Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 3

“I’m sorry … I thought you … really? Never?”

“Never.”

“Well, I’m glad I was your first …” he said mockingly.

Eli had said that exact statement before he left. He’d said he was proud of me and I told him no one had ever said that to me before. Hunter had eavesdropped in on the conversation, giving me shit about it a few minutes later and again now.

I couldn’t help but laugh. It was one of those jokes that aren’t actually funny, but when you say it at the right time, it suddenly becomes funny.

“Ruby.”

Eli’s voice hit me and I lifted my head toward him like a hypnotized cobra. Of course he looked amazing; he had the ‘just-got-out-of-the-shower’ clean skin and crisp scent, styled messy hair, and the sky blue shirt he wore made his skin look deliciously tan and his deep green eyes stand out.

“How’s your ankle?” he asked.

Oh, don’t get me started on his voice … deep and husky, yet smooth like velvet.

“A lot better this morning … thank you.”

He nodded and continued walking towards the other guardians, who greeted him with handshakes and hugs. My eyes fell onto the wooden table.

“Is everything okay?” Mila mumbled to me.

“Everything is fine,” I replied. “It’s just weird seeing him again after the whole Tay thing.”

It wasn’t a total lie; it was weird seeing him again. Not only because I was the reason that he’d murdered his friend and fellow guardian angel, or because I was the reason he was stuck with the higher power for three months, but also because I was head over heels in love with him. I had never admitted that to myself before now. I love Eli De Luca.

“I actually ran into him after leaving your dorm last night,” Hunter said.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he, uh, was quite angry with me.”

“What happened? What did he say?” Mila pried.

“The usual … don’t go into the girl’s dorms, blah, blah, blah.”

There was no doubt that Eli would have been pissed off at Hunter. I spared Hunter a thank you glance for keeping the whole alcohol thing to himself. It’s not that I didn’t trust Mila, I do, but I couldn’t risk Raina finding out anything else. Raina had been very quiet lately. I got no snarky comments or smirks when I walked by her, in fact, her beady blue eyes don’t even make contact with mine. When Raina is attacking me, I’m a lot more stress free. She attacks me with insults like vamp girl or whore because she has nothing else on me. It’s the silence that makes me nervous … I know she’s planning something, something big.

“Ruby and I were going to have breakfast together … alone. I have a few things I want to talk to her about, so …”

That was Mila’s way of telling them leave.

“Say no more,” Gabriel began. “We have training to get to, anyway.”

“See you tonight.” Hunter winked.

“He’s such a gentleman.” Mila sighed, watching Gabriel’s back as he and Hunter walked away.

“He’s also a guardian angel,” I reminded her.

“I know. We’re just friends …”

“Somehow I don’t believe that.”

“Anyway …” she continued, changing the subject. “I heard you went to the dance with Hunter last night?”

“It’s a long story. I wasn’t intending on going with him, but he showed up and we walked together. Rylan showed up, then he got mad, and then Eli came back and I ended up rolling my ankle …” I sighed. “It was one big mess.”

“Wow. You do have the most interesting life.”

“Interesting? Hardly … It’s more complicated, if anything.” If only she knew. “And now I’m going to dinner with Hunter tonight,” I added.

“How exciting! Do you think you guys will be boyfriend-girlfriend?”

I cringed at the sound of it. It was so childish. “No. I agreed to it last night, under the influence of alcohol and guilt.”

“I don’t know why you aren’t interested in anyone at SS … There are plenty of gods to choose from.”

I shrugged. The sad reality is I don’t want a god, I want an angel.

“I’m just not interested right now. I’m still getting over things. I need more time.”

“Well, when you decide to date … keep me in the loop!” She giggled.

We finished breakfast and exited the hall. Today was Saturday and we had nothing to do. On weekends we can choose from a variety of activities from sports like soccer, cricket, touch football, and so on, or quieter recreational hobbies such as art, knitting, or necklace making. I liked to spend my Saturdays with Mila in the library or by the pond; there Mila would try to teach me how to conjure water balls. No luck so far.

Originally, Hunter and I had planned to meet up and he was going teach me how to use my magic, but after the whole Hank thing, I didn’t want to risk being caught. After I told Mila about it, she decided she’d help me instead. She figured if we were caught, nothing too bad would happen because I was with her.

“To the library?”

“I suppose … there isn’t anything else to do.”

The library was empty. This made it harder to blend in and practice unnoticed. The smell of old and new dusty books filled my nose. It was a smell I usually love and inhaled willingly, but today it was a smell that repulsed me, forcing me to hold my breath. I paced quickly through the library and breathed in the fresh air as I stepped onto the balcony.

“Are you going to be sick?” Mila asked.

“No … at least, I don’t think so. The smell was too much.”

“Serves you right.” She chuckled. “They ran out of cups so I can’t get any water. We’re going to have to read instead.”

It was easier said than done. I tried hard to focus on the words but my mind wouldn’t let me. The writing sprawled out on the paper before me, spinning out of control, making my stomach even more upset.

“I can’t do this today. I need to rest.”

“You need fresh air; we’ll go to the oval and relax on the grass. It’s Saturday, I can’t imagine too much would be going on down there. Maybe a soccer game, but we can sit away from that.”

“I can’t imagine too much would be going on down there.” I mocked her as we came to a stop on the edge of the field. The oval was filled with topless gods and guardian angels fighting each other.

“Mila!” I groaned, when I realized she’d only suggested the oval so she could watch Gabriel train. “This is too far. He’s a guardian angel, you might want each other, but it can never happen. Don’t think about yourself, think about Gabriel. You might be able to get on with your life once the higher power interferes, but what about Gabriel? He’ll be banished to live among humans and he’ll have all his abilities and wings taken from him. Is that worth risking?”

I quieted my voice as I came to my own realization. Mila’s eyes fell onto the grass. I don’t know the exact time the relationship between Eli and I escalated to the point of him risking his life for me, killing for me, and lying for me, but it was my fault.

“I’m, uh, going to go back to the dorm. All this sun is giving me a headache,” Mila replied.

She forced a fake smile, turned her back to me, and began strolling in the direction of our dorm. I dropped onto the grass in defeat, my head on my knees. It was as hard for me to say as it was for her to hear.

Pieces of my dream kept floating into my head as the sun bore down on me.

“What’s up?”

I didn’t have to lift my head to know it was Hunter, but I did anyway out of courtesy.

“Just catching some sun and checking out what the school has to offer,” I said playfully and forcing a smile.

“Look no further, the best is standing right in front of you.”

Beads of sweat rolled down his bare chest and I laughed. At least I could count on Hunter’s upbeat attitude to pull me out of a slump.

“Hunter, training now. Girls later,” Aaron called.

Aaron was the guy who was in charge of training the gods, just like Eli was in charge of the guardians. Aaron was tall and built like a truck. I’ve never heard him speak, only shout orders. Perhaps he wouldn’t be as scary if he didn’t have a long thin scar running down the left side of his face from his eyebrow to his jaw line. Apparently it was caused by a vampire fang, but no one actually knows the real story. They’re too afraid to ask.

Hunter winked at me and jogged back to his training partner. I didn’t want to be here, Mila was the one who brought me, and yet I’m the only one sitting here looking like a pervert. I rose to my feet; I needed to talk to Mila. I didn’t want to play the one-sided card anymore. I was sick of treating her like she was the only one with wrong urges. I wouldn’t go into details, but she had to know how I feel about Eli.

I brushed the grass off my behind and started walking up the small slope and back into the main part of the school.

“Great,” I groaned under my breath as Eli and a few other guardian angels paced towards me.

“Ruby? You’re not supposed to be down here.”

“Mila —” I began, forcing my eyes from his tight black tank top to his eyes. I gave up; I didn’t have the energy to explain anything. “I know.”

“You seem to have a hard time following the rules,” a leggy, blonde female guardian angel beside Eli said.

“Unintentionally.”

“We’ll meet you on the field Eli.” They trotted off, leaving Eli and I standing opposite each other on the slope.

“Did you come to see Hunter?” Eli’s eyes burnt fiercely into mine.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Eli jealous before. He had no reason to be, he was the one I wanted.

“No, I didn’t know anyone was going to be on the field. I just came to relax …”

He rolled his eyes, of course he didn’t believe me. “It’s only natural for a girl to want to spend time with her —” He swallowed hard. “Boyfriend.”

Boyfriend? “What? Hunter isn’t my — Did he tell you I was his girlfriend?”

“Ruby, it’s okay. It’s good for you to date someone who is a god. Although I wish it was someone better for you than Hunter.”

“Hunter isn’t my boyfriend.”

“Just don’t put all your trust in him.”

Eli brushed passed me and left me staring into the space where he was standing only seconds before.

“Eli,” I called after him, my eyes meeting his face again. What do I say now? I want to tell him that even though he’s here in the school, I still miss him and that I want to feel his warm skin and breathe in his scent. “I’m glad you’re back even though it doesn’t seem like I do.” Close enough.

I forced myself to turn away from him. I began heading in the direction of the girls’ dorms, pushing myself to put one foot in front of the other. Eli’s words repeated in my mind, ‘Don’t put all your trust into him.’ Was there something I didn’t know? Was Eli jealous? Perhaps he meant in terms of a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Even I wasn’t stupid there, it was clear by Hunter’s ‘up-himself’ attitude that he has (for lack of a better term) ‘been around.’ Not that any of it really matters. Hunter and I weren’t dating. We were just friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend.

The dorm was quiet, which I expected. Mila was pretty upset by what I said to her. I didn’t want to hurt her. I didn’t want her to think her obvious infatuation with Gabriel was wrong, because it wasn’t.

“Mila?” I called, closing the door behind me.

The bathroom door opened slowly and a red-eyed Mila stepped out. “You’re right.”

I covered the distance between us and pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry …”

She pulled away from the hug and crossed over to her bed. “I should stop spending time with him.”

“Mila, I haven’t been totally honest with you. I keep giving you these speeches about how wrong it is to like someone who isn’t like us, but it isn’t wrong.”

“It’s more complicated than that. I love him, Ruby.” She sniffled.

“Oh.”

It was all I could manage to squeeze up my throat. I knew Mila was into Gabriel but I didn’t know the full extent of it.

“… and he loves me, too.”

I threw myself down on the bed.

“Shit … Mila.”

Her saddened puppy eyes glanced at me before hiding behind a piece of tissue again.

“Okay … you two need to keep things on the low until I can figure something out.”

“Ha! Please, we’re doomed to marry someone we don’t want to, a god. Don’t waste your time trying to fight the system. Many have tried and failed. At least you have Hunter, your problems are solved.” She sobbed, sitting next to me.

I scrunched my face at the sting of her words. My problems weren’t solved. They were magnified by tenfold.

“Eli.” Immediately I regretted the word the second it fell from my lips.

“Eli what?”

“I, he, we —”

“Oh my god.” She gasped. “You have feelings for Eli De Luca?”

“Stop.” I spoke in a hushed tone as I pushed the palm of my hand against her mouth.

“Does he know?” She giggled, slipping out from underneath my hand.

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