Novel Excerpt – Hold Me Now (Chapter 5)

Here’s an excerpt from my current work in progress story, Hold Me Now.  This excerpt starts at the beginning of chapter 5 and goes until about halfway into the chapter (where there’s a scene break).

For a bit of context: the chapter before this ended with the main character Gail getting ready to go to bed and suddenly noticing a strange man standing in the corner of her room as she is just about to change her clothes.  Just to make things super awkward and creepy.  Have fun.

Note: This is an unedited rough draft.

Please stop screaming,” the man said, stepping toward Gail slowly. Gail backed away from him until she hit the door, her hands scrambling to find the doorknob.

Some guy is in my room when I’m trying to change? I’ll scream if I want to!” She gripped the knob so tight her knuckles turned white. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing here?”

He stopped in the middle of the room and sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “Ah, yeah, I see how this looks now. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking, this was a terrible idea.”

Gail’s shoulders tensed as she stared at him, and her eyes widened. “You’re… that guy, aren’t you? You kept saying you knew me…” She grit her teeth and took a step forward. “What are you doing here? Do you want me to call the cops, because I’ll do it?”

That really wouldn’t do anything,” he said with another sigh. “Please listen to me for a moment. I have no intention of harming you, and I am truly sorry that I scared you. I just…”

You what?” Gail took another step forward, her fists clenched, and the man backed away from her. Gail felt like she had the strength to toss him through the window, and she would too if it came to that.

I’m an angel,” the man finally said. Gail grew still and stared at him, taking a moment to just breathe.

What did you just say?”

I’m… an angel,” he repeated, then he sighed again. “I probably should have told you that from the start, I guess. I’m sorry, things have just been crazy and I’ve not been thinking straight lately and I’m just so…” He let out a heavy breath and pressed his face into his hands. “This was a mistake.”

Gail just watched him for a long time before slowly shaking her head. “Wait, wait… wait a second here. You really expect me to believe that you’re an angel?”

I could prove it to you if you don’t believe me,” he said, sliding his hands away from his face.

Oh yeah? And just how are you going to prove it?”

He shrugged his shoulders and took another step forward, stopping in the center of the room and standing perfectly still. To Gail’s astonishment, large gray wings suddenly unfurled from his back. She stumbled away, hitting the door again and hissing a little.

Well, do you believe me now?” he asked.

This is… this is ridiculous,” Gail said, unable to take her eyes off him. “Angels don’t-”

Exist? Of course we do, one is standing in front of you right now.” He tipped his head to the side and frowned a little. “That really is a shame, you know? I guess it’s true, though. Children are more open to believing in things like that than adults are. And you even knew me back then.”

Stop,” Gail growled. “I never met any angel when I was a kid.”

You did,” he said, his wings fluttering slightly. “You must just not remember. It was a long time ago, after all.”

I think I would have remembered…” Gail gestured to him with a frown. “That.”

Not necessarily,” he said, shrugging his shoulders again.

Gail grit her teeth and took a step toward him again, looking over him with a critical eye. “Alright, okay. I’ll buy that you are what you say you are for now. Answer me this, then: what are you doing here? What do you want with me?”

He took a deep breath and pressed his hand to his face, readjusting his glasses up to the bridge of his nose. “That day several weeks ago when I ran into you? I thought you seemed familiar. I got curious and decided to follow you, and then I realized who you were. That’s when I approached you and told you about knowing you. I didn’t really think about the fact that you might not recognize me, though.”

That doesn’t really answer my question,” she said. “Or are you here to just catch up with me? I would’ve thought that last time would have been enough for you.”

Ah, no.” He rubbed his hand over his face. “I’m here because… well, I’ve been watching you for some time and I think… well, basically I’m here to continue what I had been doing when we were last together.”

What is that supposed to mean?” Gail huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.

I’m here to be your guardian angel again,” he said, looking her in the eye and smiling kindly at her. “Something happened back then and I had to leave, but I’m back now. I think you need me, after everything that’s happened to you recently.”

Gail narrowed her eyes at him. “What do you know about what’s happened to me?”

Your brother,” he said softly. She bristled at the mention of that and took a step forward. He held up his hands and leaned back a little. “Look, I’ve been watching you for some time, it’s kind of what us angels do. I know what happened, and I want to help you get through it.”

I’m fine,” Gail muttered. “I don’t need any guardian angel. There’s nothing wrong with me.”

I never said there was anything wrong with you, just that-”

I said I’m fine,” she growled. “There are plenty of other people worse off than me who probably need you a lot more. I don’t know why you’re bothering me.”

He stared at her for a long moment, then he stepped toward her, speaking quietly. “I can see more than humans can, you know. I can see into you. You’re hurting, whether you want to admit it or not. I think you do need me.”

You know what I really need is to get some sleep,” Gail muttered. “Which is exactly what I was going to do before you appeared.”

A slightly guilty look passed over his face and he hung his head. “Yes, I know. I apologize. That was incredibly rude of me and it won’t happen again.”

Get out of my room then,” Gail said. “Leave me alone so I can sleep.”

We really should talk about this, though,” he said, but Gail would have none of it. She wrenched her door open and pointed.

Out. Now.”

The angel sighed and stepped out of her room. “Fine. But just so you know, you’re not going to get rid of me like that.”

I don’t care. I want to sleep. Leave me alone.” Once he was clear of the door, Gail slammed it shut and pressed her back to it, letting out a deep breath and nearly sliding down to the floor. “Ridiculous,” she whispered.

It took her several minutes before she finally got up the nerve to change and get into bed. She threw the covers over her head and curled up tight, trying to block out the rest of the world along with her thoughts so she could sleep.

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