Angel fire, p.54
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       Angel Fire, p.54

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 54


  When Seb and I had been talking on the balcony earlier, there’d been so much to say that we’d just kind of skirted around the edges of it all, with the unspoken understanding that as soon as we could, we’d be sitting down for a long talk. I wanted that desperately. There was so much I needed to know: to ask if what I’d been experiencing with my angel was normal; to find out more about his life; to compare a thousand and one experiences and see if things had been the same for him.

  But as we’d been talking, I’d also been scalp-tinglingly aware of Seb, even standing several feet away from me. It wasn’t because of how attractive he was – and he really was gorgeous; you’d have to be unconscious not to notice – it was just. . . him. His energy, so like my own. The memory of our hands together; how that had felt. It had been a huge relief when Alex had shown up and I could make my escape.

  You don’t even know him, I told myself.

  Except that wasn’t true. I did know Seb. Maybe not all the details of his life yet, but the kind of person he was, yes. And now I could feel him sitting beside me. Not only his physical presence, but his energy. We were close enough that our two auras were touching, and though I never really noticed this with Alex unless I concentrated, with Seb it was like I’d just gained an extra sense – one that tingled through me like electricity. His aura was so alive, so buoyant. I could feel it drifting through my own, just like mine was drifting through his. Intermingling. Exploring.

  My cheeks heated. Abruptly, I tried to bring my aura back to myself but we couldn’t avoid each other – we were sitting too close. I felt Seb notice; try and fail to pull his own aura completely away. Now there was a sense of gentle, teasing apology where his aura mingled with mine, and I gritted my teeth. Wonderful. I was inadvertently playing aura-footsie with him.

  And meanwhile, the silence had not become any less deafening.

  “Okay, come on everyone, this is stupid,” said Alex finally. “He’s a member of the team. We can trust him. Just. . . act normal, all right? Please, for the love of god, before my brain starts to bleed. ”

  For a moment no one spoke. Finally Kara said, “So, Willow, maybe you could tell us more about what you saw today, when the Council arrived. ”

  Relieved, I started to answer – but before I could, Sam jumped in. “No, wait,” he growled, tossing his fork down with a clatter. “Alex, I want to know how it is you’re so sure we can trust this guy. At least with Willow, we all saw her angel defending Liz. Who is he, anyway? He’s just appeared out of nowhere, and now he’s on the team?”

  Seb glanced at him. “I’m Sebastián Carrera,” he said, cutting a piece of his pork chop. “I’m not from nowhere; I’m from right here, Mexico City. And if I say I’ll help you fight, I’ll help you fight. ”

  “Willow’s read his hand,” added Alex as Sam opened his mouth to respond. “We can trust him. ”

  “Got it,” said Sam, giving me a look that wasn’t massively friendly. “So I guess that’s why she was holding hands with him when they went running off together this afternoon, right? ’Cause she was giving him a reading on the hoof?”

  My face went bright red as everyone stared. “Oh, that sounds nice and cosy,” muttered Liz. Trish gazed down at her plate, obviously hating the tension.

  On either side of me, I felt both Alex and Seb bristle. “That was my fault,” said Seb in a voice that was calm, but had a challenge under it. “I grabbed her hand to help her run when we saw the angels. We had to go fast, you know?”

  Sam snorted. “Yeah, you sure did go fast,” he said to me. “You were in an awful hurry to go tearin’ off with this guy, weren’t you? Guess we must not have heard you when you tried to tell us what was going on. ”

  “I did try!” I said, stung. “I shouted Alex’s name, but—”

  “Stop – you don’t have to explain anything,” broke in Alex, reaching for my hand. He enfolded it in his. “Drop it, Sam. Willow’s already told us what happened. ”

  Sam opened his mouth.

  “Drop it,” repeated Alex.

  Silence fell again. I’m not sure whether the quality of it was any better than the last one. More crackling with tension around the edges, maybe.

  “Well,” said Brendan finally. “Acting normal was fun. ”

  I could still feel Seb’s aura mingling with mine; he was concerned for me, wanted to soothe me. On my other side, Alex’s hand felt so warm, so safe. I held onto it tightly. I longed to be someplace alone with him – really alone, the way we used to be. Things had been so simple when it was just the two of us, with no one else around. Nothing felt very simple at all any more.

  After a pause, Alex squeezed my hand and released it. His voice as he addressed the team was steady. “Look, guys, we’re coming up to crunch time on the Council – if they’re sticking to the same plan they’re only going to be here a few weeks. So we don’t have time for this. Seb’s here – that’s it. Either you trust my judgement on this one, or you don’t. You decide. ”

  “We trust you,” said Kara quietly. “Don’t we, everyone?”

  Mumbled yeses, nods. Sam’s face was stormy, but he didn’t say anything. Trish glanced at him, her gentle eyes anxious.

  “Sam?” said Alex, watching him too.

  The Texan let out a long breath. “Yeah, okay,” he muttered, pushing his blond hair back.

  “Good. ” To my surprise, Alex stretched across me, offering his hand to Seb. “There, they’ve accepted you. Lucky you. ”

  Seb’s smile was wry as he reached across me too. “Yes, I’m very honoured. ”

  And as he shook Alex’s hand, I knew two things. One, the team still wasn’t happy about this, despite their trust of Alex. And two, somewhere deep down where I didn’t want to think about it. . . was the terrible feeling that being caught between these two boys might be my fate for a long time to come.

  THE EXRCISE ROOM WAS SMALL – just a corner of the basement really, with a couple of treadmills, a weight machine and some dumb-bells. It smelled of must and sweat. When some of the guys got going on the treadmills – Alex and Sam, especially – the sweat would be literally flying. I saw Seb glance at the floor; it was cement, and not all that clean, I guess. It was also the only place where we could sit. “We could go to my room,” he suggested.

  Seb’s “room” was tiny; it would be both of us on his camp bed. The thought was way too intimate, especially after the aura-mingling of the night before. I felt my cheeks warm.

  “No, in here is better,” I said. “We’ve got more space. Wait, though. ” I ran up the stairs, grabbed the cushions from the sofa in the TV room and carried them back down.

  “Here,” I said as we spread them out. “This’ll be fine. ”

  Above us, I could hear target practice going on with a vengeance. Kara was at the cathedral like she and Alex had discussed, seeing what she could find out. And meanwhile, everyone was comforting themselves by getting as good with their weapons as they possibly could.

  The night before, Alex and I had managed to talk on our own a little, while the others were all getting ready for bed or watching TV. As I’d stood against the closed door of the other storeroom, I’d been very aware of how strongly Seb was in my thoughts. Even though I knew it was just because he was another half-angel, it still made me feel guilty.


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