Chapter Twenty Five: Doubt and Desperation
Alexander stared at James Armstrong, his mouth slightly open at seeing a long-gone friend. Then he moved to shut the door.
"No Alex, let me talk to you." James held up a hand and pressed his other one on the door to stop it from closing.
"I have nothing to say to you. You are one of them." Alex gritted his teeth, his green eyes burning almost black. "Save your breath James. You will tell me to focus on aiming for Heaven, to forget… forget her. Just go away. Please."
James leaned against the door and crossed his arms.
"Alex, I am your best friend. I know I was gone for a very long time without explaining or telling you, and I wasn't here when they teamed up against you, but I am here for you now. Whatever you want to do, I can help you."
Alex's lips twisted in disgust.
"Oh, so you are playing the ''best buddy you have in the world'' card now. Did they tell you to say that, James? What did they promise to give you when you delivered the message, hmm?"
James' eyes flashed, then his hand grasped Alex's throat and slammed him against the wall. James' wings spread out, a smokey feathery gray, while Alex's enormous snow white ones burst out in alarm. Alex suppressed a groan, his wings cushioning his back from slamming into the wall.
"Alexander Giovanni, how could you say that to me?" James set his teeth, his hazel eyes flashing. "Why can't you see? Why can't you understand that you are more important than anyone I loved? I came down for you. I ditched an angel I loved for you. Because I know, a woman I love isn't as important as a brother I love. If you are my real sibling, I wouldn't, COULDN'T, love you as I do now. I thought we understood each other, I thought you understood why I have to leave you for a while. But it didn't matter, I am here now, I am back for you. And you'd better not treat me how you did with the Carters and Holland."
Alex raised his stormy-green eyes at James, who was looking fiercely at him. He drew a deep breath, and twisted his neck out of James' grasp. His wings batted against James' gray ones, and was on the other side of the room instantly. Alex stared James down, who stood quivering with emotion and anger.
"I am sorry James." Alex said softly, his voice also shaking a little. "I can't trust anyone right now. Not when they are keeping me away from Anastasia. I couldn't do anything. Hell, I tried explaining to her, but someone took her away from a Memory Dream she and I was in. If she doesn't understand, then she will never… she won't know… she…"
He couldn't continue.
James clenched his fists at his sides.
"God, if only I could care less about you, Giovanni." He cursed under his breath, "then I won't have to feel so painful when I see you in pain. Damnit. Damn YOU, Alex."
Alex said nothing, but watched his friend trying to calm himself. James turned away for a moment, dragged a hand down his face, and turned back to him. He could see James was struggling with himself, trying to choose who to side with. He lowered his eyes, his heart beating loud and fast.
"Damnit. Damnit all." James walked over to Alex and grasped his hands and pressed him against the wall. "Tell me what I could do to make you trust me as you did once. Tell me what the hell I could do to win back a brother. God, tell me what to do with you. Damn the Carters, damn Holland, damn you. Just freaking tell me a way to win you back."
Alex drew a deep breath and looked at James, who looked back at him with a furious passion Alex had never seen before. He had never seen James looking like this. He thought he was just a mere friend. He didn't know how much James counted on him, how much he loved him like a brother, how much he cared for him. No, because of his selfish and obsessive love for an Archangel, Alex had forgotten his friend. But his friend had never forgotten him. He never knew that… he never knew what to do.
He sighed in defeat, and touched James' shoulders.
James shook his head, and took a step back.
"Sorry. I knew I crossed the line. I know- I know how you feel about losing her, and I know how it feels to be able to have the chance of loving her completely again. I get it, Alex. I am sorry I went overboard. I just-"
"No." Alex clasped his hands on his shoulders. "Don't apologize. I can't stand it. I am so selfish and self-obsessed, and stupid. I forgot how much you have done for me. What is it you want with me, James? What can I do for you?"
James covered the hand on his shoulder and looked up at him.
"No, you don't need to do anything, brother. In fact, I would; much rather you do nothing."
Alex frowned. Something was up. James knew something that would come as a blow to him. Maybe it was partly why James was being so passionate, scared, and emotional…
Still, Alex squeezed his shoulders.
"Okay. Tell me whatever it is that is bothering you."
James shot a glance at the doorway then back at him
"What would you do if Anastasia fell in love with someone who is not one of us?"
A chill ran down Alex's back. He tightened his hold on James.
"I don't think I can do anything about it if she does, really. It's her choice. Maybe if she fell in love with a human, then maybe our punishment will be over."
His friend looked relieved.
"Oh, then it will be okay. Everything will be okay now." James' eyes looked happier, "then you are willing to let her go. No matter what she does, no matter what you didn't know that she does, you won't care because it is her choice. Thank God."
Alex snapped into attention. He dropped his hands from James' shoulders.
"James, what exactly are you saying?"
"She fell in love with… um," James shifted his shoulders, "well, you know that she is in love with someone else?"
"Yes, I know." A jolt of pain slashed across his body, making him tremble. James noticed.
"Alex, this conversation can wait. You don't look so good. Maybe… maybe we can talk after-"
"No, tell me everything now. Tell me what Anastasia is doing."
"Then we can at least sit down? Really, Alex, you look really bad."
Trembling with pain, Alexander slid down onto his bed and buried his head into his arms. After a few seconds, he heard James taking a deep breath.
"Alright. You know she is in love with someone else, that is not what made you so painful. You know she did something else and betrayed you. Don't you, Alex? You are hiding something from me, something similar to what I am trying to explain to you. But can you promise you won't go after Anastasia, or her new lover after I tell you the truth?"
"Anastasia knows nothing, Alex. She didn't even know she is hurting you. If you hurt her, if you hurt her… you will regret it, I swear…"
"James, I am not gonna hurt her, or anyone she loves, no matter what she does." Alex breathed out with difficulty. The green snake of jealousy had bitten deeply into his heart, ripping it to shreds. He knew it was love and obsession between Anastasia and Louis. He just wanted to believe that Ana would wait for him, at least until he had explained everything to her. But she moved on. And the truth was so painful that it hurt like hell to hear it coming from James' mouth.
James opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. Out of the corner of his eye, Alex saw something in James' eyes change, then it was gone.
"Louis Vincenti made love to her."
Something snapped in his brain. His blood roared in his ears. He sprang up, and strode to the floor to ceiling window. His heart dropped like stone in water. James was behind him, tugging him, begging to explain more. But nothing he said could really calm Alex down.
'How dare he- How dare she-'
How could she do this to him? After what he showed her in the Memory Dream? After she knew some history of them in Heaven in 1600? How could she-
She gave something that was his to a mortal who was unworthy of her.
Hands clapped on his shoulders and spun him around. James' hazel eyes bored into his.
"Alex. It is her choice. She doesn't know. She-"
"Get out of here, James. Before I kill someone."
"Alex, you promised- You knew already-"
"Then I am breaking my promises! What are promises to me?" He whirled toward James and gripped his face in his hands, his whole body shaking with suppressed anger. Or, not so suppressed."
James' eyes widened in fear.
Alex went on. "SHE broke her freaking promise. The worst part is, she doesn't know what she is to me. SO help me God; James, you'd better get out before I decide on killing Louis Vincenti OR flying to Anastasia's house and take her away. If you leave now, you can lock the windows and the door BEFORE I go after them. OR, you-"
James' wings slapped against his face, and two shots of silver shot across toward him. Alex blocked it with two sudden spurts of icicle, his eyes black with fury.
James was on the either side of the room, his wings shaking out silver after silver, while Alex shot out ice after ice. The two angels were almost fighting, and yet, it was not because James hated him.
It was because he loved Alexander too much.
"Enough!" James shouted, and then he was straddling Alexander, pinning him to the ground. "Stop being a fool, Alex!"
Alex wanted to throw him off, wanted to tell him that he had lost everything. But he couldn't. He was suddenly exhausted.
"God dammit." James muttered under his breath then turned back to Alex, "have you come back to your senses, Alex?"
"Yes." He said defeatedly, all trace of anger and jealousy gone. He slumped to the ground, his wings spreading out on the floor underneath him. "I am so, so sorry."
"Oh for God's sake." James swung his legs off him and extended a hand and pulled Alex back up. "Stop apologizing for her."
"I just… it's too much. I can't- I can't do this with her anymore. This century, James, is the hardest I have even experienced. Is there a way we could get through this?" Alexander stared hopelessly up at him.
"Do what the Order says. Find her a Mate to go back to Heaven."
Waves of empty, horrible desperation overwhelmed Alexander. He sank onto the floor, feeling for the first time he didn't know what his next step was.