CONTENT WARNING: Explicit Sex and Violence
The building was falling apart. It was the first thing I noticed. Standing across the street, I could clearly make out signs of decay in paint and structure. It was a fire hazard and a dump that looked as if it hadn’t been tended to since the last day I’d crossed it’s threshold.
I stood in the shadow overhang of an old movie theater. Without focusing on any one thing, I took in the mundane, everyday, happenings. Everything appeared, normal, as everyone shuffled about their day, but something felt off.
What that something was, I couldn’t tell. Was it being back here after so many decades? Was it the run in with Raph? Was it missing Medea and Phoenix? Was it… I didn’t know what the fuck it was. Maybe it was the lack of good coffee lately. Every sip I’d had in the last few weeks had been missing one thing or the other. No matter what I did or where I got it from.
It was fucking distressing.
I sighed, looking up at the menu backboard. I was sitting at the counter of the diner housed in the shabby building. It was pin drop silent and I appeared to be the only customer. All the options looked the same, easy and bland. Scrambled eggs, toast, sausage. Not a single combo was listed. I felt like I had stepped through the boob tube and landed back in the 1920’s.
The only difference here… was me.
As I had the thought, the half gate to the back swung open.
I sucked in my breath. My first glimpse of her in so long was…annoying and breathtaking. How dare she look so, nonplussed. She looked pure, simple, sweet, like the coffee she always served me.
But she wasn’t. Because of Michael. Always fucking Michael.
The double meaning of that internal wording didn’t miss me, even as her brows arched in question when she saw me at the counter. “Can I help you?”
I stared at her silently. Wanting to ask for coffee, needing to ask for answers, trying to harness my anger. Or maybe it was jealousy?
She walked closer. “You are different, but you’re still you.”
I grunted. Her hand came forward, her fingers tracing along the lines of my jaw. “Oh, my beautiful Gabriela, so different as the dashing Gabriel, yet still you.”
I turned my face, my cheek resting against her palm as my eyes closed. Her touch was at once electric and calming. When we’d met, I’d been walking the earth in female form. After leaving her, I’d never taken that form again. Back then, I’d been like Raph in that way. I took form based on mood or what was needed at the moment. Since then, I’d just been my current version of Gabriel, with the exception of limited shifts needed for cases.
“I have missed you,” she said, looking up, her eyes locking with mine just as I opened them again.
“Why?” It was the first and only word I could choke out.
Time seemed to stand still as I waited for her answer. It felt like I watched every beat of her heart against her chest, until the very moment she climbed into my lap. Her hands wrapped around my neck, fingers running through my locs as she grinded against me. “Because, love, we never got to do all the things I wanted to.”
This… was wrong.
Carmen’s lips ghosted across mine and I tasted her. Perfection. Sweet, but with a back up punch. She bit my lip, pulling me deeper into the kiss, as she rocked harder against me. I was drowning in the taste and smell of her. I needed more. It was like that moment had been with the coffee. She’d made me love it. Want it. Drinking from her cup had made it like the sip was my first.
You never forget the first.
“I’m glad you know, Angel Boy,” First Woman growled in my ear, gripping my locs and tilting my head backward.
Before I could respond, she was sucking and biting at my neck. I grabbed her ass, forcing her body to press more firmly against my growing need.
“I am the first. I know what every one of you angels need.” She bit me. Her greed sharpened teeth broke skin, causing me to groan and cry out.
Palming the back of her neck I tilted her head backward and returned the favor. I sucked hungrily at her jawline and neck, before biting her shoulder. I gnawed punctured skin, pulling back slowly to admire the damage and bruising.
Lilith growled, cackling maniacally. “That’s it, let it out, Angel Boy. Don’t be gentle. You don’t have to be nice anymore. The First isn’t pure and can handle all you have.”
Our clothes were gone. I held her pinned to the floor, hands above her head, covered in blood. Some from the wound I’d opened on her shoulder. Some my blood, from where it dripped from the wound she’d caused. She looked beautiful, but distorted. Like a vision in a vision.
I hesitated, shaking my head to clear my thoughts.
“Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, Angel. No pussying out. Be more like your brothers. Be nothing like Adam.” Even as my grip on her wrists tightened, she forced her hand between us, stroking me and guiding me inside. I growled, low and long, leaning forward and pulling her lip between my teeth. “That’s it,” she mumbled against my mouth, “take what you need.”
So I did. I drove into her, over and over. First Woman. My enemy. My opposite. My catalyst. My mirror. From a distance I watched through that mirror. I watched as we merged and blended, at once in focus and out. Covered in shared blood and also pure. I saw as she flipped me, using her mind tricks to pin my hands, as she rode me, while testing my resolve.
“This what you needed, Angel Boy? This how you find your peace? Inside the First?”
“Have you found your answer, angel? Or do you need more? Want more?”
“Angel boy, are you ready to face your truth or will you keep hiding from your darkness?”
The first can take it.
Lilith’s face pressed against the cracked lineolum of the diner table. Her dark tresses were wrapped in my fist as I angled downward and had my way.
“The First will always have your answers,” she mumbled, whimpering loudly.
Carmen looked back at me, her brown hair covering my palm. “Take the moment we never had, my Gabby. Release in to me. Release me.”
I was awake instantly, the angel blade in my hand slicing upward and getting stuck between flesh. I pushed the blade’s new sheath off me, scooted backward, and rose to my full height. Only then did I see who I’d stabbed.
Bloody mouth, Pearl.
“Well, fuck, Gabriel. I knew you’d be mad I took so much, but shit.” She looked down at the blade before pulling it out of her gut. “I didn’t think you’d stab me.”
I rushed forward, picking Pearl up by the throat and using her own hand to force the blade back in. I added just enough upward pressure to cause a new wound. Pearl was old. I didn’t know her origin, but I knew no matter who her maker she wouldn’t survive long with holy steel sticking in her gut.
“What did you do to me?”
I remembered Carmen’s kiss. I remembered the bliss and satisfaction of being inside First Woman. I squeezed Pearl’s neck harder. “What. Did. You. Do?”
“Nothing. I was a little greedy on payment. But anything you saw in the blood dream, was all you, Wingy.”
I dropped Pearl and turned away, disgusted. Fucking Lilith and Carmen? “Bullshit.”
“Dreams are never,” Pearl screamed and her voice trailed off into a grunt as she removed the angelblade from her body. This time, she tossed it away across the room. “dreams are never what they appear at first viewing.”
I could still feel her. Feel them. Both.
“Where’s my info, Pearl?”
She pulled a thumb drive out of her pocket and handed it to me. I just stared at the drive, now covered in the blood from her hand. She glanced down. “Oh, yeah.” The drive was enclosed in a protective case. She placed the whole thing in her mouth and sucked it clean, before tossing it my way. “There ya go.”
I grunted in disgust, even as I caught the drive in my palm, vanishing it quickly to the safety of my space in the ether.
I turned to leave, stopping when Pearl asked, “who’d you see?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your dream. I’m sure this Carmen was one visitor, who was the other?”
“How do you know there was another?” I asked, turning back around to face the now risen vampire.
“Always is. Dreams, especially blood dreams, are about making connections. Whoever that other was, they were there because with Carmen the connection means something.”
I nodded. “Like what?”
Pearl shrugged. “I’m just here for payment. You figure that extra shit out yourself. Though… you stabbing me. That was new. It was a first.”
And finally, a bell rang, and I understood. “Yeah, seems everything about today is about firsts.”
Possibly, even my… salvation?