Fallen by Lauren Kate
Helston, England, Sept 1854
He sketches her in secret before he leaves for India, or America, it doesn’t matter where. Then he feels her presence. She tells him she couldn’t sleep and asks about his trunk outside the door. She sees his sketchbook and realizes he’s been drawing her. He tells her to have warm milk with a spoonful of treacle to help her sleep, a recipe her mother used to give her. He can’t tell her how he knows it or how many times he’s given it to her when the shadows come. She asks if she can go with him, he tells her no. If he leaves, he’ll save her life. They’ve done this before, again and again. They can never touch, she can never remember. Only he remembers and can never change the course of their lives.
Luce barges into Sword and Cross late for her first day of reform school. The instructor shouts something about meds, beds and reds as Luce evaluates the other three newbies in the room with her. The girl is Neutrogena-commercial pretty and introduces herself as Gabbe. One boy, Todd, seems super stunned about finding himself there and the other, Cam, looks like the poster boy for a reform school, and has a black tattoo peeking from his collar. He holds Luce’s gaze unlike the other two. Reluctantly Luce has to hand over her cell phone, meaning she’s losing all contact with her best friend Callie. Luce is not sure how much her parents know about the restrictions, cameras and condescending attitude of the staff at Sword and Cross. People keep talking to Luce like she’s a psychopath, but, like them, she would love to know what happened in the cabin too.
As the instructor is dismissing them from orientation, Arriane comes in, gives the instructor some sass and is “volunteered” to show Luce around. She isn’t the “little miss sunshine” the instructor calls her. The dress code calls for all black and after the cabin fire left her hair patchy, Luce’s mom shaved all her long black locks off. Arriane takes Luce on a basic tour of the depressing institute which boils down to her pointing at buildings before sitting in a grassy section. It’s not the Ivy League prep school she was at before summer. Arriane asks the obvious question, what is Luce in for?
Luce had been trying to tell Trevor about the murky shapes she saw in the darkness but before she could, he was gone, burned. Luce had always seen and heard them, her parents got her eyes tested, ears tested, and made her go through rounds and rounds of therapy before putting her on antipsychotics. Nothing worked. Luce had to lie about not seeing the shapes in the darkness to come off the pills but the therapy continued.
Back on the grass, Arriane says how much she likes Luce’s haircut and says that she wants it, too, so she pulls out a Swiss army knife she grabbed from the confiscation bucket and Luce cuts her hair off. Awesome. The back of Arriane’s neck is puckered and scarred from being burnt, and while the scars don’t bother Arriane anymore, they remind Luce of Trevor. Arriane continues to give Luce the rundown about the school, including to avoid the inmates with electronic tags because they’re the real psychos. Yes, Arriane has one. Once her new haircut is completed, Arriane takes Luce around the school where a few students are congregated before class. There Luce sees a boy who is so attractive it makes Luce forget where she is. She can see herself in his arms. Arriane tells her that’s Daniel Grigori and that he’s a mystery man. Daniel turns and looks at Luce, recognition flashing in his eyes before he flips her off.
As class starts, Cam and Arriane start having a go at each other, clearly they aren’t friends. Cam gives Luce a guitar pick with his room number on before Arriane pushes him away. Luce has not been in the school for an hour and already there are two good looking guys on her radar. Arriane gives Luce productive lessons in note passing via airplane, what’s good for lunch and the fine art of selecting a cafeteria seat. Unfortunately, Molly the angry pixie, shoves Luce in the lunchroom, covering her in meatloaf. Arriane, who obviously hates Molly, lets her fists fly and is rewarded with a zap from her wrist band for the pleasure. Luce, Arriane and Molly are all given early morning detention, and Molly finishes her bullying by dumping more food over Luce and photographing it for posterity. Daniel watched the whole scene so Luce just wants to cry, but she runs off to the bathroom instead.
As Luce is trying to clean up, Pennyweather Van
Syckle-Lockwood, you can call me Penn, pops in with shampoo and hands Luce extra clothes. Luce is suspicious of her good intentions but she seems genuine. Penn isn’t like the other inmates, she’s the groundskeeper's daughter, so she gets to attend Sword and Cross for free and helps out in the office, which allows her to read everyone’s files. Technically though, she is the ward of the Principal as her father died. Once Luce is cleaned up they head to their afternoon classes.
After classes, Luce is finally able to go to her room which may lack personality but actually isn’t too bad. She starts to think about how close her parents are but how abandoned she feels, missing Callie and Trevor. She hadn’t really dated Trevor before his death, they just had a stolen hour at a party that ended when they kissed and the fire came. Her thoughts are interrupted by a knock at her door and an airplane note stuck to the cork board, the arrow scrawled on it pointing to Arriane’s door. Unfortunately Arriane can’t hang out that night so instead Luce heads to the library and meets the librarian, Sophia Bliss. Heading to the east wing she sees Daniel sketching. Luce is sure he is sketching her and it reminds her of the dream she had the night before, but suddenly the darkness pinches her and she’s sure Daniel sees it too. Daniel is very short with Luce and obviously doesn’t want her company or conversation so she leaves.
The next morning Luce is running late, again, this time for detention. Fortunately Luce meets Penn in the cemetery who points her to the monolith where Arriane, Molly, Rolland, Daniel and Cam are waiting for her with their teacher. Their task is to team up and clean the statues, so Luce and Arriane choose the Avenging Angel. Luce spots Daniel working with Molly and asks Arriane if they’re friends. Arriane sets Luce’s lovey-dovey misconceptions to rest. Arriane asks Luce what got her here, and Luce sort-of explains but just comes off looking like a pathetic pyro.
Work continues half-heartedly apart from Daniel who seems to be the only one trying to clean the Angels. As she watches him, out of nowhere Luce thinks “he’s always been a hard worker.” Molly warns Luce away from Daniel who walks over and demands to know what has been said. He says it in a way that sounds like it’s an argument they’ve had before. Darkness seems to enclose them and the head of the Angel next to them crashes down on them, but Daniel pushes her out of the way.
Wednesday evening Luce is finally able to call Callie during her once-weekly fifteen minute phone call and it’s such a relief. Callie wants to know everything, however, Luce holds back and starts to tell her about Cam not Daniel, the one she’s been thinking about pretty much constantly. Just then Cam walks in, it’s his phone slot next. Luce’s call ends and as she and Cam talk, Luce’s darkness seems to creep in and her thoughts drift to Daniel who happens to walk in at that moment, and the wisps of darkness leave. Quickly Cam invites Luce to a party later, but she hesitates to agree until she sees Daniel give the tiniest nod.
Later, Luce and Penn hurry to the auditorium for an evening event and Arriane catches up. They explain that if you arrive late to the movie you're then stuck in the hot seat next to Mr. Cole and have to hand out his surveys and help analyze the results afterward, meaning you miss the main entertainment of the evening, the after party. Arriane manages to maneuver Todd into the hot seat. As the movie starts, Luce gets a very bad feeling, which is accurate as the darkness seeps in and starts pulling at her ankles. When the movie ends, they head to Cam’s room for the after party and it is crowded. Arriane pops some champagne and gives a welcome speech that Luce completely misses as she can’t stop looking at Daniel.
The party continues and it's time for karaoke. Daniel steps out and Luce makes to follow but it’s terrible timing as the microphone is thrust at her. With a lame excuse to go and get Todd, Luce leaves. In the hallway, Luce can hear Daniel and Gabbe talking, Gabbe claims to be the only one he can trust, so Luce automatically hates her.
The next morning an announcement wakes Luce up commanding everyone to get up and get to the gymnasium for bodily assessment. The gymnasium is situated in the old church retrofitted for its new purpose. Luce and Penn are assigned the pool as is, unfortunately, Gabbe. Ugggh. As she enters the pool area, Luce sees Rolland, Arriane and Molly in bathing suits but able to sit out. Gabbe walks up to them, which makes Luce hate her more. The coach forces Luce into a swimming competition but her perpetual lateness seems to also affect her ability to start a race. Luce is an experienced swimmer and looks set to win when she catches Gabbe say “Daniel” in her distinctive drawl and she comes to a complete stop to hear what they're talking about, which is absolutely nothing because the water splashing is too loud so she of course doesn’t win.
Once out of the pool, Luce sees that everyone but Rolland is gone. Rolland passes Luce her towel and she blurts a question asking if Daniel and Gabbe are together, but Rolland tells her to ask Daniel. Instead of getting ready, she follows Daniel to the weight room and watches him skipping rope. Shadows creep up and seem to push her out of the weight room and the door slams. That’s a first. Unfortunately her locker key was knocked out of her hand and is still in the weight room, so she has to go back in and Daniel spots her. He makes a strange comment about how she's always been a good swimmer and Luce asks Daniel if he too feels like they know each other. Daniel clearly dissuades her of this notion.
Luce runs into Cam on the way to class and he persuades her to come for a lunch picnic in the graveyard. They are spending time making stories up about the deaths of the “residents” before eating contraband food. It’s obviously a pre-planned romantic picnic. Cam tells Luce that Sword and Cross isn’t too dissimilar to his home life so he’s quite comfortable there. As Luce and Cam nearly kiss, Gabbe comes running up, having been asked by Miss Sophia to find her most promising student, Luce. Luce however irrationally thinks Gabbe isn’t satisfied with just having Daniel and wants to move in on Cam too. Guess it’s back to school and Penn’s inquisition over where she was.
Saturday morning, Penn comes to Luce’s room and instantly starts snooping around. Penn then suggests to Luce that rather than working on their genealogy assignment they've been given that she should give Luce a tour of the off limits school records room so Luce can continue her stalking, no sorry research, into Daniel. Together they head to Penn’s basement lair. They locate Daniel’s record which doesn't say much, only that his parents are unknown and he’s under the guardianship of the LA county orphanage, then a list of his criminal history which is all very light stuff like jaywalking and loitering. They’re interrupted by Miss Sophia dropping some boxes in the basement, but thankfully she doesn't spot them. Unfortunately as Luce sneaks out, Molly stops her and warns her against Daniel again.
Leaving the administration building and heading to the sports field, Luce takes a soccer ball to the face. Daniel is next to her and in a rare moment of actually being nice, he offers to take her for a walk to get some air. They head into the woods and come out facing a postcard-worthy view of a lake. Daniel suggests they swim out to the flat rock in the middle and they do. While they’re sitting there, Daniel tells Luce he’s been burned by a relationship and is therefore not interested in anyone right now. Luce again insists that there is a connection between them, that they know each other somehow, and again Daniel reminds her it’s not possible and says to leave him alone. With that, he dives back in the water and swims to shore what seems abnormally fast. Emerging from the lake, Luce thinks the light is playing tricks on her as it looks like the water hovers around Daniel as if he has wings.
The next week, in Miss Sophia’s religious class centering on Angels that spans over lunch, Cam offers Luce a handful of figs since none of the food sent up by the kitchen is vegetarian, but Gabbe promptly throws them away and replaces them with peanut M&Ms. Arriane says he probably drugged them. After class, Daniel apologizes for leaving Luce alone on the rock. When Daniel leaves, Cam comes up and gives her a gift he saw while out shopping. He went shopping? How? Cam offers to show her that night but Gabbe interrupts and reminds Cam he promised to help her set up for a party that night. Penn says they have plans that night anyway.
Once alone, Luce asks Penn what plans they have. Penn went digging in the boxes Miss Sophia brought to the basement the other day and found notes grouping the students into their arrival dates and where they came from. Strange. Miss Sophia arrived at Sword and Cross the same day as Daniel, Arriane and Molly. Penn also found a potential ancestor of Daniel’s who wrote a book called The Watchers: Myth in Medieval Europe which Penn took the liberty of checking to see if it is in the library, and it is. Todd is the only other person in the library when they get there.
As they begin to look for the Grigori book, a gray tendril starts to close in on Penn, so Luce knocks it away, accidentally thwacking Penn. This isn’t the first time she’s been able to touch a shadow. The Grigori book isn’t where it should be so Penn goes to ask Miss Sophia. As Luce is waiting for her to come back, the smoke alarm goes off, so Luce gets up to leave and runs into Todd. As the smoke is coming in thick and fast, they start to make their escape, but where is Penn? As they leave, Luce sees a twisted nest of shadows in the ceiling and Todd seems really affected, though she’s not sure if it’s by the smoke or the writhing shadows. Suddenly they are both seemingly caught and flown out of the building into the cool, fresh evening air. Luce sees a wonderful light that reminds her unfathomably of Daniel which distracts her from the twisting shadows' attack.
Daniel’s voice wakes Luce and he leans forward and kisses her. As she holds him in their embrace, Luce feels wings. When Luce actually wakes up, it’s to a cold hospital room with Gabbe next to her. Luce has been unconscious all night. As Luce asks about Todd, Arriane comes in wearing a candy-striper uniform and roller skates, and is carrying three coconut shell alcoholic cocktails complete with little umbrellas ((I don’t think that’s medicinal)). Gabbe informs Luce that Todd passed away from smoke inhalation and Penn and Miss Sophia were able to get out of the library straight away. Luce is worried she’ll be asked about the night and not be able to fill in the gaps, which is exactly what happened with Trevor.
Penn comes in then and is shocked by the crowd and explains what happened to her and that Daniel found Luce and carried her to the administrator. This reminds Luce of her dream, of Daniel carrying her as he flew. Eventually everyone is kicked out to let Luce rest but then Miss Sophia, the police and her parents come in. The police ask Luce standard questions about what happened, though their tone implies she is guilty of setting the fire. When she’s finally left alone, Luce looks at a bouquet of peonies Daniel sent her and thinks about the accompanying message, SORRY, but what is he sorry for?
Two days later is Todd’s funeral. Cam pulls Luce away once the burial is concluded and offers to take her away to talk. Cam is perfect and his intentions are clear, but Luce is starting to get annoyed by him because he’s not Daniel. Thankfully Gabbe interrupts them giving Luce the opportunity to move over to the punch bowl where Daniel approaches her and asks if she wants to get out of there. Yes!
As soon as they are away from the group, Daniel challenges Luce being with Cam and says he’s not good for her, but then he also can’t suggest an alternative. They continue on to the lake. Once at their destination, Daniel tells Luce she should transfer to another school because Sword and Cross isn’t the right place for her, but Luce misunderstands his meaning thinking he is referring to Trevor and the similarities to Todd’s fiery death. To shock Daniel, Luce tells Daniel about the shadows she sees. Daniel tells her that hasn’t happened before which confuses Luce. Luce, once again, misunderstands Daniel, thinking he is going to kiss her, but instead he walks away.
On Saturday, it's Parents' Day at Sword and Cross. Luce's parents visit and bring a card from Callie. Luce takes them to meet Penn who will be joining them for lunch. Luce struggles to enjoy the day, thinking it feels like a sham. On the way to one of the planned events, Mr. Cole’s tour of the graveyard, Arriane pops up and introduces her sister Annabelle, calls the events lame and wanders off. Near the end of the tour they run into Cam with his “dad” who charms her mom with the age-old “older sister” line. Once Luce’s parents leave, she and Penn go to visit Penn’s dad.
A few days later on the way for a swim, Luce literally runs into Cam and they flirt over books, however Luce isn’t really into it. Her feelings for Daniel are growing stronger and she dreams they are embracing surrounded by wings. It feels so real. Luce dives into the pool to swim and only stops when Penn interrupts her. She found a lead about Daniel and the Watchers from the lost book in the library.
In the library, Penn heads to the computer, but unfortunately it’s after 4pm so access is restricted. Luckily they're able to flag down Miss Sophia who happily grants access and directs them to papal databases. The two girls frantically start scribbling notes. While Penn has copious notes, Luce has doodled Angel wings. As they make to leave, Luce notices Daniel looking at something behind her: Cam. Cam gives Luce another present in a box he asks her not to look at yet before making her promise they’ll meet later. Just before he walks away, he kisses Luce and then Daniel punches him. They start going at it before taking the fight outside to the commons and into the convenient dramatic rain. Penn is loving it. Unfortunately Mr. Cole breaks them up. Finally looking at the box Cam slipped her, inside is a note telling her to meet him at the gates after class and a green guitar pick.
Despite Luce not wanting to see Cam she still goes, her intention is to tell him she doesn’t want anything romantic to do with him. When she gets to the gates, she finds a note waiting for her. Cam’s arranged a car to pick her up. The car pulls up and the driver hands her a card, it’s a note saying the camera watching the drive has been taken care of. Luce gets into the car and she’s driven to a beat up riverside bar where Cam is waiting for her. Luce tries to give Cam the necklace back but he takes it and puts it on her instead and pulls her into the bar. Cam apologizes for coming on strong and about the fight last night. As Cam calls for a toast, Luce sees a dark shadow as a seedy patron starts in on Cam but Cam easily throws them off, abnormally easily. Luce leaves and runs into Daniel who grabs her and says he’ll take her back to school. As she gets into Daniel’s car, Luce can smell sulfur and sees Cam in the doorway looking strange.
Daniel doesn’t take her back to Sword and Cross, instead they go to the beach. Luce confesses that she doesn’t want anything to do with Cam and one thing leads to another and she and Daniel kiss. It feels so familiar and so right. When they pull apart Daniel acts as if he’s expecting something to happen, but nothing does. Cryptically, he tells her he doesn’t know how to make it stop, that likely they’re just running late.
Luce can’t remember their journey back to the school because she’d fallen asleep and Daniel had to carry her. She’d slept in until 2pm, missing school and waking to find two notes slipped under her door, one from Daniel and the other from Cam. Cam is waiting for her at the graveyard, and Luce tries to give him the let’s be friends speech but he interrupts, mocking her for her unreciprocated feelings for Daniel and how he could never kiss her how she deserves. Well, he can and he does! Cam starts laughing and saying it’s impossible so Luce walks off. Cam sweeps her up, bends her backwards and says it’s only fair that he gets to kiss her too. Luce can only think about the kiss but is sure she is forgetting something. Suddenly she is on the ground with Gabbe and Daniel confronting Cam. Gabbe kicks the snot out of Cam.
Daniel is not happy Luce kissed Cam, but at least he and Gabbe got there in time. He takes Luce off while Gabbe is standing over a groaning Cam. Daniel tells Luce he will tell her the whole truth. He starts by describing in the Bible how God demands the love of everyone, but Daniel loved someone else more, her, over and over again, but every time they fall in love, every time they kiss, she dies catastrophically while he continues to live forever. After she dies, he has to wait seventeen years for her to be reincarnated to see her again. Each time, he can sense her coming, which is a sad existence. Luce doesn’t believe any of it. When she first saw him, he was laughing and looked happy. Daniel tells her different things from their many incarnations. Luce needs a break to think.
Luce goes back to her room to be alone, she even ignores Penn’s knock. So much of what Daniel said seems familiar. Sitting on her bed, Luce finds a book hidden under the covers, The Watchers: Myth in Medieval Europe, with a note from Penn. Inside the cover is a photograph clearly showing Daniel and Luce in Helston, 1854. Luce needs Penn! To the library!
There is no sign of Penn, just Arriane and Rolland playing chess. Arriane has kicked Rolland’s butt, so it's time for a new game, to find out where Luce went the other day. To an off campus shrink? Asking them cryptic questions about trusting Daniel, Luce heads further into the library and runs into Miss Sophia who sees the book in her arms and takes her to one side, clearly not surprised she has it. Luce spills everything, including kissing Daniel, which Miss Sophia tells her is impossible. As they flip through the book, Luce spots sketches of her by Daniel. Miss Sophia tells her that both Luce and Daniel are damned.
Luce tells Miss Sophia that Daniel tried to explain things, but once he mentioned the Bible, she tuned out, no offense. Miss Sophia points out that it is perfectly natural for children her age to not be interested in the religion they were brought up in. Luce, however, wasn’t brought up religious and hasn’t been baptized. It’s clear Miss Sophia knows more than she is telling her, so Luce decides she needs to speak to Daniel and Miss Sophia tells her she’ll come with her. Outside, Luce can feel the shadows growing and waiting. They head to the graveyard and see Penn looking terrified next to the entrance. Penn says a few students went in and is sure something bad is going to happen because she can see something flickering in the darkness.
There is a feeling of evil as Luce heads into the graveyard, Miss Sophia and Penn following despite her protestations. Luce finds Daniel deep in the darkness and she tells him she believes his story, but how can he, an Angel, love her?! Luce is convinced the shadows and darkness is all her fault, but Daniel explains they aren’t, they’ve always been there though this is the first time she’s been able to see them. The shadows are Announcers, nothing more than gossips and messengers, and at the moment, they are just showing off. Penn and Miss Sophia approach them with Daniel’s book. Miss Sophia tells Luce she doesn’t want to know how they can be together, that Daniel has no right to tell her as it will kill her. Again. As Luce declares her love to Daniel, from above, Cam sarcastically claps. More claps grow around them, but it’s not applause, it's the sound of flying insects swarming around Cam.
Daniel demands to know why Cam has called an end to their truce, and Cam points to Luce. Suddenly Miss Sophia’s eyes roll back and she starts speaking in tongues, so Arriane and Gabbe float down and offer to translate. Gabbe agrees with Cam that there is something different with Luce, that the fight could end. Wait. What fight? Arriane tells Luce the fight is to stop all hell breaking loose on earth. Daniel tells Luce to get out as small firefly-like sparks float, blooming into little pure creatures. At Gabbe and Daniel’s insistence, Luce, Penn and Miss Sophia leave the graveyard. Before they can get out, Penn falls, and when Luce looks back, she finds Penn has a deep black and bloody gash down her arm. Miss Sophia picks Penn up and urges them on. Turning back, Luce sees that a huge fire rages in the graveyard with strands of light and blackness twisting together. Miss Sophia pulls Luce along and into the gymnasium church and the one place in the building not desecrated with athletic equipment.
Penn is getting worse and her wound looks awful. As Luce is comforting Penn, Miss Sophia starts closing and bolting the doors and windows before she comes over, draws a knife and slashes Penn’s throat saying it’s messy but necessary. Miss Sophia continues to talk in tongues, chanting and lighting candles in the room that looks like a little chapel. Miss Sophia grabs Luce and politely, holding the knife at Luce’s throat, asks her to climb up on the altar before tying her down. Clearly this is all preplanned.
Miss Sophia wants Luce out of the way to free Daniel. Miss Sophia is not impressed with whomever put the fate of humanity into the hands of lovesick infants. Miss Sophia is willing to kill her, she’s encountered her boring self before but this time is different, and she’s given her a loophole. In every other incarnation, Luce has been baptized, but in this one, she hasn’t, and therefore her soul is up for grabs and she won’t come back. Miss Sophia has her dagger poised over Luce’s heart as the stained glass window shatters and bright lights fill the room. Daniel has flown in to free her.
Miss Sophia makes her escape and Daniel orders a helper to go after her while Arriane and Gabbe emerge from the remaining bright light. Luce asks if Miss Sophia is a fallen Angel or a Devil, and Gabbe explains she was one of the twenty-four elders, but what she has done is grounds for exile. Almost everyone at Sword and Cross is a fallen Angel, but they’ve just taken sides. Cam, Molly and Rolland are on one side while they are on another. Penn unfortunately was mortal. Luce wants to know everything but they claim they can’t tell her everything because it would kill her and that she needs to be drip fed or work it out on her own for her own safety. In the meantime, Arriane fetches help from a human they can trust.
At daybreak, Luce and Daniel emerge from the chapel. Penn’s body has been laid on the altar for now. The Angels have hidden their wings as so many humans will be around today, the blue and red lights of police cars are flashing in the distance. Luce and Daniel make their way into the graveyard and it’s filled with dust from the battle. Luce clears Penn’s dad's grave as they go, knowing her friend will be buried next to him soon. They leave the graveyard and head into the woods before Daniel picks Luce up and flies them to their lake. Daniel explains Mr. Cole will be waiting for them with a plane and will help Luce get away to safety. Before they part, Daniel gives Luce a locket containing their pictures and says he’ll tell her more about them when they’re together again. It will be a little while though because Daniel has to find Cam and take care of a few things, but he promises he will come for her. Mr. Cole and Luce fly off in Mr. Cole's tiny plane.
A little while later, from above in the loft, Daniel watches Luce sleep, and then Cam comes in. They decide they won’t fight and will maintain a truce for eighteen days, but they may need each other before that time is up. Cam tells Daniel he hasn't won Luce, even though she may think so. She just doesn’t understand everything yet.