This type of situation could have continued forever, Clover and Devon living in the same house without anyone besides Conner and Samantha knowing (those kids were good at keeping a secret!), Stephen and Clover mocking Devon incessantly, and Avery trying to ruin the budding friendship between the three. (As it happened, Stephen got so fed up with everyone being so rude to his friend that during lunch he stood up on his chair and announced that whatever Avery had told them had all been a lie. It was rather shocking at how fast Clover was suddenly popular again. Avery hadn't sat with them since.)
It COULD have continued forever, had Stephen not suddenly decided to come over to Devon's house – inviting himself in as he normally did and storming up the stairs to Devon's room, only to find Clover in there in er.. full glory. Full glory being with her wings. She was watching a cartoon and hadn't paid any attention to who had come through the door.
"You know Dev, cartoons have gotten a lot worse than when I was alive." She murmured, flipping through the channels.
"And when exactly was that Clover?" Stephen demanded, trying to calm down. Trying not to stare at the white wings attached to her back. What the hell was going on here? He must be hallucinating, there was no way this could happen. Not in real life. Maybe it was a costume. Clover heard his voice and shrieked, leaping up in to the air and falling on the floor, staring at Stephen in surprise. She wasn't exactly sure what she could say at this point and decided to wing it.
"Lucy, you got some s'plainin to do!" He said, folding his hands across his chest.
"I'm waiting..." He growled tapping his foot impatiently.
"And why the hell are you living with DEVON of all people?!"
"It's my job." She whispered, standing up and brushing her shorts off.
"I some how doubt you'll believe me.. but.. here goes.. my name is Clover so I didn't lie about that, I don't remember what my last name is and I was sent from God to watch over Devon because The Big Kahuna thinks that he's important and doesn't want him to give into the temptations offered by the pain in the butt known as the Devil. Thus why I have wings, why I wear white, and why I'm living in this house." She explained, sitting down on the bed, Stephen sat down next to her, shoulders relaxing slightly.
'Oh.. well that's okay, just as long as you two aren't sleeping together."
"EW! ARE YOU NUTS I make him sleep on the couch." She shrieked, looking at him in horror. Stephen laughed.
"Come to think of it I rather thought you were an angel." He said softly.
"Huh?" Clover gave him a look clearly stating she thought he had lost his mind.
"Oh don't look at me like that, I can't explain it. I think it was the white, the odd luck you seem to have, like when you got that juice stain out of your shirt – God Avery's face was funny, I wish I had a camera – I swear I felt wings the second day you were here when you walked by and the fact that Devon immediately seemed to take to you."
"Are you kidding?! He hates me for this whole ordeal. He didn't believe me until I took that stain out and showed him my wings repeatedly."
"Makes sense. But think of it this way, he never talks to anyone besides me and you, sometimes Avery but only when he's really desperate." Stephen muttered.
"You're not going to tell anyone are you?" Clover whispered, sounding pathetic even to her ears. Stephen smacked her on the back of the head.
"As if I want one of my best buds to be poked and prodded by the government, and on the cover of tabloids, no matter how interesting that would be. Mind if I throw the storyline to my mother? She might want to use it for a romance novel. That reminds me, think you and Dev could come to dinner tomorrow? My mother is driving me crazy." Stephen said, smiling. Clover grinned.
"Sounds like fun! I'm rather intrigued by your mother to tell the truth." She said lightly.
"Hey.." Stephen said suddenly, turning to her.
"Can I touch your wings?" He asked. Clover laughed.
"You're taking this a lot better than Devon was." She said, as she tilted to the side and Stephen poked at her wings curiously before plucking a feather out.
"Oh good, they're real. I want some. Too bad I havta die first. Damn. Where the devil is Devon anyways?" Stephen asked tucking the feather in his pocket. Clover shrugged all the while glaring at him in annoyance.
"He went to the supermarket and told me that I couldn't come because someone could run into me.. as if I'm not always careful" She muttered before grinning sheepishly.
"Present situation excluded of course"
"Oh of course." Stephen said. They both laughed before they heard a door slam downstairs and a familiar 'I'm home!' and immediately Clover snapped her fingers, disappearing. The tv shutting off moments later.
"Do you have any idea how creepy that is?" Stephen demanded.
"Sorry.." A voice echoed, somewhere by the dresser. He didn't have time to retort as Devon came upstairs.
"Oi Clover I'm.." His mouth snapped shut when he saw Stephen sitting on his bed, eyeing him with a look that clearly said 'I know something you don't know.'
"Clover?" Stephen asked innocently. Devon kept a straight face.
"I just remembered I forgot to buy clover at the supermarket today… I was reminding myself."
"Ah." Stephen said.
"So what are you doing here?" Devon asked attempting to sound casual. He almost managed avoiding flicking his eyes around the room, as if trying to spot the angel.
"I was here to invite you to dinner tomorrow. That and to ask where Clover lived, Mom wanted me to invite her too."
"I'm not sure. She always meets me outside of the house, so obviously she lives er.. beyond here. I'd ask her at school tomorrow. I'm sure she'll be able to come. Count me in by the way.
"That's strange. I checked her address at the front desk at school, the address she offered told me she lived in this very house. But how can that be?" Stephen asked, more to himself than Devon. Devon apparently lost it.
"That damned angel, you'd think she'd be smarter than to-" He stopped and paled, looking at Stephen who didn't look the least bit surprised. Devon sighed heavily.
"Clover you might as well show yourself. Apparently the game is up." There was a snap and she appeared, sitting next to Stephen calmly.
"I still say that's really freaky."
"I should congratulate you on your acting skills Stephen." Clover said lightly, smiling.
"Thanks! I sometimes have to act out stuff for Mom, just so she can make sure that it sounds plausible. It never does, but that doesn't stop her." Devon's eyes narrowed as he looked at the two who were conversing normally.
"He already knew?" Devon demanded. The two winced and looked at him like sheepish children caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
"Er.." was all Clover said, she had a lot of luck with that word thus far.
"She had no way of knowing I walk into this house as if I own it." Stephen offered. That familiar muscle by Devon's eye began to twitch.
"Yeesh does he do that a lot?" Stephen asked. Clover nodded wearily.
"I think I'm going deaf. I think he'd try to kill me if he didn't know it wouldn't do any good."
"Ah, lucky you. You normally call God the Big Kahuna?"
Devon's hands curled into fists and his shoulders were shaking.
"Big Cheese, Head Honcho, Kahuna.. what ever falls into my head at the moment."
"A bit disrespectful ain't it?" Stephen inquired. Clover shrugged.
"He likes me. I get away with stuff. Otherwise I wouldn't be a guardian angel. I'm one of the special ones."
"Hehe, 'special' ones eh?" Devon stared at the two of them and finally collapsed on the floor in front of the bed. At this point he wasn't sure whether to burst out laughing or yell at both of them. Instead he opted for melodrama.
"Why me?" He demanded up at the ceiling. "Why me?"
"If you're a link to God why does he talk to the ceiling still?"
"I dunno. I'm not really a link to God. I don't contact him too often unless it's really important. He's a busy dude. But I stay in contact with Heaven through my cell phone." She pulled out the small silver phone and flipped it open.
"Michael, Gabrielle, Mary, Peter, God… and see, there are three numbers for God cause of the Trinity and stuff. He's the seventh cause that's the perfect number."
"Ever get prank calls?"
"No.. most of the angels are pretty snobbish and have this holier-than-thou attitude, and I mean, sure they actually ARE holier than I am but they don't need to throw it in my face yaknow? But God has a sense of humor. How else do you explain that whole.. puffer fish or platypus. Humans try to organize things into collective little bunches and so in His spare time He comes up with random junk that doesn't fit the system."
"Okay, I thought church was always trying to teach us that God communicates to us through like, wind or sunsets or junk like that. Explain the Cell phone."
"God does communicate that way I suppose, but this is just easier. I'm busy chasing after Devon, you think I have time to notice a butterfly flying around my nose? Besides, that's for humans. I'm an angel."
"Well if it was in front of your nose it'd be hard to miss." Stephen quipped. Clover smacked him upside the head.
Devon listened to this conversation and finally he couldn't stand it, and burst out laughing. He decided that since he couldn't beat the idiots he might as well join them in madness. Clover and Stephen looked down at him curiously before looking at each other and shrugging.
"Always knew he was a bit nuts.." Devon shook his head.
"Stephen I'm almost glad you know. You bring a new sense of ridiculous into this whole farce."
"Glad to be of service. Can I stay here and eat?" then without waiting for a response he turned to the angel, "Hey Clover can I use your cellphone and call home?"
"Sorry, service only goes to Heaven."
"Ah damn it."
"I certainly hope you don't mean literally, I'd have to get a new cell phone, and those 17 digit phone numbers are a pain to retype into the phonebook. " She said lightly.
"They're really seventeen digits? Can you give me the phone number for someone?"
"The long distance price would put your family in debt for the next forty years or so." Clover responded with a small grin.
"I wouldn't think God would charge you for a phone call."
"It's not God you have to worry about, it's the telephone companies." She replied. Stephen sighed before grabbing the cordless phone that was actually sitting right next to him and dialing up his house. Devon stood up and gazed at his friend in slight awe.
"Don't you love how he just invites himself over, and then stays for dinner without paying the least bit attention to what I say?" Devon suddenly asked the girl. The angel shrugged.
"It's a gift." She theorized, Devon nodded and at that moment Stephen hung up the phone.
"Haha! Success! I got out of listening to the first sex scene of the book! I owe you my life Devon!"
"You always do." His friend responded dryly.
The next night, Clover and Devon found themselves standing outside of a large and I do mean large family house. Devon looking at it in boredom, Clover looking at it in awe. A woman with a huge mass of curly blond hair opened the door and Clover swore that the woman squealed as soon as she saw them.
"You two are PERFECT!" The woman sang, grabbing one of their hands in each of hers and pushing them together. Clover tried to take a step back from the woman she decided had to be absolutely insane, with no success.
"I know I'm perfect." Devon said wickedly, "But as for her, I'm not so sure."
"Hold that thought!" The woman commanded, whipping out a notebook and jotting down something. "I know… perfect.. but for.. her… Devon you are a darling!"
"What he is, is an arrogant insufferable jerk." Clover grumbled, shooting a glare at her companion and stamping on his foot.
"No, that won't do. They wouldn't say jerk in regency England." The woman who was obviously Stephen's mother explained. The angel smiled innocently.
"A thousand apologizes, I'll try again. What he is, is an arrogant insufferable rake." And then Clover stepped on his foot again. When Devon glared at her in annoyance Clover only offered a shrug.
"I was just following her instructions."
"Perfect perfect." Stephen's mother mumbled as she wrote furiously in her notebook.
"Mother, at least let my friends get off the doorstep before you badger them to death." Stephen called, looking at them over the woman's shoulder. She nearly dropped the pen as she looked up at them in surprise, as if seeing them for the first time.
"Oh I'm dreadfully sorry. I was just hit with waves of inspiration you realize. And you must be Clover! Felicity really would be a better name. How darling! You do wear as much white as my son professed!" The woman gushed. Clover gaped at her, blinking stupidly first at the woman, and second at the strapless white dress that poofed out to her knees. Before she had the time to think, his mother grabbed her hand again and dragged her inside, linking arms with her.
"You're absolutely adorable! I'm Stephen's mother but please call me Kate. I of course will call you Clover unless I slip up and accidentally call you Felicity. I hope you don't mind it's just that you are the very image of my character! Although I believe her hair would be a bit longer.. yes yes and she has blue eyes. A diamond of the first water you realize. Oh you and Devon will do splendidly!!!" Clover wondered when the woman breathed. She looked over her shoulder to see the two boys walking behind them. Devon's shoulders were shaking, obviously trying to hide his laughter. Stephen was just shrugging helplessly and grinning mischievously. Clover stuck out her tongue before whipping her head back around, just to hear;
"-and then of course you will have to go with us on a skiing trip, Devon too. Although, do you know how to ice skate? Oh no matter, even if you don't Felicity won't either. I imagine she'll have to fall straight into Tristian's arms." Kate clapped her hands together - thus releasing Clover from her death grip. "Oh it'll be a simply lovely scene! I've always wanted to make love in the snow, haven't you? Silly me what am I thinking? You're too young for that. How old were you again? Seventeen I would presume that or eighteen. Still far too young. Most often the girls in the books are just turning into spinsters at the ripe old age of twenty-one or twenty-two. Do you like chicken? I certainly hope so. It would be a shame were you to end up being a vegetarian. Henry cooks a marvelous Hawaiian style chicken and simply insisted on doing the cooking tonight. Although if you don't like chicken I suppose we could make a bit more salad.. it would be a shame if you missed his chicken though." Kate continued to rattle on, leading the group to a living room and Clover sank into the first armchair she came to, feeling just a bit weak. The angel soon realized one thing, it was quite easy to have a conversation with Kate for she never let you get a word in edgewise.
"Oh no no no! You can't sit there!" Kate suddenly exclaimed. Clover shot up.
"Er.. why not?" The older woman lead the angel by the shoulders to sit on the couch, closest to the chair that Devon choose.
"You must sit here, for this is just how I imagined a scene in my book. You see, you and Devon, that is to say, Felicity and Tristian, have been forced to marry due to the fact that you were caught in a compromising position. Felicity however, refuses to let Tristian touch her and so their marriage has yet to be consummated. So there is a lot of sexual repression through the air and - " She suddenly stopped talking and began to write in her notebook again. Stephen sat down next to Clover and patted her arm comfortingly.
"You'll get used to it." He assured her. The girl leaned back, resting her head on the back of the couch.
"If she doesn't kill me first." Clover groaned.
"Now Devon you have to kiss her!"
"WHAT?!" Three teenagers shouted, staring at Kate in shock. She waved her hand around in annoyance.
"Don't be silly. On the hand on the hand." Clover stared at Devon as if he was the plague but she noted that he held out his hand.
"No use arguing with her, best to do what she says." Stephen explained, smiling devilishly. He made a mental note to congratulate his mother on giving him something to tease his friends over. Clover looked at him in reproach before tentatively putting her hand in Devon's who immediately brushed her knuckles with a kiss. Clover felt her face start to burn and made a mental note to yell at God for giving people the ability to blush.
"Perfect perfect! Oh if only you two could actually kiss, on the mouth of course." Kate said with a sigh. Devon looked at Clover suggestively and she snatched her hand back as if it had been burned.
"If you're thinking what I think you're thinking you can stop thinking it." Clover growled menacingly.
"Dinner!" A male voice called. Kate looked disappointed. Clover sighed in relief.
"So soon? Blast." She said, before her face lit up again. "Oh but Stephen I saved the latest chapter to read tonight, since you weren't here last night!" Stephen paled but he still tried to smile.
"Excellent!" He said, standing up and the two guests following. Stephen threw his arm around Clover and led her to a bright and cheerful dining room and pointed out where she should sit. A tall handsome older man walked in with a chef's hat perched on his head, and a 'kiss the cook' apron on.
"You must be Clover! It's a pleasure. I'm Henry." He said, holding out a hand - still encased in an oven mitt. Clover smiled as he sheepishly took it off and tried again.
"It's nice to meet you er.. Henry." She responded politely.
"Sit down, let's eat." He said, and as they sat down, Kate tapped her glass to get everyone's attention, a stack of papers in her hand.
"Excellent excellent, just continue eating as I read you this latest chapter. Felicity finally gives into Tristian and agrees to sleep with him." Kate cleared her throat a few times and began.
Clover didn't think her face could turn any more red than it was. She was happy to note that everyone save Kate were in their own states of embarrassment.
" 'Oh God…oh.. Tristian!' Felicity cried out as he - " Kate was interrupted by the ringing of a cell phone. All attention turned to Clover who pulled out her small phone and looked at the Caller I.D.
"Thank God. Literally." Stephen whispered to Devon, who nodded in agreement.
"I apologize Kate, I wouldn't leave my cell phone on save the fact I'm only called when it's an emergency.." Clover explained as she flipped it open. She wasn't given a chance to even say hello before someone began talking. With every moment the angel's face grew paler until finally she leapt to her feet - fast enough to bang the table with her knees. She slammed the phone shut and shoved it in her purse wildly.
"Clover, is something wrong?" Henry asked in concern.
"Yes.. horribly wrong.. nothing you can do.. thank you for the lovely dinner. I had a wonderful time but I have to.." but by that time Clover had already flown out of the dining room and out of the house. Kate sat down.
"Oh dear… that sounded serious. I hope everything's alright." She said quietly. Devon and Stephen exchanged a look of confusion and concern over the table. What the hell had happened?
It was past midnight when Clover dragged herself into Devon's bedroom. She was pale, her face ashen and Devon noticed that her hands were trembling slightly. Immediately her wings appeared and he was shocked to see they were tinged, burnt, black. He hadn't noticed it before but her dress was covered in soot.
"Clover.." He said softly. She looked up at him wearily, sitting next to him on the bed.
"Please Devon, not tonight." She whispered, "don't ask me what happened tonight. I'll tell you tomorrow.. I promise but right now I'm.." she trailed off and he was surprised to see a small tear run down her cheek. Devon stood up slowly.
"I understand." He murmured comfortingly, "lie down and try and get some sleep alright?" She nodded, following his order mechanically. He took off her shoes and threw them on the floor before tucking the exhausted angel in.
"It was horrible." She whispered, eyes fluttering shut, "so awful.." Devon quickly quieted her and in moments she was asleep. The boy looked down at the forlorn face and frowned, trying to fight off the insatiable curiosity. Instead he picked up the phone and called Stephen, who had demanded to know right when Clover got home.
The next morning, the angel woke up to find Devon's room empty. She sat up slowly and grimaced as she noted she was still in the dress from yesterday. The angel snapped her fingers, the dress immediately morphing into white pajamas. She then inspected her wings, frowning as some were still burnt around the edges. Clover flinched at the sight of them and made them invisible, right now she couldn't look at them. She just couldn't. At that moment she heard someone coming up the stairs, and looked up in time to see Devon's head pop up. He offered her a soft smile.
"Brought you breakfast." He murmured, setting it on the low table in front of the couch. Clover got up and offered him a grateful smile as she sat on the couch. He sat next to her and watched as she picked up the cup of hot chocolate, only for the china to rattle in her hands. She quickly set it down again. Devon remained silent and Clover finally sighed.
"It was a church." She finally started. "Someone had set fire to a church.. and.. there had been children's bible classes last night which were held in the basement. The fire blocked the bigger exit up the stairs, leaving only two windows for them to try and crawl up and out of… but there were too many people and there was too little time. I was called in to save as many people as I could but.." her voice broke. She suddenly turned to look at Devon with blurry eyes.
"I was too late, so I couldn't save all of them. I had to choose which ones got to live and which ones had to die." Her shoulder shook. She was silent for a while. "They could all see me and.. and the ones who I couldn't take…" She shuddered involuntarily. "There is an angel of death.. I saw him there but he.. he just let me choose. I think the children knew I couldn't help them all.. and their eyes.. the ones I couldn't save.. their eyes.." her still shaking hand covered her mouth as if she were trying not to bring up the contents of her stomach.
"My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" she quoted with a bitter laugh. Devon immediately pulled the girl into his arms and she willingly curled up into his warmth. He felt tears soaking into his shirt but paid it little attention. Instead he rubbed her back comfortingly and rocked back and forth, idly wondering why, when he felt so bad for what she had to go through, at the same time felt so relaxed and damned comfortable holding her in his arms.
"I'm sorry about being so stupid. I know that they're in a better place now.." She said into his shirt, sniffling.
"Don't worry about it." Devon returned, "I think you deserve a good cry. So go ahead and cry." No more needed to be said between the two for a long time.