I didn't find Theseus at lunch but who I did find was a very disgruntled Sirias.
"I'm sorry," I told her. "I shouldn't have been assigned to look after you - complicated boy troubles."
Sirias shrugged, still looking annoyed.
"Look, is there maybe someone else you can talk to?"
Jamie appeared from nowhere. "I have a friend called Amelia," he murmured, not looking at me. "I'll take you to her. At least then you'll have a friend. I share the same classes as Sarah so I'll walk round with you instead."
Sirias smiled appreciatively as he led her off.
"Thanks Jamie," I called.
He didn't turn around.
I didn't see Theseus again till the end of the school day. I heard him talking to my dad.
It seemed that he had found out something about Dad's big secret, although even I wasn't entirely sure what that was.
He told me that he had only convinced Dad that he knew. I laughed as he claimed not to know what my dad had meant by ‘rash'.
"You do and you know it," I said.
"Hmm, don't think I do," he replied. "Want to explain or show me?"
I play hit him. "Behave!"
Theseus sighed. "Well, if you want me to," he said, giving me the puppy eyes.
"I do! I'm a seraph, Theseus. I don't do that sort of thing. Not at this stage in my life."
Theseus still did puppy eyes.
"Are you seriously asking me to be rash? Seriously? 'Cause if you are, I'd like to know how you're still an angel right now."
"Ouch and no I'm asking for insight." He lay down on the wall with me still sat in his lap as I'd arranged myself.
"Insight? Into what?" I asked, confused. I hadn't understood his sentence.
"Tell me how far I can go without being rash."
I swallowed hard and looked away. "I'm not comfortable talking about this, Theseus."
"Okay, my sweet angel." Internally, I sighed with relief. "What do you wish to do with the rest of our evening?"
I looked back down at him. "What a twelve-year old couple might do. Enjoy themselves without thinking about that thing I want to avoid."
Theseus stroked back a strand of my hair "Movie on the couch?"
"Yeah, that sounds nice." I smiled. "You don't mind, do you?"
"Nope. Mine or yours? I'd prefer mine since your dad doesn't seem so relaxed right now."
"Yours," I agreed.
Theseus pulled me into his arms standing to his feet and took off in a burst of feathers as his wings shot out from his back.
I reached out behind his shoulder and caressed the soft feathers, gazing at them in wonder and appreciation.
My brow furrowed. "Are you okay?" I asked.
"Yeah, that just ... feels really nice"
My brow furrowed more. "Sorry," I murmured.
"No, don't be sorry. I like it." Theseus gazed into my eyes as we began to land. "I really like it"
I looked back, trembling inside. "And that's the problem," I whispered. "Don't worry," I said, reaching out to stroke his cheek. "I won't do that again."
Theseus frowned, looking away. He put me down on the carpet of his apartment then turned away. "Pick a film." He walked off, looking slightly disconsolate.
I sighed to myself. How did he make me feel so bad about something that was good, something that meant I was staying true to myself?
"Theseus," I called.
"Yes," he said, stopping and turning. His wings showed high and tall from his back.
"I'm sorry," I told him.
He didn't reply and walked away into the kitchen.
I ran after him. Once in the kitchen, I said "What do you want? Do you want me to be happy or do you want me to go against what I believe in so that you can be happy? Why are you making me feel bad like this?"
"No, Sarah, I want you to be happy and have a life full of joy and fulfilment but when you touched my wings it felt ... it felt so right. Not something that would lead to anything you wouldn't want. I would control myself but you wouldn't allow me to have that pleasure ‘cause you became scared. It's like you don't want any passion since the freedom we've been given."
"Of course I want passion. I just want to be careful, too. I'm scared, Theseus. Scared of what we might end up doing."
Theseus finally looked at me. His eyes were clouded with emotion. "Why are you scared? I would never force anything on you, Sarah."
"I'm scared of losing control," I mumbled, wishing that he knew how much I trusted him, how I was only afraid of myself.
"Then I will stop you but please ... don't make me feel as if you don't want me"
"I do want you. How could you ever think I didn't?"
I gently placed my hands on his shoulders and leant in to kiss him.
He kissed me back, and the bliss helped to clear the negative emotions from my mind.
I pulled back. "I love you, Theseus. Didn't I show that when I chose you over Jamie?"
"I love you too, Sarah." He kissed me before saying "Go pick a film"
"No," I murmured. "I don't want to. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me you're not scared or upset or angry."
"I am not scared or upset or angry" Theseus whispered. "Now, film?"
"No," I said. "There's more. I need your understanding, Theseus. I've chosen you over my best friend and that was just about the toughest decision in my life. I love Jamie ... like ... like I love you, basically. Although I've known him longer and our relationship is more ... significant.
"I said ... I hurt him, Theseus, okay? And I'm not okay with that because I hurt myself too. I need you not to hate him, not to be triumphant around him. I need you to treat him like you respect him. He's going through a pretty rough patch and personally I think he needs professional health. It could so easily go back the other way. So I need to know you love me, Theseus. Truly and strongly enough to never break my heart. I love you. More than I think you know. But you need to accept me for being me and having my past."
Theseus's face was full of pain as I spoke.
Theseus' face became thoughtful. "Come with me," he said, not replying to my speech. He took my hand and pulled me to his bedroom, but leaving me at the door. "Stay here," he said disappearing into his room. He reappeared with an angel wing necklace. "Take it. This is all I have left of my mum's. "
I looked at the beautiful piece of jewellery. "I can't," I told him. "I can't take that from you."
"You can," Theseus whispered.
"No, I can't," I said, deeply moved by what he wanted to give as a gift and almost slightly guilty for asking him to understand when he so evidently loved me
"You can ‘cause this is yours .My mother received it from my father on my birth ... and she gave it to me when I had to leave... she said give it only to the person that I truly love. Someone that I will never leave and always be there for."
A tear came to my eye. "But what if I leave you, Theseus? What if I break your heart? Thank you for trying to dispel my anxiety and show that you'll be understanding, but ... I really can't accept this. I can't promise we'll always be together."
"That's not the point of it Sarah I'm promising myself to you for the rest of eternity"
I gulped and lowered my gaze. "That's a very serious promise."
Theseus stroked her cheek "Do you want to know when I first saw you, Sarah? And this may sound weird."
"No," I said, surprising myself a little until the next words came out. "Because I don't deserve you. And that jewellery doesn't belong to me. I can't be in a relationship with someone who loves me so much more than I love them - it would just hurt me too much. I think we're being silly, Theseus." I turned and walked into the living room, needing space.
Theseus stood there, broken. I heard a rush of wings and turned to see that he was gone, nowhere to be seen.
I choked back a sob. Why had I said that? I wanted him so badly. But I didn't want him to do this. I didn't want him to get hurt.
It was then that I noticed the letter.
I tentatively picked it up and read it.
I'm lost. You ask for understanding. You chose me yet you didn't. I will only return when the necklace is either worn or thrown into the sky.
Don't ask me how I will know if either happens. I just will.
Be careful and also ... I saw you the day you were born.
I stared at the note and the tears streamed down her face. Why? Why all of this? ... What was I going to do? I couldn't just forget about Jamie and stop feeling undeserving. But I couldn't face the prospect of never seeing Theseus again.
I folded the letter up and tucked it in the breast pocket of my blouse, close to my heart.
Closing my eyes, I put the necklace on.
"I love you, Theseus," I whispered. "And when you return, I want you to make me forget Jamie. Also, if we're doing that, I want you to take away my stupid desire to remain pure. Plus I want to stop being a seraph. It's too much pressure. So come back, grant my desires and then we can be together. You can take me and I'll forever belong to you."
I burst into tears and curled up in a ball. "I love you." The words hurt but I couldn't break his heart. I couldn't.