Prom Nights from Hell Chapter Six part one
“Sheba,” she said, her dark eyes widening. “Sheba… Smith.”
“Well, would you like to dance then, Sheba Smith? If you feel well enough.”
“Yes,” she breathed, half to herself. “Yes, why not?”
Her eyes never left his.
Not moving from where they were, Gabe and Sheba began swaying to the rhythm of yet another wretched song. This time, the horrid music didn’t offend Gabe as much.
Gabe put it together then. New girl. Amazing dress. Sheba. This was Logan’s date, the one who’d asked him to the prom and then wanted nothing more to do with him. For a half second, Gabe worried if it was wrong for him to infringe on his friend’s date. But the worry passed quickly.
For one thing, Logan was happy with Libby. There was no sense in interrupting something that was clearly meant to be.
For another, Sheba and Logan were clearly not meant to be.
Gabe had always had a good instinct for that-for the personalities that belonged together, for compatible natures that would pull together harmoniously. He’d been the butt of many jokes about matchmaking, but he didn’t mind. Gabe liked people to be happy.
And this intense girl with the deep pools in her eyes-Sheba-did not belong with Logan.
That desperate sense of need had calmed when he’d touched her. Gabe felt much better with her in his arms-holding her seemed to soothe the strange call. She was safe here, no longer drowning, no longer lost. Gabe was afraid to let her go, worried that the burning need would return.
It was an odd first for Gabe, this feeling of being in exactly the right place, of being the only one that belonged here. It wasn’t that he’d never had a girlfriend before-girls liked Gabe, and he’d had many casual relationships. But they never lasted. There was always someone else they belonged with. None of them really needed Gabe, except as a friend. And they’d always stayed good friends.
It had never been like this. Was this where Gabe belonged? Shielding this slender girl, holding her safe in his arms?
It was silly to think so fatalistically. Gabe tried hard to act normal.
“You’re new at Reed River, aren’t you?” he asked her.
“I’ve only been here a few weeks,” she confirmed.
“I don’t think we have any classes together.”
“No, I would have remembered if I’d been close to you before.”
It was an odd way of phrasing it. She stared into his eyes, her hands clinging gently to his shoulders. Instinctively, he pulled her a little closer.
“Are you having a good time tonight?” he asked.
She sighed, a deep sigh from the center of her being. “I am now,” she said, oddly rueful. “A very good time.”
Trapped! Like an idiot, like a new-spawned whelp, a novice, a rookie!
Sheba leaned into Gabe, unable to resist. Unable to want to resist. She stared into his heavenly eyes and had the most ridiculous urge to sigh.
How had she not seen the signs?
The way goodness itself surrounded him like a shield. The way her suggestions bounced right off him harmlessly. The way the only ones safe from her evil tonight-those little bubbles of happiness outside of her control-were the people he’d touched and interacted with, his friends.
The eyes alone should have been warning enough!
Celeste was smarter than Sheba. At least her instincts had kept her away from this dangerous boy. Once she was free of his piercing gaze, she’d kept a safe distance between them. Why hadn’t Sheba understood the reason behind this? And the reason Gabe had chosen Celeste in the first place. Of course he’d been drawn to Celeste! It all made sense now.
Sheba swayed to the beat that rumbled through the air, feeling the security of his body around her, protecting her. Tiny, unfamiliar tendrils of happiness twisted their way through her empty core.
No-not that! Not happiness!
If she was already feeling happy, then better things couldn’t be too far behind. Was there no way to avoid the horrible wonder of love?
That wasn’t very likely when you were in an angel’s arms.
Not a true angel. Gabe didn’t have wings, he’d never had them-he wasn’t one of those sappy birdbrains who’d traded feathers and eternity for human love. But one of his parents had done just that.
Gabe was fully half-angel-though he didn’t have a clue about his nature. If he’d had any idea, Sheba would have heard that in his mind and escaped this divine horror. Now it was only too obvious to Sheba-this close, she could smell the scent of asphodel clinging to his skin. And, clearly, he’d inherited his angel-parent’s eyes. The heaven-blue eyes that should have been a dead giveaway, if Sheba hadn’t been so wrapped up in her evil plotting.
There was a reason even experienced demons like Jezebel were wary of angels. If it was hazardous for a human to stare into a demon’s eyes, it was doubly so for a demon to get locked into an angel’s. If ever a demon met an angel’s gaze for too long, pfffffft! – out went the fires of hell and the demon was trapped until the angel gave up on saving him.
Because that’s what angels did. They saved.
Sheba was an eternal being, and she was trapped for however long Gabe decided to keep her.
A full angel would have known what Sheba was at once, and driven her out if he were strong enough, or given her a wide berth if he wasn’t. But Sheba could imagine what her presence would feel like to someone with Gabe’s instinct to save. Innocent of the knowledge he needed to understand, Sheba’s damned state must have been like a siren’s call.
She stared helplessly into Gabe’s beautiful face, her body filling with happiness, and wondered how long the torture would last.
Already too long to save her perfect prom.
Without her hellfire, Sheba had no influence over the mortals here. But she was still fully aware, watching helpless and disgustingly blissful, as it all fell apart.
Cooper Silverdale gasped in horror as he looked at the gun glistening in his shaking hand. What was he thinking? He shoved the weapon back into its hiding place and half ran to the bathroom, where he violently vomited the punch into the sink.
Cooper’s stomach problems interrupted Matt and Derek’s fistfight, which was just warming up in the men’s room. The two friends squinted through their swollen eyes at each other. Why were they fighting? Over a girl that neither of them even liked? How stupid! Suddenly, they were interrupting each other in their urgent need to apologize. With smiles on split lips and arms around shoulders, they headed back to the ballroom.
David Alvarado had given up his plans to jump Heath after the dance, because Evie had forgiven him for disappearing with Celeste. Her cheek was soft and warm against his now as they swayed to the slow music, and there was no way he would hurt her by disappearing again, not for any reason.
David was not the only one who felt that way. As if the new song was magical rather than insipid, the dancers in the big ballroom each moved instinctively toward the person they should have come with in the first place, the one that would transform the night’s misery into happiness.
Coach Lauder, lonely and depressed, looked up from the unappetizing cookies straight into Vice Principal Finkle’s sad eyes. She looked lonely, too. The coach walked toward her, smiling hesitantly.
Shaking her head and blinking her eyes like someone trying to escape a nightmare, Melissa Harris pulled away from Tyson and ran for the exit. She would find the concierge and get a cab…
Like a rubber band that had been stretched too far, the atmosphere at Reed River’s prom now snapped back with a vengeance. If Sheba had been herself, she would have pulled that rubber band until it exploded into pieces. But now all the misery and wrath and hate vanished. The human minds had been stuck in their grip too long. With relief, everyone at the prom relaxed into happiness, grasped at love with two hands.
Even Celeste was tired of the mayhem. She stayed in Rob’s arms, shuddering slightly at the memory of those perfect blue eyes, as one slow song melted into the next.
Neither Sheba nor Gabe even noticed the song change.
All her delicious pain and misery destroyed! Even if she did get free, Sheba was destined for middle school now. Where was the injustice?!
And Jezebel! Had she planned this? Tried to distract Sheba from the fact that a dangerous half-angel was here tonight? Or would she be disappointed? Was she really there in encouragement? Sheba had no way to find out. She wouldn’t even be able to see Jezebel now-whether the horned demoness was laughing or chagrined-with her fires extinguished.
Disgusted with herself, Sheba sighed in happiness.
Gabe was just so good. And, in his arms, she felt good, too. She felt wonderful.
Sheba simply had to get free before happiness and love ruined her! Would she be trapped with some feather-back’s heavenly offspring forever?
Gabe smiled at her, and she sighed again.
Sheba knew what Gabe would be feeling now. Angels were never happier than when they were making someone else happy, and the bigger the lift in that other person’s spirit, the more ecstatic the angel. As perfectly miserable and damned as Sheba had been, Gabe must be flying now-it would be almost as good as having wings. He would never want to let her go.
There was just one chance left for Sheba, just one way back to her wretched, miserable, burning, stinking home.
Gabe had to order her there.
Thinking of this chance, Sheba felt much worse, felt a welcome wave of her former misery. Gabe tightened his hold on her as he sensed her slipping down, and the misery was drowned in contentment, but Sheba remained hopeful.
She stared up into his love-filled angel-eyes and smiled dreamily.
You’re evil incarnate, Sheba told herself. You have a true talent for misery. You know suffering inside and out.
You can get yourself out of this trap and everything will be like it used to be.
After all, with as much pain and havoc as Sheba was capable of causing, how hard could it possibly be to get this angelic boy to tell her to go to hell?