Home > Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(8)

Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(8)
Author: Leia Stone

I was still standing there in shock when Michael approached me. “It’s been an honor meeting you, Brielle. Now I must go and… tend to some things.”

“Oh. Right. You too,” I answered nervously.

“Peace be with you, child.” Uriel offered with prayer-clasped hands, then exited after Michael.

“May we meet again.” Gabriel’s feathery voice came from behind me, and then he too was gone.

I wasn’t sure what to say in return, so I just stood there covering my arms. My stomach was eating itself after giving Bernie my breakfast and chucking my coffee at Lincoln.

“Is our escort assembled?” Raphael asked Lincoln.

He nodded. “And Marleen is waiting.”

“Brielle, dear, would you like something to eat for the road?” Raphael asked from behind me.

I spun around, no longer able to hold it in. “You totally read minds, don’t you?”

His cheeks reddened. “You’re a very loud thinker.”

Lincoln was giving me a smug grin. Ugh.

“I’d love some breakfast. Thank you,” I grumbled, because I wasn’t sure what to say about the ‘loud thinker’ thing.

Raphael nodded and disappeared into a hallway at the back of the office. When he emerged, he was holding a muffin and coffee. “Cream with two sugars?” he asked.

My eyes bugged out. “How did you? You know what, never mind.”

I snatched the coffee and chugged it just as a loud knock came at the door. Lincoln stepped forward and opened it, letting three insanely hot Celestial guys in. My eyes immediately fell on the one to the left, his wings glowing a pearly white that gave his dark chocolate skin a luminescent glow. He seemed to notice my attention on him and gave me a wink.

Oh. My. God.

“Brielle, these four fine gentlemen will be your Celestial master guides during your studies at Fallen Academy,” Raphael instructed.

My master what?

“I’m Darren,” the one who’d caught me looking offered. “I’ll be your Uriel master guide.” He stuck out his hand.

I shook it. “Brielle.”

The next guy stepped forward, super tall with bright blond hair and blue eyes. He looked like a Norse god with tight muscles that wrapped around his arms as he extended his hand. “I’m Blake. I’m your Gabriel master guide.”

I shook his soft hand and just nodded stupidly. Shea would shit herself if she saw this many hot guys in one room.

The final guy stepped forward. He looked about twenty, with dark brown hair and arresting green eyes. “Hello, beautiful. I’m Noah, your Raphael master guide.” He winked.

My eyes flicked to Lincoln and then back to Raphael. “Can’t Lincoln teach me to control my Michael and Raphael powers?” Not that I wanted him to, but….

Noah burst out laughing. “Not if you want to actually learn anything. Trust me, darling, I’m better with the healing stuff. Lincoln doesn’t exactly have a tender heart.”

Lincoln groaned, giving Noah a death glare.

“Yeah, I noticed that,” I agreed, crossing my arms.

There was a chuckle behind me as Raphael stepped forward with a tray full of the blood goblets. “Still working on that humility, are you, son?” he called out Noah.

He shrugged. “Just educating her, sir.”

“Yes, well she’s only allowed to be here until noon, so we must hurry. I’d hate to imagine what it would be like to send her back to Demon City with half-finished tattoos of light.”

Noah shivered as if that would be an awful thing. At that point I had resigned myself to shock. I’d known being a black-winged Celestial wasn’t going to be an easy life, but I never imagined my first day at the academy would involve getting tatted up.

Darren eyed the four goblets and then me. “Four. That’s so dope.”

Raphael frowned. “And remind me again, dope isn’t about drugs?”

Darren laughed, showcasing a handsome set of straight white teeth. “Not in this context, sir.”

“Right. Let’s go.” Raphael flung his hand out, the set of double doors in front of us springing open. I stumbled backward and my wings slammed into Lincoln.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

They started to walk outside when Lincoln reached out and tugged on my arm. “Let’s put these away for this little trip, shall we?” He said over my shoulder, right into my right ear, his warm breath cascaded down my neck, giving me chills. His fingers trailed the length of my left wing, stroking from the top to midway down. With a shiver they retracted, and then he walked in front of me.

“Come on, keep up. This is a dangerous mission,” he snapped.

Once I could gather my wits from that little wing massage episode, I ran after him.

“Why is it dangerous?” I asked, stepping out into the open atrium to see no less than twenty armed Fallen Army guards taking orders from Raphael.

Lincoln turned to face me. “One goblet of archangel blood will fetch a fortune on the black market. Four? It’s extremely valuable.”

Oh. “Why?” I hated asking him questions, because each one gave him the opportunity to be a dick, but I was a curious soul, and I needed to know.

He squinted as he glared at me. “Your demon friends buy them to sell to the Black Mages for dark magic. Don’t act like you didn’t know that.”

Anger ripped through me, and my wings popped from my back as I stepped into his space. “I don’t have demon friends, you prick, and I didn’t know. You don’t know anything about me, so how about from now on, you don’t assume, and only speak to me when absolutely necessary.”

I blasted past him, knocking into him with one of my wings, and went to stand next to Raphael. He seemed like the only sane one in the bunch.

I suddenly regretted letting my wings out, because now the guards were staring at me like I was the angel of death, fascination mixed with fear in each and every one of their gazes. Considering one of the guards was a Centaur, half his body a white horse, I shouldn’t have been the freak in the group.

Raphael smiled as I approached, seemingly oblivious to the effect my wings were having on everyone.

“This is Brielle, your charge,” he told the guards. Each one nodded slightly when I made eye contact with them.

Raphael then turned to Lincoln. “Protect her well and report back to me when it’s done.”

My eyes widened. “You’re not coming?”

He smiled softly. “If I went, it would be like painting a target on your back. It’s best if Lincoln and the others take care of you from now on.”

I swallowed hard. I felt so safe around him—probably because he was a freaking archangel, but still. I didn’t want to go anywhere with Lincoln. He was an asshole, who hated me, and treated me like a demon-loving piece of shit.

Raphael’s mouth turned into a frown. “Be patient with those who appear to be against you,” he whispered in my ear, patting my shoulder. “Not all is as it seems.” Pulling back, he gave me a fatherly look, and a feeling of warmth and peace trickled down my arm. My wings drew into my back again.

I sighed. This is going to be a long day.

“All right, let’s move out. This is a time-sensitive mission,” Lincoln barked.

With a flurry of activity, I was hauled into a row of four blacked-out SUVs. Darren sat on my left, Noah on my right while Lincoln drove and Blake sat shotgun.

“Dude, where is Marleen going to put four tats?” Darren asked Lincoln, leaning forward as he made a hard right turn onto 7th Avenue.

Lincoln’s eyes flicked to the rearview mirror at me for a split second. “I dunno. She’ll figure it out.”

Blake was balancing the tray of blood-filled goblets on his lap, each one having been fitted with a lid to keep the contents from spilling.

“Is this a bad time to mention that I’m scared of needles?” I announced.

Noah was the first to laugh, but soon everyone joined in, minus Lincoln. “Don’t worry, I’ll be there to take your pain, darlin.” Noah winked at me. Mr. Winky wink, was a wink-happy dude it seemed.

Lincoln groaned from the front seat. “Noah, are you capable of not hitting on a female? I mean, is that within your realm of skillsets?”

Darren and Blake snickered, but Noah just shrugged. “Sure. I don’t hit on Mrs. Topeka.”

Lincoln took a hard right turn and then I was totally lost. I didn’t know the area, but it was looking seedier and seedier the more we drove.

“She’s the seventy-year-old librarian!” Lincoln countered.

That time I smiled. I was gathering from their banter that the boys were all close friends.

“Besides, Brielle is too stubborn to accept your help,” Lincoln continued.

I’d always wondered if I was capable of murder, one of those weird thoughts that sometimes cross your mind. Now I was quite sure I was capable of killing Lincoln. I had actually been starting to loosen up and not think about the impending angel blood tattoos when he went and ruined it.

“Oh, Noah, I’d love a healing from you. It’s Lincoln who makes me shiver just to think of him touching me,” I snapped back.

“Ohhhhh.” The car burst into frat boy noises of shame at my smug glare. When Lincoln’s murderous eyes flicked up to the rearview mirror, I kept mine forward.

Take that, you venomous, judging bastard.

He took another hard right, the SUVs behind us following, and then pulled up to a shoddy-looking tattoo shop with literally no one on the street. It looked like a vacated and half-condemned street block.

“Where are we?” I asked, mystified.

“This street is spelled to look like a shithole, so no one will come down it. We call it Angel Avenue. It’s where we do all of our magical shopping.” Noah winked.

The boy was an expert winker. I was venturing to guess he did well with the ladies.

Lincoln scanned the street. The other three SUVs had parked, Fallen Army officers spilling out of them. My eyes roamed over their weapons, guns, swords, bows and arrows. They were varied, and totally badass.

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