Home > Fallen Academy: Year Four (Fallen Academy #4)(2)

Fallen Academy: Year Four (Fallen Academy #4)(2)
Author: Leia Stone

“Babe.” I never used pet names with him, but I would if it would get his attention and make him stop for a moment. “I’ll be fine, I promise.”

It wasn’t like Lincoln could do much if Lucifer showed up here. Lucy felt all powerful at times, and I wasn’t sure Lincoln could take him down like he thought he could.

“I just wonder if I should maybe take a year off. Until this whole thing is over.”

I could see the stress in his body, in the way his shoulders bunched up, arms always slightly flexed. Padding over to him, I wrapped my arms around him.

“We need the money. I have my heart set on buying an actual house one day for all our kids to live in.” Not to mention he paid for my mom to live in Angel City as well. Something I told him he didn’t need to continue to do, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. My checks were a lot smaller than his, and I wasn’t even sure I would be paid since I was banned from going into the war zones until Lucy was dead.

A huge grin lit up Lincoln’s face. “All our kids?”

I chuckled. “Like one or two of them.”

He shook his head. “Nope, you said ‘all.’ That’s at least four.”

Laughter pealed out of me. Standing on my tiptoes, I pressed my lips to his, claiming his mouth in a deep, passionate kiss. Pulling back, I ran my fingers along the scruff at his jawline, and then leaned forward once more, my mouth on his as his hand came up around my neck, bringing me closer.

When I finally pulled away for good, I was a bit breathless. “I think we’ll do better if life settles back to normal, ya know?” I couldn’t live in fear. I refused to do it.

A resigned sigh left his chest. “Okay, but you know it’s only ‘normal’ right now because you drank that stuff, which means he can’t track you anymore.”

Yes, drinking the protection spell Raphael had made was some sort of safety net for the time being, but Lucy knew I was here. I was sure of it. Where else would I seek shelter? Lincoln had also taken the protection spell, and was hidden from Lucifer’s prying gaze, so I managed to take comfort in that.

“You have my cell number. Call me any time to check in.”

He sighed again. “I’m only agreeing to this because Shea is going to be over here with you, and I know she’s as protective as I am.”

“If not more.” I nodded. “She said she was bringing rope to tie our ankles together in case I got taken in the night.”

Lincoln looked impressed. “That’s a good idea.”

I snorted. “She was kidding.”

I hope.

A loud banging rattled the trailer door. “Knock knock, bitch!” Shea’s voice called out, and both Lincoln and I grinned.

“Go!” I told him, pushing him lightly.

He fought against me, and instead of moving toward the door, he pivoted, reaching out to cradle my face in his hands. When his lips claimed mine, in a knee-weakening kiss, I moaned into his mouth. Desire pooled between my legs, and I was half tempted to send Shea away and ask him to call in sick to work.

“I love you, Brielle Atwater-Grey.”

A grin pulled at my lips. I thought he might think that my desire to hyphenate my name was silly—we had Mikey to carry on the male line or whatever—but part of me just couldn’t let go of my dad.

“I love you too.”

“It’s dark out here!” Shea griped through the door, and Lincoln smiled.

“Yeah, and it’s a full moon, so let us in,” Luke called out too.

Cocking his head to the side at the sound of Luke’s voice, Lincoln opened the door. Chloe, Shea and Luke were standing there with a box of Cloud Nine donuts.

“So, it’s a party?” Lincoln asked, as my friends shoved past him and into the trailer.

“You bet your sweet ass it is. Third years only.” Luke blew Lincoln a kiss.

With a grin, my husband met my eyes, holding them for a long moment before waving goodbye.

After the door closed, Luke popped open the box of donuts, and grabbed a purple one with lime green stripes. I had no idea what emotion it induced, but I was sure it was yummy.

“Did you see Tiffany’s face when Delacourt announced Brielle would be back in classes tomorrow?” He gossiped, taking a bite. The moment it hit his tongue, he moaned ,and collapsed onto the sofa.

I chuckled, taking a seat next to him.

“But… but… shouldn’t she be a second year? She missed everything!” Chloe whined in a fake Tiffany voice, which caused us all to crack up even harder.

“I’m so over Tiffany,” I declared, picking up a bliss donut. “How did you guys pay for these? I know your salary can’t afford a whole box.”

Shea grinned. “Noah got a promotion. He’s a captain now too.”

I chuckled. “So, you celebrated by spending his raise?”

Snatching a green melancholy donut, she nodded. “Pretty much.”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Y’all are crazy for being married, and engaged, this young. I’m not even entertaining the idea until I’m thirty. At least.”

Luke nodded. “You go, girl.”

I had missed my tribe, so much that it squeezed my chest to think about it, but something was still missing.

Sera.

“What’s wrong, Bri? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Shea asked, hand at her mouth ready to eat a donut. I hadn’t yet tasted mine.

Not wanting to ruin this moment of normalcy I so craved, I shook my head, and plastered on a fake smile. “Nothing. Did I tell you guys there are other Fallen Academies?”

There were also Legions, the spawn of a demon and a human or even two demons, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to get into that with my friends just yet. Lincoln had encountered one when he’d been looking for me in Demon City, while I was stuck in hell. He’d told me all about them. Technically Emberly was one, being that she was born of a human and a supernatural creature AKA Archangel Michael.

Luke bolted upright on his seat. “What! Like other campuses?”

I had already told Shea and sworn her to secrecy, but Chloe and Luke had no idea.

Chloe sat down, leaning forward. “Tell!”

A grin pulled at my lips. “Okay, so there’s this chick Catia who helped Lincoln while he was in San Francisco.”

Chloe gasped. “He was with another woman while you were apart?”

Waving away her concern, I rolled my eyes. “No. She’s not into guys. They became besties and, like, emotionally supported each other. Anyway, she smuggled out this teenage girl and got her to safety at the Paris Fallen Academy, where she now works as a professor.”

“Paris!” Luke squealed like a tween. “Ohmygod, tell me we can go there.”

Laughter bubbled out of me. “Maybe one day.”

“How many are there? Paris, LA, and…?” Chloe looked enamored.

“There is also New York, Toronto, and Zurich,” I answered, leaning forward, and enjoying the gossip fest a little too much.

Luke gasped. “What! Like… what? I heard New York was the first to fall, that it’s all a shelled-out war zone.”

My ponytail swayed as I shook my head. I’d asked Lincoln about a thousand questions the night he told me about the other Fallen Academy campuses. “It’s smaller, underground, but they still operate to help students who are angel blessed in the area. Gabriel heads New York and Toronto. Uriel heads Paris and Zurich, and Michael tries to help out whenever he isn’t here.”

Luke’s chest heaved up and down as he registered the news, while Chloe looked dumbfounded. “Why don’t they tell us?” Luke asked.

Lincoln had made me promise I would only tell those I trusted with my life, those who were loyal to the Fallen Army. “Because if it was widely known and the demons found out…”

“Oh.” Luke frowned. “But… Paris!”

A grin tugged at my lips. “He said Catia, the girl he knows there, might come visit on a supply run. Maybe you guys can meet her and ask her all about it.”

Reaching out, Luke grasped my arm, gripping it tightly. “Yes! She can teach us French!”

We all laughed at that, and I chose that moment to bite into my bliss donut. I’d had so few of them in my lifetime, that I could count them all on one hand. Yet, one thing always remained the same—Shea was there every time. The second the sugary center of the donut spilled into my mouth, ecstasy bloomed in my gut, causing me to break out in ridiculous laughter.

I rolled over onto Luke’s shoulder, giggling incessantly as he went for his second donut.

“I missed this. I missed you guys,” I confessed as oxytocin, and God knew what else, flooded my system.

The bear shifter reached up and patted my head. “You have no idea how much we missed you. How long we looked for you. How hard it was to let you go.”

A somber feeling settled across the trailer, and Shea snickered. “Luke ate a melancholy donut.”

That caused us all to cackle in laughter, and I’d truly never felt happier, and at home than in that moment. Maybe some of it was a side effect of the fading bliss donut, but most of it was being home with my friends and family.

The night progressed as we talked, laughed, and ate donuts until we all felt sick. After everyone left, Shea and I snuggled up in Lincoln’s and my bed. We lay there, in silence, just staring at each other for a few long moments.

“What are you going to do when he comes for you?” Shea finally spoke, and her voice shook a little, showing her vulnerability. I could see now that she was as terrified as Lincoln that I would get taken again.

Holding her hand, I squeezed. I didn’t want to lie to my best friend.

“I don’t know.”

I was going to try my hardest to resist him… and pray for a miracle.

It was a long time before I could fall asleep, though it might have been the rope tied around my ankle.

Apparently, Shea hadn’t been kidding.

Three

The last few weeks of my third year passed quickly. I was exempt from the testing, which Tiffany bitched about to no end, and was automatically entered into the fourth year. Emberly had gone on a short staycation with her parents, but assured me our lessons would resume over the summer.

   
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