No Angel is a novella about Gabriel, who for those who have read Becoming, will know is pivotal to the fate of all the boys of Project Five Fifteen.
For those who have already read the Project Five Fifteen trilogy, below is Chapter 7 of Becoming. It’s when Gabriel is first introduced and is just a reminder for when No Angel is released.
I hope you all enjoy it! x
Project Five Fifteen: Becoming
Chapter 7 – No Angel
Kalen and Denver walked into the crowded bar in Boston. It was dark, dank and pulsing with bad vibes. Trust G, thought Kalen grimly. Denver – normally up for anything involving music and females – had changed of late. Since they’d lost Nash they all had.
They stood by a back wall, eyeing the exits, scanning the crowd and weighing up the possibility of different scenarios while Paul waited outside, watching the perimeter. Paul had been easy to talk on-board. Kalen knew he would be. He’d always craved a normal life. G was going to be a different story. He’d either be gung-ho cowboy about it, or flat out try to kill them all.
Kalen continued to assess their surroundings. There were some big guys over by the entrance where they’d first come in. They didn’t look like trouble off the bat, but they were real drunk so Kalen kept them in his peripheral. A commotion was taking place somewhere on the dance floor. Though he couldn’t see it, he could hear the difference in tone of peoples’ calls above the sound of the music. Fear. Anger. Malice.
‘There,’ said Denver, quietly, but close enough to Kalen for him to hear. ‘I see Z. He’s sitting on the edge of a booth, over by the bar.’
‘Any sign of G?’
‘Not yet, but he won’t be far away. The source says the two of them have been seen together in the city all week. They’re never apart.’
‘Okay. Approach with caution, we don’t want G getting startled if we can help it. I’ll take point. You got my back?’
Denver nodded and they wove through the crowd. People glanced at them, but Kalen made sure not to make eye contact. Something about their eyes seemed to resonate with people. He didn’t want to be remembered.
The song that came on next had a deep sound, the bass vibrated the floors and up through his legs. From what Kalen could see as he approached him, Z was staring towards where people were dancing, a look of frustration etched on his young face. He wasn’t alert to what was going on around him that was for sure. They had no trouble walking right up to him. K placed a firm hand on his shoulder and the boy’s head whipped around, eyes wide. They widened further when he recognised Kalen and as he looked up towards Denver his face blanched. Zach was the same age as Ace, yet he looked infinitely younger. With his tanned skin and pale blond hair that hung like curtains framing his eyes, Zach looked like he belonged on a beach somewhere, surfing with some school kids. Kalen was surprised he’d even been allowed into the bar. G must’ve had something to do with that.
‘We’re not here to hurt you,’ said K quickly, still holding Z in place.
‘We need help, that’s all. Can I let you go?’
‘Sure, K, I’m not gonna try anything with you.’
Kalen let his hand drop. Denver’s attention was on the dance floor now too and Kalen became aware of the sounds of shouting getting louder. Then, fist on flesh. Cracking bone. It was hard to hear above the music, but K would know that sound anywhere. He focused in on where the noise was coming from.
‘What’s he doing?’ Kalen asked. He thought he heard Zach sigh.
‘Messing with civilians,’ the boy said glumly.
Kalen considered what that meant as he honed in on the paradox that was G amidst the fray. He could be seen standing almost a full head above everyone else. As big as Denver, but with an innocent face and short, curly blond hair he looked like an angel incapable of hurting a fly. But Kalen knew better. And Right now, as G taunted those around him, laughing maniacally, it was clear to Kalen that G could never live up to the image of gentle soul his looks projected.
G took a punch and fell to the ground, still laughing as another man swung a kick into his gut. G doubled up. Security was making their way over.
‘Want us to help?’ Denver suggested to Zach, his head cocked to one side, wondering why G was taking such a beating. Kalen had already figured it out.
‘Help?’ Zach scoffed. ‘He does this most nights. I’m used to it.’
‘He starts fights on purpose?’
‘I wouldn’t call them fights. He starts trouble, takes a few knocks and then right before they think they’ve all but finished him off he shows them what he–we are really capable of. He’s put people in the hospital recently, it’s getting worse every day. I’m guessing that’s how you found us? Not exactly low profile.’
Security had stepped in, but G wasn’t ready to leave. People stared as it looked like he was being helped to his feet. Then he changed. His laughter dwindled and he threw the doorman about ten feet through the air. More people jumped into what quickly turned into a brawl. Denver, Kalen and Zach stood by the edge of the bar watching. Glasses smashed, tables broke, yelling echoing amidst the chaos.
Denver looked confused. ‘There’s a lot of people. He’s dumb thinking he can always win against this many. One of them only has to hit him right, get in one good shot with a bottle and it’s game over.’
Kalen was losing patience. ‘D,’ he said, trying to decide whether to step in or if they should just cut their losses and run before the cops arrived. ‘That’s the point. G doesn’t care if he lives or dies.’
‘He’s right,’ said Zach. ‘To be honest the only reason he hasn’t got himself killed before now is because of me. He feels responsible for me.’ Zach sounded sad.
‘Okay, enough.’ Kalen said, making his way forward. He and Denver cleared away the brawlers without much problem and as little damage as possible. They knew they were running low on time before the place would be crawling with police, so they acted accordingly. By the time they got to G, he was bloody, but still wearing a wide soppy grin, his eyes bright with the adrenaline that was coursing through him. As soon as he noticed there was nobody left to fight his smile faltered.
His eyes found Kalen’s.
Gabriel’s expression changed in a millisecond. His eyes hardened, flicking past Kalen in search of Zach. Zach signaled that he was okay and it quelled whatever reaction Gabriel was about to have. His dilemma was obvious: taking a beating from civilians was one thing, trying to fight one of his own after he’d just had ten tons of crap kicked out of him was quite another, and he knew it.
‘Guess we’d better get out of here,’ he said eventually, wiping a glob of blood from his nose and flicking it to the ground.
Without another word, the boys walked through the silent, parting crowd and slipped through the back exit.