“Are you a vampire?” Chelsea asked teasingly, not believing him.
He looked at her seriously. “I’m not a mercenary.”
She laughed nervously. She suddenly lost all the comicality about the story. “You’re telling the truth, aren’t you?”
“Why would I lie?”
Chelsea stood up suddenly. “Well you lied in the first place, didn’t you?!”
“I did. But it was to protect you, and Elizabeth, and everyone you know.”
“I’m not human. I know very dangerous people, and not even a few of them like me.”
“What are you then?” she asked, exasperated.
“I’m an Angel.”
“Yeah, right,” she snorted.
“Chelsea, you’ve noticed it yourself. My formality, my little quirks. I am older than the universe itself.” His solemnity surprised Chelsea. She couldn’t tell whether he was lying or not.
“What about Arrow?”
“Asmodeus. You could say he’s my archenemy,” said Azrael with a small smile.
“I’ve heard that name before,” said Chelsea. “My dad used to say it, before he died.”
“Michael Watson, theologian. He begged for life, to continue living. But he was having a heart attack. He finally accepted it and asked one final thing. He asked to see you, one last time. The fourteenth of July last year. You were in the middle of an English lesson with Mrs Hardy and it started snowing. In the middle of July.”
“How did you know that?” Chelsea asked, becoming truly terrified.
“I know lots of things. Take my hand,” said Azrael, holding out a hand to her.
She took it, hesitantly and slowly. As soon as their skin connected, the room changed. It was no longer Azrael’s – or Nathan’s – bedroom, it was Chelsea’s. She pulled away from him and stumbled back against the wall.
“Chelsea, I’m sorry I haven’t told you sooner. I’ve wanted to, for so long. I just...” He didn’t quite know what to say.
“What was it that glittered underneath your shirt?” she whispered.
“Have you ever wondered why I’ve never let you touch my back?”
“A lot,” she nodded.
He looked down at the floor and unbuttoned his shirt. He took it off slowly and turned around. Chelsea gasped at the sight. She outstretched a shaky hand but couldn’t bring herself to touch the golden scars. Trails of gold had been left in the shape of wings all across his back.
“Is it...” trailed Chelsea.
“Real gold?” Azrael finished. “It is.”
Azrael couldn’t see the horror on her face.
“Does it hurt?” she asked, still unwilling to touch them.
Azrael turned to face her again. A faint flow came from the gold wounds. Within seconds, a pair of gold-plumaged wings were spread behind him. Chelsea gasped again, this time in admiration.
“So, my boyfriend is the gold-winged Archangel of Death,” she whispered.