Commission for Anon. Thank you very much!
I grunted as I pulled my arms forward, the weights on the machine making me strain my muscles to try and do my work out. I huffed and puffed as I let the machine return to its resting place. I took another breath, straining myself again as I pulled my arms forward once more. “How was work, Vincent?” A sweet voice asked. I stopped straining and let go of the machine after easing it back into place, “Fine, as always,” I panted and wiped my forehead off. A red water bottle with angel wings on it was handed to me, “You are going to pull something,” She sighed. I gladly took the water bottle and took a few sips, “Thank you, Sophia. How was your day?” I looked up at the beautiful, almost heavenly woman in front of me. A head full of long blonde hair fell gracefully on her shoulders, her soft features showed a sweet smile on her face below her golden eyes. Her soft hand gripped mine and helped me up off the machine before she sat down for her turn. She struggled with the wide, white, feathery wings on her back as she tried to get comfortable before greatly upping the weight amount on the machine. I watched her subtle muscles bulge softly as she did her reps, “My day was good,” She smiled at me before taking in breath, “My class has finally started to behave. It only took them three weeks,” She chuckled. “I don’t know how you manage to whip them into shape. You’re like the Dog Whisperer. But for third-graders.” “Oh, do not compare me to that man. I do not like how he treats the dogs, however effective he is. I would never lay a hand on my students, Vincent.” I smirked, “I know. You’re too much of an angel for that. I think that’s why kids and their parents like you.” “What do you mean ‘too much of an angel?’ I am </i> an angel, dear,” Sophia folded her arms as she got off the machine, pressing them against the white tank top with a faded, flower-filled design on the front, nearly scrubbed away from many runs through the dryer. Her angel wings folded on her back, “I do not know what you mean,” She put her hands on her yoga pants covered hips and gave me a pouty face. I gave her a sheepish smile, “Well, uh, I just meant you’re a good person, really.” Sophia’s mouth stretched into a beautiful smile as she pulled me close with a big wing, “Aw, thank you, dear. You are so sweet. Ready for cardio?” “Ready as I can be,” I replied as she pat my head and let me go. She was a little taller than I was, maybe an inch or less. I blamed it on the shoes she was wearing, “Any weekend plans?” “Well, make some cookies, try to get you to do some grilling…” She trailed off as we both climbed onto the treadmills. She leaned close to me, “Maybe some cuddling? We could watch a movie, do some Bible reading on Sunday after church…” Her face turned red, “A nice walk in the park…” “Oh? That sounds like a really calm weekend,” I almost sighed with relief at the thought of a quiet weekend. “Well, we are going to work on your training, of course!” She reminded me as she set her speed and time. I sighed and smiled at her, “Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Saturday morning, the most wondrous time of the week in my eyes. No demand that I go to work, nor do I wake up early to go to Church– not that I really minded, but sleeping in every so often is nice. Sophia laid next to me with enough space between us to fit a bible, as there was every night. Her golden eyes were staring at me with a little smile on her face, “Good morning, sleepy head.” I stretched as she scooted toward me, putting her soft and warm hands on my face before kissing me on the forehead, “Good morning,” I grumbled back as I hugged her around the neck and buried my face in the top of her bosom. Her gentle fingers ran through my hair. “Someone is a sleepy boy today~” She giggled. “I’m sore all over,” I groaned as her wing laid atop me, covering me with its warm down feathers as I considered going back to sleep. Sophia had other ideas as she let me go and reached across me before rolling off the bed. I rolled over toward the bedside table and went for my phone. I blinked as my hand pressed down on the wireless charger, my phone was gone. I rolled back over and looked towards the door where my girlfriend stood with a cheeky smile on her face, “Sophia?” As if to answer whatever I was going to say next, she showed off my phone, turning on the screen to show me the background featuring her that I used. She had already stripped off her nightgown and put sweats on along with a special shirt with an opening in the back, “If you want it, you will have to take it,” She dashed into the living room, giggling the whole way. I sighed. My peaceful morning had ended. I rolled out of bed and threw a shirt on before chasing her out of the room. As I stepped into the main room, a slight breeze caught my attention, Sophia had gone out into the backyard. I slid my feet into my flip flops as the angel in front of me slid my phone into her pocket. I just shook my head and stepped out onto the patio. A wooden training sword sat on our small outside table that I instinctively picked up. Sophia revealed the short sword and shield she had been hiding before donning them, “Ready?” I asked with a little smile. “I always am. You better not let your weariness slow you down!” She grinned sweetly as she banged the wooden sword against the shield. I looked around the yard, the bushes and trees rustling slightly against the fences I was very glad we had for moments like this. I brandished the two-handed sword and approached with my weapon at the ready. Sophia was defensive, using her wings at her sides to block attacks from those angles with the sword and shield protecting her front. I didn’t like to strike her wings, even if they were built for it. I wouldn’t let her know that, at least. I wasn’t sure she had ever even informed me how the feathers worked like armor. I shook the thoughts from my head and began to feint a strike to her right wing. She tensed up before I swung it, purposefully missing as I swept her front and bringing the sword above me for an overhead. She easily blocked it and shoved me back. I rushed forward with the sword parallel to the ground. I thrusted forward, stabbing at her with the dull wooden sword. Her wing easily bat it aside but she still grinned, “Good! You are improving, Vincent!” “Thanks!” I replied as I swung again. Another block from the shield and then she went for a telegraphed slash with her short sword. I grit my teeth and blocked it, only for her to lunge forward with her wings, using them to wrap around me and pulling me close before wrapping her arms around my neck, “Good job, dear,” She whispered in my ear before kissing me on the cheek, “But I win again.” “You always do,” I sighed as I dropped the sword and drooped my head. My angel girlfriend frowned, “I am sorry. But you should not be discouraged if you lose. I have hundreds of years of experience. You will best me someday,” She nuzzled against me before gently putting her fingers on my chin and lifted my head gently. Her wonderful lips pressed to mine as she gave me a sweet, tender kiss, “You would best most humans at this point,” She whispered, “You just need faith.” “Faith? I have my faith in God.” “Faith in me and especially yourself,” She explained quickly before slowly pulling away from me, “Faith in God is good, but you must have faith in the tools he has given you. The talents, the gifts bestowed. Trust in yourself as I do," I nodded, doing my best to heed her wisdom as Sophia’s wings folded against her back, releasing me. “Want to shower first?” I gave her a little smile as she tilted her head at me, “I’ll go first. Can’t have those feathers clogging up the drain, huh?” “Ha ha, very funny, Vincent, dear. Take your time, your weary body will enjoy the warm reprieve the hot shower gives.” Quite some time after I had gotten dressed and gone out into the main room of our small house, Sophia stepped into the living room after her long, assumedly thorough shower. Her sparkling blonde hair was pulled back into a bun. Her strong legs were covered with form fitting blue jeans and a somewhat dressy white button up with a shirt pocket. Her ancient, slim, Motorola ‘Razr’ flip phone was shoved into said pocket. She shoved her thumbs into her jean pockets as she stepped across the wooden floor on thick and white woolen socks, “Just waiting for me to return before your day begins?” She asked with a teasing smile as her wings stretched and refolded on her back. “Nah,” I grunted as I turned off my phone, sick of flicking through the short videos of water slides, roller coasters, and crane games, “I am merely taking it easy,” I said slowly, as if I was picking every word with care, “And I could really go for some of those famous cookies of yours.” “Of course you could,” She giggled as she made her way to the kitchen past the kitchen table, “I had better hurry then.” “Take your time. Maybe we can take that walk before lunch? Something light for lunch and I’ll grill you up a big slab of meat for dinner?” I asked. With a nod Sophia smiled at me, “I could not think of a more fantastic day to spend with my beloved, Vincent.” I blushed, that beautiful smile made me weak, “Y-yeah…” I trailed off absentmindedly as her golden eyes beamed at me. “Are you quite alright, my dear?” Sophia put her hands on my shoulders and cocked her head slightly, “You have a… look in your eyes. Like a man gazing upon…” Her concerned look changed as her lips curled into a smile, “Perhaps it is love? Or do you feel something else?” I blushed at her, “You just have a cute smile, is all.” “Is that so? You say that every time, you know,” She giggled before letting me go. With practiced speed, she began to pull ingredients and the hand mixer out of the cabinets and fridge. I watched her begin to work before sitting at the chairs at the kitchen counter, “I really like what you did with your hair.” Sophia smiled again, “Showering me in compliments today? I barely deserve such, especially after stealing your phone. Or are you trying to get extra cookies? You will spoil your lunch, dear.” “I… I’m just glad I have you here. Ever since you moved in, things have gotten a lot better for me. Something in the back of my head keeps telling me you’ll have to leave soon,” I sighed. “Your words make my heart flutter, Vincent,” Sophia beamed at me, “Do not worry about me leaving. I am under a very high authority’s orders to stay here in this area. You may not be in said orders, but I am sure they would understand should they check up on me,” She began to put the cookie ingredients into the bowl and idly hummed to herself as she used the loud hand mixer. I sat nearby, ready and eager to help if she asked. Just like always, she didn’t ask. Even then, I did my part by cleaning up the kitchen alongside her. The raw dough went into the oven after she handed me the mixer’s blades to lick them clean. I gladly ate a few gobs of raw dough before we heard a light rapping on the door. Sophia stood up straight and looked to the tiny entryway and then to me, “Guests?” “Probably just a package or mail. I’ll get it,” I quickly assured her. “It seems early for the postman to arrive.” I ignored her and strode to the front door and threw it open. There were two people on my little porch and I stared into a face with soft features and golden eyes. It was like I was almost </i> looking at my girlfriend, Sophia. This face did not smile at me, she had a neutral face like her eyes were starting right through me. She wore a button up under a black overcoat, a simple black skirt, tights, and black dress shoes. I started to sweat when I looked at her companion. It was a woman– specifically a tall angel woman with rippling muscles and two sets of smaller wings, one above the other. Atop her long auburn hair was a pair of rounded ears, and a crimson mane. She wore heavy looking scale mail and carried a very large sword on her back. She gave me a small nod and I swallowed nervously, blinking at them before slowly turning back into the house, “Sophia? A-are you… expecting company?” “Company? Who is here?” She shouted back. I heard her set her utensils down and hurry to the front door. For the first time in my life I saw her face turn to something that was not quite anger, but not very happy at all, “Sister.” “S-sister?” I stammered. “Greetings, sister,” The mystery angel replied, “May we come in?” “Of course. You are welcome in our abode, dear sister,” Sophia gestured for them to enter. I stood aside as the two figures entered my home. The sister angel glanced around at the furniture with a blank look on her face. The lion-like angel woman seemed to smell the baking cookies in the air, “Were you in the area and just decided to drop in?” “We are here on business, Sophia,” Her sister replied. “I was hoping you would not say that. You have ever been work focused,” Sophia sighed, “Let me get a pot of coffee going. I am sure the two of you had a long trip.” “Thank you,” The lion woman grunted. I hurried into the kitchen as my girlfriend’s sister and the armored angel sat on one side of our round table, “You never said you had a sister,” I whispered. “It never came up,” She smiled at me, “Do not fret. I will handle this. Take the cookies out and plate them up.” I did as she said, waiting for the oven to ding before quickly pulling the fresh, gooey cookies out and putting them on a plate. By the time I was done, the coffee pot was too. We took our seats across from the other two angels and I put my hands in my lap, “Who is this?” My girlfriend’s sister asked. “This is Vincent. My boyfriend,” She replied as she folded her arms. “Boyfriend?” The sister angel eyed me, “I see. Name?” “Vince,” I replied. “Vincent</i>,” Sophia corrected, “And this is Sarah, my sister and… Leonessa, correct?” “I am surprised you remember,” The armored angel grinned as she went for a few cookies, “We have not seen one another in about a hundred years.” “Less than that, but you were assigned to my sister. I am unsure I could forget you,” Sophia smiled as she poured a few cups of coffee, “What kind of business brought you here, sister?” Sarah cleared her throat, “Angels are being rounded up for roles that need to be filled. Heaven has expanded once more. Soldiers, politicians, workers, and such are needed,” She procured a rolled up scroll from a bag and handed it over, “We have assigned you a job of a similar role to mine.” “A cushy bureaucratic job?” Sophia’s voice with oozed boredom, “An order from Commander Basch?” “Yes. The commander himself is sending out these orders,” Sarah explained. Sophia shook her head, “I am here on orders from a higher power. Admiral Balthier assigned me to this area more than a hundred years ago. I cannot go. Beside my orders, my church, my class, my friends, and my lover all need me. I would not trade them in for a boring job as a bureaucrat.” I had never heard my girlfriend so serious in my time knowing her. Sarah sighed, “I was hoping this would not happen. But I unfortunately know you.” Leonessa smiled and shook her head as she looked at the two sisters before turning to me, “Is family not the greatest?” “So what now?” I inquired meekly as the two sisters stared one another down. “Proxy duel,” The sisters replied in unison. “Ancient laws dictate that two angels in a disagreement cannot duel one another directly,” Sarah continued, “Leonessa will be my duelist.” “Alright!” The armored angel grinned excitedly. I stared at my girlfriend as she folded her arms again. “Sophia?” Sarah pestered, eager to hear her choice. Sophia sighed, “Vincent. You will be mine.” “Pardon?” I blinked at her, “Me? Surely you’re joking. Please tell me you are.” “I am not,” She replied and gripped my wrist gently. Sarah eyed me again as she sipped her coffee, “So be it. We will meet here in one week to resolve this. Good day to you both. Come, Leonessa.” “Yes, yes,” She snatched a few more cookies and threw them in a pouch on her hip. She shot a smile my way, “You look quite pale. No need to be nervous. It should be fun. But you should not expect to win,” She chuckled. “Leonessa.” “Yes I am coming. Goodbye!” She waved and followed her ward out of my home. The instant the front door closed, I slouched in my seat, “I’m a dead man.” “Now now,” Sophia gripped my wrist, “No need to look so glum. Leonessa might be a warrior, but she is much </i> younger than I. You have learned from a real master while she is still green. You are also unpredictable due to not being trained at the military academy,” She quickly explained. “I still don’t know…” “You have to, Vincent,” Sophia caressed the side of my face, “For me. You are my champion, I have given you all the tools you have needed for this day.” “Did… did you expect this to happen?” I asked as she headed to the living room, her eyes transfixed on the sword she hung above the disused fireplace. “I had suspected it might when I heard the news of Heaven expanding five or so years ago,” She grabbed the sword and wiped off the dust, “It was shortly after we began dating that I heard of the angels being brought home.” “So I’m being forced into this?” “Of course not. You can opt out if you wish. But the duel has two purposes. To prevent direct conflict and to prove that building rapport through compassion is more important than brute strength. My sister and Leonessa have very little. She is simply my sister’s bodyguard, but you and I share a most intimate bond. Our combined strength will outweigh theirs.” I nodded, “So now what?” As if to answer, Sophia put the sword in my hands. The hilt was wrapped in light, worn leather and was concealed in a similarly colored sheath. I glanced up at her only to get a reassuring nod. I slowly pulled the sword from its old, dusty housing. A shimmering light nearly blinded me as the sword was roughly pulled from its sheath for the first time in a long time. As my eyes cleared, the golden blade seemed to sparkle before me. A soft glow emanated from it as I gripped the hilt, feeling its heft before holding it with two hands. I adjusted my hands and suddenly the weight felt perfect. “This sword will make you invincible,” Sophia explained, “Powerful and swift.” “Really?” I continued to examine it slowly in my hands, “It's not going to eat my soul or something, right?” “Do not be ridiculous,” She scoffed, “I am no peddler of cursed items. It will not harm you. You just need one thing. Faith.” I nodded, “Faith in you?” “Mostly your faith in the Lord. But having faith in my guidance and in my belief in you would not hurt,” She pushed the sword aside and hugged me, “I am so proud of how far you have come already.” “Thank you, Sophia,” I hugged her back with one arm, “We’re going to have to skip the walk for more training, huh?” “Yes,” I got a kiss on the forehead as she shifted to holding my shoulders at arm's length, “Come.” The day came. A week of intensive training left me feeling confident in myself along with the faith I had in my loving, caring angel, and the Lord. The sword on my back softly hummed quiet hymns in my ear as I stomped into the arena. My armor clanked and jostled with every movement, sweat poured down my face. My heart pounded and my hands gently shook. I stepped through a short tunnel and into the local arena, usually used for sporting events, to see it had been converted into a sandy arena with a large ring drawn in chalk. A short line was drawn on both ends, showing where the combatants should start. I looked into the audience to see a murmuring crowd. Humans and non humans filled the stands to watch the show, an ancient human tradition dating back to the Romans. Sarah and Sophia sat together in the middle of the front row. I waved to Sophia who waved back with a smile as I put on my open face helmet. Stomping out of the opposite end of the arena came Leonessa. She had a big and excited grin on her face as she adjusted her armor. She put up a single hand in greeting which I politely returned despite my anxiety over this. I took a few deep breaths as I tried to calm myself down. Leonessa removed her sword from the sheath and stuck the tip of it into the sand. She held the hilt of the immaculate iron sword, her wings spread out in a display of size, and she balled her fist, banging it against her chest in a wide arc, each strike ringing out with a loud clamoring of steel gauntlets on steel cuirass. I exhaled. I was ready to get this over with. Clumsily, I slipped the sword off my back and gripped the hilt, feeling the sword’s power filling me as I drew the sheath off, dropping it unceremoniously into the sand. The golden glow of my longsword gave me confidence, the magical blade giving me the power I would need to win. There were whispers at the back of my mind that it was all a placebo, but I ignored it. A commotion drew my attention to the stand. Sarah was seething at Sophia. I couldn’t hear it but Sophia’s smug smirk and shrug said it all. I turned back to my opponent who did not falter. I shook myself and took my spot while holding my sword over my shoulder. My freehand clenched tightly as we waited for the signal. My heart pounded. I had to win. I wanted to win more than anything. Sophia had placed her faith in me, and I wasn’t about to let her down. “Let us do this in one round, yes?” Leonessa offered, “No need to draw this out.” “Aye,” I grunted as she stepped up to the line. “Ready?” She put the visor of her helmet down. I nodded. A gong rang out, signalling to start. Leonessa’s wings flapped twice sending her skidding across the sand with her sword held at her side. I dove under the sword and then rolled onto my back to deflect an overhead slash. The angel was quick to go for a stab but I was faster, stabbing my blade into her side, right by her ribs. She grunted as pain coursed through her, pulling away from me as she regained her footing. I got to my feet, taking a stance as we stared one another down. The wound on Leonessa spilled no blood, our enchanted blades would simply weaken one another with every blow landed. My opponent was relentless, coming at me once more, flying low to the ground before swinging again in a wide arc. I raised my sword to block it, only for her to feint it and swing at the other side a little too quickly for me to fully react. The sword dug into my arm, making me grunt in pain as my armor dented. I retaliated by throwing my body forward and ramming my shoulder into her gut, following up with a drawing slash across her chest, the blow landing square across her from her collar to hip. Her armor absorbed most of it, but she still seemed to be in pain. There was a break in our fight as we both backed off. I attempted to catch my breath, keeping my eyes fixed on my opponent. She, like me, breathed heavily, feeling the weight of her armor now with each strike I landed. “You are a lot better than I expected,” Leonessa panted as she adjusted her sword grip. “Thanks,” I grunted in response and tilted my helmet back. “Come on, boy! Let us finish this!” She snarled, throwing herself at me as she sprinted forward. I readied a block, our sword connecting low with a spray or sparks, locking into one another. In my heart, I prayed to God, let me end this, for Sophia. Leonessa’s wings flew forward, each of the four attempting to strike me. I put all my mass behind a shove, breaking our clash before I brought my sword down on them, cleaving through with the enchanted blade as I lunged forward, dodging the strikes from the other side. Leonessa gasped and dropped her sword, all of her energy had been sapped. As her consciousness faded, she fell forward. I dropped my own sword and caught her before easing her to the sandy floor and laying her on her back. As the rushing of blood and pounding of my heart slowly subsided in my ears, I could finally hear the crowd. They clapped and cheered as I stood victorious over my opponent. Before I could wave to them, I felt a weight crash against me, “Vincent!” Sophia cried as she pulled off my helmet and hugged me around the neck, “You did it! I knew you could!” I chuckled and tried to hug her back despite my armor, “I… I did do it, huh?” I sighed and felt the weight of my armor as my weariness coarsed across my body, “I really don’t know how.” “You should not be handing out this blade lightly,” Sarah scolded as she picked up the golden sword and put it back in its scabbard, “I do not understand how you got your hands on this artifact.” “Huh?” I gave her a look as I took the sword from her. “It is one of the Swords of Heaven,” The sisters said in unison with completely opposite tones. Sophia was happy to tell me while Sarah was angry. “It is nourished by your faith,” Sophia explained, “The more you believe, the stronger it makes you. Your belief in me, yourself, and God all made you more powerful.” “Huh. I see. So I wasn’t really invencible?” Sophia sighed and smiled, “In a way, no you were not. But for all intents and purposes, you might as well have been.” “Well, sister,” Sarah folded her arms, “Despite what I would consider cheating, </i> you have won. I shall return to Heaven and tell the Commander of this duel. Until they try to send you orders again, you are free to remain here.” “Thank you, sister. Please inform the bureau that I am married now as well,” Sophia wrapped an arm around my shoulders and held me close. “Y-you are?” Sarah looked shocked. “You are?” I was just as shocked. “Mhm. Vincent, will you take me as your loving wife? You have more than proved your devotion and faith and now I wish to return it to you,” She held me close, “I love you very much, dear.” I blinked slowly, “I-I love you too, Sophia. I would be honored to marry you,” I felt myself getting teary eyed as joy and love filled my heart. “Let us get you out of that sweaty armor. We can plan our wedding tonight!” Sophia’s lips were stretched into a wide grin that made my heart flutter. I couldn’t even get any words out of my throat, I was paralysed in her marvelous presence. “I will tell them, sister,” Sarah sighed, “We must be off. Oh, and sister? Do not forget to send me an invitation, yes?” “You got it!” Sophia chuckled as she took my hand, “Come along, dear. We have much to do.” . . . . . Months had passed since my duel. Heaven had not sent another decree to my wife, Sophia in all that time. They did send a letter of congratulations for our wedding, at least. It was a lazy Saturday morning and I had just finished my morning exercise. Sophia was taking it easy, spending some time in the kitchen where she sipped on sweet tea while putting her cookies in the oven, “Hello, dear,” She greeted me warmly with a smile and then a hug. The soft sweater she wore made the hug even nicer, “How was your jog?” “It was nice. I wish you would come with me again,” I admitted quietly and sheepishly. “Well…” She trailed off, “I was worried about something… and the doctor confirmed it yesterday. I was thinking about keeping it a surprise for you, but…” She handed me a sealed scroll. I gave her a confused look and broke the wax seal before scanning the hardly legible doctor-script. At the bottom, a printed phrase caught my eye, ‘PREGNANCY STATUS: POSITIVE.’ I felt my heart skip a beat, “Y-you’re…” “Yup!” She giggled as she gave me another tight hug and a kiss on the cheek, “We are going to be parents!” “Parents?” I put a hand on my forehead, “I can’t believe it…” “Do not look so worried. You will do wonderfully, Vincent. Have faith in yourself.” “Right, right,” I nodded slowly, “I’ll do my best. For you and for the baby.” “Wonderful. Vincent, I love you,” She whispered. With a smile, I whispered back as I hugged her tightly, “I love you too. We need to start buying stuff for them, right? Baby furniture, clothes, a baby monitor for sure. What about–” “Congratulations!” A voice cried before a little shower of confetti rained over me and my wife. “Sarah! Leonessa! I was not expecting you so soon,” Sophia smiled at her sister and the bodyguard, each one was wearing jeans or khakis and a brightly colored button up. “Oh, hello,” I meekly greeted. “Hello, Vincent. No need to look so nervous, I am not here to deliver orders,” Sarah explained as Leonessa stood beside her, trying not to look as giddy as she felt, “Congratulations, dear sister. You married a wonderful husband and now you are going to have a beautiful child! It feels as if time is moving too fast.” “I know! We are so very, very excited!” Sophia grinned, “Come, sit! Sit! Cookies will be ready soon!” I watched the two sisters move to the table where they continued to excitedly chat. A firm hand slapped my back, “Aye, good job, Vincent. I have never seen Sophia smile so much since she met you,” Leonessa snickered as she went and took a seat with the other two angels. I sighed, taking a few moments to take the cookies out of the oven and plating them up for my guests. I couldn’t help but smile as I started to imagine my life changing once again.