“Why only ‘pretty much’?” Chelsea asked warily.
“You left out the part where the new boy is the Demon-Prince of Lust and after Elizabeth, and maybe you too.”
“Oh. I forgot to mention that.”
“Yeah, you did!”
“Crap,” he said. He grasped his right forearm in pain and gritted his teeth. He looked at the skin there. “Oh, for...”
A small silver line had joined the multitude of others.
“What’s that?” Chelsea asked.
“They’re basically tally marks. Blasphemy, swearing, and all that Ten Commandments sh– stuff.”
Chelsea smiled and opened her mouth to speak just as the door opened. Suddenly Azrael was gone.
“Chelsea, dinner’s ready,” said her mother.
“You could have knocked, or just shouted me.”
“Yeah? And what was so secret that I should have knocked?”
“Nothing, I was just thinking.”
Chelsea followed her mother downstairs for dinner. The whole time, she was absent-minded, buried deep inside her own thoughts. The image of the golden scars on Nathan’s back was imprinted on her mind.
What was she to call him, now that she knew his real name? Nathan or Azrael? Arrow or Asmodeus?
Chelsea went back upstairs as soon as she could, not saying anything to her mother or siblings. On the floor lay a single gold feather. She picked it up gently. It was so soft, so unrealistic, her mind told her it wasn’t real, but it was and she knew it.
Underneath it was a note, written in large looping letters. Call me when everyone’s asleep. If you want, I’ll pick you up¸ it said. Chelsea smiled to herself and dropped onto her bed.
Her phone rang, making her jump. She made a grab for it but just knocked it off the bedside table. She fumbled around under the bed for it. Her fingers enclosed around the phone and she held it to her ear.
“Hello?” she said into it.
“Chelsea?” it was Elizabeth, speaking in a hushed tone.
“Guess what?” Elizabeth said excitedly.
“What?” Chelsea asked.
“Well you know my parents are out of town for a week? I’m currently sat in my en suite in virtually nothing!” she whispered.
“Good to know. Can I ask why?”
“Well, a certain Arrow is sat on my bed.”
“What? Beth, he’s not who–”
“Got to go, wish me luck, bye-bye.” And the line went dead.
Chelsea’s breathing sped up. Her grip on the phone slackened. It fell from her hands and crashed to the floor. She stared straight ahead at nothing. Sheer terror filled her, terror for her best friend. What would happen to Elizabeth? Only one person had the answer. Only one. He would know what to do.
As if she’d been kicked, Chelsea suddenly whirred into action. She grabbed the phone again and dialled the number. Before it even had time to ring, it was answered.
“Hello?” he said.
“It’s Elizabeth. He’s got her,” she said.
Azrael didn’t answer for a while. “How do you know?” he asked finally.
“She rang me. She was sat in her bathroom. He was in her bedroom.”
“When was that?”
“Just over a minute ago.”
“Then there’s nothing I can do.”
That wasn’t the response Chelsea had been looking for.