Incessant soft knocks from somewhere jolt me awake. My hand is already on the sharp knife under my pillow before my brain catches on to the fact that there is no ‘danger’ nearby. At least, not the kind that my knife would scare off. I still flex my fingers over the blade by force of habit. An apocalypse is not something that goes out of one’s system as abruptly as it was kicked out from our world. It is still there in a sense. And in the mind’s of people who braved it, I doubt if it would ever be over.
Another double knock on the window pain beside my bed.
“No need to knock my window down. I never bolt it anyways.” I whisper grumble under my breath, well aware that my intruder would hear me nonetheless. I turn on my side, already falling asleep again.
The large window is pushed open and the curtain parts as a huge shadow smoothly climbs inside, coming to lay behind me on the bed. Raffe puts a proprietary arm around my middle and nuzzles my hair. He is warm and he smells of the outdoors, clean, fresh and of the spring. He’s been flying…
“You should lock up though. No telling who breaks in some night and makes a meal of a tiny human.” he whispers in my ear, softly bites my earlobe. “Mmmm mmmm. This one is… sweet as honey and smells divine. All mine…” he kisses the spot he just bit.
My snort at his over flowery words is cut off by a sigh at the touch of his lips.
“Stop that.” I say, but snuggle closer to his warmth, immediately finding the perfect sleeping position I’d been trying to find all night. I am yet to find covers, or a bed for that matter, that is as comfortable as sleeping against Raffe. Something tells me I’ll never find a substitute. But I am never telling him this. His head is bloated enough already.
“Why should I stop?” Another kiss, this time on the neck, “I’ve waited all day. You kicked me out yesterday evening and this is the best bed in the realm. You’ve spoilt me rotten, little daughter of man. It doesn’t help that my watchers have taken to literally watching my back in turns as we try to get rest. I didn’t sleep a wink last night. How many years till you are twenty one and your mother lets you live with me?”
“Three more.” I smile sleepily at his rant and whisper back, “Not that you are following the rules or anything. You are not supposed to be in my bedroom after ten remember?”
“Oh I do.” Raffe chuckles and I feel it against my body more than I hear it. He snakes his arm under my head and hugs me closer. I turn in his arms and Oh. My. God. he is actually pouting. Those lush lips…Land on mine as soon as I face him. He gently kisses my lower lip and sucks on the upper.
His fingers comb through my hair as he angles my face for another kiss. This one more demanding, more breathless than the last one. When we break away for air, he cups my face and looks at me with so much emotion in his eyes that I loose my breath all over again.
“Penryn?” he whispers.
“Yes?” I breath.
“Come live with me. I don’t want to sneak in windows to see you every night.”
I cover his hand with mine.
“You know my mother’s rules. I would be starting school next week and you spend all your day organizing the rebuilding and rehab. We are both going to get busier by the day. I’m sure you won’t even notice it.”
He narrows his eyes and mock bites my chin.
“Hurry up with the three years. What’s the point in falling if I don’t even have my daughter of man at my side?”
“Are you trying to guilt me into fighting my mother? Because I’ll tell you right now. Fallen can be pulled out of the pit. But once my mother makes up her mind about something…”
I shake my head.
“I know.” he says, kissing the tip of my nose, “I know. But don’t blame me for trying. I had a very bad day today.”
Raffe pulls my small braid and kisses the edge of my jaw, scattering my brain cells in the process.
“Hey stop a second-”
His hands move to places only he has ever touched as he claims my mouth again in a kiss that is hungry, desperate and thorough.
“Ummmm…what was I saying?” I giggle and ask when he next pauses for breath.
“You were telling me to stop.” he smirks.
Oh yes! I was telling him to stop…But why the hell was I telling him to stop?
I try to rally my thoughts together. I swear Raffe is being this love-struck and playful for a very good reason so I concentrate on not losing it as I usually do when we are this close. And just like that I remember something I’d been meaning to yell at him about all day.
“Wait just a minute buster! Don’t distract me. I mean it.” I firmly take his roaming hands in mine and try to sit up. Arguing is no good while you’re draped in comforter-de-Raffe. He sighs and lets go of me, folding his muscular arms behind his head as he hogs my small bed.
“Had a bad day huh? I saw you having a good time. A very good time actually, with none other than that bitch angel doctor. I saw you talking. And laughing. Best pals with her now?” I poke his chest.
“What? What bitch angel doctor?” he says innocently. Too innocently.
“There is only one bitch angel doctor in California. The same one who sewed wrong wings on you and gave yours to Beliel. Have you forgotten what she did to my sister? How she double crossed you? How she created those dumbass sixers?”
Confusion flickers in his eyes. Then surprise. And then Raffe smiles wide, all smug like the cat that got to the cream.
“Penryn?” he says in that low sensual deep chocolate voice of his, “Are you jealous?”
Asshole! He knows what that voice does to me.
The sneak must also know that I’ve been edging for a fight all day, ever since I saw him flying with ‘le doctor’. And now he is pulling out the big guns. And glancing shamelessly at my chest, suddenly making me much too aware of my thin cotton night shirt and no bra.
“I am not jealous.” I retort, putting as much venom as I can behind the words and fold my arms over my breasts. I am blaming the cool draft from the window to my suddenly peeking tips.
He shuts off the window pane with his foot, caressing my thighs in the process.
“Yes you are.” he pins me with a look that warms my cheeks despite my irritation, “And By God you’re hot when you are all angry and jealous and marking territory.”
“Stop with the smooth talking” I whisper, “I don’t trust her. I know you don’t trust her. Don’t let her get close enough to strike again Raffe.”
He sits up and leans into me, putting his hands on either side of me, till his face is an inch away, his breath hot on my face, all traces of humor gone from his eyes.
“It’s all an act Penryn.” he says, “I need to maintain some semblance of peace with the other angels till the time Michael comes in and takes up the reins. Our political situation is still fragile. And she is helping my men with some of their injuries from the pit. The least I can do is be polite to her. You know she can be mercurial. I don’t want her taking out any frustration on my watchers. In the interim, I can watch my back. I’ve done so for centuries.”
Why does he have to pull the age card? And why the hell does he have to make so much sense with everything?
I’m sure I am the one pouting now. I punch his arm. He doesn’t move an inch or even blink. So I punch his shoulder and this time try to put some bite into it. Instead of humoring me and just taking a damn hit to mollify me, he raises an eyebrow and his eyes light up to a smolder.
“If you do that again Penryn-” he warns me, in the voice he uses to command people…
I punch his other shoulder and grin like the infant I am “Oops.”
“That’s it!” he growls and tackles me down on the bed and plants his knees on either side of me, trapping me in. Before he can get hold of my wrists, I brace a foot flat on the bed and turn to my side, to try and shove him off me. I guess I overdid it, because not only do I tip him over, his butt lands on the floor beside the bed with a thump. I’m not sure which one of us looks more surprised. He stares at me like he actually cannot believe I pushed him off the bed.
Right that instant, the door to my room flies open and in rushes my mother with an iron griddle raised in one hand, a box of smelly, rotten eggs in the other.
“Demon!” she shouts and maneuvers to throw two stinking eggs towards Raffe. He jumps to dodge them.
Oh no! Trust my mother to end my romantic night with rotten eggs! In the semi darkness of the room, a huge shadow with demon wings would actually look like a demon to my paranoid mother. I’d be laughing at the egging if I didn’t know to what lengths my mom’s paranoia could push her.
“Mom! Stop it. I swear it’s not what it looks like… …” I shout to get her attention, just as Raffe rushes to the light switch to flick it on.