Crescendo in Patch's POV
Author: Elena Hathaway

Chapter 4
Chapter 4

I arrived at Delphic a few minutes later.  I had briefly considered going to Bo’s, but there, I’d just have to face Rixon, and he’d go singing “I told you so” all night, and I didn’t feel like getting into a fight with my best friend after just walking away from a fight with my girlfriend.

I parked the Jeep and half-ran through the soft drizzle to my place and flung myself down on the bed in exhaustion, putting my hands over my face.  How had this gone so wrong?  I loved Nora.  I wanted to be with her, more than anything.  More than anything, I wanted to be there for her, protect her, make sure she was safe, make sure she was happy.  The fact that I was happy with her was just an added bonus.

And then there had been all that crap she had started spouting about there being no future for us.

“I’m not going to throw it all away on something that was never meant to be.”

That’s what she had said, before throwing that last, biting comment at me.

Goddamnit!  Why did this have to be so complicated?  Why did she have to be so difficult?  Of course, that was—or had been—one of the reasons I’d been so drawn to her: because she’d been so dead-set against me when we’d first met her.  It had been a pleasure breaking down that wall she had put between us, getting in to her, getting in to be with her and love her and have her with me always.

Tonight, I had seen that wall shoot right back up, all her faith in me shattered because she’d heard something about me she didn’t like.  If I’d known that that was all it would take for her to reject me…well, I didn’t know what I would have done.

I sat up abruptly, closing my eyes, leaning my elbows on my knees and my face in my hands, my hands over my face again.  I went back to last night, pulled up the memory again.

“You’re mine, Angel,” I murmured, kissing the words up along her neck and jaw as she arched her head, allowing me more access.  “You have me forever.”

Her eyes piercing mine, demanding love, demanding more.  “Show me you mean it.”

I did mean it.  I still did, even after what we’d just gone through.

The thing that bothered me most was that…Angel had just seemed so final when she’d told me she didn’t want me anymore.  All couples fought.  And as fighting went, Angel and I really didn’t.  Like I said before, our relationship consisted mostly of trust, a mutual connection, and a hell of a lot of making out.

Vaguely, I wondered what would have happened if I had given her more than that one short, rough kiss during the shouting match.  If I had wrapped her in my arms and taken her mouth, kissing away all the doubts and anger and fear she had been radiating.  If I had held onto her, not letting her go, if I had pressed my face into her sweet-smelling hair…What would have happened?  Would it all have gone down the same way?  Or would I have broken that wall right back down, allowing me access to her and her feelings again?  Would I still be at her house, with her, right now, her small form wrapped tightly in my arms, holding her firmly against me, murmuring into her hair that I loved her, not giving a damn about the archangels.

Damn them.  Damn them to the fiery pits of hell.  This was their fault.  If they hadn’t come for me last night, none of this would have happened. 

“I love you,” Nora said softly, breathless, her fingers curled into my shirt, my arms circling her waist, keeping her locked against me. “More than I think I should.”

All of a sudden, something, a sound, outside the Jeep, in the woods beyond, caught my attention.  Not a squirrel, I could tell that.  I tightened my grip on Nora protectively, ready to shove her out of the way if need be.  I turned my head toward the woods, staring through them, trying to discern what had made the noise.  A rustling of feathers, it had sounded like.  Not bird feathers, either.

“What’s wrong?” Nora asked.

“I heard something….”

“That was me saying I love you,” she murmured.

I spiraled back into the present reluctantly, shaking my head and groaning in frustration.

Again, I couldn’t help thinking: how had this gone so wrong?

 

 

 “I am ripped apart!” she shouted, her eyes moist.

Right.  She was ripped apart because she thought I had betrayed her.  Because… she had feelings for me too?  A spark of hope danced within me, goading my next actions.

I slid my hands up her neck slowly, listening to her heart accelerate.  Pressing my thumbs gently into her throat, I tipped her head back.  And then…I pressed my mouth to hers, kissing her hard, stopping whatever else she had been about to say.  I was in heaven again.  Just the pressure of her soft lips beneath mine was driving me insane.  I wanted to feel it.  I wanted to feel the smooth, silky texture of her lips.  I opened my mouth and tasted her.  She froze.  I dropped my hands to her shoulders, skimmed down her arms, and came to rest at the small of her back.  She shivered—but in panic or pleasure?  Or both?  Please let it be only pleasure.  Because that was all I was feeling.  I started to pull her against me, wanting the pressure of her body against mine, the heat of her skin washing over mine, but before I could, she bit me on the lip.

I licked my lip with the tip of my tongue.  “Did you just bite me?”

 

 

“Let’s be honest, Nora.  You’ve got it bad for me.”  I leaned closer.  “And I’ve got it bad for you.”  I pressed as close as I could and pressed my mouth to hers.  She kissed me back, something I was sure she would hate herself for later, and her fingers twisted in my shirt.  We touched base at several strategic locations down the front of our bodies, and I liked it that way.

 

“Door’s locked,” I hinted.  “And we have unfinished business.”

Nora glanced at the locked door and pursed her lips with determination.  I stayed completely out of her mind—I wanted this to be her choice.  And it was.  She slid her hands up my chest, like she had earlier tonight while about to touch my wing scars, and looped her arms around my neck.

I lifted her at the hips, and she wrapped her legs around my waist.  Her hands fisted in my hair, and she crushed her mouth to mine.  I kissed her back with everything I had in me, running my hands over her body, feeling the heat of her skin absorb into mine, soaking up the ecstasy of feeling on the verge of bursting out of my skin—

The cell phone in Nora’s pocket rang, once again interrupting an aroused moment.  I groaned and kissed her harder, murmuring, “Voice mail.”

 

 

“What good is a body if I can’t have you?”

 

“We still have a lot to talk about,” she hinted, an eyebrow raised.

“Talk?” I echoed, shaking my head.  I was done with talking.  Kiss, I whispered to her thoughts, desire coloring and filling me once more.  I’d been going crazy recently, with all the…craziness, and I was still reeling from having kissed her in the hotel, the ladies’ room.

I grinned down at her when she didn’t protest and moved in front of her, lowering my mouth to hers.  I just barely brushed my lips across hers, her eyelids fluttering when I pulled back.  She opened her eyes, and licked her lips, gazing at me with a loaded gaze, and my grin deepened.

“More?” I asked.

She stepped forward and slid her hands into my hair, pulling me closer.  My hands rose to cup her elbows, pulling her against me as she murmured against my mouth, “More.”

 

That was what I wanted of Angel.  More.  That was what I needed.  Even after the fight, I still needed her, still loved the hell out of her.  Why couldn’t she look past everything else to see that?  Could she not look back on the memories of when we’d first met?  Wasn’t it obvious, my feelings for her?  It had to be.  If the archangels had picked it up, how had the actual object of my affections manage to miss it?

I was thinking all of this as I drove to Bo’s.  Where else could I go, really?  If I stayed holed up at my place too long, Rixon would just come looking for me anyway, so might as well go while I was somewhat put together.  Yeah, it had taken some time for me to put myself somewhat together, but it was better than the condition I’d been in after leaving Nora’s house.

That, and Rixon had undoubtedly figured out that I had a new assignment.  He had called me a couple times while I was still composing myself, and I hadn’t answered.  When I didn’t answer his calls, he knew something was up.

When I spotted him at Bo’s, one look told him what he needed to know.  He gestured me over, shaking his head at me when I got close enough.

“How bad?” he said as I leant against the wall next to him.

“Worse.”

“Eh.  That bad.  Who’s yer new assignment?”
“Marcie Millar.  Sound familiar?”

He cocked his head to the side, closing one eye.  “Eh, a little.  Refresh my memory.”

“This girl that apparently hates Nora, and vice versa.”

He winced.  “Ooh.  Yeah.  Definitely worse.  Does yer lass know yet?”

I sighed.  “I don’t want to talk about Nora, okay?”

His eyes widened a fraction.  “I see.”  He cleared his throat, regarding me in silence.  “Now, normally, I would say ‘I told you so’ but I feel like I’d get a black eye for my troubles—”

“Yes, you would,” I agreed.

“—so I’ll just say this: that sucks.”

I laughed shortly.  “Yeah.  You can say that again.”  He opened his mouth to do just that, but I cut him off.  Don’t say it again, though, please.”  I shook my head.  “She started off being pissed about Marcie, and of course, the archangels said I couldn’t tell her why I’m hanging around Marcie, which made everything oh so much more fun for everybody.  But then she started saying that she didn’t want the relationship because it had no future.  I mean, where did that come from?”

He shrugged.  “Maybe she’d been thinking about it for awhile, Patch.  I mean, if ya think about it—”

I waved a hand at him.  “I know, I know.  But everything was perfect last night when I dropped her off at home—”
“Spare me the details, please.”

“Well, sort of perfect.”  I paused, pain rippling through my heart again.  “She said she loved me, Rixon,” I muttered quietly, almost brokenly.  “And I couldn’t say it back, because the fucking archangels had to show up.”

He thumped me on the back.  “It’ll be alright, Patch.  Ya’ll get her back.”

I shook my head again.  “I don’t know about that.  She just seemed so final and decided.  Like she didn’t ever want to see me again.”  I sighed.  “Why is love so complicated?”

“Love always is, lad,” he said, patting my back somewhat awkwardly.  This had to be odd for him.  Up until a few months ago, it would have been odd for me as well.  But now my eyes had been opened to what life could really be like.  How much better it could be when you had someone else to spend it with.

But now my someone, apparently, didn’t want me anymore.  How did that work? 

I didn’t know.

All I knew was that, despite what I had previously thought upon coming here, the dull, resonating ache inside me was most definitely not fading.  It was almost becoming more prominent, more painful. 

It hurt, what Nora had said to me, I finally admitted to myself.  She had played upon my weak points, and had wounded me.

How oddly the mind worked.  When you were hurting, you didn’t want to make yourself feel better.  Oh no.  When you were hurting, all you wanted to do was make the one hurting you hurt too.  You wanted to make them hurt as much as you were hurting, or more.

Right then I wanted to see her again—so I could scream at her.  So I could give her a piece of my mind, just like she had done to me.  I wanted her to cry, to see the tears running down her face, and to know I had caused it.

But then, deep down beneath all of that was the even stronger desire t grab her by the hips, press myself against her so that every part of us was touching, then kiss her so hard she cried out.  I wanted to hold her so tightly it hurt her.  I wanted her to be here, so I could do the first thing I wanted, then the second thing I wanted more. 

I wanted her to be here so I could get past that thick skull of hers and drill into her mind the absolute truth that she could somehow not see: that I loved her, that I would always love her, and if there was a life beyond this one, I would love her then too.  Could she not get past her damned insecurities and see that?

Why couldn’t she see that?

 

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