My Guardian Angel
True love never lives happily ever after - true love has no ending.
"Oh, my God. I am so sorry," the red head blurted as she whirled around to the person she accidentally bumped into. She watched, horrified, as the cup of hot chocolate he was holding fell in slow motion to the ground. It clattered, rolled, and stopped.
Just like her breath.
"Oh. My. God. I am so sorry—I'm so damn clumsy. I mean, I know that I'm a klutz, but this always happens to me! And it's not even that embarrassing for me anymore because I'm so used to it, but then the person I pull into my unfortunate fate has to suffer as well and—well—that just sucks. And it makes me feel totally even worst of myself. Not that I'm thinking of myself all the time, but you know what I mean?" She sucked in a breath, feeling her face burn.
Great, she was doing it again.
She chuckled nervously. "Heh, yeah, and when I'm totally horrified, embarrassed and all, I rant. Like now. Like last week? No, yesterday I was holding a bunch of books that I was supposed to carry to the cart—I work at a bookstore, you see—and then I did the most stupid thing of all. I bumped into a shelf. Can you believe that? And then I stumbled, knocked into someone who was so into his book—which I understand, since I also love reading—and then it caused him to stumble backwards into the shelf behind him. . . Causing that shelf to fall. Heh, and then the chain reaction continues. . ." she trailed off before realizing how pathetic she sounded. Her face flamed even more. She was probably talking to herself, she realized with total mortification as she closed her eyes.
Kill me now, she begged. Just do it, God. I don't mind, really.
"Are you done?" a wry voice reached her ears. She went completely still. Slowly, she opened her eyes and saw brilliant hazel eyes. . . laughing at her?
Her face burned. "I'm really, really, really sorry," she sputtered.
His lips curved. "It's all right."
"No! It isn't." She shook her head furiously as determination flashed through her eyes. She suddenly clasped her hands together as she stared him down. "You must let me repay you for that fallen hot chocolate," she said in a hard voice.
He was unperturbed. He lifted an eyebrow, amused by her. She looked vaguely familiar. "Oh?"
"Yes!" she insisted. "Look, there's a café right down this road. I'll take you. You don't have to stay if you don't want to—I swear, I won't be offended—but let me at least buy you your hot chocolate and. . . and a donut! Yes, okay. Are you game?" Her eyes flashed.
He was laughing by now. She blinked and cocked her head to one side. Okay, so she didn't need to erase his memory. You know, not she was planning that. Or capable of that act, for the matter. She frowned. He looked familiar, somehow.
"You're kind of cute," he grinned at her.
She blinked before her face went beet red. "Wha? No, of course not. I mean—" she laughed nervously, scratching the back of her head. "You're. . . Uh, cute too? Wait, no, that came out wrong," she stammered. "Okay, so that came out wrong, too. What I meant to say is that . . . Well—"
She stopped talking and looked at him.
He looked like he wanted to laugh. Especially since he held that goofy grin on his face.
She sighed. "How about we forget the past twenty seconds?" she tried.
He smirked. "Only if you and I get to talk."
She looked at him for a moment before smiling shyly and nodded. "I'd like that," she said genuinely meaning it.
That's how it started.
"Green," she said easily, grinning at him. He felt himself smile back, even if he tried not to. It was inevitable. She laughed, swatting him at his arm when he tugged her hair. "What about you?" she asked.
"Red," he replied, eyeing her. "Since it looks sexy on me," he added solemnly. She stared at him wide-eyed before realizing he was only joking. She laughed.
"You're modest," she commented, her eyes twinkling. It's been two months since they've met each other, and already they were inseparable. It didn't take long for Autumn to take a liking to him, and vice versa. It was as if they've known each other for years, but only met a while ago. It was as if . . . they were two separate pieces of something, reunited, and a perfect fit for each other. A best friend that she only found recently.
"Sorry," he cracked up. "Don't worry," he said, that same silly half grin, half smirk coming onto his face. "It looks even sexier on you." He eyed her red hair.
She blushed. "Stop it," she moaned, knowing that he was only doing this to make her flush. She blushed easily, and it sucked. He slung an arm over her shoulder as they continued to walk in the mall. She swayed slightly before leaning to him, ducking her head when he looked down at her with a knowing grin.
"We," he began clearly, "make an awesome couple. Everyone should bow to our sexiness."
She laughed, throwing her head back. She nudged him a little when a few people gave them weird looks, hearing his remark. She mouthed an apology before hurriedly rushing both of them away.
"That was unnecessary," she muttered.
"It was the truth," he put in, easily giving her a breathtaking grin.
She felt herself start to smile slowly. "Only you could say that and still make me grin," she said.
"'Cause I'm sexy like that."
She smacked him as they continued to walk.
"Don't worry," he reassured her. "You're still sexy, too."
He looked down at her, feeling his heart warm. She flushed, noting how his eyes went a shade darker and he suddenly held a serious aura about him. She mumbled something under her breath and turned her head away.
He smiled to himself.
He was there within minutes of her phone call. He saw her on the sidewalk a few blocks from her house, her head in her arms and that was when he felt his heart clench in his chest. He quickly got out of his car, barely killing the engine and shutting the door. He was by her side in a second.
She looked up when she heard hurried footsteps. She knew that she looked horrible but that wasn't on her mind right now. She inhaled a shaky breath before leaning forward towards his open arms and clenching tightly onto his arms for support. She didn't know whether it was mental or physical support. "Alex," she choked out in a strangled voice. "I'm sorry. I . . . I didn't know who else to call and. . ." she hiccupped, brushing more tears from her eyes.
He narrowed his eyes in concern, tightening his grip around her form. They fit so right together. "Shh. . . It's okay," he told her, his voice low and soothing. He felt a small part of him break when he heard her sobbing. "What's wrong?"
She inhaled, trying to stop from crying. "We're fighting again. . ." she said in a strained whisper. She meant her father and herself. Alex pulled her closer to him and crushed his body against her. He knew of her problem with her father. But what was amazing is that she always kept a smile on her face, despite the problems at home.
And it broke his heart when there wasn't that bright, brilliant grin on her face. It was the only thing that kept him truly content nowadays, knowing that she was happy. But she wasn't right now, and . . . and it hurt. Because he couldn't do anything to stop the pain that she felt.
"Alex," she said, her voice muffled against the crook of his shoulder. "It's so horrible. I . . . I don't know how to make him happy," she whispered. She looked up at him and another tiny piece of his heart shattered. "He called me a mistake, you know," she whispered.
"You are not a mistake," he whispered fiercely, his eyes burning intensely. All she could do is stare at him. He narrowed his eyes when she didn't say anything. "Autumn, listen to me," he said firmly, "You are not a mistake, do you understand me? You mean everything to a lot of people around here. Your smile can light up anyone's day and it's. . . it's impossible for someone to hate you. Everyone loves you." Especially me.
Her eyes watered at his words but instead of replying right away, she turned her gaze skyward and took in the night, starry filled sky. She inhaled, and closed her eyes briefly. She felt safe with him. "Alex," she whispered. She heard him grunt and shift before pulling her closer to him. A small smile adorned her face. "Do you think someone's watching over us?"
"Of course," he answered in a beat. He never used to. Not until he met her and seriously considered her beliefs. It was because of her that he finally accepted the death of his mother and father. "Your guardian angel is watching over you right now."
She twisted her lips in concentration before a grin broke out. He felt himself smile when he saw this. She turned to him. "He's not watching over me," she corrected him, her eyes locking with his. He lifted an eyebrow. Her grin widened. "He's looking right at me."
Startled, he frowned. "What?"
She shook her head, the smile still on her face. "Silly, you're my guardian angel," she whispered before leaning onto his chest and just contentedly staring at the sky. She didn't want to worry about her dad anymore. Not when she felt so safe and comfortable in Alex's arms.
He got over his shock and he found himself staring down at her red hair. A moment later, a smile broke out and he shook his head at the moment of it all. He chuckled silently. 'Yeah, I guess I am . . . And I promise I won't let you down.'
"No way!" she breathed before breaking out into a huge grin. "Christabel?"
The brown haired girl looked up from her menu to meet emerald green eyes. Christabel jumped from her seat and wrapped her friend into a hug. "Oh, my God! I haven't seen you in ages," Chrissy said, grinning brightly.
"I know!" she agreed, the smile on her face widening even more, if that was possible. "How have you been—?"
"Autumn?" a familiar voice said.
The red head looked down to see him sitting in the same booth as Chrissy. Something clicked and she suddenly broke into another grin. "You guys know each other?!" she asked excitedly.
Chrissy blinked before nodding slowly. "Wait, you two know each other?"
He nodded lazily, a slow smile curving at his lips when his eyes locked with Autumn's. "You told me you had somewhere to be," he said, pretending not to pin anything but they both knew otherwise.
Autumn instantly flushed. "I was," she stammered, holding up a bag. "See? I didn't lie to you. I mean, I know that lying is bad and that if you ever lie to me, I probably would—" She stopped and then sighed. "I'm doing it again, aren't I?"
His grin broadened. "It's okay. It's what makes you that same klutz we know and love."
Autumn flushed a deeper red. "Alex!"
Chrissy eyed them both. "How did you. . .?"
"How we met?" Alex said, turning to her. "You see. . ."
"No!" Autumn suddenly said, horrified. "You promised not to tell anyone," she said. "I don't need any other embarrassing story piling on top of an another and letting the whole world know."
Alex's grin turned teasing. "Aw, Autumn, but Chrissy's my best friend. I've known her ever since we were in diapers."
Autumn suddenly gasped and turned sharply to Christabel who suddenly seemed much more interested in the stain on the table. "Is he. . .?"
"Shut up," Chrissy sang under her breath, still not raising her head to meet both of their gazes.
Autumn instantly grinned, bouncing on her feet. "Oh, this is so awesome, Christabel!" she said, clasping her hands together. She instantly turned to Alex who was watching her with amused eyes. Her grin widened and he felt something prickle in his chest. All he could do was smile with her. "How about sometime this week we all do something together?"
"Autumn, please," Chrissy said, her voice embarrassed and strained.
Autumn whirled to her, instantly putting her arm around her friend. "I've got it under control," Autumn whispered in her ear before standing abruptly and smiled brilliant smile that would catch any guy's attention.
"I'll call both of you, okay? Got it? Get it? Good," she smiled before walking out as fast as she came in. Alex and Christabel were left staring after her disappearing form skipping out of the café.
"Bye! Good night, Chrissy!" Autumn grinned brightly, waving enthusiastically as the said girl made it to her doorstep. She turned and waved back before entering her house.
Autumn got back into the car and sighed pleasantly and raised her eyes, only surprised to see Alex looking at her through the rear-view mirror. She smiled at him. "That was fun, wasn't it?" she said.
Alex lifted an eyebrow as he started the car to drive her off next. "You were gone the whole time," he pointed out.
She felt something hot crawl up her spine. The absence of her presence wasn't that noticeable, was it? "I. . . um. . ." she trailed off, racking her brain for a good excuse. "Had major constipation?"
Then she smacked herself. Oh very, very smooth.
Alex suddenly dissolved into snickers. "I don't believe that for a second," he said after his laughter was done.
She scowled before shrugging slightly. "You don't have to," she mumbled. "But you had a good time, right?" she asked, perking right back up as she raised her head to meet his gaze. He looked at her briefly from the mirror before focusing his eyes back on the road.
"Of course. I was in the presence of the two most gorgeous girls in the world. Even if you weren't there the whole time."
She felt her face grow hot. "Can you stop with that gorgeous thing, please?" she mumbled, averting her eyes. "But I wasn't talking about me. I was talking about you and Christabel," she persisted. "When was the last time you hung out with her at a fancy restaurant. . . and stuff?"
". . . I have a sneaking suspicion that you're trying to hook us up together."
Oh, my God. He did not.
"What?" she exclaimed, trying to play it cool. But the fact that she knew she was red wasn't helping the matter. "Where on earth did you get that idea from?" she said, trying to wave it off. She didn't dare meet his eyes. She knew he was looking at her with that half smirk on his face.
"You're not very good at hiding your ideas," he teased, his lips twitching as he watched her briefly. "Plus, I know this because you think aloud sometimes. And the fact that you're blushing red doesn't convince me otherwise."
Autumn sat very, very still. At that moment, they made it in front of her house and she practically jumped out of the car. Chrissy will never forgive her if she admitted this! Determination stretched across her face as she leaned down to the passenger side of the window. Alex raised an eyebrow, lowering the glass so Autumn could say what she wanted to say.
"You. . ." Autumn began, "are totally wrong."
Amusement struck him. "Really," he said, deciding to humour her.
She nodded seriously, her lips pursed together as she stared at him straight in the eye. He wanted nothing more to do than pull her into his arms and never let go. "Yes. You don't know what on earth you're going on about. You're hallucinating. In fact, you're in a dream, right now. This conversation is not happening, and the last five minutes of the car drive never happened either."
She said it with such a straight face he couldn't help but snicker.
She looked offended. "What, you don't believe me?"
"No, not really," he grinned.
She studied him. "Fine," she finally said, stepping back. "But I'm still right!" Her grin suddenly left him breathless. "Drive safely, okay?"
He smiled at her concern. "But of course," he said.
She grinned perkily at him one more time before bouncing to her front door, waved enthusiastically before disappearing before the closed door.
He sat there for a moment before driving towards his place. The picture of her smile imprinted itself in his mind.
"This is going to be so exciting," Autumn said enthusiastically as she clapped her hands together. She turned to grin and Christabel but then her smile slowly fell when she saw Chrissy down her eyes on the ground. Sensing something wrong, Autumn tucked away her hyper feeling and gestured her friend to sit at a nearby bench. "Is there something wrong?" Autumn asked gently.
Christabel snapped out of her daze. "What? Oh, nothing," she said quickly. But she doubt anyone would believe that.
Autumn snorted before sitting up very straight. "My momma told me not to keep things bottled up inside you. They eat you away, she would say," Autumn recited passionately before turning her expectant eyes on her friend.
Christabel looked at her for a moment, taking in her red hair, gleaming green eyes filled with genuine worry, but she couldn't help but feel a pang of envy and anger take over. Chrissy sighed, forcing those feelings out. No one can truly hate Autumn. It was . . . impossible. Even Alex said so.
Her heart contracted. Alex. He's been talking about Autumn a lot. They don't get to hang out or speak often to each other, but when they do, Autumn would somehow be the topic of discussion. The way his eyes brightened and the dim curve of his lips did not go unnoticed by Christabel. And every time she saw this, she couldn't help but feel angry—and hurt. It felt as if . . . she was losing her best friend to someone who just entered his life. She's been there all along . . . ! But . . . When Autumn was concerned, time didn't count.
"Chrissy?" Autumn asked in a tentative voice, the concern in her voice and expression now noticeable to anyone. "Are you okay? Do you need to go home?" she asked worriedly.
Christabel quickly shook her head. "No, no," she said. It was her that invited Autumn to go shopping. But not for shopping itself. She needed answers and this was the only way she could obtain them.
Autumn quieted down. "So. . ." she trailed off, shifting; the worry in her eyes didn't leave.
Chrissy looked at her and held her gaze for a while. "Have you ever been in love, Autumn?" she finally asked.
Autumn blinked. "What?" The question began to digest and she suddenly felt her heart speed up. Love? Did she know what love was? Right then, her mind flashed to Alex's half smirk half grin that would make her own lips start to tug. But even so, she pushed those thoughts out of her mind—and the blush arising on her face.
Almost immediately Autumn felt insanely guilty. She swallowed thickly, her eyes averting to Christabel who was watching her intently. Autumn sucked in a quick breath. That's right. . . she thought, a pang suddenly on her heart. Christabel loved Alex. She's only been talking about him ever since she's met her three years ago. . .
But she didn't meet him until recently.
The atmosphere suddenly felt thick and tense to Autumn as she tried to focus on Christabel. "Does this have something to do with Alex?" she asked.
"You can say that." There was a pause. "And it involves you."
Autumn's back tensed and she felt another layer of guilt. "Me?" she squeaked. "Why? Did I do something wrong?" Besides falling for the person that's off-limits.
Autumn instantly froze at her thoughts. What?
No. She didn't . . . She wasn't. . .
Alex belonged to Christabel. That was that.
"I—" Christabel said before cutting her off. She looked at her hands before looking at Autumn with a wry smile. "I'm pathetic," she said with finality and sighed.
Autumn looked startled. "What? No, Christabel, you are not pathetic," she said, gripping her friend's arm. Chrissy looked down in surprise. It was almost as if she felt Autumn's determination. . .
"But," Christabel whispered, the hurt in her eyes. Autumn instantly felt for her. "I—" she sighed. "Autumn, I feel horrible. I feel as if I'm losing Alex. I don't know," she smiled ruefully at Autumn's look of surprise. "But that's not entirely it. . ."
Autumn watched her quietly. They sat in silence and Autumn knew that she wasn't going to say anymore. But Autumn also knew that Christabel did want to share what was on her mind. Autumn's eyes flashed with determination. "Chrissy," Autumn said, catching the older girl's attention. She smiled at her. It was sure and brilliant. Autumn's smile can light up the whole world.
And it was the truth.
It wasn't because of her features. Autumn was gorgeous, but Christabel knew that she didn't use that to an advantage. She didn't even know if Autumn was aware of her beauty. What really made Autumn beautiful is her heart. She was generous and kind. She was friendly and lovable. She cared for everyone, whether she just met them or have known them for a long time. If you did something terrible to her, she wouldn't care. She still would try to help you out, even if you wanted it or not.
No one can hate her. She was everyone's angel; the person that everyone needed to be there. And she was always there. She was always thinking of other's before herself; putting their needs before her own.
That's what makes her truly exquisite. She was like the only blossoming rose full of life in the middle of a frosted field. She was one of a kind.
"You shouldn't keep things bottled up inside," Autumn continued. "You don't know if it's your last time seeing that person. You don't know if you'll have another moment like that where you can share your thoughts, or confess something that you're harbouring for someone else. If you love someone, you must tell them without wasting a second thought." There was a pause. "That was one of the things my momma taught me before she left," Autumn said with a brave smile but there was a trace of sadness.
"Your mom?" Christabel said in surprise. "You've never really mentioned her before. . ."
"I know. I'm sorry," she said, sounding like she truly meant it. "I talk to her every night. But she's in heaven now," Autumn said wistfully. "I miss her a lot. I know my dad does, too."
"I'm sorry," Christabel said, looking down.
"It's okay," Autumn assured her. "But she was right. And I know you love Alex."
Christabel felt her heart hammer at those words. "Obvious, huh? I mean, I only told you I liked him. . ."
"I'm good like that," she said jokingly, even if she felt like someone was squeezing her heart. ". . . You have to tell him," Autumn said after a few minutes of watching Christabel. "How long have you been keeping this a secret?"
"Three years," Christabel admitted.
Autumn gasped. "See! That's not good for you!"
"But what if he rejects me?" Chrissy suddenly cried out. "What if he doesn't love me? We're best friends! I can't make it awkward. I love our friendship, but I know I love him." Her voice softened towards the end. Autumn watched her. "And. . . and what if he already loves someone else?"
Autumn's heart stopped. "What?"
Christabel looked at her for a moment before sighing. "Never mind."
"It'll be good if you tell him," Autumn said finally. "If you do keep it a secret, he'll definitely find someone else. But thing's will work out in the end." She flashed an assuring grin. "Trust me. Fate has a weird way of working things out."
Christabel just nodded.
"A what?" she asked quizzically as she tilted her head to one side. Alex watched the way her silky hair would fall over her shoulders and he resisted the urge to tuck her hair behind her ears. Get a hold of yourself, man, he instructed himself firmly. Trying to obey his thoughts, he nodded in response to her confused expression.
"An amusement park," he repeated. "And there's a beach right next to it so we can go and watch the sunset."
At the mention of the sunset, her face instantly brightened and he mentally gave himself a pat on the back. She looked like the nature-loving type. Hell, Autumn couldn't possibly hate anything. "That'd be wicked!" she said enthusiastically, clapping her hands together.
He chuckled slightly. "So I'll pick you up at five?"
"Totally," she nodded. "Who else is coming?"
"No one else," he said easily, and her heart just stopped.
"No one else?" she managed to squeak out. Oh, God. What if Christabel found out and accused her of stealing her best friend?
"Yeah," he said, eyeing her oddly. "Are you okay, Autumn?"
"Uh huh," she smiled brightly, but inside she was cringing to herself. This sounds like . . . a date. Not that the idea itself was repulsive, but Christabel . . .
"Spill, Autumn. You have something on your mind."
She whirled to him and smiled nervously. "What? No. . ." she trailed off, trying her damn hardest not to be affected by his intense stare. She smiled brightly at him before turning around and began to walk. She stopped a few feet from him and cocked her head to one side, a twinkle in her eyes. "I'll race you," she said, a child like tone entering her voice. She sounded carefree.
He felt himself slowly start to smirk. "Where to?" he found himself agreeing. She looked thoughtful for a moment as her eyes averted to take in their surroundings before she suddenly gasped.
"Ice cream!" she exclaimed. "Loser buys the ice cream," she laughed.
"You're on, Shorty," he teased before running past her, leaving a gust of leaves behind his form. She gasped, whirling around to see him looking over his shoulder and laughing.
"Cheater!" she shouted before chasing after him, not noticing the way he slowed down, just for her.
He smiled to himself. He'd do anything for her.
She stopped walking and turned around. He took one look at her and chuckled. She frowned a little. He smiled at her and reached forward, gently wiping her face. "You've got cotton candy all over your face," he said in a teasing tone. "How can you eat so much and still stay skinny?"
"I'm actually trying to gain weight," she said honestly. "I look like a walking stick."
He chuckled, but his eyes lingered and that didn't go unnoticed by her. She swallowed inwardly before offering a smile. "Did you want to say something?"
"Yeah, actually," he said, smirking. He took her wrist. "C'mon, let's go see the sun set now."
She nodded in agreement, unable to tear her eyes away from their clasped hands. A few minutes later, they sat comfortable with their feet in the sand. Autumn giggled when she wiggled her toes. "I haven't been to the beach in a long time," she said suddenly, turning to him. "Thanks for bringing me here." She flashed him a smile that made his heart skip a beat.
He swallowed lightly and averted his eyes. He smirked at the waters, idly toying with a pebble. "No problem."
They sat in comfortable silence and Autumn felt herself start to squirm, realizing something. The atmosphere changed. No, it was most likely her. Guess she should come clean. . .
She's fallen for Alex. It was . . . irreversible. She stole a quick look at him and saw him staring contently at the sun setting and she felt herself start to smile.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
She felt her smile falter and her face grow hot. Did she get caught? "N-Nothing," she stammered, averting her eyes to the beautiful scene. She felt his eyes on her.
"Liar," he chuckled lowly, unaware of what he was doing to her. "Your eyes get big when you lie, did you know?"
"I know," she moaned. "It's horrible."
"Whatever happened to that girl that said lying was bad?" he teased.
"Still in here," she replied in a beat, her hand over her heart. She turned to him, tilted her head and smiled. Her eyes locked with his and he suddenly felt the urge to take her into his arms.
He inhaled, trying to keep calm. "Autumn," he said suddenly. "I have to tell you something."
She raised an eyebrow. "Yes . . .?"
"I. . ." he trailed off before laughing slightly. "I'm not really a man of words," he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. She watched him quizzically. He sighed. "I have a problem."
"A . . . problem?" she asked slowly.
"Yes," he clarified. "There's not other way to say this so here goes. . ." he muttered before sucking in a quick breath, trying to not lose his nerves. "I'm in love with someone," he rushed out. "I have been for a while. I just . . . don't know how to tell her," he said, focusing his eyes back on her.
She stared at him, feeling something pound in her heart. Her jaw dropped as she stared at him, wide eyed. He loves someone. He's in love with someone. She sucked in a breath, feeling something hot on her back and the prickling sensation in her chest. But she ignored it.
Christabel. It had to be.
I told you, Chrissy, she thought to herself, ignoring the pang of pain that shot through her. Fate has a weird way of working things out.
"You tell her aloud, of course," she said clearly, smiling brilliantly at him. "You don't keep it in; hoping that she'll someone read your thoughts. No matter how obvious you're making it, some girls just don't get it, you know? You have to tell them." She meant it, and she was happy for him. She really was.
He stared at her before chuckling. "Just like you," he said wryly.
She began to nod her head. "Yeah, exactly like. . ." She stopped. "What?" she asked slowly, turning back to him and her breath caught when she saw him staring right at her.
He had that half smile half smirk on his face and all she heard was his voice, the ocean waves, and the sound of her heart beating hard in her chest. "You heard me," he said. "I thought you would've figured it out by now, Autumn," he said in a mock-disappointed tone as he tapped her button nose. She just stared at him, wide-eyed. His grin widened.
"What are you trying to say, Alex?" she said, swallowing. She hoped to hell that it wasn't what it seemed like. She hoped to heaven that it was what she wanted to hear.
He held her gaze. She didn't realize how close their faces were. "What I'm trying to say is . . ." he drawled out slowly. "I'm irresistibly . . . irrevocably . . . in love with you."
And he closed the distance between them.
She gasped when his lips landed on hers and her eyes instantly went shut. His arms circled around her waist and her hands instinctively went around his neck and hair. This is wrong, she thought desperately, Chrissy's face appearing in her mind. But. . . but. . .
"Stop," she gasped, breaking away from the kiss. He looked at her, his eyes glazed, before he, she supposed, gave himself an inward kick in the ass.
He looked at her for a second. "I'm sorry," he said suddenly. "That . . . was out of hand. I'll . . ." he faltered, trying to calm himself and trying to keep the misery out of his voice. "I'll bring you home, if you like."
"No," she said abruptly. "Don't get the wrong idea. I. . ." she trailed off, feeling heat rise to her face. "I love you, too," she confessed. "I really do. I didn't think that . . . and there was. . ." she trailed off, feeling her cheeks grow warmer.
"Seriously?" he said, his voice full of surprise before a second later, a wide, brilliant grin tugged his lips. He laughed lightly before leaning forward to hug her. "God, you have no. . . idea . . ." he trailed off, trying to calm his nerves, but for an entirely different reason.
"Alex?" she asked. "Just . . . one thing."
"Yeah?" he asked, still grinning at her. She looked at him, unable to say the words she wanted to. Instead, she shook her head and flashed him her own smile.
I'm so sorry, Christabel.
She braced herself, waiting for the impact of his fist against her body, but the pain she was expecting didn't come. She swallowed thickly and opened her eyes, before surprised slammed her when she saw a familiar figure standing protectively in front of her, blocking the blow that was meant for her. Something gripped her spine. "Alex?" she asked breathlessly.
She heard him grunt before growling at her father who was a few feet away from both of them. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Alex asked his voice viciously low; his eyes were flashing dangerously. Something burst in Autumn's chest. He was like her knight in shining armour. . .
Autumn's father snarled. "Get out of here! This isn't you damn business. She deserves a beating for being a whore!"
Autumn gasped quietly to herself before she felt as if she was choking in air. She looked down, unable to say anything.
"Shut the fuck up!" Alex snarled. He was angry and pissed off, and he wanted nothing more than to feel his fist collide with this bastard who dare hurt Autumn. "Does your daughter look like a whore to you? Are you visually challenged, you moron? You're daughter is an angel, but obviously you're too blind to see that!"
"Get out!" the older man screamed.
Alex ignored him and turned to Autumn who looked fragile and broken. He felt something squeeze his chest. "C'mon," he said softly, holding a hand out. Autumn looked at him and then his hand before grasping firmly. He helped her up and he pulled her into a reassuring hug that suddenly made her sob. They began to walk, but an icy voice stopped them.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Autumn turned around slowly. "Daddy. . . Daddy you're drunk. . ." she said in a painful whisper. "I. . ."
"Shut up," he said sharply.
"Don't talk to her like that," Alex said fiercely. Before she knew it, her dad was in front of them and threw the first punch to Alex. Alex suddenly fell to the ground and a sharp gasp escaped Autumn. "You bastard," Alex spat, getting to his feet. He was suddenly thrown across the room.
"ALEX!" Autumn screamed, tears springing from her eyes. She rushed forward to be next to him. "Alex," she sobbed. "Are you okay? Alex? Alex!"
"I'm okay," he said, sitting up, wiping blood oozing from his mouth. He looked at her and saw her tear stricken face. But that wasn't what made fear grip his spine. From behind her, he saw her own father holding a huge glass vase over her head. He knew it was meant for him.
He was going to take the bait, and Autumn's father knew that.
"Autumn," he said, his voice stricken, "Get out of the way!" And he pushed her, just in time for his own head to make contact with the hard glass. . .
Autumn turned her head, her eyes not believing what she just saw. Tears continued to fall from her eyes and she felt something squeeze her chest when she heard the thud of Alex's falling and not moving at all. He was completely still.
"Alex?" she said, her voice tentative and trembling. She heard her father's own thud as he fell to the ground. He was out cold. But she paid no attention to him. "Alex?" she repeated, her voice growing desperate and she crawled towards him. She touched his shoulders, turning him around and screamed. A huge gash was on his forehead, staring from near his eye, drawn up until it reached his hairline.
And it was spilling his blood.
"Alex!" she screamed desperately, her voice choked. "For God's sake, Alex, get up!" she choked out desperately through her sobs. "Get up, get up, get up," she cried, trying to still her trembling hands she reached for the phone near her. "Alex, please," she whispered, his face blurred in her eyes.
But her cries were silent to his ears.
Hospital walls were depressing, she realized mournfully as she stared at it. She's been sitting there, staring at the same spot for at least two hours. The same sharp pain she felt back at her house did not cease, constantly making itself known in her heart. She sighed, lowering her eyes as she stared at the cut on her arm. Alex. . .
He took the blow for her.
She bit her lower lip, trying to control tears that threatened to fall once again. "Idiot. . ." she whispered, tightening her grip on her shirt.
"Alex, you moron," a voice said from across her. She looked up and saw a miserable looking Christabel sitting in the same spot for the last two hours as well. Autumn looked up, swallowing thickly. Chrissy suddenly laughed, which caught her attention again.
Autumn looked, and she was surprised to see anger filled eyes. Her back stiffened.
"He came for you, you know," she said abruptly. "I went over to his place, and then I saw him about to leave with a bouquet of flowers. They were your favourite," she bit out. "I knew instantly that he was in love with you. I knew that it was you that held his heart."
Autumn felt aghast as guilt ate her away. She closed her eyes. "Chrissy, I am so sorry. . . I. . ."
"No. Shut up," she said sharply.
Autumn stiffened, unable to stop the tears that fell from her eyes. She stared hard at her tightly fisted hands at her lap.
"Autumn, and Christabel?" the doctor in charge of Alex stepped forward. Autumn instantly got to her feet at the same time Christabel did. Autumn stood in front of him anxiously. The doctor took a deep breath. "I'm Doctor Brown."
"Is he all right? Will he be okay?" Autumn blurted out, ignoring Christabel's icy glare.
Dr. Brown's face didn't change. "He's fine. But. . . He's experiencing temporary memory loss. If he's surrounded by his normal friends and familiar . . . surroundings then he may retrieve his recent memories."
"So he'll be okay?" Christabel asked hopefully.
He nodded. "Yes. Only his recent memories have been knocked out. But if he's surrounded by his everyday friends, he'll be able to remember. But if he's just met someone recently, then there may be a chance that he won't remember at all."
Autumn stood very, very still. "How recent are we talking about?" she asked slowly.
"A few months, or so. But it's not as bad as we've had with other patients who have lost their memory completely."
Autumn sucked in a quick breath. She needed to see him. "Can I see him, please?" she asked hopefully.
A few minutes later, Christabel and Autumn were standing in front of the door that held Alex. Autumn took in a deep breath as she reached for the doorknob and pushed the door open. When she saw him, she felt her heart stop. He was awake. Oh, God. Thank God he was awake.
"Alex!" Autumn and Christabel cried out at the same time and went rushing to his side.
He stared blankly at them for a moment before smiling that familiar smile that made Autumn's heart stop. "Chrissy," he said; it was the same voice that held the gentle roughness that made Autumn's knees weak.
"Thank God, Alex," Chrissy breathed out, glad that he hadn't forgotten her.
"Alex?" Autumn said, her voice barely above a whisper, a smile growing on her face. He was all right. He . . . His eyes were still the same. He was all right.
He looked at her and he frowned a little. "Do I . . . know you?" he asked awkwardly.
Her hand stopped halfway from reaching to him.
Just like her breath and world.
She shook her head desperately. "No, Christabel . . . Christabel I can't," she said, her voice distressed. "I can't . . . You . . ."
"You have to," Christabel said sharply. "You have to step out of his life forever. You're doing him a favour, Autumn. He's wondering what the hell happened to his face and he's just sitting there. You can't go inside this room. He'll remember and then he'll hate you because you've done this."
Autumn stopped struggling and stood still.
"It's for your own good, too," Christabel said, her voice softer. "If you truly love him, he'll want you to let him go. He . . . He'll continue with life. You won't be there to remind him of what happened to his face. It was because of you that you've ruined his usual smooth skin."
Autumn bowed her head lower, holding the box of chocolate chip cookies she had closer to her chest.
"He'll remember and hate you. It's better this way. He'll forget the pain he felt. Do it for him, Autumn. Turn around now and never come back."
Autumn looked up, her hopeless misery shining brightly in her green eyes and it took a lot for Christabel to not gasp aloud. Autumn took a deep breath and shoved the box of chocolate chip cookies to Christabel.
"Here," she said in a whisper. "It's his favourite. There's a card in there, but you can just throw it out if he'll remember me." She looked up, sucking in a deep breath. "You're right, Christabel," she said, offering a thin smile that hid the pain she was feeling. "I'll just make his life a living hell. Give those to him for me, okay?" she said in a strained whisper. "Tell him. . ." she took a deep breath and took a step back, offering one last smile as goodbye.
"Tell him thanks for being my guardian angel."
And Autumn was gone.
"Oh, my God. I am so sorry," a familiar red head blurted as she whirled around in the busy street to face the person that she knocked over the cup of whatever they were holding. She watched, shocked, as the cup of coffee he was holding fell in slow motion to the ground. It clattered, rolled, and stopped.
Just like her breath.
But it wasn't because of his drink. It was because of brilliant hazel eyes, staring at her and laughing.
She felt as if she would faint. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she blurted. "I'll. . . I'll buy you another cup of coffee!" she said.
But then her eyes took in the rest of his form.
She stopped, and just stared.
It was him.
"You're kind of cute, you know?" he said, snickering as he rubbed the back of his neck. She couldn't tear her gaze away from the scar at the side of his face. Without knowing it, she reached forward and traced it.
"I'm sorry for this," she whispered. She realized that she didn't have time to say sorry to him back then, a year ago.
He looked at her weirdly. "It's okay," he reassured her. "But you can repay me by having another cup of coffee with me?" he suggested.
She looked at him for a moment, pulling her hand from his face. Christabel's words were clear in her head, no matter how long ago they were. Instead of answering, she just smiled and pulled a bill out of her pocket and handed it to him.
"I'll see you around," she whispered as she turned. "My guardian angel. . ."
She was gone, and he was left staring after her disappearing form. He touched his scar, feeling his skin tingle. He frowned, closing his eyes briefly as memories as if . . . from another lifetime played itself in his head. And then he heard his and her voice replaying clearly in his mind. . .
Silly, you're my guardian angel. . .
Yeah, I guess I am . . . And I promise I won't let you down.
He looked at the crumpled bill in his hand before shaking his head, turned around, and walked away, leaving her and his memories until it was ready to be reawakened once again. . .