This book is dedicated to my niece, Evelynn Yvette Eldeen. A girl who truly encompasses the spirit, strength, fortitude and fight you would expect from an angel. I’m so glad you made it, baby girl.
I would like to thank my husband and son, first and foremost, for all of their love, help and support with my writing. You guys have endured a lot, and I greatly appreciate it. To my family: What can I say I haven’t said a million times? Well, let’s make it a million and one. I love you, and without your support, I couldn’t have written this book.
I’d also like to thank my fellow authors and new found family; Benjamin Russell, Katie Harper, Finless Davee Jones, Lisa Worrall, Bobby Momenteller & all of my wonderful friends in my writers group on Facebook. I don’t know what I would do without you guys! And who could forget to thank the amazing, beautiful, and talented, Mrs. Elicia Stoll. Honey, without you, I would truly be lost in the world of punctuation and grammar without a map.
Now that I’ve thanked everyone I know personally, I would also like to thank you, the reader, and my fans for all of your encouragement, support, kind words and friendship.
The Human Side
(Book Two in the Demon Side Series)
|Bobby Momenteller (cover model for The Human Side)|
I couldn’t resist, even though I’ve been warned time and time again to leave Etta alone. My curiosity always got the best of me, but also my fear for her. It’s been over a year since I went from being a Fallen to saving Etta from Hell and getting my wings back, but I still worried another attack on her would come. At least that’s the excuse I kept telling myself when I would sneak away to watch her sleep, and that’s what I told myself tonight.
It had been too long since my last midnight visit to Etta’s room. Etta graduated high school and went off to the hustle and bustle of Duke University. I only made one attempt to visit her there, but the hallways of her dormitory were crowded with drunken students. I couldn’t risk word getting back to Father I had been sighted near her. So I would pop in on John from time to time to find out when Etta’s next visit to Quantico would be.
During one of my eavesdropping sessions, I heard the greatest news I could imagine. Of course I was being selfish in my happiness. Unable to concentrate, failing class after class, Etta no longer wished to attend University. After three long grueling months, Etta and her friend Amy rented a house in Quantico Town and enrolled in the local community college, making it much easier for me to visit her more often. Occasionally, for reasons unknown, she’d go to John’s house just down the street to sleep in the room we once shared. That is where I found her tonight.
Her long curly brown hair resembled tendrils of silk lay out perfectly across her white cotton pillow. Her olive skin glowed in the creeping dawn’s light. The shadows of the falling snow outside the window dance on her exposed belly. Her lips glistened like a mirage in the hot dusty desert as small droplets of saliva slowly ran down her cheek, pooling onto her pillow.
As she softly exhaled, my body craved to lie beside her, if only for a second, so once more I could feel her sweet steady breath against my skin. I can only hope one day my secret prayers would be answered.
Leaning forward in her terribly uncomfortable white wicker chair next to the bed, I watched her closely as she slept. Though Etta no longer wakes up screaming; every toss, every turn, and every little moan sent my imagination into overdrive. I know the veil closed behind me when I left, but I wondered if she ever subconsciously dreamt about me.
Did the CD and feather I left her ever bring up a hidden memory of our time together? If so, does she see me as I am now, or does she only see the Demon I once was? Has her heart forgotten the love she professed for me? Does the heart ever truly forget?
So deep in my thoughts, I wasn’t paying attention to the time when Etta’s alarm went off. Swiftly putting the chair back at her desk, I snagged my wing against the wall, chipping the sheetrock. Etta began to stir as our song ‘Taking Care of Business’ blasted on her clock radio. Instantly, I was flooded with the memory of us dancing and lip synching in her bedroom. The way her hips moved as she sang into her hairbrush made my heart putter like a car running out of gas, except the memory fueled me.
The sound of her waking yawn snapped me back into the present. With Etta almost fully awake, I had no time to fix the wall. Bolting out of the window, I launched myself toward home.
Another close call. I was getting sloppy with my secret visits to Etta. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised to find Michael waiting in my room when I arrived home.
“Where have you been? No. Don’t say a word, I know where you’ve been. You can’t keep sneaking off like that. Rahovart, you have got to stop and let her get on with life.”
“I had a bad feeling so I thought I would check it out.” I wasn’t lying, but you couldn’t say it was the total truth. It was the truth as I felt it.
Arches don’t have the ability to lie per say, but the truth isn’t as black and white as one would think. We can only say how we view things, and I’d done a good job convincing myself I was checking on her safety. At least well enough I was able to use the excuse when questioned about my visits.
“That’s what she has Guardians for. Let them do their job, Rahovart. With that being said, we need to go. Father has called us to the war room, and we’ve been waiting on you.”
“How long has he been waiting?” Crap! I thought to myself.
I know Father is all knowing, but I had hoped with everything happening this time of year, maybe he wouldn’t notice my absence. November and December is always our busiest months as we prepped for our celebrations, but also the celebrations on Earth always seemed to draw out Demons in full force. With the big day fast approaching, our meetings in the war room were becoming regular. All the more reason I should have probably stayed home tonight.
“Long enough that Father is not happy and growing very impatient.” Michael answered as we both tried walking out of my door at the same time. With a playful nudge, Michael attempted to push me out of the doorway.
“Oh, you think so?” I laughingly replied as I prodded him with my elbow, slightly harder than he nudged me.
“Hey, who’s the boss here?” Michael said with a sly smile as he slid out of the door.
I didn’t mind that every chance he had, he mentioned he was now in charge of the eight Arches. I lost my position as leader when I fell and now found myself on the bottom rung of the rank ladder. On the other hand, I was content with having fewer responsibilities. It seemed when I had even the slightest power, I messed up, and with my aspiration of waiting for Etta, I couldn’t risk falling again. Plus it afforded me more time to confirm her safety should one of my ‘bad’ feelings arise.
I trotted up to Michael, smacking him on the back of the head. “You may be in charge brother, but that doesn’t mean you can take me.” I said jokingly.
We made the journey to the war room chasing after each other, slap boxing like two hormone crazed teenaged boys on the crowded golden streets. I finally got Michael in a head lock when Gabriel walked out of the large arched doorway of the war room.
“Seriously? You guys better hurry up and get in here. He’s going to start without you.” Gabriel folded his arms across his chest and gave us the look I could only imagine a mother would give her naughty children.
Releasing Michael from my perfectly executed headlock, I followed him into the large, round, white room and took my seat at the end of the long white desk. I once sat on the other side of this desk for my Tribunal. The thought of what I was then made me shudder in disgust of myself. I had come so close to being damned to Purgatory that day.
“So glad you could finally join us, Rahovart.” I was snapped out of my head when Father showed up in his angelic form. My face turned red with embarrassment as Father looked directly at me with a hint of frustration in his expression.
“Now that everyone is here, I want to discuss with you all your duties for today. We have some Catholic Priests in Miami, Florida in need of some reminders of the commandments. Michael and Gabriel, I’m sure you can show them the errors of their ways. Raguel and Ramiel, I need you two in Portage, Michigan to help an Atheist single mother with her drug sickness. Uriel and Saraqael, you’re needed in Rothenberg, Germany to help a Lutheran suicidal homeless man, and Raphael, I need you in Niles, Ohio to help a homesick Mormon Missionary.”
These weren’t our usual tasks, but this was the only time of year all ten choirs of angels were used for more than just their normal duties. We had all been slammed for two weeks with helping people keep their various faiths.
As everyone left for their assignments, I sat there curious as to why I was not given one. The room was now silent. Father looked as though he was in deep thought as he walked around the blinding white room with his hands behind his back and his eyes on the floor.
“Rahovart, my son, do you believe I could make a mistake?” Father asked, breaking the silence of the room. The question threw me back. Father…make a mistake? What was he getting at? Was he questioning his forgiveness of me?
“No Father.” My voice quavered, revealing the uneasiness his question stirred up within me.
“Sometimes I wonder, if when I created you, I gave you too big of a heart.” He asked the question more to himself than he did me.
“I’ve tried to be understanding and patient with you my son. I even looked the other way when you left Etta tokens of your affection, but your constant disobedience and sneaking around is wearing thin. Another problem is, I’m not sure what to do exactly to get my point across to you. I’ve thought about demoting you, but I’m not sure that would be severe enough to do any good.”
My heart stopped. Severe? Since I’ve been back, I’ve been desperately trying to prove myself worthy of my place and his forgiveness. Was it all for nothing? Would my wings be stripped from me? If I fell again, my soul wouldn’t survive long. I pissed off quite a few Demons in Hell, including Lucifer himself, when I turned sides to rescue Etta from Alastor. Etta? What about Etta? If I was damned now, I’d never have the chance to have her fall in love with me again, let alone see her again. I felt as though invisible hands clasped around my neck, slowly squeezing the air out of my lungs. Bile rose in my throat and black dots flickered before my eyes.
“Calm down my son.” Father said, noticing the panic on my face. Placing a hand on my shoulder, the sick feeling gradually escaped me, and the cool air returned to its rightful place in my lungs.
“I have two solutions, but you must make the choice on which one you will abide by. You will have time to think about these choices I am about to give you, but remember, once you decide, you will be bound to it.”
I listened intently as Father explained my options. Both carried heavy consequences if I failed to abide by their guidelines. It was a life or death decision, but I didn’t need time to think. The choice I would choose was very clear to me. Without thought or question, I gave Father my answer.