A Fall From Grace | PAUSED

[PAUSED UNTIL I'VE FINISHED SK] Earth is a foreign and exotic world to angels. In a world of mortals lies dark and dangerous creatures, some worse than others. A place full of monsters is the worst place for an angel to be ambushed.

On a rare trip, Ariel becomes trapped. She and her friends will be tested, and unlikely allegiances will be formed. Stuck amongst monsters and mortals, Ariel will have to face her worst fears, and face herself. Without a single memory of her former life, can she survive in a foreign world?

~~~~~

A re-write of Fallen From Grace (which can be found on Wattpad).

Updated every two weeks - give or take! :-)

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8. seven | the bitter

seven | the bitter

 

when angels fall with broken wings,

i can't give up, i can't give in.

Breaking Benjamin

 

From her bedroom window, Ariel stared at the burning sky. The sun hadn't risen to its throne in the sky just yet, only peeking from its hiding position. Even though the sun wasn't awake yet, everyone else was – even Eva had started to stir from under the thick covers.

Ariel's eyes were sore, most likely because of the lack of sleep. Since that night, she'd been restless, her mind taunting her with fleeting images of her past and thinking about just what Rosangela and Gustav had been whispering about. Ariel hadn't broached the subject with Eva, and how could she? If Rosangela's words about them all being sisters was true, then Eva would have known and that meant that she'd been keeping that information from her. A small, quiet sigh escaped her lips before Ariel's fingers started massaging her temples.

"Ree?" A croaky voice greeted her, and Ariel ripped her eyes away from the rising sun.

"Morning." Her voice was quiet, but it wasn't husky like Eva's.

"What time did you get up?" Eva asked, groaning and stretching her arms above her head. She clicked her neck before slowly moving off the bed, with the duvet wrapped around her like a second skin.

"A couple of minutes ago." Ariel shrugged, the lie sliding off her tongue smoothly. A small pang of guilt welled in Ariel's chest, but she pushed it down. She shouldn't feel guilty – it was a small, harmless lie. But it was the same lie she'd spewed each morning.

"Oh." Eva joined her at the window, but there was no room on the bay window. Ariel refused to move her legs either, she'd become too comfortable. "So, are you coming down today?" Ariel shook her head, and neither female said anything.

After Ariel walking out on Parisa, they'd not even dared to ask if she wanted to learn anything else. That, and the fact that after she'd eavesdropped she'd refused to speak to anyone. The only person she would say a word to was Eva – and that was because even though she may have known all the information, she'd been the one to comfort Ariel after the thread incident and also because somehow, Ariel knew she had no choice in what she could say. When Ariel had been forced from her room once or twice and asked questions about herself (about her parents, about where she used to live, did she do anything for a job), she would see Eva open her mouth and falter before either Parisa or Rosangela answered.

"I'll see you in a bit." Eva's voice was small as she bid goodbye after changing into a dress and cardigan. Ariel watched her figure retreat out of the room before her eyes turned back to the window. The morning light lit the land up just enough for Ariel to make out what everything was – colour was starting to return to the day. As her eyes roamed round, she felt herself drooping and soon, she let herself slip into a dreamless sleep.

"Ariel?" She groaned and nuzzled her head into the uncomfortable surface. Her limbs felt like lead and it was almost impossible to open her eyes. However, the deep voice persisted and looking through bleary eyes, she saw a bulky figure blocking her view. Frowning, she blinked a couple of times trying to see who it was – it couldn't have been the girls and it definitely wasn't Gustav. "Ariel!"

"Balt?" His name came out as more of a question – making sure she had the right name. When he didn't say anything else, she took it as a good sign. "Um, what are you doing here?" Blinking, she moved her body and still felt a little disorientated. Logic told her it was because she'd probably had a good few hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep – something she'd had very little of as of late.

"How are you doing?" His hands were in his jean pockets, his shoulders hunched up. Ariel thought that it made him almost look kinda cute – but something was off. It was like she didn't like that particular pose he was holding...

It doesn't suit him, the thought drifted into her mind. But who was she to say what did, and what didn't suit Balt?

"Fine." She said, the situation confusing her. He hadn't answered her first question. She spared him another glance before looking out the window, again. She saw the black jeep, parked diagonally across Gustav's drive-way. "Is Malachi here?"

"Moloch, you mean?" Ariel nodded, glad he couldn't see the blush that was slowly creeping across her cheeks. She should have remembered Moloch's name – he was the one who returned her to Gustav's. "Yeah, he's here. He's with Rosangela, wanting to know where his friend's buried."

"Right. Charmeine." Ariel's mind flashed back to that night.

"Yeah." Silence followed, the tension and awkwardness lingering like a thick fog. Ariel didn't make a move to talk to him. She knew it was rude – but she couldn't bring herself to say anything. And what was she supposed to say? He'd been involved in that freaky conversation in Gustav's office – he probably knew what everyone was hiding from her. "Eva said you were refusing to talk to anyone."

"I talk to her."

"She also said you haven't left the room."

Ariel shrugged, tearing her eyes from the window and onto Balt, who was moving to her bedside table. Irrational panic gripped Ariel. Throwing herself off her seat, she threw her arm out.

"No!"

Balt turned to her, the piece of gold she'd hidden in her drawer.

"You shouldn't keep this lying around. It's dangerous." There was a hint of a smile on Balt's face, as he threw the gold in the air and caught it in the other hand. Not once did Ariel's eyes leave the stone. Her heart was hammering in her chest. She needed it back. If it was in her hands, it was safe. Balt could break it. Or even worse; he could take it away.

"Give it back." She said, calmly at first. But when he made no move to do anything, she shouted. "Give me it!"

"So why aren't you speaking to your sisters?" He said, slipping the gold into his jacket pocket.

"I don't have to answer you." She spat, anger coating her words. Who did he think he was, strolling in and taking her things? Everything I have is being taken away from me – one way or the other.

"You do if you want your gold back."

"It's not important to me." She shrugged, trying to keep her tone as neutral as possible. Her words shook though, and her breath was uneven.

"If it wasn't, you wouldn't have lunged at me like you wanted to rip me apart."

"I didn't."

"Whatever." She mumbled. He took a step forward, and something gripped her heart. Taking a step back, she flinched away. As soon as she'd spoken against him, something had changed within him. Ariel hadn't seen it but she'd felt it. She took another couple of steps back, and as quickly as she'd felt the crawling sensation attack her skin, it had left.

Balt's eyes widened and he held his hands up in a surrendering motion. Somehow, Ariel had ended up half-crouching, with one hand behind her resting on the bay window seat and her other hand was curled into a fist. She didn't remember how she got into the position – or why she'd done it so quickly.

"I won't hurt you." Ariel gasped, as Balt's words somehow catapulted a series of images into her brain. None of them matched up – there were people dancing, a man she hadn't seen before with rows of bottles behind him, flashing lights and... Balt, sliding into a booth with one side of his lips curled upwards.

"Did we meet before?" Ariel asked, her breaths coming out in pants. The images were jumbled and she didn't know if they were in the same place or if they all happened at the same time but Balt was in one of them. Forcing her body to move out of the defensive position, she sat down and let her hands fall into her head. Unlike the other images, the ones that passed through hurt. It felt as if someone had thrown a heavy object, hitting her bang in the middle of her forehead.

"What?"

"Have we met before?!" Ariel shouted, more out of desperation than anything. "Before you saved me from that... guy, did we meet before?"

"I..." Balt faltered and she bit her lip.

"Please, Balt." She begged. The pain had subsided, slightly. "Nobody is telling me anything, and the stuff I've found out... it's just too much. I just want some simple information. You know, like what my favourite food is." She let out a slightly bitter laugh. "You should have seen their faces when I asked that – it's the simplest question, isn't it?"

Another silence followed, and Ariel let out a loud sigh before she had the courage to face Balt. Whatever she felt – whatever that turn around in her feelings was... she didn't understand. The anger that had fuelled her earlier was gone and instead she just felt tired. Tired, and confused. Balt wasn't looking at her, but at the floor.

"Yes." He finally answered. "Yes, we did."

"How?"

"How, what?" Balt's head had risen, and he was looking in her direction but Ariel knew that he wasn't looking at her.

"How did we meet?" His eyebrows furrowed together and it looked like he was thinking hard about something before he spoke. For a fleeting moment, Ariel thought he'd be like everyone else and just avoid the question (like he had done earlier).

"In a nightclub... bar place. Whatever you'd like to call it."

"A nightclub?" Ariel frowned, unfamiliar with the place. That's odd – usually it's remembering I have a problem with. "What's that?"

"You don't know?"

"If I did, would I be asking?" She snapped before Balt sighed, and stuck his hand in his pocket. He pulled out the gold and threw it gently to Ariel. Without thinking, her hands flew out in a cupping motion to catch her most precious object. "So," she started, playing with the stone, "I take it you're not going to answer."

"It's a place where people like to go to have fun." He said, ignoring her last words. "I bought you a drink, before you left with Eva and the blonde one."

Ariel gave him a small smile. "Thanks."

"For what?"

"For giving me answers that I don't have to think about." Balt frowned and Ariel waved her hands at him. "Everything everyone tells me... it's just... you know..." Ariel let out an exasperated huff before giving up. How could she explain to Balt about how she felt, when she didn't know how to explain it? If she told him about Rosangela and Gustav's conversation, then she'd also want to explain the office incident – and then he'd know she'd listened in and knew more than she should have. And maybe that she knew more than she should. But would Balt really care about that?

"Everyone what?" Balt asked, and Ariel sat back against the window.

"I don't know any more." She admitted. "At first, I wanted to know everything but then..." Her eyebrows scrunched together as she thought carefully about her next words. She was sure Balt wouldn't – and didn't – care about how much she'd overheard but she had to remember that he was also part of the office incident. What if he would tell Rosangela about all of this? "I found out some things, things I wasn't expecting. And now I'm not sure if I want to know it all. But then sometimes I feel I have to but, the stuff I did hear..."

"You weren't expecting?" Ariel's eyes had widened at her last words – she didn't tell him what she heard but luckily he wasn't asking about it. Her head bobbed and her eyes fell to her fingers, which were intertwining themselves with each other before breaking away. "So what sort of things do you want to know about?"

"How old I am, where I came from – because it's obviously not here – do I have any other friends... that stuff." Ariel said, looking at Balt. "Eva told me some stuff when we got here but I don't know... it almost felt like she was holding back. Like, there were some things she couldn't say. It's always felt like that."

"So ask them again." Balt suggested.

"They'll just shut me down or give me fake answers again. Really, there's no point."

"What if I go with you?"

"Why would you do that?" Ariel's eyes narrowed. First he miraculously saved her from the alley, and now he was offering to help her get answers? What does he get out of this? Is this because he's working with Rosangela?

"Let's just say I owe you." Balt said, his face a mask of blankness. He held out a hand, with an eyebrow raised. "So, are you coming to get answers, or what?"     

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