Friday, December 21, 2012

Day Twelve: Carol Oates

A Christmas Angel

-alternate chapter from Ember-

Candra wiped her dusty hands on her jeans before she reached into the last storage box. She ignored the star that usually topped their tree and pulled out the ten-inch figure, smiling to herself. The twinkling white lights twisted around the evergreen’s branches caught the gold treads running through the ivory robe of the angel and glittered beautifully.

The angel was older than Candra was and had belonged to her mother. With everything going on, she’d been thinking of her mother and father while trimming the tree. Since her father died, she and Brie had spent Christmas alone. Now Brie had her family back, maybe she’d want them around her this year. The idea of making nice with Sebastian over crackers and cranberries didn’t appeal much. She fluffed the white feathers of the angel’s wings. Do Watchers even celebrate Christmas?

“I’ve never quite understood this particular tradition", Sebastian said from behind her. “Nothing says Christmas like cutting down forests.”

Candra turned to see him leaning casually against the doorframe of the sitting room with his arms crossed, observing her. “Seriously, make some noise or something.”
“What kind of stalker would that make me?” he asked innocently. His eyebrows rose as though her irritation shocked him.
“At least you’re admitting your stalkerish tendencies now,” she grumbled, waiting for his usual it’s-for-your-own-good speech.

Sebastian uncrossed his arms, pushed off the frame and approached her slowly. Candra still found his movements disconcerting. There was fluidness about how his limbs worked, something so very perfect—Angelic, she thought to herself. She tried to look away, she really did. Regardless, her gaze traveled the length of him from his heavy black boots to his knowing smirk. Candra flushed and returned her attention to the figure in her hands.

“I’m surprised. I would have thought the last thing you want is another angel around.”
Sebastian plucked a red and white striped candy cane from the tree and began to unpeel the plastic covering.
Candra pressed her lips together and scowled. She’d spent a full two hours carefully placing every light and ornament on the tree. She didn’t expect anyone to eat the decorations.

She climbed the stepladder with the figure in her hand. “I wouldn’t let Brie use this when I was kid. I thought it was cruel to stick a tree branch up an angel’s ass.”

Sebastian laughed. “And now you’re wishing it was me up there.”

She carefully positioned the angel. “Oh, I think we both know you already have a giant stick up your ass.”

“We have a comedian!” He snorted a laugh and bent over the pile of discarded boxes on the floor, the cane poking out of the corner of his mouth.

Candra jumped down and stood back to examine her handiwork.

Sebastian removed the cane. “Now, this is a tradition I’m in favor of.” He straightened up holding a plastic sprig of mistletoe.

“It’s fake,” Candra said quickly. He was right beside her and Candra hoped he couldn’t feel the heat burning off her cheeks.

“Oh come on,” he teased with an easy confidence that immediately got under her skin. “You can use your imagination, can’t you?” Sebastian smirked and held the green and red
plastic over the space between them, mischief glinting in his brown eyes.

Candra hated that her heart beat faster and her first thought was Sebastian’s lips would taste of sugar and mint. Her cheeks burned hotter but she refused to be the first to look away.

Their silent standoff lasted several long moments before he lowered the mistletoe and offered it to Candra. She snatched it from his hand and tossed it back into the box.

“You’re such a pig sometimes.”

“Merry Christmas, Candra.” Sebastian chuckled as he left the room.

Ember, Book One:
When Candra Ember wakes up in hospital after a dangerous encounter
with a red-haired woman, she is shocked to discover that seeing a
winged boy wasn’t her imagination. Candra is exposed to a world of
rivalry and sacrifice she never knew existed, and the aftermath of a war
to save humanity thousands of years ago. Soon she finds herself
relentlessly stalked by Sebastian, a beautiful and arrogant Watcher
Angel and romantically pursued by his darkly seductive rival, Draven.
Ultimately, dubious about her own goodness, Candra’s very existence
compromises a tentative peace in the city of Acheron.

Iridescent, Book Two:
Candra Ember used to dream of saving the world one person at a time.
She never expected to become an angelic weapon and the last hope in
the battle against ultimate darkness. Falling for a Nephilim wasn’t part
of Sebastian’s plan. Distraction is something he can’t afford when his
rival, Draven, wants what Sebastian has. Lies, manipulation, and
corruption are twisting the lives of the citizens in Acheron. The Arch is
missing from Heaven, and a demon is intent on claiming the city. At a
time they should be growing closer, grief and paranoia is driving
Candra and Sebastian apart. If the price of restoring the Watchers to
Heaven is a human soul, who deserves to be saved?

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1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this!

    “Nothing says Christmas like cutting down forests.”


    And then Candra dished it right back with that comment about a stick up his ass.

    Well done, Carol!