We join this relationship already in progress.

“I could’ve stopped the war. Could’ve ended it in ’63 if goddamn MacNamara had just listened to me, if he’d just listened to me we never would’ve had the goddamn war and the fucking Rooskies would’ve fucking caved in ’64 and I’d still be fucking Jane Fonda every fucking Tuesday…”

Alex looked up from his book at the man seated in front of him. He saw oily brown hair under a blue ballcap, a faded denim jacket and the man’s large, trembling hands. The bus hit a bump, and the man snapped bitterly, “Jesus Christ!” and went back to muttering at his hands.

Ahead of him, in the front of the bus where seats lined the walls facing inward, a collection of mixed ethnicities and genders bantered playfully. Alex heard laughter and good spirits as the streetlights of Aurora Avenue flashed by. The man in front of him, his seat facing forward like Alex’s, took part in none of it. He had a lot of harsh words for his own hands, though, all of them relating to politics fifty years past.

Alex felt proud of himself for recognizing the names and placing them properly. He’d aced his US history courses over the previous two quarters. There was no possible way, Alex decided, that this man was old enough to have had the ear of Robert McNamara or really anyone in government in the ’60s. He turned his head back down to his book as the bus rolled on.

It hit another bump. “Jesus Christ!” the man snapped again.

Alex sighed and pulled out his iPhone. He figured he’d need to put his headphones in and crank up some music if he was to get any reading done on his trip home.

Then the bus rolled to a stop, and Alex found himself distracted yet again.

“Shut up shut up can’t you people just shut up!?” She stood from her seat near the front of the bus, just ahead and across from the man muttering at his hands. She grabbed the overhead rail and pointed at everyone. Her brown hair had been washed and brushed; her beige overcoat looked clean, as did her dress. She seemed like someone who had a job and a family, and quite possibly did. She didn’t look like one of the crazies at all.

Then again, the 358 picked up all kinds on its journey from north Seattle into downtown.

“Woah, hey, lady, can we just chill?” said one of the other women in the front seats. “It’s Friday night. We’re all getting’ off work and stuff. We’re in a good mood. What’s wrong with that?”

“Yes! That’s just it! That’s the problem! You’re all so happy! Everyone’s happy!” sneered the woman in the off-white coat. Her accusing finger swept the air, pointing to most everyone around her. Alex made eye contact and regretted it, for now he, too, was included in her venomous accusations.

Alex had an awful lot to be happy about. He just couldn’t tell anyone without sounding like one of the crazies… perhaps even the craziest. He supposed he could tell all the crazies about his good fortunes, but then, he didn’t really want to talk to any of them at all. He just wanted to get home for the night.

His eyes drifted out the window to his right as the bus came to a stop. The crowd near the bus shelter of green metal and glass looked large enough to turn this into a standing-room-only ride. Alex saw suits and sports jerseys, trench coats and shopping bags… and even an umbrella or two, just to mark out the tourists.

Amid the waiting crowd, Alex saw a husky man in a Patriots jersey corner a slightly heavyset brunette against the bus shelter. The scene conveyed neither romance nor comfort, yet also no explicit threat. The Pats fan said something to her softly, urgently, over and over. She wouldn’t look him in the eye. The streetlights were bright enough for Alex to recognize the sadness in her eyes.

She tried to move past him. He took her by both arms and pushed her against the shelter. She had a backpack and a gym bag. The Pats Fan—Alex named him Pat in his heat—tried to take them from her, not forcefully but also refusing to let the bags go when she tugged back. She wouldn’t look Pat in the eyes.

His body language presented him as a desperate, pleading lover. Her posture marked him as something very different.

“Ma’am, please take your seat or move to the back of the bus,” called the middle-aged driver. She had a fairly commanding voice. “I’ve got people getting off and on.”

“You’re a drone!” retorted the woman in the beige coat. “You’re just another drone! You only do what they tell you!”

“Back door!” called out passengers at the rear of the bus. “Open up the back door!”

“Yeah, lady, just sit down,” urged another passenger at the front. “People gotta move. Quit spoiling the night.”

“Don’t any of you see? Don’t any of you think with your own minds?” demanded the ranting woman with another wave of her finger.

“Last chance: sit down or get off!” ordered the driver. She looked as if she wanted to get out of her seat and take care of this herself. She, too, noticed the subtle struggle underway beside the shelter. “Miss, do you want to get on the bus?”

The woman looked up and nodded. “No, she doesn’t!” said the stubble-faced Pats fan who blocked her path.

Alex looked to the rear. The back door remained open.

“Miss, do you want me to call the police?”

Alex saw the brunette’s mouth waver. He got out of his seat and quickly moved to the back door. His backpack full of textbooks stayed behind, which he only realized once he exited. He would have to cuss himself out for that later.

“Baby, it won’t be like it was,” Pat reassured her, but only through gritted teeth. “I won’t be—hey, what the fuck?” The camera flash left him blinking. Without thinking about it, Pat stepped away from the brunette and released her bags.

“Oh, good, hold still for a sec,” Alex said, his thumb on the camera button of his iPhone again. “Yeah, that’s a better picture.”

“What the fuck are you taking my picture for, fuckstick?” Pat demanded.

“Well, for the cops,” explained Alex with a shrug. “You know, for the incident report and all that.”

Again, the larger man blinked. “Motherfucker, what incident report? Gimme that fucking thing!” Pat stepped forward to snatch the offending phone.

Alex launched his right fist straight into Pat’s nose. Cartilage collapsed with a loud crunching noise. Stunned and momentarily blinded by eyes that refused to open, the larger man didn’t even realize what was happening as hooked his leg between the larger man’s knee and shoved as hard as he could. Pat fell back onto the sidewalk in a heap.

“Figured I’d want your picture because you assaulted me,” Alex finished. He stepped over the bewildered, groaning Pat to face the woman. “Miss, are you trying to get away from him?”

She couldn’t believe her eyes. “You just… you just…”

Alex waited. Thankfully, the bus did, too. “Listen, do you need help? If you need to find a shelter or something, I can help you. I’ve got a perfectly good smartphone here. But we should get on the bus now.”

She nodded, turned and numbly stepped onto the bus. Alex saw her flash her pass to the driver, who let her on with a nod. He glanced at the sign on the cash slot: PAY AS YOU ENTER.

He winced. He didn’t have a pass or enough cash on him to get back on.

The bus driver leaned forward and put her hand over the cash receptor. “Don’t worry about it,” the older woman winked. “Get back on.”

“Thanks,” he sighed, and then almost ran away when witnesses applauded as he stepped inside. He couldn’t really leave his books behind, though, and thus he swallowed and nodded and blushed fiercely as he moved toward his old seat. The pair of teens in black hoodies who’d claimed his vacant spot hoisted his backpack up to him with a shared look of awe.

Alex accepted his backpack. Though bewildered and shaken, the brunette from the sidewalk found a seat for herself—clearly the last on the bus. “Hey,” Alex said, “do you need any help getting anywhere? Do you have someplace to go?”

“No. No, I’m fine, I just… he just got home before I made it out of the neighborhood,” the brunette said. She hefted her bags up into her lap and held them defensively. “I’ve got someplace to go. I’m okay. It’s okay.”

Alex shrugged and nodded. He didn’t exactly want to get further involved, anyway. He walked toward the rear, holding the overhead rail as the vehicle started up on its way again.

Not a single open seat beckoned to him. Alex moved to the end of the bus, figuring he’d have a line of sight on any spot that opened up from there. Reaching the very back, where a family of eight surrounded him on each side, Alex turned around to face the front.

“Holy fuck, you know how hot I get when you do shit like that,” came the half-moaning voice of the gorgeous blonde he found inches from his face. Rachel’s eyes fluttered as she spoke. He felt her breath on his face. Alex blinked, completely surprised as usual by her appearance, and wondered if anyone heard what she said. Glancing around, he found shocked expressions on the faces around him. That answered that.

Doubtlessly, nobody else could see the wings or the halo on the lithe, young-looking woman in white, but they all heard her perfectly well. The sounds of the bus did little to cover up Rachel’s words.

“Seriously, I just gave up wearing panties ’cause of you. Fucking things just kept melting right off of me,” Rachel said. Her hands came to his chest. “One minute I’m fine, and then the next I’m all hot and bothered ’cause you’ve done something charitable and awesome again. It’s fuckin’ boiling between my legs right now.”

Seated beside them, a mother put her hands over her young son’s ears. “It’s nice to see you, too, Rachel,” Alex smiled.

“You don’t even know,” she grinned fiercely. Her mouth came up to his, assaulting him with a hungry kiss. His body and spirit awakened as if he’d been sleep-walking all day. Alex held the overhead rail; the angel held onto him.

Knowing full well the effect she had on him, Rachel pressed her groin into his, even lifting herself up somewhat against his shoulders to grind his rapidly stiffening cock. As she released him from the kiss, her eyes conveyed undisguised lust. He saw love in there, too; of that he never doubted. She simply had no reason to separate the two.

“I wound up with some free time and went home to find the place empty,” Rachel pouted sweetly.

“Oh? So are you back on the clock now?”

“Not quite yet. Got lots of running around and good deeds and shit like that to do, but I’ve got a little time left to be with you. Just not as much as I’d want.” She leaned in fully on him, melting against his body. “You need to get your motorcycle out of the shop so you’ll get home sooner. Or just say you want a ride to and fro. You know that can be arranged.”

“I like my independence,” Alex said, grinning in spite of his circumstances. “Besides, the bus is more ecologically responsible and stuff.”

“Oh, baby,” Rachel breathed. “You know you get me fuckin’ hot when you talk like that.” Both of her hands slipped around his hips to clutch at his ass. She felt him stiffen and maintained her grip. He was a little embarrassed to be assaulted like this in front of others, but she made him feel too good for him to put a stop to it.

“You could’ve come and found me at school.”

“And disturb you while you’re being a respectable college student? No way. I just stripped and took care of myself on the bed.”

“Miss, please,” coughed the father on their other side.

“Took my time with it, too. I was hoping you’d come home and find me all naked and ready for you,” Rachel grinned. “Sometimes, I just need that cock so bad…”

The bus stopped. At the mutual urging of the parents, the whole family around Rachel and Alex shuffled and hustled off the bus. Seconds later, the entire rear section of seats lay vacant. “Knew I could do it,” Rachel said, and shoved Alex into one of the cushioned seats. She sat down in his lap, facing him. That she had to spread her legs to do so failed to deter her.

“Wait, that was just to get rid of them?” blinked her mortal lover. “Rachel, they probably have someplace to be!”

“And if they can’t take a little dirty talk and PDA, then fuck ’em,” she shrugged. “World’s full of rough moments. Besides, it’s not like I actually started unfastening your belt with my teeth or anything yet. It was just talk… while they were here.”

He started to laugh, but then he stopped. Alex looked at her. “Oh, hey, waitasec…”

“So like I said, I spent the last hour all alone, taking care of myself as best I can, but it’s just not as satisfying as having you,” Rachel hissed into his ear. Her hand unfastened the lower buttons of his shirt so she could touch his bare skin. “And I’m still really worked up.”

“Rachel, you can’t be serious.”

“You’ve done naughtier things than this, Alex,” Rachel teased. She worked his belt, not bothering to look over her shoulder at all to ensure any privacy. “Don’t tell me you haven’t. Hell, I’ve watched you.”

His heart beat faster. He felt himself heating up, and felt the blood draining from his brain to a more eager organ. “I haven’t done anything where other people could see me,” he whispered.

It was only then that Rachel took a look around. “Oh, whatever. This is the 358. Do you know who takes this bus?”

“Bunch’a loonies,” Alex grunted.

“What? Naw,” Rachel scoffed. “C’mon, don’t be mean. People always say there’s at least one weirdo on a bus, but whenever I’m on I never see one.”

“Really,” the young man deadpanned.

“Yeah. Anyway, these folks are my peeps.”

“There is technology on this bus controlling all of you!” shouted the woman in the off-white overcoat at the front of the bus. “Get out of the city! Save yourselves!” With that, she stomped off the bus, only to repeat her loud admonishments from the sidewalk.

“Like Margaret there,” Rachel shrugged. “She doesn’t have a problem with what I’m gonna do to you.”

Alex blinked. “Wait, what? You know her?”

“Yeah,” the angel answered casually. “I told you before. I spent the last couple centuries as a messenger. You know, putting divine messages into peoples’ ears and stuff. Anyway, they’re not a risk… they’re not gonna come back here, and if they say anything, who’s gonna listen?”

His breath remained heavy. She brought her lips to the side of his neck, just under his ear, where her every word could be felt against his skin. “You’re not even really listening to me at this point, are you?”

Rachel’s hands continued to explore his flesh underneath his clothes. She noticed his silence. Her eyes turned up toward his. The naughty grin on her face warned of some forthcoming dirty comment, but Alex preempted it with a kiss every bit as hungry as hers. His hands came over her hips, groping her shamelessly, and then roamed up her sides. Shaking urgency crept into his arms, and his shoulders, and his very center.

“That’s more like it,” Rachel cooed.

“You’re sure this is okay?” Alex asked. Lusty and bold though his touch was, he wanted to do even less polite things to her. So far, he restricted his hands to her sides, and only over the fabric of her simple white dress.

“I’m always okay with you, lover,” she winked. “You know that. Ain’t like I’m ever gonna have a headache or be on the rag. Benefits of not being a normal woman.”

“Yeah, but you can disappear in front of normal people,” noted her mortal lover. “I can’t. And you can’t make me disappear, either, can you?”

Rachel shrugged. Her voice fell to a whisper. “There are seven guardian angels on this bus, and I can’t disappear from them. I have to hope they don’t look this way. Or stare, at least. I mean, they see me in your lap, but…” Her fingers freed his enlarged, eager cock from his boxer briefs. Rachel bit her lip. She enjoyed touching it every bit as much as he loved the feel of her hand. “You’ve got it easy. If I get caught, it’s bitch, bitch, bitch from my co-workers for the next hundred years. All you gotta worry about is a bunch’a batshit crazies riding the bus. Who cares what they think?”

He would have laughed at her instant reversal of attitude regarding his fellow passengers, but he was far too aroused for humor. Alex lowered his head against her chest, gently kissing the tops of her breasts. He wanted to free them from her dress, to have full access to her whole body, but as she said, she had to exercise some discretion.

Stripping her clothes off and mauling her could wait for another time. He required satisfaction of much fiercer needs right now. So did she.

Rachel kept stroking his cock, reverently looking down at it between his body and hers whenever she could. She shifted further up on his thighs, spreading her legs with natural ease. He was so stiffly erect that she hardly needed to guide him in at all. She loved that about him. In truth, Rachel loved everything about Alex, and most of all his benevolent spirit… but she equally doted on him for his raw sex appeal.

He watched her mouth fall open and then form a circle of pleasure as the head of his cock caressed her wet labia, coating him in her wetness. “Oh yesloverfuckme,” Rachel begged him quietly. She left things entirely up to him, allowing Alex to guide her in with his hands on her tight, shapely ass.

As they often did, their gaze met for their first full penetration. Rachel and Alex stared into one another’s eyes as he sank into her, slowly savoring every inch of invasion together.

Initial satisfaction overtook the pair. It would quickly fade into further need, but there was always a moment of relief when they first coupled. Alex and Rachel sighed together, kissing softly and reveling in their joining.

“I am so completely yours,” Alex told her.

Rachel nodded, putting her forehead against his. “Just use me, lover,” she told him. “No room for romance here. Be selfish. You know I’ll get off on it.”

Their eyes met again, lust and trust forming a bond, and soon Alex began to grind his feather-light lover’s groin into his. His cock plunged into her, splitting her flesh and overwhelming her with pleasure. Normally a vocal lover, Rachel restrained herself to mere heavy breaths into his ear. She licked and kissed his neck, nibbled on his earlobe and dug her fingernails across his scalp, all while he concentrated on moving her slowly up and down, allowing his sex to move in and out.

They couldn’t pick up their pace. There wasn’t enough room, or remotely enough privacy. Rather than building to a frenzied pounding, Alex and Rachel had to limit themselves to this slow, agonizingly steady in and out.

The bus stopped. People exited and entered. Thankfully, none came all the way to the back—seats at the front had opened up—but Alex hardly noticed. His senses focused entirely on the touch and smell and soft breaths of his angel.

Moments later, the vehicle rolled on. It hit a bump. “Jesus Christ!” growled the man at the far front of the bus.