Authors: Heaven Liegh Eldeen
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The Human Side
Copyright © 2012 by Heaven Liegh Eldeen
Cover art by LFD Designs
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
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Also by Heaven Liegh Eldeen
The Demon Side
The Human Side
Book 2 of The Demon Side Series
Heaven Liegh Eldeen
This book is dedicated to my niece, Evelynn Yvette Eldeen. A girl who encompasses the spirit, strength, fortitude, and fight you would expect from an Angel.
I’m so glad you made it, baby girl
I would like to thank my husband and son, first and foremost, for all of their love, help, and support with my writing. You guys have endured a lot, and I appreciate it more than you can ever imagine. To my family: What can I say I haven’t said a million times? Well, let’s make it a million and one. I love you, and without your support, I would have not been able to write this book.
To Cherlyn Ortiz, you have been an absolute godsend. I couldn’t ask for a better friend, fan, and example of the person I would like to be someday. Thank you for everything. I love you, sweets!
I’d also like to thank my fellow authors and newfound family—Benjamin Russell, Katie Harper, Finless Davee Jones, Lisa Worrall, and all of my wonderful friends in my writer’s group on Facebook. I don’t know what I would do without you guys! To an incredible friend, cover and fitness model, Bobby Momenteller, thank you for letting me use your pictures for the cover and my blog. And I can’t forget to thank the amazing, beautiful, and talented Mrs. Elicia Stoll. Honey, if not for you, I would be lost in the world of punctuation and grammar without a map.
Now that I’ve thanked everyone I know, I would also like to thank you, the reader, and my fans for all of your encouragement, support, kind words, and friendship.
I’d been unable to resist, even though I’d been warned time and time again to leave Etta alone. My curiosity always got the best of me, but also my fear for her. It had been over a year since I went from being a Fallen to saving Etta from Hell and getting my wings back, but I still worried another attack on her would come. At least that’s the excuse I’d tell myself when I would sneak away to watch her sleep, and that’s what I told myself tonight.
It had been too long since my last midnight visit to Etta’s room. Etta graduated from high school and went off to the hustle and bustle of Duke University. I only made one attempt to visit her there, but the hallways of her dormitory were crowded with drunken students. The risk of word getting back to Father that I had been sighted near her seemed far too great. So I would pop in on her father, John, from time to time to find out when Etta’s next visit to Quantico would be.
During one of my eavesdropping sessions, I overheard the greatest news I ever imagined possible. Of course I’m being selfish. Unable to concentrate, failing class after class, Etta no longer wished to attend college. After three long grueling months, Etta and her friend Amy rented a house in Quantico Town and enrolled in the local community college, making it much easier for me to visit her more often. On occasion for reasons unknown, she’d go to John’s house just down the street to sleep in the room we once shared. That is where I found her tonight.
Her long wavy brown hair, resembling tendrils of silk, spread out across her white cotton pillow. Her olive skin glowed in the creeping dawn’s light. The shadows of the falling snow outside the window danced on her exposed belly. Her lips glistened as small droplets of saliva ran down her cheek, pooling onto her pillow.
As she softly exhaled, my body craved to lie beside her, if only for a second, so once more I might feel her sweet, steady breath against my skin. I hoped one day my secret prayers would be answered.
Leaning forward in her uncomfortable white wicker chair next to the bed, I watched her sleep. Though Etta no longer wakes up screaming, every toss, every turn, and every little moan sent my imagination into overdrive. I know the veil closed behind me when I left, but I wondered if she ever dreamt about me.
Did the CD and feather I left her ever bring up a hidden memory of our time together
If so, does she see me as I am now, or does she only see the demon I once was? Has her heart forgotten the love she professed for me? Does the heart ever truly forget
I was so deep in my thoughts, Etta’s alarm startled me when it went off. Swiftly putting the chair back at her desk, I snagged my wing against the wall, chipping the sheetrock. Etta stirred as our song, “Taking Care of Business,” blasted on her clock radio, flooding me with the memory of us dancing and lip-synching in her bedroom. The way her hips moved as she sang into her hairbrush made my heart sputter like a car running out of gas, except the memory fueled me.
The sound of her yawn snapped me back into the present. With Etta waking, I had no time to fix the wall. Bolting out the window, I took off toward home.
Another close call
. I was getting sloppy. I wasn’t surprised to find Michael waiting in my room when I arrived home.
“Where have you been? No. Don’t say a word; I know where you’ve been. You can’t keep sneaking off. Rahovart, you have got to stop and let her get on with life.”
“I had a bad feeling so I thought I would check it out.” I wasn’t lying.
Arches don’t have the ability to lie per say, but the truth isn’t as black and white as one would think. We can only say how we saw it, and I’d done a good job convincing myself I was checking on her safety. At least well enough to use the excuse when questioned about my visits.
“That’s why she has Guardians. Let them do their job, Rahovart. We need to go. Father has called us to the war room, and we’ve been waiting for you.”
“How long has he been waiting?”
I know Father is all-knowing, but I had hoped at this time of year he might not notice my absence. November and December were always our busiest months as we prepped for our celebrations, but the celebrations on Earth always seemed to draw out Demons in full force. With the big day fast approaching, our meetings in the war room were becoming regular. All the more reason I should have stayed home tonight.
“Long enough that Father is not happy and growing very impatient,” Michael answered as we both tried walking out of my door at the same time. With a playful nudge, Michael attempted to push me out of the doorway.
“Oh, you think so?” I laughed as I prodded him with my elbow, harder than he nudged me.
“Hey, who’s the boss here?” Michael said, with a sly smile as he slid out of the door.
I didn’t mind that at every chance he mentioned he was now in charge of the eight Arches. I lost my position as leader when I fell and found myself on the bottom rung of the rank ladder.
On the other hand, I became content with fewer responsibilities. It seemed when I had even the slightest power, I messed up, and with my aspiration of waiting for Etta, I couldn’t risk falling again. Plus it afforded me more time to confirm her safety should one of my “bad” feelings arise.
I trotted up to Michael, smacking him on the back of the head. “You may be in charge, Brother, but that doesn’t mean you can take me.”
We made the journey to the war room chasing after each other on the crowded golden streets, slap-boxing like two testosterone-filled teenage boys. I finally got Michael in a headlock when Gabriel walked out of the large arched doorway of the war room.
“You guys better hurry up and get in here. He’s going to start without you.” Gabriel folded his arms across his chest and gave us the look a mother would give her naughty children.
Releasing Michael from my perfectly executed headlock, I followed him into the large, round, white room and took my seat at the end of the long white desk. I once sat on the other side of this desk for my Tribunal. The thought of my former state made me shudder in disgust. I had come so close to being damned to Purgatory that day.
“So glad you finally joined us, Rahovart.” I snapped out of my head when Father showed up in his Angelic form. I flushed with embarrassment as he glanced at me, a hint of frustration in his expression.
“Now that everyone is here, I want to discuss with you all your duties for today. We have some Catholic priests in Miami, Florida, in need of some reminders of the commandments. Michael and Gabriel, I’m sure you can show them the errors of their ways. Raguel and Ramiel, I need you two in Portage, Michigan, to help an atheist single mother with her drug sickness. Uriel and Saraqael, you’re needed in Rothenberg, Germany, to help a Lutheran suicidal homeless man, and Raphael, I need you in Niles, Ohio, to help a homesick Mormon missionary.”
These weren’t our usual tasks, but this time of year all ten choirs of Angels were used for more than just their normal duties. We’d all been pulling double duty for two weeks, helping people find and keep their various faiths.
As everyone left for their assignments, I remained, curious why I had not been given one. The room was now silent. Father appeared deep in thought as he walked around the blinding white room with his hands behind his back and his eyes on the floor.
“Rahovart, my son, do you believe I made a mistake?” Father asked, breaking the silence of the room. The question threw me.
Father…make a mistake
What is he getting at
Is he doubting his forgiveness of me
? Fear of what he might say next swept over me.
“No, Father.” My voice quavered, revealing the uneasiness he stirred up within me.
“Sometimes I wonder if when I created you, I gave you too big of a heart.” He stated more to himself than he did me.
“I’ve tried to be understanding and patient with you, my son. I even looked the other way when you left Etta tokens of your affection, but your constant disobedience and sneaking around is wearing thin. I’m not sure how to get my point across to you. I’ve thought about demoting you, but I do not believe that would be severe enough to do any good.”
My heart stopped.
? Since I’d been back, I’d been desperately trying to prove myself worthy of my place and his forgiveness.
Was it all for nothing
Would He strip my wings from me
If I fell again, my soul wouldn’t survive long. I pissed off quite a few Demons in Hell, including Lucifer himself, when I turned sides to rescue Etta from Alastor.
What about Etta
? If he damned me now, I’d never have the chance to see her again, let alone have her fall in love with me again. I felt as though invisible hands clasped around my neck, squeezing the air out of my lungs. Bile rose in my throat and black dots flickered before my eyes.
“Calm down, my son,” Father said, as if sensing my panic. He placed a hand on my shoulder and the sick feeling lifted, the cool air returning to its rightful place in my lungs.
“I have two solutions, but the decision of which to accept is up to you. There is plenty of time to think about these choices, but remember, whatever you choose, you will be bound to it.”
“What are the choices, Father?”
“Your first is an exchange. Swear never to interfere with Etta’s life again, and all you have lost will be restored, including rank and principalities. If and when she returns to Heaven, her memories will be restored. Break the promise at any time for any reason, your soul shall be sent to Purgatory and Etta’s Guardians will be removed from her detail.”