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Angels Kiss and Demons Lie
Chapter One: Linda, Novelist Extraordinaire
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. Many men battled over the right to be her husband and become king, but only two stood out. They were twins, both extremely handsome. One was quiet, the other... er...
Alright, this is not the kind of story I would write, I thought, First off, they aren't battling over me... her. I erased the paragraph that I had written in pencil, starting over.
In a land far, far away, there was a young woman. She was forced to live with evil twins, two horrible men that held no relation to her. The woman had to cook food for them and clean their terrifyingly dirty underwear...
Frustrated, I crumpled the paper into a ball, throwing it at the wastebasket. I missed for the 90th time. Another, cleaner sheet of paper now replaced the other one. Ok, one more time and its quits... I started writing again. It has to be perfect.
Once upon a time...
I erased this. I don't want a fairy tale! I wrote a better beginning.
When the land was young, a maidservant worked in a brilliant marble castle where the King and his two sons lived. The princes were twins, looking for a woman to call their own, to love and to care for and for her to give it in return. One of them wasn't really interested in many of the girls that had come to him. The other was falling for the maidservant that was already working for them...
“Oh, God!” I screeched, tearing the paper to shreds. Every piece missed the wastebasket. “No more romance/fantasy novels for you, missy.” I quietly scolded myself.
“What about a novel?” Asked a voice from the door. I swiveled in her desk chair to find one of the said twins mentioned, Alex. His ruffled black hair was a bit messier than usually today, covering some of his face. The brilliant, emerald green eyes stood out on his pale skin. That wasn't what I was worried about, though. I was worried about what he was wearing.
“GET OUT, YOU PERVERT-MINDED FREAK!!” I yelled at him, slamming the door, hoping it would do so in his face. Alex caught it, so that when I tried pushing it closed, it wouldn't budge. “Let go!”
“I can wear what I want in my house.” He replied, guessing why I was freaking out.
“Wearing just boxers with a girl in the house is hardly appropriate at all!” I still put my weight on the door, knowing it wouldn't move an inch until Alex released it. “Do you mind?!”
“No,” He said, grinning mischievously, “I don't.” I got even more angry, knowing the statement and why I reacted this way. Alex had a large crush on her. I hated him with a passion. You can see why this wouldn't work out at all. It's a love-hate relationship, except I don't like him at all.
“Good God, Alex, why don't you find a nice hobby, something that doesn't bother me or involve me?!” I yelled at him. Alex flinched a bit, still not quite used to me.
“I do. It's called `annoying girls that are like Linda.' See? `Like.' It isn't really involving you.” Alex said, stepping inside just when I was about to protest. I fell over because I had still been trying to force the door closed. As I hit the floor, I started cussing, at him and the fact I just fell square on my face.
I swung the door open after she got up, pointing outside it. Alex shook his head, and I raised a fist, indicating that violence would soon be used if he didn't leave. He made a puppy dog pout, but, nevertheless, went and walked somberly out the door in a funny, yet gloomy, way.
Zanth, otherwise known as Z, walked sleepily by, watching as his brother went back to his room slowly. Z glanced at me, inquiring, but I glared at him. He shrugged, an ominously large task for such a lazy person, going into the kitchen to get breakfast. I sighed, following after him.
Alex and Z were two very different people, personality-wise. Z and Alex are two sides of the same coin. I always thought twins were pretty much the same, but this pair proved me wrong. Serious and quiet Z with playful and loud Alex lived in a huge mansion right outside the cities.
Ok, Z's a bit sensible, I guess... He did save me from a burning building... I thought, And who doesn't like a sensible guy? I then walked into the kitchen, seeing Z standing at the refrigerator door. Or maybe not... I sighed for the second time that day.
“Z, what are you doing?” I asked as he stood there, staring intently at the door handle.
“Open it.” Z replied, indicating the fridge door.
“What, can't you open it yourself?!” I said, blood burning.
“No.” His tone seemed innocent, only Z was everything but.
“You can to. You're just being a total jackass.” I sighed for a third time, throwing my arms in the air. “Great, now I have to put up with two of them?! God must really hate me...” I opened the door for Z, but he hadn't moved. “Now what?”
“We're out of milk.” He said, “Why don't we have any milk? You know I like milk in the morning.”
“What?!” I looked inside to see Z was right. “I just bought two gallons of milk yesterday!” I paused. “Alex...”
Marching up the stairs to his room --- which was the closest to the stairs on the third floor --- I pounded on his door. The structure of the house still confused me --- three floors of bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. I shook my head, trying to banish the strange thought that they threw wild parties...
“Yes?” Came another innocent, jackass call.
“Did you take the milk cartons and dump out the milk to make another stupid garbage sculpture?!”
“It's not garbage! It's art!”
Throwing the door open, I stomped in. There was a pile of milk cartons in front of the bathroom door, in the far right corner. In the middle of the room was a huge bundle of them taped, glued, and stapled together, where Alex stood with three pieces of tape stuck to his fingers and a carton in his other hand. There was a stapler and a large bottle of Elmer's glue by his feet.
“Alex...” I said, trying to keep my cool, “Where did you put the milk from the two gallons I got yesterday?”
“I don't recall taking two gallons of milk any time between yesterday and today...” Alex replied, looking at the jug in his hands, his mind seemingly somewhere else. The thoughts must've been grim, because his mouth formed a straight, serious line. “Unless...”
He ran out the door in such a flash I had no time to follow what was happening. I was still as a statue, my mind trying to think of ways Alex could've gotten by me without touching me. Finally, his blast blew through the air, milk jugs going every which way. The force tumbled me into a wall, where I was buried in cartons.
Whoa. That. Was. Strange. I thought, almost incoherently. I was sitting at the top of the stairs with the jugs still on me, stunned. Alex is really fast! I guess I'm not used to it; I've only been living and working here for two days... The thought triggered my memory of how I came about living with twins who wanted to torture me.
It was a dark, beautiful night, until my adopted little brother lit fire to a curtain. Everyone was sound asleep, so no one heard him messing around with our dad's cigarette lighter. The only thing I remembered distinctly when I was in the house was the fire alarm going off, the sounds of screams, my own voice adding the panic of the rising, whipping flames...
Then, a dark shape entered her room. I thought it was a firefighter, but whoever it was wasn't wearing any of the protective gear. So who was it?
The man seemed about six feet tall. His shoulder length black hair covered parts of his face, but I saw a gleam of green there. I was on my hands and knees on the floor, looking up at him. I learned staying low helped avoid most of the smoke.
Coughing, I fell to her side, lungs burning. He ran to me, picking me up like I was a very fragile feather. I hid my face in my arm, still trying to cough out the smoke that irritated my throat. The man held me against him like he was bracing for an impact, and then ran through the remains of the upper part of the house with inhuman speed. Fire was dying off as he came to the nearest window, which made me think that the firefighters were finally tackling it. I hoped my family survived, and then the man surprised me by jumping out the window.
We landed on something soft. A mattress, maybe? I didn't care, though. My mind was on my family. Did they make it out alive? Or... I couldn't think of the other possibility. I had to be optimistic, no matter the situation.
The mysterious man and I were whisked away by some police officers, where they gave us blankets to warm us in the cold night air. As soon as they left to help with the fire, I tossed my blanket behind me. The man who saved me refused the blanket, also. The heat from the fire was enough.
He did not leave my side the entire time. Whenever I got up to ask an officer if my family was found yet, he followed. He hadn't even said a word, not to the officers, and not to me. I was too shy to ask him anything or thank him until I was with my family again.
I glanced over at him, making sure I was seeing right. Some guy I didn't know was willing enough to save me, and yet he didn't say a thing to me. I had so much to ask him. Why did he save me? Why in his right mind would he go so far as to go into a burning house, climb to the second floor, and save a total stranger?
The fire was now a billowing smoke. I didn't see a flame anywhere. An officer walked up to me, worried. He kneeled down to meet my eyes.
“Are you alright?” He asked, only the millionth time someone's asked me “Would you like a blanket, or maybe some hot cocoa?” I shook my head.
“I'm fine. I don't need a blanket.” I stated, “I'm stronger than most people think.” The officer stood up. The mysterious man next to me gazed at me, his eyes showing that he partly understood. “What about my family? Are they okay?” The officer's face went grim, and he didn't have to say anything. I already had a suspicion they weren't there, because my heart wasn't so warm. The lower the fire had gone, the more I had known they were dead.
“I'm sorry, miss. There was nobody else found in the house.” He said, bowing his head. “If you would like to grab any items from inside the house that are left, you can go right ahead.” I nodded. He walked away to talk to another officer.
I hugged my knees to my chest, weeping on my legs. The man hesitated, and then embraced me, also crying. I looked up at him, confused. He didn't turn his eyes on me, he didn't even mourn. Tears slid down his face onto my shoulder.
“Don't cry for me, please... it's unnecessary.” I said, “I don't know you ---”
“Don't you feel devastated?” The man asked, his voice caring, soothing, “Like everything you once loved perished so quickly and now all you have left is the ashes?” He spoke the truth. This is what I felt. I was left cold by the heat of the fire.
We both cried, for each other, for my family, and --- in my mind --- for my mother, long dead, but still worth weeping for. When we were both out of tears, we pulled away. I still had so much to ask him. But first things first.
“Who are you?” I asked, straight and to the point.
“Z! Z, where did you run off to?” Called someone from behind them. A guy who looked exactly like my savior walked up to them. “There you are, Z. What are you doing here?” He glanced over at me, grinning. “And who's this?”
“Don't even try it with me, buster. I've been through one horrible night; don't make it worse than it is.” I snapped. I blinked, and then asked, “Are you two twins?”
“Naw, we're just reincarnates of the same person.” The second man said seriously. I nearly believed him, if Z hadn't smacked him.
“Yes, we are twins, unfortunately. This is Alex, my `charming' brother.” Z coughed loudly and it was Alex's turn to smack him in the head. “And I'm Zanth, otherwise known as Z. I have the brains, the only good thing here.”
“Hey!” Alex said. He put his hand on his brother's head, leaning on him. Z got angry, pushing him off. Alex fell over.
“Alright, Alex, this is Linda.” Z said.
“Pleased to meet cha, Lin!” Alex exclaimed, standing up.
“It's Linda.” I said.
“Alright, Lin!” Alex turned to his brother, “So, what's going on here?”
“Z saved me from a burning building.” I replied, “Oh! I forgot to thank you!” I hugged Z, and Alex joined in. “What are you doing?”
“I thought it was a group thank you.”
“No, it's not.” We all pulled away from each other, except Alex was still on me. “Z, please get him off me.”
“Down, boy.” Z said, grabbing Alex's ear, yanking him back. To me, he said, “Sorry, he's not properly trained.” I imagined Alex chewing on his brother's arm, foam coming from his mouth.
“Hey, do you want to help me look for some things? I want some pictures from the house...” I looked off at what was the rest of the only home I ever had. The two stopped bickering and gazed at me.
“Yea, of course.” Alex said, grinning, trying to cheer me up. Z nodded, and we all went off to the remnants of the burnt house.
As we were searching, we stayed silent. It was awkward, a dead silence stretching out and through the night. The twins were moving wood out of the way so I could collect anything under it that was intact.
“Hey, what's this?” Alex asked, picking up a picture frame. “Linda, is this your parents?” I walked up to him, taking the picture. When I saw it, I burst into tears. “Oh, oh, oh... please, don't cry, I'm not good with tears...”
“I'm sorry. It's just... I'm so glad you found it. It's the only picture I have left of my mom.” I lifted the frame to my face, touching it with my cheek. Tears splattered onto it. “She had problems birthing me. They say it was really unknown as to why she died like she did. After I was born, she just... stopped breathing.” I examined the photo, smiling, “She gave me almost everything I have...” I glanced down, seeing another picture frame. I unburied it from the rubble, gazing at it. “It's... us. At the summer home by the lake, it's my whole family. There's dad and my adopted siblings, Matt, Lucas, and Melina.”
“That's your whole family?” Alex asked, looking over my shoulder at the picture, “Don't you have any grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins?”
“My parents had no siblings, and my grandparents were long gone before I was born.” I realized the point Alex was trying to bring up. I had no one to go to. “Oh, God. I'm an orphan now. I'll have to go to an orphanage, and then become a poor little beggar who cleans your car windshield for a penny!” I started panicking.
“Ok, Linda, calm down. It's not going to come to that, alright?” He turned to call, “Z! Z!” His brother came over to us.
“What did you do now, Alex?” Z asked, looking me, whom was still babbling.
“... and, and, and then the orphanage couldn't pay its bills and I'd be adopted by some crazy wacko family who cuts off the heads of their children and...” I kept on panicking, thinking of insane things that would never happen to me.
“Wow. You really overdid it this time, Alex.” Z said, “I think she's going to explode.”
“She has nowhere to go. That's why she's doing... this.” Alex put his hands on my shoulders, shaking me. “Alright, get a grip! How old are you?”
“Stop it!” I cried, and he let go of me, “I'm eighteen.”
“Eighteen year olds can do whatever they'd like to! You don't have to go to an orphanage or become a part of another chainsaw massacre. You could rent an apartment, or ask a friend if you can live with them until you get a job or something.” I was a bit surprised that Alex had calmed me down. “Do you have a driver's license?” I nodded, “A car?” I shook my head.
“I don't have any money to do much of anything, except maybe eat out at McDonald's for a day.” I gazed at my feet, and then mumbled, “My siblings and I were... home-schooled. It's quite embarrassing, really. Dad didn't want to go through the horror of back to school shopping; we couldn't have afforded it, even for one of us.”
Alex and Z exchanged glances, “So you have hardly enough money to do much of anything...” Alex said, speculating the situation, “Well... Z?”
He figured out what he was trying to say to him, but I had no clue. I kept glancing between the two, trying to scrutinize their expressions. Were they saying something with their eyes? Or... are they speaking telepathically, like most people hear about twins? I asked myself. Then Alex caught me totally off guard by breaking the silence.
“Linda, how would you like to stay with us?” He asked. My eyes went wide and I gazed at him, shocked.
“No! I couldn't! No, no, no, no! I wasn't brought up to take charity, I'm supposed to give!” I now glared at the ground, utterly confused, angry, and blushing.No, I'm not blushing! I'm not...
“You could always be the maid.” Z said, grinning, “We've been meaning to do some cleaning, but we never have the time.”
“I mean, really! Why should I live in a house with two strangers and work as their maid? That's absolutely insane!” I was so baffled; I was almost literally pulling my hair out.
“I think you mean `mansion' and `a pair of totally handsome guys.'” Alex corrected me, picking on me.
“WHAT?!?!” I screeched, backing away, eyes as wide as dinner plates. “No! No! I won't take that kind of charity!”
“But, Linda... You get food.” Z said as my stomach rumbled. I covered it, trying to get it to stop. I sighed, giving up.
“...Fine.” I said, “Whatever, then, I guess.”
“Is that a yes?” Alex asked, trying to hold in his giddiness. I nodded numbly. It was no use --- I owed Z big time, and acting as their maid would be a good way to repay him...
Alex exploded with happiness, skipping around Z. “Yay! We're gonna get a girl in our house! We're gonna get a girl in our house!” He sang to some unknown tune, looking out of place as he leaped around the remains of what had been my only home.
And that's how I came to be here. I thought, and then realized I was still sitting at the top of the steps, staring through empty milk jugs. Someone was climbing the stairs, but I didn't know which twin it was --- the jugs weren't completely transparent.
“Linda? Are you alright?” Asked the voice, this ended up being Alex. He dug through the cartons to find me. “Why are you crying?” He asked as he slid the jugs on me to the side to watch me.
“Thank you.” I said quietly. “I really am lucky.”
Mandy: Thanks to all of those who have read this! I'm working hard on the next chapter!!
Linda: You mean you're hardly working. You're sitting on your butt playing FFVII for the PS right now!
Mandy: Shhhh!!! No, I'm not! ^__^