Chapter Two: Aiden
She screamed. Oh, God, she screamed.
I was prepared to silence her by any means necessary, all my muscles tensed in expectancy. So I was not prepared for what happened next.
She fainted. The girl in front of me, wrapped in a fluffy white towel, fell to the floor, her eyes fluttering closed as her knees buckled beneath her. I stood there in shock, unable to move an inch in any direction. My feet were planted to the floor, the stained, slightly torn up carpet that covered the ground beneath me. From everything I knew of the girl before me, she should hardly have been the type to faint. I had expected the screaming, more screaming, and possibly even a little violence. But not a fainting spell.
Soon enough, my training kicked in, and I rushed to her side, scooping her up into my arms while keeping her covered demurely by the towel. Then I carried her to the bed, moving to roll her out of my arms and in the bed, but stopping when a strangled cry came from the pillow.
Moving her aside, I saw the tiny gray kitten staring up at me, stretching from behind woken up so unceremoniously.
"Sorry little guy," I whispered, extremely unwilling to wake the girl up just yet.
He tripped over his own feet to the edge of the bed before butting his little head against my leg, rubbing back and forth and waiting for me to pet him. With him out of the way, I placed the girl on the bed before picking him up to cuddle him in my arms, turning off the light in her room and closing the door as I walked out to the living room.
She'd had enough excitement for the moment.
As soon as she woke up, she'd think it was all a dream. She'd get dressed, come out to the front hallway in search of the cat, and see me sitting there. And while it wouldn't be quite as much of a shock, I still didn't want to risk it by waiting by the bed.
Sinking into the couch, the kitten still curled in my arms, I surveyed the room around me, taking in as much as I could. The house was small, that much I could tell. Only four rooms and a storage closet, but it fit her well enough. She didn't seem cramped in the small space; just comfortable in the space provided. Personal touches filled every corner of every room, but everything had its place. Nothing threatened to spill over its boundaries. It was perfectly organized and homey.
But it didn't look like the home of a girl about to commit suicide.
Tired of his position, the cat stretched momentarily before jumping down from my lap, circling around the couch until he disappeared from my sight. My hands finally free again, I flipped on the TV in the background as a distraction, something to keep my mind occupied.
As soon as she awoke, I would get to work. The objective was to convince herself that suicide wasn't the right option, that her life was worth cherishing. Hopefully, it would be an easy job, and I would be able to go home as soon as possible. Honestly, I had been hesitant about the job when it had been assigned to me. Not that I hadn't wanted to help people—after all, that's why I had signed on to be a guardian—but the thought that he was literally responsible for the outcome of this girl's life terrified him. It was his first assignment, for crying out loud. Why couldn't he have gotten something…less serious? Maybe a guy who had just broken up with his girlfriend, or a man in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Anything but a possible suicide.
I just wasn't sure I was the angel for the job.
But my superiors had thought differently, so for the first time, I was walking the earth. And I felt extremely out of place.
It wasn't that I didn't know how people acted, and therefore, how I should act. I knew that. I had been observing the mortal happenings for a long time, and I knew exactly how to react in most situations. But what I should do, and what I could end up doing are two totally different things. Because I had never lived through these experiences, and had no real firsthand knowledge of earthly motivations.
Who knew? I could end up making a gigantic fool out of myself. Then what would the archangels think of me?
I also felt…wrong. Without my wings, I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I missed the comfort of their added weight on my back as I stood. Without it, I tended to stand too fast, expecting it to be harder to do so than it actually was. It was embarrassing.
"I wasn't dreaming, was I?"
I turned around quickly, startled by her sudden appearance. She stared at me—thankfully clothed—with red-rimmed eyes, one hand tangled in her hair in confusion. And in that moment, I couldn't help but notice how vulnerable she looked without the severe eye makeup she had been wearing since I had been assigned to her. Immediately standing up, I skirted the couch and stood before her without trying to hide. "No, you weren't. I'm really in your house. I'm sorry."
For a moment, she simply stood there, with no emotion written on her face at all. Then understanding finally dawned, and she glared daggers in my direction. "What the hell are you doing in my house?" she growled, advancing towards me with fire in her eyes. "And how did you get in?"
Now this had expected from a girl like Regan. This was the reaction I had been waiting for. I backed up marginally, keeping a bit of distance between the two of us. Not out of fear, of course…well, maybe a little out of fear. After all, this tiny girl was scary when she wanted to be. "You left the door unlocked. Calm down," I coaxed, holding my hands out in surrender. "I have an explanation, but you might want to sit down for it. You might not believe me."
"Try me," she hissed, scooting around the hallway wall until she was within reach of the kitchen knives on the counter. Great.
I breathed in deeply, filling my lung with the polluted Earth air before attempting my explanation, "I know what you're planning for Saturday."
Seconds passed as her eyes widened involuntarily before she realized she was wearing her surprise on her face. Then her features hardened and her hand flattened against the counter, inching towards the knife stand as she spoke. "You're bluffing."
I smiled, a genuine smile meant to calm her, not frighten her more, though the latter is more of the effect it seemed to take. "Just listen, Regan."
"How do you know my name?" she interrupted loudly, beginning to visibly shake.
"I told you, I'll explain everything. Just sit down—"
"No!" she screamed, pulling the closest knife from its slot and pointing it in my direction, her hand trembling as she held it out. "Explain now, and quick. Or this knife is going through your heart."
For someone whose mortality was practically brand new, her threat definitely held power over me. Lost were the carefully chosen words I had planned to use in my speech. My entire plan actually flew out the window, and I couldn't even remember what I had meant to say. "I just know things, okay? And I was concerned," I blurted, hardly sounding convincing.
She stared at me with wide eyes, unflinchingly threatening with the blade. "Are you some sort of psychic?"
There! A way out. "Yes," I sighed, latching onto the idea. "You caught me. I live around here, and heard your thoughts. That's how I know so much."
There was no way I could tell her the truth. An angel couldn't exactly go around telling everyone he was an angel. She would never have believed me anyway.
The knife slowly lowered until it pointed down towards the floor. "Why care about some girl you don't even know?"
I shrugged. "I'm a sensitive soul. I can't stand the thought of someone being condemned to hell for taking her own life."
In that moment, she let her knees go out from under her and she collapsed to the ground, letting the knife skitter across the floor away from her. I watched as she covered her face with her hands, her shoulders shaking as she sobbed silently.
I honestly had no idea what to do. Angels didn't cry. They could cry. They just didn't. There simply wasn't an opportunity for us to do so. Nothing happened in heaven that was upsetting enough to justify the tears.
So now, looking down at the small, broken girl in front of me, I was at a loss. It was at this point that I started to wonder, why me? Why hadn't they assigned this to someone with more experience, an angel who had made the trip to Earth at least once before. I was a novice, a newly-trained. So how was I supposed to know what to do?
"I'm sorry if I upset you," I said quietly, stepping towards her and placing my hand hesitantly on her shoulder. "I really was concerned for you. Why would a beautiful young lady such as yourself want to throw her life away?"
Suddenly, she lashed out, thrashing around with her hands coming in contact with everything within striking distance. "Just leave me alone!" she bellowed, her voice louder than I would have ever expected to come out of her mouth.
But she wasn't scaring me away this time. I carefully kicked the knife farther away from her before crouching in front of her, attempting to catch her hands before she hurt herself. I wasn't particularly concerned with myself at the moment. After all, her bark was worse than her bite. She wasn't going to inflict much damage with her wildly swinging fists.
Then one of those fists managed to find my chin, sending me sprawled across the kitchen floor. Amazed, I gazed back over at her as I clutched my jaw. That girl packed a powerful punch.
As she realized what had happened, her hands flew to her face once more, covering her mouth in horror. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, the words coming out muffled between her fingers. "I didn't mean to..."
"It's okay, really," I assured her, repositioning myself until I sat with my back against the other counter that stood at a ninety degree angle to the one that she sat against. "Wow, where'd you learn to punch like that?"
Her hands slowly lowered, the anxiousness in her eyes not leaving. "Are you really okay?"
I rubbed my jaw and glanced at her. "Sure. No big deal."
Regan shook her head, moving to stare down at the tiled floor. "Sorry."
"Stop apologizing, it's okay," I said with more emphasis than before.
She nodded, sniffling before standing up resolutely, putting the knife back methodically and straightening things up. I waited for her to speak, but she seemed determined not to speak. Either that, or maybe she didn't trust herself to speak first.
"I should really be the one apologizing," I began, pulling myself to my feet once more, though I kept a safe distance away from her. "I'm the one who came into your house without permission. It might not have been breaking and entering per se, but just because it wasn't necessarily illegal, doesn't make it right. And by the way, I'm Aiden."
She froze, her hands gripping the edge of the counter. Then after a moment, she relaxed again, took a deep breath, and turned to face me. "You're right. It was wrong. But I accept your apology. Now can you please leave?"
I sighed. She was going to make this difficult. "I'm sorry, but I can't. Not in good conscience."
She narrowed her eyes at me, her eyes finally drying. "I'll call the police."
Oh. I hadn't thought of this. It was completely within her rights to call the authorities and have them haul me away. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to refuse to leave.
"Fine, I'll leave," I said, standing a little straighter. "But I'll be back in the morning. You can't get rid of me that easily. I will convince you to cherish your life. You were put here for a reason, even if you don't' really see it at the moment."
I stood there for several seconds, watching as Regan stared pointedly at me, waiting for me to leave. Then I turned on my heel and strode towards the door, throwing a smug, "See you tomorrow," over my shoulder before exiting the house.
I smiled. It hadn't gone that bad. It could have gone much worse. Maybe I really was going to be good at this. Maybe I could accomplish my goal in a short time and move on, knowing that I had helped improve the life of one young woman. Maybe…
In three days, I would know.
A/N: I present to you, chapter two!! Hope you enjoy! Please, please, PLEASE leave me a review!!