Chapter 12:

Archangel Trouble

The Legend of the Pervy Archangel


The bell for lunch rang, an obnoxious noise that pierced the eardrums . Michael looked up from his notes, which were filled to the brim with writing in ancient Hebrew. He watched as everyone else rose from their seat and began leaving the classroom, including Alice, who appeared to be in a rush. Gathering his belongings, which consisted of a pencil and a few sheets of paper that someone had been nice enough to give him, Michael stood up and rushed over to Alice.Bookmark here

“Alice, wait up!”Bookmark here

Alice grit her teeth and walked faster. “Leave me alone, Michael!”Bookmark here

“Why are you so angry?”Bookmark here

“If you don't know why, then asking is pointless! Now stop following me!”Bookmark here

Michael didn't listen and followed her anyway. They passed through a grassy field with several trees and a number of cement tables that dotted the area. A number of young people were already sitting on some of them, eating their food as they spent time with their friends. Did that mean school was out now? Or was this just some kind of break between classes?Bookmark here

“So, school's pretty interesting, don't you think?” Michael said, smiling as they entered a large room with several long tables. They walked along the polished cement floor, his long stride easily keeping pace with Alice's angry stomping. “I'm a little surprised, to be honest, I didn't expect learning to be so interesting. Though I am a little confused about what the teacher spoke of. Alice, do you know what it means to be gone with the wind?”Bookmark here

Alice said nothing. Her lips were a thin line. Michael could swear he heard her teeth grinding behind them. They walked up to a line in front of a long, silver buffet table with a large variety of food on it. Alice grabbed a tray, and Michael, still chattering away, followed her example.Bookmark here

“I wonder if it’s something kind of euphemism or maybe ability that’s unique to humans, but I don't understand how you can be gone with the wind. I mean, humans don't have powers, so it's not like you could become one with the wind or something.”Bookmark here

He tried pondering the concept of a human become one with the wind, but he couldn't. All his mind conjured up was the image of a person turning into the wind, which wasn't possible, even for angels.Bookmark here

“Ne, Alice.”Bookmark here

“Would you shut up?!” Alice snapped. Several people looked at them, but she simply gave them her best glare and they all turned away. “God! I don't want to hear you anymore.”
“Alice,” Michael's voice took on a hint of mild reproach. “I thought I told not to―”Bookmark here

“Not another word!”Bookmark here

“But―”Bookmark here

“No!”Bookmark here

“But I―”Bookmark here

“Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Alice's stared at Michael like she wanted to set him on fire. “Stop talking to me! Stop associating with me! Leave me alone already!”Bookmark here

Michael frowned, but he didn't say anything and simply copied Alice as she grabbed some food.Bookmark here

They went over to another table, this one built into the back of the spacious room. There, an old lady wearing an apron and a strange elastic device on her head that Michael could only assume was a really odd hat, stood with a contraption that he recognized from the grocery store. A cash register, he thought it was called.Bookmark here

“That'll be $3.47,” the woman said, her voice scratchy and rough, as if she hardly ever spoke or spoke way too much. Alice grimaced, and handed the woman her school card, which the lunch lady swiped through the register. Done with her purchase, the black-haired female hurried away from the register.Bookmark here

Michael made to go after her, but was stopped when the woman behind the table said, “I need to ring up your purchase.”Bookmark here

“Oh, okay.”Bookmark here

He stood in front of the cash register, waiting.Bookmark here

“Your total comes to $3.34.”Bookmark here

Michael gave her the card that had been issued to him, watching as the woman swiped it.
“This card doesn't have anything on it,” she said, handing it back to Michael, who didn't know what she meant by that.Bookmark here

“What does that mean?”Bookmark here

“It means you're gonna have to leave that tray with me because you can't pay for it.”Bookmark here

“What? But I need to eat too!”Bookmark here

“Not my problem.” The lady shrugged. “You've got no money, you get no lunch.”Bookmark here

Michael still didn't understand everything, but he was beginning to learn the concept of currency, something that Heaven didn't have. Without money, or in this case, without any credit on his card, he couldn't pay for his lunch, which meant he would have to go without eating.Bookmark here

He didn't understand why humans were so obsessed with this weird bartering system. In Heaven, you didn't need to barter. If you wanted something, you could have it, provided it wasn't already in someone else's possession. Nothing cost anything there, which was why he just couldn't comprehend this whole currency business.Bookmark here

With a deep sigh and a rumbling stomach, Michael left the large room (which he would later learn was called a cafeteria) and began to search for Alice, who had disappeared on him. He asked several people if they knew where she was. Most of the people he asked simply looked at him like he was an idiot, or they walked off while giggling. He didn’t know what was up with them, but he didn’t appreciate their unhelpful attitude.Bookmark here

He eventually found Alice, alone on the roof of the only three-story building at the school. She was sitting on the lip of the building, her back hunched as she quietly ate her food. At her back was a large fence, and several feet away were a number of boxy-looking machines that hummed and thrummed, breaking the solitude with their low rumbling.Bookmark here

Michael sat down next to Alice, not saying anything. He wanted to, of course, but he really didn't know what to say. She didn't seem interested in talking about school, and he really didn't have any topics on hand that she might be interested in. The fact that she was angry at him was just another point going against him.Bookmark here

Maybe he should apologize? But then, how could he when he wasn't really sure what made her so angry with him in the first place?Bookmark here

“...Are you angry with me?”Bookmark here

Not the best conversation starter, to be sure, but Michael didn't really know what else to talk about.Bookmark here

“Yes,” Alice's answer was succinct and crisp.Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“Oh, I don't know. How about because you don't know how to use any common sense? Or maybe it's because you apparently used my underwear to barter entrance into this school? Or how about because you followed me all the way to school to begin with? The one place I thought I wouldn't have to deal with you.”Bookmark here

As she listed her reasons for being angry at him, Michael felt a small pit of guilt sink into his stomach.Bookmark here

“I'm sorry,” he said. “I didn't mean to make you angry.”Bookmark here

“Really? Because it seems to me like you're going out of your way to piss me off.”Bookmark here

“That was never my intent,” he told her earnestly.Bookmark here

Alice just released a tired gust of air. “Why are you here, Michael? Why are you going to school? And give me the real reason.” She glared at him, making his mouth snap shut with a loud clack of teeth. “None of that bullshit you were spouting earlier.”Bookmark here

Michael decided to ignore her crass language for the moment. He was already on thin ice. Lecturing the girl would only make it worse. “Honestly? I didn't know what else to do. You may not believe that I'm truly The Archangel Michael, but you're the only person I know who can help me right now. I have no one else that I can rely on.”Bookmark here

“And what makes you think I can help you?” Alice asked, snapping at him. Michael reared back as if struck. “Dammit, Michael! Ever since we've met, all you've done is cause me trouble! I have enough problems to deal with that I don't need you adding more!”Bookmark here

Was that really all he did? Michael wondered. Was he just causing more trouble for Alice? Well, he supposed he was. He did sort of barge in on her life. It had been his belief that God had directed him to this girl in order to help her with something, thus allowing him to repent for his sins and regain his power. But what if that wasn't the case? What if all he was doing was causing this girl unnecessary hardships?Bookmark here

“I… I guess I never thought about it like that,” Michael admitted quietly.Bookmark here

“Obviously,” Alice bit out.Bookmark here

“I'm sorry.” He stood up, giving the girl a sad smile. “I'll leave you alone now. I promise, I won't bother you anymore.”Bookmark here

“Good,” Alice said, her tone uncaring. “Now leave.”Bookmark here

Michael watched Alice as she took a vicious bite of her food, sighed, and then turned away and began walking towards the door that led him to the roof.Bookmark here

Alice had not looked at him once during their entire exchange.Bookmark here

~The Archangel Michael~Bookmark here

For the rest of the day, Alice did everything she normally did at school. She sat in class. She jotted down notes. She remained unobtrusive and did her work as dutifully as possible. She didn't even have to deal with Dustin and his friends, who she thought would try to start something again. Alice hoped that meant they had learned their lesson, although, considering she caught Dustin glaring at her in their shared computer course, she didn't think it likely.Bookmark here

The only thing about today that was different from any other day for Alice would be the guilt she tried to ignore as the day wore on.Bookmark here

Michael had not shown up again. Ever since lunch she'd not seen him. He didn't show up at any of her classes. She never saw him walking through the courtyard or passed him in the halls. She didn't even catch a single glimpse of him anywhere, almost as if he'd just vanished.Bookmark here

Alice knew she shouldn't be feeling guilty. None of what happened between them had been her fault. Okay, so she might have snapped at him, but he totally deserved it. That idiot had been nothing but a thorn in her side, and him pulling a disappearing act on her could only be a good thing.Bookmark here

She still felt guilty.Bookmark here

By the time classes ended, Alice's irritation and annoyance at her own feelings of culpability reached their peak, eliciting a mile wide scowl that found itself permanently etched onto her face. People always tended to avoid her like the plague on the best of days. With such a prominent and infuriated expression, they gave her a birth so wide you would think Alice was a murderer.Bookmark here

After getting off the bus, Alice, still locked within her own internal struggle and trying to justify why she shouldn't feel guilty, decided not to return home, and instead opted to walk around the neighborhood.Bookmark here

Her feet took her along the street with no clear destination in mind. She ignored the dozens of people walking past her. The little girl with her ball didn’t interest her. The mother who watched the girl was just as negligible. The men in suits, the other students, all of them were ignored by Alice. Her thoughts were on other, more important matters.Bookmark here

Michael's presence had been the cause of nothing but headaches thus far. Everything, from the way he entered her life, to his lack of common sense and general knowledge about the world, to his crazy belief that he was The Archangel Michael, to everything else that he did had created one problem after another. That he was also a shameless pervert who not only sniffed panties but would give them out to people as a form of bartering didn't help matters.Bookmark here

And yet, for all the problems he caused, she couldn't deny that he wasn't necessarily a bad person. Michael's lack of worldly knowledge precipitated some major issues, but aside from that and his lecherous actions, he could be really nice. Hadn't he spent an entire night cleaning her apartment? It was something she had wanted to do for a while but could never find the time because she was so busy with school and work. He'd also helped her out with Dustin, something that she couldn't forget.Bookmark here

Alice didn't know how long she spent walking the streets of Long Beach, lost within the confines of her mind, but as the sun began to set, she realized that she'd been out for way too long. She looked up at the sky, seeing the arrays of color, swirling pink, vibrant red, burning orange, and beautiful magenta, all mixing into a formless combination of hues and tints that followed no set of rules be they linear or geometric.Bookmark here

Realizing that she really should head home, should have been home hours ago doing her homework, Alice released a soft curse and began a light jog through the street. She looked at the nearest sign, which read East Livingston Drive and another that had Park Avenue on it. That wasn't far from where she lived. Just a little over a mile.Bookmark here

She began to move a little faster, cutting through a side street in order to shorten the amount of time it would take her to get home.Bookmark here

The street was empty. Not surprising, really. Backstreets like this weren't used very much. Streets like this tended to be places where workers of the shops on the main streets would throw their garbage. On her left side stood the backs of several buildings, shops and stores that small restaurants and cafe's. To her right, situated in such a way that made her wonder if the people working in those shops had no understanding of aesthetics, were a number of large dumpsters.Bookmark here

Alice wrinkled her nose, bringing a hand up to cover it. The scent from so much trash, some of which was more than likely rotting food, nearly overpowered her. An amalgam of disgustingly nauseating fragrances invaded her nostrils, gagging her and causing her to second guess her decision to cut through the side street. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.Bookmark here

She turned around, about to head back the way she came.Bookmark here

She stopped in her tracks when several figures stepped in front of her.Bookmark here

Her eyes widened.Bookmark here

“Dustin!” She took a step backwards in surprise before glaring at the idiot who was impeding her path. “Get out of my way. I don't have time to deal with your crap today.”Bookmark here

“You don't have time to deal with my crap?” Dustin parroted, taking a step forward. Alice took another step back. Something was wrong. She didn't know what, but from just looking at Dustin, she could tell there was something off. “Well, that's too bad, because I've got a serious bone to pick with you.” His eyes hardened. “Clara dumped me today because of you.”Bookmark here

“So Clara wised up and left you.” Alice continued walking backwards as Dustin and his friends pressed forward. She eyed them warily. They wouldn't do anything to her, would they? Surely not. Dustin and his pals were a bunch of jerks, but they weren't truly horrible people. Right? “I fail to see how that's my fault.”Bookmark here

Dustin chuckled, the sound sending shivers down Alice's spine. “Really? You don't see how this is all your fault? You haven't realized why you're to blame?” The smile on his face grew deranged. Alice, against her will, felt her heart rate pick up. “She left me because of what you said to her back in David's class. Do you remember what that was?”Bookmark here

Alice did remember. It hadn't been that long since she'd said it. Barely even eight hours, in fact. She didn't say this, though, as something told her that opening her mouth in that moment would not end well.Bookmark here

“You said the only time I told her that I loved her was right before we had sex the first time.”
Again, Alice said nothing, even though she was positive her words rang true.Bookmark here

Dustin began moving again. She knew now that Dustin planned on doing something to her, to get revenge for what he considered to be a slight against him, even though it was really his fault for being such a horrible boyfriend.Bookmark here

Alice turned spun around, prepared to run away.Bookmark here

A hand latched onto her wrist before she could take even three steps.Bookmark here

Before she could even begin trying to struggle, several more hands grabbed her. Her wrists stung as they were held within an iron grip, causing her to yelp. She began to struggle, trying to kick her attackers. She managed to hit one of them, and earned a grunt of pain for her efforts, but it also ended with one of the set of hands holding her tightening to the point where she was sure there would be a mark come tomorrow morning.Bookmark here

Her knees hit the blacktop seconds later, sending a jolt lancing up her sides, making her cry out in pain and causing her eyes to water. Despite this, she tried to struggle some more, but her arms were forced behind her back, leaving her unable to put up any real resistance.Bookmark here

“Just hold her down like that,” Dustin said, smiling as he reached into his pocket. Alice's eyes widened when the hand emerged holding a small pocket knife. He flipped the blade out and began to advance on her.Bookmark here

The other boys got uncomfortable.Bookmark here

“H-hey man. You never said anything about knifing her,” one of them said. Kevin, Alice thought to herself.Bookmark here

“Just relax,” Dustin soothed, still grinning. “I'm not gonna stab her or cut her up or anything. I need this for another reason.”Bookmark here

It didn't take Alice long to realize what that reason was. Dustin soon began cutting off her clothes. She would have struggled, but the thought of what he planned on doing to her caused her body to become paralyzed. Her mind screamed at her, told her to fight back, to get up and run away. But she couldn't. She couldn't because her body wasn't listening. It was frozen solid, like a block of ice.Bookmark here

“I-I'm not so sure about this, Dustin,” another one, Billy, perhaps, said.Bookmark here

“Don't be such a pussy,” Dustin snapped. “Are you guys really a bunch of fucking cowards? Just a few minutes ago, all of you were looking forward to putting this bitch in her place! Now you want back out?!”Bookmark here

Despite herself, Alice felt a small wellspring of hope rise within her chest. It seemed Dustin's three friends weren't as into the idea as he thought they were. Maybe they had gone along with something Dustin said, thinking he was joking. Or maybe they had believed he was simply going to mess with her. But, it was clear to her now, that whatever they thought was going to go down, this wasn't it.Bookmark here

Maybe, just maybe, she could get out of this without any kind of injury or mental trauma.
And so she stayed where she was, silently listening in on the conversation. No one really paid attention to her, busy as they were arguing amongst each other.Bookmark here

“Look! We all thought you were just joking around! We didn't actually think you'd do something like, well, like this!”Bookmark here

“You should have known I was serious! When have I ever said I would do something and not gone through with it!”Bookmark here

“Dunking someone's head in a toilet is completely different from this! You've got a fucking knife, Dustin! A knife!”Bookmark here

“It's just a little pocket knife!”Bookmark here

As they continued arguing, Alice felt the hands grabbing her, keeping her pinned, weaken.
This was her chance!Bookmark here

Using all the strength she could muster, Alice yanked her arms from the hands gripping her. She heard several startled yells behind her, Dustin's friends, no doubt surprised that she'd managed to break free. She caught one look at Dustin, whose eyes had gone wide, before spinning around.Bookmark here

She threw a punch with her left fist and watched it hit Billy in the nose. She felt, more than heard, the loud cracking of cartilage, and watched as blood sprayed from the wound. Billy yelped, stumbling backwards, his hand moving to cover his nose, eyes bulging in both surprise and pain. The others looked surprised as well. Too surprised to do anything when she bolted off.Bookmark here

“Dammit! She's getting away! After her!”Bookmark here

The shout came from behind her. A part of her hoped they wouldn't follow her. Dustin's friends hadn't been interested in doing anything after they'd captured her. Why would they agree to do what he said now?Bookmark here

Those hopes were dashed when she heard the sound of several feet thudding against the streets behind her.Bookmark here

With fear flowing through her like a cold river and adrenaline pumping through her body, Alice ran. She didn't know where she was going, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was getting away. So she ran as fast and hard as she could.Bookmark here

In a situation like this, what else could she do?Bookmark here

~The Archangel Michael~Bookmark here

After Alice had let her true feelings about him known, Archangel Michael had left the school and taken to wandering the streets. His location unknown and his destination equally a non factor, the being who once controlled all of Heaven's army found himself at a loss. What should he do now? Where should he go? These questions and more turned in his head, congealing within his mind, molding into a sticky mess where all of them simply combined into a mass of unintelligible ramblings.Bookmark here

Michael looked up at the sky, clear blue, with swirling cirrus clouds. He could make out several shapes that formed from them, an angel, a large gate, a dog. Considering that last one, Michael wondered if perhaps his mind wasn't just playing tricks on him.Bookmark here

“Are you watching me even now, My Lord?” Michael's voice, softer than a cool breeze, was barely heard over the hustle of the noisy people around him. “Are you disappointed in me? Angry, perhaps? Or are you simply tired of watching me flounder about like a, well, like an angel without his wings.” Bookmark here

Michael chuckled at the joke, but without humor. The noise was dry and raw, filled with self-depreciation and recriminations. Because regardless of God's feelings on the matter, Michael couldn't get past the disappointment he felt in himself.Bookmark here

He began walking again. People crowded around him, ignoring as he walked by their side, their minds preoccupied with other things. A man spoke into a device on his ear, his voice loud and agitated. A woman several feet away talked to her child, a young girl who was taking in the sights and jabbering in that excitable manner only children possessed.Bookmark here

So many people, Michael thought to himself, watching as a group of kids Alice's age walked past, their enthusiastic conversation echoing ahead of them. He wondered what these people were thinking about. How did these people live their lives? Did they live with God in their heart? Were they even religious? What kind of people were they? Had any of them ever faced a problem similar to his?Bookmark here

He chuckled again. Probably not.Bookmark here

With nowhere else to go, Michael oriented himself towards Distractions. Now that he already knew where the club was located, he could easily figure out where he stood in relation to it. It was a skill he'd picked up during his fight against the devils, though he usually used it to locate all of the enemies around him, not a nightclub for dancing and drinking.Bookmark here

Finding the place was easy. Getting there was another matter entirely. Michael walked through the mass of humanity, quietly weaving between the people around him. Even though his powers had been taken, he still had the natural grace that God had given him when he was created, allowing him to flow around everyone walking by him with little to no effort.Bookmark here

As he walked, he noticed the crowds began to thin out. Most people were done for the day, heading home to rest. The sun was setting, showing that the hour was late.Bookmark here

He was just about there, maybe a mile or two away, when something caused him to stop. His ears twitched, his acute hearing picking up something coming from the opposite direction. He tilted his head, judging. The noise, a scream, came from a mile or two northeast of his current location.Bookmark here

It came from a familiar voice, too, one that he knew quite well by now.Bookmark here

She had, after all, just got finished telling him off a few hours ago.Bookmark here

“I see,” Michael said to himself, smiling. “So it looks like you didn't just drop me here without a single talent to my name.”Bookmark here

It looked like God hadn't just let him keep his natural grace, but his sense of sight and hearing as well. He would have never heard that scream with human hearing.
“Hold on, Alice,” he whispered before kicking off in a blur of speed.Bookmark here

~The Archangel Michael~Bookmark here

Harsh, ragged breathing, the rasping of a soul filled with equal measures of fear and hope. Adrenaline pumping through carnelian veins, pushing sore and tired muscles to heights they'd never felt before.Bookmark here

Alice could hear her heart thumping in her chest, battering and violent and painful. War drums didn't have squat on the blood pumping organ currently hammering away at her ribcage.Bookmark here

Her feet pounded against pavement, the sound echoing and bouncing around her. Or maybe that noise belonged to the four teenage boys chasing after her. Even now she could hear them, their shouting demands that she stop. The loudest of them, Dustin, was yelling threats of bodily harm.Bookmark here

She turned another corner, hitting yet another street empty of pedestrian traffic. The road was dark, the only lights coming from the street lamps now, small spots of brightness within an otherwise bleak space of darkness.Bookmark here

Dustin and the others turned the corner mere seconds after her.Bookmark here

“There she is! Don't let her get away!”Bookmark here

Alice grit her teeth and pushed her tired body harder. She couldn't let them catch her. Not now. Not after she'd just escaped. And considering how she managed to release herself from their tender mercy, she could no longer be sure Dustin's friends would be as reluctant to her hurt as they had been.Bookmark here

“Alice!”Bookmark here

Eyes snapping wide, Alice peered into the distance. There, several feet ahead of her, his form closing in at speeds that she didn't think were humanly possible, was Michael.Bookmark here

“Keep running! I've got this!”Bookmark here

Michael streaked past her. A loud cry erupted behind her seconds later. She stopped, despite being told to keep running, and turned around.Bookmark here

What she saw was something that would stay with her for the rest of her life.Bookmark here

Michael, his body moving with the sort of grace professional dancers strove to attain, shot forward with incredible speed, his body a blur of fluid movement. Just before he reached Dustin and the others, he kicked his body into the air, twisting until he was parallel with the ground.Bookmark here

Then he began to spin.Bookmark here

The first one to fall was Billy. At the apex of Michael's spin, he stuck out his left leg, and his insole crashed against the much younger man's head. Alice could swear she actually saw Billy's head cave in before he crumpled to the ground.Bookmark here

Almost as soon as Michael landed on his feet, he twisted his body at an impossible angle and used the palm of his left hand to hit Kevin's chin. Alice could hear the loud clacking of teeth from where she stood. Kevin then became airborne, leaping into the air and backwards in at graceful, parabolic arc, before he landed on the ground with a thud.Bookmark here

Chris tried to run. He didn't get far, though, as Michael grabbed his wrist and lashed out with a low kick that knocked into the boy’s legs. Proving that his muscles weren't just for show, Michael flipped the boy about, causing him to spin in the air, before his back crashed against the pavement.Bookmark here

Michael left Chris moaning on the ground. He straightened up, and then turned to face the last person there.Bookmark here

Dustin was quivering. His entire body shook, legs trembling, arms shuddering with a fear that was almost palpable Alice could practically taste it. She had never seen Dustin, or anyone else, look so frightened.Bookmark here

Michael walked up to the boy, who stumbled backwards, falling on his rear. Dustin looked up, eyes wide, breathing jerky and spasmodic. Alice thought he might start hyperventilating. Not that she could blame him. Michael looked rather terrifying in that moment, especially with those strange, glowing eyes…Bookmark here

… Wait? Strange glowing eyes?Bookmark here

“You are going to take your friends and leave.” Michael's tone brooked no argument. Alice watched and listened and noted that, yes, Michael's eyes were indeed glowing. It was probably a trick of the light from the lamp post overhead, but nevertheless, they held a bright luminescence that she could only describe as otherworldly. It almost made her wonder if his constant blathering about being an angel held some truth to them. Almost. “If I ever catch you causing Alice any kind of distress again, I will be sure to exact punishment for your sins. Now leave!”Bookmark here

Dustin couldn't get away fast enough.Bookmark here

Michael turned around, ignoring Dustin and his friends as they bolted away. As he walked towards her, Alice's thoughts became jumbled. Everything had happened so fast, from the events that led to her getting chased to Michael showing up and protecting. She didn't know what to do, what to think, or how to feel. She didn't know anything.Bookmark here

“Are you okay?” Michael asked, stopping just two feet in front of her. His much taller frame meant he needed to look down at her.Bookmark here

Alice started to nod her head, but she ended up shaking it instead. Before she knew it, her entire body began to shake, the adrenaline wearing off and her own realization of what had just happened catching up with her. legs weakening, Alice began to fall. Instead of hitting the ground, she hit something firm yet yielding, hard yet soft. Her face pressed against fabric. The fragrance of linen and the soap she used surrounded her.Bookmark here

“A-Alice?”Bookmark here

A voice called out to her, confused and hesitant. Michael's voice.Bookmark here

Her body began to shake more, not with the aftermath of the adrenaline leaving her system, but with genuine fear. Fear of what may have happened had Dustin and his friends had caught up to her. Fear at what they might have done. And fear at what could have been if Michael hadn't shown up when he did.Bookmark here

“A-Alice!? Are you okay!?”Bookmark here

Her shoulders heaved. Something wet ran down her cheeks, falling onto the shirt that her face was pressed against. Tears, Alice realized, some small part of her shocked. When was the last time she'd cried? Four years ago? Something like that. To think she'd start crying again now of all times, and in front of Michael no less.Bookmark here

“I...” Her throat closed, but only for a second, before all of the emotions she'd buried spilled out of her. “I was so scared! Dustin had a knife, and he said he was going to get revenge on me, and they chased me, and I didn't know what to do! I… I…”Bookmark here

“S-slow down, Alice.” Michael sounded on the verge of panicking. “Look, just take a deep breath or something, okay? Breath deeply and calm down and tell me what happened?”Bookmark here

Alice tried to take several long, slow breaths. It didn't work. She couldn't. Her breaths came out in short, hyperventilating bursts that combine with her wracking sobs.Bookmark here

Warmth surrounded her. The sobbing ceased, the panicked breathing stopped, and Alice's body began to relax. The warmth surrounding her were from a pair of arms, she realized. They held her tightly, pressing her more firmly against a well-muscled body. Michael's body.Bookmark here

“Everything's alright now,” Michael said. His chin came to rest on her head, adding more warmth that helped her further relax. Alice sighed and, despite herself, moved further into the comforting embrace of the man she'd never expect to find comfort in. “Dustin and his friends are gone, so they can't hurt you again.”Bookmark here

Alice nodded against his chest, not trusting her voice. She didn't know if she could speak, or what she would say if she did, and then there was the strange feeling spreading out from her chest. It reminded her of the warmth engulfing her body, only different. Unlike the warmth from Michael, this one made her feel self-conscious, even though she couldn't figure out why.Bookmark here

Several minutes past.Bookmark here

“Thanks for this,” Alice finally found her voice. She looked up at Michael, still locked within his arms. How could such a feminine-looking guy have such masculine arms? She didn't know, but she would be pondering it later.Bookmark here

“You're welcome.” It was only now that she could actually see him that she realized just how uncomfortable Michael looked. He had quite obviously never needed to comfort someone before. Alice actually thought it was kinda cute.Bookmark here

Not that she would ever tell him that.Bookmark here

“So, are you feeling better now?”Bookmark here

“Yes,” Alice nodded, giving what might have been the first genuine smile in a long time. “I feel a lot better now.”Bookmark here

They stayed like that for several more seconds, and in those seconds, Alice went from smiling in genuine gratitude to frowning.Bookmark here

A vein began to throb on her forehead.Bookmark here

“Michael.”Bookmark here

“Yes?”Bookmark here

“Is that your hand groping my ass?”Bookmark here

“Uh… no?”Bookmark here

Smash!Bookmark here

“Laylah!”Bookmark here

~The Archangel Michael~Bookmark here

Alice and Michael entered the small apartment, the door closing behind them and locking. The lights were flicked on, illuminating the small, empty interior. Sharp shadows were cast along the floor. Two sets of shoes were taken off and set aside. Bare feet padded against soft carpet.Bookmark here

Alice walked ahead of Michael, raven hair swinging with each step. She stopped in front of him, forcing him to stop as well.Bookmark here

“Alice?”Bookmark here

“We should get some sleep,” Alice told him, not looking at him. “We've got a big day tomorrow.”Bookmark here

“We do?”Bookmark here

“It's going to be your second day of school, right?”Bookmark here

Michael's eyes widened. “You mean…?”Bookmark here

“Don't make me regret this, Michael.” Alice whirled on him, pinning him with a look that caused his body to freeze in its tracks. “I mean it. No more trouble, okay?”Bookmark here

“Uh, right!” Michael nodded enthusiastically. “I won't cause anymore trouble.”Bookmark here

“And from now on you have to listen to everything I say.”Bookmark here

“Erm, well, ah, I guess that's fair.”Bookmark here

“And no groping me.”Bookmark here

“I only did that once! And it was an accident!”Bookmark here

“And no stealing my underwear either!”Bookmark here

“D-don't you think you're being a little harsh?”Bookmark here

“And no peeping!”Bookmark here

“Now you're just being cruel!”Bookmark here

“Michael!”Bookmark here

“Eek!” Michael squeaked. “Alright, alright. I won't...” His face scrunched up. “I won't....” His cheeks began turning a vibrant red. He looked like he was really struggling to get the words out. He would huff, and his cheeks would puff, and then he'd end up blowing air out of his mouth instead of actual words. “I… I… I…”Bookmark here

“Say it!” Alice demanded. “Say it, Michael! I won't peep on Alice! Say it!”Bookmark here

“Alright! I won't peep on you! There! Are you happy?”Bookmark here

Alice allowed herself a small victory smile. She even raised a hand gave the victory sign. “Very.”Bookmark here

Michael just groaned.Bookmark here

His life sucked.Bookmark here


Bookmarked
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