Working for God is never easy. She’s a bit demanding, and always a tad over the top. But it gets worse when you’re tasked with helping mortals fall in love.
“Avery, you got a new task today.”
I sighed, slumping down in my chair. “Don’t I always.”
Masami glared at me for a moment. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t do this before every assignment, you know. I may be made of stone, but I have feelings.”
I muttered an apology to the immortal creature.
Masami nodded pleasantly, picking up the scroll in two of their hands. “Now…ah, yes. You’ll be tasked with making this young woman and this young man fall in love.” They held out a hologram of two figures, and I immediately registered their faces as unforgettable.
“Fine. But, please, Masami, let’s call it what it is – I’m making them infatuated. Not in love.” I stood up and fluttered my wings. “Any deadline?”
“Nah, just as long as it doesn’t take a year, like – ”
“I thought we discussed we weren’t going to bring that up?”
I arrived on earth a few minutes past eight in the morning. Dressed in the best clothes my wardrobe would allow, I made my way through the crowded marketplace. These were always a treat, a special summer thing that I never really got to enjoy much of. It did remind me of when I was a child, though. Getting lost among the vendor’s carts, the dogs…
I shook my head vigorously.
That was when I spotted them. The woman was smiling at the man, and they were laughing, seeming engrossed in a book they had picked up. The woman lifted her head from it and laughed.
Woah. This was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Sure, I had memorized her face, but I’d never seen her in real life before. She was vibrant and electric, moving gracefully but still unsure, somehow. Not to mention her fashion choices – colours that perfectly matched the dyed streak in her short and fluffy dark hair, and a cut of blouse that accentuated every curve beautifully.
I growled a curse. This had happened a few times before, of course. Finding someone gorgeous and being attracted to them. But they had fates, ones that I needed to ensure. I readied my invisible mini bow. All I had to do was launch two at the same time at them. Simple. I had done it for centuries by now.
Her eye’s flickered my way, before locking onto me – the guy hiding behind the clothing rack.
“Mother of Angels!” I yelped.
The arrows zapped out of the bow on their own accord then, and one struck target right in the middle of the woman’s chest. The other missed, bouncing off the steel clothing rack and launching into my foot.
Ohhhh, no. I glanced up at her and felt my stomach flip. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
“Who are you?” The man asked, but I could barely hear him over the blood pounding in my ears.
“I’m Tamara,” the woman said, ignoring her friend.
“That’s…that’s a beautiful name,” I replied, slowly standing. “I’m Avery. S-sorry I was staring, I was just…I dropped a coin behind the clothes rack a-and didn’t know anyone was there.” Brilliant excuse, wise guy.
Tamara snorted, and it was the most adorable sound. “No problem. This is my friend Adam.”
Adam waved, his smile scheming. “Look, T, I gotta be going. But, uh, let me know how it goes.” He gave her a nudge and wink. I felt a pit at the bottom of my stomach.
Tamara blushed, waving Adam away. “Please excuse my friend. But…um, would you like to get a smoothie or something?”
“Yes – I mean, no!” I said quickly. “I…uh…I should actually be going.”
Tamara frowned. “Really?”
I gulped down the lump in my throat. She really was beautiful. And seemed nice, too. Really, what’s the harm in messing with fate a little?
“Sure,” I said after a moment. “Smoothie it is.”
Masami stared at me in disbelief as I recounted the best day of my life.
“And then – get this – we’re meeting again tomorrow!”
They tried to talk me out of it, waving their ten hands around in a flap. It didn’t matter, though – I was certain of what I had to do. If the arrow had struck me, there was a 57.8879% chance we were going to end up together. And honestly, I loved that thought.
We continued to see each other for event after event, and I could feel myself drawn even more to her. Her eyes were sparkling, iridescent. Her skin was a beautiful light caramel shade, and I remembered vaguely seeing the same colour on women at the market when I was a child. She smelled always like honey-suckle and something else I couldn’t quite place. She was outgoing, but still slightly nervous from time to time, and her laugh was an adorable snort of amusement. I couldn’t quite place the feeling I felt around her as I dropped her off at her apartment two months later.
“Hey,” Tamara said after a moment. “Do you think you could come in for a second? I kinda…need to talk to you about something.”
I felt my heart race, and sweat sprang to my forehead. “Oh no. What?”
She laughed. “No, no, it’s not bad, it’s just…well, come on.”
I hesitantly followed into her home, and immediately felt myself relaxed. The entire place rang of Tamara, and somehow that was the most comforting feeling ever. She turned to me as I shut the door behind us.
She took a deep breath. I noted the flushing of her cheeks and for a second wondered how I never noticed how beautiful her blush was.
“Avery, I think…I think I’m in love with you.”
All my emotions plain just stopped. Then, as though they remembered their job, every single one all pushed for dominance, screaming their excitement. It was also then that I realized what the feeling was.
Tamara held out her hands. “N-now I hope this isn’t too big of a thing.”
“Are you kidding?! This is a huge thing!” I grabbed my head in my hands and tried to calm down. This is amazing…what do I say? What the hell do I say? I yelled to myself.
Tamara sighed. “I’m sorry if this is too soon for you…”
“No, no!” I exclaimed. “I mean…I think I’m in love with you, too.”
“Really?” Hope glowed in her eyes.
“Yeah, really. Tamara, you’re amazing, and I…” Oh wait…
I took a step back. “No, wait this is bad…” She’s a human and I’m…I’m an angel. This is so against protocol.
“Why is it bad?” Tamara questioned, the hope dissolving.
“It’s just…” I stared into her eyes and forget all the reasons why it was. “Tamara, I need to tell you something.”
I announced what had happened to Masami triumphantly, though they still snapped that I was crazy more than ever now. But as each day went by, soon stretching in weeks, and then months, their arguments became less and less intense.
The night I went to meet her for our six month anniversary, Masami gave one final plea: “Listen, Avery. You’re an angel. You cannot love a mortal.”
“Why not? That rule is stupid.” I adjusted my shirt in my Heavenly Mirror as my colleague spoke.
“No, it’s not stupid. It’s to make sure you’re impartial. If you really want to stay with this woman…” They sighed. “You’re going to have to become human.”
I whipped around at that. “What? I don’t want to be a human! I was a human once before, and I didn’t like it then.” Images of the market and large, shadowy beasts jumped into my mind, and I fought to force them back.
“It’s the rules, Avery.” Masami groaned. “It’s bad enough you even told her you’re an angel.”
“She said she loved me. I had to come clean, didn’t I? Besides, what if she asked what I did for a living?”
“Make something up! You could be an…” They snapped the fingers on one of their hands. “Ooh! A financial analyst.”
“Do you even know what a financial analyst is?” I snarled.
“Ouch.” Eight of their hands flew dramatically to their chest and forehead respectively. “I’m not some uncultured fool, you know.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. The point is, I don’t want to become human, and that’s the end of it.”
I turned to leave, but found Masami’s large granite figure in my way. I rubbed my temples and gave an exasperated sigh. “Could you move, please?”
With a rumble and a shake in the clouds, Masami grew, beginning to tower over me until they seemed twenty feet tall. They growled, the golden glow all immortals held deepening in their aura.
“Avery,” they said in a voice much deeper than normal. “If you do not decide to become human, or break up with the woman, I will have no choice but to tell God. And believe me, she won’t be pleased.”
I felt the blood drain from my face. “What? Masami, I thought we were friends!”
Masami chortled. “Wrong. We work together, and therefore, by definition, are not. You must become human.”
“No!” I felt all the memories rush back. The dark stall, the beckoning man, the three dogs lunging forward, the blood, the pain. I screamed at the feeling. “Humans hurt! I don’t want to be human!” I grabbed at my neck just to remind myself that I still had it.
My testimony did not sway Masami. “I expect your answer when you get home tonight.”
“But I – ”
“I gave you a warning, Avery. Heed it, or suffer the consequences.”
“Is everything okay?”
I looked up from my menu to see Tamara, frowning slightly.
“You just seem really distracted tonight,” she said. Tamara gently took the menu from my grasp and placed it down, leaning forward. “What’s up, angel?”
I blushed at the nickname. “I-it’s nothing. I just…” I tried to find words, but no excuse came to mind. With a groan, I slumped down pathetically. “Tamara…I can’t see you anymore.”
Tamara gave a sputtered choke sound, like being pulled up from under the ocean’s harsh waves. I winced. “W-what?”
“An angel can’t see a mortal, because they won’t be impartial. Unless I become human, I can’t see you.” I gently took her hands in mine. “Believe, I hate this, but – ”
“Why don’t you just become human, then?” Tamara’s hazel eyes began to water.
I shook my head. “I just…I was when I was little, and that’s how…well, you know, how God found me, as it were. I was…” I coughed. “Not dead per sae, but…well, pretty damn close to it. I just had a horrible experience once and – ”
“But aren’t we worth it?” Tamara demanding, squeezing my hands. “Avery, I don’t want to loose you. I love you so much…and this time, it will be different. You’ll have me.” She gave a hopeful smile. “I love you, angel.”
Biting my bottom lip, I slowly let out a long held in breath. “I love you, too.”
She stood before me, in all glory, a mighty hand raised.
“Are you sure that this is what you want, Avery?”
I shuddered, digging my palms and knees even harder into the cold tile ground. “Yes.”
There was a clash of thunder in the sky, and I could see the flash of lightning in the corner of my eye. I screamed as her power began pulling apart my wings. I looked up, tears in my eyes. White feathers slowly drew themselves into her open palm. Wave after wave of pain hit, until suddenly, the world went dark.
I woke up in a soft bed with soft blankets around me. I looked down at my hands to see the golden glow of immortality had gone.
I jumped at the sudden voice, twisting my head to see to Tamara smiling at me from the doorway. She brushed back her bangs, and walked over to my bedside, taking a seat on the edge. Tamara gently placed a kiss on my forehead, looking lovingly into my eyes.
“How are you feeling, angel?”