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Lizzie’s story continues right where we left it, and will be updated every Sunday. Enjoy!
The drone of the crowd around them had diminished to the occasional whisper as the colonists began to disperse. Lizzie was wiping her tears away with her right hand, so consumed by her task she nearly jumped as someone took hold of her free hand. She and Gavin locked eyes for another brief moment before she looked away, embarrassed.
He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “Gab, got any tissues?”
“Huh–?” His younger sister shot him a questioning glance when she noticed Lizzie. “Oh! Yeah, I’ve got one of those cute mini-packs in my purse.”
“Good luck finding it,” Benji related. “I can never find anything in there.”
Gabby stuck her tongue out at her classmate, fishing a tiny plastic pack from her handbag. “Here we go!”
She plucked a couple tissues from the pack, handing them to the senior with a soft smile. “Let me know if you need more, ‘kay?”
Lizzie nodded and took the thin paper, dabbing at the spaces beneath her eyes. “Thanks. I’m okay, guys. It just made me really happy to hear Monty acknowledge what kids like me have gone through.”
Her friends–who were now crowded around her–exchanged uneasy expressions. “Is what he said true?” Tawni began. “About your parents?”
I’ve kept them in the dark long enough, Lizzie decided. She opened her mouth to answer–only for Gavin to gruffly insert, “We don’t need to talk about this.”
“That’s not for you to decide,” said a familiar voice in an uncharacteristically austere manner. It came from behind Kaine, prompting him and Tawni to turn to the speaker. The two teens joined Benji and Gabby toward Lizzie’s right, granting her a view of the angels who had interrupted their conversation.
The psychic waved at her from the prince’s left. “Hey, Liz! I, uh, don’t know if you remember me–”
Lizzie broke out in a wide smile. “Alexa! It’s been so long.”
She threw her arms around the angel, hugging her tightly.
“Oh!” Alexa chuckled, returning her embrace. “You’re a lot more affectionate than I remember.”
Lizzie shrugged as she pulled away. “You can learn a lot about socializing in four years.”
“I bet,” the young woman said. She then turned to Tawni and Benji, an apologetic smile on her lips. “Hey, guys. How’s Aunt Ainslie?”
When the elder of the two siblings averted her eyes and pursed her lips, the younger said, “She’s doing alright. How’re Aunt Bella and Uncle Mario?”
“Good! They’re good,” she beamed. “They might be a little upset with me, but other than that I think they’re doing okay.”
“That’s right, you just got married to one of the Montgomery angels!” Benji recalled. Their outburst made the angels laugh. “Chris the teleporter, right?”
She nodded. “Right.”
As if on cue, Chris joined his superiors and introduced himself to Alexa’s cousins, granting Lizzie the chance to tackle the prince.
He cackled as he caught her, holding her tightly. “If you’re going to do this every time you see me, then I might extend our ‘ride home’ deal.”
“Promise?” she whispered into his neck. He tensed and set her down, running his fingers through his hair as he caught her gaze. His cheeks were the shade of strawberries, and her own grew warm as she realized that she had done all of that in front of her friends.
Crap. She spun back around and took in their amused expressions. “Um, Monty, these are my friends Gavin, Gabby, Benji, Tawni, and Kaine. Guys, this is Mona’s brother, Monty.”
The other humans’ eyes collectively widened, with Tawni’s jaw dropping. “Wait!” She demanded, her pointer finger raised and darting between Lizzie and Monty. “He–You–”
“ ‘Mr. Sexy Biker Friend’ is Mona’s brother and the new prince?!” Kaine shouted, the biggest grin on his face. “How the hell could you keep all this piping hot tea to yourself? Friends tell friends when they’re dating hot otherworldly beings!”
The warmth had spread all over her face and neck. “We are not dating!”
“Damn, ‘cuz.” Another group of angels had joined them, most of which were familiar. “You’ve only officially been prince for ten minutes and you’ve already been rejected.”
“Frankie!” Lizzie rushed over and gave the former prince a quick embrace.
“Hey, kid!” Frankie greeted her in kind, his green eyes giving her a once over. “Or I guess I can’t even call you kid anymore. Are you taller?”
“She obviously shrunk–” Monty began to joke, hand already raised to fend off Lizzie’s swat. He leaned over and kissed Frankie’s friend on the cheek, a greeting she returned in kind. “Carmen, this is Lizzie. You’ve probably heard of her.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” The elder spirit challenged, but it was the taller angel to his right that answered.
“It means you’ve got a big mouth,” he said with a smirk before offering his hand to Lizzie. His eyes were a darker shade of green, and his dark hair was kept in tight two-inch coils. A full beard lined his jaw, even shorter than the hair on his head. “I’m Sal, Big Mouth’s brother and Sexy Biker Friend’s cousin.”
“That’s Mister Sexy Biker Friend,” Monty reiterated.
Lizzie laughed. This almost feels like back when I first got settled at Mona’s. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“I’d stay for the party, but I gotta get home.” Sal gave the prince an abject shrug. “Micaela’s cravings have been all over the place, so if I don’t bring home something that has peanut butter–”
“Oh, Aunt Desi brought a pie for you to take home,” Carmen revealed, tucking a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear as her pale blue eyes flew back toward the center of the park. “I think she said it was chocolate peanut butter?”
Sal breathed a hefty sigh of relief. “God, I love that woman.” He waved goodbye and made a beeline for the Council of Elders.
“What party was he talking about?” Lizzie asked, waving amicably at the remaining angels. Ricky Palladino and Connor Montgomery nodded in her direction; Natalie Hall smiled and waved as she passed, excited to greet her cousins. Cassidy pushed past Frankie with a large grin on her face, pulling another angel close behind her. While Lizzie had not met the teenager before, she could tell he was right about her age. He looks familiar.
“Lizzie! Remember me?” asked Connor’s sister, already throwing her arms around the human.
“Of course I do, Cassie,” giggled Lizzie. “Though your hair looks lighter than before.”
“Yeah,” she let out a coy laugh as she brushed her fingers through her straight platinum hair, pulling a generous portion of it over her right shoulder. Pale freckles dotted the apples of her cheeks, and her peanut brown eyes passed over Lizzie’s umber coils; the human had worn them in two simple ponytails pulled over her shoulders. “Your hair got so long! Have you been using the products Cienna made?”
“Are you kidding? I haven’t used anything else since I got here,” Lizzie half-joked. “The shampoo, the leave-in conditioner, the castor oil–”
“She even uses the soap and lotion Cici sent us,” another voice piped in; Lizzie was able to pick out its owner before she even turned to greet her.
Mona threw the teen a wink and a smile before she addressed her brother and their cousin. “Aunt Desi wants to meet Liz before the party.”
“Me? Why me?” The prophet wants to see me? Why? The entirety of Mona’s words registered with Lizzie after another short moment. “Wait–what party?”
“It’s a tradition for the former prince to hold a private party after the coronation,” Frankie explained. “As a way to welcome their successor. Problem is, the new prince is supposed to choose the venue–and Monty hasn’t decided on one yet.”
“Oh,” was her only response. Monty, indecisive? Since when? “Well, have you at least narrowed it down–?”
She had turned to face the prince, her voice trailing off. Monty’s expression was curious; she noted apprehension and a bashfulness she had only ever caught glimpses of. The fingers of his right hand were buried in his coal-black trestles, as he was in the middle of brushing his hair back in his signature fashion when Lizzie had posed the question. They had locked eyes briefly, and while she couldn’t place the emotions she saw in those dazzling emeralds, she could decipher the sudden shift in his aura as he gazed off to the right and resumed his action.
“Not really,” he said. His lime-green energy was almost entirely overtaken by pink, and there wasn’t an ounce of brown in sight. “Where do you want to go?”
Her lips parted as she studied the shift. It reminded her of that day at the beach years before. There’s no way… Does he really–?
“Uh, Lizzie?” She blinked and gazed over at Kaine, half-dazed over her own suspicions. “We get that he’s pretty, but maybe you should answer his question instead of openly ogling?”
Heat spread across her cheeks. Did I seriously space out and stare at him? “I-I–”
“Why don’t we all go to the beach?”
The mixed group of humans and angels turned their attention to Alexa; the psychic fidgeted a bit, uncomfortable with the spotlight. “We haven’t had a bonfire in years, so I thought it would be fun.”
“Wait–I thought it was a private party?” asked Lizzie.
Her dark eyes darted between Monty, Frankie, and Mona. The latter elbowed her twin in the ribs; he sucked in a sharp breath and rubbed the area she had jabbed, his cheeks regaining their strawberry tint.
“I’m the guest of honor, so I can invite whoever I want,” he clarified, finally meeting her eyes again. “Do you and your friends want to come with us?”