Home > The Promise (Fallen Star #4)(14)

The Promise (Fallen Star #4)(14)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

I don t understand,

Laylen said.

What is that thing?

Well, at least he was back to his old self.

They can see your wings,

Aislin called out.

They re sticking up behind the couch.

Wings!

Wings?

I sighed, rising to my feet. I felt like an animal in a zoo, their wide eyes on me, making me feel ashamed. It was bad enough I had wings coming out of my back, but somehow, I also ended up in the Black Angel s clothes. I had a dress on that barely covered the top part of my legs, and shoes which added more height to my already ridiculous tall frame. Laylen s blue eyes met mine, and I wanted to run up and give him a big hug because I could see he was himself again. But I didn t, fearing I d freak him out.

I avoided Alex s eyes all together, because, let s face it, he was definitely prejudice when it came to things that weren t human.

There was an accident,

I said to the wall.

What kind of accident?

Laylen asked, astonishment in his voice.

I did it.

Aislin started to cry.

It was my fault. I brought the Black Angel here.

I turned to her.

It s not your fault. You weren t yourself.

Tears flowed down her cheeks.

Yes it is.

It s not your fault,

I repeated.

If it wouldn t have been for me, the mark would have never gotten so out of control.

But she continued to sob and I felt him move toward me, my senses drawn sharply to him, even with the wings. He didn t say anything, only turned me to face him. I tuck my head down, mortified. But he put a finger under my chin and elevated it up, so I had to meet his eyes, which were all over me, warming my skin with embarrassment.

You ll be fine,

he said with a relieved sigh

We still have time. We can still change you back.

But I don t want anyone to have to take my place.

I frowned.

Don t worry,

he said.

We re not going to do that. We ll find another way to get those wings off you. But we have to hurry, before you completely transform.

I let out a breath of relief.

I thought I was going to be stuck like this forever.

He shook his head.

But we have to hurry. You re still you right now, but you won t be for long if we don t move quickly.

He paused, his eyes doing a quick sweep up my body, and a dark look crossed his face.

You can keep the dress, though, if you want to.

I stared at him blankly, but on the inside my heart was about to explode.

Keep looking at me like that,

I said, my voice surprisingly steady.

And you re going to kill us both right where we stand.

He shrugged.

I m just saying.

He checked me over again and then turned to Aislin and Laylen.

So where s Adessa?

he asked.

We re going to need her help.

She left,

Aislin said.

With her & friend. They said they were going into hiding until all this crap was over.

Which it will be soon,

I said.

Alex and I found a way.

Alex shook his head.

Not yet. I still haven t found out where my mom is.

Aislin s eyes popped wide.

Our mom.

I elbowed Alex in the side.

You didn t tell her?

He winced, clutching his side.

Ow & you re like freakishly strong now.

And immortal.

I stuck out my arm.

Alex snatched it, tugging me to him. He blinked at the Mark of Immortality, then let me go and headed for the front door.

Wait. Where are you going?

I chased after him, wings slamming into the walls.

To find a witch,

he explained.

So we can get those things off you.

Wait,

Aislin said, racing after him.

I m going with you.

Alex paused, looking at me.

Are you going to be okay?

His eyes wandered to Laylen.

By yourself.

I shooed him away.

Go, I ll be fine.

But then I pulled him back, looking at the Mark of Immortality on my arm.

Are you sure we want to change it.

I almost gagged on my words.

Because this could maybe help us if I don t die, neither can you.

It s not worth it,

he said.

Besides, you wouldn t last long. You d become one of them.

I leaned in, lowering my voice.

I thought you said I was supposed to get stuck in a cage.

He gave me a soft pat on the wings, ticking the black feathers.

Give it time and you will. You re in transition.

I glanced at Aislin.

How did you free her?

Aislin s face twisted with confusion.

I used magic. A spell I didn t even realize I knew. It was weird, but I seemed to know a lot of spells I d never heard of darker spells.

Then she sighed, reached in her pocket, and retrieved my locket.

Sorry I took it.

It s okay.

I put my locket back on and then gave Alex a heavy stare.

Are you absolutely sure you don t want to keep me like this.

He pressed back a smile.

I m not going to let you turn into an Angel of Hell.

Fine.

I sighed.

I just wanted to make sure this wasn t our way out of dying.

We ll find a way.

He touched the feathers on my wings and this time I shivered.

I promised I d save you and I will. Just not this way.

They left, slamming the door behind them and Laylen and I were left alone. An awkward silence built between us. Even worse, we both knew it wasn t because of my wings or the weird leather getup I was wearing.

So,

he began, staring at the black and white checkerboard floor.

How bad was I?

You don t remember?

I gasped.

No, I remember, well at least enough to know that I &

he trailed off awkwardly.

I was just asking you & I mean, you were the one that was hurt.

I touched my neck. The bite marks were gone, but I swear I could still feel them.

It wasn t that bad.

It was like he d relapsed or something, his bright blue eyes a deep sea of shame.

Don t sugarcoat it for me.

I sighed.

You know what, you re right. It was bad. You scared the crap out of me.

I walked across the room, tucking the hideous wings against my back. I stopped in front of him, throwing my arms around his neck.

But we ve all done things we re not proud of. And we just have to live with it and move on. Our mistakes don t define us, it s what we do afterward how we grow that makes us who we are.

Wow. I wasn t sure if I was saying that more for him or myself.

He was quiet for a while and I started to think my little speech bombed. But then he sighed and hugged me tight.

When did you get to be so insightful?

he asked with a soft laugh.

I loved to hear his laugh, because it was such a rare occurrence.

I learned from the best.

We stood there in the silence, hugging each other, wings and all.

Chapter 23

(Alex)

I hated leaving her, but there was no way I was going to let her come with me. Her violet eyes drew enough attention and now she had wings.

How did you know about this, but I didn t,

Aislin fought to keep up with me as I shoved my way down the crowded streets of Vegas, neon lights flashing, casino machines ringing. People were dressed in impersonator costumes, handing out leaflets, ignoring the vampires feeding in the shadows.

I know a lot of things you don t,

I said.

Yeah, but I m a witch. You d think I d know that there was a spell to remove the wings of a Black Angel without sending them to hell. Are you sure it ll take two witches though?

She cast a glace around the street.

It d probably be easier if I could just do it.

No you need a witch for each wing & So this is where all the vampires, fey, and witches migrate to?

I observed, changing the subject, worried if she found out how I knew about this she d be hurt.

I guess it makes sense, going where it s more crowded, where there are more humans.

She shook her head, pushing a crying woman out of the way.

You could be a little bit more sympathetic you know. You don t have to be such a jerk all the time.

And you didn t have to hall a Black Angel to the house,

I said.

But you did.

Tears started to slip out and I shook my head. Aislin had always been a crier.

Sorry.

I gave her a pat on the back.

That was me being a jerk again.

It s okay.

She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.

You re just stressed

No, I m not.

I scanned the crowd for a witch that wasn t marked.

Because I m going to fix this.

Then I spotted one, not too far off, head down, black hair a veil across her face, trying to conceal her identity.

We also have another problem.

Aislin was still chattering.

Aleesa s still missing, and I think we should

I stopped, Aislin running into me. I pointed through the crowd.

There we go. I m guessing she s unmarked.

When we were younger, before my mom vanished, she used to teach me all this stuff that, at the time, I d thought was a useless bunch of information. Things like how to kill a Death Walker or where the City of Crystal was. Or how to shift a Black Angel back to human form. Sometimes I wondered if she knew all of this was going to happen. Or maybe she just knew my father was a dick who wanted to kill the entire world and would never teach me how to protect it.

Aislin seized my arm.

Maybe I should handle this.

Hey,

I said.

I can be charming when I want to you know.

She frowned.

No, you just think you can.

I don t think this is going to be easy no matter who goes over there,

I told her.

It might be better just to knock her out.

Aislin narrowed her eyes and put her hands on her hips.

That wouldn t be very nice.

I m not trying to be nice,

I said.

I m trying to save Gemma.

Alright, just give me a few seconds.

Then she disappeared into the mob and marched up to the terrified witch. She said something and then the witch followed her back.

She ll help.

She smiled, pleased, because she was right and I was wrong. She raised her eyebrows at me.

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