Ezra was enjoying his day off. As a Guardian Angel he only had one day off a month, so he wanted his day to be perfect. He was in his favorite place — the Central Library — having coffee, reading his favorite book for the thousandth time, and admiring a handsome guy.
The boy was nothing out of the ordinary, Ezra thought — medium height, olive skin, dark curls everywhere, and a very beautiful, almost angelic, smile. Just an ordinary mortal, of course. And it wasn't even the human Ezra was supposed to watch, but something drew the angel to him and he wanted to find out what it was.
'Not today.' He thought. Because it was his day off and he didn't want to waste it thinking about things that were too complicated. The day was supposed to be perfect. But apparently the Universe had other plans for him.
"What the hell!" He heard one of the guys who worked at the library say as he scraped a strange piece of paper with a coin. He was leaning against the cafeteria bench in the library. A lady passing by scowled and scolded him.
"Hey! Stop calling bad things!”
The guy just rolled his eyes and went back to the little paper he was scraping.
Ezra, who was watching the scene, just sighed and said to himself “What a load of nonsense!” and turned his attention to his book.
And that's when things started to go wrong.
Ezra felt a cold wind in his ear and a shiver ran down his spine. He stopped himself from jumping when a familiar voice said:
“Did someone call?”
He could feel that the owner of that voice was smiling, but he turned to look anyway. And there he was, the devil himself. Well, not exactly The Devil, just a demon. And as Ezra suspected, he had a mischievous grin on his face.
Seeing that Ezra apparently didn't have much of a reaction to his arrival, the demon said, "You don't look too happy to see me, Ezra."
The thing is, he didn't know if he was happy or not. It's not common for angels and demons to be friends, but it wasn't uncommon for Ezra. Kai was pretty much the only friend he had. ‘Was’ was the right word. Turns out, years ago, Kai disappeared without even leaving a message and Ezra learned that he was gone from someone else when they came to ask him if he knew where Kai had gone. He obviously didn't know. He didn't even know that Kai was gone. And after a few years he got tired of waiting and decided to move on.
Now Kai was back and Ezra didn’t know how he should be feeling. But he felt a lump in his throat like he was about to cry, so he took a deep breath and asked what mattered, trying to sound as calm as possible.
“Where have you been, Kai?”
"Oh, you know," the other shrugged and sat down next to the angel on the couch, "on vacation."
Ezra had never felt such an urge to punch him as he did at that moment. 'You mean while I was here worried sick, this asshole was taking a vacation?' He thought and then said aloud, a little too impatiently.
"Of course you were."
"You look a little down." Kai said and made a thoughtful expression. "Why don't we do something to cheer you up?"
And Ezra knew he was about to say something that wasn't going to please him because Kai still had that mischievous grin on his face.
"I already know!" The demon said after a few seconds. "Let's make a bet." Bingo!
"No, thank you." Ezra said and tried unsuccessfully to turn his attention back to his book.
“Are you reading ‘Satellite Call’ again?” Kai said, leaning over to get a better look at the book cover. “How many times have you read it?”
The angel opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by Kai putting his hand in front of him.
"Wait, don't tell me." And then he did that thoughtful expression again and then said confidently. "I'll bet a coffee it was one hundred and thirty-two times."
"You are a few years late." Ezra mocked, hoping the other would feel at least a little guilty for leaving him, but it didn't seem to have any effect. “Two hundred and forty-nine.”
"Wow!" That's what Kai said, raising his eyebrows theatrically. "I think it's time to start reading other books."
'Not so early.’ Ezra thought to himself. It was obvious to him why he read ‘Satellite Call’ so many times. It was his favorite book. A masterpiece! It has a happy ending. And he knew the story backwards. He didn't need to worry about what was to come as he had already memorized every word in that book. So whenever he wanted something safe and without unpleasant surprises at the end, he would reread ‘Satellite Call’.
“You owe me a coffee now.” Ezra said and returned his gaze to the book, then added. “No sugar, please.”
Even without looking he could feel that Kai grimaced. As he still remembered, the other hated coffee, even more so without sugar. When it came to candy, Kai was a little ant and it seemed that at least that hadn't changed.
The demon stood up, took one look at Ezra, and sighed before turning around and heading towards the cafeteria. And of course the person he was going to talk to would be the guy Ezra had his eyes on. Kai seemed to have said something funny, as the two began to laugh.
For some reason, Ezra felt uncomfortable, but he obviously tried to ignore it. Then the guy started making the coffee and Kai looked in Ezra's direction and smiled. The angel looked away and went back to the book, trying to distract himself.
A few minutes later Kai returned with a cup of coffee for Ezra and a juice for himself. Ezra set the book aside and picked up his coffee.
"Thanks". He said, unable to hide a triumphantly smile and took a sip. Even without looking he knew that Kai was smiling too.
The truth was, Ezra loved making bets with Kai, and it was even better when he won. Obviously Kai knew this very well and also knew how to get Ezra into the game. It's not like they're making serious bets. They were always pretty childish things actually, as Ezra couldn't interfere much in the lives of mortals. It was one of the angels' rules to avoid causing too much paperwork, and one of the reasons angels hated demons — they interfered too much and caused too much paperwork.
Angels were not divine creatures. They were powerful, but not divine (well, Ezra wasn't that powerful). For millennia their job was to ensure that the chosen ones fulfilled their destiny and they guided them on heroic quests. They liked the heroic quests, they gave a purpose to life. That is, until they discovered that these quests were just a way for the angels to choose someone to clean up the mess they didn't want to clean up. Nowadays they just guide mortal souls to the afterlife and take care of a lot of paperwork.
The role of Guardian Angel was usually given to the younger angels, so they would know how the elders did things in the old days. And not all mortals had a Guardian Angel, only humans, as they were the most fragile. And among them, not everyone had one either, just a select few, as there were too many humans for the angels to take care of. It wasn't like the angels really cared what happened to humans unless it gave them overtime and more paperwork to take care of.
Being a Guardian Angel was tedious. Watching mortals wasn't something angels liked to do. But Ezra didn't care much, he liked to watch humans. They were free to do as they pleased and most were ignorant of the fantastical creatures that existed right under their noses.
“Is he your human?” Kai asked, looking at Ezra and then at the guy at the counter. Apparently he was staring at him without realizing it.
"No." He choked on his coffee. “And today is my day off. You are getting in the way.”
"Then why are you staring?" Kai chuckled. “And you were smiling just now.”
"I was not—"
“Yes you were! As if…” And then he assumed a genuinely surprised expression. "Ezra, are you… No, it's not possible."
Ezra frowned and flinched a little.
"Ezra!" Kai turned to him and gripped his shoulders. "I can’t believe it!"
"What?!" The angel tried to break free impatiently.
“Are you…” he turned his head to look in the guy's direction and then looked at Ezra again. He cleared his throat and again he had that ridiculous little smile on his face. “Are you interested in that boy? Like, romantically? Are you in love?”
Ezra froze in place.
'Oh, so that was it?' was the only thing he could think of. 'Of course I needed someone to tell me I was in love. What an idiot!'
When Ezra came back to his senses, the library was already closing. And his day off flew by.
"Are you okay?" Kai asked him when they stopped at the traffic light.
“I already know what can cheer you up!” Kai turned to Ezra, and the angel already knew what the other was thinking before he even opened his mouth. "Let's make a bet."
"I don't want to."
"Ezra!" The demon was leaning towards the other and was about to put an arm around his shoulders when someone ran between the two, separating them. The light had just opened for them.
"Oh sorry!" The guy turned quickly towards the two and then turned his attention to a girl across the street. “Amanda, wait for me!”
"Hey, isn't that your boy?" Kai said and Ezra rolled his eyes.
Then the boy ran across the street to reach the girl, and out of nowhere a car came out of control heading towards him.
“I bet you can't—” Kai started to say, but he didn't have to say much for Ezra to run towards the boy and keep him from getting run over.
Ezra flew with the boy to the other side of the street where the girl was. She looked horrified and the boy was trembling in Ezra’s arms, still trying to understand what had happened.
Kai arrived beside them in a few seconds.
“As soon as he appeared, he disappeared.” The two looked in the direction the car should have gone. There was nothing.
“You—” The girl started to say, but couldn't seem to form a sentence.
The boy looked at something behind Ezra and he was aware that his wings were still showing. He put them away and looked at Kai, as if he were asking, “What now?” and Kai understood and approached.
“Are you okay?” he asked and the other two nodded, still hesitant. "So why don't you forget about it and go home?"
The two blinked. The boy got up at once and the two began to walk as if nothing had happened.
“I thought it was your day off.” Kai looked at Ezra with a mischievous smile.
“Not now, Kai.” He looked again in the direction the car should have gone. The street was deserted. “Don't you find it strange that—”
Then a white dove flew past them and left an envelope at the angel's feet. Kai looked at the envelope and then at Ezra again.
"That can't be a good thing, can it?" He says and Ezra frowns, still not sure what to make with that envelope. Kai picked up the envelope from the floor and opened it, getting serious, but then gave a smile. This time a nervous smile. "The good news is you won’t have to work tomorrow."