The hour-long ride back to Edenridge had given Jade ample time to take everything in. It allowed her to truly digest everything that happened moments before she left Blue Hill with Anya. Initially, Jade clung to the bike and how it brought feelings of comfort. At the moment, that’s all she could fixate on. It was all such an overwhelming moment for her that the time spent clinging to Anya’s toned back (even with the jacket on), gripping her lover’s waist for dear life, and pressing her face against the leather jacket while the 60+ winds tickled her skin.
There was nothing like riding a hog.
But that indeed wasn’t the only thing Jade found herself clinging to. The ride allowed Jade some time to think deeper about certain things and the fact that her best friends in this world - her soul sister and soul brother - knew who Anya was. Knew of her, at least. Poppy knew her as Jane from the Library, which Jade would have probably known if she was a regular at it (she preferred Main Street Music with JP). Key knew her as The Basilisk, yet another name that went over Jade’s head - least, the specifics of it. Everyone and their mother knew of
The Basilisk. Jade just never knew her Pancake was that person.
But a lot of things started to click for her. A lot of things she ran back in her mind. Jade began to piece it all together and that Anya was more amazing of a woman than she had ever thought her to be. To Jade, she was perfect. Maybe full of imperfections but she was still the most remarkable person she’d ever met. Someone that could make her feel alive without even intending to. Someone she could open her heart to. That month she spent away from everyone, she credits Anya for allowing her to feel comfortable enough to reach out.
And as they came into the Lost Souls apartment complex, a few serpents on watch duty today, Jade had a realization - more like an epiphany, if anything - that Anya was her person. She is
When the stand was kicked up and Jade could get off the bike, she was quiet for a few seconds - long ones - before she smiled gently and sweetly at Anya. “Home sweet home.” “It’s good to know home,”
Anya took off her helmet, letting her blonde strands fall out and over her shoulders. After she latched it onto her handle, she walked beside the angelic princess to get a closer look at the apartment that she knew in great detail. Something Jade likely didn’t realize by standing next to her because of the built mask Anya wore to blend with those she considered normal.
Anya knew who resided here, what floor, what room and who each of their social groups were. Their associates, their lovers and their families, she knew it all. Edenridge was her territory, and what that meant was, every creature knew their nest. Every monster that lurked under a child’s bed knew exactly who they were scaring. Every ghost haunted someone they felt close with, never a stranger. Anya was all three.
A creature, a monster and a ghost.
Deep down, if Jade ever saw her for her, they would not last. As friends, as acquaintances, and as something more. What she was, it wasn’t easy to accept. Easy to want. Easy to love. What she was wouldn’t give Jade a normal life. What she was would only endanger them and everyone Jade held dear to her.
Similar to her little brother’s fears but so much worse, Anya knew she was not good. She was not safe. She was not meant for this fork in the road that led her to somewhere… normal. Led her somewhere she wished she could call home. What she was had nothing to do with her and everything to do with her Father. No, not the one that conceived her with her mother. She was talking about her Creator. The one that would always call the shots until the day she died. Anya would always belong to someone else and that would not be easy for Jade to commit to. Not easy for Jade to love.
Anya knew what she was but she did wonder if Jade knew how much she meant to someone as atrocious as her. Someone who was born in the dark and could not leave without permission. Jade was pure. Jade was good. Jade was light. To Anya, a creature. To Anya, a monster. To Anya, a ghost. Jade was her Angel. Her wish upon a star that she knew was out of reach… but she wanted it. She wanted to grab this girl and hold her close. She wanted Jade which wasn’t something she ever did before. Want something. Need something. For the first time in her life, she wanted something. She wanted someone. For the first time in her life, she wanted a woman. For the first time in her life, she wanted love. She wanted Jade.
The Basilisk wasn’t deserving of such a beautiful girl and yet, here she was taking a risk and exploring these budding feelings that resided in her. Her comment from earlier, that of home, clearly had a double meaning to it. Not only did the Russian woman mean it was good to know the area you live in but that it was important to know who were the people that centered you. That reminded you of your own humanity. Those you considered: your home. “Should I get leaving? You need rest? I go if this is what you want, Toast girl.”
The Angel Princess found herself lost in the beauty of her Pancake when she had removed her helmet. She found helmet hair oddly sexy and though there were clear signs of it affecting Anya’s golden locks, it didn’t take away from her radiance. Being home was bittersweet because the last time she was actually here, she had found herself in such a distraught state because of Cameron Hyde. She saw the monster that nearly killed Ley. Not all of it, she would assume, but enough to set the blonde straight in a sense. Seeking the comfort of her friends, she was put on a journey of self-discovery and eventually found an unexpected peace.
And then was rewarded again because she found out more and more about the woman standing next to her. The woman who was starting to become someone very close to her heart. A woman who, at times, had that child-like wonder that broke through every wall Jade had put up. She meant something to her and she wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. “You don’t have to go…not yet. I’m not even that tired.”
A half-lie. Jade was emotionally spent, but she wanted Anya to stay and no matter how exhausted her mind was, her heart was finally waking up. “I have some pancake mix in my apartment. I can whip us up a batch if you’ve got time. It’s no Dolly’s triple stack with all your sweet toppings but I do got ready whip and some good syrup. Went shopping recently for some essentials.”
In truth, Jade wanted to get better at cooking for a moment just like right now. She wanted to make the pancakes like Dolly’s main cook did. How Anya liked it.“Pancake from Toast girl?”
Anya's smile turned into a grin as she looked at the slender woman with intrigue. “No need for triple stack. You touch it, it be good. I’m certain.”
With a wave of her hand, she gestured toward the entrance for Jade to lead the way. As they did walk toward the elevator, Anya found her sharp, green eyes trailing down the other blonde’s figure and lingering on Jade’s tight jean bottom. Before Jade could catch her staring, the Russian woman looked away.
When they stood in the elevator, side by side, Anya looked up at the fluorescent lights. It was humid in here so when she got to Jade’s apartment she would need to take off her jacket. “You okay?”
Her gaze fell on the other woman, having caught sight of the red eyes, dark circles, and drained energy since she saw the vixen on the reservation. Jade likely thought she was hiding it well but for a trained eye, it was easy to read. “Your breathing…”
Among other things like the muscle tension in her voice or the sweaty hands that Anya had felt when they were on her bike and she made sure Jade was holding tight. All signs of anxiety. Anya wondered what was the cause of it or if it was her. If she was the one to blame for making her Angel uncomfortable. Did Jade not like being this close to her? If so, she needed to know. “You tired, I understand. But you nervous too, why?”
Like every Sunday morning (early at that), Anya saw through Jade. And Anya was right. Jade was nervous, but it wasn’t for anything bad…maybe. Jade didn’t know yet. Maybe she didn’t find as much peace at Blue Hill as she thought. She thought she was holding it in, that she hid it well, but there was nothing Jade could do to hide anything
from Anya. She saw everything. All the bullshit. All the walls Jade could throw up. It made her feel safe just as much as it made her feel exposed.
Not because Anya was so perceptive, but because Anya is the first person since Roddy Callahan that made her afraid to feel. Of course with the blonde that stood next to her, anxiously waiting for the elevator to reach the second to highest level (where Jade lived), she wasn’t afraid to feel but was afraid to say it out loud. The moment she did, Jade knew in her heart that she would be completely exposed and Anya would have her complete heart. Whatever she chose to do at that moment would be completely out of Jade’s control.
Just as she was going to start to explain why she was nervous, the elevator doors opened. They were finally at their destination, but there were also a couple people - Angels. Patch members - who waved to Jade as she and Anya got off and they took their spot. As they walked a few feet, Jade said, “This is us.”
Jade’s apartment was close to the elevator. Reaching into her pocket, with shaking hands, Jade went to unlock her apartment door, but she couldn’t find the damn steadiness to get the key into the hole and she dropped them. “Son of a bitch…”
She muttered and took in a deep breath and kneeled down to grab them. “Sorry. I don’t know why…can you do it?”
She said, handing the keys to Anya.
Instead of taking Jade’s keys from her right away, Anya cupped the girl’s shaky hands, clasping them together where the keys were between both of their hands. She didn’t say anything. Instead she studied the woman’s face and fixed her green eyes with Jade’s pretty blues. They were like fire in water. Passion in ice. She could swim in those eyes for hours. Silence lingered between them for a moment longer and then effortlessly, Anya slipped the keys into her grasp, abiding her heart’s desire’s commands. Once she returned the keys to its rightful owner, Anya motioned for the bewildered girl to lead the way.
Glancing to her side at the angels that walked past them, having not entered the apartment yet, the Russian woman’s soft gaze instantaneously turned cold, like a switch turned on. Or off. It was the Basilisk’s way of saying mind your business without having to say anything. Her eyes were her signature, after all. Her eyes that separated her from the rest of her sisters, her brothers, and her biker comrades. Her eyes which could be so completely void of emotion, one would wonder if there was even a human living inside the shell of her body. The rookie angels were quick to leave her sight. Shaken and uncomfortable from Jade’s guest. When they were gone, Anya’s gaze softened again, taking a step forward into the room. She smiled, looking around in awe, “This nice place you got! Look at Toast girl, living with herself, doing what she needs to do.”
Closing the door behind her and not moving any further into Jade’s place, Anya asked, “Shoes off? Where I put my jacket?”
Jade’s hands weren’t shaking anymore, but she couldn’t shake the sensation of it. The feeling of her anxiety going through the roof. Anya was her saving grace and had calmed the storm that brews in the Angel Princess periodically. It took her a delayed moment to respond to her Russian lover. “You think so? It’s not bad. My Uncle Charlie lived here before he was sent away. Been just me ever since graduating high school.”
And some months she wondered if she would make rent. She may have been considered royalty to the Angels and rent was the cheapest in town for a one-bedroom apartment, but some months were harder than most.
She set her keys on the countertop, as well as her jacket. When Anya asked about her, she turned around when one arm was still inside one sleeve. “No rules about shoes on or off. You can set your jacket on the back of the chair over there--”
Jade absentmindedly pointed to Anya’s immediate left where her poor excuse for a dining room set, which consisted of a small, circular table and two chairs she picked up from a swap meet a few months ago. It was then she decided to do the same, walking over to the other chair and setting her jacket on the back of it…as she always did.
As if manners were drilled into her head, Anya slipped off her boots and pushed it with her foot into Jade’s mudroom. Attentively listening, the older woman followed suit, briefly coming behind the vixen to throw her coat on top of her’s. When the coat dropped, it opened a little to show a glimpse of a patch on the inside. By how close Anya was standing behind Jade, it was almost as if what she was doing was intentional. Gravitating to the wall, Anya scanned a couple pictures of Jade’s chosen family. Angels, her quartet, and her blood. Her eyes rested on the man that her Toast girl called ‘Uncle Charlie’.
Going deeper into the living room, by a side table, there she caught sight of more photos. She bent down to stare at a picture with many people, that of the Fallen Angels table and HCC. Jade at the center. Happy as can be. Anya knew exactly where she was in this photo. To the keen eye, one would see a person outside leaning against the clubhouse’s window, facing away from the camera, looking up at the sky. There when it mattered but never in sight for others to know her face. That was how Anya had to be. A mystery even to those she cared for.
To this day, Anya wondered why her Father, her creator, allowed her to join a gang when he was hers but he did and since then, she did what she had to do to keep this piece of family. All for herself. Selfish on her part because by that choice, she was endangering all these people simply by breathing in the same vicinity as them. Still, she wanted to be selfish. She wanted to keep them to herself. She wanted her Angel to herself. She wanted Jade.
Once again, her green eyes caught sight of CT and his stupid grin. Rolling her eyes, she cursed, “Pridurok.”
Over the years, the Basilisk understood why her mother found comfort with that man. He gave her a sense of normalcy. Similar to what Anya found with Jade. Maybe not as romantic, then again she didn’t know much about her mother’s past but he cared enough to swear an oath to her. To be there for her when she needed someone. A parental figure, more so than her own. The one she actually considered a father. Not Ivan. Not her Creator. No. Charlie Taylor. That man earned her respect and for him, she would make sure her choice wasn’t in vain. She would protect him just as much as he protected her. She would kill for him because that's what family did for each other. They fought, they loved, and they supported. He was a moron but he was her moron.
Jade kept her watchful glance on Anya as she freely explored the living room. It was strange. Jade had always thought that the reason leading to getting Anya at her place would be different. She wasn’t a romantic by any means and she still hadn’t answered Anya’s earlier question about why she was so nervous, but that seemed like a distant memory now. What she felt for Anya was obvious. Her Russian lover was perceptive. More perceptive than anyone she knew, so maybe she did know but was waiting for Jade to say it. Maybe she didn’t need to say it. Maybe it was something that was felt and proven through actions.
As Jade leaned down to pick up Anya’s coat, what she saw, even if just a small glimpse of it, nearly shattered her…in the best way possible. She saw the edge of an angel wing. The yellow tone, with the red outline. “It couldn’t be…”
She murmured, looking at where Anya was and she seemed engrossed with the pictures on the side table near the couch, so Jade had to know. She had to know for sure if what she thought she saw was the truth and as she flipped the inside more, she saw more of the emblem.
The Angel that rises with the sun but blacked out so it never receives its benefits. We, the Fallen Angels of Eden, rise with the darkness.
Those words have been ingrained into her memory. Both her uncle and her grandfather, one of the Club’s founding members, would recite that so much that she would become enraged through her exhaustion of hearing those words. Seeing the full patch on Anya’s jacket, Jade was speechless. She saw the one thing that clicked with her brain and answered so many questions she never knew she had. On the left pec part of the jacket, where most Table members had their role in the club, Jade saw “Enforcer” underneath the name of the club. “Enforcer…”
She repeated, slowly making sense of everything. Nobody knew who the enforcer was. Nobody ever saw them around, but it was understood by the entire club that they were someone very close to Charlie Taylor. If this was true…no it was true. This was an official patch and everything. Jade knew that much.
She smiled, keeping her emotions in check…for now and set the jacket over hers, Basilisk side out and she walked into the living room, standing next to Anya and grabbed her hand, interlocking her fingers with her Pancake’s. Jade didn’t need to bring it up. She didn’t need to ask. Finding out was enough for her. It gave her some clarity that she didn’t know she needed.
She saw the group photo of the entire club. “That was a tough day for all of us. It was the day before my uncle’s sentencing hearing. He was allowed to be at home until his hearing because of his amazing lawyer. That was his going to prison party.”
She giggled, finding the name of the party so absurd. “Give you one guess who came up with the name?” “You tell me,”
Anya turned her head toward Jade, knowing the answer but playing ignorance so she could hear the other girl talk. If she could, she would listen to the Angel Princess speak her heart out all night. It was better than any music she ever listened to. Something to calm her spirits. Placing the photo down, Anya turned to Jade and brushed the back of her finger on her pale, smooth skin. Her cheek which showed a hint of pink. CT’s precious jewel. Anya couldn’t find it in her to go back in the shadows, away from it. She wanted to take the jewel and make it her’s. This was a dangerous game she was playing. She wondered if Jade would mind… “You care so much for these people,”
Bassy whispered, as she waited for a response. “I do. They’re my family…”
She couldn’t look away from Anya’s gentle eyes. An ocean of comfort that had carried her out of the darkness she was under. Anya was more than just Anya. More than just Pancake. She was the Enforcer for the Fallen Angels. Someone who protected the club’s interests. Someone who regularly handled problems that most members wouldn’t be able to. She wasn’t as engrossed into the club as she wanted to be, but Jade knew one thing: Anya was someone she knew would never hurt her. She was the one person she felt safe around.
And because she felt safe, Jade leaned forward, pressing her forehead against Anya’s. Her heart wouldn’t shut up. It screamed at a rapid rate, pulsing. Beating. It would take a forward action, one thing Jade was infamously known for prior to losing that piece of herself she never thought she’d find again. Anya was the one who helped her find it. So she took a leap, pressing her lips against Anya’s soft lips. It was a short kiss. A tender kiss. One that shook everything inside Jade. It had hesitation and fear written all over it. Jade was scared shitless while simultaneously being invigorated by this feeling she felt rushing through her body. When she broke the kiss, without even realizing it before it was too late, words just started to spill out of her mouth, “Earlier, you asked if I was nervous and I never answered. I was nervous. I still am, but it wasn’t because of anything bad. It was about…this.”
Jade’s hands started to shake but she persevered and continued, “But it’s not just me being nervous. I’m afraid because I thought falling in love was out of the question for someone like me. I didn’t think I would find that kind of love because I never allowed myself to be completely open with someone, but here I am. Afraid but strengthened by the one person who makes me feel safe. Makes me happy…”
As she spoke in a trembling voice, she controlled her equally as trembling hands by squeezing Anya’s harder.
I warn you, moya doch'. You find this feeling, it’ll break your heart but don’t give it up. You need it to breathe.
Anya could hear her mother’s voice, whose English was far better than her’s, something she hadn’t heard in years. So close to this feeling, this feeling that her mother described as love. She could reach for it, right now, and hold her, kiss her and show her she was the reason a weapon like her could feel. In the bleak of winter, the lonely assassin saw a girl in a parking lot, with her friends. A native boy and a pale, ghost-like girl. Trying to get them to be together.
Today she met that girl who never got to the beginning of her love story. Someone Jade loved deeply. By watching this riot of a woman for years, Anya knew Jade was someone who tried her best for others and when things didn’t go the way she hoped, the consequences were something she lived with. Anya knew she blamed herself for everything. That was simply the nature of the beast that lurked over the Angel Princess’ shoulders. But what if, with this one thing, this would be everything that was right in the world for her. This one feeling, so close, was everything they needed. That Jade needed. That Anya needed.
Until the day is over, your heart will be broken but if you grab it, reach out your hand, fight, Zhizn’ moya… you could have everything.
No one was going to kill her. If anyone was going to kill Anya Kamensky, it would be herself. Human feelings. Guilt, regret and grief. She didn’t understand it but when she got lost in Jade’s sapphire eyes, she could understand why she was trained to not feel anything. These beautiful jeweled eyes. Pacific blue light. This would be her weakness.
Weakness was not something any of her sisters should have. They all had different curricula that led to their chosen paths and for Anya, her learning was limited so that she could only understand necessary information. Human emotion was not necessary. The more Anya rebelled, she discovered having a weakness could be seen as strength. It motivated Legs to get away from her pimp. It centered Mika and gave him a woman worth protecting. It led Jade to her, ready to give it all, if Anya said the word. That meant Anya had a reason to not risk everything for her Father because she had someone that wanted to be by her side. She had a reason to live and that reason said she was falling in love. Falling in love with a monster. Falling in love with her.
While Jade let her fear show on her face, Anya gave a stupid grin, similar to that of Charlie Taylor’s. It was in this action that Anya knew exactly where she was. Two elements were at play and the one inside of Anya was pure unadulterated excitement. Sliding one of her arms around Jade’s waist, drawing her closer, and having more control of where she wanted her, the Russian woman used her other hand to gently run her thumb on Jade’s bottom lip.
Tightening her grip, leaving no room between them, conveying how she felt without saying a single word, Anya joined their worlds, one where Jade was in the light, and Anya was in the dark, and let them both explode into shards of molten light. Her hungry mouth merged with Jade’s sweet tasting, lipstick painted lips, insisting on her to shut up and enjoy this moment with her. There was no room for hesitation and by kissing her repeatedly, feeling her body and claiming her jewel, Anya decided this was the point of no return. No longer holding back, the Basilisk chased this feeling. This feeling that perhaps she too was falling in love. In love with a girl that she saw as an angel. A true angel. Her angel.
Jade was completely exposed to Anya. She could completely rip her apart if she wished, but when the Angel Princess felt that hand grip her waist and pulling her closer, there was a moment where the raw emotion of feeling seen reduced her expression to literal tears. Her eyes swelled up with a waterfall that she couldn’t hold back any longer. She smiled even though her face became both cold and hot of the overwhelming outpour of emotions, validation, and something so raw, so intense that she couldn’t find the word to describe it.
She was always so helpless whenever she was with Anya. So helpless and unable to hide what was truly in her heart. It was that smile. That damn smile of hers and the eyes that broke through everything that she put up between her and the real world.
Jade’s entire life was full of moments that built her up and broke her apart time and time again, but it never bothered to handle her with care. She learned how to cope and endure through the art of either surviving or succumbing to the pain. She never had anyone just hold her and tell her it was going to be okay. Never truly felt safe. Charlie T tried as much as he could and most of the pain caused by her parents was replaced with the love her uncle gave her, but Jade kept enduring setback after setback. Losing her Aunt Zippo was just the start of it.
But this woman…this one person that came into her life out of nowhere…God, she could make up for all of what Jade had to endure. What she experienced that tested the limits of her soul. With every kiss planted on her lips, Jade also found herself craving more. Yearning for Anya. To have her in every way imaginable.“Take me…”
Jade muttered, so clearly out of breath and high on this feeling as she slowly walked back with Anya, leading them in the direction of her bedroom. “..To my room..”
Jade kissed Anya once more. Deeper this time. She wasn’t afraid anymore. Jade wasn’t afraid to love and she wanted to show this to Anya.
There was no need to say that twice.
Anya would take her. Anywhere and everywhere because this girl was her light and she refused to lose sight of that.
A monster needs an angel and maybe, just maybe, an angel could learn to love a monster.