C O M F O R T
If that is what you wish.
There was a moment of stunned silence as the slim brunette processed her words.
"I'm sorry, what?" Cleo's mouth seemed to stop working. "I don't think I heard you right. Clearly you have some issues, but honey, putting on this ridiculous costume isn't going to get you extra points. I'll take a picture with you and sign you an autograph, and-" Adionna raised a slender finger and Cleo stopped talking. Again, that force kept her mouth shut and Cleo could bet it was the angel's mental doing. Without facing her, the new bodyguard spoke in that same quiet, authoritative voice of hers.
"Does it matter?" she asked without taking her eyes off the elevator doors. She sounded...disappointed. When they opened and she stepped out, Cleo stood there for a split second, dumbfounded, before anger took a boil in her and she stomped out after the black-winged woman.
"Does it matter?" she asked, incredulous. "You walk up to my door, tell me your name, which, by the way, is the weirdest fucking name I've ever heard, tell me you're my bodyguard, proceed to flap your bird wings in my face- I KNOW THAT'S A COSTUME-throw at me that I'm your mate, and ask if it matters?" her voice rose with each word.
"Enough," Adiona's voice didn't sound impatient, in fact, she talked like she had all the time in the world. Cleo had a feeling that the world could be ending in the next minute and the woman could still narrate a Snow White story with a cup of tea in her hand. "Come here, please."
"Did you even hear what I just said?" Cleo tried to stop herself from almost doing exactly what she commanded. Again.
"You're not making sense, none of this does!" She felt like she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. "How did you do that, huh? How were you able to control me by speaking like that? What are you? How do you know I'm your mate? I'm not even a lesbian!" she stomped her foot at the last part and immediately regretted it when a sharp pain shot up her leg.
She looked down to see broken glass at the bottom of her feet and bit her lip to stop from crying. It's just like having a period, Cleo, she thought to herself. Except it's on your barefoot and it actually hurts like hell. Stupid.
"I expected my mate to be of the male species as well," Adriona spoke like a being that's been around for centuries. "Not quite...this."
Cleo wasn't even registering what she was saying. Her foot was throbbing like hell. She barely noticed the slight distaste in Adriona's eyes when she said the last part.
"Please," Adiona's vivid, electric eyes steadied on her and Cleo stood there, breathless and trying to ignore the pain of her bleeding foot. "I will explain everything. Just stay there and I'll come get you."
"No," Cleo said immediately. "I'll walk there. Don't move a muscle. I can do this myself."
"If that is what you wish."
That voice. Her eyes. Her goddamn everything. Is she telling the truth?
She was standing at the edge of the building. And when she spoke those words, Cleo started limping towards the winged enigma. Before long, she found herself looking down.
"Oh, sweet cookie, that is high," she whimpered as she immediately scrunched her eyes closed, her hand blindingly searching for anything to hold on to. Her hand connected with something smooth yet hard, like steel wrapped underneath velvet. She opened one eye to find that she was grasping the other woman's arm.
"I'm here," a breath of air whispered by her ear, making her shiver. Then, remembering her fear of heights, she turned around to bury her face into the strange woman's body. The scent of soft cinnamon and dark chocolate engulfed her almost immediately. The invisible tendrils seemed to make their way up her nose and wrap around her brain, allowing her the pleasure of feeling euphoria. She forgot her bleeding foot and hummed in content as she felt strong arms wrap around her.
The last thing she remembered before dozing off in exhaustion was the feel of the gust of wind as she briefly saw black wings embrace the sky in her first flight with an angel.
"She saw my wings..."
Cleo's head was throbbing and the voices sounded murky.
"And you're certain they're after you?"
She briefly wondered who that other male voice belonged to. It sounded so familiar.
"Yes, I sensed them near when my gold was unlocked."
Ah, her angel was near.
Wait, my angel?
Cleo moaned, sitting up and trying to figure out where she was. She winced when her damaged foot touched the hardwood floor and almost immediately she felt a hand steady her shoulder.
"Whoa, easy there tiger," Blaire Fraunhoff, her best friend, chuckled softly. "Jeez, how many days haven't you slept? You were practically knocked out."
"What are you doing here?" Cleo's brows creased as she regarded the beautiful African-American woman. She noticed that past the glass walls of wherever she was now, it was still dark. "Where am I?"
"I'm here because you can't get rid of me that easy," Blaire gently bumped her shoulder. "And you're back at my place. Another reason why I'm here. Because I own it." The brunette could hear the duh in the shorter woman's voice.
Cleo looked at her surroundings to confirm. Same wooden floor, same white sofas, same modern designs, and same fireplace. The only thing different from the place she considered her second home was the tall dark-haired beauty leaning against the door, watching her with those stunning eyes of hers.
Suddenly remembering the events that occurred, Cleo shot up from the plush sofa, her head getting dizzy a little bit due to the sudden move.
"Blaire!" she grabbed her best friend's arm. "Get behind me. She's some sort of bird!"
Blaire rolled her eyes and held up her hands in front of Cleo, "Cley, it's ok. I know her, and she's not a bird. She's an angel."
Oh, shit, Cleo thought. She has my best friend brainwashed too.
"And really, Cley?" Blaire was trying to make the situation as light as possible for her dear friend, knowing that once they spilled the beans later, only heaven knows how Cleo would react. "Putting me behind you like that? I mean, don't get me wrong, it's heroic and all but you have the fighting capacity of a goldfish. On dry land."
Under different circumstances Cleo might have found that funny and then laughed, but she knew her best friend well enough to know she's trying to calm her down before the storm. So she opted to look as calm as possible and reclined on the sofa.
"Tell me. What's going on?"
"Here," Blaire handed her a banana from the fruit bowl on the table. "You're going to need this."
It's the fruit Cleo eats to calm her down. And she knew some serious shit was about to be revealed.
"Just tell me what's going on," She said through clenched teeth, her patience dwindling.
A few seconds of silence trickled past, and just when Adiona opened her mouth to speak, Blaire stopped her.
"Wait," she interjected, handing Cleo another banana. "Okay, go."
Cleo gripped both bananas in her hands, and she heard Adiona sigh softly.
"You're my mate," the green-eyed woman started to slowly walk towards Cleo, each step mimicking that of a lion in front of its prey. "I know this because you can see my wings. Humans are only able to see angel wings when they are permitted by the angels to see them. Except, of course, if they are their mate. In this case, you can see my wings whether I give you permission or not."
She stopped at the fireplace and her slender fingers caressed the mantle, drawing Cleo's attention to them.
"I can stop if you want. I understand this is quite a lot to take in."
"No," Cleo objected, shaking her head slightly. "Keep going. What are you exactly? How is Blaire involved in this? And where is the other guy?"
"What other guy?" Blaire frowned. "It's just been the two of us."
"I'm not crazy," Cleo objected. "I swear I heard another voice."
Adiona cleared her throat, ignoring the statement. "I'm a hybrid angel. Which means I'm part angel and part...something else." She slightly turned her face away at the last part.
"And as for Blaire..."
"Cleo, eat your bananas now," Blaire quietly implored. "Please."
"Blaire," Cleo's voice had an edge of warning even as she opened the first banana. "You're starting to make me nervous."
"Just...know that I'm still the same Blaire you know, ok? Just with some added upgrades," Blaire sighed. "Here goes."
A sweep of the wind was felt briefly before Cleo screamed for the second time that night.
"Holy shit!" her eyes bugged out as she witnessed her second pair of magnificent wings. She briefly pondered how many 'seconds' she would be going through tonight.
"Oh my god, Blaire," her voice was almost a whisper. "You're a bird too?"
"For god's sake Cleo," Blaire rolled her eyes. "At least talk like an adult."
"So wait," Cleo came closer to examine her best friend's wings. "You're my mate too?"
She sensed Adiona stiffen slightly at that and Blaire laughed, "Hell no! I just kind of gave you permission to see it. Humans can only see our wings if we give them that. So technically my wings have been here all along. I just gave you permission."
Blaire's being an angel would explain why she was just so effortlessly perfect in almost everything that she did. Cleo concluded that angels had a thing of being perfect.
"Ok," Cleo wasn't as shocked and as upset as she expected to be. She didn't even need to open the second banana. "So Adiona, I'm your mate because I can see your wings, whether you give me permission or not."
"That is," her silky voice replied. "Correct."
"Oh my god," Blaire whispered. "I've never seen Adiona with a woman before. Does that make you bisexual?" She questioned the taller woman.
Adiona lowered her long lashes slightly, creating a brief shadow on her high cheekbones. "I bear her mark on my skin."
Cleo frowned, "What?"
Adiona lifted her wrist, where a golden tattoo had been etched in intricate detail. Cleo couldn't help herself and got off the sofa to get a closer look. Adiona stiffened when Cleo held her fair wrist in her hand and held it close for inspection.
Her honey eyes followed the golden lines, its swirls, lines and dots. The tattoo itself only took up a small part of Adiona's wrist, but the details were perfection.
It was a tattoo of Cleo's eyes.
The gold seemed to come alive as light glinted off of it. The tiny strands of the honey-colored richness of her iris were etched unto the Archangel's wrist. The shape, the expression, the details: it was without a doubt Cleo's eyes.
Cleo's breath was warm on her wrist as she gazed at the tattoo in awe. "How?" She breathed.
"Every living being has eyes that are entirely different. It's in the strands hidden within the iris of their eyes," Adiona took her wrist back from Cleo's hands, aware of the heat left behind from her touch. "When an angel or archangel find their mates, their body produces more gold, and it sketches the irises of the mates allowed to see their wings."
Blaire lifted a delicate brown hand to her mouth, tracing her full lips with fingers that have made love with piano keys for decades. "So it's true. Cleomandra is your mate."
Cleo didn't have time to reprimand her friend for using her hated full name. She was too busy being stunned. The tattoo was proof that all this supernatural thing was real. No one could ever draw her eyes as specifically as Adiona's tattoo. Cleo took one look at it and just knew they were hers. "But how did it know that I was your mate?"
"No one knows," Blaire spoke. "But we know when we meet our mates because our bodies not only produce gold in the next few minutes, but also the Golden Ambrosia. We can feel it within hours."
"What's a Golden Ambrosia?" Cleo asked, sitting back down on the sofa after examining Blaire's golden brown wings. They weren't as magnificent as Adiona's but they were still enough to take her breath away.
"Golden Ambrosia," Adiona's voice seemed to drop an octave lower and Cleo wasn't sure if she imagined it or not. "Is the golden powder at the tips of our wings that stimulate... sexual urges."
"O-oh," Cleo didn't know what to say. Does that mean Adiona is turned on right now? Or is it just something that triggers the actually turn-on part?
"No, I am not in heat, human," Adiona straightened her back. As if her already-perfect-posture couldn't be more straight. "Even if I was, it would be against my will."
Blaire shot her a glare.
"Hey," Cleo frowned, anger a low boil in her stomach. "One, I didn't ask to be your fucking mate." She stood up and got up close to Adiona, almost standing on a tiptoe to glare at the Archangel. "And two, get out of my fucking head."
"Adiona," Blaire warned. "The Council-"
"Has no right to say what they said because we both know they're hypocrites." Adiona's voice was steel. "Am I not allowed to have a mental connection with my mate?"
Cleo could almost swear she heard a drip of sarcasm from her "mate". She scoffed, "You've never heard of privacy?" Her clenched fists trembled on her lap.
"You're humans," Adiona stated coldly. "Privacy is a luxury."
Cleo's fingers itched to claw her eyes out.