Home > Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(13)

Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(13)
Author: Leia Stone

It took Shea like ten tries to wake me, and I’d ended up chugging an iced coffee just to get some of my energy back. Now, we were parking at Lincoln’s new apartment complex, slightly off campus, in the Fallen Army housing compound called Lighthouse Villas.

“So… Noah asked me to sleep over at his house tonight. I told him I’d think about it,” Shea told me as I put the car in park.

The time had come to have the real ‘tough love’ talk with this woman. I turned to my best friend. “Do you love him?” I asked bluntly.

She swallowed hard and then nodded.

“Do you trust him?”

She chewed her lip. “You know that’s hard for me.”

Yeah, it was. Growing up with a vacant deadbeat dad, and her mom leaving her for drugs had messed her up. It was hard, but she needed to learn something…

“Not everyone is like your dad or mom, Shea.”

Tears welled in her eyes and she nodded. “I know that.”

Reaching out, I grasped her hand. “I think you and Noah have reached the jumping off point. Either dive in or walk away, because it’s not fair to him to keep stringing him along, if you’re not capable of emotionally investing in him fully.”

Shea laughed. “Wow, when did you become a shrink?”

I chuckled. “I’m just saying it’s okay to put yourself out there, to trust. I don’t think Noah would ever intentionally hurt you.”

She nodded. “I totally started messing around with him at first for fun. But now…”

“Now it’s love,” I finished for her, with a squeeze of her hand.

She sighed. “Yeah.”

“Which is a good thing! The world needs more love,” I declared.

Shea grinned and reached in the back seat of my Fallen Academy-issued SUV, producing a large backpack. “Okay good, because I totally packed an overnight bag.”

Laughter bubbled out of me. “You crack me up.”

She peeked in her bag. “I brought five condoms. Do you think that will be enough?”

“Oh my God, Shea!” I gasped and then laughed again. “If that’s not enough, then you guys need to enter the sex Olympics.”

Shea just rolled her eyes, but then her face grew serious. “Is that a thing?”

Oh my God.

Shaking my head, I opened the door. “Come on. We’re late.”

I was going to need an energy drink if this fatigue kept up. I was seriously exhausted. The sheer act of walking was tiring, so when I saw there was no elevator, and remembered Lincoln was on the third floor, I groaned.

My legs were heavy sacks of Jell-O by the time we made it up there. Before we even got to the door, it flew open.

“A celestial Orb!” Lincoln shouted at me.

I guess privacy isn’t something I’m going to be allowed in this lifetime. “Who told you?” I demanded.

He raised one eyebrow as Shea slipped past him and went inside.

“Why didn’t you tell me is the bigger question here.” His words were laced with hurt.

I rolled my eyes. “I was going to once we walked inside. You beat me to it. I’ve been passed out for the past three hours trying to regain my energy.”

His tough guy routine immediately fell. “What do you mean? Are you hurt?”

“Nah, just tired as all hell.” I waved him off. “That… thing zapped all my energy.”

Lincoln reached out and stroked the pendant at my neck.

“So… who told you?” I asked again.

Lincoln sighed. “Raphael said he needed to go break down a Celestial orb on campus. Since Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel were out of town, I asked him who made it. Then I asked to see it. Holy Crap, Brielle. You…” He grinned. “You made a freaking Celestial orb.”

My lips curved into a smile too. I couldn’t help it; his dimples made the happiness come out of me. “I know. It was awesome, and scary, and pretty much awesome.”

Lincoln’s fingers reached out, stroking my cheek. “But you’re tired?” he asked, concern filling his voice.

My hand waved in nonchalance. “Mr. Rincor said it’s normal after releasing so much light.”

His brow furrowed, but then he nodded. “Come on. I have a little surprise for you.”

A surprise? I had a love-hate relationship with surprises. On one hand, I loved them and the spontaneity of it all, while on the other hand, my inner control freak wanted to know everything.

Lincoln stepped into the apartment and waved me in. As I gingerly crossed the threshold, I noticed that Chloe and her brother Donnie were there, which Luke was totally freaking out about, I was sure. The Beast Shifter was lingering in the corner of the dining room, staring at Donnie wistfully.

Everyone was standing around Noah and Darren, who were sitting at the dining table gesturing to something.

The apartment was nice from what I’d seen so far. Blandly furnished with tans and grays, but clean and updated. Lincoln’s hand wrapped around mine, as he led me over to the table.

“Where’s Blake?” I asked, noticing one member was missing from the usual foursome. Just then, he emerged from the bathroom.

“The gang’s all here!” Lincoln declared, clapping Blake on the back. “Let’s get started.”

I frowned. “I thought this was a house warming party. What’s going on?” Lincoln was most definitely acting shady.

The crowd parted, and I finally saw what was on the table—a bunch of maps and papers.

My boyfriend gestured to the crowd. “We can’t imagine what’s it’s like to be without your infinity weapon, so we’ve gathered tonight to make a plan to help you get Sera back.”

Hope burst inside my chest as my throat tightened. “For real? You think we can get her back?”

Donnie stepped forward. “I spoke to a friend, another Nightblood, who once lost his infinity weapon in a portal. He’s a commander in the Fallen Army now.”

My heart was jackknifing in my chest. “Okay.”

Donnie gave me a handsome grin, and I swear Luke melted into a puddle in the corner.

“So, what he did was to go back to the same spot he lost it in, and open a new portal. Then he had a Light Mage amplify his connection with the weapon, and use a powerful retrieving spell to get it back for him.”

“Oh my God! Can we do that?” I asked Lincoln. If he said no, I was doing it anyway. I needed Sera back no matter what.

He gave a hesitant nod. “We can, but there’s more to it.”

“While they were retrieving the weapon, a few demons got through and… someone died,” Donnie continued, ending on a barely audible whisper.

A dark storm cloud floated over my rainbows of bliss.

“Oh.”

Lincoln’s fingers threaded through mine. “You lost Sera in Inferno, so it’s not exactly the best location, but we’re going to make a plan and give it a try.”

I nodded, knowing that was all I could really hope for.

“Because we all know you can’t pass Fight Night without her,” Noah teased.

I pinned my healing teacher with a glare. “Says the guy who spends forty-five minutes on his hair every morning.”

The group erupted into a collective “Ohhh.” The shit-talking had commenced.

“Open some beers. It’s going to be a long night.” Lincoln instructed.

We settled into the plan. Of course, Shea was going to be my Light Mage helper, since she was a master at opening and closing portals now. She’d been working with Mr. Claymore in her free time, and was fully confident she could do this for me.

“I’m working an op tomorrow night in Inferno. I could get you guys clearance as a watch team,” Blake offered us.

“A watch team?” I inquired.

“Second years can go into the war zones when it’s not their assigned night, and do a watch night. They basically shadow a mission,” he explained.

My heart beat faster. “Yes, let’s do that.”

Lincoln whistled. “We’re going to pull this together in one night?”

Shea slammed her fist onto the table. “Hell yeah, we are!” she blurted out, a mild slur in her voice.

Lincoln raised one eyebrow at Noah. “Let’s cut Shea off, okay?”

She’d had like two beers. Lightweight.

Noah chuckled, rubbing the top of Shea’s head and messing up her curly hair. “I’ll make her my famous waffles while you guys plan our team. We’re going to need at least half a dozen soldiers, preferably more in case something scary comes through the portal.”

Shea shot Noah a death glare, and I knew it was because he’d messed up her hair. You never touched a woman’s curls. I knew from living with Shea the past six years, that there was no way back from a perfect curl turning to floofy frizz. You had to rewet it to get that tight tendril look again, and Shea was not one to spend that much time on it twice in one day.

Shea smoothed her locks as best she could and motioned to Donnie. “Can you make it tomorrow?”

“Absolutely,” he answered with a nod. “I can bring three of my buddies.”

Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, Shea started to make a list. From the sight of her handwriting, she was definitely tipsy.

Donnie turned to my gay bestie then. “Luke, you game for tomorrow night? Could really use a big strong shifter.”

Luke’s mouth hung open a little, beer clutched tightly in his hand. He wasn’t saying anything. Wow, I think the words ‘big strong shifter’ coming from Donnie’s lips froze his brain.

“He’s game. Totally,” Chloe interjected for Luke, which seemed to snap him out of his love trance.

“Totally.” Luke’s voice cracked a little, and Donnie smiled wider.

Oh my God, they’re so cute. It was obvious to everyone that Luke was crushing on Donnie, and Donnie didn’t seem to mind one bit. Interesting.

“Cool. Noah and I can work on finding a few more, but I think we’ve got a solid team. There’s no way we can let a seraph blade go that easily,” Lincoln stated next to me.

It had been three weeks. Twenty-something days without her. She was just lying there alone, or already in the hands of someone new. What if I didn’t find her?

Fatigue slammed into me then. It was nighttime now, and my three-hour nap had done nothing to help me recover from my magical antics.

“I’m exhausted.” I swayed on my feet.

Lincoln’s brow knit with concern. “Noah, can you scan her?” Grasping each of my shoulders, he started to nudge me toward the bedroom. “Sleep over. You need rest,” he whispered.

Shea and I had come together, but apparently she was going to be sleeping at Noah’s, who was only a few apartments away, so I figured it would be all right. All my brain could focus on at that point was the idea of sleep, regardless of where it happened.

I let him lead me into the bedroom, and gave a lopsided smile at the familiar denim bedding from his trailer.

   
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