A Shadow World short story: Christmas Angel (part 1)

This is a short story based in my Shadow World universe. The events are set after my current work in project but there are no major spoilers.
It’s a romance, no warnings needed.
Comments and critics welcome!

“So, that’s what they meant by “androgynous” then…” pondered Taylor as he looked across the parking lot at his target. He had checked about three times already but there were no hints of breasts outlined under the tight fleece jumper, nor was there any sign of a package of any size in the jeans. The angel had long, dark, hair like a girl and a feminine face, but her body didn’t show any hint of either gender.

The angel… When Taylor had read the nature of his new target, he had nearly choked on his coffee. Even in Shadow World, angels were supposed to be mythical creatures. He knew of only one creature who was close to one, and she was a werewolf with an angelic gift; and that was the first time he had ever heard of one as it was.

Taylor was a psychic and a member of one of the special investigation teams. His particular job was to keep an eye on potentially “at risk” creatures of Shadow World. Ever since the council had decided on the coming out of some of them – mainly all the fairy races, being the most likeable- there were more hateful crimes committed with creatures as victims. Since this was Christmas time, the religious extremists seemed to be getting even more dangerous and an angel, if believed to be “a spawn of the devil” as they called her, was going to be in a lot of danger; or so had supposed his superior.

His job was to tail her and keep an eye on her throughout the holidays. One week of following her…He could have thought about something more fun to do –like spending time with his friends, but then, again, they were busy for the same reasons too… Taylor sighted. The coming out had been supposed to make their lives easier but it had also increased the danger Shadow World creatures lived in.

His target was saying a warm hello to one of her friends it seemed. The two women went in the commercial centre, and Taylor decided to follow them. As much as she didn’t look like one, he couldn’t stop thinking of her as a woman. For one thing, she was one biologically. The council envoy who was working with the teams had explained to him that, regardless of their biological sex, angels tried to look as androgynous as possible, in most cases. However, there were few cases recorded as it was, so it was hard to make it a definitive trait.

And for another, Taylor had never been attracted to a man, yet he was to her. So she had to be a woman, right? It seemed logical in a way. Taylor had never liked shopping, and even less at the time before Christmas, so this was a nightmare for him. Because he was a psychic, being in crowded places left him exhausted from keeping all the thoughts out of his own head and with a headache because of all those who had still found a way in. He was extremely grateful when, one hour later, the two women made their way out on the car park.

He was about to make his way back to his car when he realised Angel couldn’t start hers. Before his mind could protest, he had made his way over and was offering his help.
He was greeted by a beautiful, warm, smile and green eyes.
“Hi, I noticed your car wasn’t starting. Can I help you?”
“Hi, you must be the gentleman the SI bureau has sent to look after me over the holidays, right?” She laughed at his startled face “I guess you weren’t told but I had been warned someone would tail me. I noticed you followed us through our extensive shopping and, being an empath, felt your…caution at not wanting to be seen yet not wanting to lose me. I also never felt once threat coming from you.”
He gave a relieved sight. She didn’t just trust any random guy who would follow her, good.
“Yes, I’m Taylor. I can’t believe they didn’t tell me they’d warned you though. It would have been less awkward.”
She smiled again “I thought they had told you, I would have done, otherwise.” Taking her bags on the passenger seat “I gladly accept your help, if the offer still stands?” She was looking at him through the open door now, with her bags gathered in her lap.
“Yes, of course. Give me a minute whilst I call a garage to come and pick your car up and I’ll drive you home.”

Less than five minutes later they were parking outside her small house on the outskirts of town.
“Thank you, it was really kind of you.” Angel paused as she was about to shut the car door “Are you going to spend yet another night freezing out here, or would you rather come in?”

Taylor was absolutely startled by the offer, but accepted it gladly. It was going to be below freezing that night and he wasn’t sure how he was going to stay warm otherwise. Plus, he could protect her even better from inside her house, right?

The house was cosy, the decoration done with only natural materials, mostly wood and fabrics. Taylor followed Angel in the lounge, where was a nice fire place, and then through to the kitchen, where she started making some tea. He was watching her move around the room and realised this felt right. Being here, with her, felt like “home”.

Just as those thoughts formulated in his head, she stopped dead in her tracks and turned round to face him. He looked at her, confused. Mind reading had not been listed on her abilities, so it couldn’t be that she’d over heard his thoughts, so what was it?

“You feel it too, don’t you?” She asked, settling down on the table the cups she was carrying, by fear of dropping them.
“Feel what?” asked, rather dumbly Taylor
“You’re rather slow, for a psychic.” She joked “What just happened, the feeling of “normality” and “habits” and “home”, the feeling that being together feels right”
“I felt it too. What was it? Some sort of “déjà vu”?”
“No.” She frowned “It’s a sort of memory, a memory from a past life. Or it can be a vision, letting us know what must be. I rarely share those with others, but it can happen, when I am closely linked to that person.”
“You mean either we have been together before or we are bound to be and that we share a link of some sort?” Taylor sat down, trying to get his thoughts back together “It would explain why I have felt drawn to you the minute I saw you then…”

Angel didn’t reply. Instead, she made her way over to him, put a hand on his shoulder and kissed him on the lips. At first, Taylor was so surprised that he didn’t move or feel or even register in his mind what was happening. Then he felt it: the softness of her lips, her hand weighting on his shoulder, and the butterflies in his tummy. Butterflies in his tummy? Oh dear, he was turning into a teenage girl.

His hand found its way to her waist just before she broke the kiss. He looked up at her, confused, but then she said “Did this answer your question?” And he knew. He belonged here, with her. He didn’t understand it, but he was sure of it.


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