Emory's apartment was filled with the smell of loose plaster, daffodils, and- most disgustingly- coffee.
She hated coffee. It was as if bitterness, poison and early mornings had all been thrown into the same steaming cup. It was if the Wicked Witch of the West had decided to create the most execrable poison in existence. And then, failing to make that, she decided to make coffee instead, which was likely to be far less lethal.
Still. Coffee was vile.
And she wasn't particularly sure as to where the smell of daffodils was coming from.
Wrinkling her nose, she sat up in her chair, her back cracking in a fulminating manner (Emory didn't understand such words, but I however, do, meaning that they may pop up from time to time. I can't help it, really- the narrator in me really can take over) whilst the man who called himself an angel who called himself Nathaniel perched on the edge of her cupboard, lazily admiring the vast arsenal that lay scattered there.
"You're finally awake." Nathaniel threw her a polite smile. He looked out of place in her dingy apartment, with his pale blonde hair neatly brushed and a certain aura of nervousness clinging to his frame. Emory stood up and made her way into the kitchen- which was essentially consisted of a sink, oven and kettle, but let's not be too judgemental: it certainly sufficed- and fidgeted around in a drawer before pulling out two coffee mugs. After filling them, she made her way back into the room and handed one to the angel man.
"Careful," she said. "It's hot." When Nathaniel didn't move, she scowled. "It's not that hot. Just drink it already." Emory sat down and took a sip of her own drink, reflexively scrunching her face into an expression of agony. It seemed that it was that hot, after all.
But still, there were times when one needed God or needed coffee, and at this time in the morning, with her body aching from her fall last night, she figured that coffee was the easiest option.
She wasn't particularly sure when she fell asleep last night- there was a grey area between utter nothingness and holding a gun towards someone's face, and she still couldn't exactly pick out when one met the other. She'd been too nice to kill him, though, despite the OAP from the apartment next door moaning up until three o'clock in the morning about hoe she 'didn't deserve this type of property damage' and 'how on earth was she going to stop her canary harassing the couple upstairs now'.
Emory sighed, finished her coffee and pulled out her phone. It was a disposable one-bought essentially to make a few calls to the same person before being thrown away again- but she'd attached a snazzy keychain to it anyway. It was of a small speech bubble containing the words 'this is such a phone-y pun' and she probably shouldn't have laughed at it every time she read it considering her age.
Nathaniel frowned, a creasing forming between his perfect eyebrows. His entire being was relatively flawless, now that Emory- and the narrator- came to think about it. Chiselled features, perfectly-groomed hair, neatly-pressed clothes. He was the kind of person the majority would admire, despite gender. Not particularly muscularly, just relatively defined.
He didn't look particularly special.
But then, neither did Emory, and that was one of the reasons that she did so well at what she did.
"What are you doing?" Nathaniel asked. "Are you calling the police? I don't need to spend another night in a jail cell."
Emory looked down at the phone, up at Nathaniel and back down at the phone again. Her first thought was to ask why he'd been sent to a police station, but the guy had fallen through a damn ceiling. That would have been a bit of a stupid question. She lifted up the mobile, the keychain jangling cheerfully. "I'm sorting out work."
"Work as in-"
"Murdering people, yup."
Nathaniel pursed his lips childishly and Emory had to resist the urge to ruffle his hair as she dialled the number. It took a moment for the person on the other end to pick up, but when they did, Emory was affronted by a heavy Russian accent.
"Is it done?" they asked, and Emory swallowed another mouthful of her coffee. Ugh- it was so bitter.
She nodded. "Sure is."
She noticed Nathaniel playing with the double-edged knife that she usually kept in her pocket. It was long and deadly-sharp, the cold metal glinting like moonlight on ivory fangs. How had she been so stupid?
Letting a stranger into your apartment was one thing, but Emory had no doubt that she could handle herself if anything arose, but sitting down unarmed whilst aforementioned stranger sat opposite her with a knife in his hands was not the best idea. They could attack her at any moment and she'd barely be able to stop them.
Nathaniel picked up the small pistol she usually kept in her boot. How had he found these weapons in the first place? Emory bit her lip and waved her hand in his direction in a vain attempt to gain his attention. It didn't work and she turned her attention back to her employer.
"Yeah, so... um... how much will that be again? Yeah, yeah, so transfer that money into the four separate bank accounts..."
Then Emory noticed that Nathaniel was frowning at the double-barrel shotgun she'd left on the kitchen table. Yeah, that one wasn't particularly hard to find- she'd literally left it right next to him. She wouldn't have been too bothered by it if Nathaniel hadn't picked it up and aimed towards her, admiring the shotgun's frame.
This time, though, he noticed her attempts to grab his attention. She waved frantically at him to put the weapon down and he frowned, looked down at the gun, back at her and then waved back.
Emory growled internally as she turned back to the phone. "I need to call you back. Give me five minutes."
"Wait, what do you-"
Emory hung up and turned back to Nathaniel with a face of thunder. "What is it now?"
Nathaniel looked up with wide, innocent eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about."
She rolled her eyes. "What's this whole 'I'm a magical angel and you need to help me save the world' crap about? Are you after money? Do you need me to get rid of someone? Please, just cut the rubbish. I don't need it."
He shook his head. "No, you don't understand. I mean that-"
"Yeah, sure. Or did you just hit your head when you fell through next-door's ceiling, huh? Is that it? Trapped yourself within the illusion that you can do far more than you actually can?"
Maybe Emory was just kidding herself, but Nathaniel looked just a teensy-tinsey bit irritated. "I assure you, I'm completely-"
Emory nodded sarcastically, stretched out in her chair and tugged the gun from Nathaniel's unprotesting hands. "Listen, this is all very nice and whatever, but you really don't have any proof that a) the world's in any more danger than it usually in and b) you really can do any kind of magic hocus-pocus miracle work at all."
Nathaniel suddenly looked as though he was about to say something, and although the blurb suggests that Nathaniel actually was able to somehow prove both a) and b), he did not do so.
Emory's phone began to ring again as Nathaniel started forward. "My dear human, both this world and many other planes of existence are in serious danger. I promise you that I am not lying to you and I am not suffering any sort of injury from my entrance yesterday evening. I require your help, human, for without you, I doubt that I will be able to save this world."
Emory ignored him and went to pick up her phone... until there was no more phone in her hand.
All that was left was a pile of dust.
She'd even lost her keychain.
Emory looked at Nathaniel, down at the pile of dust lying in her palm and back up to Nathaniel again. Maybe it was just her imagination... or was he glowing slightly? Not the kind of hey-I've-just-been-doused-in-seventeen-layers-of-foundation-and-now-I'm-in-a-fab-all-natural-advert, but more as if he'd ingested several radioactive substances and pretty soon he was going to transform into some terrifying chipmunk/human hybrid.
"Um..." she managed. "Did you just smite my phone?" Nathaniel looked flustered, a light blush tingeing his cheeks.
"OhmygoodnessIamsoincrediblysorryforloosingmytemperlikethatIamsoincrediblysorry." He rushed forward, the red having now spread over his entire face. Then the phone was back in her hand, not even looking any worse for wear.
The pun on the keychain made her smile again.
Emory looked up at Nathaniel, down at her phone and back up to Nathaniel. Then she carefully put down the mobile, leant back in the chair and took a deep breath.
"Tell me about this saving the world shebang again."