Saturday, May 10, 2003
I opened my eyes. I blinked once, then twice, before I could make out the spray-foam stucco on my ceiling. It was spray-painted in blacks and reds, a nightmarish pattern that had been created over years of my own personal hell. This apartment, bought with my dead parents’ pocket money, had always felt like a prison, reminding me just how alone and stupidly rich and hollow my life now was.
It was no wonder, then, that I had met Bryce while trying to kill myself.
He was right now lying half on his side, half on his front. One of his black-feathered wings was stretched over the side of the bed, unfolding to the floor. The other had found its way around me, like most nights, and I knew from those months of experience that I wouldn’t be leaving the bed until he woke up. The same experience also told me he wouldn’t be waking up until sunrise.
I groaned. Shit. I had to piss.
To pass the time, I rolled over, feeling his silky soft feathers glide against my naked body. I reached out a hand and traced my nails down the part of Bryce’s chest that wasn’t pressed into the mattress. I watched his soft face twitch as he dreamed, and the way his wings spread farther, I wondered if he was falling.
“Wake up,” I suggested softly, but he ignored me.
Bryce could stay up for weeks on end, often not remembering I couldn’t do the same until I passed out. But once he was asleep, it was like he couldn’t find the energy to open his eyes until sunlight crept over his wings and across his body. Then he would yawn and stretch, grin and kiss me, ignoring my protestations about morning breath.
I’d met him five years after my parents’ car crash that had left me one of the richest single young adults in the city. In those five years, I had grown to hate money and people and daytime and especially families. After long enough of this, I had decided I hated life worst of all.
Pills were tried (and failed). I couldn’t take so much as an aspirin anymore without gagging. A slit wrist had been discounted, since I had fainted at the first touch of the needle for my only tattoo (a tiny little cherub on my ankle). And having lacked an encyclopaedia of self-death, I had decided jumping was the only other answer.
The tallest buildings had guardrails, probably with people like me in mind, but I was sure I didn’t need more than ten stories to finish myself off. I had dressed myself up in all my most flowing clothes. Burgundy lace sleeves that belled out dramatically, layers upon layers of silk skirts, scarves around my neck and waist. Alright, so I’d been spoiled and melodramatic.
“I’m going to fly,” I had told myself. And on the roof, in the wind, my clothes were already flying. They billowed up around me, making me feel as if I were lifting off the ground.
“Watch me fly,” I had whispered to no one before stepping up onto the ledge. Then my eyes were closed and my arms were held out and my heart seemed to freeze between beats. I hadn’t been able to step forward, so I had waited for the wind to blow me off.
The wind had felt like arms around me, hair against my cheek. Then I had been flying, and it took me a long time to realize I shouldn’t be going up.
I had opened my eyes and gasped. The arms I’d felt were real arms, and the hair I’d felt was real hair, and there were wings so black that they were iridescent beating at the night sky. His eyes had met mine and he’d grinned slyly. “Flying’s not much fun,” he had shouted over the wind, “if your only destination is the ground.”
When I once again had something solid under my feet, I had asked if he was an angel. His grin had grown beyond natural levels, and he leaned in to whisper in my ear: “I’m no angel, baby.”
That level of intimacy would have usually made me angry, but it had just taken my breath away with him. “Then what are you?” My voice had sounded almost pleading.
“Bryce.” He had bowed, his wings scraping back across the roof of my apartment building. “Gotta fly,” he had told me, kissing my hand. “Stay alive, beautiful one. I’ll return for you.”
I had since come to learn that Bryce definitely wasn’t an angel. “Angels are ill equipped,” as Alan Rickman told us dryly in Kevin Smith’s Dogma. If Bryce had a problem with equipment, it would be that there was too much there.
I slid closer to Bryce’s body in bed. There was still that strange snow outside, and I was sure a window was open. To make this even better, I had lost my sheets during the night, probably when his wings came down over me. I was eager for whatever warmth I could get. With a sigh, I slipped one arm around him, letting it rest where his wing met his back, right beside his shoulder blade. My fingers traced around the bone absently, and when he stirred and moaned, I remembered it was one of his turn-on spots. So I played with it until I felt a satisfying erection poking into my thigh, but he didn’t wake up.
“If you’d at least move your damn wing,” I told the comatose man, “I’d give you a wet dream to remember.”
Perhaps understanding enough in his unconscious state to mock me even more, Bryce slipped his arm around me, securing me against his body. Giving in, I kissed his neck then nuzzled my head there. “I won’t find you this charming forever,” I whispered in his sleeping ear. “Just you wait. I’ll find myself a man with horns instead.” His arm tightened around me, and I laughed. “Fine, fine. Just wake up soon.”
I turned onto my back with a bit of effort, wishing I didn’t have to piss; wishing also that the feel of his feathers against my breasts wasn’t turning me on. My nipples were already hard just from the cold. I would have to ask Bryce if he did this on purpose, just to drive my thoroughly insane. The answer would probably be yes.
The morning arrived slowly, and I had my legs pressed tightly together while I pushed at Bryce’s wings, trying to get my freedom. When the sun came in the window, he opened his eyes and smiled at my lazily. “G’morning, lovely.”
“Wing. Move. Now.”
He raised it just high enough that I could squirm off the bed. Then I ran to the bathroom and slammed the door. He chuckled. “Been holding it long?” he called out after me.
“Bite me,” I yelled through the closed door.
“That an invitation?”
“Don’t you wish?”
When I was done, I stood in the open doorway and ran my hands through my hair. It was long and thick, a natural red that fell in unruly waves and he absolutely loved it.
“You’re still naked,” Bryce pointed out.
So much for the posturing. “So’re you, wing boy.” I wrinkled my nose before crawling back onto the bed. Under the covers. “Have horny dreams?”
“Yeah, some sweet young she-devil gave me an awesome blow. She had your face, De, and her fingers ended in metal spikes.”
“Someone you often meet in the dreamscape?”
“She’s a morning dream, only. I think your presence in bed might directly contribute.”
“Only might? She has my face.”
“But none of your submission.” He folded his wing back over my.
“I thought she was giving you a blow job.”
“Yeh, but she nearly bit it off.”
“Maybe I should take notes?”
“Maybe you should just back the hell off, more like.”
I shrugged before drawing closer to him. “I miss your smile when you sleep. You always seem troubled.”
“You’d seem troubled, too, if some demon wench were trying to bite your prick off.”
“Don’t have a prick,” I reminded him. “Thought you said it was an awesome blow.”
“Danger translates to something oddly like pleasure.”
“Don’t tell me my own personal angel is a secret masochist.”
“Not an angel.” He spread his wings so the one on the floor snagged and tore a bit of carpet, and the one covering me scraped spray-painted stucco off the ceiling. “Nor a masochist.” He sat up.
“No, you’re just a literal home-wrecker. Keep those wings of yours on a leash.”
He folded them up behind his body. “You know you love ‘em.”
“I don’t even know if I love you.”
“You love my body.”
“I love yours.”
“You do.” I smiled. “Oh, if only my parents could see me now. Spending as though I’m poor, sleeping with a freak with wings.”
“Not only that, but having extremely wild sex with said wingéd freak.” He stepped gingerly off the bed. “Excuse me while I evacuate.” Then he disappeared into the bathroom.
I lay sprawled on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Bryce’s wings had left a white scar on the black and red patterned ceiling. I’d have to get him to remedy that eventually.
It didn’t bother me that I didn’t really know what he was. He had just been a sort of miracle, in precisely the right place at precisely the right time. I would have died without him, even if I hadn’t had the guts to step over the ledge. Besides, did I really need a name for what he was? Other than the basics, like saviour, and lover, and damn annoying git.
“I return,” Bryce announced as he threw the door open.
“Good for you.”
“Don’t care?” He pouted, kneeling on the edge of the bed.
“I’d pity your more if you weren’t at half-mast.”
He grinned. “Kiss it better?”
“Why bother? You have a she-devil with my face to service you in your dreams.” Though I did slip out from under the covers, letting the cold air tighten my nipples again.
“Yeah, but the bitch has sharp teeth.”
“And I don’t?” I reached my hand out, pressing my fingers under his ribcage before letting them trail down.
He grunted his approval. “You don’t use ‘em.”
My hand drifted down, stroking him to life. Then my eyes met his and I sat up, taking hold of his shoulders. “Make love to me,” I said, my feet brushing the outsides of his knees.
“I was planning on doing that,” he told me, his hand traveling down my back then cupping my ass.
“No, you were planning on fucking me.” I lay down slowly, drawing him with me. “Make love to me. Make me feel worshipped and immortal. Make me burn and cry with joy.”
Bryce was about to make another snide remark, but he found my hands on the back of his neck, and he was staring into my searching eyes. What he saw made his breath catch, and he let me pull his head down so our lips could meet in a delicate kiss. His hands ran down my sides as I whispered “please” against his lips.
“I love you,” Bryce told me, his breath hitching. “I love you,” he gasped as my hand smoothed down his feathers. He let his wings down onto the bed on either side of us, and moaned softly as he slipped inside me.
I gasped wordlessly, letting my hands fall back on the mattress and closing my eyes.
“Fly with me,” he whispered, and lifted me with his arms before wrapping his wings around me.
I was on my knees, connected to him, surrounded by him. “You are an angel,” I told him before I lost myself to sensation.