“They’re going after her friends now. Soon I’ll have no option but to…” Seth paused and shook his head. “I don’t like it.”
“Of course you don’t like it. You’ll have to interact with a person one on one on a daily basis. And just between you and me…you’re a total grouch!” grinned Jessica, tossing her head and making her long blond hair fly about her face. She poked his shoulder and he grunted, shifting away from her.
“I can be dangerous, Jess. I’m half angel and most of the time I don’t know what I’m capable of…I don’t like people getting too close.” Seth pulled the elastic band out of his hair and let it drop off the roof of the hospital. He watched it fall to the ground and smiled as it hit a little boy on the head.
“Mommy, Mommy, it’s raining hair bands!”
“That’s nice, Timothy.”
“Uh-huh, you’re totally dangerous,” Jessica snorted.
“I have my moments…and that wasn’t one of them,” he replied, heaving himself onto the guardrail. His coat flapped behind him in the wind as he stared at the horizon.
“So do I…and I’m a full blooded angel. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to spend time around humans. You have it good, Seth. You just don’t take time to appreciate it,” she chided, taking his sunglasses and putting them on her head. “You’re lucky. You have free will.”
“I’m lucky.” Seth arched an eyebrow over his perfect green and silver flecked eyes.
“Very. Angels envy humans their free will, their ability to choose. You are free to ignore.” Jessica’s pure golden eyes turned deadly serious.
“But I choose not to,” he murmured, pulling another elastic band out of his coat pocket and binding his hair again.
“You choose not to,” she agreed, offering Seth his glasses.
“Does that mean I’m incredibly stupid?” he asked, giving her a look before replacing his sunglasses.
“Not at all,” laughed Jessica, throwing her arms around him without thinking. Seth grew rigid and she backed away, apologetic. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Just, you know, warn me. No sudden movements.” He took a defensive stance and she laughed again.
“Seth, one day you are going to meet someone…and you will not be afraid to show who you really are,” said Jessica, gently squeezing his shoulder.
“Jess, I am afraid of who I really am. How is someone else going to accept that?” Seth looked around quickly and frowned. “I have to go.”
Jessica watched him disappear and she shook her head, “Do you think she’s the one?”
“Yes,” replied Gabriel, appearing just as suddenly as Seth had vanished.
“Well, she’s certainly gotten herself some rather negative attention. Do you know how many demons Seth has had to clean out of that hospital room in the past three days?” Jessica pulled her hair in consternation. “A heck of a lot and he’s had to be sneaky about it too. That’s so not easy!”
“You have a love of the human vernacular don’t you, Jessica?” Gabriel chuckled.
“Of course,” she smiled. “But do you think he can handle it?”
“I think…it doesn’t matter what I think,” the senior angel nodded firmly.
“Is that why…?”
“Shh!” Gabriel waved her quiet. “You musn’t speak of such things out in the open.”
Jessica nodded in agreement and took her true form for a moment before fading into nothingness.
“Good luck, Seth. May you fare better than the others who were put to the test,” whispered Gabriel, also taking on his true form before slowly vanishing.
* * * *
Seth walked down the hospital corridor, invisible to all but the very young and the dead. He paused by the prenatal ward and made faces at the babies until they laughed. This puzzled the nurses on duty as newborns weren’t supposed to be able to laugh yet.
A white-sheeted gurney pushed by a male nurse passed him on its way to the hospital morgue. Sierra’s forlorn little spirit trailed along behind it, weeping softly.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of Kitty,” murmured Seth, making the sign of the cross as he walked. “Go in peace.”
Sierra’s spirit looked startled for a moment before turning into a small golden light orb and vanishing.
“They always want to stay and I can’t imagine why,” he grumbled, flashing to one hallway over from Sierra’s old room. He made himself visible and strode down the corridor not slowing until he felt a wave of stomach turning grief.
Seth approached the hallway cautiously. He rounded the corner and was confronted with Kitty sitting on an empty hospital bench, crying her eyes out.
“Damn,” he ground out, hitting the nearest wall with his fist and leaving a sizable dent in it. “Why did she have to be crying? I hate it when they cry!”
He walked over to the bench without making a sound. After dropping his weight heavily onto the thinly cushioned seat he turned towards the weeping girl. Seth opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. After doing this several times he gave up and watched her in silence.
Suddenly, Kitty reached out and clung to him, snuffling into the folds of his coat. His first impulse was to stiffen up and push her away but he could see it would be like trying to remove a frightened cat. Seth decided to wait it out instead.
“Why does God hate me?” she sobbed brokenly.
Then Seth really did freeze, “Why does God hate me, Anita?”
He cleared his throat, “Why do you think God hates you?”
“He keeps taking away the people I care about. I’m all alone now,” she replied, her breath hitching weirdly.
“I know the feeling,” he whispered, not meaning for her to hear.
“What did you say?” she asked, sitting up and wiping her eyes.
“Nothing. C’mon, I’ll take you home,” he said, standing and offering her his hand.
“Why should I trust you? You’re almost a complete stranger,” said Kitty, leaning forward in spite of her comments.
“I completely agree. You shouldn’t trust me.” He shrugged but continued to hold out his hand.
“But that’s the odd thing. I do trust you,” she said, taking his hand and letting him lead her away.
* * * *
“Why do you trust me?” asked Seth, finally breaking the long silence as they rode up in the elevator of Kitty’s apartment building.
“I have no idea. It’s probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. If I end up just another news item in the morning it’ll serve me right I suppose.” The young girl raked a hand through her hair. Her quick grooming did nothing to help the tangled mess.
“You’ll need a comb to get those knots out,” he observed, swallowing his further criticism at the look she gave him.
“My only real friend has just died. Looks are not high on my priority list at the moment,” she replied acidly.
“I’m sorry. I don’t handle interpersonal relationships well.” Seth legenthened his strides to keep up with her short, quick steps.
“That is the understatement of the century,” growled Kitty, stopping outside her door. She put her hand flat on the smooth wood and then curled her fingers into a fist. “That was rude, I’m sorry. Thank you for taking me home.”
Kitty quickly stepped into the apartment and shut the door. She shot the bolt home and leaned her cheek on the frame. A few tears escaped her already, red and puffy eyes. When she reached up to wipe them away the silver beads of Seth’s rosary caught her attention. The twenty year old unwound the chain and unlocked the door, fully intending to return it to him. The hallway was deserted when she finally stepped into it again.
“I wish he would stop doing that!” snapped Kitty, crushing the rosary in her fist.
She turned and walked back into the empty apartment, slamming the door on her anger and her grief.