A story based on the song “Hold Me Now” by RED. Another story with my characters Gail and Cecil.
“I fell asleep.”
Cecil blinked and tilted his head, gazing at her. “What do you mean?”
“I fell asleep in the middle of the day,” Gail said. “I haven’t done that since I was little.”
“You were tired,” he said. “You’ve been busy. You’re exhausted. I can see the bags under your eyes.”
Gail frowned a little at the angel, then shook her head. “I had a dream, too.”
He blinked again. “What did you dream about?”
“Home,” she said softly. “The lake house. The place I couldn’t wait to go to each year. Summer was the best time of my life.”
A smile twitched over Cecil’s lips, but then it faded again. “But it isn’t anymore, right…?”
Gail shook her head slowly. “The crashing waves used to lull me to sleep at night, but now that place holds nothing but painful memories.” She looked up at the angel, her voice soft. “There was something else, though. I saw you in my dream. At least, I think it was you.”
Cecil sat down on the bed beside her, leaning in. “What did you see?”
“Flames,” she said. “Fire in the sky, circling around me like rings. Through those flames I thought I saw you, falling from the sky. Your wings were stained red with blood. You looked terrified.”
His eyes grew wide and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer against him. “That can’t be,” he whispered.
“And I said something in my dream,” she whispered, hugging his arms close around her. “I said… that the past was dead. That all this, all the memories of my childhood were over. My life from then is over.”
“That’s not true,” Cecil whispered, hugging her closer. “Your life isn’t over, don’t ever say that.”
“Cecil, you have to realize some time that things change. You can’t hold onto your past forever. I’m not saying you need to forget it entirely, but you can’t let it control you, either. I realized that when you came back.” She looked up into his eyes and he blinked.
“When I came back?”
She nodded slowly. “You were a part of my past, too. I suppressed that memory. I tried to forget about you. When you came back, I tried to deny your existence. But you know, accepting you was another way of letting go of those memories. A better way.”
He smiled softly and reached down to stroke her hair. “I guess that’s a good thing.”
“It is. For the longest time, I felt like I was just a hollow shell of myself. I wanted to die. I always felt so miserable. I couldn’t see past my own pain to realize… just how strong I was. That I was helping people around me and I didn’t even realize it.”
She looked up at him slowly and whispered, “You.”
He blinked. “Me? I thought I was the one helping you.”
Gail smiled, a rare thing. “You idiot. This whole time you were trying to help me and you couldn’t see that I was the one helping you. I was the one holding onto you when you started to fall.” She reached over his shoulder and stroked his ashen gray wing.
He shivered and closed his eyes, turning his face away from her. “Gail…”
“I didn’t see it at first, but the more you hung around with me, I saw it. The flames. You were on fire. You were burning and bleeding and breaking, but you were always trying to cover it up because you wanted to be strong for me. But you see, that’s why you came back to me. You felt strongest with me, and you thought you could be strong again with me.”
“But I wasn’t,” he whispered, his voice choked.
“You didn’t have to be. Because you had me.”
He looked down into her eyes, his own beginning to fill with tears. “I didn’t want you to rescue me.”
“I didn’t want you to rescue me, either. But you tried anyway.” She smiled and chuckled a little. “I ended up saving you.”
“That’s not fair,” he said, his tone half joking, half sobbing. He hugged her closer, wrapping his wings around her. “I’m supposed to be the guardian angel. I’m the one to hold you and make your fear go away.”
“The thing about holding someone,” she whispered as she wrapped her arms around him. “The other person can hold you at the same time.”