Even before my imprudent boy broke my wings, I was having a rotten day. Mortals do not understand how overwhelmingly boring being an angel is. And a guardian angel at that.
There is only yourself, infinity, the occasional card game with the other angels, oh and watching out for your mortal.
And in this case, a pair of broken wings.
We crash into the ground, and I feel my celestial body shrinking as it adapts to the mortal world.
It is a bloody nuisance, that. My human body is practically like my celestial body but without my powers. Or my insanely good looks. Or my dimples-wait, no. There they are. Thank God. I do not, actually, thank him. It is probably in his Great Plan to have me get my wings crushed by my mortal and then learn some great lesson behind it. Busybody, God is.
But the point is, before I had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing the acute pain of my wings breaking, I was engaged in a classic duel with the one and only Mother Nature. I was attempting to win back my money, and she was trying to beat me as soundly as she had in our previous game.
Mother Nature is not what most people think when you say 'Mother Nature. Most imagine a motherly figure with green hair and warm, umber skin. She would be gentle in disposition and have an overwhelming sense of love for the Earth and everything in it.
Lies. All of it. I think the image of Mother Nature was put out by her PR folks up there to conceal her authentic form.
She has bright blue hair, and her skin is as caramel as caramel can get. You know those delightful confectionary treats with milk chocolate on the outside and gooey caramel on the inside. That is her. Except the gooey caramel is actually bright burning lava because she is as temperamental as the volcanoes she birthed into existence near Hawaii. Those, by the way, came into existence when she had gotten severely beaten by Gabriel, another fellow angel up here.
Anyway, I was playing with her, a game we had devised that was a general mash-up of bluff, texas hold ‘em, gin rummy, and Go Fish. Very confusing, I know.
I was up, I had drawn two cards, and they both were aces. Ordinarily, it was a good hand, except not in our version.
It meant, unfortunately, I would lose. So, I did what any normal celestial would do and decided to cheat. I subtly tried to shove my cards under my arm so that I could mime a yawn and drop them into my lap where they would not affect me.
Unfortunately, Brighid knew my game all too well. A burst of lightning crashed from her bright blue hair, the color rapidly changing to a dark grey-blue. She was mad.
“LIAM!” she thundered, but it was really scary because she was actually thundering. Rain and lightning flashed out of her hair, which was standing on end. It was weirdly fascinating. She struck me out of her room, and I found myself back on Earth, watching Noah as he attempted to evade one of the preppy girls at his school.
Just fantastic, life is. Simply fantastic.
And it was so tedious that I thought I would mess with him a little and take his poem away. “A Bird Came Down the Walk” Emily Dickinson. Partly the reason I had chosen a bird form then. But back to the present.
“Ow,” Noah groans, and I realize that I am on top of him. Brillant, crushing my mortal before even meeting him properly. I roll off him, and we lay there gasping for two entirely different reasons.
Noah is gasping because he can now breathe properly, and I am panting because my wings are hurting like hell, and I am in my stupid mortal form. Speaking of which.
“What the hell?” I demand, rolling over on my side. Noah looks at me, and his violet eyes widen.
“Um. What? Who-? Why? How?” he stammers, scrambling to his feet and shuffling back to the bench where his backpack lies. I try to stand as well, but my wings are broken, and it bloody hurts.
“A little help here?” I groan, but like any sane mortal, Noah just backs away.
“Who are you?” he asks. I roll my eyes.
“Do the wings not give it away? Or do I need to explain it with my handsomeness or my lack of a halo although I am sure by this point it is obligatory?” I say dryly.
“You’re an...angel?” he whispers. I suppress an enormous eye roll. I did not think he was this daft.
“No, I am bloody Lucifer. What do you think?” I say. I watch as he takes me in.
I have platinum blonde hair, golden skin tanned from - well, being an angel. I can literally tan my own skin if I want. My eyes are a stunning shade of blue, and I have a smattering of freckles across my nose and upper cheeks like my own constellation. In fact, my constellation is actually out there in the universe. Those are the traits I was born with, and they are the traits that stay the same no matter what form I am in.
“So...you’re an angel. Who was a bird,” he says slowly. I clap my hands mockingly.
“Brilliant observation Sherlock. Fancy a Britney in the nuclear, me old china?” I ask. He rolls his eyes, but the fear is replaced by curiosity. I see him take in my wings and his nostrils flare.
“You really are hurt,” he says in a hushed voice. I try to go for a sarcastic look and a shrug, but that only hurts me even more. I end up looking like a pathetic dog. A cute dog, but still pathetic.
“Yeah, I am hurt,” I say. Noah opens his mouth but the bell rings in a different part of the school and his head snaps up.
“I have class. I can’t lug you around!” he whispers, panicked. Students begin to file into the courtyard and although they haven’t noticed us yet, it’s only a matter of time before they notice me. I can’t help being insufferably hot. ‘Tis my curse. “Hide your wings!” he says, shooting me a glare as he tries to nonchalantly play off a hot guy at his feet.
“But they’re my best feature,” I whine. He glares at me with such force that I’m reminded of a certain Mother Nature up there. As if she’s privy to my thoughts, the sky rumbles overhead even though it’s a clear day. On cue, everybody looks up at the sky to see if it’s going to rain and I use the distraction to glamor away my wings.
They’re technically still there, but in an in-between part of space and time. No mortal mind can comprehend the SpaceTime Vortex as I like to call it. The official name I think is the Hole, but that sounds a little...well, not to my taste. Then again, nobody other than me uses the SpaceTime Vortex or the STV for short.
Finally, the kids look back down and they notice me sprawled, albeit very sexily, on my back. The murmurs start and I can see Noah’s ears reddening. One bold guy steps forward and although he’s looking at Noah, he’s directing it to me.
“Yo, who are you?” he asks bluntly. Let it be known that teenage boys have all the grace and tact as breaching whales. Actually, that's offensive to the whales.
“You're talking to-” I start, but Noah beats me to it.
“He’s a foreign exchange student from London and he’s staying with my family,” he blurts out in a rush. I close my eyes. Why does this always happen to me? I open them back to see Whale boy staring at me in awe.
“Well, welcome. Want me to show you around?” He asks. His cronies all step out behind him, giving me sickly sweet smiles. I plaster one on to fit in.
“Fancy a butcher’s?” I mutter. He looks at me strangely. “Sounds brilliant. Let me find a way to get up first,” I add. Clambering to my feet, I mask my wince behind a fake smile.
“What’s your name?” Whale boy asks, gesturing me toward the East Building I think it was called. I don’t pay attention to the names. I just make sure Noah’s fine.
“Uilliam Angelus, but you can call me Angel Liam, or more accurately The Most Handsome Angel Ever Seen. I wouldn’t mind Hot Bod either,” I almost say, but I barely refrain from saying so. I think Noah would have an aneurysm. We wouldn’t want that. “Liam,” I finally say. Whale boy nods like I’ve voiced the cure for cancer.
“Well, come on, Liam. We have class. What is your next one?” he asks, putting an arm around my shoulders and steering me through the crowd that parts around us like Moses and the Red Sea. That was a sight to see, by the way. I don’t think the fish were ever the same afterward. “Break it up, break it up,” He snaps at the rest of the kids who wisely listen to him. I crane my neck to see Noah grabbing his backpack and following a short distance away. ‘English’ he mouths at me.
“Uh, English,” I say to Whale boy. I need a better name for him, but Whale boy is so much more fun to say.
“Cool, I’m heading there too,” he says. Brilliant.
English class goes by so fast, I barely blink and it’s over. I used my glamor to put the image of a very handsome foreign exchange student, me by the way, in case you were confused, into the teacher. She seemed like a very nice lady too.
Finally, it was lunchtime. Or at least, my lunchtime, according to Whale boy. Noah already had his and he tells me he’ll come to get me in a minute. I manage to get away from Whale boy and sit by what I classified as the nerds-who-need-immediate-help table.
Lunch is pasta, a goopy mess that makes me immediately grateful for Mother Nature’s homemade guacamole. That was always a hit at our movie nights. Instant goodness. Although one time I found a complete jalapeno in my scoop of guac. I’d stayed away from it ever since.
Noah’s still not here. His seat is maddeningly empty as I wait for more people to fill in. It is still empty when the first wave floods into the cafeteria. It is still empty when the boy beside me, who has to keep putting down his knife to pick up his ear trumpet, asks me, “How do you know Noah?” Yes, an ear trumpet. I’d thought they had all gone out of fashion in the 18th century. Apparently not. This boy was the sole benefactor to the ear trumpet line.
“We were friends as children,” I say, jamming a frustrated knife at my pasta. Which is not entirely false. I did know Noah and - oy, isn’t that a tongue twister right there. Know Noah, Knoah knowh. Kno-argh Damn it. But, I have been watching him since he was a wee babe, so yes. I was friends with him as a child. When he was a child, rather. I haven’t been a child for millennia.
“We grew up together,” I say louder.
He cups a hand to the end of his ear trumpet. “What?”
I nearly fling my plastic knife down. “We were accomplices in a massive diamond heist in which we stole jewels off the neck of the queen of Prussia, and now I’m here to claim what is owed me by any means necessary.”
“Excuse me?” The girl next to me leans forward in alarm, but the boy just smiles. “Oh, how nice.”
Let it be known that Americans are nothing if not welcoming. And unassuming. And completely naive. I inwardly sigh. I finally see Noah walking in, a teacher in tow. He’s wearing a guilty expression. That is, Noah is. The teacher is walking toward me with a stern look. Shite.
They walk up to our table and I swallow a large gulp of my pasta. Noah looks at me with a scared expression and I glance at the teacher. He’s not much older than me, with horn-rimmed glasses and a severe-looking haircut that I just want a curl to spring from.
“Young man. Come with me. I think we need to talk,” he says, peering down at me with a ‘you’re in trouble’ look.
Aw, son of a-