a/n: One reader (deny.me.not) told me that this story reminded her of 'Your Guardian Angel', a song that I've never heard of. Not until after I posted this up. If you have this song, listen to it. Just listen to the words.
The Thing about Guardian Angels
I will never let you fall
I'll stand up with you forever
I'll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven
---Your Guardian Angel, by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The thing is, she could never get enough of them.
She sat up on the wooden bench and swayed her bony legs lightly. Her gaze wandered endearingly onto the two scrawny little boys that were busy attempting to build miniature sand castles with the dirt on the ground.
'Attempt', being the keyword.
She shook her head in disbelief, an amused smile playing on her thin, pink lips.
Well, better known as Tyler and Jonathan James.
She'll never know what fooled her into befriending these two brothers, but she was glad she did, anyway.
Jonathan was the one who first started talking to her two years ago, when he found her loitering around the kindergarten, looking lonely. Deep inside, Emma was secretly elated that he made the move.
Because of him, she got to know Tyler.
Tyler, Tyler, Tyler.
She sighed wistfully and settled her eyes on the slightly taller, gawky looking eight-year-old.
The major ice prince. The one who's a year older than both Jonathan and Emma. The one who grunts and treats Emma like she was nothing but a nuisance.
Also, unfortunately, the one who Emma is irrevocably in love with.
The little girl brushed away imaginary dusts from her mud-streaked skirt and ran over to the boys' side with a huge beam on her small, round face.
"Hi, can I play with you?" Emma asked shyly, toying with the hem of her short, pale blue skirt. Jonathan looked up and grinned toothily at her, while Tyler shot her a deathly glare and continued building his pile of dirt-mountain.
"No." Tyler said in a dead-pan tone, his eyes focused on his piece of… Uh, art.
Jonathan slapped his brother on the arm in annoyance, and then turned back to Emma with an apologetic smile.
Her lips quivered.
"Of course you can play with us, Emmy!" He said cheerily, his cheeks flushed from the heat. He patted on a spot next to him, on the dirty ground. "Sit with me?"
Emma's eyes darted from Tyler's angry face to Jonathan's smiling features, then back to Tyler.
"It… its okay, Jonnie, I wanna go home." She managed to choke out. Then, with a watery smile, she turned and ran all the way back to her house and cried herself to sleep amongst her fluffy, albeit slightly freaky dolls.
…Hello, my name is Emma Lee.
Yes, I am that seven-year old girl who cried herself to sleep just because the boy she liked didn't want to play with her.
And God, how I wish I could say that after nine long years, I have gotten over Tyler and moved on to better people (Preferably people who'd mutter more than a single noun in each reply). Or better still, that Tyler had finally realized that I mean the world to him, that I'm his oxygen, the only thing that keeps him alive…
Hah. Trust me, all he needs is helium. Like that air in his newest girlfriend's boobs.
I rolled to the other side of the bed and sighed noisily, feeling the dampened pillow under my tangled, black hair.
I can't believe that after nine-long years, the history repeats.
Emma Lee is crying over Tyler James amidst her creepy-looking porcelain dolls.
Ooh. Surprise, surprise.
It all started on the 21st of July.
Tyler's 17th birthday.
"I read the horoscopes today!" Jonathan declared with an air of excitement as he jogged towards me, successfully tripping over thin air (Again) and falling head-first onto the ground two feet from my locker. "Ouch, that's gonna leave a mark on my testicles."
I rolled my eyes and helped him up from the ground.
Leave it to Jonnie to worry about his reproductive organ when he could've permanently damaged his brain… or something.
"And what did it say?" I asked casually, stuffing my books into my backpack, discreetly sliding a small, neatly-folded letter into one of my bag-pockets.
I can do this, I can do this.
I can present the small letter to Tyler, asking him out on a date as his best birthday present (In my opinion).
And he will accept it. Oh, yes, he will.
Okay, okay. I'll just keep repeating that to myself.
Tyler loves me, he just needs me to remind him of it.
… Albeit frequently.
"It said that Aries have to reassess before doing something irrational." He recited in a slightly accusing tone. With his eyes forming slits, he pointed at the white paper in my bag pocket. Oh. Screwed. "I believe that is an act of irrationality, and I strongly advice you to reconsider."
I pulled my bag closer to me and placed a protective hand over the letter.
"This could change my life forever." I muttered defiantly, pondering over my statement. "Or a year, but same difference."
"Of course, because you would be scarred for life." He retorted sarcastically, trying to tug onto the letter. I gripped it tightly. "Don't be stupid, Emmy."
"I'm feeling rather brilliant, thank you very much."
Jonathan held a hand up as a signal for me to wait while he dug through his black messenger bag for a magazine.
Yes, you got that right. My closest childhood friend, a growing young man, reads gossip magazines. You know, the kinds that have your daily horoscopes in it.
All crap, really.
And coming from someone like me, that's saying a lot.
"You wanna know what my brother's sign said for today?" I shook my head, but for some odd, twisted reason, he took it as a 'yes'. So he continued reading, "You will be receiving a love letter from your childhood acquaintance today. Beware, she or he could, or already be a potential stalker."
My lower jaw dropped ajar.
"You made that up, didn't you." I growled, slamming my locker shut, the sound of it reverberating through the hallway.
Jonathan laughed –no, guffawed- loudly and slid the magazine back into his bag, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Okay, I did." He admitted with a dramatic sigh. "You're no fun."
The bell rang for the first time, so I slung my backpack over my shoulder and started walking.
"Wait!" Jonathan ran towards me, again. He tripped over thin air and fell, again. He looked up from the ground with a boyish smile, showing off his adorable dimples. "My horoscope said that if I fell down twice in front of a girl I like, she'll fall in love with me!"
I turned away and started walking towards my class in the next block, trying my best to hide a snicker.
"See you later, Jonnie." I called over my shoulder with a light wave, finally bursting into fits of uncontrollable giggle.
Sometimes I wish I had fallen for Jonathan instead.
If only he wasn't such a goofball.
So, during lunch, I found myself scanning through the cafeteria for a certain black-haired, grey-eyed guy with a tiny letter clutched firmly in my hand.
And there he was, sitting amidst the popular crowd, his hand working its way with the fork and spoon as he helped himself with his plate of fried rice.
My heart skipped a beat. Or two.
I braced myself for the worst as I slowly, cautiously made my way toward his table.
You can do this, Emma. You are gorgeous, you are brilliant, you are talented, you are…
"Uhm… Hi." I greeted awkwardly, my voice going at least thirty decibels too loud and five notches too high.
… You are unbelievably hopeless.
Tyler looked up from his food, and stared straight at me. I shivered.
"Hey." He said nonchalantly, and then turned his attention back to his food.
The people sitting around him, on the other hand, started giving me an odd look. I don't like them. They make me feel stupid and… Well, just stupid, actually. But I ignored them, and coughed lightly to regain his attention.
He looked at me again, his eyes clouded with annoyance. Wonder why.
"What?" He asked. Oh yes, he was definitely irritated, alright. I squeezed my eyes shut and thrust the letter to him.
This is it. The moment of truth.
With my eyes kept tightly shut, I waited for him to take the letter.
Any minute now…
I opened my eyes in confusion. Doesn't he want to read what I wrote?
"Tyler left, Emma." One of the girls supplied helpfully with a sympathetic smile. I blinked. "He left with Jane, his girlfriend."
His chair was vacated, as did the chair next to his. He didn't even bother reading the letter that I spent the whole night working on.
My eyes watered.
"Okay." I mumbled, then turned and ran out of the cafeteria, the letter tucked safely into my pocket.
Then I ran straight home, skipped the rest of the periods, and cried myself to sleep. I was too wounded to care, too oblivious to notice that all the while, a pair of concerned blue eyes was following my every move.
Thus, here I am now, sobbing pathetically onto my faithful pillow, relishing the recent events along with my childhood memories.
Tyler doesn't like me. Never did, never would. I just wish I could grasp that little detail and get on with life.
But I can't. Instead I found myself thinking up reasons on why he doesn't like me.
Reason: Maybe he thinks I'm ugly.
I got up from my bed clumsily and stared gloomily into the mirror. A puffy-eyed Chinese stared back at me, her red lips jutted out in depression, her small nose and average-sized eyes red from all the tears, her long black hair tangled and unruly. I sighed weakly and sank back onto the bed, hiccoughing.
Reason number one, fairly plausible.
Reason: Maybe he thinks I'm annoying and ruining his life.
But that can't be true. I racked my brain through and through, searching for evidences to prove this suggestion. Well, other than those several times when I purposely ran into him, dropped his books so that he would have to talk to me (-grunt- Never mind –grunt-), I don't remember anything else.
Okay, so maybe I kind of… Unintentionally blurted out some of his embarrassing moments (Like that time when curiosity got the better part of him, and we found him in my mother's room, lipstick-smudged and eyeliners dotting all around the edge of his eyes. Jonathan followed his steps the very next week, by the way.)in front of the girl he liked during fifth grade.
And perhaps he wasn't very happy the last time we played football together, and I accidentally stepped on his foot when he was dribbling the ball. He, uh, fell, and sprained his ankle. And, uh, missed the football audition.
I let out an angry moan.
Why do I always have to be such a moron?
Before I could smash my head against the wall and never wake up, my cell phone vibrated, accompanied by the long, dreary message tone.
If you're currently lying on your queen-sized bed, thinking up reasons for him not liking you, stop. If you have tears rolling down your face like a running water tap, wipe it off. He's not worth crying over, Emma. There are many guys out there, waiting to be noticed by you, wanting to be there for you. Splash your face with some cold water and smile. You look much better, doing that.
I didn't recognise the phone number, I didn't know who sent this to me, but I was terrified at how well this person knew me. Not many people in my school typed perfect English in messages. Hell, half of them don't even know the difference between 'dessert' and 'desert'! I started pressing the alphabets on my phone quickly, sending a reply.
Who are you?
After a short while, the stranger replied.
Your guardian angel.
I rolled my eyes at the corny reply as I made my way to the bathroom for a little splash.
Guardian angel my arse.
"You're holding two forks, Emmy."
I blinked blankly, and found myself gazing straight into a pair of blue eyes.
Jonathan sighed and pulled out the fork from my right hand, replacing it with a silver-plated spoon.
"You're supposed to eat with a fork and a spoon," He reminded me slowly as though I was a five-year-old girl suffering from dyslexia. I nodded numbly. "Are you feeling okay?"
No, not really. I couldn't sleep a wink the night before, my brain diluted with images of me chasing after Tyler, and Tyler walking away without uttering a single word.
He sat down on a place beside me and unrolled his packet of sandwich, his eyes still on me. We never spoke another word, both munching silently on our food, until, suddenly, he decided to act like a buffoon, punching his fist in the air and started belting out the lyrics to my favourite cartoon show.
Yeah, the one which I really liked when I was… Say, eight?
"Bob, the builder, can he build it? Bob, the builder, yes he can!" His singing voice wasn't dreadfully awful, but it wasn't really what one would call angelic, either. It was…
Well, embarrassing, really.
I concentrated on my chewing, feigning oblivion to the dork sitting beside me.
Chew, Emma, chew. Chew and the world would be a happy place.
Chew, chew, chew, chew.
"Oh… Who lives in the pineapple under the tree?" Jonathan started again, pulling my hand up and waving it in the air as he continued singing joyfully, "Spongebob Squarepants!"
"Hush, Jonnie." I pleaded, trying vainly to wriggle my hand out of his grasp. "The humans are staring at you like you're a zoo animal."
Then again, this is Jonathan James that we're talking about. The one who has no problem becoming the zoo animal. In fact, he once mentioned that if he had a chance, he'd like to be closed in a cage with the monkeys.
He needs a psychologist, that poor boy.
"Da dum, da dum, da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum…" He started humming playfully, poking me in the ribs while doing so, a teasing smile on his face, showing off his infamous dimples.
I giggled. How could I not? He was singing the Pink Panther's theme song.
I loved that song, it's just so easy to memorize the (non-existent) lyrics.
Which was how, a second later, the two of us were found singing happily to random cartoon theme songs, my heart feeling lighter and happier.
I don't think we would've stopped singing, if it wasn't for that balding school secretary, who sent us off with a warning.
By the time I reached my classroom, the Teletubbies theme song starting looping around my head.
We need a psychologist, the two of us.
You were with Jonathan today, and you were smiling. I'm glad that you're feeling happier. Keep that smile, every guy is falling in love with it.
I bit my bottom lip as I read that message again, and then finally came up with a reply.
Hey, thanks. Yeah, Jonnie is a wonderful friend. :) You really don't plan on revealing your sacred identity? Come on… I won't bite.
I smiled, tapping my fingers randomly against the table as I waited for his (I'm assuming –hoping- that it's a guy) reply.
Is Jonathan really just a friend to you?
My smile wavered slightly. Well, isn't he?
Uh… Yeah. Why ask?
His reply came slowly, and I was disappointed when I saw the length of the message.
It's nothing. :)
And then the doorbell rang.
It was Tyler.
I tilted my head to one side and smiled warily at him. He was clad in a slightly baggy faded jeans and blue chequered shirt that were rumpled around the edges, and for some reason, he couldn't seem to stop ruffling his brown hair.
So… Uhm. Right.
"Do you need any…" He cut me off by pulling me into his embrace, his arms tight around my waist. I felt insanely giddy, and took a gulp. Act sane, Emma. "Oh. You needed a hug?"
He laughed that smoky laugh of his, and released me.
"I can't seem to stop being an asshole to you, can I?" He whispered lightly in to my ear, causing a shiver to run down my spine.
But before I managed to stutter a reply, he left, leaving me out cold, with only one thought running through my mind.
The first time Tyler decides to say something that is longer than a three syllable word, he tells me that he's an asshole.
Maybe he likes you, Emma. Did you bother asking him that question?
I frowned pensively and leaned against the headboard, my eyes darting back and forth from my phone to that picture on my dressing table. The picture of us: Jonathan, Tyler, and me, squashed right in the middle between the angel and the devil.
Does admitting being an asshole qualify as a romantic confession?
… No, G.A. I was too stunned to come up with a reply. But what, now?
It took him forever to reply, but when he did, I only found myself feeling more confused.
Just wait for the shooting star, Emma. Just you wait.
The very next day, someone rang the doorbell again. With a hopeful mind, I swung the door open, expecting a certain black-haired James.
Oh, I got a James, alright.
My smile faltered, just a little. So much for a shooting star, Guardian.
"Hey," He greeted with an adorable smile, holding up a small, blue bag. "Movie marathon!"
Oh, that. I forgot.
And then he walked into my house, almost tripping over the doormat as he hustled to slide a disc into the DVD player.
"What are we watching?" I asked casually as I plonked myself onto my favourite bean-bag.
He smiled and made himself comfortable on the couch beside me.
I blanched, and turned my gaze onto the screen. Sure enough, his favourite movie cartoon was on.
I hated it, but there wasn't anything that I could say that would be able to change his mind. So I forced myself to endure an almost two-hour long cartoon consisting of lions and zebras and God-knows-what-more.
Such a wonderful best friend, I am.
Great, and now I'm speaking Yoda.
"And here I was, thinking that we'll be having a normal, teenager-style movie marathon…" I grumbled under my breath, glaring at Jonathan. He rolled his eyes at my dramatics. "You're really zoo-obsessed, aren't you?"
He mumbled something really quickly.
Jonathan looked up from his seat, bit his lip and smiled.
"No matter," He said with a dismissive wave, sliding another disc into the player. "How about A Knight's Tale?"
And he ignored my pestering questions for the rest of the night.
It wasn't until he left (and to my surprise, leaving a chaste kiss on my lips) when comprehension finally dawned upon me.
"Not as much as I am obsessed with you."
Tyler started paying attention to me.
Now, I don't know which meteor hit him, damaging his eyes (or some vital organ), probably affecting the way he usually sees me, because for once, he actually sees me.
Tyler James saw me in school, and actually smiled.
So it wasn't that melting 'you-know-I-love-you' smile, but it was that calm, 'I-know-you' smile. And that smile alone is enough to make me die happily, without regrets.
Just as I was sighing dreamily for the twenty-third (and still counting) time, someone interrupted me with a loud, fake cough.
"What, Jonnie?" I muttered, turning my head sideways to look at him. I would've snapped at him, but halted myself just in time.
Jonathan looked like he was ready to take on a raging bull and actually win the fight.
"My brother asked me to ask you if you would like him to give you a ride home," He blurted everything out in a single breath, his cheeks tinted red. He really didn't look too pleased with this. But he wasn't done. Through gritted teeth, he finished, "Alone."
It was like a race just commenced between the left and the right side of my heart, causing them to race faster, faster, faster…
"Yes, tell him I'd love to."
He nodded slightly, and then walked off, but not before throwing me the most disappointed and wounded look I have ever seen on him.
Then, my cell phone beeped.
Think wisely before you make every decision, Emma.
I dashed out of school building the moment the final bell rang, and found Tyler standing next to his old, green Volvo. He gave me the tiniest of smiles when he saw me, and opened the passenger's door.
"Thanks." I said breathlessly, and got into the car.
And that was the end of our conversation for the rest of the journey.
Or so I thought.
Halfway through the car ride, he reached a hand out and turned on the radio. I managed to control my squeal from betraying me the moment I heard my favourite song of the moment, Sara Bareilles' Love Song playing.
Control yourself. Control yourself. Do not burst out singing like a buffoon.
"You can sing out loud if you want, you know," Tyler said as he made a turning, a smile playing at the corner of his lips. "Just sing it. Come on… I won't bite."
I froze, something about his sentence triggered a memory.
You really don't plan on revealing your sacred identity? Come on… I won't bite.
With a slight shake of the head, I pushed that thought away, and started yelling out the lyrics.
But he cut me off.
"Emma, I need to get this out of my head, and I need it out fast." He told me, his voice quiet, solemn. I nodded for him to continue. "Sometimes… It's just, I just… Well, I don't really know how to tell what I really feel, so I might have hurt you in the past… And I'm really sorry about that. But Emma, I don't like-I like-"
And that was all I needed to hear. He doesn't like me more than that.
I already knew it.
So I stopped him from continuing, and started singing to the song.
"I'm not gonna write you a love song, 'cause you asked for it, 'cause you need one, you see… Aww, sing with me, Ty!" I pouted, my head still bobbing along with the light-hearted beat.
He merely laughed and turned the volume to full blast, and after a few ear-splitting screeches (performed by yours truly), he finally sang along with me, his voice just as loud, just as awful.
But somewhere, deep inside, my heart. It shattered to pieces.
Emma, this is probably the last message I'll be sending to you. I've been thinking of ways to tell you this since God knows when, but every time, every damn time, words seem to fail me. I have always liked you, Emma. Ever since we first met, way back when. I just don't understand how oblivious girls like you could be sometimes. I like you, Emma. And I always will.
I ran home and picked up my cell phone, typing feverishly and sending off the text message.
I had to know. It had to be him.
It had to be.
You're Tyler, aren't you?
That reply never came.
Days went on blurrily, lifelessly. Aimlessly.
For some reason, Jonathan started having really, really big assignments to do and had to dodge off to meet various people for very important meetings, and Tyler…
Well, Tyler wasn't there, either.
I've been sending messages to the Guardian Angel each day, each day to ask if he's Tyler, each day trying to tell him just how much I like him.
Tyler, do you remember how we first met? You were eating your favourite pancake when Jonnie dragged me into the kitchen in your house. You never really said hi, you know. But there was something about you… Something that attracted me to you.
Hey, Tyler, I found a picture of us sitting on a set of swings. Just the two of us. I didn't even know we had a single picture without Jonnie beside us. You didn't look happy in it.
Are you ever gonna talk to me? Can you stop being a coward and reply my message for once? I know you're Tyler. I know you are.
I'm sorry, Tyler. Sorry for telling Cassie about how you smudged my mother's expensive Chanel lipstick around your face and accidentally drew hideous outlines for your eyes that time. I really didn't want her to be with you. I wanted me with you.
I like you, Tyler. Ever since we first met. You have been the oblivious one, not me.
And I went to bed, each night, with red, swollen eyes.
I had my shot at the shooting star.
I just aimed too far left to notice it.
"We need to talk." A voice came from my left, and before I know it, I found myself being dragged across the hallway into an empty classroom.
What the hell?
I looked up, into a pair of grey eyes.
"Tyler?" I breathed out, my eyes roaming through his face, his distressed look, his ragged breathing, his swollen eyes. "Oh, and now you've decided to talk to me?"
Okay, so it wasn't the best timing to get mad at him, but I couldn't help it. I was furious.
"Explain this." He pushed a small phone towards me, and I took it.
My messages. All of them. From me to my Guardian Angel.
I smiled lightly.
"I knew it was you…" I whispered softly, and for some weird reason, my eyes started feeling moist. I was crying. "It had to be."
Tyler pulled me into him arms wordlessly and held me for a long time.
"Tyler," I trailed off after a moment of silence, panicking lightly as I felt something wet on my head. "Say something, Tyler."
He released me from the hug and stared at me, wiping his tears away.
He just… stared.
"I wasn't your Guardian Angel, Emma." He choked out, his hands grabbing on my shoulders to keep me steady. To keep us steady. "Jonathan… He was… He's in the hospital now, Emma, that's why he stopped replying. A small part of his cerebellum was damaged every since he was a kid, that's why he tends to trip over thin air and fall. He had trouble coordinating his hands and legs."
I stood there, motionless, and he continued.
"Last week, he fell down in the middle of the road. A car came and…" He halted, casting me an unsure look. "He's in a coma now. He can't… He's a human plant, Emma. He'll never wake up. Not anymore."
I shook my head, unable to take in any of this.
"He was your guardian angel, Emma." Tyler murmured, his voice strangled. "He has always been."
And I sank down to the cold, old tiles, remembering the last time I laughed as I watched Jonnie fall, never really there for him.
But he was, for me.
He has always been there to catch me as I fall."I have always liked you, Emma. Ever since we first met, way back when. I just don't understand how oblivious girls like you could be sometimes. I like you, Emma. And I always will."
And he always will.
The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.
a/n: Uhm. Hello. A week ago my best friend broke up with her boyfriend, you see. I told another friend (who doesn't know my best friend) about it, so she got angry, text-messaged the guy to basically tell him off, and she called herself "your guardian angel". That was when the idea came to me.
I don't know how I feel about this piece, though. It certainly isn't as light-hearted as my other one-shots, but it has it moments. GAH. I don't know. I hate writing stories where people (sort of) die. It's just so... blah.
Oh, and by the way, if you're thinking that this is too clichéd, you're in for a surprise. A friend of mine just read it, and told me this is exactly what happened to him and the girl he liked. He was her guardian angel, she just didn't know it. But the last parts weren't similar… Uh… As for those… Oh, crap. This is a clichéd one-shot, after all. :/
Write me a review and tell me watcha think:)
Whoa. Talk about a long a/n!