The ash on the end of his cigarette was an inch long. He’d been sucking down the chosen poison fast and hard. He knew it was the unhealthiest of unhealthy hobbies, but this day called for such recklessness.
No one else was being responsible, so why the heck should he?
Lee snorted to himself. Why the heck. He could burn half a pack in the space of an hour but he still didn’t like saying, or even thinking, the hell word.
The tips of his fingers burned. Damn he’d stripped that one down fast. He flicked the useless butt into a nearby trashcan. Time to get back to work.
“You FUCKED her? You fucked another woman while I was taking YOUR goddamn great-aunt to tea?! You’ve GOT to be kidding me!”
Lee loved his job.
He’d taken the position without hesitation. He had indeed noted the unusually circumstances and resources when he read through the agreement. And as he’d assured his superiors, Lee liked the unusual. His bread and butter was a bit more high-government gig, but this wasn’t his first private matter at all. He’d done a few upper-class setups, made a few dabs in the big timeline. That’s what made this assignment so very interesting though, so very fascinating. He knew if this offer had been presented to a colleague they would have scoffed, brushed it away with their breakfast crumbs. That’s why it was given to him, they knew he’d see the potential- the possibility.
This assignment was in itself, ordinary. So irritatingly ordinary. And yet, it was the most engaged he’d been in years. Because, as few know, it is the most ordinary which breeds the most extraordinary: The breathtaking, The impossible.
And Lee was getting to mold that potential, however he damn well pleased.
“No, no listen, they’re lying to you. I wasn’t even with her, I was working. Why would you believe them over me? That’s stupid! You’re freaking out over nothing, again!”
Pathetic. Lee taught her better than to believe bullshit of such a low level.
“I’m telling you the truth!”
“No, you’re not, and you NEVER HAVE, YOU SQUIRRELLY ASSHOLE!”
Oh, oh nope, he had not taught her to start throwing chairs. Off script, alert, she’s gone off script. Time to pull her out of there.
“I’m leaving!” There we go. “And if I ever see you again,” Come on sweetie, land it and run, “I’ll not only skin you, I’ll have all my so-called ‘loser nerd friends’ make a trail so everyone thinks you ran off to Tibet and died from shame when the Dalai Lama kicked you out!”
…alright. Alright, not the best, not our best. But fixable. That was some creative improv, and there is still a LOT of potential in that.
He got her to the car. Her eyes were blurry from tears, her heart thumping from a combination of adrenaline and release. Icy regret slid down the back of her neck while angry fire burned her temples. There was no way she could drive in this condition. Yet, she had to go. He knew the timing down to a breath. Everything hinged on her movement in this moment. She had to leave. Right. Now.
So Lee took the wheel. Gripping tightly, he rounded her car around each bend, merged gracefully onto the highway. Her exit waited on the busy end of a loud town, forcing him to weave between high-polished Hummers and dirty Lamborghinis.
Her sobs didn’t shake him. He’d heard sobs before, from far more talented creatures. It was the gasps between each cry that gave him pause.
“Oh God- oh GOD.”
She tried to take in enough shattered breath to find peace, as if air might knit her pieces back together. He knew they wouldn’t, but at the same time he wished they would. Each one tore through him as he heard them tear over her throat. It was the sound of knowing the pain wasn’t over, that this was the beginning.
Shhhh, little one. Shhh, it cannot be fixed now. But it will be fixed. It has to be. There’s much to do. You will see. This will end, it will end I promise.
“No, no it won’t.”
Her quite whimper speared him in a way he no longer thought was possible.
A decision to make. A rule to break. And yet, he knew it had to be done. It’d been a long while since he’d interfered so boldly, but she needed him to do it. And he needed her back from the brink.
The moment slowed around them. Cars slowed without breaking. Lights didn’t dare flicker, and away in a field, a dew drop took a whole minute to form.
Lee loosened his grip on the wheel.
“Listen,” he whispered.
Another gasp for air, for reason.
“No, listen,” he demanded.
She sniffled, quieted slioghtly. Enough. She nodded.
“You’ve got a lot to do. I’ve got great things, awesome things, set up for you. But this had to happen. It’s going to get worse. WAY worse, baby. But then better, the best. You’re the ticket, kiddo. I’m telling you the truth- you’re the ticket. You’re gonna make something amazing. But not tonight. This isn’t even a step, I’m sorry but it’s not. Not a step, just a lesson. Hold on, babygirl, okay? The system needs this, needs you, to do this tonight. You did it. And now you rest. Alright? You get to rest. Imma take you home, and you get to rest. Then BOOM big shit, big damn holy-moly awesome in your future. But you gotta breathe, okay? You gotta breathe, that’s the deal.”
The sobs subdued, with only the occasional hitch. Lee saw her eyes still blurred, dark shadowed bags now echoed with red lines. That was okay, he could deal with that. This was his job. She did. He dealt with.
And time move onward one more.
Finally parked, he made her move up the steps. He pulled the key from her pocket, guided her in the door. A path of shoes, earrings, and hair pins followed her to the bedroom.
Lee settled her on the bed, slowly pulling his arms from her weighted soul.
“But that’s our secret, okay?” He whispered to her worn, scarred form. “You don’t know yet, and that’s the best part.”
He couldn’t help but pause, placing one cooling hand on her cheek. With her tangled hair scattered across the pillow, she was more gorgeous than anything he’d been able to inspire before. He kissed her forehead, noted it was a bit clammy, and pulled the covers up a little further.
Lee spotted the calico kitten curled at the end of the bed. It stared at him with intense, wide eyes. He smiled and held out his hand for the creature to sniff.
“You’ll take care of her until I return?”
The kitten began to purr. Satisfied with the answer, Lee winked at the feline, and sped off into the night.
His sweet protege had so much ahead of her, so much to do and see and experience.
But unlike his task, Lee wasn’t purely pure. Wings didn’t mean perfection. And he loved his fragile protege. So first, before setting the next few steps… he’d make sure the past was taken care of.
Tibet or not, a certain someone wasn’t coming back.
Angelic (adjective): 1. Relating to angels, “the angelic hosts”. 2. (of a person) exceptionally beautiful, innocent, or kind.
Sometimes, I feel like I should leave a shot of tequila out for my guardian angel. I can’t imagine what that poor creature goes through. I drive in a very busy city, my family is very adventurous, and despite my claims at the annual work party- I’m a lightweight. My sweet G.A. is probably exhausted.
If you don’t believe in guardian angels, that’s alright. They’re not Tinker Bell or the Tooth Fairy; they don’t need your faith to do their jobs. Sometimes I don’t think they’re angels, maybe just past beings that take an interest in us. Or ancestors exasperated with our little tangents, trying to keep us on target. So I kinda combined those thoughts with the lore of angel Lelahel, rumored to be one of the Seraphim. His back story kinda makes him sound like a Greek muse. Y’all know how I love a good Greek muse.
And just as my typical little disclaimer, though I do own a calico kitten, no I’m not the her/she in this story. For one, I’m not arrogant enough to think I’d make it to Seraphim-level guardianship. And for two, not during a single breakup in my life did I have enough brain function for that hilarious Tibet line.
On the writing: I don’t often explain my reasoning behind font and such, but here I feel I should, partially for feedback and partially for my own peace-of-mind. I switched between italics and quotation to show the difference between direct and indirect speaking of our G.A./gut feelings. What do we think, team? Did that come across, or did it just look like I’d gone crazy with the type tool? Let me know!
We’re getting close to big travel times of the year, dear reader. Make it easy on your G.A. and behave, take it slow and safe. And as always, rest well 🙂
PS: This is one of my favorite sentences I’ve ever written (partially because it’s so very true) I’ve got to put it here again: