Home > Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(6)

Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(6)
Author: Leia Stone

Awkwardly, I banged around my shower and got myself as clean as possible given the circumstances. After shrugging into skinny black cargos and tying my long blonde hair into a top knot, I stared at my T-shirt options. Nothing was going over my head, so I was going to have to step into it and bring it up. My bra was easy to fasten, but stepping into a tight gray tank top was proving difficult. I had finally pulled the straps up when my mom knocked again.

“He said he doesn’t have time to train a princess and he’s leaving,” she told me through the door.

That motherfricker. I pulled open the door, to see my mom waiting with a to-go coffee cup and bagel in hand. I grabbed the breakfast, wished her a goodbye and slipped into my boots, quickly zipping them up.

He wakes me up at 5:00 am, makes me rush through my first shower with these gigantic wings and now I’m running!

I hated running. He was going to get an earful. I burst through the door just in time to see a brand new, white SUV driving away.

He wouldn’t dare!

“Morning, Brielle,” Bernie’s sweet voice came from inside his tent.

Shit! I’d forgotten to bring him dinner last night. I chucked the bagel into the tent. “Morning. Sorry but I’m late. We’ll catch up later!” I shouted and took off, pushing into a full sprint.

Leaping into the road, I did the first thing I could think of—I chucked my coffee cup, and watched in delight as it crashed into the back window of Lincoln’s SUV, the brake lights glowing an angry red. I then walked calmly to the passenger door and jerked it open, coming face-to-face with the Celestial.

Lincoln was annoyingly gorgeous. Even now, as he glared at me with those piercing blue eyes and pursed lips, I couldn’t deny that he was extremely attractive. That didn’t stop me from giving him a piece of my mind.

“Listen, buddy, I had the worst night of my life yesterday, I’m still recovering from a Cloud Nine Donuts hangover, and I just wasted a perfectly good cup of coffee, so you need to chill out.”

The corner of his lips twitched but he remained stoic. “You listen, princess. Every minute I stay in Demon City feels like a thousand knives are tearing into my back, so get in the car or go home.”

Asshole. I reeled back in shock. Now that he mentioned it, he did look like he was in pain. I thought it was just anger at me. I guess they don’t go up in flames, they just feel like crap.

“I can’t fit in there with my wings,” I told him, crossing my arms and staring at the tiny hole he expected me to crawl into.

He rolled his eyes and leaned forward, reaching out to me. I flinched and his face softened. “I need to touch them.”

Oh. I leaned into the car and his right hand tenderly stroked the top of my left wing, sending chills down my arms. With a quick, sharp pain at my back, they were gone. Just like that.

“Now, get in,” he ordered.

And we’re back to Captain Asshole.

I climbed into the car and fastened my seat belt. “You owe me coffee.”

He just gave me a side glance, but didn’t say a word.

The car was brand new, literally still had the sticker on the side of the window. “Nice ride,” I admired.

“I’m glad you like it, because I can’t come pick you up every day. Being in this cesspool is too painful. The car is yours to use during the course of your studies. Compliments of Fallen Academy,” he told me nonchalantly.

My mouth popped open. “Say what?” The course of my training was four years.

“So technically you just threw coffee at your own car.” He smiled smugly as he turned onto the 105, which would take us into Angel City.

Jerk. He was just like the rest of them, always judging. Judging my mom for taking the slave mark, judging me for crossing over the line yesterday. I crossed my arms and decided to ignore him the rest of the way.

Ignoring my stomach growling and the lack of coffee in my system proved harder than anything.

As Angel City came into view, I found myself pondering why he’d been sent to retrieve me anyway. Was he going to be my new trainer? He was a baby. I was sure there were other Celestials who were more qualified to train me than someone with four years of experience.

“Why exactly are you my trainer?” I asked, as the car slowed at the border crossing. One look at Lincoln and the guard waved us through. The second our car crossed over, I saw some of the agitation leave Lincoln’s face, but not much.

He gave me a side glance. “I’m the only one who offered.”

I scowled. “Bullshit.”

He chuckled. “You think everyone was jumping at the chance to train a dark Celestial?”

My skin prickled at those words. “Is that what they’re calling me?”

He shrugged. “And worse.”

I stared out the window, an instant depression settling over me. My body felt heavy, numb. “What’s worse than a dark Celestial?” Dark meant evil. Basically they thought I was a flying demon.

Lincoln hesitated, as if he wanted to protect me from hearing the worst.

“Oh please. Don’t suddenly become a nice guy,” I told him, and he bristled.

“Fine. I overheard some at Fallen Academy saying you could be some kind of archdemon.”

My legs turned to Jell-O with fear. “Archdemon? What’s that?”

He took the next freeway exit and my old neighborhood came into view. The happy flower plants that hung over the balconies reminded me of better times.

Fallen Academy was in the beautiful city of Santa Monica, minutes from the beach. It used to be a Catholic school that they built onto across from a beautiful park. As a kid, I dreamed of going there one day.

I guess I got my wish.

“I don’t know,” Lincoln said honestly, “but they’re hoping they’re wrong, or that they can at least train you to be good.”

Of all the things that’d been said, that one stung. “I’m not bad! Just because of my mother’s choice, I’m suddenly the harbinger of evil?”

Lincoln ignored me and turned down a side road that led to the gates of Fallen Academy. The entire school grounds were enclosed by fifteen-foot-high stone walls.

I wasn’t letting him get off that easily.

“I’m not a bad person. My mom isn’t a bad person. We just work for bad people.” Right? My moral lines had blurred since I’d moved into Demon City to save my father’s life.

Lincoln pulled up to the guard gate, and once again they let him through after one look at him. As the gates opened, I sucked in a breath at the sight. I’d never been inside, only seen pictures. The well-manicured grounds and stone buildings had that regal old-world feel. It was breathtaking.

Turning to face me, Lincoln peered into my eyes. “You were given a choice, and you chose to take the mark. To work for everything that’s bad in this world.”

So yesterday was a choice? If I hadn’t crossed that line, Raphael would’ve somehow annulled my demon contract? My mother would’ve been slaughtered.

My mouth opened, aghast. “Weren’t you there? They were going to kill my mother!”

He shrugged, pulling up to the curb in front of the main office. “War has casualties.”

Then he opened the car door and jumped out, slamming it in my face.

Supreme asshole of the year!

I stared at my bagel-less and coffee-less hands as rage boiled within me. I wouldn’t last four years with this guy. I wouldn’t last another hour. I gave myself five minutes alone in the car, practicing the calm breathing techniques my little brother had taught me. When I was ready, I exited the vehicle, and went into the door that Lincoln had gone through.

The second I opened it, a blinding white light filled the space, and I found myself struggling to cover my eyes. Hushed voices cut off the moment I walked in, and the light dimmed to a more manageable level. When my eyes focused on what was before me, I nearly fell to my knees in awe.

“Oh. I thought I was just picking up my schedule,” I explained nervously. Lincoln let me keep four archangels waiting. I would kill him.

“That’s okay, Brielle. Please come join us,” Raphael offered, waving me over to where they stood in a large office.

I surveyed the angels before me. I knew the one with the sword was Michael, but I didn’t recognize the other two. Either way, I was scared shitless. Were they going to hurt me? Expunge the evil out of me?

“No one is going to hurt you, dear,” an angel who stood over seven feet tall with long blond hair stated.

Oh my God. Mind readers. I was so screwed.

I cleared my throat and stepped into the expansive office. Michael was leaning against a bookcase, watching me keenly, his sword hung from his waist.

Lincoln was standing in the corner, arms crossed and scowling at me. “Raph isn’t sure which one of them has endowed you with their gifts, so there will need to be a little ceremony before you can get your tattoo of light,” he explained from where he rested.

Ceremony? Tattoo? I realized then that I knew nothing about this life. These people. I’d been surrounded by demons for the entirety of my teen years, and the Celestials were too rare for me to know anything but rumor. I must’ve looked panicked, because the archangel with the long blond hair stepped closer to me. His wings were massive and hard to look at for too long.

“I’m Gabriel.” He gestured to a dark brown-haired angel, standing in front of the fireplace. “That’s Uriel. You’ve met Raphael, and I’m sure you know Michael since he’s the famous one.” He grinned.

“Jealous of the stories, my brother?” Michael joked, beaming.

Oh. My. God. They were so… normal.

“Hey… I’m Brielle.” I waved nervously. Why is Lincoln still scowling at me? Can’t he just leave?

Raphael stood from his seat behind the desk. “I’ve taken the responsibility of teaching the angel blessed, and standing as guardian over this school, but Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel do not often visit unless it’s a special circumstance. They’re needed elsewhere, tending to the war.”

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