Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 5

“That was when you guys were bonded, when he was your guardian angel. That was his duty, what’s stopping him now?”

I knew what was stopping him; he cared about me. If he reported it, I would get in trouble for knowing and not reporting it. If anything happened to Gabriel, it would destroy Mila, and in turn, destroy me. No matter what he did, it would link back to me and I know he didn’t want that. I wanted to tell her all of this, but I couldn’t. The timing was too risky.

“… Nothing.”

The Best Laid Plans…

“You look fine.” Mila sighed whilst flicking through a Vogue magazine, not sparing a glance in my direction.

I was standing in front of the mirror analyzing my outfit. The short red dress I got from Camilla and Aunt Jen for my birthday looked fantastic against my finally tan skin. The heels I chose to wear were much smaller, only an inch or two off the ground. I didn’t want to roll my ankle again.

“Why are you getting so dressed up? I thought you didn’t care about dinner.”

“I do care.”

It was only dinner with Hunter, but I still wanted to look nice. It had been years since I’ve eaten at a restaurant and I wanted my return to be special.

“It’s just been a while since I’ve eaten at a restaurant.”

“Oh, I forgot.”

Hunter knocked gently.

“Are you ready?” he asked softly through the cheap wood of the door.

His voice was as sweet as honey, yet mixed with caution, as if he was expecting me to cancel. I opened the door, ready to exit, but stopped in shock and confusion. Eli and Hunter were standing in front of me. Eli (standing a meter behind Hunter) was dressed in his guardian all black army-like uniform, arms crossed, looking unbelievably sexy.

“They match your dress,” Hunter said as he handed me a bunch of deep red roses.

I took my eyes from Eli and placed them on Hunter.

“Thank you, they’re beautiful. Sorry. Um, what’s going on?”

“We need a guardian escort to town and the school provided us with your lovely ex-guardian angel,” Hunter explained, gesturing towards Eli.

Hunter’s voice was polite and friendly but his face expressed the same awkward expression mine did. I couldn’t help but wonder if the universe was playing a sick joke on me. It was going to be even harder to convince Eli that Hunter and I weren’t together now.

“Now that I’m back, the school thinks it would be a good idea to start with small guardian tasks.”

“Oh. I forgot my handbag, excuse me,” I said, retreating back to the safety of my room.

“What’s wrong?” Mila asked, as the door clicked behind me.

“Eli is escorting us to dinner.”

Mila’s mouth dropped open. “It’s like a cheesy sitcom.”

“I don’t know why they bother with escorts. The town is under a charm, anyway,” I stated, ignoring her comment.

“Yeah, but rogue gods, goddesses, guardian angels, or even humans could be working for vampires. Who knows what could happen? With rapidly decreasing numbers in both of our species, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Her words sent chills down my spine. I thought of Tay and his secret obsession with becoming a vampire, becoming immortal. He kept it under wraps so well, who knows what the ulterior motives people have.

I found my red clutch lying on my bed. I grabbed it, and in its place, I left the roses.

“Aw, they’re beautiful,” Mila cooed.

“Yeah …” I was awed by the thought of Hunter giving me flowers but knowing that he might be keeping something terrible from me prevented me from enjoying their full beauty.

The car ride was as awkward. Eli drove whilst Hunter and I sat in the back, his hand upon my knee. No words were spoken until we reached the restaurant.

“We’re here,” Eli announced.

Hunter climbed out of the car and extended his hand towards me, helping me out. The red neon lights that adorned the restaurant were pretty. My eyes followed them as they ran along the wall, curving into a rose beneath a sign that read ‘La Hope.’

“You two have fun,” Eli said as he came around to the front of the SUV and leaned against it.

I peeled my eyes off him as Hunter guided us in through the front door of the restaurant. Inside it was dark and red. The walls were adorned with beautiful paintings and green plants. From the outside, you wouldn’t think it was capable of five star quality.

Of course we had to get the table right by the wide front window, right by Eli. I glanced sideways toward the car, he was gone.

“For you,” Hunter said as he pulled my chair out.

“Such a gentlemen.” I smiled, sitting down on the comfortable dining chair. It was much better than the wooden ones in the dining hall that deaden your butt muscles if you sit for too long.

A tall, skinny waiter around the age of fifteen brought us our menus. “I’ll be back soon to take your order.”

Hunter opened his menu. “What do you feel like?”

I was too nervous to choose a big meal. The grilled chicken Caesar was probably the most alluring meal on the menu for someone in my shoes.

“The chicken salad,” I said.

Hunter shot me a sceptical look. “Eighty precent of the school's food is healthy. The one night you can have anything you want, you choose a healthy option?”

“I’m not feeling very well. Something light on my stomach is probably what's best right now.”

“Aw, are you nervous being here with me?” Hunter raised his eyebrow as he spoke and flashed his usual devil may care smile.

“Something like that,” I replied.

The young waiter strode towards us, carrying a bottle of wine.

“Hunter, we —”

“You're eighteen… You can drink outside of school legally.”

“I know, but I don't want to.”

Hunter signalled for the waiter to go away. “Is everything okay?”

There was no use in keeping it to myself any longer. The stress it was putting on me was poisoning my body, I could feel it.

“Hunter, we need to talk. Today—”

“Wait, at least until after dinner,” he suggested.

I wasn't happy about it. I just wanted to put everything out in the open.

Dinner conversation was quiet. I was having a hard time deciphering what he was thinking. His face didn't betray his emotions, it stayed hard and calculating. The silence was killing me, I couldn't hold it in.

“Did you file a report against Eli?” I asked abruptly, unable to keep the anger out of my tone.

I didn’t realize how desperately I wanted it to not be true.

“Where did you hear that?”

“It doesn't matter.”

There was a long pause, Hunter thought about his next choice of words carefully before calling the waiter for a glass of wine.

“Well?”

“Yes. I did.”

Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I pushed my chair out from under myself and stood up slowly, my arms trembling. Rage boiled inside my heart, and I clenched my hands into tight fists at my side, nails digging into my skin. Hunter rose from his chair and took a step towards me. I could feel my blood pounding in my ears.

“But I didn't send it. I withdrew it. Ruby, I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, I couldn't.” He stroked my arm and I recoiled away from him.

“You must have, he was sent away! I lost my guardian angel, someone who has saved my life numerous times, all because of your jealousy. He was right — I shouldn't have trusted you.” I pushed past Hunter and stormed out the front door. I didn't go to the car; there was no way I was going to breathe the same air as that snake.

I thundered off down the footpath. My heels made fast clicks as they echoed through the quite town center.

“Ruby, wait! Please, I didn't do it.”

I kept walking ignoring his plea, his lie.

“Take the car,” I heard Eli order Hunter.

“I'm not leaving her.”

“There’s a SS garage two blocks east, get a guardian to take you back to Sage.”

I didn't turn around to see if he did what he was told.

“Ruby, stop,” Eli called after me.

I slowed, giving him time to catch up. I leaned against the inner wall of an alleyway.

“What happened?” he asked, coming to a stop in front of me.

“I get the feeling you already know.”

“You found out …”

“Why didn't you tell me?”

“I planned to tell you about Hunter. I was so mad at him, but when I saw you again … I just couldn't bring myself to break your heart.”

I scoffed. Hunter couldn't break my heart. He never had a piece of my heart to begin with.

“It doesn’t matter, it's over now. I'm back.”

It was over and Eli was back, but I didn’t feel as forgiving about this as he was. As far as I was concerned, Hunter was dead to me.

The small alleyway forced Eli and I to be close to each other. The atmosphere between us changed, charging with a voltaic, exciting anticipation. His scent alone was enough to jumble my train of thought. I dropped my eyes to my hands and fiddled with my fingers. I hate feeling nervous.

“When you were gone … Did you miss me?” I uttered, taking the conversation in a completely different direction. I didn’t mean to say it, it just came out. Still, it was a question that had been eating at me since Eli's return. His long index finger slid smoothly across my chin, tilting my face to look up at him.

“Immensely.”

My breathing altered as my heart raced. His words unleashed butterflies in my stomach. He tucked a long, dark lock of hair behind my ear. In movies, the hair tucking is so cliché and you cringe, because it looks cheesy, but when it happens in real life, it's perfect. We stared into each other’s eyes lustfully as he put his hand on my waist, pulling me closer.

Is this really happening?

His smell was intoxicating. His crisp ocean breeze cologne mixed with clean sweat filled my nostrils and I inhaled, appreciating it.

“I missed you,” I whispered.

The corners of his mouth twitched as he bit his bottom lip in an attempt to hide his smile. My knees grew weak and he noticed. A small laugh escaped him and he slowly bent toward me, his lips grazing mine softly, like he was testing my boundaries. With him, I didn't have any.

“Are you sure?” I asked him.

Eli had a habit of immediately regretting our kiss when it was over, so I gave him an opportunity to get out of this one before it happened.

His hand met the side of my cheek, urging my lips harder against his. An electrical feeling rolled over my skin as his hands traced the contour of my body. I pulled away ever so slightly to breathe, trying not to show just how vulnerable I was.

My gaze moved from his eyes to his lips and once more his mouth was against mine. Instinctually, I wrapped my hands around his neck and entwined my fingers in his short hair. Each intake of breath was another reminder of what was really happening, his cologne, the way his hands entangled in my hair, the press of his lips against mine in an urgent pace.

I knew this was wrong, but I couldn't bring myself to stop. My thoughts didn't last as I was consumed in our forbidden passion.

The kiss slowed and then came to a stop, much to my disappointment.

“We should go,” he said, our foreheads resting against each other’s.

I nodded.

As we stepped out from the alleyway, I dared to peek at him. His face had assumed its usual serious expression but his eyes were different. His eyes reflected the joy he felt deep down, something I’d never seen before. My face reflected my own joy, the grin that was spread across it was impossible to hide.

“The long road between the school and the town is unprotected by charms; it’s too dangerous to walk at night. We're going to have to walk the two blocks to the SS garage and get a car.”

“Oh god, in these heels?”

Eli laughed and I swooned at the sound. “At least they aren't as tall as your other ones, but if they're that uncomfortable, I can carry you.”

I pictured Eli's strong arms wrapped around me, my face close to his. I would take him up on his offer, but only to feel him touch me again, not because I couldn't physically walk.

“Nah, I'll tough it out.”

We began walking east. There weren’t many other people on the streets. There was the occasional old lady walking her dog and a drunken guy who wolf whistled at me, after that, nothing.

“Ruby, I —”

“Is this the part where you tell me the kiss was a mistake and that it won’t happen again?” I interrupted.

“What? No. What we did was wrong, yes, but I refuse to regret something that has made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time, even if it is against our laws. The thing is, we can never be together …”

“I’m sure we can figure something out.”

“There are no loop holes for us; being your guardian angel is the closest I’ll be able to get. That’s the next best thing.”

“You become my guardian angel and then what? That makes matters more complicated. Let’s just be together. Who cares if you get banished? I’ll come with you. We can be together amongst the humans.”

Eli’s face grew dark, his eyes became speculative and his mouth straightened into an impassive line.

“No, you’d still have your magic and I’d have nothing. I wouldn’t be able to protect you.” He took my hand in his and I ignored the current pulsing up my arm.

“And what about my father?” he continued. “Or my grandfather, or my great-grandfather? They were all great angels. I couldn’t bring shame to my family by breaking faith and running away with the one thing I have sworn to protect.”

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