Tears stream down my face like a rapid current after a falling rain. The chest heaves have run their course and now I am curled up in a ball, motionless and torn. After Evan's confession, my sub-conscious back peddled to her corner, holding up a white flag in helpless surrender. In return my demon took center stage, squawking and clawing inside my mind to 'have a go' at him. I've never seen my demon get so upset over me. Perhaps she cares about me after all.
My demon snorts and rolls her eyes. "You wish," she snarls in her low, serpent-like voice. But the harshness in her voice has lessened a degree. And I can feel that she does care for me in her own very sick and demented way.
Knock, knock, knock.
I remain still in my bed. Tears continue to roll down my cheeks and I nestle further under my blankets.
It's Jeremy. I can hear the kindness in his voice. Thank God he wasn't around during Evan's exit tonight. That would have opened up another can of worms.
"Stella, are you awake?"
Jeremy walks into my room and I hear the door closing behind me. He shuts off my TV and comes around to my side of the bed. When he sees my tears he rushes to my side.
His blue eyes deepen with concern. I glance down his body and once again am in utter shock with his outfit selection. He's wearing black slacks and dress shoes, with a dark blue dress shirt and a blue and yellow striped tie on top. His hair is parted to the side, the rest of it jelled into a messy masterpiece around his head. He looks so handsome.
"Are you going somewhere?"
Jeremy stuffs his hands in his pockets. "Mmhmm. I'm meeting someone for dinner."
My eyes feel like they're going to bug out of my head. I grab for my box of tissues and wipe free the tears matted to my cheeks and chin. I blow my nose and take in a few shaky breaths.
"In other words, you have a date?"
He grimaces at the suggestion and shrugs. He's uncomfortable.
"With who?" I press.
Hearing my boss's name on Jeremy's lips lights my vapid face into action. I try to suppress the scowl that is crawling onto my features and close my eyes for a second of relaxation. I have so many questions I want to ask him. All of them fire through my mind like a loose cannon on a battlefield.
"I should have asked you first," Jeremy adds. "With her being your supervisor and all….it won't be weird for you at work, will it?"
"Isn't it outside of your heavenly duties to prance around the town with single women?" I snap.
Jeremy straightens his stance and tilts his head to the side.
"I didn't realize this would upset you Stella."
"It doesn't upset me," I lie, "I just think it's ridiculous that you're here because you're some powerful angelic warrior trying to slay a demon -"
"-I'm not here to 'slay' you at all. Or your demon. I'm merely -"
"-Whatever! You're here to do a job. And why do you want to go on a date with Grace anyway!?"
My voice starts to rise and a whole new batch of tears are ready to give way at any moment. I clench my fists closed, my nails digging into my palms so hard they start to draw blood. Jeremy lets out a tired sigh and scrapes a masculine hand down his cleanly shaven face.
"Our deal is still intact Stella, so until Evan is out of the picture, I am required to stay here. With you. And as much fun as it is for me to see you go out on dates almost every single night while I sit here by myself, I think I'm going to opt for plan B and get out of the house whenever I get the chance."
I flinch at his words, remembering how I shoved Evan out of my bedroom and scolded him to never come back. I was a bit dramatic I suppose. And now that my initial anger has tapered off I realize I didn't even give Evan a chance to explain himself. Not that he necessarily deserved one.
"-And I do not believe there's anything wrong with me enjoying my time on earth in a healthy way when I have to be here regardless."
He pauses to see if I'll say anything in rebuttal.
"…Unless you're so selfish that you'd prefer me to stay locked in this house until you're done playing with Evan."
His comment is like a slap in the face and I laugh sarcastically under my breath.
"No, no. By all means, go on your date Jeremy. I really could care less."
I can feel the storm rise within me.
"But don't think for ONE SECOND that I'm going to take the blame for you being bored or lonely or whatever. Let's not forget who came into who's life and turned it upside down. Because if I remember correctly, YOU were the one that stampeded into my life, throwing out threats and demands, and then killing my loved one when I disobeyed-"
"-I didn't have a choice, Stella! I was forced into this duty. This isn't like some volunteer project I signed up for. When any of the Elite Warriors are given an assignment, it needs to be done. Period."
Jeremy's voice has risen to a shout but his eyes are pleading with me to see reason through his words. I'm so angry with him that my face feels blistered with heat. One minute I'm crying about Evan and the next I'm yelling at Jeremy. It's been an emotional night from Hell. No pun intended.
"But it was your choice to make that deal with me," I say, my words calculated and dripping with disdain. "And you shook on it without any hesitation. Now you have to live with it."
Jeremy looks hurt but instead of arguing further, he throws up his hands in defeat.
"I guess I'm the one at fault here then, Stella. The fact that I made that deal with you to try and be kind has no bearing effect on the situation. Does it?"
I meet his eyes and see that they have softened. His voice has lowered and all I can think is that he looks like a boy in need of a hug. My hardened hearts melts under his gaze and I turn my lips up into the semblance of a smile. Jeremy runs his hand down his face again and takes a seat at the foot of my bed.
"Stella, I'm really struggling here. I'm confronted with all these emotions that I haven't felt in thousands of years. In Heaven there's no such thing as hatred or anger or fear or jealousy. Experiencing those emotions now is just an overload for me. Does that make sense?"
I nod and scoot an inch closer to him. I want to console him but my stubbornness keeps me at a safe distance.
"I didn't realize you were struggling so much. Can I ask - how are those negative emotions coming in contact with you in the first place?"
"What do you mean?"
"Ok, for example. You said you're feeling jealousy. What is going on that is making you feel that way?"
I know I could have questioned him about any other emotion but of course I don't. Jeremy gives me a look of longing and my stomach clenches. Oh God, he's jealous of Evan. He doesn't have to verbally say it for the statement to be confirmed. I can feel it. My cheeks blossom with pink and for the first time in my entire life, I'm tempted to kiss an angel.
My demon makes gagging noises in my head and begs me to stop this insanity. I give Jeremy a comforting pat on the shoulder.
"Never mind," I say in a soft voice. "Go have fun on your date, Jeremy. You deserve it."
"You want to come with?"
His voice sounds so hopeful and I can't help but smile. Seeing the look on Grace's face when I showed up on her date would be priceless. But I refuse to become more attached to Jeremy than I already am. Trying to get over Evan will be hard enough. Adding Jeremy to the mix will make it unbearable.
Beginning the process of distancing myself from my beautiful angel, I shake my head no.
"You go have fun, Jeremy. Give me all the juicy details when you get home, ok?"
His hands rub down the legs of his pants, a nervous habit I've noticed him doing lately. His eyes meet mine and I can practically feel him begging for me to change my mind. A minute of silence passes. Jeremy's shoulders slump forward and he gets up to leave my room.
"If you change your mind, we'll be at some restaurant called 'Aloha, Aloha,'" he says under his breath.
The name rings a bell and I have to fight down another wave of tears. That was the place Evan took me on our first date. Jeremy leaves my room and I hear his light feet treading down the stairs and out the front door.
The tears that I have barely kept tethered spring from my eyes. The chest heaves are back and my body rocks to and fro. I don't know where to go from here, or who to turn to for help. And yet again I'm reminded of the fool I am. Love never lasts. Heartbreak is always inevitable. I've been reminded of this time and time again and yet I always come back wanting more. Never again, I promise myself for what feels like the hundredth time.