(written 11/17/2010 - total words 41,809)
They sat under a tree a few blocks from Angel’s house.
“It’s still there,” Angel said, putting her binoculars and turning towards Cal.
“What should we do?” she asked.
Cal tried to think, but he was too tired, too sore. He laid back in the damp grass and looked up at the sky. Grey-orange clouds reflecting the city lights drifted by. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, trying to put some order in his thoughts. The accident, the kiss, Jason’s warning, the agents, the kiss, the kiss, the kiss. Stars peeked through an area where the clouds had thinned out. Stars that became eyes.
“Cal?” Angel asked.
He sat up quickly.
“What?” he asked, shaking his head.
“You fell asleep,” she said. “Should we try sneaking back through the backyard?”
She looked back through her binoculars.
“I don’t see anything moving,” she said. “but the SUV is still there.”
She looked at Cal. He was trying to consider their options.
“Okay, we’re sneaking through the backyard,” Angel said standing up. “Get up.”
They walked around the block, and up the street behind her house. The houses were dark. Cal had no idea what time it was, but it felt really late. They reached the house behind Angel’s and went through to the back fence.
They looked through the fence. The house was dark and quiet. A loud motorcycle went by, making Cal cringe from the noise, but it didn’t seem to alert anyone of their presence.
Angel looked at him again.
“Can you make it over the fence?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Cal said. He was pretty sure he could.
She nodded and pulled herself up and over the fence. Cal thought going first probably would have been the right thing to do there, but the thought had showed up a little late. He pulled himself up to the top of the fence and bent over it.
“No,” Angel hissed. “Sit up and put a leg over the fence.”
He followed her instructions and she talked him down much more gracefully this time. Cal crouched with Angel, looking at the dark house, afraid to move. Afraid to expose his position. Afraid that an agent would come out of the shadows at any minute.
“Let’s go,” Angel said, grabbing his hand.
She led him across the yard to the back door. No agents attacked them.
Unlocking the door, they slipped inside, which only made Cal feel marginally better.
They worked their way through the dark house, Cal hoping that Angel would see any agent before it attacked them. They got to the kitchen and Angel looked out the window.
“There’s the SUV,” she said.
Cal looked out. It was right there on the street, right in front of his scooter. Even if he wanted to leave Angel alone, he wouldn’t be able to get to his scooter without going by the black SUV, and that wasn’t going to happen.
“I guess we wait?” Cal asked.
“Yeah, we can go back to the study,” she said, then closed the blinds on the kitchen window.
They went back to the room with the big sectional sofa. Angel turned on a lamp, casting a warm glow over the book filled room.
“You want some hot cocoa?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he replied smiling and followed her into the kitchen.
Angel filled up two mugs and put them in the microwave. She put two packets on the counter, turned, and leaned back covering a yawn. They stared at each other across the kitchen, the hum of the microwave filling in the silence between them. Cal could feel his eyes drooping.
“You look tired,” she said.
“Haven’t had a lot of time to sleep these days,” Cal said. He left out the part about the nightmares.
“Yeah, things have gotten pretty crazy,” she said.
Cal rubbed his eyes.
“Yeah,” he said. “Sorry to get you mixed up in all of this.”
She frowned and gave him a look like he was crazy.
“You didn’t,” she said. “I was right there with you, deciding to see what was going on. It was Oscar who didn’t want to.”
“Ugh,” Cal said, thinking about Oscar trying to explain stuff to his parents. “Poor Oscar. Yeah, maybe we should have listened to him.”
“Now you’re just being silly,” she said. “If we had listened to him, all of this stuff would still be going on. Only nobody would know about it. And there’s still be three agents.”
Cal smirked and nodded.
“I guess,” he said.
“Plus,” she continued. “Maybe you and I wouldn’t have met.”
She smiled and Cal returned it. The microwave beeped, shattering the peace.
Angel turned and prepared the cocoa.
“Is your mom back?” Cal asked.
Angel looked over her shoulder with a puzzled smile. Did he say something inappropriate?
“Oh,” Cal said, realizing what he could have been hinting at. “No, I just mean, won’t all of this talking and stuff wake her up?”
“Yeah,” Angel said, pushing a warm cup of cocoa into Cal’s hand. “She’s back, but probably asleep. She’s a really deep sleeper. It takes a lot to wake her up.”
Angel nodded for Cal to follow and walked back into the study.
They sat on the couch, sipping cocoa. Cal guessed she was as tired as he was. Through all of thoughts tumbling around in his head, an old question came to the surface. He didn’t know if he really wanted an answer, but he couldn’t let it go.
He turned towards her, bringing one leg up on the couch.
“Can I ask you something personal?” he asked.
She finished a sip and smiled and turned towards him. Their legs were touching.
“Sure,” she said. “Shoot.”
He took a sip, stalling.
“What’s the deal with Ivan?” he asked.
Her smile faded slightly.
“Ivan,” she said dropping her head back and looking at the ceiling.
“Ivan is a jerk,” she said.
She looked back at Cal, but didn’t look him in the eye.
“He’s in a band,” she continued, “which I thought was cool. I thought he was different, but he just wanted what all boys want.”
“I’m a boy,” Cal said.
“Yes, you are,” Angel said looking him in the eye.
She reached out and stroked his cheek with a finger.
“But you’re nice to me,” she said softly. “You protect me.”
She smiled, continuing to stroke his cheek. Her eyes were glistening.
“You’re my Thor.”
“Hey,” Cal said with a laugh. “I told you not to call me that.”
“Does it really bother you that much?” she asked.
“No,” he said.
They both sipped their warm drinks.
“Don’t worry about Ivan,” she said. “He drove away.”
“I’m glad,” Cal said.
Angel held up a finger.
“Hold on a sec,” she said, putting down her mug and standing up.
“What’s going on?” Cal asked starting to push himself up.
“No, it’s okay,” she said. “I just want to share something with you.”
She went to a bookshelf and ran her finger along the books. Finding what she wanted, she pulled it out and got back on the couch, sitting right next to Cal. Her warmth felt good. She flipped the book over so that Cal could read the cover.
“Anton Chekhov,” Cal read. “There’s no ‘h’ in Chekov.”
“There is in this Chekhov,” she said opening the book and flipping through it.
“This is The Lady with the Dog,” she said. “One of his most famous short stories.”
Cal finished his cocoa and put the mug in his lap. He rested his head against her shoulder, catching a brief scent of her smoky perfume, as she started to read. The words were nice, but meaningless to him. Her voice was beautiful.
* * *
He opened his eyes slowly. He felt warm and comfortable. Feelings that had been absent from his life during the past few weeks. His head was resting in Angel’s soft lap, her arm was draped over his shoulder.
He pushed himself up, being careful not to drop her arm. Her other hand was on the book on the other side of her. She didn’t wake as he sat up. She must take after her mom. He stood and crept into the kitchen, peeking out through the blinds. Relief flooded trough him as he saw only his scooter outside.
He crept back to the study and looked at Angel. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was. He kissed her forehead and her eyes fluttered open. She looked confused.
“Are you leaving?” she asked, her voice crackling with sleep.
“Yeah,” Cal said. “I have to get home and get some sleep.”
“Is the SUV gone?” she asked, standing up groggily.
“Yeah, we’re all clear,” he said.
She walked around the couch and shuffled with him to the door, then wrapped her arms around him in a long hug goodbye. They pulled apart, arms still around each other.
“Be careful riding home,” she said looking into his eyes.
She leaned in and kissed him. With the shock of the first kiss over, he was more aware of her soft lips this time. The warm line of metal from her lip ring pressed gently into his lower lip.
They pulled apart. He knew he had to go, but he didn’t want to leave her or this feeling.
They released each other and he opened the door.
“Goodbye Thor,” she said smiling.
He smiled back and headed towards the scooter. It was chilly out, but he barely noticed with the warmth inside him. A part of his blissful mood did falter as he saw the beginnings of dawn behind the western mountains. He needed to get home.
Fortunately there wasn’t much traffic out at this hour of the morning. He got home quickly and was asleep the second he fell onto his bed.
The eyes were back, watching in his dreams.