Gabriel had just come from checking on Ariel. She had to pretend she cared about the girl's petty feelings for a few minutes. Really she pitied Ariel. How could she had gotten so stupid as to be pregnant?
Everyone was having a bad day clearly...including Gabriel.
Her worst fear had come true. Michael was back. She'd have to get with Raphael. They would have to come up with a plan. She was desperate now. She could already see Uriel's personality starting to change. She finally found someone who she was interested in...a real man. She would be damned if Uriel left her for some gay guy. Over her dead body.
Gabriel didn't lose.
“What are you looking at?” Gabriel asked Uriel.
He was standing at the bottom of the staircase when she came from checking on Ariel. He seemed to be surprised when she walked down and jumped a little bit. He smiled at her cracking a handsome smile. He did that often. Uriel knew how attractive he was. He dark skin and chiseled jawline was something off a high fashion runway. His milky deep eyes and his smooth pink lips were something out of dreams. Then there was his personality. He was strong and protective. He was the alpha male. He was the only man that could conquer her.
“Nothing babe. Just um...nothing.”
She could tell he was lying. It didn't take her to go down the steps to see what Uriel was looking at. He was staring down the hallway into the kitchen area. Michael was sitting in the area...quietly alone eating something.
“You're spying on him.”
“No. I just...I just wanted to see what he was up to for a second. That's all,” Uriel stated.
Her heart was skipping a beat. Michael hadn't even been back for an hour and already she was losing Uriel. Already Uriel was watching Michael from a far without Michael knowing. Gabriel's heart raced at this. This wasn't going to happen to her. No. This was NOT going to be her life. She wouldn't lose. No matter what.
“Gabby, relax. What are you afraid of?”
“You know what I'm afraid of...”
“That's not going to happen.”
“Uri...you are staring at him like a lost puppy without him knowing you. How about I walk in there and let him know since it was nothing.”
Uri grabbed onto her arm hard. He was the only one allowed to touch her in that manner. Anyone else would have had broken bones at that moment. However no matter how strong she was, her emotions would sometimes be a weakness. Love. Love was a vulnerability.
And she loved Uriel.
“Don't...” he begged her before adding a desperate plea, “Please.”
“Do you still have feelings for Michael?”
Uriel didn't pause before shaking his head, “Of course not.”
She didn't believe him. He had answered to quickly.
“He's trouble Uri. You know that right.”
“You act like you walked in on me with my dick in his ass and him bent over a corner. I was curious about him. I was staring. That's all that was. If we are going to be together...you are going to have to trust me,” Uriel replied.
His voice was deep, demanding and masculine. He was the only one who could make someone like Gabriel settle down with his booming tone. He knew how to put her in check and for some reason that attracted her to him even more.
“I'm sorry. I apologize. I was...overreacting.”
Uriel nodded, “I'm going to get some sleep.”
“Can I come with you?”
“Do what you want.”
Just like that Uriel had flipped the script on her. Now he was acting like he was upset. She recognized what he was doing but for some reason it didn't matter. She was so in love with Uriel that she allowed this to happen.
She would follow him that night to bed. She was the real lost puppy.
Even when she was younger she was an athlete. She always competed. She'd grown up with 8 sisters. All of them had different fathers. When you have that many people in your family you had to compete. You had to stand out. You had to be the best.
Only the strong survived.
I hadn't noticed anyone walking in the kitchen as I was eating until I heard the fridge open. As I looked over I noticed Raphael had walked into the kitchen. It was awkward seeing him. He looked the same as he did before except now he had a goatee. It made him look older, more mature and seemed to fit his face really well. He seemed to have somehow blossomed into this handsome man and not this petty little boy that I remembered. I didn't want to make too much of an assumption though so I kept my guard up.
“How is she doing?” I asked him.
It was the only question I could think about. Ariel was who was on everyone's mind. She was pregnant to Leviathan and since her announcement she broke out into tears. They had to drag her away to her room.
“She is pregnant with the baby of a corrupt demon who she helped kill,” Raphael responded, “So with all that into consideration I think she'll be emotional for a while.”
“Sucks to be her,” I shook my head.
“Is that all you have to say?”
“What should I say?” I asked confused.
Raphael was standing behind the island in this large kitchen. He was watching me eat cereal with this intense interest. I guess I looked like a slob. It had been so long since I had some decent cereal that wasn't some disgusting generic brand. Jail was hard because of the food mostly.
“You don't have to act so heartless. We discounted your little mirage a long time ago,” he replied.
I rolled my eyes, “Whatever.”
He laughed, “Would you like some more milk?”
“No. Have at it.”
I realized why Raphael was asking now because he put his mouth to the carton. He started to down the milk and in the next few seconds the milk spilled all over his shirt.
“Fuck...” Raphael stated.
I noticed him do something that seemed very odd at that moment. Raphael took off his shirt. He took of his shirt and rubbed his muscles. I couldn't help but to stare at that moment. Raphael had gotten sexy! I mean he was always a good looking guy but his body was something like a body builder right now. He was diesel! Looking at him was definitely making me feel fat. He had a body like some Olympian God. The sexy thing about him was that he had this brush of hair over his body too. The deep Italian tan and hair. He looked so foreign and sexy...
It had been too long that I'd gone without sex that I was staring with no filter. I was damn near drooling. There were traces of milk that had gotten past his shirt.
The milk dripped down to hard rock hard six pack...further and further down to a happy trail. His v-section was chiseled.
Then I noticed his stare back at me.
“Sorry,” I said, getting up from the table at that moment.
I found myself hustling to take my dish to the dishwasher. I dropped it in there and quickly attempted to turn to get away but just as I turned I noticed Raphael standing there.
He pressed me up against the kitchen counter almost immediately. His hard, manly body seemed to pin me there. He looked at me with all of this desire in his eyes. My heart was racing as he did it. Jesus this guy was sexy.
“Since when are you shy?” he asked me.
“People change,” I stated looking at him, “You should know...”
“I just grew up.”
Raphael was looking over at me. His face was so handsome and his goatee definitely made him look like a little Guido looking Pauly D from the Jersey Shore look-alike to a grown man with all this sex appeal and knowledge.
His body though. His body was so close to mine. He was so close that as I reached over and touched his muscles I could feel this tight, hard tendon that was brawny as the most athletic men in the world. His eyes pierced into me with a desire that would rival a John in the red district.
He looked through me.
“You been hitting the gym...” I stated, “You've changed.”
I'd pretended like I was looking away.
Raphael laughed at that moment, “You haven't...”
“Thanks for that. My ego needed that.”
“You didn't need to change though,” Raphael responded, “You've always been perfect to me.”
I didn't know what caused it at that time but Raphael was kissing me. His tongue was down my throat and I wasn't stopping him. I breathed him in. His tongue was slow and full of purpose like a cold wet rag on a warm summer day. It cooled me. It rubbed me the right way. As I breathed him in I could feel my body just tense up. Everything felt right.
My body was pressed up against him. His crotch was hard. It felt like a brick between his jeans as it pressed up against me on the counter. He smelled good. It was a strange scent. It was a reminder of ground cinnamon that was gently baked into a cake.
And it felt like I could still taste portions of it even after I pushed him off.
“I didn't come back for this,” I told him.
“I don't care why you came back. All that matters is you're here.”
“Since when did you become this Romeo?” I asked him as bluntly as I could at that moment, “Raphael. You hated me. You treated me like shit.”
“I never hated you. I hated myself.”
I would have liked to believe it maybe. Maybe I would have liked to reach over and taste those cinnamon lips again. Truth was my mind wandered when I felt intimacy like that. My mind wandered to Uri. As sweet as Raphael's lips were...they weren't Uri. And even if they were Uri's lips I wouldn't be good for either of them.
I was spilled milk.
I might as well have been a fallen angel.
“I came for the demons.”
“Michael...please just hear me out.”
“I spent a lot of time in jail Raphael,” I explained to him with a tone that matched a sermon in a funeral service, “You know what I thought about? Why did I come back? What was my purpose? What was I good at? I've never been good at love. I've never been good at emotion or caring. The only thing I have been good at was destruction. I'm an angel of destruction Raphael. You don't want that. Do you? You know what. Don't answer that. I know you don't that.”
“Don't put words in my mouth,” Raphael replied.
“I won't. I'll put words in mine though. And I'm going to tell you this,” I told him staring off now towards the other side of the kitchen, “There is no good that comes from loving me. I'll tell you what I told Uri before I broke his heart. I'm trouble. You hear me? Trouble.”
Days had gone past relatively quickly and the mood in the house had gone from bad to worse. I got the vibe that they were afraid to leave the property. No one came out and said it but we were running out of food and no one was making the journey out to restock.
The other angels seemed to keep themselves busy. Cham spent time talking to Ariel, catering to this child that she had that probably should have been born already. Then there was Uriel who spent most of his time locked away with Gabby away from the others. Raphael was the oddest of us all. He spent most of his time working out in the backyard or cleaning the house to the point of obsession. Maybe he was trying to keep his mind busy. I wasn't sure.
I avoided all of them.
I hadn't come back to make friends. I hadn't come back for small talk.
As I walked into the dining room in the middle of the day I noticed Ariel sitting there. She was alone which was rare because they had spent so much time catering to her.
“We're out of food.”
“Go buy some,” she replied.
“With what money. Aren't you the rich girl?” I asked her at that moment, “I just got out of jail. Do you remember that.”
“I'll order some groceries delivered here later,” Uri stated at that moment.
As he walked into the room he didn't look at me. He had a laptop in his hand and he seemed to be doing exactly what he was saying. It was the first time I had really seen him in days and now that I did see him I wasn't too concerned with him.
She turned away. The tone in her voice was whimpering. I had come to really realize that Ariel had two sides to her. One side was a woman who had confidence that could rival that of Gabby. The other side of her was the type that had this self-pity. She would wallow in her sadness. This was one of the times of self-pity. She looked like some victim. Her face had become long...drooping down destroying her beauty. She had become a raisin in the sun.
“How long you going to cry?” I asked her at that moment.
“Please don't act like you care,” Ariel replied.
“I don't,” I told her, “The energy is draining.”
Uri looked over at me, “Can you please be a little understanding Michael? She is pregnant right now with a dead husband.”
“She should have gotten rid of it.”
“I'm telling the truth,” I stated shaking my head at that moment, “Do you know what she's going to give birth to. Do any of us know what's going to come out of her. This is a war. Ariel is a soldier. We all are. A baby isn't a luxury that---”
“Luxury?” Ariel stated at that moment turning to me with the most vibrancy I've seen from her so far, “This was all I had left of him. This baby is all I have left of Leviathan. You want me to KILL my child?”
Ariel got up at that moment and left the room. Tears were flowing down her face. I could hear hear trail off. There was wailing. I felt bad even though I didn't show it.
I felt horrible at this circumstance.
Maybe that's why I found myself remaining in the room and explaining to Uri, “She doesn't understand where I'm coming from. That baby...we don't know what that baby could be...”
Uri shrugged, “It's her choice.”
“Choice isn't a luxury right now that we could afford.”
“Neither is love but she loved Leviathan,” Uri explained, “Have you ever loved anyone in your life Michael? Honestly. Loved. Do you even know what that is about or what decisions you would make for someone you are in love with.”
His voice was patronizing. He spoke to me like I was a child. He was talking to me like I was kid who was learning the ins and outs of life.
“I did love once.”
Uri gazed at me. His eyes lifted from his laptop.
“Who did you love Michael?”
“I think you know the answer to that question Uri.”
It had gotten so quiet in the room at that moment that I could only hear our breathing. Our breathing was on pace with one another. It was slow...deliberate. He must have noticed it too. Maybe that was why he stopped breathing. Maybe the awkward feeling had gotten to him. He started to listen past it now and all of a sudden the silence faded into nothing.
His chair pulled forward. His dark features cast a shadow on his face. His pink lips clutched underneath his mouth as he chewed on them deep in thought.
At first I thought he was going to leave the room without saying a word to me. He had gotten halfway out of the room. There was awkward tension. The most awkward tension that I had ever felt before. The moment lasted forever.
“If you loved me...you would have been with me right now,” Uri stated.
Uri started walking away but I stopped him. I don't know what came over me. I don't know why I grabbed his arm like this. It felt so similar to how Raphael had just stopped me a few days earlier except now it was me with my heart beating fast in longing.
“Is it too late?” I asked him, “For us I mean...”
“Much too late.”
It wasn't Uri who had said it though. I turned to see Gabby standing there. I should have known if Uri was around she would be stalking the shadows somewhere. Uri's face seemed to betray him however. There was emotion there regardless of whether it was positive or negative. You didn't feel so emotional over someone that you didn't care about.
There was definitely something. There was some sort of uneasy tension.
“I wasn't speaking to you,” I told Gabby turning back towards her.
“You were speaking to my man and he is me,” Gabby replied crossing her arms, “I see no difference. There is nothing left.”
“Then why is Uri so quiet?” I asked.
Uri still didn't say anything. He was still looking down. Gabby saw it. She noticed it just as much as I did. She waited patiently. Maybe she was wondering if Uri was going to deny me. Maybe she was wondering if there was going to be some sort of denial here. The denial never happened.
I added in a tone deeper than anything I noticed as I turned to her, “And why are you so nervous?”
Uri finally opened his mouth but instead of addressing me he turned to Gabby.
“Maybe I can use some time away from the house. I'm going to go food shopping for the house.”
Gabby gave him a strong look, “I'll come to.”
She gave me a sharp stare. She seemed to be claiming her territory and maybe she was right. Maybe Uriel was so far past me that he wasn't willing to come back. He didn't confirm or deny. I had no idea what he was thinking about. Still, as nervous as Gabby was it gave me a glimmer of hope.
The supermarket was some place that Uriel wanted to use only as an escape from the house. He had so many thoughts after seeing Michael. He missed him. He hated him. He regretted ever knowing him. Gabriel was at his side. Gabriel was always at his side. She was a solid rock there in more ways then one. He knew he should have taken her more serious but as he sat there and as he looked at her he noticed that this feeling just wasn't what he thought it would be.
“What kind of foods do you think are good for a baby?” Uriel asked her.
She shrugged, “Are you worried about feeding Ariel or are you worried about feeding Michael? Seems like there is more than one baby nowadays.”
He sighed. She had been treating him funny since they had walked into the store. Gabriel was a forceful woman. She was prone to nagging about something until he literally had to scream at her to let it go. He knew this would be no different.
He lingered in the fruits and vegetable isle picking up as many as he could and trying his best to ignore her. He was looking at anyone but her. The grocery lady down the isle had turned to him and gave him a strange look.
It was almost haunting.
“You feel like we are being watched?” he asked Gabriel.
“Can you stop bullshitting? We need to talk about this...”
“I'm serious Gabby.”
“So am I. I'm serious about this Michael situation. He came back a few days ago and first you're staring at him. Then you and him are having heart to hearts.”
“Can we talk about this another time...maybe back at the mansion. I feel uncomfortable here.”
Eyes were all around him. There was an older fat woman who seemed to be with her grand daughter not too far picking apples. Instead of staring at the apples the woman and child stared at them. Their eyes stuck on Uriel and Gabriel in that store making him nervous. This was how it started. The stares. This is how the darkness came....
“Because of Michael...”
“Gabriel what the FUCK!”
She grabbed onto his hand. She did it often. Gabriel had grabbed onto his wrist when she wanted to control him. As far as strength when Uriel knew he didn't stand a chance. Gabriel was stronger than three men. If she didn't want him to move his arm he wouldn't be able to. He could do other things. He could generate heat. He could surprise her with a small flame but he didn't want to cause her to get any angrier than she was now.
“What do you feel about him? Tell me now...”
“You want to talk about this now?” Uriel explained, “You really want to talk about this here? In the middle of all of this. Fine. We'll talk about it. I can't stop thinking about him. Ok? Does that make you happy? Is that what you want to hear?”
Gabriel had let his hand go immediately.
Stares. An employee of the store had stopped what he was doing and was staring. He was frozen in place. A group of four young teenagers had stopped what they were doing. They were staring. Behind them was a two other people had stopped.
Stares. People were staring. Uriel had known this. His heart was picking up. It was a bad idea leaving the mansion. It was a bad idea coming out.
“We need to get out of here now,” Uriel warned Gabriel.
“Fuck you. I'm not going anywhere with you,” Gabriel replied.
It was at that moment he realized the tears swelling up in her eyes. He had never known Gabriel to cry. How he felt about Michael was how he felt about Michael. He didn't know what it was. He just couldn't get Michael off of his mind. When Michael wasn't around it was hard but now that Michael was back...he literally was going out of his way everyday just to stare at Michael. This was the wrong time to bring that up but he felt frustrated. He felt frustrated that Gabriel didn't seem to care about anything else about this Michael situation.
“Please. Gabby. Let's go. This isn't about Michael. This isn't about us. They are here. You know who I'm talking about when I say they. There all around us.”
Gabriel shrugged her shoulders.
Her eyes twisted...cold and almost as sinister as one of the demons.
“What do I care?” she stated.
“Gabby I'm going to need you to get it together. We are in fucking danger right now. You hear me? Does that mean anything to you?”
“Have you fucked him?”
“Have you fucked Michael?”
“GABBY! You CAN'T be asking me this question right now. They are everywhere. They are...they're everywhere....”
Uriel looked around. It seemed as though people were walking out of no where into the produce isle. First it was one person. Then it was two people. Then it just seemed like about 20 to 30 people just walked into the produce isle.
No one was talking. No one approached them but they stopped and stared. Gabriel had to notice at this point but she was so emotional that she didn't seem to give a damn. He didn't understand her.
It was at this moment that he knew that Gabriel's pride and ego was something that he probably couldn't deal with. She was willing to die for her pride. She was willing to have URIEL die for her pride.
“So you don't want to answer my question?” Gabriel asked.
“You're crazy. You've lost it...”
They were surrounded at this point. There was this dark energy. Gabriel was crying. That was the only sound in the supermarket. No...there was another sound.
Heels. Heels clicking across the supermarket almost to the beat of the slow background ambiance music. Something was coming. Something dark. Something dangerous. Uriel could hear the heels. He could hear them clicking across the supermarket.
And the atmosphere darkened. The lights in the supermarket started to click. On and off. On and off. On and off.
“Great...” Gabriel stated crossing her arms, “This is just an amazing day isn't it?”
Uriel's annoyance for her seemed to be out of the roof. It was almost as though she didn't know how much danger they were in. He knew though. He knew what was coming even before he saw it. It was the lady in red. The lady in red who had started to appear with a vengence after Leviathan died. She was there across the supermarket and she was walking.
She was walking closer and closer.
She wasn't going to stop.
She was walking right for them...the red overcoat. The darkness. Her eyes were black. They were full of hatred, malice, darkness, fright, fear and horror. He'd never looked into eyes like that before. All the happiness of the world was sucked out. Uriel never experienced anything like what he experienced with this woman in red walking towards him.
And he had never been so afraid of someone in his life.
“She's here...” Uriel stated, “You should have listened to me Gabby. You should have listened to me...”
Gabriel seemed nonchalant.
She gave him a side eye that seemed just as malevolent as any demon ever, “I guess we both are going to die today. At least Michael won't win...”
To read the next chapter go to www.crushedcrown.com