We arrived at the school gates and I wondered what I was going to say.
"Any ideas?" I asked Theseus.
Theseus shrugged. "Personally, I'd rather you spent the whole day with me."
"I can't do that," I said, climbing out of the car. I turned back to look at him. "As much as the whole of my being would adore to."
Theseus grinned. "I think you should listen to the whole of your being."
I closed the door. "I'll see you round later," I called through the open window.
"You bet you will," he replied, before driving off.
Sighing, I walked to reception and made a lame excuse about being really ill this morning.
I headed over to the King Charles' building: a two storey brick building with windows for walls in some places and a balcony looking over the lake on which students partook in canoeing races in the summer. Inside, I waited for a couple of minutes outside Jamie's English Language and Literature lesson, knowing it was pointless to go to my own soon-to-be-finishing Spanish class.
The bell rang and out walked Jamie's peers, who ignored my presence not being part of my close circle of friends.
Jamie walked out looking weary and sad until he noticed me and a look of surprise crossed his features.
"Sarah!" he exclaimed.
"Hey Jamie. Sorry about this - ..." But I was prevented from finishing when he closed the distance between us and hugged me tightly.
"I was so worried about you," Jamie said, crushing me in his embrace.
"Can't ... breathe," I panted.
Jamie let go, looking concerned. "Sorry. But you're never late. Never. I can't remember anything stopping you from arriving on time. And the last time you were off school..." He frowned, trying to remember. Slowly he finished "... was when you were ... eight, I think."
I raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
Jamie nodded earnestly. "Yeah. Where were you?"
"I... um... was ill." I hated lying to him but he honestly couldn't know about Theseus. No human could be expected to believe people can make them faint without having had it happen to them and my parents wanted me to only tell my secret to someone I was in a relationship with. To someone who couldn't possibly ridicule me or abuse my trust. And I hated to say this but no way would Jamie approve of me falling in love with a random guy I had only just met. Heck, I wouldn't if I weren't a seraph or Theseus weren't an archangel.
"You better now?" Jamie asked concernedly.
Suddenly Jamie's face lit up. "I have your birthday present!"
He fumbled around in his satchel for a book-shaped present wrapped in blue paper with stars and swirls and moons on it.
The gift turned out to be a book of cat poetry. Cats were my favourite animal and so this present was really special.
"Thank you," I said sincerely before hugging him affectionately.
Jamie's expression was surprising when I let go. His eyes were full of warmth and ... tenderness.
"I have something to tell you when we go to my house this evening," he told me quietly.
"Okay," I said, slightly worried by the gravity of his tone.
The rest of the day passed swiftly, Maths and French being fun enough to feel shorter than double periods and the personal study period at the end of the day being productive despite the thoughtful gazes I was attracting from Jamie now and again, as if he were considering whether to tell me what he was going to say now rather than later. But he waited and soon it was time for us to go to his house.
As we packed up our stuff, I saw Theseus' car in the parking lot. Still curious about what Jamie was going to tell me, I decided to arrange to see him later.
"I've just got to talk to someone," I told Jamie. He nodded, adding a few finishing touches to his Art homework (which I personally thought was already perfect), and I hurried out of the library and towards my cherished archangel.
I opened the door on his side of the car and said "I can't go anywhere with you right now: my friend and I arranged to go to his house at the weekend, and he's going to tell me something."
Theseus looked disappointed. "I was really looking forward to this afternoon. Can't you hang out with your friend some other time?"
I shook my head, trying not to drown in his imploring gaze.
"But we have to do something for you birthday."
"Later," I said, laughing as he reached for my waist to pull me inside the car. I sat on his lap and kissed him before standing up and pushing his hands away.
He rolled his eyes, saying "I'll be at your house at six, inside it at six thirty."
I rolled my own eyes. "See you then, darling."
Theseus reached out to grab my hand. He kissed it quickly before releasing it. "I love you."
"You're too quick to love," I teased.
"Nah, you're really easy to love."
And with that, he closed his door and drove off, waving to me for as long as he could.
Five minutes later, Jamie caught up to me and soon we were in the backseat of his aunt's car, listening to Classical FM on the radio.
As soon as we got to his house, he led me up to his bedroom, a mysterious smile playing on his face and a certain twinkle in his eyes that filled me with excitement.
He gestured for me to sit on his bed while he sat on his black leather swivel chair facing me. He looked deep into my eyes with an intense expression on his face. The excitement quickly faded and the smile vanished off my face. The anticipation was replaced by sudden dread.