Her Guardians Lost (Her Guardians Trilogy #2)

BOOK: Her Guardians Lost (Her Guardians Trilogy #2)
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To, Alexandra,

Thank you for all the support you’ve given me.

You are a wonderful mother and a true friend.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.

 

Her Guardians Lost (Her Guardians Trilogy #2)

By

Jaimie Roberts

 

 

Michael

 

“Why won’t she wake up?”

I was sitting in the same chair I had been for three days, hoping and praying Cassie would open her eyes. The doctor was staring down at her, his glasses down by his nose, a clipboard in his arms.

“I don’t know. There really is no reason why she hasn’t. She’s taken quite a shock and I think her body is just adjusting.”

I shook my head, worrying she might be suffering. “She was only shot in the shoulder.” I just couldn’t understand what was taking her so long to open her eyes. To see me and let me know she was okay. I already knew that wasn’t the case after what happened to her, but I needed to be with her, speak with her, comfort her.

“She lost a lot of blood. It’s also not the first time she’s been in here, is it?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. It still hurt to think about that. I should have been there for her.

“The good news is she is stable and her vitals are improving every day.”

“Okay. Thank you, Doctor.”

“Don’t mention it. I’ll be round later to check on her again.”

Nodding, I focused on Cassie again. She looked so fragile. I couldn’t help but think about everything that happened. I had been so blind these last few months. I was so used to being perceptive and good at what I did. It had always been my forte.

How could I have not seen who Cassie was from the start? How could I have not seen who
Kali
was? She was right under my nose the whole time, but I was so busy with my feelings for Cassie, I didn’t even acknowledge her presence half the time. It was silly and reckless of me. I took my eye off the ball, which resulted in Cassie being injured.

The past few days, I had a lot of time to think. I’d started to doubt my meaning on earth. I miss home—now more than ever. I wanted to go back, but I didn’t want to leave Cassie. Stephen sacrificed his life for hers. He deserved her more than I did.

Lost in my own little world, I didn’t even realise there was someone behind me until I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw a dear and close angel friend, Luana.

I stand up in disbelief. “Luana, what are you doing here?”

“I came to see you. You’re looking good, Michael.”

I embraced her and instantly felt at home. “Come,” I said, pulling her away from the ward. “We need to talk.”

Walking down to the ground floor, we both bought some coffee and found a seat. “So,” I began, “what have you been up to?”

“I don’t know if you heard, but the girl in America was killed. I took my eye off her for a moment and now she’s dead.”

She looked ashamed. “I did, too, Luana. Look at where Cassie is now.”

“She’s okay, though, isn’t she?” I stared at her beauty as she struggled with her emotions. Luana was always a sight for sore eyes. With her very tall, athletic figure, she was never short of male admiration…even from me.

Clearing my throat, I managed to answer, “Yes, she’s fine. And Stephen’s back where he belongs.”

I watched in appreciation as she flicked a few strands of her luscious golden locks behind her shoulder. “Really? That’s good. I know he did wrong, but he’s been trying hard to make amends.”

I sighed. “I know he has. He saved Cassie’s life. Sacrificed his own to save her.”

Her eyebrow raised slightly, like she was trying to figure me out. “So, he’s back home, and she’s still here.”

“Yes.”

“You know who she is, don’t you?”

Well, that told me everything I needed to know. It made me wonder who else knew before I did. “Yes, I realise that now. It took me a while, but now I know. It changes things.”

“You’ve fallen for her.”

I saw the resignation in her face and couldn’t find it in my heart to lie to her. “Yes.”

Shaking her head, she looked away for a moment before finding my eyes again. “What are you and Stephen like? This is not tit-for-tat.”

“I know. I didn’t know who she was at first, did I?”

“No, but something attracted you to her to begin with. You’ve never felt anything for a mortal before.”

I sighed again, knowing she was right. Luana was always right. “I know. I should have realised it at the time.”

We fell silent for a moment, then her posture changed a little. It was almost as if she were a cat about to seductively lick her paws. “My offer still stands, you know. I understand you were hurt, Michael, but I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“I know.” I smiled at her reassuringly. “I just can’t leave her now. I’m the only one she has left. She seems to cling onto us as we’re the only ones to whom she can really relate.”

Luana crossed her shapely legs and smiled. She was never one you could easily take your eyes from. “Well, don’t leave me waiting too long, Michael. You can’t imagine how many other offers I have.”

Looking at her cheeky grin, I chuckled. “Yes, I can.”

Laying her hand on the table, she gently slid her finger over the back of my hand. “Did you ever tell her about me?”

I blushed and bowed my head. “No.” My confession embarrassed me somewhat.

Swirling her finger around my hand, she smiled. “I take it she wouldn’t like it if she knew?”

I closed my eyes for a brief second, savouring the feeling she was giving me. “I don’t think she would.”

Stopping abruptly, Luana looked into my eyes with a heated, firm expression. “You really have fallen for her. Can I ask how far you’ve taken it?”

“She is not mine. I am not hers. I think you understand my meaning.” I could see where this was headed and had to try to stop her before she made my head spin with questions.

“Don’t you think you may be letting your emotions run away with you? You were hurt.”

I had to try to change the subject, and the only thing I could think to change it to was Elizabeth. “Did you hear she was here?”

She sighed, breaking the intimate touch. Slinking back into her chair, she looked at me resolutely. “Yes. We were all very shocked about it, to be honest. I never thought she could ever be that cunning.”

“She was right under my nose and I knew nothing about it.” I shook my head again, unable to believe how I didn’t see it coming.

“Which brings me back to my original question about running away with your emotions. You could let them run away with me.” She gently placed her hand on mine again. “I can play vulnerable.”

“You? Vulnerable?” That sentence made me laugh. “There’s nothing vulnerable about you, Luana.”

“I get it,” she said, smiling. “You want a girl you can dominate and I’m far from that. We can dominate each other.” Her cheeky grin lit up her whole face as she played with the back of my hand.

“You’re quite the woman, Luana. You really are.”

“I take that as a compliment.”

I chuckled a little. “It was definitely meant as one.”

We grew silent for a minute, appreciating each other’s stare.

“So, what happens now?” Luana pulled her hand away and sat back in her chair.

“I’ll be here for Cassie for as long as it takes. I can’t abandon her. Not now.”

“What are you going to do if she wants you to stay—for good?”

I took a moment to think about that. I was conflicted. I fell for her, but I didn’t know whether a part of me subconsciously knew who she was from the start. That could have been what fed my longing in the first place.

“You seem undecided.”

“I am,” I whispered.

“I know I’m bias here, but don’t you think if you have to think about it, there’s something wrong? You should never enter a relationship without being one hundred percent certain.”

I sighed, knowing she was right…again. “I don’t think that’s bias at all. I think what you say is very wise.”

She studied me carefully. “I truly hope you find what your heart desires, Michael. I hope it is with me, but I just want you to be happy. You deserve it, and that, above everything else, is what’s important to me.”

I regarded her with admiration. “You know, I always thought you had the heart of a lion, but I’m completely wrong. You’re really just a big softie.”

She shrugged, giving off this air of indifference. “I try my best. You know how much I like you.”

“I know. I appreciate everything you’ve said.”

She sighed and patted my hand. “Good. I’ll support any decision you make, as I’m sure the others will, too.”

“So you’re not angry with me for wanting to stay?” I had to know. I didn’t want to string Luana along. I knew she had liked me for a while but, I must admit, she was right in her assumption of dominating. That was probably another reason I fell for Cassie. She was sweet, innocent—fragile. Something called for me to protect her and care for her. Luana was a woman who could take care of herself. She was very headstrong and knew exactly what she wanted. I could understand why some men would find that appealing. Maybe I just needed to calm down a little.

“Not at all, Michael…if it’s what you truly want. But just remember one thing.” Her back straightened as she leaned over the table to take my hand. “If you decide to come back, I will be waiting. All I ask is that you give us a chance. Just spend some time with me and see how you feel. No pressure.”

Looking into her deep brown eyes, I saw it. Right there in those precious seconds, I saw a little hint of vulnerability. Something stirred a little, and I didn’t know whether the feeling was welcome or not.

As if this feeling wasn’t enough, Luana then gave me a picture of us in my head. A picture I shouldn’t have in the middle of a very public hospital.

“Luana, that’s not fair.”

The glistening in her eyes grew brighter as she smiled her best innocent smile. “I just couldn’t go back home without leaving you with a little reminder, that’s all.”

“And what a reminder it is.” I chuckled. “I promise you I will think long and hard.” Her eyebrow raised as she gently played with the hairs on my arm. “Stop that, Luana. You’re not playing fair.”

“Well, it would seem I have competition, so of course I’m not going to play fair.” I watched as a slight pout formed on her lovely rosebud lips. She was something else.

“She called me, you know. Just before everything happened with Kali.”

Luana pulled her hand away, ending our playful banter. “What did she say?”

“She said she wanted to speak with me. She sounded worried, but I could also hear the urgency in her voice.”

Luana frowned a little. “What do you think she wanted to tell you?”

“I don’t know.” I was honest with her, but couldn’t help feeling it had something to do with us—and with Stephen. It was another reason I was eager for Cassie to wake up. I had to know what it was she wanted to say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Standing by a door, I could hear the sound of laughter. It was familiar and I longed to know who was behind that door.

I placed my hand on the wooden frame and tried to push with my shoulder, but it didn’t budge. I was frantic, desperate to know more.

The giggling intensified and I stopped for a moment, leaning my ear against the door. Children—that was what it was. The sound of children laughing. I smiled, but a tear fell down my face as I clung onto a memory I couldn’t seem to remember. What was it?
Who
was it?

I closed my eyes and my hand stroked the wood. What was I missing? Who were these children, and what were they doing behind the door?

 

Opening my eyes with a jolt, I realised where I was. I started gasping for air, trying to breathe away the pain I was now feeling in my shoulder. Deep breaths—just slow, deep breaths.

“Cassie, it’s okay. You’re in the hospital.”

“Michael?” With my eyes adjusting, I finally managed to settle them on a very sweet, worried, familiar-looking face.

“I’m here, Cassie. I won’t leave you.”

“Oh, Michael. What happened?”

“Don’t you remember?”

Confusion seemed to fill my senses as I scrambled to remember. “Stephen. Where’s Stephen?” As soon as I asked the question, I knew. He was gone.

I felt a burning in my throat as the tears threatened to fall. “He’s with my mother, isn’t he?”

Michael stared blankly at me. “You remember who you are?”

“You know who I am?” I tried to sit up a little, but the pain in my shoulder quickly reminded me of why I was here.

“Here. Let me help you.” Michael snaked his arms around me, gently pulling me up to a sitting position.

Once he released me, he started to sit back down, but I grabbed his hand. “Please, sit with me, Michael.” His smile was sweet as he sat on my bed, not once taking his hand away. “So you know who I am?” I needed to know more.

“Yes. Do
you
know who you are?”

“I saw Charisma. She told me.” My memories were a little hazy, but the more I kept thinking and talking, the more it came back to me.

Michael’s eyes widened. “But can you remember?”

“Remember what?” I quickly wanted to get to the point, but he seemed to be skirting around the issue.

“Who you are?”

“No. I only know I’m Charisma’s daughter because she told me so.”

Michael slouched a little, either in relief or comprehension. I didn’t know which.

“Are you going to tell me?” I searched his eyes for something—anything.

“Tell you what?”

“Who I am.” This conversation was suddenly frustrating the hell out of me. There was something I didn’t know. It was almost as though it was within arm’s reach, but I couldn’t get to it.

“I can’t.” His face was resolute and stern.

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not allowed to. It is against our law to remind mortals of what they used to be. You are here for a reason and your memory is one of
this
life, not the life you used to lead.”

“But why can’t I remember? Why was I not given my memory?”

Michael looked off into the distance for a moment before replying, “I don’t know.”

“Was I bad? Is that why my memory was taken?”

Michael frowned. “I don’t ever recall hearing you were bad. Until recently, I didn’t even know you were sent here.”

I knew Michael wasn’t going to tell me everything, but I still had to know. I still had to have something. “When did you discover I was the daughter of an Archangel?”

Michael sighed, looking away briefly. “It was something Mark Richards said when I arrested him.”

“What?” I gripped his hand tighter in mine, willing him to elaborate.

“He quoted a poem to me. He said, ‘We wear the mask that grins and lies. It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes’.”

I could feel myself blinking rapidly, trying to decipher it in my head. “O…kay… What did he mean by that?”

“I thought it had something to do with the tattoos on his face. However, I began thinking about what he meant. I looked into his background and found a history of abuse.”

I felt a sudden sadness for Mark Richards. I didn’t know where it came from, considering he had deliberately ran into a little boy.

“That sounds terrible.”

“I know.”

“But what has that got to do with me?”

Michael clasped his other hand on mine and smiled. “For the first time in a long time, I sat there and thought about you and what kind of mask you’re wearing…metaphorically. I believed you were wearing one without you even realising it.

“I thought about the dreams you were having about Charisma, and I thought about how I wanted to be around you all the time. I already told you an angel has never fallen in love with a mortal before—well, there was a reason I fell for you. It was then that I realised who you must be. It all seemed to just click into place.”

I thought about what he had said for a moment. “Knowing this, how do you feel about me now?”

Michael’s face looked pained. I could tell he was conflicted and he was having a hard time trying to find the words. I knew we had to talk, but I thought it best to save him from his pain for now.

“Look, you don’t have to say anything. Maybe this isn’t the place anyway. What’s been happening since the shooting?”

Michael exhaled and patted my hand. I knew I had saved him from an awkward situation.

“Before I go on, there’s something I should tell you.”

“Okay.”

“The other angels have been gathering. I just spoke to Luana. She was protecting a girl in America. Unfortunately, that girl is now dead.”

For some reason, I felt a huge loss. I also wondered why I had survived and others had perished. It didn’t seem fair.

“I’m so sorry to hear that. I feel so bad.”

“Why? None of this is your fault. You were born this way. You certainly didn’t bring it on yourself.”

“How do you know that, though?”

“What do you mean?”

“How do you know I didn’t volunteer for this?” The minute I said it, I knew that’s exactly what I had done. I still didn’t know who I was, but something inside me told me it was true.

“I don’t know.”

“I
do
know. Charisma told me I offered to help,” I said.

“Oh.” Michael’s face crinkled a little.

“Bits are coming back to me. Stephen has earned his seat back now. He sacrificed his own life to save mine.” I could see by the look on his face that Michael already knew this.

“Yes, and I’m really happy for him. Did she say anything else?”

I tried to think back to our encounter. Things were still a little fuzzy. Something was telling me I needed to tell Michael something, but I couldn’t remember what.

Sensing my frustration, Michael squeezed my hand a little. “Don’t worry about it now. It will come back to you.”

“Thank you for being here for me.”

He smiled, stroking my hair. “Don’t mention it. As long as it takes.”

I was beyond confused. “But you only have three weeks.” The words seemed to fly out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“What?”

“You have three weeks to make a decision. I remember now. I knew there was something important I had to say. You can go sooner, but you only have twenty-one days.”

Michael looked off into space. “It will only be eighteen days now.”

I was shocked. “I’ve been out for three days?!”

“Yes. The doctor couldn’t understand why you were unconscious for so long.”

“I wanted it.” A sadness fell over me, remembering how I had felt when I realised my best friend was evil, Lisa-Marie was dead, and Stephen had gone home.

“I’m sorry, Cassie. I know you’re hurting.”

Michael’s sympathetic half-smile was endearing. It instantly eased me. Just having him near me made me feel so much better.

“Thank you. I’m glad you’re here.” I offered Michael a smile and he exhaled again.

“So what was it you wanted to tell me?” he asked

“Michael!” a voice shouted from the distance.

We both shot our heads up in the direction of the voice. My breath nearly caught. “Stephen?” My smile was wide as my heart began racing.

Suddenly, his face changed. It was as if he was trying to study me, trying to figure out what I was thinking.

“This was what I wanted to tell you.” Michael’s panicked gaze settled on my face.

“I don’t understand.” I searched his eyes, then peered over at Stephen. His smile was there, but there was something different about him. Something strange.

“This is Simeon…Stephen’s twin.”

“Nice to finally meet you.” Simeon extended his hand, but I was still in shock. He was a replica of Stephen. He even
sounded
like Stephen.

He dropped his hand. “I’m sorry. This must be a shock to you. I just assumed you already knew.”

“I was in the middle of telling her when you came in.” He turned his face to me. “I’m sorry, Cassie.”

Somehow, I found my voice. “It’s okay. I’m sorry, Simeon. You just look so much like him.” I offered him a smile, but I couldn’t help the sadness I felt. Seeing him here was like torture.

I turned toward Michael. “Well, it would seem you’re still full of secrets, Michael.” The look I gave him made him wince a little.

“Sorry. There are just things that have to be left unsaid, just in case—” He stopped for a moment and sighed. “If I tell you things, there might be a knock-on effect. One that would make you—” He paused again. He was obviously having a hard time choosing his words.

“Remember?” I offered.

He looked me in the eye and smiled. “Yes, you could say that.”

“So you’re Stephen’s twin?” I asked, looking at Simeon again.

“Yes, although I wouldn’t say we are
quite
the same.”

“You got that right.” The minute I said it, I threw my hand over my mouth. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know from where that came. I don’t even know you.”

“That’s okay. Stephen would be happy to hear that anyway.” Simeon offered me a courteous smile, whilst Michael glared at him.

What’s his problem?
He was fine a minute ago, but now that Simeon was here, he was kind of off.

“So, where have you just come from? Who were you protecting?” Changing the subject seemed to be the best course of action right now.

“I’ve just come back from Australia, and his name is Matt. He’s a right pain in the arse.” Simeon cleared his throat. “Sorry—just slipped out.”

For a moment, I smiled at him. His infectious grin stared back at me and I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes off him.

Suddenly, a voice from out of nowhere crept into my mind.
He’s not Stephen!

I had to shake my head because one, I had to rise out of this stupor—and fast—and two, I thought I might be hearing things. Although the voice was a woman’s, it didn’t sound like me at all.

“Are you okay, Cassie?” Michael gently squeezed my hand and frowned.

“I’m fine. Thank you.” I paused to take a deep breath. “Is he okay?” I turned my attention back to Simeon.

“What’s that?” Simeon’s eyebrow arched slightly, causing me to gasp a little.

I cleared my throat. “Matt… Is he okay?”

“Oh. Yeah. He’s fine. I had to tell him some random story about his soul being ripped from him if he ever breathed a word of this to anyone.”

My eyes were like saucers. Simeon saw my expression and giggled. “I’m only kidding! You don’t think I would really say that, do you?”

“Simeon, are you here to bid farewell?” Michael gazed upon his brother, glaring again.

“No, actually. I thought I would hang around with you guys for a little while. I kind of like it on earth. So many things going on at the same time. So many adventures to take, people to meet.”

Michael shot up out of his seat. “Simeon, I think we need to talk. Come with me.”

Michael led Simeon out of the ward. I was a little miffed I couldn’t be privy to their conversation. I could understand Michael being annoyed at Simeon being here. Maybe Michael just wanted it to be the two of us and no one else.

When they walked back in, Michael looked pissed and Simeon was smiling. “Michael thinks me being here may upset you a little.”

I had to agree on that front. “Well, you
do
look a lot like him.”

His face suddenly fell. “I’m sorry. I really don’t want to hurt you. Maybe I should go.”

“No, of course not. If you want to stay for a while, then stay.”

Having Michael with me was calming enough, but the two of them? Well, let’s just say it made the pain bearable. I felt like I was home.

BOOK: Her Guardians Lost (Her Guardians Trilogy #2)
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