Evie climbed out of her apartment window and stood on the rusty fire escape, breathing in the cool air. The bright city lights twinkled below, and the muted hubbub of London’s nightlife filtered upwards as she gripped the wobbly railing.
“Pizza delivery,” came a gravelly voice from above.
She looked up and grinned. “About bloody time! I’m famished after the day I’ve had.”
A whoosh of air flipped her hair across her face as Caleb landed with perfect precision beside her, his magnificent, gold-tipped wings splaying out behind him. One day she’d get golden feathers on her own wingtips, and she’d be a fully-qualified angel—if she was good enough.
He chuckled and folded his wings so they lay close to his body. “A thank you wouldn’t go amiss.”
“Sorry, thanks.” She sat down, slipping her legs between the wrought-iron bars, her booted feet dangling mid-air. “Take a pew.”
Caleb did the same. “Best seat in the house,” he said, gazing upwards at the starry sky. He handed her the pizza box.
Opening the box, she grinned. “You got half meat, half veggie?” Her stomach growled as she eyed the mouth-watering cheese on the margarita half. “You’re an absolute angel, you know that?”
“Takes one to know one.”
Evie laughed. It was a joke they’d shared since they met two years ago, but one she never tired of. She tore off a triangle of pizza and gave the same old reply, “Not yet, but nearly.”
She bit into the pizza and unfolded her wings. They protruded through two vertical slits in her T-shirt, which she’d cut herself. Evie let them rest behind her, enjoying the freedom that came when she stretched them out.
Her white, iridescent wings, like Caleb’s but not as impressive, were hidden from the humans by a magic veil, so she had no fear of revealing her true form, even up here, but most of the time, she kept them folded close to her back. She’d lost count of the number of times she’d knocked things over in her wake when she first got her wings.
A gentle breeze ruffled her feathers, and at last, the tension of the day eased from her shoulders.
Caleb’s handsome face turned solemn. “Evie, I have it on authority; those from Above think you’re doing well.”
She finished her bite of pizza and swallowed before she spoke. “They do? Sometimes I think I’ll never make it.” She reached for the bottle of red wine balanced on the metal stairs that led to the roof. “Wine?”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
Evie placed a water-marked glass and a chipped mug on the iron grating and poured a generous amount of wine into both. She handed Caleb the glass.
“Thanks, but didn’t you have two glasses?”
“I broke one.” She gulped her wine like it was orange squash.
He picked up a slice of pizza from the pepperoni half, took a bite, then regarded her for a moment, chewing quietly, his lips closed. The way he ate was one of the first things she’d noticed about Caleb when they met. She couldn’t bear people who chewed their food like dirty clothes slurping around in a washing machine.
When he’d finished his mouthful, he asked, “So, are you going to tell me what’s up?”
Her shoulders sank. “I got fired.”