Closing the coat around her, Ember prepared for the cold walk home. Lifting the hood over her raven tresses, she slipped the earbuds in and waved to the bouncer before she left the club.
“You gonna be okay out there, Em?” He asked, worried. She was a bit on the damsel side to walk the city alone at this time of night. Then again, it was his job to make sure that they were all safe.
“Yeah, I’m okay Buzz.” She smiled and gave him a small salute and he nodded with a chuckle.
It had been a trying day at work, and she was just exhausted. Stiletto heeled boots crunched over the freezing ground as she crossed the parking lot to head the back way to her apartment. She had only picked up the job because it paid well and it was a night job, she could still study for school.
Who knew it would have led to them wanting her to stay on even after she graduated?
Ember was a waitress at the local exotic club, but not for long. She was hoping to take the money she had been able to save and move, or at least find a better job. There were only so many pairs of grubby hands that she could stand before she flipped out on someone.
Snow fell lightly from the night sky, which made the air colder. Puffing out breaths of smoke, Ember lost herself in the music as she walked. She also ignored the random looks from people who happened to be on the streets at that time of night. Inside her pocket, her fingers curled around the can of mace she always had on her.
One could never be too careful.
Pulling the jacket tighter with her free hand, she quickened her pace. Something wasn’t right, she could feel it. And once she reached the abandoned courtyard, she realized that she was about to bite off more than she could chew.
The sky all but opened up and there was a bright flash of light and the sound of glass shattering before an object fell with great force to the ground, and it knocked Ember right off of her feet. Landing sprawled out on the cold concrete; she fumbled for her phone and tried to slide the lock off the screen only to realize that the screen was nothing but a spider web of broken glass.
“Great. Just great! This is all I need.” She murmured and sighed as she sat on the ground with her legs splayed in front of her. Pulling back the hood, she sighed and looked around. Had no one else seen it? It was pretty much right in front of her, and the intelligent part of her brain was telling her to get her ass up and out of there…
But curiosity killed the cat, they say.
That and she needed to prove that she wasn’t just going insane.
Which was quite possible, she’d gone almost three days without sleep. But, that was neither here nor there, and she carefully picked herself up off the ground not even noticing the small cuts along her bared legs where the boots ended and on her palms. Slowly, she approached the rising smoke and it seemed like someone was behind her urging her to step forward, but her mind was telling her body that it was a very bad idea.
Whatever it had been made a rather substantial crater in the ground and Ember stood at the edge of it and peered over the side. The sight she was welcomed to… it was definitely not one that she expected.
There was a naked man curled up in a ball in the middle of the crater, and he seemed to be out cold. But, more importantly was the fact that there was naked man that fell from the sky at all.
“You have got to be kidding me, here.” Sighing, she looked around and laughed hysterically. This had to have been the weirdest night ever for her, and that was saying something. Her whole night had been just one thing after another, and then this to top it off?
Shaking her head, she took a deep breath and slid down the embankment and carefully approached the man. Not sure if it was safe to touch him or not, she poked him with the toe of her boot and he flopped over onto his back.
“Oh, shit…” The blush rushed to her face so hard and fast that she swooned. Coughing, she averted her gaze to his chest to see if he was still breathing. Noticing a small movement, she sighed in relief. “Well, at least the fall didn’t kill him.” Murmuring to herself, she stood up and looked around.
It wasn’t as if she could just leave him there, right?
Shrugging her jacket off, she tossed it up on the concrete and then crouched down. Taking one of his arms, she tried to hoist him up enough so she could get him out of the hole. It wasn’t the most graceful thing, but she wasn’t that big and she discovered that he was taller than it seemed when she got him uncurled. “Sweet Jesus, you’re heavy.” This was going to be the difficult part, and she tried to do it without killing him. Backing herself up the side, she reached down and dragged the body up out of the hole and the both of them flopped back onto the pavement.
There was no way she could get him into her apartment. Getting him there would be hard enough, let alone getting him up the stairs. Pulling herself to her feet, she looked down at the man, but it was dark out and she couldn’t really see him all that well.
Taking her jacket, she covered him up. “I’ll be right back, okay?” She said, not knowing if he could hear her or not. Turning on her heel, she all but ran across the courtyard and rounded her building before hastily making her way to her apartment.
How the hell was she going to do this?
It wasn’t as if she could ask someone to help her. ‘Yeah, hey… could you help me? I found a naked man outside. And oh yeah, he fell from the sky.’, they would think she was insane.
And maybe she was.
Scaling the stairs in record time, she knew that there was an elevator, but that could wait, she was at her apartment in no time. Once inside her apartment, she threw her stuff on the couch and headed to the small closet outside of the bathroom. Throwing the door open, she rummaged through everything and tossing stuff that got in her way over her head.
Finally, she found her extra set of sheets and bolted back out of her apartment, grabbing her keys in the process. She was silently thanking her job that it required to be graceful in heels.
Out the back door in a flurry, she hurried across the alley to the courtyard where the man was still wrapped in her coat, and still out like a light.
“Oh, I hope you’re okay. I don’t know if I could explain this to the hospital…” she said under her breath and laid the sheet out on the ground. As carefully as she could manage, she lifted him up and laid him on the sheet.
There was no way in hell she could carry him all the way to her apartment, so she dragged the sheet with him on it across the courtyard, very carefully.
Without hitting too many bumps and rocks, Ember managed to get him into her apartment building where she hoisted him up and she half carried and half dragged him to the elevator. “I’m so sorry about this, mister.” And she was trying so hard not to check out the package. “Dude, Ember, chill…” she chided herself.
Slapping the call button on the elevator, she was constantly looking around to see if anyone was coming. It was sometime after one am, so most people were either already out or already home.
They were in and out of the elevator in no time, and she dug the keys from her bra and rested him against her hip like a child as she fumbled with the lock. Finally, she pushed the door open and hurried and all but flung him onto the couch.
Cringing a bit, she adjusted him so he would be a bit more comfortable and then took the blanket that lay across the back of the couch and covered him with it. She’d have to go out and get some clothes for him, since she hadn’t had a guy in her apartment in…ever.
Sighing softly, she looked him over finally. He was all dark hair and sharp angles, but handsome. He seemed so young as he slept, she would have no idea how old he was or even what he was, really.
Quietly slipping out of the apartment once more, she climbed the next two flights of stairs. She was so tired, that she looked as if she was going to pass out right there. Reaching up, she knocked at the first door on the right, hoping that Jace was awake.
And sure enough, the door opened after a moment and there was a half naked woman standing there with a bottle of beer in her hand. Blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail and an annoyed expression played across her features.
“Um… is Jace here?”
The blonde’s brows perked as she looked over her shoulder. “There’s someone looking for you.” And the look that followed the annoyance clearly said that she thought something nefarious of Ember.
Muffled words were exchanged before Jace appeared in the doorway. He was all mussed up and looked as if he had been asleep. When he realized who it was, his expression softened and he smiled. “Hey, Em. What’s up?” Then came the concern as he noticed that Ember was still in the clothes from work.
Jace was the first person she met upon arriving in the big city. They had a couple classes together, but when Jace graduated, he stuck around. They were good friends, and the unease caused by the situation had Ember shifting from foot to foot.
“Hey, Jace. I have a favor to ask you.”
“I need a change of clothes from you.” He seemed to be about the same size as the man on her couch. Jace might have been a little bulkier and shorter, but it would have to do.
Jace’s brows perked up and he had to hide the pang of jealousy that built in his throat. “Yeah…” He didn’t ask why, as it was none of his business. If she wanted him to know, she would have said something. “Here, come in.”
Ember shook her head, “No, that’s okay. Your girlfriend doesn’t seem to like me much.” Then again, who would with the way she was dressed? Ember was wearing a tight black tanktop over a short black skirt with a thick silver chain belt wrapping her waist. Fishnets hugged her legs and tucked into the knee-high black stiletto heeled boots. Her raven hair hung straight over her shoulders and her bangs ended just above her dark rimmed cerulean eyes.
“She’s not my—“ He nodded and disappeared into his apartment with more muffled words and appeared a few minutes later with a small pile of clothes. “Here you go.”
“Thank you! You’re the best.” Ember smiled and quickly hurried off back to her apartment. Jace furrowed his brows and shut the door, not knowing what to make of that.
She had been fortunate that he was awake; and thankful as well.
Slipping back into her apartment, she locked the door behind her and laid the clothes on the floor at the end of the couch before checking on him once more. There was still no sign of consciousness, but he was breathing so she took that as a good thing.
Heading into her room, she quickly got undressed and padded to the bathroom with comfortable clothes tucked under her arm and a few minutes later she emerged in a pair of sweats and a tanktop. Her hair piled into a high ponytail and her makeup removed.
In all honesty, she didn’t care if she didn’t have makeup on, she was too tired to worry about it. Sitting curled up in the chair across from the couch, she just watched him. It was weird, really. She never really had anyone in her apartment, and she most definitely was not a social butterfly, and now she has a naked man on her couch.
As the adrenaline began to ebb away, she started to doze off. She tried everything from coffee to pinching herself until she found herself fast asleep and curled up in the chair.
Hearing a noise, it jostled Ember out of her sleep and as soon as she opened her eyes, she saw a pair of jeweled emerald eyes staring back at her own and she screamed, leaping out of the chair and knocking it backwards in the process. She toppled over the back and landed with a thud. “You’re awake! Good. I thought you were hurt.” She commented nervously and crawled back over to the chair and set it back upright and half hid behind it.
“Don’t hurt me, please!” She huddled and peered around the chair at him.
“Why would I do that?” Furrowing his brows, he looked at her curiously.
“I – I don’t know. You fell from the sky; I’m not sure what I thought you might do when you woke up. I just knew that I couldn’t leave you out there…especially in your state of nakedness…” she babbled on and the color rushed to her cheeks. “Are you an alien?” she whispered and looked at him closely, her attention straining to stay on his face.
“Alien? No…” he shook his head and his dark tresses shifted and fell in front of his eyes. “I am the prince of Asgard, who are you and what is this place?”
Ember began to giggle hysterically and she just couldn’t help herself as she hid herself back behind the chair and clasped her hands over her mouth to attempt to stifle the sound.
So he’s not an alien, he’s just certifiably insane…got it. Only me, right? She thought to herself.
When she decided that she could compose herself, she peered back around the chair. “Um. This is New York City, and my name is Ember.” She coughed, trying to keep the laughter at bay.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ember, you can call me Loki.”
“Likewise, I’m sure. There are some clothes for you, if you’d like. I don’t know how they’ll fit you, but that’s the best I can come up with for right now.” She babbled on and Loki looked to where she was pointing.
Honestly, he had forgotten he was undressed. His head nodded and he stood from the ground in one fluid motion and Ember’s face went beet red and she whipped back around the chair.
Oh, sweet Jesus…
A few moments later, Loki rounded the chair that Ember had been hiding behind and offered a hand down to her, “Please, there is no need to be scared of me.” He smiled disarmingly, though the smile didn’t reach his eyes. He had his own reasons for being here, but they could wait.
At least for now.