Intuition (The Premonition #2)


by Amy A. Bartol

CHAPTER 1

New Year’s Eve

“Okay, sweetie, it’s time to get up now,” Buns says in a brisk manner, as she breezes into my room at noon. She heads immediately to the windows to open the curtains and thereby dispels the cave-like atmosphere. Light bursts into the room, causing me to squint at her and cover my eyes against the glare.

“Buns, what are you doing here?” I ask her groggily, shielding my eyes with my arm. I love my room in Reed’s Crestwood house, but the windows let in a lot of light. “Aren’t you supposed to be at Russell’s house until next week?” I ask in confusion as I grip my pillow and pull myself up to a sitting position.

“Aren’t you amped to see me, Evie?” Buns counters with her hands on her h*ps as she assesses me. I’m sure I look really bad because I haven’t brushed my hair today so I probably have major bedhead.

“Of course I’m psyched to see you, I missed you. How was your holiday down south?” I ask, thinking about how warm and beautiful Buns had described Russell’s family to me on the phone. She and Brownie had gone to Russell’s house in North Carolina for the winter break, as protection, so that he could see his family. Brownie had posed as Russell’s girlfriend, while Buns masqueraded as Brownie’s sister. They had no trouble pulling it off either because they both have an elfin, tree nymph look about them that seems familial. That, coupled with the fact that they both have fair hair and blue eyes, lends credence to their charade. At any rate, I’m sure that Russell’s family hasn’t suspected that they’re really angels, since I didn’t even know that until I saw their butterfly wings.

“It was a lot of fun, very endearing–I was having an amazing time. Scarlett, Russell’s sister, is just like us. She’s ready to stir up some trouble at a moments notice,” Buns says, eyeing me shrewdly.

“Is Russell back, too?” I ask her, sitting up straighter in bed and rubbing my eyes.

“Russell is still at home with his family. Brownie stayed with him. They’re fine. They’ll be back in a few days, just before classes start. I came back early because Reed called me,” she says with a disapproving look.

“He did? Well, you should’ve stayed with Russell. He needs you. What if something happens?” I ask, feeling uncomfortable with the fact that Russell is still several states away with only Brownie for protection; even though Brownie is strong and vicious in a fight, it still worries me because fallen angels are even more vicious.

“Nothing will happen. They’re fine. You, on the other hand, are not. Reed said you aren’t getting out of bed. He’s worried,” her reply is stern as she looks at me like I let her down.

“I get out of bed.” I say with a frown, trying to remember when I was last up. It was yesterday I think… or maybe not. “I’m just tired,” I finish defensively.

“No, you’re doing that self-helpless thing again like you did before when Reed wouldn’t talk to you. I don’t think I can live through another one, so you’re getting up now,” Buns says, pulling me out of bed without effort because she is really freaking strong. “I don’t want to hear another word about this until you’ve showered and gotten dressed. The clock is ticking, let’s go,” she says in a militant way.

“FINE!” I retort, and storm toward the bathroom feeling harassed. After I take a shower and get dressed, I rejoin Buns. She is sitting on my bed waiting for me.

“We’re getting you out of the house today. What do you want to do?” Buns asks as she gets off the bed and moves towards where I stand by my closet door.

“We’re allowed to leave the house?” I ask her in shock because I haven’t been out for most of winter break.

Buns frowns, “You are now and I’m gonna lose it if they have a problem with it. No wonder you’re so depressed, sitting here with nothing to do but dwell on everything that has happened. Those Power angels can’t figure that out?” she asks rhetorically. “They’re going to have to compromise their need to have every angle covered, and keep in mind that you’re part human, too. You need to be out doing stuff. You’re a teenager!” she says, as if that would explain everything.

I’ve been on virtual house arrest since waking up from my injuries a few weeks ago. Just thinking of what happened then sends shivers down my spine and I have to lean up against the wall by my closet door. I can hardly think about the massacre at the 7-Eleven without feeling a wave of panic hit me. Being FUBARed by my ex-friend, Alfred, has taken a serious toll on me.

“What are we going to do?” I ask her, feeling like I can crawl into bed and go back to sleep.

“Let’s start out with a run, and then we’ll plan what we’re gonna do tomorrow night.” Buns says with girlish excitement.

“What’s tomorrow night?” I ask her in confusion because I don’t even know what day it is.

“Evie, tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve. You didn’t know that?” she asks me with a worried look.

I shake my head. “Things have been a little out of focus for me since you left—kind of abstract. Reed and Zee have been great. I feel really bad that I let them down,” I reply.

“You didn’t let them down. They just don’t know what you need. It’s just like when you didn’t know you were an angel. You had Reed menacing you and you were evolving abilities you couldn’t possibly comprehend—you needed a distraction, so Brownie and I tried to provide that whenever we could, so you wouldn’t dwell on it,” she says, smiling at me.

“I’m still floored that you knew all along what was going on and I had no clue that you and Brownie were Reapers. You could’ve let me in on it,” I say.

“Sweetie, we couldn’t tell you, and since we are really good at fooling humans, you just never guessed,” she says, shrugging. “I doubt you would’ve taken it well if we just announced to you that we were angels of death. That’s kind of a dark freak flag to be flying as far as most humans are concerned. Even though we knew you’re both human and angel, we kind of reasoned that you weren’t really aware of that.”

“Why did you decide to help me out?” I ask, since I don’t understand just why they have been so good to me.

“Like we said before, Evie, you’re a kindred spirit. You have a bit of a wild side in you, just like Brownie and me. Not all angels are like that, at least, the divine kind of angels,” she says, handing me my running shoes from the closet. “And, we thought it was kind of lame that you had to go through your evolution into angel here on Earth with all of the dangers clawing at you, while every other angel we know of has gotten to evolve in Paradise, safely tucked away with no care or fear to mar the event.”

“Oh, that sounds nice…I didn’t know I was getting completely gypped,” I reply with sarcasm, wondering what it would’ve been like to feel completely safe while all of this is happening.

“Evie, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but if you had been a Seraph in Heaven when you evolved, you would’ve been completely pampered,” she says with a sheepish smile. “You would’ve been the darling of the Seraphim, I’m sure.”

I give Buns a skeptical look. I doubt that any of them would ever think I’m darling because of the fact that I’m not full-blooded Seraphim angel, but a mixture of Seraphim and human. “Pampering is for wimps,” I say, trying to make light of it all.

“Exactly!” Buns replies happily. “So, we’ll just go tell the boys that we’re going for a run, and then we’ll plan New Year’s. We’ll probably have to stay somewhere around here because I doubt Reed will let us go to London or Paris for it. He’ll probably have a problem with New York, too. Maybe I can convince him to let us go to Chicago. That would be epic,” she says, beginning to get excited about getting out of Crestwood.

“Good luck with that. I couldn’t convince him to let me out past the courtyard,” I reply, giving her a pessimistic smile. Reed has been extremely sweet, but unbending when it comes to what he considers dangerous and risky.

“Well, this conversation will have ‘awkward’ written all over it then, because I plan on getting my way,” she says with heat in her voice.

But as it turns out, Reed is very accommodating when it comes to Buns’s requests. He just retrieves his shoes and coat when he hears we plan to go running and follows us out of the house without a word. I am surprised until I realize that he must really be worried about me.

Running out to Lake Arden, I feel like I can breathe for the first time in days. It’s cold because it’s the beginning of winter but that doesn’t bother me like it would’ve before I started evolving. I am starting to acquire the armor-like angel skin that protects me from things like cold and extreme heat. The transformation has been seamless, happening a little bit each day. Reed said it would take several more months to complete the transformation.

It’s strange, this new skin; it is smoother than human skin and lacks normal imperfections. It is also a shade paler than my human skin was, but it has a luminosity to it that is very hard to discern, even with highly sensitive eyesight like mine. I marvel at it, because it’s tougher, more resilient, than the skin I had before.

After we run around the lake, Buns pauses on the trail that leads back to Reed’s house. “Sweetie, I’m going to head back and see Zee. I’ve missed him,” she says, smiling, as she looks from me to Reed. “I want to start planning for New Year’s, too. You should stay… get some more exercise.”

“Okay,” I reply, watching Reed. She nods her head, and then she is gone in a fraction of a second, leaving behind only her light footprints in the snow.

“Do you want to walk this time?” Reed asks, falling in step beside me on the path.

“Sure,” I reply, trying to concentrate on the scenery around me, so that I won’t stare at his profile. The beautiful angles of his face make me want to reach my hand out and touch him.