the rings in my hand. They pulsed as if they had a living heart beat, a soul of there own. Something… very strong was telling me something about this was wrong. It’s just your imagination! I scolded myself. Nothing bad is going to happen, just let him put on the ring and everything will be fine. I let out a gust of air and handed Gabriel his ring. I clasped my necklace back in place and smiled up at Gabriel. “Want to help me put it on?” He took my hand in his, his huge grin never faltered as he slid the little band of gold onto my finger. “It’s beautiful.” I heard myself say. He pulled the ring to his lips and kissed it.

“Only does its beauty lessen when compared to your own.” I laughed and stretched up on tippy toes to kiss him. “You can stop with the cheesy pick up lines; I already agreed to marry you.” He leaned down and kissed me once again, my arms winding around his neck as his own encircled my waist. It was a slow, gentle brush of lips that made me melt right on the spot. He was so happy… so wonderfully happy. I had wanted to see this smile, and yet, I hadn’t realized how truly simple it was to achieve. I’d agreed to marry him… and he was happy. He loved me, of coarse he was happy. love should make you happy. “And I promise you won’t regret it.” He whispered against my lips. Raphael’s cool voice interrupted our joyous little moment. “Well, it looks like celebrations are in order.” I pulled away from Gabriel and ran into Raphael’s arms. He held me tight against him and took my face between his hands. He kissed me forehead and gave me a smile filled with more love that words could ever convey. “Congratulations Luna” I felt tears prickle my eyes and one small droplet escape to streak my blushing cheeks. Raphael was like a brother to me, or a best friend. He was always there for me. He loved me like his sister, and I felt the same way for him. I hugged him tight again and felt a great pressure lifted. Alexander was the last person I knew that was related to me. But Raphael, he was like family… it felt good to know he approved. But then again, Raphael and Michael had been together since the beginning of time how could he not approve? They were like brothers in a way, closer than blood and yet, as far as I know, not related. “Where’s my hug?” Michael said in a pouty voice. Raphael loosened his grip on me and let me go to Michael. I walked over to him and hugged him. “Congratulations little Luna.” I pulled away and squeezed his hand. “Thank you, both of you. I-I don’t know what to say…” Gabriel’s hands rested on my shoulders and his lips brushed my hair. “You don’t have to say anything.” I rested my hand on his, I was happy he was happy. But, like everything I seem to go through, I had questions. “Hey, Gabriel… do you have a last name?” I asked. “Well… no. We have no need of them, angels have only one name.” “Then do you take my last name or what?” He was quiet for a moment; he always was when he was like this. I admired it, he always thought about how to best explain things to me. At times, it did make me feel childish, but there are things I have learnt that are very hard to explain.

“Well, the wedding to be is not the same as one you have been brought up with. We are angels and servants of god, but we are not Christian. Religion is a man made creation, and such, we have no part in it.” Well, that made sense. I suppose. “I guess, I just assumed it would be a normal wedding.” I wasn’t upset about the fact, more intrigued than anything. “What’s the ceremony called?” “It depends. There are two ceremonies we could take. One is a closer bond for Wicca’s; it would be more... uplifting for you. Many I have spoken to say they could feel the very elements running through their veins, I’m told its quiet exciting.” “And the other?” “The other is called hand-fasting. It is more about the commitment two would share than anything else. A soul binding ritual between two loved ones.” “I don’t care either way, as long as you’re the one I’m marrying.” I didn’t mean it to sound as ‘declaration of love’ as it did. That was simply the way I felt. It wasn’t my wedding, it was his. I’d thought about my perfect wedding before, like every girl does when she’s young. But I realize now I can never have my perfect wedding. “I think the hand-fasting ceremony would be more… appropriate” Michael offered. And with that, I guess, the decision was made. “I’ll be right back.” I took Gabriel’s hands off my shoulder and headed upstairs. I didn’t know why, but I had the sudden urge to call Delano. I needed a fatherly opinion. I was happy about this, and Gabriel was happy about this… but I had a nagging feeling something was terribly wrong. I picked up my silver nokia and pressed 3. I’d put Delano on speed dial a while ago… but I’d never actually called him since… well, a very long time ago. “Hello?” “Hey dad it’s me.” “Luna? What’s wrong?” he asked. “N-Nothing, I just called to tell you the good news.” “Good news?” I took in a deep breath and swallowed my nerves “I’m getting married.” He was silent for a moment; the only sound was his breathing on the other end of the line. “Dad?” “You said married, as in, and actually Christian marriage ceremony?” he asked. “Well, no. its called a hand-” “I forbid it!” he screamed into the phone “Excuse me?” “You will not engage a hand-fast with Gabriel! You will never do something so stupid!”

“Excuse me! I’m not stupid! What’s got your knickers in a twist for Christ sake? I tell you I’m getting… hand-fasted and you tell me I can’t do it? I thought you’d be happy for me… I thought you’d want to give me away.” I clenched the phone in my hand and fended off tears. “Luna, you don’t understand what you’re doing.” “Then make me understand!” I screamed into the receiver. He gave an exasperated sigh before there was another long pause. “… Luna, if a charge marries her guardian, the bond becomes unbreakable. It is stronger than any element being or emotion.” “So?” “Luna, if you do this, you can never end it. There is no divorce, no separation. Even in death you cannot escape this one.” “Oh…” “Luna, I beg of you, don’t go through this. I don’t want to see you hurt, not again.” “I get it dad, you don’t want me to make a mistake until I’m sure.” “Yes!” he sounded so relieve. “Well, were just engaged at the moment… who said I couldn’t have a long engagement?” “No one in there right mind would say no to you” “Damn straight.” He chuckled into the phone, but the laughter abruptly cut off. “Luna, there’s something else.” “Yeah?” “The stronger your tie gets with Gabriel… the further away you push Adrian.” “And your point is?” He blew out a harsh gust of breath “Luna, when a charge is separated from his or her guardian, they die.” “And?” “Luna” he grumbled. “Marriage is the ultimate bondage! If you go through with it, Adrian will die.”

The Ugly Truth
Chapter 6

I gaped at the air, set in a speechless stupor I had no way of recovering from. Kill Adrian? How could Gabriel want that? Wasn’t he supposed to be good the best of the best? If he was willing to marry me just so he could… I didn’t even want to think about that possibility. But no matter how hard I tried to push it out of my mind, it kept coming back. They were enemies after all, I never understood it fully before. But then again, who can understand hate? How could Gabriel be able to go through such extreme lengths just to kill off one

vampire? I still cared for Adrian, but I no longer felt the love for him I once did. The love I thought I could let myself feel for Gabriel. I’m starting to think I was wrong. I swallowed around the lump in my throat and was suddenly aware of Delano yelling my name into the phone. “Yeah… I’m here.” He exhaled sharply. “Listen Luna, you can’t go through with—” “I know, and I won’t.” my voice was lower than a whisper. I felt the familiar stab of betrayal like a knife wound to the heart. Like something was constricting around my heart and squeezing. I wanted to cry and scream or at least… something. But I couldn’t. I wanted to cry, but tears refused to come. “Luna, are you okay?” he asked. “Yeah, dad. I-I’m fine.” I took in a deep shuddering breath felt myself shiver. I was cold again. But I didn’t think it was a magical cold, more like a heart broken, lied to, pit of sorrow cold. I had never felt like this. When Adrian left me I felt lonely, when I said good bye to Alexander, I felt like I had lost apart of me. Wait, Alexander…“Hey, I never got to ask.” “Ask what my little Luna?” “How’s Alexander?” “He is well” I could hear the pride in Delano’s voice. “He has levitated his first object; it seems he has inherited your abilities.” “But thankfully, not as fully.” “No, he had not inherited the Wiccen magic as fully. My guess is because he is male, and the magical gene is strongest in females among your family.” I nodded, even though he couldn’t see me. “That sounds… logical.” He paused, the way so many people seemed to be doing around me. I was getting sick of being treated like a fragile child. I wasn’t a little girl anymore… but I suppose, that’s a fathers job isn’t it, to worry about his ‘little’ girl? “Luna, would you like me to come down there?” “Its day time, you can’t” “It is still light outside, yes. But we have other means of transportation. It may take longer than I would like, but I should not be more than an hour away.” I couldn’t marry Gabriel, and we both knew it. I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how I was going to do it. But I knew I didn’t want any of them near me for a while, including my father. “I think I’ll want to be alone for a while, after I…” He sighed. “I understand youngling” “No, you don’t. You all say ‘I understand’ or ‘I know’, but you don’t. None of you have gone through this; none of you know how I’ll react. I wish you’d all just stop thinking you know everything! I’m not that damn predictable! You all think you can just manipulate me into whatever you want, but I won’t be any ones play thing! I’m a living

breathing person; I wish at least one of you would understand that… just once.” “Luna I—” “Don’t even bother.” I hung up and threw the phone against the wall. It didn’t smash, damn! I hated this! Everyone still treated my like I was three years old. I was use to making everyone happy, and I was usually happy to do it. But I drew the line at murder, even unintentional. Why could I be happy for once? Why did everyone else have to get there way all the time? Was there some rule that said I shouldn’t get to be happy for more than five seconds in my life time? Every time something in my life started going right, I lost it again… my parents, bunny, Adrian, Alexander… and now Gabriel too. I liked making people happy; it made me happy to see people experience it. But why couldn’t it be my turn for once? Why did everything work out for everyone else, but when it comes to me, the world seems pitiless. I wanted love, I wanted happiness, and for once I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to be the one to have a happily ever after, I wanted to be the one who had a reason to smile and not a reason to make someone smile. A knock on the door got my intention. “Can I come in?” it was Raphael. “If I said no would you go away?” I asked. He sauntered into the room, a playful grin playing along his lips. “No, probably not.” He sat down beside me and took my hand in his. “I’m so happy for you.” I looked him over, and for once, I was angry. “Out of everyone in the world, I thought I could trust you. More than Gabriel or Delano or even myself, I thought you’d always tell me the truth.” His eyebrows furrowed as he looked at me. “What are you talking about?” he asked. “He wants Adrian dead. He’s going to have me marry him in the hopes Adrian will die.” I pulled my hand from his and covered my face. “The Bastard!” I yelled. Gabriel would have heard that. oh well, he was going to hear a lot more when I got down there. A warm hand touched my shoulder “Luna—” “No.” I uncovered my face and got of the bed. “No more lies from any of you. I knew something was wrong when he asked me, I knew something bad—” I shook the thought away and started for the stairs. I heard Raphael climb off the bed, as to whether or not he followed me I wasn’t sure. I reached the bottom of the stairs to find Gabriel and Michael laughing together in front of a game. Stupid soccer. “Hey Babe!” Michael called over his shoulder. “Get out.” I heard myself mutter. Gabriel stood and walked towards me. “What was that honey?”

“Don’t take another step closer.” He stopped mid stride and stared at me with a confused expression. “Michael, Raphael, get out. I need to speak to Gabriel… alone.” Michael looked from me to Gabriel and slowly got up. Raphael came down the stairs and opened the door without another word. Michael followed reluctantly, but followed all the same. “What’s going on?” Gabriel asked when the door was securely closed. I took in a deep shuddering breath and met his gaze. “You’re hoping Adrian dies… when I marry you, our tie will be stronger than Adrian and I. You’re hoping it cuts us apart and-and…” I took in another breath and closed my eyes. I counted to five in my head and looked up at him. “I don’t think I can be with you… I don’t think I can be with anyone like that. I thought you and Adrian were complete opposites, but your not. You’re exactly the same in almost every way. I can’t feel for you what I feel for you now and not regret it later.” “What are you saying?” he asked, taking a step closer. “I’m saying I want you to leave.” He stared at me in disbelief and then burst out into a rich, full laughter. “What about this is funny to you?” I asked. “Oh come, come now Luna, you can’t be serious” “I’m dead serious; I want you out, now.” “But all my stuff’s here.” he protested “You have a home of your own you know” He was quiet for a minute and looked away from my gaze. “It’s no home to me.” “This isn’t your home” I said confidently “… not anymore.” He grabbed my shoulders with a strength I had never seen him actually use before “Why do you love him more than me?! What did he ever do for you I haven’t done?! I’m a better man than he’ll ever be!” he screamed at me. I slapped him. The impact of my hand against his cheek making a satisfying crack. How dare he?! His hand dropped from my shoulders as he stared at me in disbelief. “Your not one tenth of the man Adrian was! You’ll never be the man he was, ever.” he looked even more stunned than I felt. “You’ll leave my house and you wont come back! A real man doesn’t stab someone defenseless in the back!” he punched a whole straight through the wall next to my head. I couldn’t help but gape at him. That was way to close for comfort. “He’d die soon enough anyway… and to think, I actually thought I loved you; the vampires whore!” And with that, he pulled his arm out of the wall along with a few chunks of plaster and wood splinter before turning around and making his dramatic exit. Something inside me snapped when the door slammed shut behind him. I had just brought the happiest day in his life, or so he claimed,

down and plunged it into ruin. But it wasn’t the happiest day of his life, and if it was, he was even more blood thirsty than Adrian. Something inside me wanted to go after him. Something about what I had just done hurt more than anything else in the world. It was partly because I’d made him angry… angry enough to punch out my wall, partly because in doing so I’d made the guys and myself unhappy. But mostly, I was scared because for the first time in over ten years… I was truly alone. Gabriel may be my guardian, but he was gone. He couldn’t protect me from halfway across town… he couldn’t and wouldn’t. Did he ever truly love me? Or was I just some game for him to get to what he wanted? Why was it that he seemed more bloodthirsty than any one within the darkness? What made him any better than the very creatures he had despised so deeply? And the most important question of all… Could I still love him after what he’s done to me? I slid down the wall behind me and hit the ground with a thud. Tears streaked my face, and I couldn’t remember why I was crying. All the pain and worry came out of me in the form of silent salty tears I had become far to accustomed to. Raphael hadn’t warned me, he knew how I felt about everything. He was a brother to me. And yet, he had chosen to stay silent. No, he had chosen to congratulate me. I could have made the biggest mistake of my life, and while I was doing it, I would have thought it was… an utterly beautiful expression of love. I would be a murderer. The man I thought I could love would have tricked me into murdering another person from my past. I had so little already, did he really need to take more away from me? I wasn’t proud of my past, or of what had happened between Adrian and I. But he was one of the few things I had left. I wanted to keep whatever part of my history I could. I was going to be selfish, and I knew I had no choice. I would be on my own from now on and I had no way of protection. I didn’t want to use my magic against others, self defense I told myself, think of it as self defense. But that didn’t make it right. Actually, justifying something by calling it another name was just cowardly. No, magic would be my very last resort. I couldn’t abuse my magic; I didn’t want to take any risks, or at least none that weren’t necessary. I pushed myself to my feet and started packing my bag for school. I was starting to regret the idea, but gosh darn it I was going to do it. Just because I had money didn’t mean I shouldn’t get an education, and just because I had magic didn’t mean I couldn’t have a career. I could have a future and be damn proud of it too. I grabbed the supplies I’d bought with Raphael and Michael the other day and started packing. I’d picked up the nicest pick and black checkered messenger bag possible and made sure I had extra folder paper. I remember running out of folder paper all too quickly. Basic

stationary, books, text books… within a matter of minutes I was packed. The only bad thing about living on your own, there’s never anything to do… unless you like housework. Needless to say, I went and did some house work.

The same girl from my visions appeared, her long chocolate brown curls bouncing as she ran her way over to me. She hugged me, her body warm and solid in my arms. Her light olive skin shone in the sunlight. And then she disappeared and the darkness closed in on me again. Cloudy smoke filled my lungs and made me gag. Bright flickering lights move towards me through the smoke and a soft unintelligible chanting drifted in the darkness around me. I felt something move down my lungs like arms in the smoke. It burned as it drenched my lungs and pulled a scream from my throat. “Scream” I heard something whisper “Scream for me” and then, though the cloudy smoke, a pair of huge red eyes glowed. I did scream and fell to the ground… and then, I…

I was sweating and gasping. ‘I’m going under! I’ve got to break through oh…’ I had awoken to the sound of Evanessences ‘I’m going under’ and groaned. I had worked myself ragged last night. I’d done three loads of washing, cleaned, scrubbed and dusted everything I could get my hands on. I’d alphabetized my book collection and then even tackled Gabriel’s. Hell, I even waxed the kitchen floor. It had been around midnight before I actually gave up and crawled into bed. And now, it wasn’t even light out. I reached for my phone without looking and snapped it open once my fingers finally found it. “What?” I growled. “I can call back later.” The deep voice sang through the phone and glided over my skin. I stifled a groan and bit my lip. “There’s no point, I’m up now.” I flipped onto my back and blinked away sleep. “What do you want Adrian?” I asked. “I… heard what happened… between you and Gabriel I mean.” “And by heard you mean, Delano kind of told you mentally when he couldn’t hold up a block anymore.” He chuckled, a deep rich sound that curled around me and melded with the blankets in a way that seemed strangely comforting. I had missed Adrian… the way you miss something you hadn’t even realized had been missing; like the way the sun feels against your skin in summer or… my dreams. “Yeah, it was something like that.”

I sucked in a harsh breathe and let out a long, deep sigh. “What do you want Adrian? I’m tiered I’ve had a shit day; I don’t need you playing Mr. mysterious. So just, spit it out okay.” “I wanted to thank you… for not killing me I mean” “I wouldn’t kill, Adrian; you should know that better than anyone.” There was a short pause “I know.” Another pause, “I-I just want you to know… I appreciate it either way. You could have let me die… ” “But I didn’t. Honestly, if I hadn’t gotten that feeling—” “What feeling?” he asked. “I felt… I don’t know. He asked me to marry him, again. I said yes and then… I don’t know. I felt bad, like something was horribly wrong.” “Delano thinks you should ask Rain about that.” “Is he there?” I asked. Something told me I should talk to him… now. “… No.” “Oh, oh okay, I get it. Look, thanks for calling, I’m glad you did.” “I miss you, you know.” The way his voice sounded pulled at my heart strings. The raw dripping emotion reminded me how incredibly vulnerable Adrian truly was. “I miss you too. Bye.” “Good day, Luna Bella.” I hung up and dialed Delano. He picked up on the second ring his voice hoarse and urgent. “Hello? Who is it?” “Slow down dad. It’s just me, Luna, your one and only magical daughter.” “Oh, right. Look sweetheart, would you be able to do me a favor?” “Umm… that depends, what do you need?” I asked skeptically. “Alexander’s parents are out of town for a while and I can’t take him with me. I’m heading to Italy for the week.” “Sure, he can come here. Why are you going to Italy?” “Well, Donavan has asked for an audience. I’m afraid we have larger problems than initially realized.” “What problems?…” I asked. “Have you guys been keeping secrets from me?” “No Luna, nothing like that. But our problems are work related, I’m sorry Luna, it might be a crime to tell you. But I promise, when I come back from Italy you’ll know everything.” I took in a deep breath and nodded. “Okay, sure. Bring Alex around whenever you want… but he might want to pack. He can have Gabriel’s room… I mean the guest room.” “I’ll tell him… Oh, and Luna.” “Yeah?”

“I’m proud of you honey, your stronger than we thought” and with that, he was gone. I closed the phone and placed it back on my side table. Without another word or thought I drifted off to sleep.

Red jewels, everyone was wearing red jewels, blood red rubies on dancing bodies… so many bodies. Some dead, others dancing… waltzing. They were all dressed in old fashioned clothing, beautiful and extravagant gowns whirled and stepped in time with the music… such sweet music. The musicians were playing orchestral music, a slow delicate song in four/four time. I swayed my head along with the music and soon, my legs followed. My body spinning while huge warm arms surrounded me. I blinked up at the mysterious figure that held me… but I couldn’t see his face. The room should have been light enough for me to see his face… and yet. It was like a blind spot where his face should have been. We danced and laughed and smiled along with the rest of the room. I was happy, I was… in love. I was in love with the mysterious warm figure that held me. We stopped in the middle of the dance floor below an elegant chandelier. Blurry outlines of people continued to whirl around us in time with the wondrous music. My arms rested on his shoulders and slowly slinked their way around my mystery mans neck. He leaned down and kissed me. And the dream shattered like exploding painted glass across the sky.

I was left sweating and gasping for air. Though I should have been used to this kind of a reaction by now, every morning seemed like the first morning. But then again, who ever gets use to visions? When I was able to breathe I crawled out of bed and headed into the shower. Alexander wasn’t up yet, and honestly I was kind of grateful for that. I didn’t know when Delano had dropped him off, only that he would drop him off. I kind of expected him to check in or at least say he was leaving… but he didn’t. Well, I wasn’t certain anyone was here… but I could feel it, there was more… energy. It was the only way to explain how I felt. The house wasn’t empty; there was another… person here. I stopped thinking about it and jumped in the shower. I had always loved the way the hot water drifted down my skin, and that squeaky clean feeling you get after you dry off. I scrubbed myself from head to toe as I always did, shampooed and conditioned my hair twice before I even thought about leaving my warm safe haven. I felt a little

better when I got out of the shower. Like some kind of burden had been lifted off my shoulders. But then again, I suppose it was too early for reality to set in. I dried off then wrapped a fresh towel around myself before heading back up to my bedroom. I picked out a simple pair of denim jeans and black spaghetti string top. I was feeling a little cold, but it was early it would warm up later on. I walked back down stairs and straight into the kitchen. I was about to pull out the eggs when I realized Gabriel wasn’t here. I didn’t need to cook him breakfast anymore. My heart squeezed at the thought of losing him. I didn’t want to marry him now, and I don’t think I ever could. If marrying Gabriel would kill Adrian, literally, it must work the same way for Gabriel. I couldn’t marry either of them, ever. Was Adrian aware of what was going to happen when we were engaged? Was he hoping for the same thing? Did either of them ever truly love me? I collapsed on the floor. How could I ever trust anyone ever again? How could I possibly love another person after everything he’d put me through? I pushed myself to my feet and closed the fridge. I might not be able to trust anyone again, but I still had myself. I had Delano… to an extent. And I had Alexander. I was responsible for him, or at least, that’s how I saw it. He was still like a son to me, even if he didn’t look like a child anymore. I heard footsteps on the stairs. My breath caught and my body froze. What was I thinking? It wasn’t Gabriel. I took in a deep breath and let it out. It was just Alexander. He walked into the kitchen, his head tussled from sleep and baggy pajama pants sagging a bit. He wasn’t overly muscular; he was still in that awkward phase for a boy when his shoulders and height didn’t match the rest of him. He was tall, but not overly so. His shoulders were definitely to broad for his body though. He looked a lot like his father. “What are you staring at?” he asked. I looked up at him and blushed “Nothing Alex, I was just thinking. You know, you look a lot like Riley.” “Who?” he sat down at the breakfast nook and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He was definitely not a morning person. But, then again, with everything that’s been going on I couldn’t blame him. “Your father.” He froze. “I mean, he was when you were little. He was taller and a fair bit bigger… but I guess you’re still growing, right?” I busied myself in the fridge, grabbing eggs, bacon and such. “But… then again, we don’t age unless we want to.” I looked up at him and smiled. “How do you like your eggs?” I asked. “Umm, Runny” I smiled and got to cooking. “Tell me about my father.” “I didn’t know him well. I’d only met him once, but you remind me of him.” I thought about the days I had spent with Bunny and her

family. “He was sweet, and very charming. You have his ears.” Alexander blushed and nodded. “I always wondered who I got them from.” “When did you find out… you were adopted?” I asked. “Well, they never told me. I just always knew. I use to dream about this song… but mum never knew who sang it. And I remember blond hair, your hair. And a tall dark haired man—” “Adrian. Don’t worry about him, he was… with me at the time.” “So you’re with that Gabriel dude now?” he asked. I put the bacon in the George Forman and set it on high. “Not anymore.” was all I said. “He… I can’t be with him, or anyone it seems like now.” “Why not?” I smiled at him. He looked older than he was for sure, but he was still so naive. To think I must have been like that…“I’ve learnt people can’t be trusted anymore. Not if I want to stay neutral throughout all of this.” “Neutral?” he asked. I explained. “So you see, until I can figure out which side is right… I won’t join. I don’t want to kill people Alexander. But more than that, I don’t know if I could live with the guilt if I chose wrong.” I cracked the eggs into a pan and checked on the bacon. “But I can help you that much I know I can do right.” I sighed and turned around to face him. “I won’t tell you how to chose, that’s your choice and no one but you can choose how to lead your life. But I’ll be there to tell you what I can, I’ll help you when it’s in my power and better than anything else I can offer you I’ll come through for you when you need me. I won’t let you down again.” I served up the food and placed his plate in front of him. I grabbed two glasses and a new carton of Orange Juice from the fridge. “What do you mean? Let me down again?” he asked before taking a manly bite of bacon and egg into his mouth. “When you were with me… I was with Adrian. Being Wicca, or Wiccen, means we have visions. I don’t think you get them immediately, but I was… special. I knew he was going to leave me, and I saw how much that was going to hurt me. I wasn’t going to be able to take care of you. I loved you, and I wanted you to be happy.” I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself. I could feel the sting of tears at my eyes, but I ignored them. “I gave you to the O’Brian’s because I knew they could take care of you when I couldn’t. I gave them a letter to give to you when they thought you were ready… but I wasn’t stable. I didn’t… I couldn’t…” I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Alexander’s hand stretched out across the table and took my hand in his. “You did what you thought was best for me. Mum and Dad are great people and I love them. I’m glad I got to share a life with them.” He squeezed my hand and smiled at me. “Thank you.”

“You don’t understand. You have to keep all of this a secret from everyone. You can’t be with Jacinta anymore… we ruined your life.” “Don’t worry about me and Jazzy. We’re working some things out.” “You don’t understand! The council… They don’t want the secret out. They could hurt you… kill you. I don’t want you hurt.” “She’s made a decision not to be human anymore.” he said firmly. I blinked at him. “Excuse me?” “Delano, he’s going to turn her so we can still be together.” “He’s going to what!?!” “Turn her, or is it sire… I don’t know I wasn’t really paying attention.” I stared at him in shock and jumped to my feet “You idiot! Do you realize what you’ve done to her?! Vampires are always apart of the darkness, they… their evil. If she does this, she won’t be the same anymore. You really want that to happen to her?” “What makes you think she’ll be different?” “They-They just are! They always are… their apart of the darkness. They have no choice, like Angels have no choice.” “Delano isn’t evil.” “He doesn’t look it.” I admitted. “But how well do you know him? He’s my father, and I don’t know him all that well. But I know he’s always been apart of the darkness. I knew my mother hid me from him so that I wouldn’t have to grow up in his corrupted world. And I know that the two of you need to learn more about them than what you already know. Like for example, when Delano sires Jacinta she’ll know every thought and feeling she ever has? And I thought Gabriel going through my laundry was an invasion of privacy.” “He told her that… and he told her about the bloodlust. He wanted us to be sure too. I-I told her she didn’t have to do it. I tried to make her stop. But she wants to do it Luna. I love her and she wants to be with me. This is the only way she can be with me.” “Well, not necessarily.” “What?” “I… there are other creatures. Werewolves… and Witches. I’m sure there are even more but… but they’re the ones I know about.” I sighed and set down my knife and fork. “I’ll find out everything I can. I promise.” The only problem was finding out was going to mean talking to a lot of people I really didn’t want to see right now. “There’s got to be another way.” “Do you know any Witches or Werewolves?” he asked. “Well, no. But Adrian and Delano probably will—” “No Luna. If you don’t know them then I can’t trust them with Jacinta. Delano’s family, He’ll make sure she’s safe. I’m not going to trust her life to someone we don’t know. You wouldn’t understand.”

But the thing was I knew exactly what he was saying. I wouldn’t trust Gabriel or Adrian’s lives to anyone. Not even to themselves…“Don’t be so quick to think so.” I scrapped the half eaten food into a bowl and left it one the counter. “If you’ve got any leftovers put them in their and leave it outside.” I didn’t like to waist food, and there were always stray animals looking for food. Someone might as well benefit from them. “I’m going out. There’s food in the fridge and a TV in the living room. I won’t be gone for more than an hour.” I put on my running shoes and opened the door. “If anyone comes by, tell them what I’ve told you.” I called over my shoulder. And without another word, I took off running out into the chilly winter’s morning.

When I got back I was sweating and panting like you would not believe. It was harder to breath in air that was this cold. Every breath felt like painful icicles stabbing the back of my throat. I walked through the door and headed straight for the kitchen. I pulled out the OJ and filled a glass. It was empty again in a matter of seconds. “You’re not usually this tired after a run.” Said a smooth familiar voice from the door way. Damn! How could I have not noticed him there? “I don’t usually push myself this hard when its this cold.” I downed a second glass of OJ and almost instantly regretted it. The human stomach is so not meant to contain this much OJ at once. “I’d slow down on that if I were you, or your going to get a stomach ache.” He said. “Just be thankful its orange Juice and not something stronger.” I shoved the container back in the fridge and rinsed out my glass. “I thought you gave up drinking after what happened last time.” He walked through the door with an unnatural air-like grace. Gabriel was always loud and obnoxious, so to see him act gracefully was a little… unnerving. “I did.” I said simply. We stared at each other for a long moment. It was strange, all the questions, all the arguments hung in the air between us, just waiting to burst free. All the accusations waited to start, and yet, while we were in this silence they never needed to be said. To bad silence doesn’t last forever. “You don’t have to marry me.” he said. He took me off guard, did he honestly expect me to marry him after what he was planning to do. “I wasn’t going to” he flinched as if I had hit him and I felt my heart strings lurch. “What are you doing here Gabriel? I told you I didn’t want to see you again, didn’t I?” he flinched again and balled his hands into fists at his sides. “Yes, you did. But I thought—”

“What did you think Gabriel? That you could just walk back into my life say you were sorry and everything would be back to normal? You all act like your better than the darkness. But you’re exactly the same! You just look different. You have different needs, but at the end of the day, the only think you think about is death. Your blood lust is just as bad as theirs.” “Something tells me were not talking about good vs. evil anymore.” “Your right, but it’s the same thing. The light pretends to be better than everyone else, but their not. No one is better than someone else. The darkness uses that as an excuse to hate you… both sides just want blood” “Justice.” Gabriel said firmly. I shook my head. “No Gabriel, all you want is blood. You’re no better than Adrian. And I can’t trust either of you.” He flinched again. “Let me win back your trust.” He said. The look in his eyes wasn’t beyond pleading. Why would he look like this if the only reason he proposed to me was to kill Adrian. Maybe he did love me. Maybe we could work. “I can’t ever marry you… you understand that.” he looked defeated and nodded. “I love you enough to accept it.” He looked at me then and took a step towards me. I don’t know why, but instinctively I took a step back. I hit the fridge and made it rattle. The look that crossed over his face would haunt me forever. It was a look of pure sadness, sadness for something he had lost. He looked as if no one had ever rejected him before, and now he was feeling the full force of it. I wanted to reach out to him, comfort him, hold him. But something inside of me told me to stay where I was. It almost killed me to do so as I stared into his eyes and saw my own reflection. I looked like crap, but that wasn’t what he saw. He saw me as beautiful, I’ll never understand that. I’ll never be able to see how anyone could think of me as beautiful, but the fact was that’s how he saw me. They say that love is blind, when in actuality; love is strong enough to see past the many flaws we see in ourselves. Love is anything but blind. He nodded suddenly and straightened. I hadn’t even realized he was slouching until now. He stood the way you imagine soldier’s stand; straight back, chest out stomach in. But Gabriel didn’t do that intentionally, he was naturally... perfect. It’s strange to think anyone could be naturally perfect considering perfection is the most unnatural thing in the world… but he was. It was apart of him as much as his arm or leg. Looking at him now, I couldn’t help but feel a little remorseful about all that had happened. I loved Gabriel after all… even after what he had done. I still loved him.

“I came to collect my belongings.” He said his voice as stern and cold as his face. I hated how everyone else could do that now and I suddenly couldn’t. loosing all emotion and retreating into a small quiet place in the back of my mind. “You do that then.” He gave me one final look and nodded again. He walked up stairs and from the sound of it started packing. I walked into the lounge room, Alexander was sprawled out on the couch in a pose that both looked uncomfortable and seriously ungentlemanly. Well, he was a teenage boy… I had to remember that. I’d been living with Gabriel too long. He looked over the couch and smiled. “What’s up Loon?” “Loon?” I asked. He smiled at me impishly and settled into the couch properly “Sorry Luna. I keep forgetting you’re older than me.” “Well, only ten years older. Hey Alexander, tell Jacinta she’s welcome here. I don’t want her thinking… well…” he nodded and grabbed his phone. He walked over to me and pulled me into a tight hug. He was warm and his skin smelt like Chocolate. “Thanks… Mom.” I giggled at that. “You don’t have to call me mum. Just remember who I am and I’ll be happy.” he pulled away with a huge grin on his face. “I never forgot you.” He walked out the door while dialing Jacinta on his phone. He was a sweet heart. “How touching,” Gabriel said as he walked awkwardly down the steps. Well, considering he was balancing three suitcases at once, it wasn’t surprising. “Such a beautiful reunion scene, he should write valentines day cards” “Shut up Gabriel.” Bastard… I whispered angrily under my breath. “I heard that you know.” He said. “Yeah, well congratulations.” I went back into the kitchen and did the dishes. It was something to keep my hands busy and my mind of the Angelic prick carrying a bunch of suitcases out my door. But when I was finished, he wasn’t. I watched as he pulled literally everything out of his bedroom, including his bed. I cursed. Looks like I was going shopping. I guess that’s okay, I had the money; it was just a bit of an inconvenience. When the last of his stuff was outside he hesitated at my door. He turned to face me and walked over. He was breathing heavily, he seemed so angry. I could see the veins at the side of his temples pulsation. That couldn’t be good. He caught my face between his hands and kissed me. His lips were urgent on mine and against my better judgment, I was responsive. His lips were still warm and soft with a strange rough edge to them. His face was unshaven and the itchy hairs scrapped across my face. It wasn’t painful, but not exactly pleasant either, just

irritating. But I didn’t care; I threw myself into the kiss with just as my force and emphasis as he did. But as I got more into the kiss, it began to slow. I knew it was going to end, and something inside of me snapped. I pulled away and pushed him at the same time. “Get out…” was all I said. He stiffened again and balled his hands into fists. He went to grab me; I held my hands out in front of me and yelled at him to stop. “Come any closer and I’ll do it! I swear to god I’ll blow a whole through your heart even bigger than the one you left in mine!” He was stunned for a moment as he started at me. I felt the tears hot and fresh on my cheeks but I didn’t care. This was a time when I had to be strong I couldn’t keep crying. “Luna…” he stepped towards me and I stepped back. “No! No don’t come near me!” I screamed at him. “I thought you were going to be the one… I thought you cared enough about me to know what I wanted. I thought you’d let me be.” My hands dropped to my sides. “I… I thought… I thought I could trust you.” I fell to my knees and looked down at the floor, my hands neatly folded in my lap. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I whispered. He came down on one knee in front of me and tilted my head up with his index finger. “Luna.” His voice was soft, apologetic. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m thinking now.” his hand pulled a few strands of hair from my face and tucked them safely behind my ear. “All I know is that I loved you… love you. I want you to be happy Luna, that’s what you do when you love someone.” He shook his head and stroked his fingers across my face. “Why do you fall in love so easily?” he asked. His voice sounded so strangled, so tortured. It gave the tears on my face new meaning. I knew how he felt; it was the way I had felt when Adrian had left me. I could still feel it some times. The feeling of being worthless and unloved, unworthy of anything. “I don’t fall in love easily.” I whispered. My hand rested on the back of his and pressed it against my face. He was so warm and real… and yet… “That’s why I can’t trust you anymore.” I looked up at him and felt another warm salty tear fall from my eye. “I gave you my heart and you use it against me. You knew how I felt, but you just used me to get what you wanted.” I took his hand away from my face and let it fall. “I can’t love you anymore Gabriel… I’m sorry.” He stared at his hand for a long while and I stared at my own. “Can’t or won’t love me?” he asked. I looked at him then. I ran my own hand over his cheek and smiled. It wasn’t a happy smile, more a rueful smile. “Both” I whispered. He shook his head and my hand away and smiled. “No Luna, you’ll always love me. You just wont want to.” He got to his feet and left, not another word uttered from his perfect lips. I

listened as the sound of his car engine filled the house. Within less than a few seconds he was gone. I got to my feet and for the first time in years felt awkward where I stood. I didn’t have anything to do right this second and Gabriel wasn’t here to distract me. I felt almost wrong without Gabriel in the house. It was like a piece of me had suddenly disappeared and I was left… lonely. Alexander walked through the door with a huge grin plastered to his face. “Jazzy says thanks; she’s coming around for tea, hope that’s okay.” I plastered on my own fake little smile and leaned against the couch. “She’s always welcome here, especially after what she’ll be doing soon. She’ll need family who know what and how to deal with what she is.” I looked away from him and knotted my hands together. “I know it’s not pretty at first, and you probably won’t be allowed to see her… for a long time I’d guess. And by the time that’s all gone and done, her family will probably think she’s dead, or they may be dead.” I looked at him then. He was frowning, thinking. He’d need to think about this, if nothing else, I at least wanted him to understand. “She’ll need a family she can trust. I told you before I’ll be here for you and do everything in my power to help. Jacinta is apart of you now, so everything I said extends to her. I know you’d be lost without her, I’ve been through it myself.” I forced myself to smile. “So she’s always welcome in my house.” I headed for the stairs and stopped half way up. “By the way, we have to go shopping.” He didn’t say anything, or at least I didn’t wait to hear it if he did. I grabbed my wallet and changed into something a little more presentable. It was getting to the point were soon it would be snowing here in London. I had always thought the snow was beautiful. I liked letting a snow flake rest in my hand and watched as it turned to water. I thought it was truly… truly wondrous. I walked down the stairs and as I set foot outside the front door, I realized it was snowing. “The first snows of winter.” I clutched at my chest as a stab of pain went through my heart. I always watched the first snows of winter with Gabriel. But now, I doubted I would ever watch it with him again. I was on my own again. I wasn’t in a strange place like last time, but I still felt that sensation of confusion. I didn’t know what I was going to do anymore. I felt so awkwardly lonely without him there to hold my hand. I couldn’t feel the warmth generating from his body… it made me shiver at the realization of how very cold I was without him here. And then it hit me. It wasn’t just heat I felt radiating from his body. It was life. I had always been able to feel it like a living pulsing creature just above his skin. The reason I felt cold now was because I wasn’t using my powers. I wasn’t sharing my magic with him constantly anymore.

The reality of the situation was that, I could never do that with him again. I couldn’t love him; I couldn’t let myself love him. Men break your heart and break your trust. If you can’t trust the person you love with your feelings on something as simple as murder, how could you possibly trust them with your heart? How could I trust any other person with my heart ever again? I knew the truth now at least. But what is truth without a meaning? I had Alexander for the mean time, I would watch over him and Jacinta for as long as they needed me. And for the moment, I could live with that for a purpose as to being here; it gave me a reason and meaning. But my live as an entirety, I could see no real meaning. I could see no blind obvious preciousness to my life. But do any of us ever really know what our Meaning in life is? Do any of us ever truly know why we are here? We have hopes, dreams and ever aspirations. But just because we accomplish our goals, does that mean our lives suddenly have a purpose? Who decided that we got to choose our own meanings? Who ever said that just because we happen to achieve something in our lives makes them worth while? Unless god suddenly appeared in front of me and told me what my purpose in life was, how could we ever know? Or was it something we had to figure out on our own? Was it something you had to determine yourself? Were we truly the makers of our own destinies? And if so, what part in all this does god ever play? But the one thing that annoyed me more than anything was my powers. Why did he give such a gift to someone like me, someone who doesn’t want them? I don’t want anything to do with the war, and yet, they tell me he’s given me ‘the key to ending the war’. I didn’t see how I could possibly end an entire war. I’m just one person. And ant can no more lift the Eiffel tower than I can stop an entire war. When has one person ever stopped an entire war? Many were caused by only one person, but very few we ever ended by one. I was special, that I knew. But to do any good in a war, I would have to be willing to spill blood. I couldn’t kill someone and live with myself. Adrian killed off my entire family without so much as another thought. I couldn’t become like that. I couldn’t have blood on my hands and live with myself. I couldn’t take away someone’s life and feel good about it, or even feel nothing about it. It would kill me. Death would ultimately kill me. But then again, in its most literal form, Death would ultimately kill us all. Alexander and I had gone shopping in town for a new bed set soon after and ended up walking away with an entire furnished room, plus a few new pieces for the house, including a dishwasher for the kitchen and mirror with frosted glass etchings for the bathroom. All in all, it had been a good day.

Alexander and I ate at some fancy café Alex and Jacinta came to on weekends. Jacinta liked expensive things, but according to Alex didn’t like to admit it. I thought it was cute some guys still treated their women with a level of respect. Listening to Alexander talk about Jacinta made me smile. He was so infatuated with her; he put her on a pedestal that no one could possibly come close to. And from the first time I had met her, she had seemed… special. But there was something about her… something she was hiding. The more he talked about her, the stronger the feeling got. The furniture store delivered the furniture some time after lunch and everything was unpacked and ready for use with enough time for me to make dinner. Well, a late dinner but dinner all the same. Alexander sat at the breakfast nook watching me as I twittered around the room grabbing pts pans and a number of ingredients room the pantry. It was… unnerving. “What are you staring at?” I finally asked. He smiled crookedly, the way his father did. He leaned forward and crossed his arms from shoulder to shoulder across the bench. “I keep forgetting your ten years older than me. You’re like a little house wife. Jacinta can’t even make toast without burning it.” I smiled and went back to cooking. “Well, I’ve had those ten years to learn how to cook. But I guess I always knew how to cook. My mum was just a good teacher.” He nodded and stared at the bench as if he were seeing through it. “I can believe that.” I stirred the pasta and started making the sweet chilly sauce. “Mum was always a god teacher, dad too.” I would have expected that to hurt, the way he called someone else mum. But it didn’t. They had been his parents for a lot longer than I ever had. I called Delano dad, but… Mark would always be my father. “Parents are like that.” I said. “They teach us things, even things we don’t things we really need to know. I know when I was thirteen my dad tried to teach me how to plaster a roof. Now that was a piece of seriously useless information I’ll never use.” I turned the pot up to high and let the pasta bubble. “But I’m glad he taught me.” “Why?” I turned back to Alex and smiled. “Because he took the time to teach me something when he didn’t have to. And better than all of that, I remember how to do it too.” He nodded and stared back at the counter top. I heard the door bell ring and he automatically perked up. It was like flicking a switch; on, off, bored, excited. “That’d be Jazzy.” He got up from the chair and ran to the front door. I was distantly aware of the cute, girly squealing and sound of smacking lips coming from the hallway. I laughed and got back to cooking. I felt so… old. Alexander and Jacinta were in that stage where they thought love over came all. It was the time when nothing else

mattered except their own undying love for one another. I so didn’t want to be there when reality hit home. I heard the jingling of bells as the walked hand in hand into the kitchen. Alexander looked so different, like a great weight had been lifted off his shoulders and he won the lottery. He smiled at Jacinta like nothing else in the world mattered… I remembered that look. I missed that look. I frowned and turned back to the food. I would not think about Gabriel. I would not think about Adrian. I would not think about guys in general. I repeated over and over in my head. But the more I thought it, the more my thoughts drifted to them. What were they doing right now? How had their day been? Did they get home from work safely? Could they be hurt? Did they need me? Were they okay without me? Did either of them happen to be missing me like I was missing them? The questions seemed both endless and pointless. Adrian had walked out of my life and I’d willingly sent Gabriel. Something told me they were coming back though, this wouldn’t be the last time I’d ever seen them. The love Adrian and I had shared had been far too strong to abandon, and the life Gabriel and I had built together had lasted to long to simply forget. I loved them both and had been betrayed by both. I remember the letter my mother had sent me. She had said you didn’t have to divide your love between people, love grew bigger and stranger the more you gave it away. But how could you give your love to people you couldn’t trust? Giving someone your love meant trusting them not to let you down, trusting them to be there for you, and more importantly, trusting them to love you back. I didn’t know where I stood with Gabriel and Adrian anymore. I hated it, but deep down, I knew Gabriel was right. I knew I still loved him, I’d still do anything he told me to… and I hated him for it. I had never understood how people could have love/hate relationships. But when you think about it, love and hate aren’t that far apart. They’re both passionate emotions and neither one is blinding or absolute, no matter how much we envision them to be. You cannot love every single thing about someone forever and never have a single moment of anger or annoyance. You cannot hate every last thing about a person, we simply don’t work that way. And more importantly, how can we ever know if we feel love or hatred if we have not felt its opposite? It’s just another reason why I know Adrian isn’t evil. No one could love the way he does and be evil. Love is not an evil emotion, though I’ve known many a scorned teenager who would disagree. “… Don’t you think Luna?” I swirled around to find Alexander and Jacinta looking at me expectedly. “Oh, I’m sorry. I haven’t been listening.” “Day dreaming.” Jacinta asked as she sat delicately at the breakfast nook. Her cloths were bright and tasteful. A long sleeved T-

shirt with V neck that didn’t dip too low or too high, a pair of simple black jeans and a beautiful aqua ribbon and gold glistening bells holding her hair in a simple high pony tale. I smiled at her and noticed how completely different see looked sitting next to Alexander. She was a tall, dark skinned beauty, dressed in a manner that made her both beautiful and sensible. And Alexander was like his father. Tall, strong, rugged dressed in beach bum cloths with messy bed-ridden hair and not a care in the world. They were so… different. But then again, they do say opposites attract. How odd must I look standing next to Gabriel? He was tall, tanned muscular… an absolute angel. And me, I was short, bony and completely unproportionalised. I was so plain. “Are you okay?” Jacinta asked. I looked up and felt my cheeks flush with color. “Oh, its nothing. I’m just thinking to hard I guess.” I turned back to the stove and was about to serve when Jacinta was suddenly in my way of the brand new dishwasher. “Need a hand?” she asked. “Actually, I need you out of the way.” She looked as if I had struck her. Until of course, she realized she was standing in front of the dishwasher and I had a pot in my hands that weighed about a ton. She blushed and moved away. “Oh no, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean—” “Honey, relax. You were just standing in front of the dishwasher, no need to have a panic attack.” She nodded shyly and put one hand at the back of her neck. “I can’t do anything right anymore.” she dropped her head and made the bells in her hair chime. Something about it seemed so… staged. “Are you always this theatric?” I asked. She stared at me for a moment, and then laughed. “Oh I get it, sarcasm right?” she asked. Alex came up behind her and swung his arms around her. “Right.” He whispered in her ear. I didn’t know what he was saying right to, if I was using sarcasm or if a group of talking pixies just waltzed into the room. I got the feeling he’d say yes to anything she asked him to do. I served dinner and put the thought to rest. Dinner was… well, slightly awkward. But I suppose, it would be. I mean, I didn’t know either of them that well, and I was only his aunt. And strangely enough, I didn’t feel the same… connection to him. I didn’t feel like his mother, I didn’t even really feel like his family anymore.

Something about that made me regretful. Would that have been different if I had brought him up? Would he feel more like my own? I still loved him; there was no doubt about that. But I didn’t feel the tie anymore. I didn’t feel that absolute motherly instinct. Maybe because he didn’t need a mother anymore or maybe it was because he wasn’t the Alexander I knew and loved. This was an older, totally different Alexander. Our worlds up until this point hadn’t been connected. He hadn’t been apart of my life, and regretfully, I hadn’t been apart of his. Perhaps that would all change. Or perhaps, this was how it would always be. I didn’t know how to feel about that yet. I suppose, I was glad he was happy and he had a life. I knew if he had stayed with me, he wouldn’t have had that life. But I was upset I didn’t have a part to play in that life. I felt the loss of him not feeling like my own anymore. I felt the loss of him as a son, but on another level, I felt the happy gain of someone I could at least considered a friend. He wasn’t my son, but I had always known that. He was however… family. He and Delano were the only family I had left, whether I liked it or not.

When dinner was over, Jacinta insisted on helping me with the dishes. I insisted she calm down, take a bath and relax. She seemed so… uppity. She couldn’t sit still, she looked so anxious, especially around Alexander. She was hiding something, and I knew it. I just… I didn’t know what it was yet. Something wasn’t right with that girl. She was beautiful, she wasn’t a tramp—Which made me very proud of Alexander for not choosing the tramp-next-door for his lover to be—and she was, I had to admit, helpful. Or at least, she tried to be. And I swear, she had this permanent smile glued to her lips. No one was supposed to be that perfect. Something was wrong. We all headed to bed at around 12:30. I was dead tired… and yet, I couldn’t sleep. I lay there tucked under the warm covers, and still felt cold. I didn’t know if it was the lack of manly body beside me, or the fact I hadn’t give my magic to a guardian in hours. I was use to Gabriel touching me, just little things, but they were constant. He’d find any and every reason to touch me, but it wasn’t sexual, more protective or possessive than anything. If I were in a good mood I’d say my happiness and safety were all that would have ever mattered to him. But I knew that wasn’t true. The pessimist in me was coming though. I had the sudden urge to call Gabriel. I didn’t know why, but I needed to talk to him. I needed him really, but I knew I shouldn’t. I grabbed my phone thirteen missed calls, all from Gabriel. Maybe he was feeling it too then. I settled for a message. I can’t sleep 

-L Yeah, I know it was lame. But it was the best I could do. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know if he was up. Hell, at this point, I didn’t know anything. Maybe he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. Maybe he thought I was a horrible person and every trace i was ever alive should be wiped from the earth. Wait. I shouldn’t be thinking these things. He was the one the broke my trust. He tried to use me as a way to kill Adrian. He attempted the one thing he knew I couldn’t stand. Murder. So why did it feel so wrong to be without him? The phone vibrated, it was from Gabriel. Me neither. My blankets feel scratchy and I need a new pillow, preferably one that didn’t come off my leather couch… I miss you, you know. -G I miss you too. Or at least, that’s what I wanted to send back. I missed him, and I knew I did. But I didn’t like that I missed him. I didn’t like that I still loved him. Hell, I don’t think I liked any of it. You were right you know, about how I feel. I love you, but I don’t want to love you. It hurts to love people like you. -L And that much was true. It hurt to love him; it hurt to love anyone these days. Love meant trusting someone. Everyone I trusted used that trust against me, and now, I didn’t know if I could ever truly trust anyone ever again. I’m always right about you Luna. You’re always right about the people you love. -G The people you love… So it’s not that I’m just incredibly predictable? I was so very worried that’s exactly what was happening. I thought, maybe I’d have to mix things up a little bit from now on. Be a little more unpredictable. -L Luna, you’re perfect the way you are. I wouldn’t want you to ever change,

-G You and Adrian really are alike. -L How do you mean? -G You both say some of the most beautiful things anyone had ever heard uttered, but I don’t know how much of it to believe. I don’t know where reality starts and the fantasy life you pain with your words begins. I’m not saying you don’t love me, we’ve been together too long for me to truly believe that, no matter how much it want to. -L Then what are you trying to tell me Luna? -G What was I trying to tell him? He knew I didn’t trust him, but it was more than that. It hurt, so much to realize he had thought he could get away with that. It had hurt to realize he thought it would make no difference to our relationship. But most of all, it hurt to think he believed I’d be stupid enough to come back to someone who forced me into a corner with my own love, and killed someone I once loved, just as equally as I loved Gabriel now. The problem was that I didn’t know if I could love him and not regret it later. The problem was, I didn’t know if I could love anybody again without regretting it, later. I told him as much and left the phone on my bed side table. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get much sleep tonight. I crawled out of bed and grabbed one of my robes. It was too early for anyone to be up, and to late for any animals to be out. I heard my phone buzz, all the way from the stairs. It was enough to make me hesitate before going downstairs. The sound of crying caught my attention the second I got down into the hallway. I walked into the lounge room to find it plunge into darkness, with Jacinta sitting on the couch, crying her eyes out. I wanted to say something but times like this didn’t need words, they needed action. I had had enough moments like these, moments when I just needed someone to be with me as I cried. Gabriel had been there for almost all of them, and I loved him for it. I walked around the couch, sat beside her and pulled her into my arms. She cringed into my chest without any sign of hesitation and cried. I rocked her gently and whispered sweet lies that were of coarse,

useless. I had never understood why people did that, why people told us it wasn’t our fault and it was all going to be okay. But now I understood. It wasn’t just kind to whisper such things and give them a moment to honestly believe such things, but it was also a natural compulsion. You wanted to tell them it was going to be okay because even you want to believe it. You want to tell them they’ll be okay because you want them to be okay. You want to believe because it’s easier to deal with. We stayed like that for a long time, she cried, I held her and towards the end, I let out a few tears of my own. It was just one of those days. It had been a bad morning, a relatively good day, and a slightly awkward dinner. And then I couldn’t sleep. And now, here I am, holding Jacinta as she cried herself to sleep. To sleep? I looked down at Jacinta’s shuddering, but other wise unmoving body and smiled. I pushed the hair out of her eyes and carefully lowered her head from my lap onto one of the couch pillows. As I looked over Jacinta, I noticed something unnerving; Jacinta didn’t look innocent in her sleep. She looked too mature, like even in her sleep she was guarded, like she had secrets. I didn’t like that; it wasn’t going to end well. What was she hiding that made her so… guarded, even in her sleep? I wasn’t the smartest person on the block, but even I knew that wasn’t natural. Sleep was a time when we let all our defenses down. It was a time when we lost all perception of the world beyond our imaginations. Or at least, it was for humans. Looking so guarded when she was sleeping… it was not natural. I went into the kitchen and made myself a caramel latte. I loved the smell of coffee more than anything. The smooth, rich aroma that lingered in the air even after all the coffee was gone. But then again, just because I liked the smell didn’t mean I liked coffee breath. I retrieved my phone and read the dreaded message. I never meant to hurt you Luna; I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ve always loved you, ever since I first started watching you. God never told me why he sent me to watch over you when you already had two vampires guarding you like watch-dogs. All I know is that he loves you and knows your special and I trust his judgment. We’ve been together too long for it to end like this now. I was an idiot but I’m man enough to admit it. I love you Luna, I want you back. I bit my lip and stared at the screen. I had to read the message twice just to make sense of it. My head was spinning and I collapsed

back against the bed. He wanted me back. Something about that made me both happy and nervous. Could I continue loving him like nothing ever happened? Could I honestly be with someone who wanted to kill Adrian, my Adrian? If I was able to love Gabriel even after he conspired to kill Adrian, why couldn’t I love Adrian after he had killed so many of my family? Was the difference between intent and action really that great? But the big question was; did I want him back? The thing is, I don’t know how I feel right now. It hasn’t even been two days yet, and I already miss you. I need time to think about us as a couple. But I know I don’t want to loose you as a friend. I want you to be part of my life; I just don’t know how big a part of my life I want you to be yet. But I do love you Gabriel, I probably always will. I just don’t know what that means for us yet. I turned the phone off and set it back on my bedside table. And suddenly, I was able to sleep.

Surprise, Surprise…
Chapter 7
I could hear the heavy rain fall on the roof, but surprisingly, it was pleasant. Not a sound I’d want to listen to all the time, but something that at the moment seemed more tolerable that not. It was peaceful in a way. “Luna… Luna, wake up.” I groaned and threw the closest object to me at the pesky little noise that had to ruin my peaceful little moment. It was a pillow. Why is there never something heavy within reach when you need it? “Come on, you have to get up sooner or later. Make me my breakfast woman.” with that one sentence I knew exactly who was shaking me. “Make your own damn breakfast Michael; I’m so NOT your personal slave.” I threw another pillow in his general direction and

pulled the blankets up over my head. It probably looked childish from where he was standing, but then again, Michael couldn’t complain. He did more childish things before six am than most actual children do in a full length day. “I think its serious Raphael, she wants me to go into her kitchen and cook. I seem to recall her saying something about ever coming near her kitchen again and me loosing a very treasure appendage.” Despite myself, I laughed. “I didn’t know people could laugh in their sleep.” “You forget, I’m not a person.” I rolled over and pulled the blankets down to eye level. “I’m a Wicca, just a little different.” Michel smiled at me, his unusually white teeth letting off a strangely florescent glow. “Just a little different” I smiled back and pushed away the covers. “You’re a real pain in the ass you know that?” his smiled turned into a full blown grin and he pulled me into a tight bear hug. “She’s alive!” he yelled. I laughed and pushed away from him. Michael had always been a strange one. But the more I looked at him, the more I realized something was wrong. He looked happy, really happy. Michael always had a cheeky smile along his lips, and one hell of a playful personality, but he was never so… well, happy. I stumbled and landed against a warm, rock hard body. “Watch your step.” I looked up and smiled at Raphael. “I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, I’m aloud to be a little… uncoordinated.” He smiled back and nodded. “Right. I’ll go make you a latte and you can get dressed.” “Take Michael with you.” Michael gave me a pouty look that made me want to burst out laughing, but followed Raphael anyway. I didn’t know what was up with Michael, but at least it wasn’t affecting his personality. I grabbed a pair of blue jeans and simple V neck T-shirt, went down stairs, showered, brushed my hair, and dressed. The boys had my coffee waiting as promised and surprisingly, the kitchen was immaculate. I mean, it was always clean, but it never… shone. “Who cleaned the kitchen?” I asked. “A short Indian girl, she’s gone shopping for you too.” Raphael said as he sat down opposite of me with his own coffee. I frowned in spite of myself. I had thought the worst of Jacinta, and here she was cleaning and shopping. I felt like such a horrible person… and yet… “What’s wrong Luna?” Why is it Raphael could tell everything I felt? Was I that obvious? “Something’s wrong… about Jacinta I mean. She’s keeping a secret, and I don’t like it.” I didn’t mention last night; he didn’t need to know about that. “Uriel would know.” Michael blurted out.

“Who?” Raphael took another sip of his espresso “Another of our sect, the Arch angels.” “How many of you are there?” I asked. I should probably know these things, “About… 7 actual Archangels, but then of coarse we have the lower levels Archangels and our servants, their servants… so on and so forth. You’d be surprised how many different names we all have in your ‘holy’ books.” “Humans,” Michael snorted “forgetful bunch of—” I cut him off. “I use to be human.” I said. That was enough to shut him up. It’s one thing to be racist, it’s another thing to be racist when someone else is in the room and then another to be racist while in the presence of someone from that race. “Anyway, what put you guys in such a good mood?” I asked. Raphael and Michael shared a moment’s glance at one another. “Is it that obvious?” Michael asked. I had to bite my tongue to reframe from laughing “Oh yeah, it’s obvious.” Raphael set down his now empty coffee mug and smiled. “Well, Uriel has come to earth.” “When you say ‘come to earth’, you mean, he was…” “Yes Luna, in heaven.” I smiled. The way he said heaven made it sound so peaceful; he filled the word with depth and meaning without even trying to, it was the way heaven was meant to be said. “I take it you’ve missed him?” Michael chuckled. “Hell no! Luna, that guys crazy… well, you’d say he has ‘anger management issues’. I guess you could say, no one could really miss him. Well, if you could miss him… no, no you couldn’t miss that guy.” “I’m sure you do, underneath it all.” I stood from the table and rummaged through the cupboards. “Well, no wonder Jacinta went shopping.” I closed the cupboards and smiled. “Sorry boys, unless you want off milk and semi burnt old toast I really don’t know what I can do for you.” Raphael smiled and walked over to me. he pulled me into a hug and kissed my forehead. “That’s fine Luna. We just came by to make sure you were okay anyway.” “Really? I never know ‘get out of bed and make me breakfast woman’ really meant are you okay?” Michael smiled “Well, now you know.” “Anyway” Raphael interjected. “Uriel needs to meet you, not now, but soon. He has news to deliver, to you and only you. Even we can’t know.” “Why not?”

“Because Luna, it’s directly from god, to you.” Michael stared at me, and Raphael stared at him. and suddenly, but understandable, I became very uncomfortable. “I take it that big…” “Luna, God hasn’t delivered a message to any hum-person, in centuries in two thousand years. This is a very big deal.” Michael’s eyes bore into me with an intensity I didn’t want to withstand. I looked away “Okay, I get it.” I too in a deep breathe and let it out slowly. “Why are you staring at me?” “I don’t understand it.” Michael said “I love you like a sister Luna, you know that, but… why you? Your parents aren’t special and yet you have all this power, your beautiful don’t get me wrong, but Gabriel has never fallen in love. And Adrian, well, Adrian will sleep with anyone. But he didn’t sleep with you did he?” I hugged my arms around my stomach and shook my head. “He’s never been like that, I don’t care what crappy lies he told you but he’s never been so… clean. Gabriel went nuts last night, didn’t get him back home till his phone started going off, and then he calmed right down. It was you texting him wasn’t it.” I nodded. “Well, that makes sense at least. But I don’t get it, why you? Why are you supposed to be so damn important?” He stared at me, waiting for some earth shattering answer that would suddenly make everything clear. The only problem was, I didn’t have one. “I-I don’t know. Do you think I like it? I don’t like having this stupid power; I don’t like that Gabriel and Adrian are bound to me. I don’t like that I love them both… I don’t like any of this! Do you think I really care why I have this power? Honestly Michael, I thought you’d understand that the why isn’t what’s important. I’m more worried about what the hell I’m supposed to do with it. I cant be a savior, how the hell am I suppose to do anything when I cant even decide which side to… well, side with. How am I supposed to end something that’s been going on for millions of years? I-I’m just one person…I could feel the sting of tears at the corners of my eyes, but I would not cry. “I don’t know why I’ve been chosen and I don’t care either. I just want out.” Raphael placed a hand on my shoulder and turned to look at Michael. “She was chosen because she could think clearly enough to see past the glamour’s. God sent her Gabriel and Lucifer sent her Adrian. She has loved them both, and yet has been swayed neither way. Luna is strong enough to make her own decision; she’s smart enough to decide the difference between good and evil. I believe even we have lost the true value of that. But you…” Raphael turned back to me and cupped the side of my face. “You are special.” I felt a hot salty tear streak down my face. He was so sweet, so kind… so blind.

“No Raphael, no I’m not.” I pushed his hand away and walked into the living room. They didn’t understand anything! I grabbed my sneakers and shoved them onto my feet roughly. I need to run. “Luna?” I ignored Raphael opened the door and took off without another word.

It was pelting down rain outside. The snow crunched beneath my feet and with each step the ground seemed to get slipperier. But I didn’t care. Who was going to really care if I slipped and scuffed myself up a little? The cold water flew at my face, each droplet slapping with a force I never knew rain could have. My skin felt numb, and cold. But again, I didn’t care. What was the point in caring anymore? What was the point in caring about anything when everything just seemed to go south anyway? I cared for my parents, they left me. I cared for Jennifer, she left me. I cared for Adrian, he left me. I even cared for Gabriel, and he tried to kill one of the few people I still cared for even remotely. It wasn’t their fault. I know not all of them could have controlled their circumstances. But that doesn’t change the fact that they were gone. I was alone and all I had left was my house, my money, and Alexander. But Alexander didn’t need me; I doubt he truly needed anyone, except Jacinta. I still didn’t trust her. What kind of woman hid something from the man she loves? I pushed myself harder into the pelting rain, my muscles burnt but I pushed past that too. Pain is what we make it. If you tell yourself you can’t do it, then you can’t. If you tell yourself its nothing, then it’s nothing. I pushed against the wind and the rain, ignored the slipping of my feet against the slushy ice and breathed in the subfreezing air. My lungs burnt along with the rest of my body and my face was covered in water, whether it was from tears, sweat or rain I wasn’t sure. And then I fell. I skidded across the pavement and hit my head against something tall and metal, my skull making a distinct cracking sound even I could have recognized. My vision blurred for a second and all I could see were spots. I couldn’t feel anything; I was numb, from head to toe. I couldn’t hear anything either and for a moment, the world was still. There were no sounds, no movement, just specks of light. It was almost peaceful, like floating… And then, slowly, the world came back. First the blurry shapes of cars speeding across the ash felt and white slushy looking snow. Then the sounds of screeching tyres and heavy rain as it hit the ground. And finally, the feel of cold water hitting me and freezing air circulating my

lungs, the ice melting through my clothes and a warm liquid spreading through my hair. For a moment I even feared the worst. But what’s the point anyway? So what if I died? Who would really care anyway? Gabriel would live, he’d have to. Surely god wouldn’t let his Archangel die. And Adrian, he wouldn’t care… but he would die. I didn’t like it, but if I died, so did Adrian, and so would Gabriel. I tried to push myself up and failed. My arms wouldn’t move far enough for me to even cringe in pain. I coughed around the freezing air stabbing in my lungs and felt another warm liquid fill my mouth. I spat it out as far as I could, which turned out to only be a few centimeters away and tried not to scream. Blood, I tasted blood; the hot, thick, metallic, coppery taste of blood. My eyes fluttered and the spots came back into view. My body twitched involuntarily and I realized I wasn’t alone. A tall dark figure was standing over me. I couldn’t see their face, and that scared me more than anything. I could hear him talking, but I couldn’t tell what he was saying. I felt the tears sting at my eyes and one small droplet fall. I closed my eyes and let my head rest on the pavement as comfortably as possible. What was the point in staying alive? What was the point in anything anymore? Did it matter what the point was anyway? The only point now was that I was dying… a crack to the head while I was running. Somehow I never saw it coming. What do you know; exercise is hazardous to your health. The last thing I felt were hands on my body lifting me off the ground. And then nothing, absolutely nothing at all…

“… I love her Luna… I’m pregnant… help me out here… what happens if… wake up baby, please just… if you can hear me… I want you to know that… Adrian says he loves you… don’t worry about… maybe I should say… please… just wake up… sugar cookies… are you… squeeze my hand if you can hear… what’s the…they want to meet you… please wake up… I love… Michael’s crying… were sorry… maybe you could love him… missing school… Adrian said… tomorrow Uriel wants you to… Please baby…” Words, none that made any sense, just like background music with lyrics; you could hear them, but you couldn’t make out what they were saying. I drifted in and out, more words, less meaning and all I could think was… nothing. I didn’t think, nothing mattered to me, and somehow, it was peaceful. If this was death, then I didn’t know if I wanted to keep living. It came to a point where I didn’t want to wake up.

But unfortunately, there was no such luck. I opened my eyes, and surprise, surprise; I was in a freaking hospital. I hated hospitals. Needles and old people, yeah, not my thing. As the room slowly came into focus I realized I wasn’t alone. Not even remotely. Sleeping or should I say snoring in what looked like the most uncomfortable plastic hospital chair ever was Gabriel. His left leg was swung up over the arm rest and his other was thrust out dead straight in front of him. His left arm was over the back of his chair and his right was folded across his chest. Even in the most uncomfortable of positions he still looked so peaceful. His clothes were crumpled and dirty, and his hair was in all kinds of distress. He looked so… unGabriel-like; dirty and tired. Leaning against the door with his nose deep in a green hard cover book was Delano. He on the other hand looked like he always did. He was big, tall and scary as all hell. He was practically busting out of his shirt, but I’m sure he knew that. Dad was proud of his body. Kind of sad when you think about how old he actually is. His hair, like Gabriel’s did look messier than usual and on closer inspection his clothes were… wow, stained. Delano was a neat freak, and then some. It wasn’t like him to ever look… dirty. And then, in the far corner of the room, the face of the man fast asleep in a second hospital chair made me jump. Holy cow I knew this guy! He was the one who saved me, the man standing over me on the side of the road. And I couldn’t help this nagging feeling that I’d seen him somewhere before. “Luna, you’re awake.” Delano dropped his book, literally just dropped it and rushed over to the side of the bed. I smiled and nodded. “Yeah” I croaked. “I’m awake.” I cleared my throat in what must have sounded incredibly un-lady-like. “Umm, could you pass me a glass of water?” I asked shakily. He pulled a small plastic cup and straw from the crappy plastic side table and set the straw in my mouth. I took a long sip from the cup and choked. It hurt to swallow, like my body wasn’t use to it anymore. Gabriel stirred, but didn’t wake. That was good; he looked like he needed the rest. I wonder how long he’s been by my side for… from the look of him, he’d been sleeping in that chair for longer than any doctor would recommend. “You’ve been out for a few days, concussion apparently. Your scull was swelling and they had to relieve some of the blood causing you all that pressure but the doctor says you shouldn’t feel a thing. What were you thinking anyway? Were you trying to kill yourself or what?” He set the cup back on the side table and knelt in front of me. “I needed to run. I remember Raphael and Michael were at the house, they came by to make sure I was okay. And then…” Delano stoked my cheek and shushed me. “Its okay, you don’t have to remember. All that matters is that you’re safe.” I sighed and nodded.

“I shouldn’t have gone running.” He chuckled “No Luna, you really shouldn’t have.” Despite everything, Delano was a great father. He wasn’t their all the time, but what parent ever was? He’d taken care of Alexander, even though he shared no real connection with him at all. He was here, in a hospital with one person he didn’t know and another he hated, just waiting for me to wake up. He might not be the best father in anyone else’s eyes, but to me, he was one in a million. “Adrian’s glad your okay.” Delano announced. “Is he? Okay, I mean.” Delano’s smile faltered for a moment. “Yes, Adrian is well.” “And Gabriel’s okay too? Despite the messy hair and lack of clean clothes?” I asked. He smiled at that. “Yes Luna, everyone’s okay.” I nodded. “Good. I was worried about them.” “Now, what do you know about this Christian character?” when I gave him a questioning look, he jerked his head in the mysterious man’s direction. “I know him from somewhere. He brought me here didn’t he? He was the one that found me on the foot path?” Delano nodded. “Why the hell is he still here then?” I asked. “I don’t know. Honestly Luna, I only got here this afternoon, I had to wait for night fall. Alexander told me you were here, so, here I am. All I know is that Gabriel does not seem to like him… that puts him in my good books.” I smiled and slapped the side of his arm weakly. “Dad” I groaned. “Honestly. He’s not that bad, I mean, he’s over protective I’ll give you that, but he’s not a bad guy.” “Well, at least I know he loves you enough to give up a once in a life time opportunity to stay by your side.” “What opportunity?” I asked. “The word on the grapevine is that Uriel has descended.” “Yeah.” “There can only be three angels on earth at once. Well, Armageddon doesn’t count. But Gabriel gave up the chance to go home.” “Wait, he gave up the chance to go back to heaven for me? How do you know he did it for me?” “Why else would he stay?” Good question. “Okay, point taken. Wait, who went then?” “Michael ascended. Word is; Raphael likes it better among humans than back in earth with his own kind. They say he’d be here if it wasn’t for Gabriel.” “Gabriel?” Delano smirked and rocked back and forth on his heels “You know how you said he was over protective?” I nodded. “Well, you have no idea how protective. Apparently, he doesn’t want Raphael hanging

around now; he thinks its Raphael and Michaels fault you took off running. He wants him to stay away from you, and considering Gabriel’s ranked higher than Raphael and Michael… they have to take it.” “But that’s insane! It wasn’t his fault, I just needed to clear my head… he said… he said…” I couldn’t remember. But I knew it wasn’t his fault. He was trying to… Delano stoked my cheek and smiled. “Hush Luna. Its okay, I know. Raphael cares for you like everyone else does. He believes he’s doing what’s best for you. I can respect that, but even I know he’s going about it the wrong way.” Delano chuckled to himself “kind of funny if you think about it” “Funny for you maybe. Am I the only one that thinks its weird my boyfriends the one being over protective and my dads sitting back and laughing at the lot of us?” I rubbed my hands across my eyes and fought of the urge to yawn. “What’s the time?” I asked. “It’s late. I’ll have to leave soon.” I nodded and let my eyes flutter closed, despite everything, I was still tired. My head was throbbing in time with my heart beat and my body was sweating profusely. The blinding white tiles were only making everything worse. What was the point in taking me to a hospital if it didn’t make me feel better? Why didn’t they just take me to that god damn tree again? “Rest Little Luna, I’ll be back tomorrow night.” And without much more said or done, I did.

I was standing in nothing. All I could see was white. There were no walls or floors, and the strangest feeling of floating consumed me. I had never been more aware of my body before. I’d never been able to feel each tiny ridge in my finger print or follicle of my hair. Everything was clearer, sharper. It was as if I’d been living in the dark all my life and suddenly, someone flipped a switch and now everything was as it should be. I ran my hands across one another, and felt as if it were the first time I had ever felt real skin before; each indent more clearly and perfect than ever before, each pore more visible than the last. A warm hand touched my shoulder; the feel of skin on skin again seemed so new, so different. I turned or was turned to face the person behind me. I could have sworn he was right behind me, and yet the person I looked upon seemed meters away. He smiled at me, strange startling green eyes and brown spiky hair sparkled in what seemed like sunlight. But there was no sun to be seen and no place for light to be entering the strange white space. “I thought you’d never answer my call” he whispered, as if whispering a secret meant for my ears and my ears alone. It made me shiver.

His face looked subtle from far away; smooth clear skin, well defined features and some of the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen. They stared at me, as if they could see past everything and look straight into my soul. He looked at me with all knowing eyes that made me feel so insignificant. His gaze held such weight, such age and wisdom. His gaze made me shrink, I felt small and unimportant, like no one was important. “Are you well?” he asked. He floated towards me, his feet never making the slightest movement and stopped a comfortable distance away. “Did you hear me?” he asked again. “Yes.” Was all I said. “Well, that’s good. I was worried when I found you. But honestly, I would have pulled over anyway. Such untapped power coming from someone so… small.” He smiled. It was a slight crooked twist of his lips. On anyone else, I think it would have looked out of place. But on him, it looked perfect. He was so deliberate, so conscious of every movement he made. “What are you?” I asked. “My name is Christian Theo—” “I asked what you are, not who you are.” He smiled at me, a twinkle of something darker hit his eyes and I had the sudden urge to run away as fast as I could. “Does it matter what I am?” “Your not human. Humans don’t think about every move they make, and they definitely don’t invade dreams. Your not an angel, I don’t know how I’m sure of that… but your different. You’re…” “Evil?” he guessed, a sarcastic smirk playing along his thin lips. “No one is purely evil.” “You’ve never met my Father.” That statement hung in the air, like unspoken words. I wanted to ask him more, but something told me not to. Something scared me about this man. Something about this person didn’t feel right. I had said no one is truly evil, and I stick by that. but… “What are you Christian?” I asked again. He was different. He was powerful, strong, beautiful… and scary. There was something dark about him, a depth just below the surface I wanted to see. He was… he was… “Evil.” And with that one word, the dream shattered.

“Luna?” Gabriel asked. He had my hand in both of his and was squeezing it as if trying to convince him self it was even real. “Oh God Luna!” he hugged me. His head resting against my chest as his other arm wrapped around my torso as best it could from where he was standing. “I thought I’d lost you” he whispered. His voice cracked as I

felt the slightest wetness of my T-shirt. He was crying. Worse, he was crying over me. “You’ll never loose me Gabriel.” I ran my hand through his already messy hair and watched him. He wasn’t loud or quiet when he cried. He just cried, small broken sobs of relief. He was still beautiful, despite the declined standard of his hygiene. He was still an angel, a messy angel, but an angel none the less. But Gabriel wasn’t just any angel; he was an Archangel, my Archangel. “God I love you Luna.” He looked up at me then and smoothed the hair out of my face. His light blue eyes were streaked with harsh red veins and blotchy pink tissue. “Don’t ever scare me like that again!” he leaned forward and kissed my forehead before resting his own against it. “I was so worried about you.” His arms encircled me as he held me tight. “I’m sorry.” I didn’t know why I was sorry. But I knew it was my fault. I had worried him. I had hurt him as much as he had hurt me. I hated seeing anyone upset, and seeing Gabriel upset, that was even worse. I loved him, I loved him more that I’d realized. If someone else had hurt him, anyone else, I would have been angry. I would have been furious. But it was me ho had hurt her, it as me whom had caused him to cry. Come to think of it, I’d never seen Gabriel cry. He’d never cried in front of me, but he cried tonight, over me. “I’m so damn sorry.” The hot rain of tears he stroked my hair and kissed my cheek. “Its okay, its okay baby, I’m here.” He rocked me gently back and forth. I wasn’t sure if that as for my benefit or for his, but I didn’t care. Either way, it felt good to be in his arms again. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed it. He was big and strong and safe. I loved him for that. When everything else around me was going wrong, he was there. He was safe and always, always so warm. I loved his safety. The way I felt when he was with me and the way I felt when he was away. I couldn’t stand the difference. He wasn’t my life, but he was apart of it. He was a big part of it. After everything I’d gone through when Adrian left, I think I was better for it. Losing love didn’t necessarily mean I lost my entire life. I was young, I was still a teenager. I was 26 now, but I didn’t feel it. And yet, I didn’t feel 16 either. I just felt like me. “Heart warming” came a deep venomous voce from the doorway, it made me flinch. Gabriel didn’t seem to notice, not the voice or my flinch. I held Gabriel that little bit closer and kissed his cheek. I was so sorry for hurting him. I shouldn’t have gone running, I shouldn’t have kicked Raphael and Michael out, called up Gabriel and spent the night together. “I’m so God damn sorry Gabriel.” I whispered. He rubbed my back and let me go.

“I know baby, I know.” He kissed my hand and sat down in the seat less than a foot away from my bed. He kept my hand in his and absently played with it. “Sorry to break up the love fest, but they’ll let you out by tomorrow morning.” I looked over at the door way. Christian. He didn’t look the same as in my dream; it was as if he was suddenly blurry, as if I had been looking at him with a microscope and now everything as back to being unclear. “How do you know that?” I asked. He smiled the same lopsided grin and sauntered into the room. “Being a seer helps in these situations.” “He gets visions.” Gabriel said. I didn’t know whether or not to be happy he knew me well enough to know I was going to ask, or angry because he automatically assumed I wouldn’t know. “You know me better than that Gabriel. A seer can see more than just the future. We see past, present and future, thank you very much. And if you let me, I can see into your soul. Right Gabriel?” he said as he took his seat in the far corner of the room. “What about dreams?” I asked. He looked at me then, really looked at me. That same knowing, weighted glance that made me feel so small. His eyes looked as if they had seen more in one day than I would see in a life time. Maybe he had. “Yes. It is a magic I posses.” He said. Something about it made me feel as if his answer was for my ears and my ears alone. He was so deliberate. I turned my attention back to one very gloomy looking angel. It made me think about another gloomy angel. “Gabriel, about Uriel…” he stopped breathing literally stopped breathing. “Gabriel?” I reached out and touched his cheek. He leaned into my hand and let out a huge sigh. “I didn’t want you to have to meet him.” he admitted. “Why not? The guys told me he had a bit of a temper, but then again, you all kind of do.” “Not like Uriel.” He borderline whispered. I tried to push myself up, bad idea. A sudden wave of dizziness engulfed me and made me fall back on my pillow. “Guess this means I wont be going to school for a while.” He smiled at that. “We have all the time in the world for things like that. Don’t push yourself.” “Why is it that I only end up in hospital when things start going right?” he massaged my hand again mindlessly. He always did little things like that when he was worried or uncomfortable. I think he probably picked that up from me. When ever he was around I’d start mindlessly playing with things. He had always made me nervous. Something about Gabriel just did.

‘Maybe you’re just over thinking things.’ Christian’s voice played in my mind. I snapped my attention back to him. He smiled and winked at me. maybe he was right, maybe I was just over thinking things.

True to his word the hospital let me go tomorrow morning bright and early. Gabriel was officially down as my ‘incase of emergency’ and we had spent the day at home. I wasn’t sure where Alexander and Jacinta were, but at the moment, I didn’t care. Gabriel was all that mattered. We spent the day doing absolutely nothing. We stayed home, and for once I as actually able to remember how much I did love Gabriel. Sure he had his problems, but we all do. Gabriel had lived for millions of years, of coarse he had problems. But they all seemed meaningless at this moment. Being with Gabriel made me feel better, it always had. I didn’t know whether that was because of our Guardian-Charge bond, or simply because he was who he was, or maybe it was because we loved each other. Either way, it didn’t change the fact that I felt better being with him that I had felt being with anyone ever before. He made me feel human again. Even though he was an angel, and absolutely perfect in every way… he had more humanity than most people I knew. He loved, he hated, he cried he showed every form of emotion I knew, but best of all… he smiled. I loved his smile. Everything seemed better when he was happy, like the world felt the same way I did when he was around. Maybe it did. But all in all, I didn’t care. My worries and concerns all ended about three centimeters from where Gabriel and I sat. Nothing matter except that he was holding me against him. I wasn’t paying attention to the television, and I was getting the impression he felt the same way. I was going to have to see Adrian again soon. I didn’t want him getting sick again, I didn’t want him hurting anymore. I knew he hadn’t been as hurt by his leaving as I had, and I knew I wasn’t important to him. But does that really matter when you love someone? Isn’t love supposed to be about giving and wanting nothing in return? Did it matter if I loved him anyway? If he died, I did too… that’s all I needed to worry about. Or at least, that’s all I was going to let myself worry about. I wasn’t going to dwell on the past when I had things to worry about now in the present. Truth was, he needed me and I could give him what he needed easily. All I needed to do was give him a hand, literally. I didn’t need to tell Gabriel I was going to have to go see Adrian, he already knew. Just like everything else about us, he knew. The reason we fought so much wasn’t because he didn’t understand or that I had neglected telling him things, it that I expected him to know. Maybe it had something to do with the fact he wad gods chosen

archangel, or maybe it was because he was my guardian. But in any case, I knew it wasn’t fair. But then… when we shared these moments, these little moments when he seems to know everything going on in my mind, I feel like he does. He isn’t psychic, I’d know if he was. I guess it’s just what happens when you live with someone for long enough. You get to know them, and know things about them even they don’t notice. But then, that’s a part of loving someone too, isn’t it?

The day after at 6:30am I was on the first plane to Italy. Gabriel had arranged someone to pick me up once a month from now on at the air port, luckily, someone who actually spoke English. He didn’t tell me him name or how I was going to recognize him, and I didn’t ask. Gabriel didn’t have to tell me, I’d know. I wasn’t sure how I’d know, but I would. Gabriel had kissed me goodbye and made me promise to be coming back, which was a promise I readily made. Gabriel would have come with me if I had let him, but this was something I needed to do on my own. How awkward would it be having Gabriel there to hold my hand while I held Adrian’s? He made me feel safer, sure, but he’s always been the jealous type. It would do more harm that good if I let Gabriel come. Gabriel of coarse could have flown me there, as he had pointed out, but again, I didn’t want him there. Well, I wanted him there, but more than that, I didn’t want him hurt. Seeing me touch Adrian, again, would hurt more than he would like to admit. Plus, it would be better for me to give all my magic to Adrian and not try to concentrate on where it was going. It was Adrian who needed it, not Gabriel. Gabriel had my love. He could get magic from me whenever the hell he felt like it. I’d have no problem giving him all the love and attention (and magic) he could ever need. Despite any short comings Gabriel might have… I still love him. I think I always did love him, in one way or another. Even when I was with Adrian there was always something about Gabriel, something that pulled me towards him no matter what convinced my self I was feeling. He was always there, and somehow, I always thought about him. The more I think about it the more I convince myself I’ve grown up. Adrian and I were never serious, it was a nice fantasy while it lasted… but it wasn’t meant to be. Ten years I went without Adrian, and each year I felt the same, empty. The thing is, once I let him, Gabriel made me feel again. I hadn’t felt in so long he made me feel better than ever before. I love him for everything he’s done for me. But what have I done for him? I’ve done nothing except make his life a living hell. The only thing he wants I officially can’t give him. I might not love Adrian, but I won’t let him die. I won’t let anyone die

because of me. I may not be perfect, but I’m not immoral. No one I loved has died naturally, its all been murder. ‘Necessary murder’ Adrian would correct, but it doesn’t seem so necessary now does it? We aren’t together and the probability of us ever being together again is, in my opinion, slim to none. When I got off the plain everything seemed so distant. The airport was huge, but I remember it that way. The people were rushing past, no regard for one another or the things going on around them. One track minded people. I stood there for a moment and watched them. Humans; they had no idea what was going on around them, ever. Not just in this airport, but in life. There was so much magic, so many abnormalities in the world, and yet they never notice. Their lives were so short, before they knew it, they would die and I wont change. I’ll be exactly the same, never changing, never aging… always as I am. Gabriel would be too, never changing, never aging. Adrian would be a frozen teen forever, as would Delano. Alexander and Jacinta too… I was surrounded the eternally beautiful. And yet, somehow I felt excluded from that club. I wasn’t incredibly pretty or extraordinary in anyway. I was an Australian bookworm for crying out loud. Was it just me, or was life a bitch? I scanned the room again and notice a tall man in black standing perfectly still among all the chaos. He was of a lanky, wire like build with dark brown hair and eyes to match. He held a simple cardboard sign in front of him that read “Miss Luna Banks”. I smiled and walked over to him. He was even taller up close, easily over six feet. He looked me over, his eyes taking in every aspect of my appearance. He made me feel incredibly exposed, as if he could see right through me and into my very soul. Maybe he could. “H-hello?” his eyes snapped back to mine and in that moment I wanted to jump back in fear, his eyes were glowing a strange burgundy red. But as soon as they had changed, they changed back. From burgundy to brown so quickly I wasn’t even sure I had really seen anything at all. “Miss Banks?” he asked. “Call me Luna.” I held out my hand to him, he stared at it. “I’m not familiar with this gesture.” I thought as much. “It’s a greeting. What are you anyway?” he stared at me questioningly. “Oh, I’m sorry. That’s probably really impolite. Forgive me.” “I am… fallen.” He said, as if that explained everything. It didn’t. “Please follow me.” I did. I was only going to stay for a few hours; my next flight was at 7:30pm. “Hey, what’s your name?” I asked. “You may call me… Samael.” And so I would. I followed him closely through the mass of rushing humans. I hated that fact, I was no

longer human, I didn’t belong in this world. I wasn’t human anymore. I’d lost part of myself, my humanity. “Do not be envious of Humans; it is one thing to envy the gods, another to envy their mistakes.” “But you’ve never been human, have you?” “No, I am proud to be what I am.” “What I use to be was human. I don’t envy them, but I miss being apart of something bigger than myself. I know only three of my kind now, and over the past ten years, I’ve been alone. I spend more time with angels and vampires than I’ve ever spent with humans; I’m closer to them too. But they were all I knew for sixteen years of my life, I was human. And now…” “Now you are something much more. You are more than anyone in your race, just as you have always been. We are all very surprise you have yet to surpass Rain and take over; after all, you are her successor.” “I’m neutral; nothing anyone can say will ever change that.” He was quiet for a moment. It wasn’t a comfortable silence like Gabriel and I shared, it was full of tension and questions that were jut screaming to be heard, even if I wasn’t sure what it was that needed to be said. “We all make a choice, one way or another.” We left it at that. After we’d found the car, some big shiny black thing that looked like it could have held three elephants me and an Olympic basketball team without any trouble, Samael dropped me off out the front of Adrian’s home. The stairs leading up to it were steeper than I remembered. They looked aged, jagged and unproportionalised. Strange that things you never notice on first glance come back to haunt you. The wild flowers and bushes still scattered across the hillside looked untamed and unruly, not at all like I remembered. Well, he’d been neglecting his gardening that was for sure. Maybe Adrian should hire someone to do it for him, now that he’s been away for so long. I shook away the thought. I didn’t like remembering what Adrian had been doing all these years, collecting poor humans, my people for nothing more than convenient food. But they weren’t my people anymore. I had to remember that. I had thought I only lost my family when I gained my powers, but on my sixteenth birthday, I lost a lot more of that. I lost my race, my culture; everything about me had no more relevance to me at all. I was Wicca now, not human. I was not alone, but I would never be apart of what I use to be. Something about that fact made me very… lonely. Not sad, but more secluded. Being human had never mattered to me… but now that I had lost it, I felt as if a great part of me no longer existed. A universal home no longer existed for me.

I reached the top of the stairs, and I wasn’t tired. The last time I’d climbed these stairs I ran out of puff half way down. Adrian had carried me every time after that. The lights ere on in his cottage stilled home, so I guess he was there. I put my hand on the door knob and turned. Everything was so… empty. The last time I’d been here it was so warm and inviting. Nothing had seemed rong and everything had seemed loving. Now, the fact Adrian had been away was obvious. The fire was out and cobwebs decorated every corner possible. Had he really been gone from this place so long? I heard one sharp crash that brought caught my attention. “Hello?” I said; my voice low and even. I didn’t need to yell, surely Adrian could hear me. I could hear a consecutive thumping noise. Thump… thump… thump… I followed the noise the closer I got to it the faster the noise seemed to get as well. And then I came to the bedroom door. I pushed it open and saw something I’ll never forget for as long as I lived. Magenta… and Adrian… were… were. “You Bastard!” I screamed. Adrian looked towards me but I was already off running. I ran out the door, down the stairs and into the back of the car before I even realized what I was doing. “Drive!” I screamed at Samael. He didn’t ask questions, he just drove. What had just happened? Okay, other than walking in on Adrian and Magenta doing the horizontal monster mash. Why… why did I scream at him? He wasn’t doing anything wrong… was he? I mean, its not like I’d been monogamous myself, I shouldn’t have expected him to. But I had. Why did I care at all? I wasn’t in love with Adrian, I-I didn’t care who he slept with… did I? “Here.” Samael passed me a box of tissues. I hadn’t even realized I was crying. Why the hell was I crying!? I dried my eyes and blew my nose. “Thanks” I managed. He just nodded and concentrated on the road. “Where do you want to go?” he asked. That was a good question, where did I want to go? “I-I.. I don’t know. Anywhere, take me as far away as I can get.” “There’s a beach not to far from the airport.” “A beach… yeah, that’s good.” he nodded again and turned the car around. “Hey Samael?” “Yes Luna?” “Thank you.” He looked at me then, so stunned into silence. The look on his face, he looked as if that were the first time anyone had ever said that to him. “I was just doing my job.” “No, your not. Gabriel arranged fro you to pick me up and drop me off. That was the end of it. You don’t have to do this, even if Gabriel would get pissed after, this isn’t your job. So… thank you.” He looked

at me, and slowly, he even smiled. That was the first smile I’d seen on his face since I’d met him at the airport. It looked good on him. “You should smile more often.” I informed him. “I believe one should not smile unless they mean It.” he said, his face slowly slipping back into is neutral façade. “It is more special that way.” “What if your always happy?” I asked. He glanced at me again, the corner of his mouth lifting into a regretful smirk. “No one is always happy.” that I believed. I concentrated on not crying. I didn’t need to cry over someone I didn’t love. ‘Some one I you didn’t think you loved’ a voice whispered in my head. I mentally slapped myself. Don’t think like that. ‘Okay, so it’s obvious you have some very confused feelings about the guy. Don’t worry about it now. Everything will feel fine when you see Gabriel tonight.’ I told myself. I guess that was true, everything was better when he was around. I just wished he was with me now. My phone rang. I checked my caller ID, again, Gabriel’s idea. ‘Adrian’. It’s safe to say I turned off my phone. ‘He is your guardian you know, you can’t ignore him forever.’ I told myself. Well, that was true. But I could try. Not forever, but at the moment, I didn’t really care. Gabriel, why the hell had I told him not to come? Damn me. I hadn’t wanted to hurt him, and in doing so; I hurt myself that little bit more. Damn. Why is it that whenever I tried to do something good it all went south? I sighed. Maybe I should just stop doing anything ever, I was hopeless, pathetic and each day I got worse. I was going to do something horrible one day, something bad… I knew it. I had a feeling, I hated when I got those feelings. “Are you… alright Luna?” Samael asked. “I’m just a little confused I guess.” He nodded. I felt so cold again. Damn, I needed Gabriel now. I’d have to ride it out until I got home. Or…maybe I could explode something down on the beach. I mentally slapped myself, again. I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything like that, ever again. Well, to be honest I promised myself I wouldn’t let my magic hurt others. Making a tree catch on fire wasn’t going to kill anyone. Plus, I’d put it out before anyone noticed. Hopefully. And eventually, that exactly what I did. Samael took me down to the beach, it was different from Adrian’s beach, I couldn’t put my finger on it… but something seemed strange here. Adrian’s beach had always been so… secluded. It always felt like his own private island, and maybe in a way it was. But this… this seemed strange, wrong even. There was no one here… and I got a significant feeling no one should ever be here.

“I-I think we should go somewhere else. This place feels… off.” Samael turned to me and offered me a hand. “Were not there yet.” He said. “But it feels—” “Do you always listen to aura’s or is that jus a reaction?” “Auras?” I’ll explain later. He grabbed my hand and pulled me down the beach. Every step was harder and worse. I could feel an invisible force warning me to run away, now. The air got thicker and hotter, the only thought I had was to run away and scream. But Samael kept a tight grip on my hand as he pulled me forward closer and closer to hell. Hell that was it! It felt evil here, a hot blinding wave of evil crushing against me, telling me to leave. “We have to get out of here. NOW!!!” I yelled at him. And with one final step, it all stopped. It way like something snapped and suddenly everything felt normal. Good even. “The barrier is there to keep ‘Lighters’ away.” Samael explained. I smiled and shook my head. “But I’m neutral; I shouldn’t have felt a thing.” “Maybe you’re not as neutral as you think.” That shut me up. My hand was still in his as he pulled me further down the beach and closer to the water. It wasn’t an incredibly warm day, but like before, it was the humidity that got the best of me. I took of my socks and shoes, rolled up my jeans and stepped into the water. It was cool against the warmth of my gross sweaty feet. I know, I know, gross feet aren’t lady like. But as I say, I never claimed to be a lady; I just claim to be female. I looked over at Samael, he was sweating, visibly. “You should take off your shoes too. You look, well, a little too warm.” he eyes me suspiciously, but none the less, took off his socks and shoes before stepping in beside me. The water bubbled and evaporated around him. Okay, so I hadn’t expected that. He sighed, tension rolling out of his muscles and out of his body. Gabriel did that too, especial when he was… well, when we made up after a fight. “This feels good.” he sighed. “What… What are you?” He looked at me again. “I am fallen.” “But… a fallen what?” “I, am the fallen angel; the angel of death.” The strange thing was, I should have been running or screaming, or something like that. But I didn’t. There was only one though going through my mind and that thought had nothing to do with being scared. “And you’re the one Gabriel called to protect me? I swear, the second I think I understand him he does something like this and flips everything.” “He trusted me to protect you because I could kill anyone who hurt you with the simplest of touches. Would you like a demonstration?” he asked.

“Umm, no thanks. I think I’d like to… um… keep on living.” “Not you! Jeez, Gabriel sure knows how to pick ‘em.” He sighed and walked further out into the water. “Hey! What are you—” he dived into the water. I watched as the steam and bubbles lessened as they wet further and further out to sea until I couldn’t see them anymore. Was he alright? Was he coming back? How the hell was I going to get to the airport if he didn’t? The only thing I knew at that moment was that if he didn’t come back, I was screwed. I watch and waited for what seemed like hours. I knew it hadn’t been that long, but the longer I waited, the more I doubted he’d be coming back. Eventually I gave up and went to sit under the shade of a very tall, leafy tree I had no name for. I was good at math not horticulture okay? And then, out of nowhere something huge flew up out of the water and sore through the sky. It got closer and closer and through every second it got bigger and bigger until it landed and I realized what it was. “Holy Mother God! What the—” “See, whales are perfect examples.” I gaped at the still, silent goddess of the sea. Why? Why would he kill something so… beautiful? I ran over to it, and stared it straight in the eyes. It looked so… scared; so silent and motionless. Death was never beautiful. “All creatures have a right to live.” I stroked its slimy silky skin and sighed. “I didn’t need a demonstration on death! I’ve seen enough of it first hand!” I screamed at him. oh, shoot. I covered my mouth and feel down to my knees. “Oh god, I’m so sorry. I-I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. I—” “No, don’t worry about it. No one likes death… not even death himself.” I looked at him. He looked so old, so sad. “Death isn’t what I hate, its unnecessary death. Everything has a right to live; you shouldn’t die… not until it’s your time.” “How do you know this wasn’t its time?” he asked. He didn’t seem angry, just matter-of-fact-ly. “I don’t, but I do know murder is unnatural. Everything should find a natural end.” “If only the world were so simple minded.” I should have been angry or upset, but I wasn’t. He was right. “If only.” He held out his hand. “Come, we should leave soon. Its getting late and you need nourishment or so Gabriel informed me.” “Nourishment? Like food? Wait, don’t you need to eat to?” “We angels can survive without indulging in any… needs of the living. Some of us even believe it makes us weaker, but no ones been able to prove it. so far, the ones to be put to the test will be Raphael and Gabriel, but they were always weak hearted.”

“Would… would you consider love a need of the living?” he glanced at me. “Love is unnecessary to the supernatural.” Translation: I don’t have a girlfriend and I’m all big and scary, so yes love is a living need. Okay, see even I could see through that one. “Then your wrong.” He stopped in his tracks and turned around to look at me. “Love doesn’t make you weak, if anything, it makes you stronger. Love can be the biggest gift or the greatest burden. It can rip your heart to shreds in a matter of seconds or it can build you up to new heights. Love is more powerful than any WMD you could ever posses. Love is not a necessity no, but love is power, in more ways than one. You might be able to survive without love… but that doesn’t mean you should have to.” He stared at me for a moment. Totally expressionless. In that moment, everything froze. And I realized, I’d just totally blown his ‘I’m always right’ theory to pieces. Points for Samael = 0, points for me = 1. Hell yeah. “Humans.” He kept walking. I couldn’t help but smile, a little smugly too if I may say so myself. “I’m not human you know!” I called after him. Okay, bad thing to call out in the middle of an airport. Several head turned to me and shot me some very strange looks. Okay, so shouting out ‘I’m not human!’ in the middle of an airport, bad. At least I’ll remember that next time… hopefully.

The plain ride home was so tiring. No matter what I did I couldn’t get myself to sleep. I sat in that damn uncomfortable chair and couldn’t bloody do a thing. I kept thinking, thinking and thinking about everything… everything and nothing. Strange that for me, the two were one and the same. Everything was so damn mixed up and jumbled up that in the end everything seemed like nothing. I felt so… confused. When that damn plane finally landed I all but jumped from my seat and ran out of the terminal to find Gabriel. And there he was, as perfect and faithful as always. The second I saw him I felt a great relief fill my body, like a heavy burned had just been lifted from my shoulders. I ran to him, not caring that there were people watching me and let him sweep me up into his arms. He swung me around in a circle, lifting my legs of the ground. I smiled and through my head back with laughter. He put me down, his own widespread grin in place and kissed me, just a feather light brush of lips before he pulled me against his warm chest, I could hear his heartbeat just below my ear franticly. That was how it was meant to be, a beating heart, the warmth of his body.

In that moment I was sure of one thing and one thing only. I knew in that moment what I was looking for wasn’t a man or an answer. I didn’t know if I need truth or meaning, or even true love. But I needed what Gabriel gave me more than anything else in the world. I needed him, I needed my home. And that was where I was. I was home. Finally, I was home.

Part Three

Gods Will

Confessions
Chapter 8
Gabriel took me to my house, our house and helped me unpack. He didn’t ask me about Adrian and I didn’t tell him. He didn’t need the ego boost, knowing he was right about Adrian. But the thing

was. I still don’t understand my own actions. What I did puzzled even me. How could I possibly expect anyone else to understand it? Simple, I didn’t. When everything was unpacked Gabriel turned to me and pulled me into a tight bear hug, the warmth and happiness radiating from his body the way it always did. Gabriel wasn’t perfect, but he was close as anyone was ever going to get. He was an angel after all. I still didn’t know if this feeling was just something Gabriel gave me or if it were all angels, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I didn’t care. Gabriel loved me, and more than that, I knew now I loved him. I wasn’t lying to myself, and as far as I could tell, neither was he. Gabriel’s stomach rumbled, pulling me from my thoughts. I laughed and pulled away. “What do you want for Lunch?” I asked simply. He smile brightened, if that was possible as he leaned down and kissed my forehead. “You’re an angel Luna.” He whispered. I couldn’t help the laughter that caught me by surprise. “No Gabriel. Coming from Gods right hand that’s a pretty big compliment.” I took his hand in mine and returned his smile. “Come on baby, let’s get you fed.” “Baby? What’s next? Sweet heart? Honey bun? ” “Condescending Jackass” He was quiet as I pulled him down the stairs “I think I liked Baby better.” I smiled again. Gabriel could always do that. No matter what my mood was, he always made me smile. I left him at the breakfast nook and started pulling out whatever I could get my hands on. After some serious examination of our cupboard I decided on Chicken sandwiches, something simple. Gabriel had gone out and gotten fresh bread and milk for my arrival. Gabriel never shopped; he found it… strange, the thought of currency and such. The fact he went out of his way to actually go to the store… it was sweet. He really was an angel. I marveled at that fact. Not only was Gabriel an ‘Archangel’, but he was my Archangel. I buttered the bread, grinning to myself. God must seriously love me to send me someone as… perfect as Gabriel. “What are you thinking about Luna?” he asked his eyes curious and content. “You bought me bread.” “Well, someone had to. And it saves you a jog up to the corner street on June and Christopher.” I leaned across the nook, stretching up on tippy toes and kissed him lightly. “Thank you.” His grin was triumphant and brilliant in the sunlight, and to think this glorious creature was mine. I handed him a plate of sandwich’s before cleaning up the knife and cutting board. The good thing about sandwiches was the limited mess it caused. The doorbell rung just as I was about to take a bite of

my sandwich, its official, company sucks. I put down my food with a sigh and bounded off towards the door. I opened it without hesitation and smiled when I saw my father at the threshold along with my son… I mean, nephew. No, son. “Hey daddy.” I hugged Delano, his bulging muscles flexing as he picked me up off the ground. I yelped a little and giggled when he set me back down on my feet. His warm, fatherly smile touched my heart as his hand slid across my cheek. “I’m sorry my little Luna.” He said. When I gave him a puzzled look he raised his eyebrows. “How can you not be affected by Adrian’s Action—” “I’d prefer it if you didn’t mention that scum while in our presents. Your link to him is no Excuse to put Luna through any more hardship.” Gabriel said from behind me, his warmth spreading across my back. I could see the anger flare in my father’s eyes. “Why don’t you come in first, I do have neighbors.” Delano took in a deep breath and nodded. I moved out of the way and waited for Delano to enter. He didn’t, he couldn’t. Gabriel was blocking his entrance, a fierce glare plastered across his face. I put a hand to his chest and made eye contact with him. “Gabriel. Please, it’s my father were talking about.” he took in a deep shuddering breath, the veins along his neck and forearms bulging and pulsing angrily. He nodded and stepped aside. Delano entered; a little too smugly if you ask me, with Alexander close on his heals. I didn’t blame him, he knew Delano better than me or Gabriel, and right now Gabriel was being scary. Well, protective more than scary, but still. “Thank you.” I whispered to Gabriel, he seemed to sober with that comment, his veins appearing less bulky and the tension slowly leaking out of his body. I smile approvingly and gave him a light peck on the lips before stepping aside to find Alexander and Delano. They had made themselves comfortably in the lounge room, Alexander sprawling across the couch flicking through the channels as Delano sat in the recliner and rested his feet on the coffee table. “I swear if either of you gets mud on my nice clean white leather there’s going to be hell to pay.” Alexander had the decency to look embraced as he pulled himself up into a sitting position. “Sorry Luna.” He hung his head in an attempt to hide the blush with his hair. I walked over and scuffed his hair before plunking down next to him. “It’s okay Alexander, no mud no foul.” He smiled at my very lame attempt at humor. “Lame dude” he said. I laughed. “My bad.” “Luna, Alexander will need to stay here for a while.” Delano said suddenly. I noticed he hadn’t moved his feet off the coffee table. “Alexander is welcome to stay whenever he wants.”

“Good.” he said. I turned my attention on Alexander. “How long will you be staying?” I asked. His eyes flickered to Delano as if wanting to know whether or not he could speak. It was not a gesture I liked. “Alexander will be staying for as long as necessary.” Delano stated. “What’s that supposed to mean?” “Exactly what I said” I gritted my teeth. “Delano, you know what I mean. I don’t like word games.” “You will find out in due time.” He stood and dusted off his shoulders. He looked so… not Delano. He wasn’t acting like my father; he was acting like a snobby stranger. He took a look around the room a grimace in place. “This will have to do for now” Now that was just a little offensive. I flew to my feet. “Excuse me! There’s nothing wrong with my house thank you very much! What’s gotten into you?” I asked angrily. He smiled. “Nothing Luna, nothing at all.” And with that, he left, the cold familiar breeze blowing the hair from my face. All the tension leaked out of Alexander like a teapot letting off steam “Alexander, what’s going on?” I asked. He melted into the couch an rubbed his eyes. “I don’t know. Delano got me up this morning and told me to pack everything I could possibly need that didn’t have to be shipped. When I asked him why, he said I’d be going somewhere for a few days. I assumed I’d be coming here; don’t ask me why but everything Delano says these days seems to be about you. I think you’re the only person he trusts me with. Well, you and my parents of coarse.” “Do they still think Delano’s your father?” I asked. He nodded. “Yeah. They don’t really think we look a lot alike, and I guess they were always kind of suspicious. Well, until Delano showed them a picture of you. I don’t see it, but they did.” He shrugged it off. “The weird thing is, Delano’s been acting odd, ever since you got out of the hospital he’s been on edge. Well, more than normal at least. He’s been distant and cryptic, talking about angels and demons and all kind of dooms day stuff.” “If it really was the end of the world I would have gotten another Vision. It’s been ten years, but I think… I hope that if the end is coming anytime soon, I’ll get a vision. You’ll start having them too, soon I think. Pandora told me that all Wicca’s got them. I think that includes Wiccen’s, but I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask your mentor.” He nodded. “Yeah, Frey said something about visions. She’s kind of nice, once you get to know her.” “How many times have you met with her?” I asked.

“I don’t know, maybe four times. I’m getting better, apparently. She says there’s something ‘blocking my connection to the tree of life’. I don’t get it.” “Have you ever seen it?” “Seen what?” “The tree of life. I mean, if there’s something blocking your connection to it, then maybe if you see it, it might help.” I said. It made sense in my head. He nodded his head and leaned forward. “Maybe. I’ll talk to Frey about it, see what see says.” “Don’t tell her it was my idea though.” I said. “She doesn’t like me very much.” “Why not?” “I don’t know, maybe because I didn’t jump at the chance of being apart of the lights guardians. Sorry if I feel like spreading the love not the blood.” He laughed. “Lame dude, very lame.” “Sorry Alex, my bad.” I got to my feet and stretched out a hand. “Are you hungry?” I asked. He took my hand and I pulled him to his feet. “Yeah, I could eat.” He confessed. “Wait, what about the big guy?” “He doesn’t hate you, he just hates… Vampires.” I made another couple sandwiches and handed them to Alexander. He sat hesitantly next to Gabriel at the breakfast nook. Gabriel smiled at Alexander and ruffled his hair. It was cute. With the two of them sitting so close, I noticed all the similarities the two of them shared. If I hadn’t known better, I would have said Alexander was Gabriel’s son. “Wow. It’s like looking into a mirror.” I murmured to myself. “What?” they both asked in unison. “Okay now that was just freaky.” I couldn’t help but laugh. And soon enough, they joined me. It came to the point where I didn’t even understand why we were laughing, we just were. And then the doorbell rang. “Looks like today’s the day for visitors” I mumbled as I walked towards the door. I opened it without thought, still laughing to myself as I did so and froze. A tall bulky man stood in the door way, not man, angel. His huge white-grey wings exposed and flourishing. He stared at me with heavy grey eyes, the way Gabriel looked at me sometimes; the age and weight his eyes could hold. He made me nervous. “GGabriel!” I called over my shoulder. He came running to the door and I moved aside to show him our visitor. “Jesus Uriel!” he pulled the huge muscular man inside and closed the door behind him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? You’re in the human world for Christ sake!” why do Christians chastise you for

taking the lords name in vein when angels do it? “I told you to wait! By the angels what where you thinking?!” “It is uncharacteristic to hide one’s wings. God would be ashamed to see you hide your glory in such a manner Gabriel. Or does the pride of an Angel mean nothing to you?” he asked. I knew Gabriel would never say anything, but he was trying hard to hold in his anger. I didn’t know if Uriel could tell, but I could. I took Gabriel’s hand in mine, the warmth giving me the extra confidence as I stared angrily at the unwelcome guest. “If you walk around like that, people are going to get a little too excited. You really don’t want people to know what you are. Religious people can get scary when angels show up. After all, look what happened the last time you guy started showing up.” The term ‘if looks could kill’ came to mind as Uriel stared daggers into me. “What would you know of us, human” he asked, spitting out the last word as if it were a curse. “I’m not human you… you overgrown pigeon!” he stared at me incredulously. “What is it then?” Uriel asked Gabriel. I glared at the bastard. “Her name is Luna. The one person you’ve been pestering me about meeting. And from the looks of things, you’re making a horrible first impression.” I held out my hand to him and smiled. He stared at it as if I were a diseased leper. “Is there something wrong with my hand or are you just being a jackass?” “Hug him” Gabriel suggested. “What?” “Hug him” Gabriel repeated. Uriel looked indifferent but… I didn’t like the sound of it. Then again, I trusted Gabriel, and Uriel was an angel after all, he couldn’t have been too horrible, right? I reluctantly moved towards Uriel and eased my arms around his waist. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to reach around his neck. I could only put my arms around Gabriel’s neck when he was bending and I was stretching up on tippy-toes. This guy was about a head taller than Gabriel. It was physically impossible. Uriel was powerful and warm; I could feel the strength in the muscles below his skin with every breath he took. But I didn’t feel that love and safety I felt with Gabriel. Uriel arms moved to surround me, and suddenly the room around us became very dark. It took a moment to realize his wings had closed around us as well. It was a nice moment, but nothing more than that. His wings moved away along with his arms and the air around me became light again. I heard that horrible wet crunching sound and felt the undeniable need to pull away. His body trembled and shuddered and his arms constricted around me. I cringed into him and

waited until his shuddering ended. I pulled away slowly and held onto his hands and the last few tremors left his body. When it was over, he looked up at Gabriel with puffy red eyes. “I hate doing that.” he said. He too his hands from mine and clenched them at his sides. “I hate seeing it done.” I murmured to myself. I gave Gabriel’s hand a squeeze and a small smile before I went to check on Alexander. He had his head buried in the fridge. “You’ll get a cold if you stay in there for too long.” He jerked and banged his head on the fridge. “Ow!” he complained, rubbing the top of his now injured head. “Oh, Sorry Luna. I was just getting something to drink.” “Go for it darling. What’s mine is yours, well, you can’t have my furniture.” “Dude—” “Lame, I know.” He smiled at me and grabbed himself some orange juice. “Luna, I have come for you and the boy.” Uriel’s gruff voice came from the doorway. “God himself has sent me to deliver you a message.” “I know. I-I’ve been told… but why do you need Alexander?” “I have a message for him myself.” That didn’t sound good. “And the message?” I asked. He looked Alexander in they eyes, locking there gaze. “Think about the decisions you and your Jacinta are making before it affects another human beings life. Murderers do not enter the gates of heaven.” “That’s not true.” I objected. “Plenty of the angels are murderer’s, that doesn’t stop them from returning to heaven.” Uriel glared at me once again. It was a look that said ‘I hate you’. Well, the feelings mutual buddy. “Your message is simpler.” “And…” “Don’t die.” I stared at him for a moment. “That’s it? God sends me an all important message and the best thing you people can come up with is ‘don’t die’?” “Humans.” He grunted. “I’m not a human! God! Get that through your thick scull.” The angel looked taken back. Gabriel moved forward and placed a hand on Uriel’s shoulder. “Is that all Our Father has sent us?” “Well, his messages our cryptic and long winded, you know that better than all of us. The underlining messages are what I’ve told them. Don’t die and think about who you’re affecting. That’s all they need to know Gabriel.” Gabriel sighed but nodded in acceptance. “Is there anything we should prepare for?”

“We all know the great battle is approaching, the end of all days is but a few years away. God wants our youth trained, and protected. The methods his children have been using are inferior. So, I have adapted them.” “Adapted them how?” I asked. “Wicca’s and Wiccen’s alike are trained in one on one situations, this method is… it is pathetic. Recently the number of Wiccen children has decreased and many have disappeared. The same goes for many other creatures of light. We cannot find them and time for recruitment is of the essence. It is a shame. But the matter is we need a way to make sure the younglings and pupils are safe. So I have devised a way to do so.” We waited as he paused dramatically. I hated moments like this. “An Academy… well, sanctuary would be more appropriate. It will be a safe haven for those who want to continue their studies in peace, without fear for their lives. It is something God himself is behind. The council are taking their apprentices for starter and anyone else who wishes to be apart of it is more than welcome.” “It sounds like a good idea.” I turned and smiled at Alexander. “Alexander, you should go. It would be good for you to meet other Wiccen’s you can trust. And I’m sure Frey will be going. She’s on the council isn’t she?” he nodded. “Then it would be a good idea for you to stay close to her, that way you can keep your training going without any difficulties. You could probably practice more often too, being in a magical Academy would give you the freedom to use magic freely I would assume.” “What about you Luna?” Alexander asked. “I’ve already enrolled in a high school; I want to continue my studies while I can. Plus, my mentor’s dead. There’s no point in practicing when I cant learn anything new.” Alexander gave me a concerned look that melted my heart. “Its okay Alex. I know what I need to; it’s enough to protect me and the ones I love. I don’t need anymore training than what I already know.” “Actually Luna, you do.” I turned to Uriel. “You have been taken under Rains wing, though you have yet to have any real Training from her, you are her Apprentice. Her first and only apprentice. And I would think the savior of souls would have much to learn.” “Savior?” Gabriel smile and took my hand in his. “Yes Luna. It is Prophesy and you are the savior of souls.” Uriel scoffed at the idea, I couldn’t blame him. “It is a Prophesy God himself handed down to me. I was sent to watch over you, and watch I did. Though, you had more than a few willing protectors.” I smiled. “You all did a good job. But someone got the message wrong along the way. I have power, I’ll admit it. But I’m no savior.” I looked Uriel in the eyes. “You’ve got the wrong girl, find yourself another.”

“There is no mistake.” Rains cool voice breezed into the room like a sudden crack of lightning. Everyone turned towards the kitchen dining table. She was sitting there, a take-away cup of coffee in her hands, smiling sweetly as always. “Greetings Luna, I trust you’ve been well.” she stood and walked towards me. Her smile never faltered as she pulled me into her warm embrace. I smiled over her shoulder and hugged her in return. “It’s good to see you.” She pulled me back to arms length and looked me over. “At least you’re still in one piece.” Well, nice way to say I looked like crap I guess. “Luna, we need to talk.” “No need. Just explain to Uriel I’m not your apprentice and we’ll all get on with our lives.” “Luna, you are my apprentice.” I looked back at her, unblinking. “I-I’m sorry. What?” “You are my apprentice. You agreed to let me teach you, though I have been slack in doing so. You will understand when you take my place.” “Wait! Back up. Who said anything about me taking your place? I’m not going to be the next you. I want no part in this stupid—” Slap. Rain slapped me. “Stop being so childish! You have a part to play in this war whether you like it or not! God has sent you here and I can sure as hell send you back.” She took in a deep shuddering breath as my mind registered her words. “I-I”I couldn’t muster a whole sentence. “You’re going to come to the sanctuary and you’re going to study and if you don’t like it then that’s too bad. You can’t skip out on this Luna, there are people counting on you for a future. If you don’t do this, think of all the people your condemning to death. You say you don’t want blood on your hands, but if you refuse this fight, you will effectively condemn millions of people.” She stared me in the eyes and I couldn’t help the waterworks I felt spring to life at my eyes. “I… I didn’t—” “I think that’s enough.” Gabriel’s voice echoed through the room with strength and finality that I never knew existed. “Luna has been through enough this past month and you know it. You’re targeting her now because you know she’s weak. Somehow I though such tactics were above you Rain.” She glared over my shoulder at Gabriel. “I guess I was wrong.” “Timing changes nothing Gabriel!” “Timing changes everything Rain!” And then an uncomfortable silence took over once again. The only sound was Rains angry intakes of air and a strange wet ripping sound. It took me a moment to realize that wet ripping sound was coming from me. My cheeks were wet with tears. I couldn’t feel it

again. I had that same sensation of watching myself cry. I inhabited my body, but I couldn’t feel what was going on. “Oh God I never thought about it that way! I never wanted people to die.” I fell to my knees and shuddered. “Oh god, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Gabriel’s warm familiar arms encircled me and pulled me against him. I crumbled, clutching at his thin shirt like a newborn baby. I buried my face against him, letting everything that wasn’t Gabriel simply fade away. My world became Gabriel and nothing existed more than ten centimeters away “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry” I heard myself mumble. He soothed me, in ways only Gabriel could. His warmth… his strength… his protection, everything that Gabriel made me feel surrounded me. It felt like wrapping a warm protective blanket around me, only this blanket was a living, breathing, man… well, angel. I could hear him barking orders at the others, telling them to go home or stay upstairs or to fetch this and that. I didn’t care, I didn’t deserve to care. I was a pathetic excuse for a Wicca. I didn’t deserve the life I had let alone the air I breathed. I was… everything I set out not to be. I was condemning people to death. Rain was right, I was childish. I had thought I’d grown up, I had believed I had matured at least a little over those ten years of complete torture. But I hadn’t. I was still the pathetic little baby missing her mother, that fragile 16 year old. I was nothing but a sniveling child in an adult’s world. I would always feel like this, small and worthless with nothing to show or myself but the clothes on my back and the people I loved. Even they didn’t stick around for long… my parent, my sister, Adrian, Alexander, even Michelle was taken away from me. Raphael was around, every now and again, but not as much as I would like. And then Gabriel… Gabriel was my rock. I loved him so much, and he loved me. I didn’t know why he loved me and I’d probably never understand. It was just another testament to my naivety. And of course, my dumb luck. That’s the only reason fathomable to why he could care, let alone love me. I was lucky. I’d thank God every day if it would make things even. But it never will, who could possibly think thanks could ever amount to a fair trade for a gift as precious as love? No one, not even I could be so naive. That one little thought made me a little happier. I was a sniveling little child, but I wasn’t completely deranged… not yet at least. I took what little comfort I could from that fact and combined it with everything Gabriel was giving me. And Gabriel was giving me his all. He would give me his all if I asked for it. I knew that a little too well for my liking. Most women would like that, having your man willing to give up anything and everything at the drop of a hat just to make you happy. But I didn’t. It felt so… heavy. Like a huge weight. Can you imagine someone doing

something as profound as that, simply because you asked of it? It made me nervous just to think about it. I zoned out and in a few short seconds even Gabriel disappeared. There was no comfort, no love, noting at all. I was in that endless sea of white once again, and everything I thought I knew about reality escaped me. I looked around franticly, a strange fear of being along consumed me and it was all I could do not to scream. This place where things became real and reality seemed flawed. I had never felt things so… perfectly before. I felt like this was hat it was like to be a vampire, or an angel even. To see everything so cleanly, everything had an edge and for the first time, well, second time in my life, I felt like I could actually see. Christian came into view and a wave of relief washed over me. Thank god! He chuckled as he walk-floated towards me. It was an odd movement that didn’t fit together well in my mind. He was dressed in white. A pure white Tuxedo with a small red rose in his breast pocket. Even his loafers were white. His hair was combed back and I wouldn’t be half surprised if he broke out into a Broadway musical. Something about him looked very… old fashioned. He kind of reminded me of Mark… I had always felt mark was a little too stuck in the past. Maybe he really was. “Christian. What am I doing here?” My voice cracked. Even in dreams I can’t escape the fact I’ve been crying. Gad damn it! “The powers have a message for you. And this way is easier than jet setting off to London on a bender. Plus, you were crying and—” “How do you know that?” “I’ve been watching you.” He admitted. He seemed so… unshaken by it. As if the fact he’s been watching me is… well normal. “How have you been—?” “Angels are not the only ones watching over you young one. God is not the only power that knows who you are. I could name seven groups most ready to kidnap you and use your powers however they see fit, and a further three who are waiting for your death as we speak.” He took a look at my expression and widened his eyes. “Not that they would ever try anything, as long as you make sure they cremate your body when you die and you should be perfectly fine. And it’s not like you have a million people watching you, just the seven of us, well the six of us now ever since Purl died. Shame too, she was a nice lady. But I’m rambling now.” “No Shit Sherlock.” I said, surprising even myself. “Shut up and listen!” his voice held such menace, such unrelenting angry I almost blanched. “This is important Luna, whether you like it or not you’re important. The powers that be know what Uriel has told you, and what Rain has told you about the war. The school they are proposing will be bad news for you and yours. If you go there are terrible things you will have to face and dangers you will surely

wish you never knew existed. There is a reason they say ignorance is bliss. For some creatures, if you don’t believe in it, it really can’t hurt you.” Well, that was news to me. “But you need to know there are those of us who would protect you. Many have been sent to guard you, the prophesy child. And I believe many more would want to help nurture your powers. I am among your guardians Luna, your unofficial guardians.” “I have unofficial guardians?” “Yes, as I said before there are six of us who watch over you now, six of seven to survive. You are one very troublesome child Luna. Protecting you is no picnic in the sun.” I felt a little bad about that. I mean, I had never felt like I was in danger before, and I had never felt like I was threatened. When I was little I didn’t have a lot of fears, the dark never worried me, I was never afraid of things under my bed, everything seemed okay. And now as I get older my world seems to be an absolute wurl wind hurricane. If it used to be bad, how horrible must it be now? “I’m sorry.” I said weakly. “Don’t be. It’s a fun gig. Better than guarding any of the royals, people surprisingly never attack the royals.” Odd, but okay. “The thing is Luna; we’ve grown attached to you. Gabriel and Adrian you know very well and they are your official guardians. You share their bond and so you are forever theirs. But the rest of us, we love you just as much. We have all watched you grow and mature to become the woman you are today. Don’t make all that work a wasted effort. Purls death will mean little, and if you keep denying your part in our war, man others will die for nothing. Many will be murdered for fun, some will suffer fates far worse than you could ever imagine; all because you refuse to see reality for what it truly is.” I felt the hot tears rolling down my cheeks but did nothing to wipe them away. Christian smiled and float-walked towards me, his face was sweet and soft. He lifted a hand to my face a whipped away the small tears with his thumb. “Even in her sleep she cries.” He muttered. But for a second it wasn’t Christian’s voice I heard, it was Gabriel’s. “Why do you not whip away your tears?” he asked tenderly. I smiled to myself and remembered Adrian’s words. “A very wise person once told me my emotion were the key to my power and that I should never be afraid to feel the way I feel. I guess you could say I believe him.” his smile warmed a little and turned humorous. “I’ve heard Adrian called by many names, but wise was never one of them.” We laughed together; small chocked barks of laughter. He cupped the side of my face in his hand and I leaned into the warmth of his touch. “Luna, you have been given a great gift. A gift only someone like you could posses. Never let anyone make you feel bad about the way you are because it is you who will decide the eternal fate. No one else on earth will ever be as important as you and

no one will ever be as loved as you. If you had been born a few millennia earlier, you would have been worshiped like a God.” I smiled. “There is only one person who deserves to be treated like a god.” He smiled back at me and nodded. “That’s true. But appearance can be deceiving. Just because someone is in favor of one side does not make them purely one way or the other. We all have good and bad inside of us; it’s all apart of having power. What matters is what you choose to do with that power. God has smote his fair share of the wicked and Lucifer was once god’s right hand. It was jealous that drove him to hell.” “I’ve known that for a long time.” Thoughts of Adrian and Gabriel swarmed in my mind. “Not everything is as it seems.” “And that, my dear, shows how much you’ve grown. Maturity does not come with age. It comes with experience.” He kissed my forehead, the way a father would kiss his child. “I will leave you with your angel. Remember what I’ve said.” and with that, everything went black. I could feel myself coming back to my body, the reality or lesser reality settling in and I woke in my angels arms covered in a thick warm blanket. The right side of my face was resting on Gabriel’s chest. My legs we sprawled out across his own and he held me against him, as if I was his own little blanket. I was going to move, but then I heard something. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. “I still can’t believe you feel in love with that scum bag in the first place. He might have been one of your guardians but so was I.” It was Gabriel; he was talking, or musing, to him self more than anyone in particular I’d guess. “I remember seeing you in the airport that day. I’d been watching you for years… but I’d never been that close to you Luna. I’d never… I had never actually been close enough to touch you before. I wanted to know you, I wanted to reach out and touch you… But then I heard you talking to that pathetic excuse for a father of yours about Adrian. I felt like such an idiot. I should have known then that you’d never truly love me.” I flinched. Bugger, I flinched. He didn’t notice, wow, how could he not have noticed? But more importantly, how could he think I didn’t love him? How could he possibly think I didn’t love him? “Or at least, I always know you’d never love me as much as him.” he rubbed his hand across his eyes. “I should have left it there and then. I should have just been done with it, all of it. You, your father, the guardians, and all the rumors I hear from that bloody army. I should have just gone off and found someone else, someone that would be less of a handful. I should have stopped caring about you and been done with it.” It was the same thing I’d been telling myself for ten years. I’d told him I was no good, that he deserved better… So why did it hurt so much now that he was saying it? He leaned down and kissed my forehead. “But I guess you can never really stop caring about the one we love, even if they don’t love

you back.” Something small and wet hit my cheek, tears. Oh god I couldn’t stand it anymore. “Your wrong.” I whispered. My voice was about as shaky and uncertain as I was. Great. I didn’t open my eyes, but I did nuzzle his chest. “I do love you. I always did. But I’ve had too many distractions in my life to notice. And throughout the lot of them I tried to deny it so hard that I ended up believing my own lies… but when I gave in, I realized how I truly felt.” I looked at him then, my eyes blurry and bloodshot from sleep and tears. His were no better; I wanted to kick myself for making him feel this way. I was such a horrible, horrible person. You always hurt the ones you love the most. I wiped a fresh tear from under his eye. And took in a deep shuddering breathe. “Even if you don’t believe me.” a small tear rolled down my cheek and I struggled to keep my voice clear. “I want you to know I love you.” He hugged me to him and buried his head in my hair. “I love you Luna. God help me I love you.” His voice didn’t shake. If I hadn’t seen the tears I would never have guessed he was crying. He just held me close to him and I was more than happy to do the same. I could have stayed there for hours, literally. But as fate would have it, that just wasn’t going to happen. I heard my phone ring and regrettable fished it out of my pocket. My phone didn’t know the number. I hate when that happens, you never know who could be on the other end. “Hello?” I asked. “Hey Luna! It’s me, Jazzy!” oh great, Alexander’s girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong, she was a lovely girl, really. I just didn’t like secrets and she was hiding one. “Hey Jacinta, how are you?” “I’m good. Hey, umm, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind me coming around. Its just that I haven’t seen Alexander in like—” “Its fine” I cut her off. “Your welcome in my house” I looked at Gabriel, his light blue eyes twinkled with unshed tears. “Our house.” I corrected. He smiled and kissed my forehead. “Really? Great! Umm, I’ll be there in like twenty minutes. Oh, and umm… I kind of think we need to talk… all of us” “Sure honey. Look, I’ve got to go—” “Okay, see you soon!” “Yeah, bye.” I hung up. “What did the child want?” Gabriel asked. “She wants to come visit her boyfriend, I said she could come.” He nodded, but there was something in his eyes. “You don’t think I should let her?” I asked. “No, no its not that. I just… I don’t think you’re ready to have company right now. Your tired and you need your sleep, you’ve been through enough today.” I smiled, he was worried about me. It warmed my heart to know that.

“Gabriel, I’ve always had enough drama in my life to sink a battle ship. Why should that change today?” he chuckled, it was a bitter ugly sound I didn’t like hearing from Gabriel. He was so happy. But that laugh… “Its never going to end is it? All the damn drama and that bloody vampire—” “You don’t have to worry about him Gabriel.” I unclasped my necklace and took Adrian’s ring off of it. I took his palm and gave it to him. “I don’t need him anymore.” I clasped my necklace back around my neck and smile. My fingers interlaced with the small metal ring and I smiled. “All I need is you.” He grinned and kissed me, it was a warm happy kiss. I may never be able to marry him, but I would always love him. And if this was as close as we could get, then that was good enough for me. “What are you going to do about the school?” Gabriel asked. Surprisingly I had an answer. “I think I’ll go. I don’t really have a choice anymore do I? I know I have to be apart of this… but I still don’t know who I’ll stand with in the end.” I smiled at him. “But I do know that I want to learn how to use what I’ve been given. I want to know what I’m capable of. It… it scares me sometimes, how much power I have. And then when I almost killed Raphael… I don’t want that to ever happen again. I don’t want to hurt people.” He nodded and kissed my lips lightly. “What happened wasn’t your fault Luna—” “Yes it was Gabriel. I know everyone keeps saying its not but it is. I got angry, I lost control, and it was me. No one else made me do it, it was my fault.” He looked a little taken back. I leaned my forehead against his. “Gabriel, I know you’re trying to protect me, but if I can’t take the blame for something how could I possibly ever take the praise? I don’t want to be a hypocrite; I want to take responsibility for my actions. I need to.” “That’s very… mature of you.” “Whether I like it or not I have to act my age. I’m not sixteen anymore.” he kissed me then, a feather light brushing of lips. “You will always be sixteen to me,” Maybe that was the problem. Gabriel didn’t see me for who I was, I was forever and always sixteen to him. He treated me like a child because that’s what he saw. Did he even see me at all? “Even after everything we’ve been through, you’ll always be my Luna. If you turn away from me I’ll—” I put my finger to his lips and smiled. “I know. You don’t have to confess undying love to me Gabriel, I already know.” He smiled and kissed my finger. “I’m glad.” We moved into the kitchen and I started cooking dinner. Gabriel said Uriel and Raphael would probably come around later on, so I cooked for them as well. Even if they didn’t come along it would be

okay. I hadn’t put anything out for the strays in a while, they’d welcome the free meal with open arms, or should I say paws? I went for something simple, stake vegetables and baked potatoes. Gabriel’s mouth watered at the idea and I couldn’t help but smile. He was cute, he might not like it sometimes, but he was. “Would you mind running up and telling Alexander that Jacinta will be here soon? I’ve kind of got my hands full.” “Sure hon.” He said. He got up from the breakfast nook and left. I heard him run up the stairs. I went back to wrapping the potatoes in tin foil and popping them in the oven. Cooking was fun for me. It had to be done precisely, and presentation was always fun. I guess it was just entertaining, something I could do well. I heard Alexander and Gabriel coming down the staircase. They were laughing about something when they came into the kitchen and it made me smile. Gabriel ruffled Alexander’s hair as they sat down in front of me together. They were like father and son. They even looked alike. It was kind of like a little Kodak moment. I loved those moments. “Uriel umm, he says he’s sorry.” Gabriel muttered. Alexander shuffled in his chair and I couldn’t help but smile at him. “He didn’t do anything wrong. No one did. You know me Gabriel, all this stuff just gets a bit… overwhelming.” I said. “But I’ll get over it. I always do.” Gabriel smiled at me, a smile that made me shiver right down to my toes. The way he was able to look at me, the weight of love in his eyes… I couldn’t help but smile back. There was a knock on the door. Alexander’s face lit up and he jumped from his chair to open the door. I sighed and smiled over at Gabriel “Young love.” He smiled back and we laughed together. Jacinta and Alexander came into the room, their fingers entwined as their arms swung between their bodies. Alexander watched her with such gentle eyes; it was the way I caught Gabriel looking at me sometimes. It was protective and loving; it was a look I think every woman should experience at least once. When Gabriel looked at me that way I couldn’t help but smile and blush. But looking at Jacinta, she wasn’t paying attention to Alexander. Her eyes scanned the room and there was a certain ridged look to her body. She looked so jumpy, I was almost afraid to ask if she was okay. “Hi Luna!” she said, her peppy voice coming in loud and clear, a little too loud maybe. I smiled sweetly at her. It wasn’t exactly a fake smile, but it was… a little more forced than usual. Something about Jacinta was putting me off lately and I couldn’t put my finger on it. But she did want to talk to me later, maybe she’d tell me then. “Hi Jacinta, take a seat. Dinner shouldn’t be too far away.” “Thanks Luna!” okay, seriously over peppy. “Did Uriel and Raphael tell you when they might be coming over?” I asked. Gabriel looked a little uncomfortable. Something told

me there was a reason why Gabriel didn’t like Uriel all that much. I’d have to ask him about that later. “No. Not that I remember.” Okay, he has a photographic memory. No way in hell he didn’t remember and even I wasn’t going to by that one. But we had company, and I wasn’t about to bring up personal matters in front of them, even if I was related to Alexander it didn’t matter. I gave him a look that said this conversation wasn’t over. He got the message and looked sullen for a moment. The door bell rang again. Three guesses who that could be. “I’ll go get it” Gabriel volunteered. I started dishing up the plates just as Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael walked through the door. If Uriel hadn’t ducked he would have hit his head on the beam. Now that tells you how damn tall the guy is. Raphael walked towards me; a broad grin spread across his face and hugged me. I laughed and kissed his cheek. “I’m glad your feeling better.” He said before pulling away. I smiled back at him. “Thanks Raphael. I’m glad I’m feeling better.” He chuckled and kissed my forehead. “May Deus servo vos.” “May God protect you, as well.” He smiled and joined Gabriel and Uriel at the dinning table. Uriel nodded to me but said nothing, smart move; I wasn’t in the mood to hear long winded apologies. But still, I kind of hoped that wasn’t showing. I served everyone a plate and sat down next to Gabriel. Alexander and Jacinta ate at the Breakfast nook, they seemed immersed in their own conversation, I didn’t feel it polite to make them come sit at the dinning table. Besides, it was kind of cute to watch the two of them. Alexander was so in love, just seeing the smile on his face whenever he was around her… it was enough to give you goose bumps. “—what do you think Luna?” Raphael asked. “Huh? Oops, sorry. What was that?” “What do you think about the Academy?” he asked again. “Good question.” And it was. “I guess, for what it is it’s a good idea. But humans will notice random explosions and sparkling light coming from the school. Besides, who says people will even want to go? I mean, it seems a little intimidating if you ask me, suddenly being with a group of other Wicca’s.” Gabriel’s warm hand closed around mine, his thumb stroking the back of my palm gently. “Rain has her ways. She will manage as will all who enter.” Uriel said. Wow, profound much. “I guess it’s hard to break tradition.” Raphael said. “But Uriel is right, Rain has her ways, she will make this work.” The confidence in his voice was comforting. Things would be alright. I mean, what safer place is there than an Academy full of Wicca’s? “Alexander has to go.” I said. “He’d work better in a group situation I think. Being singled out might be a little harder for him, he was always a social little thing.” I remembered the first time we’d met.

He’d been so adamant about my seeing his trains he almost ripped my arm clean off. I smiled at the memory. “I think this school would be a perfect place for him.” “He would do better in a group?” Uriel asked. “I’m not sure about in a group. But he should be around other people, I think he needs the extra support, because of his…” “Barrier,” Gabriel suggested. I nodded. He has trouble in the one area I have the least trouble in. The one thing I would give almost anything to be rid of… to me, he was lucky. “It seems the apple does indeed fall far from the tree.” Uriel said. “Well. Technically Alexander and I aren’t related at all. My sister was adopted, she never knew. So technically Alexander isn’t actually related to me by blood.” I looked over at him, smiling and laughing with the girl he loved. It made me smile. “But I love him all the same. To me he is family, for a while I even considered him my son.” I looked Uriel far square in the eyes. “He will make a great Wiccen. Not for him power,” or lack of it “But for his heart. Emotions are what fuel our magic, and Alexander has the ability to cause great emotions with those around him. He may not be hugely magically gifted, but he gives the rest of us the strength to use our magic. He is important,” I leaned back in my seat and smiled to myself “If you think about it, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree at all. It just gets a little bruised along the way.” I cleared the tables silently as the boys went on chatting. Jacinta insisted on helping me with the dishes, I let her. The boys all retired into the lounge room along with Alexander and as far as I could tell Gabriel and Uriel were getting along. Actually, judging from the laughter and booming voices that came in through the hallway, I’d say they were having a great time. I was happy for them. It can’t be easy being the only three of your kind allowed on earth. It must be so… lonely. Can you imagine being tossed onto another planet with two other people of your own kind and never being aloud to go home? I can’t. Jacinta was quite as we washed the dishes. That was the first sign that something was wrong. The second came when I realize there were no bells in her hair. Every other time I’d seen her she’d were bells. Today shouldn’t be an exception. Eventually the silence grew so thick I could barely breathe. It wasn’t comfortable, the way silence between me and Gabriel was. It was unnerving. It made me feel like fidgeting, I hated to fidget. I put down the plate I was scrubbing and took off my gloves. “Okay, spill. What aren’t you telling me?” I asked. She bit her bottom lip, as if she were still undecided as to whether or not she was going to tell me. “Please look at me Jacinta.” She did. And for the first time since I’d met her… I felt… well, sorry for her. Her brown eyes held unshed tears and her hands were shaking. I took the plate off of her

before she could break anything. “Come on, we’ll go somewhere more private.” She nodded and took my extended hand. I took her up into my bedroom, well; it was Gabriel and mine now. Something about that made me smile. I sat her down on the edge of the bed and sat beside her. “Okay, were alone now.” I said. She looked so small sitting there, so undecided and fragile. “I… I don’t know how to tell you.” She said her voice barely a whisper. “You’ve been nothing but kind to me, and the way you treat Alexander too… I don’t know how to tell you this…” I put my hand over hers and made her look into my eyes. “You can tell me anything. Alexander is the only family I have left, and judging by how much he loves you, I think one day you’ll be apart of that family too. I want both of you to be able to come to me with anything. This place is somewhere I want both of you to feel safe in. I’m someone I want you to feel safe around. You can tell me anything and I’ll listen.” One of her unshed tears rolled down her cheek and she broke down. She sobbed and fell against my chest. I clutched her there and let her cry. It was good to cry sometimes, and I guess, being emotional was just as much apart of being woman as it was being Wicca. And amongst all the tears she found her voice. She let it all out. “I’m so sorry… so sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen like that. We were drunk and Alexander didn’t have a condom.” She said franticly. Oh crap. “So you had sex?” I said. She nodded into my clothes and wailed harder. “Yes. It was so stupid and I can’t even remember everything that happened.” The only thing that really came to mind to me was how incredibly pathetic I was. My own nephew was deflowered before me… can you say sad or what? “And then, when I didn’t get my period I was just so—” “Wait. What?!” Oh crap. Oh double crap. “I didn’t get my period and I went and got one of those home tests… and well…” please don’t say you’re pregnant. Please oh please dear god, don’t say you’re pregnant. “It came back positive.” Well, she didn’t say it. “So I’m pregnant.” Okay, maybe I spoke a little too soon. I took a moment for that to register before I said anything. “It’s okay. Teenage pregnancy happens all the time, right? We’ll figure something out.” I promised her. I didn’t know if it was true or not but it was important I figure something out. She was just a girl, a scared little girl… she needed my help. “But that’s not the worst part.” Crap! What on earth could be worse! “When I told my parents… my dad, he got so angry. He’s kicked me out. He told me not to come back to his house ever. He told me I wasn’t his responsibility any more and it wasn’t his responsibility to look after the kid. It’s not like I’m actually his kid or anything. He said I

should take it back to the father’s parents because it was all his fault.” I stroked her hair. “Where have you been staying?” I asked. “I… I’ve been staying at a friend’s house. But I can’t stay there a whole lot longer. Her parents are going to get suspicious.” “Ah. I get it, you need a place to stay and I have a place.” She looked up at me franticly with blood shot eyes and runny nose, and yet she still want ugly. Lucky pretty people. “Oh God please let me stay. I’ll do anything you need me to do. I’ll cook I’ll clean, any thing. Just please don’t kick me—” “Jacinta you silly girl. Why would I throw you out? Haven’t I already told you you’re welcome here anytime? I’m not just going to kick you out onto the streets. Of course you can stay here. But… under one condition.” I said. She looked up at me as if I were about to crush all her hopes and dreams. “I’d really prefer it if you and Alexander slept in different rooms.” She laughed a broken sound of relief that hurt to watch, let alone hear. “Oh god thank you! Thank you Luna!” she wiped the tears and run mascara from under her eyes and smiled. “I’ve got to go tell Alexander! He’s going to freak!” she said before bounding down the stairs happily. Crap, that means I have to tell Gabriel. Great. I really want looking forward to that conversation. I didn’t think he’d be angry. Well, maybe a little. But still. I got up from the bed and walked down stairs. Alexander and Jacinta were locked in a very intimate and very personal display in the kitchen. I averted my eyes and blushed like a tomato. Gabriel came up to me and laughed. “So, we have a new addition to the family I see.” He said. “Two actually. She’s pregnant.” Gabriel nodded. “I know.” Wait. Excuse me? “What!? How could you not tell me!?” “It wasn’t my secret to tell.” He said simply. “Besides, you would have figured it out when she bloated and turned into a walking pumpkin.” I punched his arm playfully and smiled. “That’s not very nice.” I said. He smiled devilishly and scooped me up into his arms. I squealed a little when my feet left the ground and wanted to honestly punch the living daylights out. “I never claimed to be good.” He bent down and kissed my lightly. I giggled in spite of myself. “No, not nice, just an angel.” He chuckled and nodded. “Just an angel.” We said goodbye to Uriel and Raphael later in the evening and eventually I felt tired enough to go to bed. There was a third bedroom, the one that use to belong to Gabriel. I let Jacinta have it and she promised me she and Alexander wouldn’t be getting up to anything in

my house. She said it would be to disrespectful. Strangely, had it been me in her situation, I probably would have said the same thing. I wished them both a good night sleep before hurrying off to my own bedroom and cuddling underneath the covers with Gabriel. He was as soft and warm as always. It made me smile, to think he would always feel this way to me. “Luna…” he sighed into my hair as I snuggled closer to him. Gabriel was so… wonderful. I didn’t deserve him, even he knew that. But he loved me all the same. He could be with anyone in the world and yet he chooses to be with me. Out of all the people in the world he could be with he chose me. He chose me… the words never grew old. To me they would never loose their significance. “I love you Luna.” And neither would those.

Strange Ways, Long days
Chapter 9
Those next few weeks were peaceful… happy almost. I smiled more than I ever though possible for a person like me. Gabriel makes me happy, every day he gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning and a reason to get to bed that same night. I love him for that, I don’t deserve him, no one truly does… but I’m grateful for him. I think the thing that amazes me the most isn’t that he loves me, but that he can actually put up with me. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most stable person out there, and I’m definitely not the sharpest tool in the tool shed, and even though I annoy the absolute crap out of him he hangs around anyway. Guess love is dumb as well as blind. Everything just seems to be a little bit better now, like the great big grey cloud hanging over my head has floated away. And soon, I bet that all I’ll be able to see is blue skies and a shining sun once again. The longer I’m around these people, the better I feel and the clearer my sky seems to become. I’m starting to think that maybe we can all pull through this without any real catastrophes… but then again, its me were talking about here. But it’s not like I look for trouble, it just kind of finds me. I don’t mean to get other people into my mess. But at the same time, I’m afraid to do this all on my own. If I didn’t have Gabriel, and everyone else for that matter, by my side then I honestly don’t think I could ever

pull this off. It’s hard enough being different, but being a prophesied savior child? You can’t imagine how scared I feel… even now, with Gabriel by my side I still feel frightened. But every time he touches me, or I look into his eyes, I know I’m safe. He’ll always be there, and he’ll always protect me. I love him. It’s crazy and probably incredibly stupid. But I do, I really do love him. I feel like I can do anything, be anything as long as I’m with him… as long as he’s with me that is. There will always be a place for Gabriel in my heart. No matter what ever happens between us, I will always love him. Nothing, not even God himself can ever change that fact. But then again, why would he want to? God sent my Gabriel to me; surely this is what he expected Gabriel to find… love; an ‘Ultimate Power’. He would be happy for Gabriel to feel something this powerful. To know will all of ones heart what you truly desire, who you truly desire for all eternity. Love has always been an Ultimate Power, it can make you strong… or it can ruin you. If your beloved turned to you and told you they never wanted to see you ever again… and you believed them… even what happened between Adrian and I will never compare to how that would make me feel. I would wait for eternity. Ten years would feel like the blink of an eye to me compare to the time I would wait for Gabriel. He is… an absolute angel. There’s no one else like him, never had been never will be. But then again, there’s only one Archangel Gabriel, only one right hand of God. Well, Lucifer doesn’t count; he stuffed up and wound up burning in hell. Well, ruling in hell. I read somewhere that Lucifer thought ‘better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven’. But how can you trade a life of effortless bliss, for hell? I mean, I’ve never been to either obviously… but to turn away from God, all because of Humans… How can anyone hate people so much that they could turn from everything they know just for the ability to one day exterminate those you hate? It’s so… incomprehensible. No one could hate so fully, not that strongly at least. But then again, they say jealousy is the ugliest of emotions. Jealousy was all it took to make the greatest angel in history become the Devil, literally. But that’s no excuse for what Lucifer is planning to do. “There is no excuse for murder.” “Huh? What’d ya say Loons?” Alexander asked, his head buried in the fridge, once again. “Nothing, just thinking out loud, that’s all. No need to worry Hun.” He smiled and stuck his head back in the fridge eventually returning with three bottles of OJ. He handed me one, squeezing my hand lightly before he went back upstairs to his Jacinta. Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel had ‘important business to attend to’ so they were out until later tonight. I hate secret angel meeting bullshit. It drives me nuts. There are times when I’d really want to

know what was going on with the lot of them. But then there are other times when I catch something in there eyes that tells me I really wouldn’t. I hate that feeling. Someone told me once that Gabriel had a colorful past. Gabriel himself had admitted he had done some very horrible things in gods name… and as time goes on I see it more in his eyes. There was nothing at first; the only thing I ever saw was his love, that protective strength his gaze always held. But now, I get flashes. Nothing extraordinary, and nothing horrible either. It’s just… a coldness, a moment of detachment where I feel like he’s seen death, too much death. I’m not afraid though. I should be, but whenever Gabriel looks at me, he looks at me with love. But whenever that coldness flashes in his eyes… I almost feel sorry for him. I can feel a pain, almost like a deep dark self hatred. It gives me memories of when I felt that way… and the things I did to myself when I felt that way. But the feeling isn’t mine. It’s Gabriel’s. Christian says it’s our bond. He says that if something is wrong with Gabriel I should be able to feel it. And when I see that look, I feel his pain. It’s almost enough for me to reach out immediately and hug him. I did a couple of times. He’d always be surprised at first, but soon after he’d hug me back. But the second I’d touch him that feeling would melt away. It melted slowly at first, but now… I don’t know. I think he’s happier now. If that’s because of my ‘mood change’ or not I’ll never know. But he’s happier at least. I’ve canceled my enrollment with the previous high school I was going to attend. I was a little sad to see it go. I think… I miss being human. I miss having no worries except grades, boys and dances. I miss being able to just hang out with the guys and have the only thing really wrong being… my sister. I miss her… a lot… I miss my bunny. I sighed and took a sip of the orange juice. I like fresh squeezed better, but I don’t have the energy to squeeze a fresh batch once or twice a day. Sorry if I take the easy way out and buy little plastic bottles of the stuff okay? It’s just easier. Rain said she’d be coming by some time today. I didn’t know when, I don’t even think she really knows when. She travels, a lot. It’s kind of hard to keep track of time when you’re in Italy one moment and Tokyo the next. I’m just surprised she doesn’t get a whole lot of jet lag. Then again, she wouldn’t have to take a plain now would she? Transfigurative magic seems so useful for traveling. Its just another thing on the long list of what I have to learn. Despite any amount of power I posses, I’m still just a beginner. I know very little if you think about it. I mean, Rain can do so many things, things I could never dream of. There things I could never, never imagine doing… Transfigurative, metamorphousismic, materialism, manipulatory, elementary, there are so many things Rain wants to teach me. I just… I guess I’m kind of scared. Everyone keeps telling me how powerful I

am, and about all these prophesies. But the thing is, I’m scared of it… scared of the disappointment really. All these people have such high expectations of me… so what happens if I fail? They all expect me to do so much and now I’m so worried I’m going to fail! To think I haven’t even started yet. All I knew was that there was going to be one very long road ahead of me… a very long road indeed. I had gotten half way through packing when I realized I had no idea where I was going. Gabriel didn’t know and I hadn’t asked Uriel when they came around to get Gabriel. I was going to have to ask if I ever wanted to get that damn packing done. But I had the essentials. Shoes, underwear, toiletries, makeup, you know, the basic necessities. If I had to leave my home, I wasn’t leaving anything behind. Well, apart from heavy furniture. I wonder how much we can actually fit in Gabriel’s car… “Hello my dear.” I jumped at the sudden sound. I turned to find Rain sitting once again at the dinning table. “Hi Rain. Pleasant trip?” I asked. She smiled and got out of her chair. She came to me and hugged me tightly as always. What can I say? Italians are very touchy-feely people. “Transfigurative magic is not always easy to control. But the atmosphere around your home is so heavy with magic, its almost like walking on air.” She said dreamily. I hated when I didn’t know what people where talking about. “Come.” She said. “We have much to discuss.” I did as she asked, and sat opposite her, my elbows resting on the table as my hands supported my head. “Its going to feel strange going back to school after all this time” “Well, it’s not like any human—” “I understand that. But I’ve been… isolated for a long time now. Being with large numbers of incredibly emotional teenagers is going to drive me crazy.” Rain stared out the window and smile as if she were recalling fond memories, I knew that smile well. “Teenagers are always emotional.” “Yeah, but these people are Wicca’s! They’re like super charged full of emotions!” “True, the magic is usually strongest when they first arrive. But there are cases like that of your Alexander where the Magic simply grows with time. I believe yours shall as well.” She said. Well, don’t I just feel special. “But how do you know that? For all we know I could be getting weaker by the second.” “All important things grow stronger with time Luna; God wouldn’t have given you a gift that would simply deplete with time.” She said. She was probably right. But then again, I wouldn’t need those powers after the war… what would happen if they just kept building? Would I

simultaneously combust? Would I have to give Adrian and Gabriel more of my magic more often? Would Adrian have to move back in if it keeps going like this? Man wouldn’t that be awkward!? “Don’t worry about what will happen in the future Luna. What matters is what is happening here and now. Tomorrow depends on what you make of today.” I smiled at Rain. I had always liked the way she could do that, it was like how Gabriel could always say exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. But the difference was Rain would probably say anything to make me happy, but Gabriel… Gabriel would always tell me the truth… even when the truth was hard. I loved him for that. “Your right.” I said. “Thanks Rain.” I heard laughter and heavy foot steps before seeing Jacinta and Alexander lunging down my staircase. He smiled and kissed her lightly on the forehead. I smiled at them and repressed the urge to sigh and mock the happy couple. “SO where’s your Angel?” Rain asked. “I wouldn’t know. Uriel and Raphael kidnapped him this morning because they had ‘important matters’ to attend to.” I sighed and put my hands back in my lap. “I don’t think I like Uriel very much. He’s not like the other too. He’s not…” “He’s not as happy. But you must remember Uriel is still adjusting. Gabriel and Raphael have been here for a long time now. And both have made numerous trips to Earth and back. I think this shall be Uriel’s second. It is such a hard choice to make, and one usually takes a few weeks before delivering any messages. But Uriel has always been so very head strong.” She shrugged her shoulders and smiled. “What can I say? That’s all Angels for you. Stubborn, headstrong, proud creatures.” “Gabriel is—” “Just like the rest of them Luna. You’re going to have to remember what he truly is, just like he will have to remember what you are. He accepts your tantrums and handles the others around him better than I expected. But he has to remember you aren’t human. Some things just won’t be helpful to you, the same goes for him.” She sat back in her chair and pushed a strand of hair from her face. She was always the picture of perfection. “You need to be emotional more than any human. For them it’s indulgent, for you it’s about as necessary as breathing. When you lack emotion Luna… for some of us it can be fatal. For others it can create a very dangerous place in there minds, a place were everything and nothing is real.” I fidgeted in my seat. Everything she said became more and more real for me. Everything… “And then for an Angel, well, you should know all about Angels.” She gave me a suggestive smile, flashing her brilliant white teeth. “They need a lot of physical contact, they need a connection.” She said. Okay, I’m blond and ditsy at times but even I could see where this was going.

“Gabriel and I… we aren’t like that.” She raised her eyebrows at me. “Okay, so we touch and hug and all that stuff but… we haven’t… I mean he’s never…” I let out a deep breath and bit the bullet. “Rain I’m still a virgin.” The shock on her face was astronomical to say the least. And then, to add to my mortification she burst out into laughter. “Shut up!” I yelled in a whisper. “Its not that funny!” “Oh I’m sorry Luna!” she said as she got herself under control. “Its just, you? A virgin?” “What are you trying to say!?” “No! I didn’t mean it like that! I mean, you’ve been with the angel for ten years? And still? I mean, I expected you lost yourself to Adrian. Vampires are very… determined creatures to say the least.” “Yeah, well. I’m sorry I have a little self control.” She leaned forward, completely ignoring my comment as her face quickly became solemn. “Why haven’t you though?” The question caught me off guard. “I… well I guess… ” You know it’s bad when you don’t have an answer. “I guess I want to be certain first. I was always told I should be married before I did that stuff, and that physical things of that nature should only be done between two people who truly love each other. And I mean, if the guy loved me he’d wait until we were married right? And then… after Adrian…” I grasped the ring around my neck and felt a short moment of shock when I realized Adrian’s ring was missing. But then I remembered… I’d given it to Gabriel… why the hell had I done that!? “I couldn’t do something like that.” I looked up at her. Her dark brown curls and olive skin were the ideal object of perfection. I knew we could manipulate are appearances, but something about Rain made me think her beauty was natural. And her eyes… those topaz brown eyes held so much warmth. It was a safe feeling. Not like the one Gabriel gave me, but a confiding confidence. Like that of a close friend. I knew I could tell her anything. “I haven’t been myself for a very long time because of him. But now… I don’t really know what I want. I know I love Gabriel, but…” she put her hand over mine and smiled. “You’d be nervous. I understand. Everyone is nervous their first time around.” I smiled at her and gave her delicate hand a light squeeze. “Thanks Rain.” “What’s with the atmosphere?” Gabriel asked as he came into the kitchen. “Am I interrupting anything?” “Actually, that was perfect timing.” Rain said. I got out of my chair and walked over to him. He smiled and pulled me into his arms. The second he touched me I felt better. I felt warmer, safe and forever protected. “How are you?” he asked.

I smiled up at him and pushed myself up onto tippy toes. I kissed him lightly and pulled away to stare into those beautiful blue eyes. “Better” “What’s happening to the world? Everywhere I look in your house there are lovers! Times like this make me sad to be alone” I looked towards the doorframe to find Raphael leaning. He was playing me with me but still, he looked cute when he was pouty. “Raphael. We need to find you a lady,” Gabriel said. I smile at the two of them “or at least something shinny to distract you. Your grumpy without Michael around.” He smiled at me, but it never reached his eyes. “What can I say? I miss the big oaf.” He sighed and ran a hand through his messy hair. “But someone had to go and I’ll be damned if it was going to be me,” he didn’t say anything about Gabriel. But then again, he didn’t need too. Gabriel wasn’t going to abandon me… yet. I mentally slapped myself. He wasn’t going to leave me. End of story. “Why not go back though? I mean its heaven right? It’s your home.” Raphael smiled at me kindly. “Our home is not what you’d imagine it to be Luna.” Gabriel said. “There is reason behind the words ‘tis it not better to rule in hell, than to serve unto god in heaven?’ In heaven, we are mere angels, servants that do our lords bidding. To humans we are worshiped in ways you could never imagine.” He ran his thumb across my cheek carelessly. “But it is those on Earth we live to protect.” He smiled to himself. “Why not do so comfortably?” Though his smile was a comfort, Gabriel’s story made me sad. I had always thought of angels as beautiful lucky creatures of God… but to think of them as mere servants. It was degrading in my mind. Gabriel wasn’t just anybody, least of all a servant. He was… heavenly. But that seemed to be a bad description now, under the circumstances. “Why the sad face?” Gabriel asked. “I’m not sad. I’m just… thinking.” I put on a fake smile and kissed him lightly. “Don’t worry about me Gabriel. I’m a big girl now; I can take care of myself.” Raphael smiled at us, and surprised me by turning my strangely private moment with Gabriel into a group hug. “I love you guys.” He said. You’d expect words like that from Raphael to make you laugh and smile. But coming from him, and hearing the depth in his voice when he said it… and then I remembered what Rain said. Angels were very physical beings. And Raphael was alone… well, bar Uriel. But Uriel was a bad tempered prick who needed to be taken down a few notches. I leaned my head against his laying on my shoulder and kissed his cheek with great effort. “We love you too Raphael. I’m glad you stayed behind.”

“Well this is all very touching but I’m afraid your feelings and understanding of these angels isn’t exactly what I came to discuss.” Rains strong voice announced. Raphael moved away, buts strangely, Gabriel didn’t. He held onto me for a moment longer, long enough for me to know he didn’t want to move and long enough or him to be sure I didn’t either. But Rain was my mentor and unfortunately, at the moment, incredibly important. I was the first to pull away. And hen I did, Gabriel got the message. He took my hand in his and walked me to the coffee table. Rain looked frustrated and Raphael looked… well, like he always did. He looked passive and cool. Like a model for Gucci or Alexander McQueen. If I hadn’t known better, I could have said he’d come straight off of a set. But as luck would have it, I did know better. Raphael wasn’t shallow or plastic, he was a real person. He had feelings and care for people just like the rest of us. Not everything is always as it seems… even with angels. “Now. I have an offer for both of you.” Rain said, suddenly taking charge ad commanding the room. I liked that about her, the way she could go from being normal and relaxed to taking charge of any situation. I could never do that. “Our young Luna shall be attending our Sanctuary in a few short weeks. Since the sanctuary use to be a boarding school and is to far away for her to go home every night she will be staying there.” “I’ve already realized all of this Rain. You wouldn’t open a sanctuary where you couldn’t promise absolute safety. Besides, it would be easier to have the students and teachers close to one another.” She smiled at me, but I don’t think she appreciated the interruption. Oops. “Yes Luna. And so, we are left with the question of where the two of you shall go.” “They can’t come with me?” I asked. “Under normal circumstances, students are aloud to have no one other than a teacher or prefect in there dorms. But in your case, after everything you’ve told me, I’d normally be willing to make an exception.” I was smiling from ear to ear, as was Gabriel. “However. If I did that, it would send the wrong message to the other students and apprentices coming.” My smiled faltered as Gabriel’s grip on my hand tightened. The thought of not being able to see Gabriel every day, not being able to be held close under the blankets on a cold stormy night… it was torture just thinking about it. I’d never feel completely safe without him… I’d never feel complete period. “But… it so happens we have three open positions no one else could fill any better.” I leaned forward in my chair, clinging onto that sliver of hope she was dangling before my eyes. “Raphael, I am here to offer you the position of head medic. You are Gods healer after all, both of the spirit and body. Having you with us would be beneficial for all involved.”

He smiled and gave her a short brief nod. “It would be my honor to watch over such special children.” She smiled back and turned her eyes to Gabriel and me. I felt restless as she sat there staring at us in silence. The short quiet moment seemed to go on for hours. “Gabriel.” She finally announced. “You have been gifted with the protection of this child by god himself.” I didn’t like being referred to as a child… but I wasn’t about to say anything when our futures were in the balance. “We wish for you to come to the institution as our defense teacher. There are many creatures in our world than can be subdued even without our magic. You have known and fought many. As well as said position, we entrust you as Luna’s personal Guardian while at the school. Your binding makes you the best option for her and under the circumstances, her protection shall be of the utmost importance. And seeing as we cannot trust many of her… unofficial guardians, and I have no wish to let a Vampire roam free within our wall. You are the only choice worth consideration. What do you say?” We could be together. We could be together and on one was going to ask anything about it because it was expected. Everything was going to be okay. I looked to Gabriel with a huge immovable smile spread across my lips, only to have it falter when I saw Gabriel’s expression. He was thinking, deeply. Gabriel always thought about what he said before he said it, but this… what was there to think about? We would be together or Christ sake! What was so important that he would— “What is the third position?” Gabriel asked. “We wish to offer Uriel a position as Leader of the guard. That way he could watch over the sanctuary in a way he would be able to handle.” Gabriel took his hand out of mine; I wanted to cry from the loss of his warmth. “No.” My heart skipped a beat. “No?” Rain and I questioned together. “What do you mean; no?” Rain asked angrily. “Gabriel.” He looked at me. “What are you thinking?” “This is a private discussion for later. Rain, you have our answers. Raphael will pass on your message to Uriel. I trust you know your way out.” I couldn’t believe how rude Gabriel was being. I swallowed my anger and turned back to Rain. “If you wish to leave, I’ll see you out Rain. Just because some of us have lost their manners doesn’t mean I intend to.” I stood from the table and waited for Rain. She threw one more glance at Gabriel before she joined me. “You can have another 24 hours to think over your answer Gabriel. I would not wish for your charge to suffer because of your stubbornness.” Gabriel flinched as if that was a slap across the face. And hell, it probably was. I saw her to the door and she pulled me into

a tight hug. “Even if your guardian chooses to stay behind, I’m glad you shall be coming.” That reminded me. “Rain, where is the sanctuary exactly?” I asked. She smiled at me. “Your going home Luna; your going back to Australia.” I froze, speechless in my shock. Home… the word sounded wonderful to me. Australia… “Where in Australia exactly?” I asked. “I said you were going home didn’t I?” my breath caught… home. I’m going home… “I’ll see you tomorrow Luna. And please, talk some sense into your angel. I don’t want to see what would happen to you without him… it would be… painful just to watch. I don’t want you go through that.” Well, honestly, I didn’t want to go through it either. She squeezed my hands and with the blink of an eye… she was gone. No smoke, no big flashy show about it… not even a familiar gust of wind. She was just gone. Man I wanted to learn how to do that. I closed the door and walked back into the kitchen. Gabriel and Raphael were talking animatedly about something; I assumed Gabriel’s ludicrous reaction to Rains generous offer. Alexander and Jacinta were in there own little world showing little to no signs of being aware of what had been happening around them. They were so damn adorable… I sighed and grabbed myself some OJ. Alexander’s eyes lusted after the Orange Juice as if it were… lets not go there. I poured both him and Jacinta a glass and smiled when Alexander downed it and asked for another. Men. Can’t live with them, can’t trust them with the Orange Juice. Later in the evening, after we’d had dinner and Raphael had gone home for the night, exhausted by Gabriel’s stubborn attitude I started feeling oddly at peace. Like everything in the world was suddenly… right. Gabriel would come around, I don’t know what made me think he would, but something told me he’d be along for the ride. He wasn’t getting away from me this easily. I was sitting in front of the television, just watching the news. Gabriel was still in the dining room. Don’t ask me what he was doing in there; he just said he needed a couple minutes alone. I was okay with that. Whatever his problems were they were things he needed time to think about by himself. I didn’t know if he would explain it to me or not, but honestly, I didn’t really mind either way. If he wanted to tell me he would. It was his decision. I settled back and listened to the cool detached voice of the anchor man. It was just another report on some political matter I cared little about. The man’s voice was simply pleasant to listen to. It wasn’t harsh or too low, it was a nice smooth continuous sound.

I didn’t jump when a large warm hand came down to cover my shoulder. I was however a little unnerved when he didn’t kiss me, or even hug me. It was relatively… un-Gabriel like. “I’m going to bed.” He said. And strangely enough, I almost felt unwelcome to follow. I wrapped my hand around his and leaned back over the couch. “Gabriel… your okay right? You don’t have to tell me anything if you don’t want to, it’s fine, really. I just want to know your okay.” He looked down at me with stony eyes. I’d never seen Gabriel look like that. It scared me so much I turned around so that I was kneeling on the couch. Considering that put me level with his belly button it really hadn’t done a whole lot. “What’s wrong?” I asked. His face… it was so expressionless. It reminded me of the way Uriel looked at me. That tolerant gaze that seemed so… emotionless, so cold and bitter it almost made me walk away. His light blue eyes suddenly became heavy, with the weight and gaze of a man centuries old. “I’m not going to take the position.” He said firmly. I furrowed my brow in confusion. “But… but then that means… why don’t want to go back to Australia? If you don’t come then… then we can’t be…” “I will stay here and look after the house and Alexander’s woman.” “Her name is Jacinta and she’s not just Alexander’s woman. She’s a wonderful, intelli—” “I don’t care about that brat.” He borderline yelled. I jumped. Damn me. “I’m not going with the rest of you and that’s final.” I stared at him, completely dumbfounded. He didn’t want to come? He… he was going to… to not come? But… how… why? “And what about me?” I asked. “What am I supposed to do without you? Do you expect me to be okay with this? What—” “I don’t know hat to expect with you Luna. One minute you’re the old you, the Luna I fell in love with and the next your this brooding depressive little creature.” He took in a deep breathe and exhaled sharply. “There are times when I start to think we don’t even know each other. I feel… sometimes I think we need a break.” I was stunned into silence. He wanted… a break? From me? This angel? “You’re… you’re joking right? You’re not coming because we have problems? Gabriel, all relationships have problems. It’s not supposed to be easy for Christ sake. If it were easy it wouldn’t be worth it.” I shook my head. “If you stupid enough to stay behind just because were not perfect… then you’re right, you’re not the angel I thought you were.” I turned away from him and went back upstairs to finish my packing. If he came, then he’d would. If he didn’t… lets just say I

didn’t want to think about that possibility. I mean, I couldn’t do this without him… what would happen when everything became too much and I broke down? What would happen then? What would happen when razors came calling and death seemed too easier an option for me to ignore? Who would I run to then? Raphael would be there… and I guess so would Uriel. They were both angels, both perfect in their own way. But neither of them were my angel. They weren’t my kind of perfect. I laughed to myself. It seems strange to have different kinds of perfection doesn’t it? But they were. They were all beautiful, all intelligent, all wonderful in there own ways… and what was I when compared to any of them? I sighed and zipped my suitcases shut. I had everything I could ever need, well, except furniture. But who needs furniture when it’s already provided? Or at least, I assume it’s already provided. Wouldn’t that suck, showing up at the sanctuary and being told that you had to supply your own furniture? I sighed and sat on my suitcases, gazing at Gabriel’s. What would I do if we couldn’t be together? Did this mean… he didn’t want me anymore? I guess it would only be fair. Even he knew I wasn’t good enough for him. Even he knew he could have anyone else he wanted… but he had said he anted me. Had I truly been stupid enough to believe that twice? First Adrian and now Gabriel. Was it just bad luck… or was this my fate? To always be left by the one person on earth I truly loved? Perhaps people like me can never truly be loved, after all, what do we have to offer? Nothing. I felt the sting of tears at my eyes and a hard coldness in the pit of my stomach. But this coldness had nothing to do with magic… but everything to do with loneliness. I was afraid more than anything. I was afraid of loosing the only protection and comfort I had left in my life. I was afraid of being abandoned… again. I was afraid that maybe… maybe Gabriel wasn’t who I thought he was. I mean, I had never thought he would want to… to kill Adrian. I knew they harbored hate towards one another… but… The bedroom door opened and Gabriel walked through. He gazed at me, and I gazed back. His eyes… they had always been my weakness. He was so beautiful… In that moment I knew he was the only thing I couldn’t stand to loose. And the only thing I stood to loose. I had a purpose now, and I knew the truth. The only thing I didn’t know was how much Gabriel was willing to do for us. I didn’t know how much he loved me. He had said he loved me, but words hold no meaning beyond the fantasy’s of the young and romance books full of nonsense and endless pillow talk. But it was his choice now. If he loved me enough to stay with me… that would be the Gabriel I knew. But if he didn’t… I was scared that this would be our end. I didn’t want things between us to be over yet, or ever for that fact. I loved him. I was stupid and crazy enough to

love him. But that’s what love is, isn’t it? Stupid and crazy to the point where nothing makes sense anymore. But this was the cold hard truth: If he left me now… I would be alone. Honestly, I didn’t know how I would survive… for life means little when you had no one to share it with. I should know that better than most people by now. But I clung to that small string of hope he dangled in front of my eyes, the way you bait a cat with a ball of yarn… I watched with blurry eyes as he walked over to his suitcases and started unpacking. He had made his decision.

Raphael came later that day, as did Rain. Needless to say Rain was infuriated when Gabriel told her his decision. Raphael said nothing, but stayed close to me at all times. After all, for me and Gabriel it would never truly be goodbye, or at least, that’s what I told myself. I would have to see him, just as I would have to see Adrian. They needed me even more than I needed them, and that was saying something. Gabriel wouldn’t look at me. After he unpacked his bags he went back down stairs and had sat in front of the TV ever since. I hadn’t tried to talk to him, and something told me even if I had he wouldn’t have answered anyway. Gabriel didn’t like goodbyes. Or even saying ‘see you later’. I didn’t want to leave him. If I had had a choice I would have stayed. But I was all out of options. I wanted to avoid bloodshed, and if that meant leaving Gabriel… well, I was just going to have find a way to deal with it. Raphael had volunteered to get the bags. I hadn’t objected and neither had Rain. I think she was in her own little state of shock. But Rain got angry when she was shocked as far as I could tell. I don’t think she liked surprises. And this… this was a huge surprise. Raphael had ushered me out of the house… Gabriel made no objection. The last memory I have of him… and he won’t even look at me. I tried not to cry. If there was one thing I learned in that second… it was that I hated being lonely a lot more than being betrayed. Every problem we had seemed insignificant in that moment. I was thinking like a school girl, hoping love and honesty conquer all and any second now he’d jump up out of his recliner and swoop me into him arms… but he didn’t even move. “Take care Gabriel.” Was the last thing I whispered before Raphael closed the door. But when he closed the door he didn’t just close the door to my home. He closed the door to my past… and my past lover. I almost wanted to rip Raphael’s arm off. But none of this was Raphael’s fault. How could it be? I let Raphael escort me to the car.

Gabriel had made my sky’s clear of bad weather… but now the clouds were rolling in and the rain was about to start. They say there’s always a silver lining to a grey cloud. But today my silver linings were few and far between. I felt a small tear stream down my cheek. As we drove away the sun behind us was setting. The suns golden rays causing the sky to turn an array of colors, from purple to orange, goldenrod to scarlet. Sunsets always reminded me of autumn. Another day was over and the night would soon begin. But the thing I hate most about bad days… is that there’s another one waiting for you tomorrow. I was sitting in the back, Rain had called shot gun and Raphael was driving. I had found a silver lining. At least back here, no one could see me cry.

“Luna” Delano grumbled. “Marriage is the ultimate bondage! If you go through with it, Adrian will die!”
After the disturbing events that transpired in London, Adrian has left Luna to rejoin the enforcers. It’s been ten years since Luna has been able to breath, and now, she’s back. Not hole, not human, but back. Gabriel has moved in to watch over our beloved Luna, but as Luna fears, Gabriel jumps the gun and pops the big question before anyone is ready. And just to make things more confusing for our Luna, she stopped having visions. Is this a sign that her magic is fading? Can she forget about Adrian and move on and into a new life with Gabriel? What is the Sanctuary? And whatever happened to Alexander in the midst of all this?

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