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She was beautiful, maybe even very beautiful.
The short, sun blond hair shone in the sun and made her gray-blue eyes and high cheekbones stand out. Her mouth was formed in a big smile so that almost all of her white teeth showed, it was a smile no one could avoid. She was tall and slender, and had a muscular body from all aerobic she did.
Danielle caught the volleyball in her hands and said with a laugh, "Out! Four zero!"
She threw the ball to the leading team. It consisted of six guys in the age from eighteen to fifty years old, some of them really good at volleyball, some of them less good. The team was superior to the other team – it consisted mostly of younger boys – and they won the match a little later.
After the match they all stood around the water bottles when a young girl that had sat looking at the game walked over to Danielle, and she asked; "Who is going to have the aerobic this afternoon?"
"Me, then Lisa is going to have the body toning," Danielle answered with the same smile she always answered guests. The girl nodded to Danielle, turned around and disappeared quickly among the people on the beach.
Danielle thought the girl was strange. She had been at the hotel for almost one week now. She was beautiful, with long golden blond hair that fell over her shoulders around the perfect face, but even though she was very good-looking, no one ever noticed her. But what frightened Danielle the most was the girl's eyes. They were ice blue. She didn't seem to show any feelings, for Danielle had never seen her smile or look angry, or even annoyed about the heat or the sand blowing in one's eyes. The blue eyes were just indifferent and cold.
A guy ran across Danielle's arm and broke her thought.
"Sorry," said the guy but he seemed more happy than sorry over having to speak to her.
"That's okay," Danielle said and looked closer at the guy who gave her a big, white smile.
"Sebastian Russell," he said and held out his hand. She took it and met his eyes. The brown eyes shone with self-esteem and Danielle had had more than enough of that type of guys in earlier relationships.
"Danielle Shannen, Health Club host," Danielle presented herself in a nice, but cold tone. She wasn't impressed with Sebastian.
"Would you like to go out with me, Danielle Shannen, Health Club host?" he asked in a teasing tone and she just stared at him. Finally, she answered, ice cold, "We aren't allowed to date guests at the hotel. Now, if you can excuse me," she added, "I need to go take a shower before the aerobic class."
Sebastian seemed to be drooling at the thought of Danielle in the shower, but thankfully he didn't say anything, because if he would have Danielle knew she would have blushed.
"I'll see you there then," Sebastian said with another smile, hoping she would melt.
She didn't. "Wonderful," she muttered to herself, but obviously he heard.
"Aren't you people supposed to be nice to guests?" he asked.
"There are exceptions." Danielle made herself smile, but her eyes were thin lines when she nodded to the guy as a good bye. There was no use wasting time on guys like Sebastian, however good-looking they were. But that dark hair and the brown eyes… The body…
Stop it! Danielle said to herself. Guys like him are only after one thing, they can't handle relationships.
She took the volleyball and walked to the hotel, deep in thoughts.
Later, a couple of minutes past four, Danielle stood in the aerobic room and made her tapes ready for use when the door was opened and someone came in.
"Hi," Sebastian said and smiled so that all the white teeth showed.
Danielle didn't answer, she had hoped he wouldn't come. Finally she said, "This is a hard class, nothing for beginners."
"Oh, don't worry about me, I'm just gonna look." He sat down in one of the two chairs in the room and watched her from top to bottom. "Just watch," he said with a teasing smile.
Danielle felt how anger started to boil inside of her, but she didn't say a word. This self-assured pig wasn't worth spending any energy on, she told herself. But her cheeks still got red since she knew he was watching her every move. She let out her breath when she finally heard light steps coming from the door and Danielle turned around to see who it was.
The girl with the blue eyes had come halfway into the room. She was dressed in work-out clothes, everything in black. It was her white blond hair and crystal blue eyes conspicuous, instead of her body. The girl with the blue eyes stopped and sat down without doing one unnecessary movement.
Another thirteen people arrived during the following ten minutes, and they were ready to start. Sebastian sat in the chair all through the class and she was annoyed with the fact that he wasn't watching anyone but her. At the same time, it for some unexplainable reason felt safe to have him around, though she would never tell him that.
The girl with the blue eyes did incredibly well, she didn't do one movement wrong during the whole class. At the same time, she didn't show in any way if she thought the class was fun or if she was bored. She did every movement from the warming-up part to the stretch without a fault, and without a sound or smile.
When the class was over a lot of people came over to Danielle and told her what they thought about the class. Most of them just told her how good the aerobic had been, but one or two said that it had been too fast, another said the music had been to loud. When all the other people had left, the girl with the blue eyes walked over without a sound and looked at her. Danielle looked over to the chair where Sebastian had been sitting, but now he had disappeared.
"Yes?" Danielle said to the girl when she had looked at Danielle for almost a minute.
"My name is Emelie," the girl said quickly. "I liked your aerobic." Then she turned around and in just seconds she had disappeared out through the door. Danielle shook her head and returned to collecting her tapes so that she could go home.
Later at night Danielle was walking alone along the streets and she hurried through the empty blocks. She had been at a disco nearby, but had gotten tired of it and since no one else had wanted to leave she had gone on her own. Outside it was cold and Danielle wished she had taken a shirt.
"So this is where you are." The voice made Danielle shiver and she turned around to see her ex-boyfriend Noah coming up behind her and he put his hand on her shoulder. She had broken up with him three months earlier. They had been together for six months. Since the break-up he had phoned her, often ten fifteen times a day and he had been in every place she went, every time she had been out with her friends. He had threatened that he would kill her if she didn't come back to him.
"Please Noah, not now. I'm tired, I don't feel like fighting," Danielle begged and started walking away.
"Please Noah, not now," Noah imitated and his eyes became two thin lines. "Wasn't that how it always sounded?" He gripped her arms and shook her. She tried to resist.
"Let me go," she said angrily.
He didn't let her go. Instead he took out a knife from his jacket and said, "You're not gonna get away, Danielle." It sounded as if he spitted out her name.
Then he threw her down on the pavement and when her head hit the ground the houses around them became fuzzy. Noah laughed quietly and sat down over her. She was shaking uncontrollably when he put his knife to her throat, while the other hand started tearing of her shirt. She felt how tears started streaming down her cheeks, but she didn't dare to do anything, for she knew that he wouldn't hesitate to let the knife hurt – maybe even kill – her. His hands went down her body and she cried quietly.
"Please don't," she begged but he continued.
Then, suddenly there was a sound and before Danielle could register what was happening a couple of strong arms threw Noah away from her. The knife fell out of his hand and made a little scar on her throat before it fell down on the ground. A pair of hands stretched over her and she closed her eyes, afraid that it was Noah who had come back. But the hands just touched her shoulder and throat oh so lightly and a cold cloth was put on the back of her head. Danielle closed her eyes while the light hands kept on going lightly over her forehead in small, calming motions.
"Are you all right?" the owner of the hands asked and Danielle recognized Emelie's voice.
Danielle nodded and stood up with a little trouble. She took her shirt that had broke under Noah's careless hands, but she thought a broken top was a cheap price for what could have happened, Danielle thought and shivered.
All of a sudden, there were people everywhere around Danielle and they were all asking how she was. There weren't anyone she recognized, and after she had convinced everyone that she was okay they left her alone. All except Emelie.
"I am walking with you home," she said and Danielle knew that there was no use trying to convince her otherwise. Actually, she was just happy that Emelie came with her, she had been through enough tonight to ever feel completely safe on the streets again.
"Where is Noah?" Danielle asked when they had walked for a little while.
"Sebastian called the police. They are going to talk to you tomorrow, Sebastian said you could not do it now." How Sebastian had succeeded in talking the police into talk to her tomorrow Danielle didn't understand, but she didn't ask.
Sebastian. How come he had been in the neighborhood exactly when Danielle had met Noah? She hadn't been very nice to Sebastian. And if he had decided to play hero, why hadn't he stayed so she could thank him?
"No need to worry," Emelie said as if she could read Danielle's thoughts. "You will get to talk to him."
They came into the apartment where Danielle lived and without a word Emelie walked in with her. She kept quiet and said with gestures that Danielle should go to bed. She came in with a cup of tea and told Danielle to drink in slowly to calm herself down.
"I am going now so you can sleep. Your roommates will be home soon and Noah is in the arrest. You are safe."
She turned of the light and Danielle heard her footsteps echo away. Even though the girl had assured her she was safe, Danielle lay awake for a long time before she fell into an anxious sleep.
She dreamt about Noah, sitting over her with her top in one hand and a knife in the other one, and he threatened to kill her. Then, Sebastian dragged him away from her and he took her in his arms and kissed her intensely, but something worrying was still in the dream. Emelie's ice blue eyes saw everything she said and did. She hears Noah's voice come back, and he said he would make her life a living hell and if he got a chance to kill her he would. She was pulled away from Sebastian to Noah and she screamed.
She woke up in a cold sweat from someone shaking her.
"Danielle, wake up," Lisa said and took her hand.
"Lisa…" Danielle whispered and squeezed her hand.
"I heard what happened," said Lisa with a sad look. "The police told me. But it's okay now, you're home and I will stay here for as long as you want me to."
"Thanks," Danielle said and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath and tried to get rid of the nightmare and finally she fell asleep again, while Lisa sat by her side.
At eleven o'clock the following morning there was dart with Danielle as a judge and counter. She was tired from having spent the morning at the police, being questioned about Noah and what had happened the night before forever. Noah was now charged for attempt to rape and something else that Danielle hadn't really registered. She yawned, since it still hadn't come any people to play. She hoped that no one would come, that way she could go home and rest instead. She had, for reasonable reasons, not slept to well and she had woken up at five in the morning.
At eleven o'clock Emelie came walking and she looked at Danielle with her intense eyes, without saying a word. She sat down on the ground and then said that she was just going to watch. Two others, a man in his fifties and a girl around twelve, came but Danielle was disappointed when Sebastian didn't come. Danielle played too, but it was the little twelve-year-old girl who finally won.
When the game was over and the other two had walked off Emelie stayed. She said, "You are sad," and tilted her head a little.
"Sad?" Danielle asked.
"Yes. And worried. Worried that Noah will come back and sad that Sebastian is not here."
Danielle looked at Emelie and had to remind her to close her mouth and not stare. This girl seemed to be able to read her like an open book – she had summed her feelings in one sentence, feelings that Danielle had spent the whole morning trying to straighten out, but not succeeded.
"Check what room he lives in," Emelie said. "The front desk can get you that information easily. If you do not do anything you will regret it."
She disappeared before Danielle had collected her thoughts enough to ask a question.
That girl is strange, so strange, Danielle thought. And the way she said things. She didn't ask, she didn't assume, she knew. Everything she said was thought through and she didn't seem to say anything unnecessary. She was like no one else.
Louise in the front desk got the information on Sebastian Russell within a minute. Room number 1504. Danielle sighed. Now she had the information, but what was she going to do with it?
"He's gonna be here for two weeks," Louise told her after looking in the computer. "He's twenty-three." Danielle was twenty-two. "He lives in a one-room apartment, but I think he's got friends here at the hotel, and a little everywhere, 'cause he's out with a band of people every single night."
"You've checked him?" Danielle asked amused.
"Well," Louise answered, "He's not exactly bad-looking, now is he? And I think he's single."
"I'm only gonna thank him," Danielle said, but she could hear that it sounded ridicules.
"I'm sure," Louise laughed. Then she said, "If you wanna thank him, here's you chance."
Danielle's heart jumped over a beat when she saw Sebastian coming, walking down to the front desk from the stairs. He was walking straight at her.
"He's more than a little good-lookin'," Louise said teasingly.
"And he knows it," Danielle said annoyed when she saw how he pushed his hair back in a self-assured gesture.
"Come on girl, don't be so boring! Go for it!"
Louise disappeared to help a guest and Danielle was left alone. Sebastian came over.
"Here you are," he said with a delighted smile. Then he looked worried and asked, "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, thanks to you."
"I'm sorry I couldn't prevent it completely," he said. Danielle thought he actually sounded sorry, which surprised her a little.
"It was definitely not your fault, I'm just glad when you came when you did. Just a question… Not to sound ungrateful, but what were you doing there? It quite a while away from the hotel."
"That girl came to me yesterday night and told me to check on you. I thought she sounded completely out in the blue, but something 'bout it made me do it anyway. I followed you on a distance the whole night. I'm sorry."
"What sorry? You saved my life," Danielle said. "Who's 'that girl'?"
"I don't know her name. She's at the aerobic, she's blond, 'bout this tall" – he measured with his hands – "and with incredibly blue eyes."
"Emelie," Danielle established.
"Whatever. Anyway, she told me something was gonna happen to you. You're sure you're okay, huh, I mean he did have a knife and I saw how he threw you on the ground. I've never been so afraid…"
Danielle looked fascinated at the young man in front of her. He really seemed to care about her, and he looked truly shaken by the thought of last night.
"I'm okay, thanks to you and Emelie. I'm sorry I didn't have time to thank you yesterday."
Kevin bent down to her and kissed her on the cheek. "You are welcome," he said. His self-assurance seemed gone and he turned around to go.
Danielle stood frozen. The little kiss had awoken something inside of her and she wanted more. She saw him walking for the exit and she knew that if he disappeared now she would not get another chance.
The front desk can get you that information easily. If you do not do anything you will regret it. He's not exactly bad-looking, now is he? And I think he's single. Come on girl, don't be so boring! Go for it!
She ran after him, grabbed his shoulder, turned his face to her and kissed him.
She remembered her dream, but it didn't match reality and she didn't care. To feel Sebastian's strong arms around her was wonderful, and she never wanted to let go.
When they let go of each other they both had to catch their breaths and around them stood people and applauded. Embarrassed Danielle let go of Sebastian, but he left his hand on her hip. She thought it fitted there.
"What was that for?" he asked quietly.
"For everything," she whispered back.
Suddenly Danielle saw Emily. The girl with the blue eyes stood in the corner of the room and she smiled. The line of white teeth made her face shine and she looked incredibly beautiful.
Danielle looked at Sebastian, smiled, took his hand and looked back at the corner again. But now Emily was gone. Danielle shook her head, had she imagined seeing the girl? But she was sure that Emily had been there. Finally she dismissed it all to another strange thing Emily could do and she turned her attention back to Sebastian.
He looked at her adoringly and asked:
"Would you like to go out with me now?"
The morning dawned. A couple of birds flew over the ocean, which was completely still, and on the light sky not a cloud was near. It was going to be a hot day.
Danielle slowly opened her eyes and yawned. Sebastian was lying besides her and he was in a deep sleep, so he didn't wake up when she quietly got up. She took a yogurt and cereal for breakfast, then she dressed in Health Club clothes and finally she wrote a note to the sleeping man in the other room.
Hope you've slept well, I didn't want to wake you up so I got up on my own. I'm at the hotel if you need me. There's not much for breakfast at this place, but take whatever you want.
When Danielle had had the morning aerobic class, she showered and changed to other clothes. Lisa had promised to take the dart at eleven, so she was free until twelve thirty when she was gonna have the water aerobic. She went down to the beach and was getting her feet wet in the sea when she saw Emelie who was sitting way out on the dock. The girl seemed completely lost in thoughts and she didn't notice when Danielle slowly approached. Just before Danielle was going to sit down, the girl turned around as if she had felt Danielle's presence.
"Hi," Emelie said and looked out over the ocean.
Danielle sat down besides Emelie and she had a feeling that she was going to get answers to some of the many questions she had about Emelie, if she just gave the girl time to tell on her own.
"I am happy for you," Emelie said and looked at Danielle. "Your destiny was decided but you did differently."
Danielle looked questioningly at the girl with the blue eyes. What did she mean?
"Who are you?" Danielle asked. She said the words slowly while she kept looking at Emelie.
"My parents and my two siblings died a year ago, when I was fifteen," the girl said and she didn't seem to have heard Danielle's question. "Mom was driving the car, and a drunk came driving in another car and they crashed. The driver in the other car, mom, dad and my sister died instantly, in the car, people said they didn't even feel it. My little brother got severe internal injuries and died at the hospital."
She paused for a long while and Danielle could see tears glittering in the blue eyes.
"My aunt and uncle was supposed to take care of me, but I pushed them away. I refused to eat, refused to drink. Finally… Finally they took me into the hospital and I was fed through tubes. It took six months before they let me out."
Danielle was filled by sorrow for the young girl besides her. She was thin and pale, her skin was almost transparent, the only color she had was her eyes.
"But when I came out everything started all over again. The only thing I wanted was to die so that I could be with my family again. My little sister was five, my brother was eight…" Emelie closed her eyes and tears were falling down her cheeks. "My parents were the best in the world. They cared and I could tell them everything. I think that was what I missed the most, to be able to talk to them."
Feelings were rushing through Danielle. Emelie had been through such a tragedy in her young life, more than most went through during their whole lives. The sadness spread inside of her and she felt how she was going to start crying soon too.
"The only thing I wanted was to die," Emelie said and looked out over the ocean. "The ocean has always been where I have gone when I felt sad, even before the accident, and it felt like the right place to take my life."
"You tried to commit suicide?" Danielle asked horrified.
"I did not try," Emily said. "I did."
The words went round in Danielle's brain. What did she mean by that? How… This wasn't possible, who was this girl?
"All I wanted was to be reunited with my family, but for some reason, I stayed on Earth. I had gotten an assignment."
Danielle couldn't get a word out of her mouth. Was this girl crazy or…? Was she really saying she was dead? An angel or something? Her brain tried to tell her to get away from the girl; she might be dangerous. But when she looked at the pale, tiny girl she couldn't imagine her being dangerous. She was still watching the sea, with tears glittering all over her cheeks.
"My assignment was you," Emelie said. "You were supposed to die under Noah's knife, that was destiny and my assignment was to stop it. Sebastian and you had to get together otherwise the universal order could be disturbed, and the risk was that it would become chaos. I do not really know, but that is what they said."
Danielle didn't ask who 'they' were. Everything Emelie had told her seemed so strange, but in some weird way it made sense. All of Emelie's little peculiarities, like how fast she disappeared, and how sure she was about everything, it all made sense.
"You asked who I am," Emelie said and looked at Danielle. "I am Emelie Céleste and when I died I became your guardian angel. And since I did what I was supposed to, I am now free."
Danielle followed Emelie's eyes out over the ocean. A white shimmer came from the sun and the waves glittered in the shine.
"Since I hate good byes, we will say see you instead," Emelie said.
"I'll see you," Danielle whispered.
Emelie stood up and walked out in the shimmer, she walked on the water. While Emelie walked closer to the shine it grew bigger and stronger until Danielle had a hard time separating Emelie from the light. When the light grew even stronger she closed her eyes.
"What are you staring at?" a little child asked and looked out over the water.
Danielle blinked and noticed that the light was gone. She was standing in the sand, some hundred meters from the dock and everything seemed to be normal.
"Do you always talk to yourself?" the little boy asked and looked up at Danielle.
"To myself?" Danielle repeated and then fell quiet. Wherever Emelie had gone to, there was now no trace of it. Had she dreamed everything or had it been real?
The boy shook his head and then ran away to his mother who had been shouting for him to come. Danielle started walking back to the hotel. What had just happened to her? And where had Emelie gone?
When she came back to the hotel Lisa was waiting for her.
"Where have you been, I've been looking all over for you!" she said. She didn't sound angry, just worried.
"I was sitting out on the dock and talked to Emelie," Danielle said.
"Emelie? Who's that?"
"That blond, blue-eyed, sixteen-year-old girl who's been in our aerobic-classes."
Lisa shook her head. "There haven't been any teenagers at out aerobic for weeks, only grown-ups. Where did you get that from?"
Danielle looked confused. What was this?
"Okay, maybe she's only been in my classes," she said. "Anyway, we were sitting and talking out on the dock. You should've seen us."
"I was out on the dock, but there were only kids jumping and playing," Lisa said and sounded more and more worried.
"Maybe we came later or something," Danielle said, now feeling dizzy. She had been sitting with Emelie for almost two hours!
"Danielle, maybe I should take the water aerobic today, you don't look to good." Lisa looked worriedly at Danielle.
"But…" Danielle said but gave up. "Okay." She collected her things, even though she thought it was wrong that Lisa was going to have to take the water aerobic today too.
It took a couple of minutes to walk over to the apartment and when she came inside of it she just sat down and stared out in thin air. She heard steps and suddenly Sebastian sat down besides her.
"Danielle, what is it?" ha asked.
She didn't answer the question but asked a new one. "Did you meet Emelie?"
Sebastian nodded. "It was her who told me you'd get in trouble, remember?"
"Did anyone else see her? Did anyone else talk to her when you saw her?" Emelie asked and looked at her desperately.
"Danielle, what's wrong?" Sebastian asked and stroke over her cheek. She took his hand.
"Lisa doesn't know who Emelie is. She says there hasn't been any young girl in our classes in weeks. How is that? A boy at the beach said that I was talking to myself when I was talking to Emelie. Am I going crazy?"
She leaned her head on his shoulders and breathed hard.
"I don't understand," she said to Sebastian. "She said she was my guardian angel. But they don't exist…"
Sebastian held her closely and said, "Who knows? Maybe they do exist. She showed herself only to you and me. My mom said she met her guardian angel many years ago and that saved her from going on a bus, which later on was in a big accident. I don't know if Emelie was your guardian angel, but don't question it. Just be glad she came to you, and let her be in your heart and both you and she will be all right."
"How did you get so wise?" Danielle asked and hugged him harder.
He kissed her forehead and just said, "I love you, Danielle."
And Danielle just leaned on him and suddenly she knew that Emelie was all right, wherever she was and a harmony spread inside of her. She was happy.