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For centuries Angels had been awaiting the call. Each second of every day an Angel was being placed as a human in the mortal world. Each Angel was chosen specially for the mission they were destined to complete. This was the cycle. But as time went on, and Angel after Angel completed their missions, a rift in the balance became known. No longer were newer Angels assigned in the human world, but the old; the ones who had fought, the ones who stayed loyal. They were assigned to the end; each Angel and every pair. To guide themselves and others back to the grace of God. To protect the innocent, and to love the ones who felt left behind.
The soft hills rose and drifted father and farther away. The new in bloom cherry tree was slightly planted too left of our little but big white house. Mama was cooking in the kitchen something that smelled as sweet as the cherry blossoms, and dad was tinkering in the garage. Even a mile away I knew everything that was happening, like any other day. But today was different, it was my eleventh birthday. I crouched low behind the big willow, peering from left to right. Surely not even Dylan could find me here. I was so caught up in the thought of my brother’s surprise when not even he, the hid-in-seek king, could find me; that I didn’t hear Conrad sneak up behind me. “Anabel,” he whispered. I jumped a mile, Conrad was really Dylan’s friend but I had known him my whole life. He lived right down the street, so of course all three of us had our fun together sometimes, but Conrad always seemed to stingy and mean and from a distance, he looked like a bug. But up close…he seemed better. His eyes were a deep green, as green as the willow tree, and he had slight freckles on both sides of his nose. He was cute. I suddenly felt self conscious of my muddy look. “Conrad you scared the heck outta me.” I whispered. He grinned. “Well I wanted to help you out being your birthday and all.” I sniffled “ I am eleven I can very well win this stupid Childish game” As soon as I felt the words come out of my mouth I knew I was in for it. Conrad was thirteen, he wasn’t a kid anymore and the only reason him and Dylan played was for me; it was my favorite game. Usually hearing this, Dylan would of hit me, but instead Conrad just smiled. “Okay kid, if it’s so stupid than quite.” I looked at him shocked. There was never any quitting. It was just not right and even More childish. Everyone always made fun of the kid who quite. I huffed. He had me there. Seeing the defeat on my face he laughed softly. “Come on,” he gently took my hand and lead me away from the willow. His hand was soft on mine. And it wasn’t sweaty or nasty like Dylan’s would have been. It was the first time I held hands with a boy other than my brother. Thinking this made me shy as he began whispering, “So there’s this spot by the hill, it’s too grassy to see in so he’d never tell. Woa.” He stopped me suddenly. I looked forward. There was Mr. Clide with his shot gun shooting off at the trees. Mr. Clide was crazy, ever since he lost his wife; mama had said. He was just lonely. What mama didn’t know is that Mr. Clide hated us kids and nearly shot Dylan once in the back. Conrad grabbed my arm and dragged me down in the grass. “ Shhh.” He whispered. ”Hang in there Bells.” I felt my body shake. If he caught us…well we’d be dead. I put my head down even more, praying to God to help us. That was the first time I recognized God’s miracles. In the grass with Conrad. Just as Clide got closer thunder erupted from the sky, startling him so much he fell backwards. He got up shakily and looked above. “Dang kids can never stay off my property.” He gave one final look around and slowly walked away. When he finally was ought of sight, Conrad jumped up. ”Oh Anabel I’m so sorry, you must have been scared. I didn’t think he’d be home. I’m so sorry.” Just then he hugged me. A jolt went through my body and I knew he had felt it too. We slowly backed away in time to see my brother run up the hill screaming how he won and that was no fun. I looked at Conrad but he was already by Dylan’s side. But it didn’t matter, the whole way home I thought about Conrad’s hug and the spark I had felt. I looked up at the now raining sky and silently thanked God for what he had done. At age eleven I knew Conrad was the one.
5 years later
“Oh no.” Two little words was all it took to get me nerves. “What?” I snapped my head up to see what my best friend Isabel was now suddenly absorbed in. “It looks like Conrad and Joey are walking outside.” It was true. Conrad and Joey were now side by side and silently walking to the outer courtyard behind the baseball fence. A perfect place for a fight. I took a deep breath. This had been normal for Conrad all year, the fights, drugs, gangs, and of course the girls. I stood up suddenly feeling tired, and grabbed Isabel’s arm. “Were we going?” she asked nervously. “Away. I’m not about to sit here and do nothing.”
“I know, but today’s not the day. Let’s just go get Dylan.”
I know this would work. Isabel was obsessed with my brother, for reasons still unknown. I looked down at her pretty tan pixie face. I loved Isabel as a sister, she was just so nice. She had a way of putting things in perspective. But she just didn’t understand my love for Conrad. To her he was a self absorbed druggy. But to me, well, he was still my miracle. Just a little lost was all. I saw Dylan at the senior table and when he saw me he frowned. He hated when I talked to him at the table. And honestly I didn’t like it much either. But he’d just have to deal as I was. “Hey Anabel,” Tori said greeting me. Tori was Dylan’s all- through-high school-girlfriend. She was supper pretty with light brownish golden hair and brown eyes that sparkled in the light. Plus she was nice to everyone, making her, another one of my best friends, and probably sister to be. I smiled at her as we walked up. I hated this part; it felt like everyone was staring at me. Witch in this case, they probably were. “What do you want?” was Dylan’s cold reply. I sighed. “Conrad left with Joey and I thought you might want to know. They went behind the baseball field.” Dylan’s face turned red. “Not again, his mom’s counting on me to keep him out of trouble.” He got up. “Okay, Tori stay here and watch Anabel and Isabel. Make sure when Joey comes back he knows not to lay a hand on them.” This, I saw, made Isabel swoon. This was the brother I knew and loved. The one who really cared. Witch I knew he did, but sometimes, with this new crowd he was with, I had to second guess myself.
“Be careful, Dill.” Tori said a little nervous. I knew she must of hated Conrad for putting Dylan in between him and Joey. Joey was just too unpredictable. A case he brought upon himself with all the drugs. I sat down next to Isabel and looked at my brother. He looked ticked, but when he saw me he smiled. “Don’t worry I’ll be right back with him.” He said tipping my chin. He and Isabel were the only one’s who knew about my little crush. And that’s the way I wonted it for now. I smiled back. “Be careful Dill.” I said repeating Tori’s words. He rolled his eyes and ran out the door.
Once I had tried to go after Conrad and Joey. It was the begging of my freshman year and Conrad’s junior. That’s when everything began to change. Suddenly Conrad was ditching my brother for Joey and his drugs. I knew Dylan was hurt, but he seemed more angry than anything else. “Right when his mother gets cancer. Dose he really think this will help?! Ditching her in her final year on this planet, dose he really think this will all just go away?!” Dylan had yelled by my bedside. This was his time to vent. I had been shocked to even see him home on a Friday night; they were always his time with Conrad. But now it seemed obvious why he was so upset. Earlier he had gone to pick him up and Conrad had simply diapered. With Joey. When Dylan had gone to cheek on Conrad’s mom, who had just found out she had breast cancer level four last summer, he had found her crying and alone. Dylan had never been able to get the image out of his head. Conrad’s mom had told him were he went and why. Apparently earlier he had came home high and yelled at her that he was leaving weather she wonted him to or not. This had shocked Dylan. Conrad had always hated drugs, seeing what they had done to his father. But his mom had insisted it was true, and that she begged Dylan to watch her son, to keep him out of harms way. He was special and just needed to find the” right path, please, Dylan, promise you’ll help”. He has no one else. After Dylan had promised, he left coming home to get his wallet and knife, and after venting went looking for his best friend.
Leaving me, of course, worried to the point I was sick. I had waited hours and hours until midnight came and still no sight of Dylan or Conrad. This was when I decided to take action. I grabbed my old coat, and a flashlight, and snuck out through the back. It was raining that night, starting with a dribble and turning into a flash flood. By the time I was in the woods the sirens were already going off. A tornado was coming. But I had to keep looking if only a while longer. So I kept pushing. I ignored the feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me to run away, and now the roaring sirens that kept pelting my ears. I kept going. Suddenly it became too much and I fell over an old pile of bricks. I smashed my face, and I felt the blood poor. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach again. I leaned over and puked. What seemed a minute later I heard running. “Dill,” I slurred. It came faster. “Conrad!” I slurred louder. “Help,” a hand reached for my shoulder. “What are you doing here?” I recognized the voice. Joey. “Where’s Conrad?” I tried to slur. He muttered something, and suddenly I was on my back. He grabbed my hair and pooled. I tried to yell, but then he smashed my face against the bricks again. “Conrad wants nothing to do with you anymore. You stupid little girl. Nothing. Tell you brother if he doesn’t stop breaking in on us, I’ll make sure to come back and permanently mess your pretty little face up.” I felt the tears come. Why was I crying? Could he see it? I felt an urge. At first I had no idea what it was, but then It came on stronger, clearer this time. Pray. So I did. I looked up towards the thundering sky’s and closed my eye’s and prayed. Prayed the hardest I had ever had. I needed another miracle. God help me. Suddenly thunder erupted from the skies and I herd a familiar voice that made me cry even harder. “What the heck are you doing?!” Conrad. I felt Joey’s weight being pushed off of me. The sirens were still going. “Don’t you ever, EVER, touch her!”
“She’s HIS sister why would you be nice to-“
“I don’t care.” I felt him lift me over his shoulder. The motion hurt.
“Hang in there Bells.” He whispered to me. Suddenly I was reminded of the time I was eleven. He had said the same thing then.
“If you help her, I’ll bounce. You won’t ever get the stuff you need anymore. You’ll have to sit there and watch your mom die.”
Conrad stopped. I felt my conscious go. Suddenly I felt like I was floating above watching. Like third person.
“I don’t care. I won’t sit by and watch you torment and hurt the people I love. I don’t need drugs that bad.” He and Joey were standing there looking at each other silently. That’s when I noticed it. Around Conrad was a white ore. It surrounded him and at the same time, was him. But as I looked at Joey, he had none. That was the first sign of Conrad being different. He had to be good. Mean while I heard my brother far off.
“Leave. Now Joey,” Joey looked at me then back to Conrad.
Joey shuffled away and diapered into the dark woods. The sirens weren’t as loud now, and now I knew why. The wind was picking up fast, and I could now clearly see a funnel cloud. Conrad cursed under his breath, but began to move.
“Conrad!” as my brother came closer his eyes widened.
“Anabel? What- Anabel?” I had never seen my brother look so…hopeless before. He was drenched, his hair blown over, and his eye’s looked almost haunted. Making me wonder exactly what had happened that night.
“She’s passed out. It may be a concussion.” Conrad said. My brother’s face turned from lost to mad. “What did you do?” he demanded. Conrad knew my brother, knew that look.
“It was Joey, I came as soon as I could.” Dylan went limp.
“Give her here.”
“You can’t hold her with your arm.” I looked over at Dylan, I hadn’t seen it but there was a huge gash in his right arm. It looked painful, but Dylan seemed okay. Looking over him I noticed Dylan had the glow too. But for him it was brighter. Purer somehow. “Don’t.”
Dylan tried to reach for me but his arm fell limp. It was broke. Suddenly I felt furious. But I couldn’t talk or move so they had no idea the things I was suddenly screaming, witch is probably a good thing because mama would have been ashamed. “Let’s hurry and get her home, that cloud is getting bigger.” And that was that. Dylan and Conrad said nothing as they struggled to get home before the tornado hit. And somehow, they did it. Just in time for us to get downstairs, before the whole other side of the house got ripped away. It was again, another miracle when I opened my eye’s two days after. When I went to school the next day I was greeted with get well cards and cookies, and the sight of Joey’s two black eyes.
Evenings at my house were mainly boring. A nice evening dinner, a few rounds of cards, and hot chocolate at ten. It was just routine; as it was on Saturday’s that I be the only teen in the house. As I was expecting coming down stairs with nothing but a tank and my brothers old boxers, to see. A full empty house. But instead, I saw Conrad. He instantly blushed and spit out his hot chocolate all over himself.
“Oh. Ah Anabel, hey.” Was all he muttered as he hurried to get a towel. I stood there still shocked. “What are you doing here?” I said coldly. He must have seen something in my face because just then he looked away. Good, I thought, that’s what you get for ditching Dylan. But at the sight of his blond hair, and old freckles, I decided to give. God knew I loved that boy too much. I sighed and finished my walk across the kitchen to get some Oreos, my favorite late night snack. He watched me the whole way. I blushed as I sat down beside him. This was unusual behavior for me, usually I ran away from boys, but tonight, well, it seemed different somehow. Whether it was bad or good, just like Conrad, I was still unsure. I took a bite. Conrad laughed.
“What? I can’t eat Oreos in my own house?” I asked. Not mean but not nice either. He grinned. “You’re in a good mood Bells.” There it was. That stupid childish nickname. Didn’t he even know I now had boobs? I tried to lean forward so he saw me from a different angle. But he just sat staring at the tv. Ugh.
“Probably because she just got the shock of her life.” My brother bounced down stairs, with a happy smile on his face. What was going on? “Hey Dill, what’s going on?” I asked smiling. He just looked at me and then my tank. “Why are you half naked?” Conrad laughed harder than I’d seen in months. Witch made me laugh.
“You didn’t answer my question.” I said. He shrugged.
“You didn’t answer mine.” I felt the urge to run. “I thought everyone was gone, usually I have the house to myself at night.” I looked at him and he shrugged. “Senior party. Everyone’s going.” I nodded like I already knew about the party scene. Truth was I had been invited before, but never by the guy I had wonted. Maybe it was time to step up.
“Yeah I know I’m invited.” This stopped everything. My brother looked at me as if my face had just melted off. Conrad now looked at me stunned.
“By WHO?” Dylan asked suddenly sitting down beside me. He knew I like Conrad so this was news to him I actually had a social life.
“Adam King.” That was the truth, he’d asked me earlier and I’d said maybe. Well now it was a yes. Conrad jumped off the couch. “That snobby rich boy, he’s a total jerk.” Dylan looked to me to Conrad. “Okay,” he finally said. “I am going to be there, and I think he’s actually descent. But you’re leaving with us, no ifs, ands, or buts. Got it.” I nodded, “Go get ready, we leave in an hour.”
A hour in a half later, after I had picked my best skirt and cute tank, we arrived at the party. I had called Adam earlier to tell him I was coming and he said to meet him out back. So as soon as I was out of my brother’s green Chevy, I was gone. I felt bad about leaving Conrad and Dylan. After all, they only wonted me to be safe. Or at least that was Dylan’s intention, but they were honestly getting on my nerves. Conrad was meeting a new girl he was “ talking too” witch of course meant hock up at the party, go screw, then leave with another girl. I felt no need to be around him when he was doing so. So I rounded the now crowded back porch and looked for Adam. Adam was tall and broad, and was on the football team as the lead quarter back. He was also nice and never mean witch earned him points in my book. As soon as he saw me he waved and smiled, making his way across the porch. His brown hair was fixed to hang just right by his shoulders, and his eye’s were a deep hazel brown. Isabel would die if she saw him. Just then I felt a spark between me and Adam, a spark I had only felt once. “Hey,” he said finally reaching me. He smelled like woods, not beer. Nice.
“Hi.” I said trying to hide my nerves. I’d been out on dates before, but of course was never serious; there was only one guy I wonted.
“You look really nice Anabel, I’m really glad you came.” I felt myself blush. He knew how to talk. I felt myself ready for the challenge he now had on me. If I could sit right here and talk to the people’s choice of ‘Most Likely To Be Famous For Looks’ Adam King, I could be with Conrad. “Thanks, I’m glad I came.” He looked at me slyly; like I had a great secret he just now knew and said, “Do you want a drink?” I looked over at the keg they had stashed by the door, “Sure.” He nodded and went to get two beers. I had never drunk before at a party, suddenly I felt out of place. This was supposed to happen different. Just then Conrad appeared, tagging along with a girl who had long black hair and the palest skin I had ever seen. Her eye’s were wide but small, almost cat like. And she scanned over everyone before landing on me, as if taking me in. As a threat, or just stupid, I had no idea. Conrad spotted me just as Adam appeared.
“Here you go, I thought you might like something to eat too.” He handed over a small mini bag of Oreo’s. Just like the one’s I had eaten earlier. “Thanks these are my favorite.”
“Hey Bells. This your hot new date?” Conrad suddenly maneuvered himself between me and Adam, as if blocking him out would help save the world. I looked over at him and smiled at Adam. Adam grinned a wow-you-jerk, kinda grin. “Yes Conrad. It is. But I thought you already knew Adam, so would you-“
“Hi I’m Conrad. I’m Anabel’s brother’s best friend. We go way back.”
“Oh really?” Adam said looking kind of bored.
“I wouldn’t have known with you all over her like that. You seem more the jealous ex boyfriend type.” I felt my face flush. Conrad looked at him for what seemed only a moment, and then took his arm back as if to hit him. I tried to stop him but then something else entirely knew happened. Conrad instead grabbed ME and leaned me back and kissed me. Right there in front of everyone. The sparks seemed to fly, and our lips crashed perfectly together. My first real kiss. Was it suppose to feel this permanent? Like suddenly the answer to all answers was now found? Like God himself was now smiling at the almost perfection of a mere kiss? I had no idea and at the same time did. Yes. For me and Conrad it did. He was now leaning me up. The look in his eye now mixed with shock, and…humor. We blinked back and forth until he suddenly whirled back around and said loudly.
“No, now it’s YOU; how’s it feel?” Now I was sure a fight was coming. Adam was ticked, his face a weird shade of purple.
“Conrad.” I said looking at him. He just kept smiling to Adam.
“Conrad.” Louder. Still nothing.
“I will never talk to you again.”
This made him laugh. Laugh. When it was suppose to be the exact opposite.
“Yea right Bells. Remember when you were eight and said those exact same words? You talked to me an hour later.”
The words hit home. I did remember. But back then, I didn’t love him. Back then I might have meant it.
“You had better leave, Conrad. You had no right, none, to even be here.” Adam said, starting to lose the purple.
“I’m a senior, like everyone else here.” He glanced at me.
“Well, not everyone, but mostly.” For some reason, this made me want to laugh. But I didn’t.
“Leave. Or I’ll be forced to make you.”
“Fine by me. There’s nothing here that I want.” The girl he had been ‘Talking too’ was now by his side looking a little more than mad.
“Oh so you were just going to get in my pants and LEAVE? With a tenth grader?!” she screamed. I jolted back on instinct. Conrad just shrugged.
“I don’t think of her like that, but the other part maybe.” This was all it took; the simple sentence that broke my heart. All these years of hard work, trying to get him to see me for more than just a little girl, was built up to nothing. The kiss, that magical kiss, had meant nothing. Realizing this took me only a moment. A split decision. I suddenly felt my beer can tipping over and onto Conrad. I couldn’t reach his head, but I could reach his face, the girl in black high fived me. The crowed let out a hoot, and Adam looked at me with a huge grin on his face. Conrad sat there staring, as if in shock, but then, just then, I knew he saw something in me. The girl he’d been waiting his whole life for.
Life’s too short you know
The sad part was, he could still remember everything about her. Everything there was to know, he knew. He should be the one to take her to party’s and protect her from the drunken guy’s that tried to hit on her as she walked past. The really sad part thought, truly deeply sad, was that he knew he had screwed up, but didn’t do crap about it. Just like usual. He watched her walk by day after day, and even now lived with her, and didn’t say crap. Pathetic. He was pathetic. Dylan was always telling him to try. “She’s liked you for years dude, go for it. It’d save me from worrying the guy she’s with would knock her up.” He had said. And the moment he said it Conrad had known it was true. Anabel was not some girl he could just throw away… it was like she just…belonged with him. They belonged together. The kiss they had had proved it. Magic. It was magic. But he had tried to shove it off. The feeling. At the party something just came over him, a sudden protectiveness of what he once thought was his. But of course she never had been his. But then the way she had looked at him, those green eyes, so like his own and yet so different, he got scared. Scared that something was happening that would change him forever. And that was something he had to think about. Now though, she seemed totally content. Dating Mr. Jock and all. She rarely even looked at him anymore. It was so distracting. “Hey kido,” he’d say smiling at her when she’d be in the kitchen getting her late night snack. Oreo’s.
“What?” she’d snap back. She’d look at him then, but only for a second and then turn back to what ever activity she was involved in. This happened very frequently. No more smiled, or nod’s, not even one little conversation. When he even knew it had to be killing her. She hated conflicts, almost as much as he hated resolutions. No mercy was his policy. But with her, he’d never even thought she could follow it. Now it just seemed wrong. He had to fix things fast, he knew. He couldn’t let it happen; he couldn’t let her fall in love with the wrong guy.
“Get in.” Anabel looked over at him with an expression of bewilderment and shock. She was wearing her hair back and a short dress with high heels. This was from sophomore job day. Apparently she was more into business. “What?” she asked looking away from him. There it was again. The whole not looking thing was really getting annoying. “Get in, I’ll take you home.” He said pushing the passenger door out. “I’m suppose to be meeting Adam here when he gets off.” She said looking back towards the school parking lot. “Well, when’s he get off?” this made her look at him a little nervous. “Um, well he said” she trailed off. He nodded. He knew that look. He use to be the one who gave that look. Now he was on the other end. “Please Anabel. I don’t want to leave you out here when it’s already getting late.” The sky was already turning shades. She had to have waited out here for hours. Suddenly Adam seemed to be a good practice dummy for kick boxing. Anabel looked back over her shoulder, but then seeming to come to an agreement with herself smiled and got in.
It wasn’t always like this. Once he had been a drug cartel for him and Joey, living on the streets. It had been bad. Those days were the bad days. Last winter, had been, and still was, the Unthinkable Day’s. Day’s with Joey. Conrad couldn’t quite remember what had happened to spark the rebellion. Maybe it had been his mom’s cancer, or the fact that he never had a father to point him the right way, or maybe it was just him being scared. When his mom went, where was he supposed to go? His grandparent’s he had never met? They were just some dusty old picture on the mantel. His dad was long gone and probably dead, but that didn’t matter, he didn’t even want to know after the scum had just up and left them. It seemed endless. The pain, confusion, and loss. What was he suppose to do? So he went to drugs. Big time drugs. It started off slow. Just some pot here and there, nothing else. And then it went to speed. Some guy had sold it in with the pot, they hadn’t even known until they were all hooked. Then it was coke, then heroine, then pills. It was all just one big blur. One party to the next, each giving him the escape route he had needed. No more confusion, no more pain. Just good, good sex and drugs. It was called ‘Living the good life’ to Joey. And sooner or later, Conrad started saying it too. It was like he was gone. Just not there. Like he was lost within himself and no one cared to get him out. So he did what he thought would help. More drugs. More sex. More rebellion. He was never one to turn his head when something was wrong, he was raised in church after all, and when he started hearing himself praying without even knowing it, he freaked. Where had God been when his mom was diagnosed? Where was God when his dad left? Where was God now? So he stayed angry. At everyone. Even Joey, for getting him into this mess. At God for not helping him get out of it. He thought he was totally lost until the beginning of his junior year, when they had been at Joey’s house with the rest of the crew and Dylan came storming in just as Conrad went to pop a pill. This had shocked him. He had prayed and prayed for someone to come get him, to pool him back, but never thought it would happen. Then all at once it was a blur. Everyone was high except him and Joey, so they all just bolted. Joey on the other hand just looked at him and Dylan and laughed. Just laughed. That’s when Dylan walked around him, pushing Joey down and grabbed his arm. “Your coming home Conrad.” He had said it so firm, but Conrad knew Dylan, sometimes better than Dylan knew himself. He saw the hurt and the loss. He saw the confusion. Just like him. But Dylan had grown strong. Stronger than Conrad. So he didn’t yell, as Conrad would have if the situation was reversed, and started walking towards the now shattered window. “Conrad!” Joey had yelled. He kept walking. “Conrad if you leave, you can never come back.” This had made him stop. He had been in this life for so long. Was he ready to leave? Suddenly there was a glow around Dylan that made him look ten times stronger. “You don’t belong here Conrad. You still have a home. You have a family that loves you very much. Who no matter what always has and always will.” This somehow, was the words he needed the most. The sentence that had the potential to change his life forever. And he was ready, more than ready really. He was determined. He looked at Dylan and nodded. Then to Joey, “Sorry, Joey…but I’ve decided that this life isn’t all that great. In fact I hate it. You and your crew are nothing to me. Nothing. You have to brother hood, or family in them, because if they were true brother’s they would have pooled you out a long time ago. And I’m sorry for you Joey. I really am.” Dylan smiled at him as Conrad jumped out the window and into the dead grass. They were half way to there small little house in the wood’s when suddenly a car beeped behind them and there was Joey coming right for them. He jumped out of the car leaving it on, that’s when it started raining. Hard. Joey jumped at Dylan and Dylan through the first punch. They began to wrestle around before Conrad could do anything the passenger he hadn’t noticed before humped out of the car and grabbed him by the neck. It was a classic move that he had taught Eli Hamilton that year. Back when they were on the same side. Conrad pushed his way out of the lock and punched Eli in the gut. Eli stumbled back, so Conrad went for his face. He heard sirens now. A tornado was coming. He looked around for Dylan who was now running into the tree’s holding his bloody arm. Joey was running away. Conrad ducked Eli’s left hook and decided to end it. If they stayed there they both would die. “Eli, don’t do this. Let’s just end it here okay? Go home where it’s safe.” Conrad knew for a fact that Eli lived not even a mile from here. If they stopped now he could make it. “My home is with my brothers.” He yelled over the sirens. Overhead a funnel cloud was forming. He could tell now Eli was crying. “You don’t need to die tonight Eli. Look around,” he waved his hands, “Where’s your brother? He left you Eli. He left.” Eli was only fifteen. Anabels age. He lived alone with his mom, who was also a drug addict. But the kid had heart. He was loyal and loving, and was once the smartest kid in his class. Then his parents divorced. But he had potential. Just not here. Eli began to sob harder now. Conrad looked desperately to the car. “Go. You still have time.” This caught his eye. He looked up for the first time at Conrad’s face and nodded. “Thank you.” He said and ran to the car. He was drenched, but he shut the doors and went home. Conrad watched protectively as the car went around the hill and into the small town. He knew he had gotten home now, where he belonged. Now he had to go. The wind was really picking up now, and he needed to find Dylan and Joey. He ran into the tree’s, praying to God thanks, and to lead him home now. All of the sudden he heard something odd. Bone. Crushing bone, and Joey.
“I’ll make sure to come back and permanently mess your pretty little face up.” He was talking to someone, it was…Anabel. He could clearly see her dark gold hair glow, and her limp body under his foot, she was whimpering something that he couldn’t make out. Suddenly he felt as if he was on fire. How dare he. How dare he hurt her, Anabel was OFF limits. He ran out before Joey got the chance to notice him. “What the heck are you dong?!” he yelled. He ran smack into him knocking him right onto the ground, Conrad grabbed him by the shirt and yelled “Don’t you ever, EVER, touch her!” Joey looked smug but also somewhat scared; Conrad dropped him and went to pick up Anabel. Her head was bleeding pretty badly and she looked almost delusional. “Hang in there Bells,” he whispered to her, he wonted to whisper more but then Joey was saying something. Conrad was so mad he lost track of the conversation and eventually heard Dylan. “Get out of here Joey,” he yelled. Joey just stood there, looking back nervously. If he was mad, he could just picture Dylan’s rage. He loved his little sister. She was his whole world, even if he never said it to her. She was. Joey left and now him and Dylan were racing to get Anabel home. The tornado was only a mile away now. It was only a matter of time now. Conrad tried not to think about the fact that you should never let someone with a concussion fall asleep. It wasn’t safe. But they had no choice they couldn’t stop. So instead he kept humming her favorite song as a kid, hoping she could hear it. Finally when they made it home, Dylan’s parents came running out, crying and grabbing Anabel. They ran to the basement, along with him and Dylan and covered Anabel as they watched and heard the other side of their big white house get torn apart. Conrad remembered only muffled sobs from Dylan’s mom and his mom’s best friend. Mrs. Cooper. It felt wrong sitting there watching them all comfort her, it was there family moment. But as soon as Conrad scooted away Mrs. Cooper grabbed his hand and smiled, pulling him closer the group. The next day at school, him and Dylan walked up to Joey and did what they had to do. Together. The next day, Anabel opened her beautiful big green eye’s, giving him another chance, and another miracle. Saying the first good words he’d heard his whole life. “Life’s to short, you know” and smiled up at him and her brother like she’d just seen heaven itself.
“Pizza” she laughed.
“Dodge ball? How can that be a good thing?”
Conrad looked over at her and smiled.
“When you’re the one winning.” She rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut. This was the longest conversation he’d had with her before. The longest car ride he’s ever had before. After he’d picked her up they decided to go out for ice cream and then home. Somewhere between ice cream and home they’d lost there way, now driving more towards the point. “Okay what else?” he asked her putting on his bright’s as it became closer and closer to night.
“Night lights.” She said sounding sure of herself. He looked at her for a moment expecting her to be kidding.
“That’s one of your favorite things?”
“Yes. When I was younger Dylan told me no matter how dark it got, that one little light would save me one way or another. So I always carry a night light.” She pulled around in her bag and pulled one out for effect. It was light blue with the stars and the moon on it.
“I think I remember that,” Conrad said looking back at the road. “Dylan bought it for you when you turned five. He saved up all the ice cream money your parents gave him for a month. Drove him mad. I half expected him to give up and just make you a card or something, but oh no. He had to get you that night light.” Anabel smiled brighter. It amazed him how much older she seemed right then. Almost as old as him. “So where are we going anyway? It looks like were close to the point. Isabel’s there with Steve.” He looked at the point now clearly visible through the trees. “The point it is then.” He pulled over in the clearing and parked. The point was the place to go for a picnic in the woods or by the lake to go skinny dipping. Most of his dates he took here. It felt weird seeing now his best friends sister get out of the car and walk side by side to the lake and sit down under that huge spring moon. Almost normal in a weird way. Conrad studied her now. The way she held her hands just right by her hips, the way she pouted when she was thinking, the way her hips swayed… “Hey Anabel! Is that you?” Anabel’s best friend Isabel was running at them full force. She and Anabel leaped up and hugged like it’d been a million years since they saw each other instead of one day. That’s when he noticed how loving Anabel was. Always trying to please people, always showing she cared, always taking chances. He smiled. Now Steve was pacing slowly towards them, his shaggy hair flying every direction. Noticing this Anabel laughed. “Come on Steve, don’t be last, almost there,” her and Isabel kept yelling until he finally collapsed at there feet. He was Isabel’s new boyfriend but had been their friend for years. Conrad watched them pool him to his feet. He was a heavy linebacker. Conrad watched as he easily slipped his arm around Isabel, like it was nothing, and the way she leaned into him so carelessly. What if that was him and Anabel? The thought jolted him. Best friends sister. Best friends sister. “Conrad, you okay?” Anabel asked squinting her face up at him. The light hit her just right. And suddenly she had this glow about her, like an Angel. A beautiful Angel. ‘Azeal’ his self conscious thought. Suddenly if felt like heaven itself was singing. Conrad felt himself go, letting his imagination take wind.
Love is like jumping off a cliff, you can crash…or you can fly.
It was really happening. I could feel it. Almost every weekend I now spent with Conrad; going to the point, or to the movies, and most times just driving around. After Adam had called trying to put on the excuse that he had simply ‘forgot’ to come get me and was not with his ex Kaley Tassel, I had forgiven him but said I’d already moved on. And in a way I had, but I couldn’t help shake the feeling that I had never moved on from Conrad. Not Adam. He was always there now. He took me to school with Dylan, and out to Isabel’s, and even to the store. No matter what the request, he did it. Especially the day at the point. When he’d latter grabbed my hand and held it when the moon shone just right on the lake. Isabel and Steve were kissing, so it was weird just standing there, and then, just like that, he reached out and got it. Just like how I’d been reaching out to him for all these years. Finally. We now knew everything about each other, from favorite hobbies, to shows, to favorite late night activity. I had been nervous about that one, but his answer, to my shock and liking, was eating snakes and watching tv. Just like me. The spring was moving so fast now, his graduation so close, and Prom. The signs were every ware. This year it was being held at the point, right by the water side. ‘Your Dream To Remember’ said the signs one day when me and Isabel was passing by. I had looked at her, knowing she’d catch on, “There’s still time you have till may.” She pointed out. “He’s going to ask. Just wait.” So I had been. But now it was April fifteenth. My birthday and it was cutting close. I was ready to give up when Isabel took me aside and put her hands on my shoulders. “Anabel, calm down. It’s almost time for your party and your sweating piglets. He’s going to ask.” I shock my head disagreeing. “What if he already has a date?” I asked, “Or what if he doesn’t like me like that?”
“Hasn’t he been with you for like, months, non stop?” she asked. I nodded, knowing she was right. Again. So she just led me up stairs to my room, down the hall from his, and got me ready.
“There.” She said finishing my make up. “Now you are Prom ready.” She spun me around to face the mirror. My hair was up and a few strips down, it was all curly, and my make up was noticeable but looked natural, and I was wearing my favorite jeans and shirt. “Wow Is, thank you.” I said smiling. I turned and gave her a hug. “Well, it wasn’t all me, you just look good to began with.”
“Knock, knock,” we spun around to my door. Mom was smiling and holding a huge present rapped in purple and blue. My two favorite colors. She let out a gasp. “Oh Anabel you look so beautiful,” she said walking towards me faster, I gave her a quick hug and kiss, “Thanks mom, but Isabel did all the work, she even did my nails,” I held them out for her to see. They were a dark pink and purple with Angel wings. The Angel Wings had surprised me and when I’d asked she just said that they suit me. Ironic. “Wow, Isabel you look so good too,” she gasped taking in my best friend’s pixie face and dark almost black long hair. She was wearing dark blue witch just made her look tanner. I smiled at her as we glanced at each other. My mom looked at us back and forth and sighed loudly.
“Oh my little girls are growing up so fast.” She said, sounding deeply emotional. Here we go. “Mom,” I said putting my hand on her shoulder. Isabel did the same. “We will always be your little girls.” I’d been best friends with Isabel since the third grade, when she moved her from Kentucky. My mom had been so happy I finally had a best friend who was a girl none the least, and had loved her ever since. Witch was fine with Isabel, she had a mom and a dad who loved me too, but her mom was always busy with something; mainly her three younger siblings. Leaving me, her, and my mom very close. On her first break up she’d stayed over and played Uno with me and my mom talking about all the lies and broken promises till four in the morning when she finally conked out. My mom and I had to carry her hand and leg up the stairs and to my room. Isabel was family.
“Yeah mom, we have a sister hood. No one gets left behind.” Isabel said in her let’s-cheer-up voice. My mom sniffled and looked up. We smiled at her hopefully. “Oh your right. I shouldn’t ruin your big day. You two will understand when you’re my age with kids. Life just…goes on whether you like it or not. You girls just never forget were you came from. Never forget who you are.” She kissed our foreheads. I looked at Isabel knowing she was thinking the same as me. Just who exactly, were we anyways?
My moms present had been good. The pink shirt I had been wonting for the past two months. It was lined with beads at the end, and had white floral designs. I didn’t know if I could pull it off until I did. It had looked so good that they’d both made me were it to my party. Now I saw that it was perfect. Everyone I knew was here, from my family to my friends at school. There had to be at least seventy people. I was so shocked at the crowd I went around thanking them for coming and serving drinks and food. By the time ten came around, only about twenty people remained. And they were all the closest to me. Conrad and Dylan, now tagging Tori along behind him, was walking towards me. Tori held up a gift from her and Dylan. “Hey Tori,” I called smiling. She hugged me hard. Another plus about Tori, she wasn’t –oh-my-gosh-don’t-touch-me-you-creep kind of girl. She was just Tori.
“Happy Birthday” she said in her sing song voice. A lot like Isabel’s. She handed me my present.
“From me and Dylan.” She said as if making an excuse for my brother as why he had nothing. But I knew my brother. He always gave me his present later. “Thank you,” I said. She looked at me waiting. I got the hint and started to open it.
“Oh I hope you like it; I drove two towns over just to find the right one. I mean I think you will, it screams Anabel all over it. Even Conrad thought so.” I looked in at my present. It was glass and had written words over it. Along side were the ocean and an Angel with beautiful gold wings. She had long, long blond hair and green outlined eyes. At the bottom it said. Azeal. I read the saying out loud.
“To get through the ocean is a thousand pains. You never know how your journey will go, but you do know it will make it all worth it. Hold your heart for what you know, God has blessed your soul. True love is the greatest gift God could give.” I read it once over. Adid. It was like a ghost. There was something I couldn’t quite place that made the words and the Angel seem so familiar. Like a dream, but more real. Adid. What was that name? I looked up to see Conrad looking right at me. As if right to my soul. And he saw it. What it was I don’t know, but whatever it was it made him smile and gasp and then take my hand.
“This is not what I really wonted.” I said as Dylan maneuvered me through the mud. I felt my feet stick and the mud cling to my brand new good jeans. Crap. Isabel was going to be ticked. Him and Conrad laughed. I felt like hitting one of them.
“Are we there yet? And why can’t I see were we’re going? Dylan?” I heard a muffled curse as I felt one hand lose grip. Conrad had tripped. I held out my hand willing him to come back, and he did. Just a little muddier than before. “Be patient. Just wait.” Dylan said. I knew it was pitch black out by now, and this worried me a little. Dylan and I’d lived here are whole lives but in the dark, it was hard to navigate in the woods. I felt myself trip on a branch. Someone caught me. Dylan? No Conrad. He had his hand on the small of my back and his touch was so different from my brother’s. Dylan’s wasn’t like Conrad’s. Conrad’s were softer and more…knowing. Like there was just nothing wrong with it. It felt whole. I felt whole. “Duh dun duh” Dylan said taking off the blind fold. “Happy Birthday Anabel.” I looked around, completely at a loss for sound. It was amazing. My brother had cleared the trees around our old tree house and completely re did it. The tree house now had a balcony, and at the bottom lights were strewn around the tree. There was a couch at the bottom too, it was our old one that was a solid brown color, for when we decided to jump out of the tree with somewhat of a soft landing.
“It’s” I gasped.
“It’s amazing Dill” I yelled so overwhelmed.
“I thought you might like it. Me and Conrad have been working on it. I even put up that old hot tub mom bought.”
I looked at him like he was nuts.
“What?” He asked already climbing the bars to get to the tree house. And that’s when I noticed it. It was so much bigger than I remembered. They had to have added on.
“Come on,” Dylan called. I looked at Conrad who shrugged and started in out it too. I grabbed one handle bar at a time. Going up, up, up. Conrad gave me his hand on the final step and pulled me up and over. Again I felt myself go into shock. Dylan was blasting music on his stereo, while sitting on a small green couch. Placed in front of it was a tv just small enough to get In here, but big enough to really like it. The room added into another room.
“Ready for this?” he asked.
I just nodded.
“Okay, welcome to your new hang out Anabel,” he light the candles.
It was a bedroom. With a queen sized bed, witch was decorated in the new bed set I had gotten earlier from dad. He must have been in on it. Next the bed was a dresser, and then a tv just like the other. Conrad led me around the bed to the balcony. This one was just big enough to walk out on, the other, had the hot tube.
“What’s that?” I asked pointing to the little door by my dresser.
“Oh yea, I almost forgot.” He pulled me in and opened it. It was a bathroom, and with a huge Jacuzzi and mirror. I couldn’t help but grab him and hug him. For a moment we stayed like that. My arms easily rapped around him, my head fitting right into his shoulder. Then I felt it. Again it was a little shock. This time though, bigger. Conrad looked down at me. Silently saying what I knew had to be real.
“Anabel,” he whispered. I waited.
“I think I-“he was cut off Dylan’s yelling. I jumped back suddenly startled. “Hey Bells do you like it?” he asked all happy. Never mind I was seconds away from hearing the words I had been waiting to hear for years. “Um yeah. Yeah Dill I love it.” His smile was all it took to make me snap out of my mood. He had done all this just for me. I gave him a hug. “Thank you so much. I can’t wait to tell Isabel. She loves being outside too.”
“Oh she already knows, she helped decorate your room.” I looked at all my favorite colors and all the beads. I should have known she’d be in on it. She had been dying to stay in a cabin, maybe this was the closest she could get. Dylan was moving around now, talking about how he a Conrad had spent all day trying not to tell me. Dylan was notorious for his gifts for me, never telling once about the surprise. Conrad though, had wonted to tell me the minute they got to the party, witch of course would not be okay. I looked at Dylan now studding his curly dark hair, and blue eye’s. He looked so much more grown up, reminding me that he, and Conrad, had only one more month before graduating. And then going out into the real world, were ever that may be. This may be the last time it was just us three. Just like old times. I out my hand out stopping Dylan’s little speech on how not to tell a secret,
“Can we stay here all night?” I asked him. They looked at each other and then back at me.
“Sure?” was all Conrad said and Dylan just picked me up and twirled me. “Sure thing little sister, I’m glad you love it so much. Conrad go get the ex box, it’s under the couch down stairs, and I’ll go get the food and pop. Be right back Anabel.” He was off. Conrad just looked at me again and laughed. And then under all those stars and lights, he pulled me towards him, and kissed me.
Life is strange
Conrad’s whole philosophy of life was suddenly changing. No more slacking off in school, but instead staying up till eight in the morning studying his little brain away. Filling it with lost information that he had dumped years ago. It was almost time to graduate. And he had less than two weeks to pull and D+ to a B-. Not exactly a relaxing thing. Anabel had been helping. A lot. She was in all honors classes and had accelerated on her SAT’S. She taught him that, in order to get to a collage, he had to earn it with say, maybe a 98 on his test in English. Yeah right. But he kept on studying. It made her happy, and gave him a future so he’d just have to deal. Witch he was for the most part. On his free time, though, he had a job at Toney’s, the pizza place with Dylan, and was trying to balance it with seeing Anabel. It was hard, and a few times he heard Anabel complain under her breath, but never said anything aloud. She was all supportive of his new goals. It had been a month now, that they’d been dating, and each day felt like a new one. It had taken Dylan no time at all to get use to it, and Mrs. and Mr. Cooper were beyond happy. Apparently they had all, including my mom, wonted and waited for the day it would happen. The only catch was that he’d have to get a job.
“No boyfriend of my daughters going to be broke. He will be reliable and at times, in charge.” Was what Brock had said. Reliable and at times in charge…leading to a job with Dylan. It wasn’t all that bad. Toney was nice, and gave plenty of free pizza and snacks to workers, it was just…different. But it did pay off to get that pay check, especially in time to ask your girlfriend to the prom. That crap was not cheep. Conrad had been waiting for just the right time to ask her. He wonted to woe her. So three weeks after the night in the tree, he asked her expecting to get a big hug and kiss, but instead he got a big shove and then later kisses. Apparently she had been waiting a month, and still had no dress. Lucky he still had a tux left over from last year. But he decided to not mention that. Now as he sat waiting for customers at Toney’s, he looked through his phone to text Anabel.
‘Hey’, he texted.
‘Hey’, she texted back.
‘So how’s the Prom dresses coming? anything good?’
‘Not yet. I’m still waiting for the Taylor. Isabel wont even let me step foot in the door until she knows exactly my boost size.’
‘I could messier you.’ He texted back smiling. He could just picture her blushing as she read it.
‘Haha, funny Conrad. But I think I should leave it up to the professional guy.’
The GUY caught his attention. What did she mean guy? Weren’t they all girls?
‘Guy? There’s a Guy Taylor?’ It took Anabel a minute to text back.
‘Yes, they are professionals and honestly, Isabel and I think that most of them are gay.’
This helped calm him down. Still that most part…
‘Are you jealous?’ Conrad was a little taken back by that one. He wasn’t use to being the jealous boyfriend. In fact usually for any other girl, he wouldn’t have been. He’s have just shrugged thinking it wasn’t his problem, but that apparently didn’t apply to Anabel. She was different. Good or bad she was different.
‘No. I’m just worried that a man won’t be able to get your basic needs in to your Prom dress. Isn’t this costing you two hundred dollars? Guys aren’t good with dresses you know.’
This sounded like a good excuse for him. Suddenly the ding went off. Conrad tucked his phone in his pocket and smiled at the customer, trying to give that million what smile Dylan had told him to use. But his efforts were quickly put away when he saw who it was. It was in fact his ex. Tia Lee was cute and all, a little gothic with black hair and tons of black make up, plus a lip piercing, but he remembered her being beautiful, not just cute. She nodded to him as she stepped up to the counter. Tia never said hey, it just wasn’t in her vocabulary. “Nice new job,” she commented as he put her order in. Something in her voice made it seem not so nice though. Like working at a Pizza place was the worst disgrace you could have. “Thanks, Tony’s really nice with the food and all; free Pizza can never go wrong.” She seemed taken back by him blowing off her obvious diss, and he knew why. Back when she’d dated him he’d been a totally different guy. In fact he probably would have gone off on her for just that little remark about the Pizza place. “Oh. Well right.” He handed her, her Pizza. Inside his pockets he felt his phone buzz. “So,” she handed him his cash, “I heard your dating Anabel Cooper,” Conrad nodded, suddenly he knew what was coming. “What about it?” he asked sharply. Tia just sighed and looked out the door to her friends. They were parked up front in her crappy black Camry. Suddenly he noticed everything about Tia seemed black. They honked the horn. She turned back to him. “That’s just bogus Conrad.” She said finally. “Oh yeah, well that’s great to hear your opinion and all Tia, but honestly it wasn’t needed.” Her eye’s narrowed with his. No way was he going to let her diss his girlfriend, ex or not. “Conrad she’s so not your type,”
“Really? Then what IS my type Tia?” This caught her off guard if only for a second.
“A girl with personality, a girl who knows you inside and out. Someone who can meet your, certain needs,” she looked down and smiled. “Someone like me.” He laughed at that one. No way, no way.
“I’ve been thinking Conrad, about you and me, about us, and I think it’d be best if we got back together. I mean I know I messed up by cheating and all, but come on you’ve done it too. And with me, I don’t care who you do, as long as I’m on top of the list.” Conrad sat there listing to her speech until she was done. He tried to control his anger. How could he have been so stupid to date a girl like her? She had no idea what he had done with all those other girls, like say her best friend out there in the Camry. “Tia,” he said calmly, “I don’t care about getting back together with you; I don’t really care if I never see you again. But I do care about Anabel. More than you’ll ever know. So if you think I’m stupid enough to screw that up, well, maybe you should get your head checked.” Tia looked at him like he was an alien. They sat there staring for what seemed forever until the horn beeped again. This time though, Tia made a show of dumping the Pizza all over his head and flipping him a colorful finger as she left. Conrad turned to see Dylan in the back with Toney laughing, and couldn’t help but smile too.
Back in eighth grade Conrad had a reputation as being, well, a ladies man. He of course was raised a good farm boy, and back then knew right from wrong, but as puberty hit, so did him and Dylan’s testosterone. And it hit hard. Him and Dylan were the only guys in the whole middle school who could call themselves non-virgins by the middle of the year, each by two older chicks. For a while it was all great. Every girl liked experience, witch of course, they had. It went on all year, Conrad had the most, and leading Dylan with a total of twenty-eight ex’s to eighteen. He was the all boy’s champ. Back then though he had been in football too, and wrestling, witch helped obtain a lot of the cheer leaders. Especially one; Tia Lee. Tia was his age and was the hottest girl in his grade. Every guy wonted her, even Dylan at one point, but in the end, Conrad, got her. She had big brown eye’s that went with her tan and black hair. She was out going and back then, even somewhat nice. At least to Anabel she had been nice, the one time they had meet, when Conrad bumped into her in the hallway and introduced them on the spot. Anabel had smiled nicely and said hi, but turned the other way and left, leaving him and Tia to move on. She had even called her cute, Tia had always wanted a baby sister, and wanted Anabel to be it. “She’s just so adorable,” she would say. “Maybe before one of the dances I could do her hair. I can totally help her with the frizz,” seeing Conrad’s face she added, “I mean not that it’s bad, it’s actually very pretty that brownish gold, but she could have it fixed better by simply straitening it.” Conrad just turned and looked on. He liked Anabel’s hair, plus Anabel was sensitive enough that at hearing it was frizzing she’d break out in tears. And that he could never let happen. She was like his little sister; he couldn’t let Tia give her a complex. Tia grabbed his arm and they had kept walking. For a while it had stayed like that. The linking arms and kisses in the hall way, Conrad had even thought that he was in love with Tia, but then her best friend Lissa got in the picture. He had noticed her back then yeah, she was tall and curvy and blond, what guy didn’t notice that? But she wasn’t as pretty as Tia. Not by a long shot. But then two months till eighth grade graduation, she through this party. Everyone who was anyone was invited. But Tia had told him she had a doctor’s appointment, and to go ahead she’d call him latter. So he had. He went with Dylan. Funny how things had turned out. Halfway in the night Conrad had found his way into Lissa’s pants, and Dylan had found his soul mate. Tori. In the end though, Conrad found that Tia had done the same to him, just not with Dylan, but another former football player on the team. Adam King. Who had latter on broken her heart. Even with Tia being the preppy teen cheer leader type, the whole thing had hurt her and her ego enough for her to turn to drugs, and Goth. That’s how they had later; in ninth grade again get back together. This time though, he did fall for her, but again, to find Anabel in the mix. Her and Tia, strangely enough, became friends. And the more he saw Anabel and Tia, the more he realized he didn’t love Tia, not at all. Witch in the end, worked out for him fine.
Prom night. The night Conrad was in charge of making Anabel’s every wish come true. Witch he was trying, and doing so far, pretty good. All day, from the moment she woke up, he had planted surprises around the house. First was the candy on her pillow, second was the white roses, third her favorite band’s CD, all leading up to the rose petals leading her to the limo, where shrimp was being served along with sham pang. Oh yeah, he had worked HARD. Soon though, after all the work, he felt himself being energized. This was the night. He felt himself go all bubbly inside, witch had never happened to him at all. Not once. But…it was a good feeling.
“No.” Dylan looked at him now in the mirror; they were both wearing tuxes and brushing their teeth.
“No what?” Conrad gurgled.
Dylan spit and slammed the bathroom door.
“I’m serious Conrad, no messing with Anabel tonight. She’s been dying for this her whole life, don’t ruin it for her.” Conrad looked at him amazed. Where was this coming from?
“She’s been waiting for Prom her whole life?” he asked honestly curious.
“No. Well yes, but,” he blabbed, “that’s not what I mean. I mean she’s always liked you Conrad. Ever since we were little, and she’s really looking forward to tonight with you.” This was news to him. She had really liked him that long? Then it hit, yeah, so had he. Conrad looked at Dylan now, knowing exactly what to say. Dylan loved his sister, but so did he now. “Listen Dylan, you’re like my brother, my best friend,” he winced at the brother thing, maybe one day they WOULD be brothers. “So I’m not going to lie to you, I think I’m in love with Anabel.” Dylan stood there a moment looking at him in shock. Yes, he had said the L word. And on his best friends sister. Great. “Did you really just say you think you’re in love with my LITTLE sister?” Dylan asked quietly. Conrad nodded. Suddenly Dylan had him in a head lock. He could have gotten out of it, but well, he did kinda deserve it. “Okay Con, you’re my best friend so I’m not going to pound your face in yet,” Conrad smirked. “But if you break her heart-witch you have a great chance of doing-I will break your face. Okay?” He held on tighter, no wonder the guy’s Anabel had dated hated Dylan; he was the perfect big brother. “Yes sir.” Dylan let him go. Conrad shook his head, and fixed his tux. When he looked up though, Dylan was still watching him; eye’s fixed below his belt. “You better keep that thing under control tonight Conrad. I’m serious, Anabel is not like that.” Conrad knew. Oh he knew. Anabel wasn’t one to give it up lightly, she would even deck him if he tried, but he didn’t care. He didn’t need that yet. Sure he’d thought about it, but with Anabel it was different. This time it was going to be right. For both of them. “Dill I know. I know you’re worried and all, as a good big brother should. But,” he trailed on, “I’ve been with you and Anabel for years. I respect her more than I have any other girl; I’m not going to be that sleez bag again. I’m dead serious about her. I love her.” Dylan looked up at the ceiling as if asking the good Lord why he was letting his best friend date his sister. The answer must have been good since he looked back at him and sighed. “Let’s just go already.”
Not once had Conrad been in a limo. He had seen them plenty, yeah, who wouldn’t in a small town like this, they were there every year for peed sakes, but never been in one. So when he finally saw what him and Dylan paid their good two fifty a piece for, he was very much pleased. They had the shrimp, a bottle of wine, and of course a mini fridge. Plus cable TV. Anabel gasped as she walked in. “Oh wow, it’s so huge,” “Yeah, it has to be like, twenty feet wide,” Isabel said climbing in next, then of course followed Steve. “Nah. It’s just a little one. See there’s not even a hot tub.” They all looked at him, how would he know? “What?” he shrugged, “Like you guys never watch MTV.” They all muffled their yes’s as the driver took off. They had been waiting for over an hour till pictures was done, and already Conrad felt a bad mood coming on. He hated pictures. All they did was waist time, but when he pointed this out to Anabel she looked at him like he was a traitor to the human race. “Pictures,” she had said with a smug look, “Say a thousand words. What happens when you want to look back on this night ten years from now, when your memory had grown foggy, you’d have nothing but a broken thought.” He had asked her why he would want to remember the night, it was like any other just in formal ware, and she had actually sniffled at that one. He had apologized at once. It was after all, her night. So he had to stay in a good mood. For her at least. They finally pulled up to the park and got out. Anabel standing there in her beautiful white gown that had lace all around the bottom stood there dazed. She had never looked so beautiful. Her hair gleamed in the moonlight, and it cast a glow around her. Azeal. And her gown flowed out around her, she looked like Cinderella standing there in the moonlight. And he was so proud to be called her prince. A memory had jolted him. That’s what she had called him years ago. Her Prince. Conrad slipped his arm around her waist and kissed her. She looked surprised but quickly recovered, smiling shyly up at him. He led her under the rose gates to the dance floor they had set up under the giant Oak and Willow tree. Funny how one represented loss, as the other showed growth and gain. It wasn’t so bad, the Prom. Everyone Conrad had knew his whole life was there, and strangely, it felt a lot like old times. Back when his mom was alive, and everything was all right. And maybe it was. Maybe things were turning around. Maybe God was helping him get back on his feet. He thanked God for that. Adid. He shuttered. Once again he felt it. He couldn’t explain it but, somehow he knew their was a God, from the bottom of his soul he knew, and God, he knew, was smiling down on him as he twirled Anabel around and around, kissing her as she laughed.
“Anabel.” It made his heart race. Dylan jogged up to them as they paced back to the Limo. Anabel twirled around, “Hey Dill, me and Conrad are going to go back to the house or maybe the tree with Isabel, is that okay?” he looked at Conrad for a moment, then slowly said, “Yeah, you’ll be safe with Conrad. I TRUST him.” Conrad smiled at that one. “Of course Dill, I’ll make sure all three of them get home safe.”
“That’s not what I me-“
“Dylan come on!” Dylan cut off then looked to Tori. She nodded at him incorrigibly. “Okay. We’ll be there by two.” He mumbled. After telling them goodbye, him and Anabel finally got In the limo to see Isabel and Steve gone. Instead was a note that Anabel read and tucked in her pocket.
“Sooo,” he asked.
“So where’d they go? I thought they were coming with us.”
She looked away from him. He thought he saw her blush. What was going on?
“Um they decided to take another ride back to her place for a while. They’ll meet us later.” He shrugged at hearing this, but Anabel still wasn’t looking at him.
So how’d you like it?” he asked trying to force her to look at him. She shrugged. “That part was great. I really loved it. But I don’t think it’s over yet.”
“Well yeah, we still have are own party to go to.” Her ears turned a bright pink. What had he said? “Anabel, look at me, are you blushing?” she shock her head violently causing all those brownish gold curls to fly every where. They were driving now, but Conrad tried to poke his head through all those curls.
“Bells?” he asked softly. They were back on the side road. The one that lead them down to their house. “Stop right here,” she called to the driver. They stopped and got out. “Thanks sir, but we’ll walk home from here.” He told the driver, who looked at him suspiciously. Just because it was Prom night did not mean he was steeling the girl’s virtue for peed sakes. The driver did an illegal U turn and headed back into town. Leaving him and Anabel to their walk.
“So I’m guessing you want to go to the tree?” she just nodded. “Yeah, I mean, there’s something I want to do.” He just nodded. Okay, so what was it? Instead of asking this like he had he reached out and took her hand. There it was again, that little spark. She felt it too. He could tell. Together they walked hand in hand, to the tree house. The lights were all on around the tree and inside, it almost looked like a light house in all the woods. That big wooden tree house, lighting up the woods. He led her up stairs. We they got up there, Conrad took off his Tux jacket and sat down next to her on the couch. She started to fidget.
“Okay that’s it,” he said, “What’s wrong you haven’t even looked at me since we stepped into that Limo.” She turned to look at him, her eye’s were all wide, and face blood red, then all of a sudden she blurted “I love you.” He looked at her, stunned for a moment. Then a slow smile reached over his face. He caressed her lips then, “Anabel Kaitlyn Cooper, I love you with all my heart.” Then he was kissing her. It seemed like forever later that she finally whispered, “Conrad, I want to.” He sat there looking at her. Finally, “Want to what?” her whole face lit up, and then suddenly she was dragging him to the bed room. A light bulb went off inside his head. How could he have been so stupid? “Anabel wait,” he said pulling her to a stop. “Don’t you want to?” her voice was shaking, but her face looked determined. “Of course I do, but…I don’t want you thinking this HAS to happen. I don’t want to pressure you into something you are not ready for.” He searched her face for any sign of a break through, instead he found nothing. She was blank. It was the first time ever; Conrad had not been able to read someone. “Conrad, you haven’t even once brought it up. You haven’t pressured me into anything. I’ve been the one trying to seduce you.” She said this with a laugh. “I really want to, and I know this isn’t your first time…but well I don’t really care. I want you to be MY first.” He looked at her for one more moment. How was it fair though? She wasn’t like the other girls, how could he steel this away from her? She deserved a virgin too. The thought of another guy with her, brought Conrad over the edge. No way was another guy going to touch her. No way. But still, she deserved so much more than he could give. Why was she choosing him?
So he asked her.
“Anabel, do you realize you could have any guy, and I mean any, you want.” She looked at him taken back,
“So why are you choosing me? I don’t understand you deserve someone so much better than me; you deserve someone who’s pure all ways than one. Me? I’m just tainted, I’ve been stupid and dumb, but I can’t take it back. Believe me I want too, but I can’t take it back.” Anabel took a step towards him. “Conrad,” she touched his face and he leaned into her palm, “I have always wanted you. For years I’ve been waiting for you to finally notice me. Not as your best friends little sister, but as a girl, a real girl who you could like. Ask Dylan, ever since we were little I’ve always dreamed of marring you.” This last part made him open his once closed eyes. She kept going, “And then you got into all that stuff with Joey and I tried to move on. I really did, but every time I pulled away, you’d just come right back into my life. It’s…almost like fate.” She looked at him shyly now. “I love you Conrad. I always have. I don’t care how tainted your body is, because inside, inside I know it’s much, much different.” He studied her face for a while. How had he missed it, all these years of fooling around? He had been waiting. Now he knew, he had been waiting for her to finally catch up to him. And now that she had, he had no choice, he loved her. He couldn’t get away if he tried. He loved her. “What about when I graduate?” he asked silently. “when I move to college?”
“You’re going to state, so every weekend you and Dill can come and see me.” She said this as if it were a well thought out plan. “I can wait for you if you wait for me.” Her big green eye’s glowed with hope. He caved. He picked her off her feet and carried her to the bed, closing the door behind him.
Two years later
Life’s what you make it. So try and make it right.
The slow moving wind crept up under my sweater. You’d think it be a little warmer by now. Not. The Christmas songs kept playing as me and Isabel made are way up Maine St. The whole street along with every store had something Christmas up. The bakery had the weird one eyed Santa, Kohls had the rain deer, and the light post all had the streamers. Christmas was literally, everywhere. By the time we’d made it halfway down are Christmas list it was already dark. I had two hours to curfew. Two hours to prepare for heart break. Isabel, syncing my loss in Christmas cheer, to me up to the Mall. It was my favorite place to be during the Holidays. Me and her use to always go get a picture on the purvey Santa’s lap, who was always a senior. This year it looked like Tyler Mikes. He wasn’t so bad. “Come on Anabel, it’ll be fun. Plus you know, Tyler’s a real hottie.” She waved her hands in front of me. I sighed, knowing I was being no fun. It’s just; ever since It happened I hadn’t really been in the right kind of mood. But I let Isabel drag me to the hot Santa, if only to make her happy. We waited in line forever, watching each little kid yell and scream as their happy moms placed them on Tyler’s lap. Tyler kept looking at us, probably wondering why in the world two other seniors were there, but we ignored it. When we made it up the line, we giggled and gave the elf her money, then sat down right in Tyler’s lap. He seemed to like that. “Aren’t you Anabel Cooper?” he whispered under his breath. “Yeah, why?” He blushed. “Smile for the camera” the perky elf said. “Oh ah, I’ve just noticed you around school. Hey I get off in about fifteen minutes, do you ah think I could by you coffee or something?” the elf snapped the picture. I looked at Tyler. “Um yeah sure, I’ll be waiting by the Starbucks okay?” he smiled all big and bright. Jeez, Isabel was right he was hot. “Okay, I’ll be right over.” He said all happily. Then I looked at his close. “Just not in these,” he reassured. Isabel grabbed my arm and led me away. “Oh my God,” she said as soon as we were by the Abercrombie, “Oh my God. He totally just asked you out.” I gave her this weird look. “On a date I mean,” she fixed. I walked a little faster looking in at all the new close in this season. Apparently it was sweaters and dark jeans. Isabel was still rambling on about the importance of a good first impression. On a date, she means. But we both knew what she was really happy about. Maybe I was finally moving on. I wonted to tell her not to get her hopes up, I mean usually I would be done and over it by now but…it was Conrad. I was never myself with Conrad, at least not my cool, calm, and collected self. Finally we came to the window by the food court. Inside was a nicely made weeding dress and ring. The weeding dress was new, but made to look old. It was all white and lacy, sleeveless and had a lilac tint to it underneath. I suddenly stopped causing Isabel to run right in to me, “Hey-“ but she cut off too. Looking speechless at the dress then back to me.
“Oh. Anabel…it’s…it’s so YOU.” She said her voice a little shaky. I knew what she meant. Somehow the dress looked so…important. I grabbed her arm and we walked inside. The small little store was called ‘Breyers’ and, it looked, family owned. It was a weeding shop, with all the rings and tux’s imaginable, I had no idea why I had walked in here. Witch is exactly what I told Isabel a few moments later. But for some odd reason we kept on walking through it. It was like we were being dragged by some unseen force.
“Hello ladies, how may I help you?” a perky voice asked. We stopped looking around long enough to see the clerk behind the counter. She was tall and had very brown skin. It took only a minute for me to recognize her. Tia. “Tia?” I asked smiling. Tia looked at me for a moment and then was jumping over the counter to give me and Isabel a hug. “Anabel and Isabel, I thought that was you,” she was laughing now. “Oh girls look at how much you’ve grown! I can’t believe it,” I looked at Isabel, had we really changed that much? Give or take a few inches maybe, but we still looked about the same. I guess being away at college makes you forget easy. “Tia, how are you so tan?” Isabel said looking a little annoyed. Usually she was tanner than Tia, but Tia this year, well, she looked almost brown. Her black hair and dark eye shadow just made her skin pop even more. Two years ago, when she was still in her Goth stage, Tia had preferred to stay out of the sun, casting an odd glow of white onto her normally tan skin. It almost looked creepy. But of course Tia somehow pulled it off. “Well,” she said, “The college is right by the ocean, I mean, literarily, I can walk there in like five minutes, anyways since I love the Ocean I’ve decided to go into the business by the Sea.” We both looked at her. “You know all the little cute stores and restraints and hotels and stuff?” I nodded. “That stuff. I’m going to start one all one by myself.” “Oh Tia, that’s, well, that’s just grate. I mean were would you want to start at? There’s so many options,” Isabel loved talking business; it was her greatest wish to start one of her own. She just wasn’t sure what it would be. Tia had this huge smile on her face as she leaned onto the desk. She must really love what she wants to do. This caused me to think even more, about school. There were so many options I could take. Even Mr. Richard thought I had a lot of options and places of interest. For example, I loved kids. But I also loved the Ocean. And I loved to help. Old, new, middle, teens, I just loved helping people. I could also give advice. That narrowed it down to about 50 jobs right there. Each like the other, none standing out. My parents thought it was a good thing. It was a blessing from God, all my talents. Witch might very well be true. I was blessed and I was happy. I just wished I had an easy choice. “When the job is right, you’ll just know it.” Isabel had said, “It’s like religion, when you find God you just know. You know were your suppose to be.” The words had haunted me ever since. It was like religion. What did it mean exactly? I had been raised a Christian and I have always felt right with God. After all, he WAS God, he loved me for me. Is that what she meant? That like God, the right job would just find me? That was a little extreme to put a job. Even for Isabel. As they stood their talking I looked around, noticing all the little ins and odds of the shop. I strolled over to where an Angel statue was. The Angel was tall and firm, and he looked, well, bad. But Good at the same time. His wings were a pure white and his eye’s such a deep blue. It made his dark curly hair stand out even more. I touched it slightly, it looked so fragile. “His name his Adid,” I tore my eyes away from the beautiful Angel to see Tyler standing there admiring it too. For the first time I realized how good looking he was. He had blondish hair and really bright brown eyes, the one’s that kinda glowed when he was happy, I bet. “He was the Angel of War and Hate.” I looked down at the Angel. His features were strong and mean…but maybe more misunderstood. “He doesn’t seem evil.” I said slowly. “Just maybe a little dark…but Good. Good at heart. Besides he’s an Angel, Angels are loving.” Tyler smiled at me like he knew a secret and had to tell it to a five year old. “Oh he’s good at heart. He loves God obviously, and of course Azeal,” “Who’s Azeal?” I asked sharply. That name…what was it about that name? “Azeal is the Angel of Love and Kindness.”
“How could such different things love each other?” I asked not quite sure I understood. “God, I’m assuming you’re a Christian right?” I nodded, “Okay, well that makes this easier I guess, God has a way of creating a balance between Good and Evil. There’s the ultimate good, and the ultimate evil. The balance has always been off wake, but some day everything will right itself again. This is the second coming of Jesus Christ. And then, that day, the balance will be completely good. You’ve heard of ‘opposites attract’ right?” again I nodded not sure where this was all going. “Well, that direct saying comes from an Angel. Describing Adid and Azeal’s relationship. God makes opposites. A perfect example is them. While Adid has mostly hatred, he has love too, but with Azeal, who has mostly Love and Kindness, the balance is perfect, together as one they are Good. Fitting together perfectly unperfect.”
“A direct quote?” I asked skeptically. Tyler smiled even more. “Yes. I believe in Angels Anabel. I know their real. I can see them.” I looked at him for a moment, to in shock for anything else, then quickly turned away. He grabbed my shoulder though. “Please Anabel; I’m not crazy I swear,”
“It’s always the crazy one’s who think their not crazy,” was my reply. This caused him to laugh. What a nut job. “Anabel you can not tell me you don’t believe in Angels. For peed sakes we go to the same church, I know you’re just as religious as me.” He looked at me for a second, “Maybe even more, but I’m telling you the truth here, I’ve seen Angels. And let me tell you they flock to you like birds to worms.” This made me stop at the counter. Just behind me was that dress. “It’s not that I don’t believe in Angels Tyler, I do, but come on, SEE them? You expect me to think you’re for real?” Tyler looked a little hurt. He looked at me sadly, the brown flame dimming in his eyes. What had I done? “Tyler...” I said softly. He looked at me with those sad eyes. I could tell when people were lying, and he was most certainly not. I took a breath. “Okay.” I heard myself say. “I guess…well…I believe you.” The look in his eye’s brightened immediately, his features now glowing with joy. I had to smile at it. “Really? Oh man that was hard to say,” he gushed. “I really thought you were going to run screaming that I was a loon.” I laughed. Truth was, I just might have. “But Anabel I’m telling you the outmost truth. When I was born, my Grandma said she saw my dad as an Angel there watching over me. She said ever since then she has believed in them. And I can see them too, but only sometimes. I think when they want me too.” I sat down outside the shop’s bench. He plopped down right next to me. “And I looked it up, and a long time ago some Priest said that an Angel had come to him telling him all about the end of the world and the Angels that would be in it. The Angel said he came to reassure him that God would always be with us and there would be Angels of His that would help the lost. Those Angels that would help the people that got left behind, you know because they haven’t got saved yet, get saved a go to heaven.”
“And two of those Angels would be Azeal and Adid?” I asked quietly. “Yes I took in all of this for a minute. Inside I heard Isabel and Tia still talking up a storm. I got out my phone to text her bye and that I was going to go home, when Tyler eyed my phone and blushed. “Do you want my number?” I asked, he sorta looked embarrassed but said, “Um yeah, if that’s okay with you I mean, you don’t have too.” I put my fingers over his lips to shush him. It worked. I pulled out his phone and installed my number, putting my contact name as ‘Bells’. He looked at it for a minute then smiled. “Bells?”
“Yes. It’s just a-“
“Old nickname, yeah I know. I’ve heard your brother calling you it.” Hearing about Dylan made me nervous. By now he and Conrad had to be home. Why, the thought made me so giddy and sad, I had no idea. Well, maybe a little. “Hey Tyler, can I take a rain check on that Coffee? My brother just came home for break and I’m supposed to be home in a bit.” Tyler jumped up when I did and ran a hand through his hair. It was shaggy, but just right. “Oh of course, do you, ah, want me to walk you to your car?” I was about to say no, when something came to me. Tyler was way nice, and he was cool to talk to. I realized I hadn’t really thought about Conrad once with him talking to me. That was a nice change. “Yeah, sure.” I said. That big smile spread out across his face, “Oh ah, should we tell Isabel?”
“Already did. She drove her self so she’s okay, and she’s talking with Tia so I don’t want to bug her.” He nodded at this like it was all very, very true. He, I realized, was almost childish. But in a good way. We walked together to my small little Blue Ford hand me down from Dylan, talking about all sorts of stuff, mainly religion. Witch was fine by me, I felt almost ashamed for not going to church lately. And I was a girl who loved God. When I got to my car I kissed him on the check and left. A second later I got a text from Isabel,
‘Talk about ditch much?’ it said. I turned on the radio and blasted it.
‘Is, I had to go, I’m really, really sorry. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow ok?’
‘2 morrows Christmas Eve Anabel.’
This stumped me. I had totally forgotten.
‘Ok then how about Friday?’
‘…fine but you owe me a double mocha I’m so in the mood for one.’
I stopped texting and turned onto my road. It was all quite and light up for Christmas. I honked as I passed so of out more distant neighbors, when they saw it was me they waved. I kept going farther back, trying not to think about how nerves I was. Finally, my big white house was in sight and the lights were all on. I stopped the car and put it in park, trying not to vomit as I got out.
Never had I been so scared. Not ever. Not even when Joey had me in the woods. But as I sat there trying not to stare at Conrad, I couldn’t get my hands to stop shacking. “Oh look at you boys,” mom gushed snapping picture after picture of us ‘kids’. Dylan looked about the same, if not taller, and Conrad…well he looked the same too. Just in a different kind of way. Dylan looked at me from across the room and winked. He knew I hated pictures. When I had first seen him, I admit, I ran straight into his arms. I had missed my big brother. More than I should have. After all, now I had the house to myself. But now that just sorta made me sadder. I liked having my overly protective bro around. Even if he did stink up the bathroom. I smiled. When Dylan was around I couldn’t stay mad and he knew it. “Well ma, we are 20 now, I mean we gotta grow.”
“Don’t sass me,” mom snapped. Lately she was so…touchy. Instead of doing what I would of done, witch was just walk away; Dylan stood up and whispered something in her ear. Mom looked up at him and hugged him tight. What was this? Whatever it was they sure didn’t tell me. So I kindly looked away. Out the window to the now snow covered woods, when I felt someone staring at me. I looked around until I found Conrad’s gaze. He was just sitting there staring at me. When he saw I noticed he smiled. I tried not to, really I did, but he had me. I smiled shyly back, but got up and went to the kitchen, where my dad was cooking a late night snack.
“Hey dad.” I said getting into the fridge for a pop. “Hey kiddo, how’s it going?” he said all cheerful. That’s what I love about my dad; he’s always just so low maintained. It was calming. “Oh, you know the same.” He stopped stirring and looked up. “That good huh?” I sat down at the table and opened my pop, taking in all its sugary goodness. “Yes. Me and Isabel went shopping today and meet this guy,” My dad raised his eyebrows. I knew he didn’t really like all these guy things but he’d like to know. The guy did ask me out. “Oh really?” he asked. “Yea, his names Tyler, my age goes to our church.” This made him relax. “Oh. I know his dad, good man. Did he ask you out?” I nodded. “It’ll have to wait after Christmas.”
“And he has to come meet us afterwards or before hand.”
“I know, dad.” He shrugged. “Okay then kiddo, you’re good. Where’s your brother and Conrad?” I shrugged towards the living room. “Mom’s having a melt down.” This caused him to look at me again. “I mean, she’s okay now, I think it’s just having them back is all. All those motherly instincts kicking in.” I added quickly. My dad went back to stirring. “I think…Anabel, well me and your mother are-“
“Hey Dad” Dylan and Conrad walked in smiling. Both went to hug him. I sipped my pop a little more. “Watcha cooking? We’re starved right Conrad?”
“Oh yeah, being this good looking is fulfilling work.” I blushed. “Oh, I’m just making some of my famous chocolate Christmas cake.” At the sound of this Dylan and Conrad cheered. Saying how they had missed the good food. I got up with my pop and went to my room, a little nauseated from seeing Conrad. No sooner than I picked up my new book a knock came from the door. Expecting it to be Dylan saying he wanted to play a game, I yelled, “Come it” a second later the door opened and in came Conrad. Looking down at my boxers and tank I scrambled to get under the covers. He blushed and turned, “Oh I- ah- I thought you were decent I’ll just ah come back when your done.” He was halfway out the door when I stopped him. “Conrad it’s okay. I’m decent now.” He turned as if to check for himself and grinned. It made my heart jump. Oh God why was he so cute? “Hey,” he said, he started to pace over the room. “Hi.” He looked up at me. Those eyes.
‘Anabel Kaitlyn Cooper I love you’ I had to shake the memories out of my head. I can’t start thinking about the past now. Conrad moved to my shelves and picked something up. He turned so I could see it. “It’s that Angel you got for your sixteenth remember?” I did. He handed me the Angel so I could read it again.
“To get through the ocean is a thousand pains. You never know how your journey will go, but you do know it will make it all worth it. Hold your heart for what you know, God has blessed your soul. True love is the greatest gift God could give.” At the bottom there was Azeal. The realization hit me. “That’s the Angel Tyler told me about, well one of them I guess, I totally forgot about this.” I examined the glass plack. It still made my heart soar. It almost seemed like hope. Over my shoulder Conrad was staring at me. “Tyler?” he asked. I put the plack down. Of coarse it’s okay for him to have a girlfriend but not me. Yeah, right. “Yes. He’s my friend.” Conrad snorted and ran his hand through his hair. I had just seen Tyler do this so why did it bother me so much we Conrad did. Just the way it calmed him, the way his whole body reacted to it made me soar. Wow. I needed therapy. “Friends are good. They keep you out of trouble for the most part.” Was he implying that I had been getting into trouble? What had my brother told him? “I’m not getting into trouble okay? I don’t know what Dill has told you but I’m not. I just have made more friends is all.”
“All friends of the male species?” he had me there.
“Maybe.” Was all I said to that. What should he care? It wasn’t like I was WITH them or anything. Because of him I wasn’t WITH anyone. “Be careful Anabel. Don’t be stupid.” I looked at him amazed. Why would he care? He’s the one who just up and left me here like I was trash. Well I was no one’s second. Not even Conrad’s. “I’m not doing anything with anyone Conrad okay? There just my friends that I party with.” He snickered. “What?” I snapped. “It’s just you seem so…defensive. So unlike you Bells. What’s going on?” I felt the hot sticky ness coming. I couldn’t cry. Not in front of him. “Nothing. I’m fine okay? Perfectly great. Now will you please leave? I have reading to do for finales.” He looked at the book I had been trying to cover with my leg. “’Perfectly Impossible’ doesn’t sound like final stuff to me.” Dang. “Well…it helps open up my mind to new things. Helps me study.” He smiled at that. “No use lying, I can see right through you.” I blushed at that. Conrad still knew me…”Anabel,” he sat down beside me on the bed, taking his hand and pulling up my chin so I could see him. “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry about what I did. I never meant to hurt you. I didn’t mean for you to…break. But you have to understand why I did what I did. We couldn’t have wor-“
“Stop!” I put a hand over his mouth. “Stop acting like you care, it just makes it all worse. And never, never did you ask what I though. Maybe we could have come up with a solution, maybe it could have worked. But you stopped. You just left without even saying goodbye, leaving that stupid note. You didn’t even come home last year! I sat around waiting all Christmas for some kind of explanation. Just waiting, like a pathetic dog, for you to come through that door. And you never did. Not once. So don’t sit here and act like you care about me, because obviously you don’t.” For a second, a split second, a flash of pain went through him. Like a shock wave running through his body. He took a minute to recover. “Are you done?” he whispered. “Ye-yes.” I chocked out. I touched my check. Great, I was crying. “Good. Because I have something to say.” He let out a long sigh. “Anabel, I care. I care a lot about you. More than I should say. The reason I didn’t show up last Christmas it because I couldn’t face you without getting on my hands and knees and begging for you to take me back. I’ve never loved a girl as much as I loved you. Even with all these collage girls, I thought I couldn’t handle it, I thought I might cheat, but then I realized all along that I didn’t have to worry about that. Because none of them hold my intereest like you. Not one. I know I screwed up big time, I can never forgive myself for that, but God knows I love you Bells. With all my heart.” This time it was me to get the shock wave. He still loved me. Conrad still loved me. Suddenly the tears became a mixture of anger, joy, and confusion. He watched me for a moment and then let out a long breath. “I see. Well it has been two years. I should have known. I’m sorry for the interruption. I guess I’ll see you around.” More like tomorrow is what I wanted to say. But for some odd reason, I couldn’t speak. Or move. I couldn’t explain any of how I was feeling to Conrad. To wait, I loved him too. So instead he lightly shut my door, leaving me to cry again for a whole new meaning.
‘He did WHAT’
‘He told me he still loved me, and wanted me back.’
‘And you just sat there looking like an idiot???’
‘For the most part yes. I just…I was in shock.’
‘have you seen him today?’
‘no I cant find him any were. And Dill said to just leave him alone for now.’
‘Your bro knows?’
‘Only parts of it. He doesn’t know I still feel the same way.’
‘oh God Anabel, how stupid are you? Go find Conrad. God knows you love him more than any other boy around here. Maybe this will get you back to normal.’ I flinched at this last Text. Isabel was right though. I had to go find him. It was Christmas Eve, and he hadn’t even shown up for mom’s special breakfast. His favorite Cinnamon Pancakes. I grabbed my coat off the hanger and flung on my big old boots. It was snowing pretty hard out there. Last thing I needed was frost bight.
‘Your right. I’m going to find him. Text you when I do.’
‘Good girl.’ I ran out the door and looked around. I had no idea were it was I was going, but something pulled me towards the woods. They looked ghostly covered in all the snow and ice. This was the coldest winter in our towns history. And we were clear by the Ocean. But that hadn’t stopped the ice storm from blowing in. It only got worse. If Conrad was out here, he had to be lost. I knew these woods just as good as him, and I was getting lost. The freezing ice just kept coming at me. I had to keep wiping it off my face so it wouldn’t stick. It seemed hours and hours later my feet began to slow, the water weighing them down. I had to keep going. Conrad was out here I just knew it. What if he needed my help? What if he was stuck out here without a clue on how to get home? So I kept pushing. Once I took of my glove to look at my hands. My figures were numb and turning purple. I had to find him fast. “Conrad!” I yelled. No use above the wind. “Conrad!” I tried even louder. I tripped over something at my feet, sending me face first into the little creek that ran through the woods. It was frozen but as my weight hit the ice it broke through, sending me into a shock of pain. It was so cold. “God,” I called lightly, I struggled to get up and failed. “God I need you, please help, help me find him safe and well. God please.” Something strange happened then. I passed out.
I was dreaming. Only I wasn’t. I was worm though, so it was okay. This must be the happy place. It was all white, and big. But the air itself tasted ten times better than down there. And here, here I felt safe. Like God was here with me. “Am I dead?” my voice sounded a little lighter. “No.” I looked around. Only air. But I knew…I knew that voice. “Azeal.” A shock went through me. “Look at yourself.” I did. I looked down. My hair was flowing long and blond, and I was glowing a strange kind of gold. I had wings. I was Azeal. “God?” I asked into the bright fog. “Pleas tell me that’s you.” I knew this sounded pitiful especially if I was an Angel, but I was scared. I was suddenly very frightened. Because I knew. Suddenly I knew what was going to happen. “God please I’m scared.”
“Do not be scared child. Yes I am here. I have always been here with you. Watching and looking over you with your guardian Angel.” I saw a face. “Eva?” I asked almost Curtin of the name. She was…my sister. “Yes. It is Eva.”
“But why now God? Why dose it have to happen now?”
“I love all my children Azeal. And I know it’s hard to understand but it will all work out. It will be worth all the heartache and pain you will see along the way, but Azeal you must remind them that I am here. I am with all my children, better or for worse. I will never leave them. I just need faith in my son and what he has done. Just Faith. You and Adid will touch many lives Azeal, bring them home. That is your mission. Along with Adids.” I saw the truth to all these words and felt my heart fill with pure love and joy. More than anyone could ever handle. “Let your love for me and heaven bring you to those who need it Azeal. Rest assured I am always with you. I love you daughter. Never forget that.” As God’s last words trailed on, I felt the mist go, and the air, and suddenly I was waking up in Adids arms.
“Anabel? Anabel can your hear me?” Conrad kept on saying. I felt him left me up and over his shoulder, the movement made me want to barf. The tears on my face were dry and frozen, I couldn’t move anything. Not even my lips to tell him I was fine. I drifted in and out of consciousness . That was a crazy dream. It felt so real. It felt way, way to real. Azeal and Adid. My thoughts were circling around them. The name I was always hearing in my head, the connection to God, it all made since. I was an…Angel. “Were almost home Bells, hang in there, hang in there.” Was Conrad’s soft cooing. I drifted my eyes open to see the big willow. It was only a matter of time before we were home. I felt the heat before I heard the gasps. It felt so good, my body was numb and weak, but right then I felt like jumping up and down. “Oh my God!” I heard my mother yell. “Aaron! Come look at this! Here Conrad put her down here, you sit down too, I’ll go get blankets.” Dylan’s voice came next. “Con? Bells? What the heck happened?” except he didn’t say heck. I felt him sit down next to me. Conrad had to be on the other end of the couch. I wanted to talk to him. I tried my hardest to get up; I even managed to lift my arm that was completely blue when I saw it. Did this mean I had frost bight? Oh God I hope not. Dylan saw and laid me back down. “Careful Bells, you might hurt yourself. Conrad’s okay, he’s right here.” I loved how my brother knew me so well. Just then my mom bustled in with my dad, caring blankets and cups of hot chocolate. My dad came to me first. “Bells,” he whispered, I tried again to sit up. My mom was putting blankets on Conrad who was sitting up shaking, watching me. I felt my face get all hot. I wanted to cry. He had saved me…again. Even after what happened last night. He saved me. I looked at our Christmas tree with the Angel on top. For a minute I could have sworn it was looking right at me and winking. But then my dad was saying this that made no since, so I had to look away. “Thank God you found her when you did Conrad. Any later and I…I don’t think she would have made it.” My dads voice broke. And I saw my mom come put her arms around him. Soothing him as he cried. ‘Thank you God’ I silently prayed. ‘Thank you,’. “I’m…I’m sorry d-d-dad. P-please don’t c-cry.” I said shacking. They all looked at me for a moment, my dad seemed to catch his breath, and my mom cried harder, and Dylan and Conrad just kept looking at me as if any minute I would start hyperventilating. “Well. It looks like you two are going to have to sleep down here tonight.” Mom said. “Your rooms are way to cold. Here, me and dad will light a fire for you.” As they scrambled to get the fire going, Dylan patted my leg. “Bells, what were you thinking? I told you not to go after him?” he whispered harshly. I knew this had been coming. “I-I had t-to tell h-him the- t-truth.” I stammered. This caught Conrad’s attention. “You what?” he asked silently. I sat up a little more to get a good look at him. “Conrad, I-I love you still. I always have. Ever since I was a little girl. I never stopped. And l-last night something came over m-me. I was in shock. Pl- please take me back.” Dylan stood there for a second then handed me my hot chocolate. Yeah, like I didn’t just confess my love for his best friend. Conrad sat there staring like what I had said made no since what so ever. Then, “You put me through so much crap Bells, you know that?” my heart raced. I looked away. “But, and this is a big but, I love you too. Can you believe that?” he laughed at what seemed a hysterical joke to him. “What?” I demanded. “After all the things I’ve put you through can you believe I love you too?” he stopped laughing for a moment to consider his next words. I knew Conrad; I knew what he said next meant a lot. “You are the craziest most annoyingly cute, girl I have ever known. Why would you like a guy like me?” I considered this for a moment, when, “Because you’re dreamy on the eyes” Dylan held up my old diary and flashed a page. “See right here,” he pointed as I tried with all I could to get up. “Mom!” I yelled. My mom poked her head around the corner. Funny, I didn’t see her leave the room. “Dear Diary today is my fifteenth birthday and Conrad-“ Dylan rang out in a girly voice. “Dylan! Mom he’s reading my diary,” I tried again to sit up. “Anabel don’t move, Dylan shut up and put your sisters diary away before I go get yours. Now me and your father have maid this nice Christmas Eve dinner so you had better enjoy. Okay?” mom barked. I smirked at Dylan as he put it down. “Okay ma, just don’t get all sensitive.” Dylan mumbled under his breath. We all barked out a laugh as mom took him by the ear and lead him to the kitchen to give him the spoon.
I woke up with a start to see that it was still dark outside. I wondered what had woke me up when I looked over to see Conrad reading something. It was my diary. I shot up and snatched it. I must have scared him half to death because he let out a not so nice word.
“Holy cow you scared the crap out of me.”, except he used more colorful language. “What are you doing reading my diary? That’s personal.” I snapped. He just grinned and put his hands behind his head. “I just wanted to see what he was talking about. That’s all.” The look he gave me made me look and see what page he was on. It was Prom Night. I felt my face go a deep, deep red. “What did you read?” I demanded. He looked a little embarrassed. Good, he should be. “Just that ah-you know, that night meant a lot to you.” He looked away again. This time, he was the one who went a bright read. “Of course it did silly. I lost a lot that night, but gained even more.” I just wanted to be with you.” He took my hand and kissed it. “You are with me Bells. We’re together. So you haven’t answered my question yet. What makes you love me?” since he was holing my hand and could feel my heart rate go through the roof, I figured the truth couldn’t hurt. “Do you remember when I was eleven and you snuck my out by old Clides house?” he nodded. “And he came out with that old gun and was firing it,” I smiled at the memory but continued, “And I remembered praying to God to help me. To give me a miracle. I was so scared he was going to blow our heads off with that thing, he was crazy, and then the thunder came and you told me it was okay and then he left and you hugged me. You hugged me and this little spark just pulsed through my body. I had never really thought of you like that before then, but in that moment I feel in love. And it’s been that way ever since.” We sat in silence for a bit. Both of us thinking and looking at the fire place. The dim light set of the tree making the whole room glow. Underneath the tree was a whole bunch of presents. I wondered when Santa came. My dad always came at the same time every year. Exactly at four. It was now four thirty. Conrad had to have seen. He couldn’t have read almost a whole diary in half an hour. “So you love me because I’m your childhood hero?” he finally asked. I laughed at that one, making him look even more confused. I loved taking him off guard; he was usually so…observant and confident. I was glad I could make him feel more. “No silly. God is my hero, but you, yeah you are too in a way. But I love you because you have this way about you. You…you’re not like me at all, but at the same time you are. You bring out the worst and best of me all at once. You make me feel real. You know?”
“Yeah, I know.” He looked down. “You make me feel like that too you know. I was always trying to get your attention somehow; I always loved you as a little sister but then, at fourteen you started to bloom. I felt something that I had never felt for you then. You were so smart, and kind, and feisty, almost all the guys me and Dylan knew loved you. I always felt like the protective big brother helping out his little sister, but then it got worse, when I saw you with Adam I knew it was something more. I was MAD. Madder than I should have been.” He kissed my hand. “And then the way you dumped beer all over me, my God I loved it. Finally a girl that could bring me down to size.” He chuckled. “You give me so many mixed emotions I can never tell witch one to show. You make me so mad, and then, so happy. For the longest time I was so mad at the world I forgot to come back down to earth. That night with Joey did it. Seeing you there, made me realize who I was. Conrad. Anabel’s Conrad.” Hearing this made me so happy I flung my arms around him and kissed him as hard as I could. He kissed me back and entangled himself with me. Together, we felt more real.
“Isabel’s pregnant.” I blurted out. Conrad and Dylan looked up from air hockey to look at me. “No way.” Dylan shook his head. “She’s too…Isabel.” I knew what he meant. Isabel was the smartest girl I knew. She was always saying she was saving it until marriage, or at least engagement. Witch was funny because the last time I checked Steve hadn’t asked her to marry him. “Steve’s the father. She didn’t know until last week at Christmas. She got sick and…”
“Okay, okay no details. Dose her mom know?” Dylan asked. I just shook my head. I hadn’t even known she lost it until last night, when she had me by the stupid test. It was one of those things I guess that just slips your mind. Yeah, she said that. “She doesn’t know what to do, Steve say’s he wants a family and he loves her no matter what, but she’s not sure. We still have the rest of senior year, and College. If her mom finds out she’s done for. Heidi will make her get an abortion.” I looked at Conrad, his face was blank. “Okay, okay, when’d you find out?” Dill asked. I turned back to him and said, “Last night. I went and bought her three different tests…each one positive.” When she had found out, Isabel had freaked begging me to by another, it couldn’t be right. But each one said the same thing. Prego. “Let’s take your car and go get her. I have an idea.” I grabbed my coat off the bar counter, that was in our lower level, and my phone. Twelve missed calls. I scrolled down. Eight from Is and four from Tyler. Crap.
‘Hey Is, me and Dill and Con are coming to talk, meet us at the spot.’
Heidi, Isabel’s mom, was strict when it came to midnight calls. Isabel had been sneaking out for years. We always picked her up on by the Deli that was down the street, and she always bought snackes. By the time we got to her house it was well past midnight. Isabel was waiting outside the Deli, with a bag of chips, a chocolate chip cookie, and a twelve pack of Pepsi. “Yes, I’ve missed those things,” Conrad jumped to the back with me as Is maneuvered her way into the car. “Okay, chips for me and Dill, Pepsi for us all, and that giant heart-attack-waiting cookie for Con and Bells. Are we good?” Isabel waited for an answer and we all just mumbled a yes. It was almost like old times. But I could tell she was stressed. I’ve know Isabel all my life, so it’s obvious when she’s upset, or at least to me it is. Steve can’t seem to take a hint. Her shoulders were a little more slouched; her hair a little too messy, and her easy going voice was more strained. All these things were hardly noticeable to any one else, but to me, it was like she was screaming it at the top of her lungs. I met her eyes in the mirror, and saw how bad it really was. Isabel doesn’t cry. Not ever. But when I looked into the mirror, there it was, plain as day. A single tear. “Hey Dill,” she said softly. He turned to her, “Thank you for picking me up.” On the last words her voice broke. I moved over Conrad to hold her hand. Dylan just grinned and said in his brotherly voice, “Anything for you Is, I’m your big brother anyways.” I remembered when Isabel had a crush on Dylan. It went on for years and years. Then all the sudden she just stopped. That’s when Steve had come along as more than a friend. I always wondered what she saw in my brother. To me he was just…my brother. But now, seeing how he held her little hand, and talked to her quietly and lovingly, I saw the man my brother could be.
“So you know your options.” Dylan said sitting down next to Isabel on the couch. “But you want to keep the baby,” he said firmly. We had been discussing this for almost an hour. Both Conrad and Dylan going over her options, and trying to sway her into an abortion, saying how hard it will be and they knew girls who had baby’s in collage and how ruff it was on them. But Isabel stood strong. She took my hand and kept telling them the same thing over and over. She wanted to keep her baby. It was her fault anyways so she had to do what was right. I knew Isabel well enough to know that she meant every word. She was so loving at heart. I could tell by the way she touched her stomach, hands slowly going over the little bump there, and smiled that she already loved the baby. No matter how hard it got, she was not giving it up. “Yes.” She said in a strong voice. She squeezed my hand hard. Next to me Conrad let out a loud sigh. “Well then…we need to talk to Steve.”
“No,” we all stared at her. “Is,” I said soothingly. “He already said he wants to keep it too, and he wants to stay with you.” She looked up at me; eye’s all puffy from crying. I grabbed her Pepsi and gave it to her. Pepsi always helped stop the tears. “Yeah but Anabel, what do I say? I know he SAID he wants to keep it, I know he SAID he wants to stay, but we both know that he has a big future. He wants to go to law school; he wants to be something in life. Now I’m the thing holding him back. I’m the person he’s going to hate.” She let out a sob. I felt a wave of anger rush over. I pulled her head up so she could see my face. “No. Having a kid will make it harder. There’s no doubt that it will. You may even regret some things at first. But no matter what you’ll make it. You have a future still, both of you; it’s just going to be harder. But it will make you a better person. It will help you learn, and there is no doubt in my mind that you will love that baby with everything you have. Think of the life you’ve been given. And we BOTH know Steve and how he loves you, he knows what he’s doing. You’re going to get through this easy or not.” I looked at Isabel’s gloomy eyes and saw I had hit home. There would be no more crying like a baby. Isabel was back. She stood up slowly but firmly, and went to the kitchen. We all watched as she came back with a big boll of fruit. “What?” she asked sitting back down next to me. “I’d better start eating right.”
The next day went by almost normally. I was with Isabel as she and Steve sat down with their parents and told them about the baby…and how they were keeping it…and how he was marring her. Not that I had any knowledge on that, Isabel had been just as stuned as me when he came barrowing in her room, got down on one knee and said the magic words. At least they were magic to her. To me they just sounded like. “Isabel, I love you heart and soul, marry me? Or if not then that’s totally cool, I mean I can wait. I don’t really like the idea of a batchlorett party anyways.” To witch her witty come back was. “Um. Oh my God. Yes!” and mine, “What? That’s how it’s going to go?” and then. “Shut up Anabel.” From both. Wow. They had no romance what so ever. I was with them though, through the whole thing. Isabel’s mom started to cry and Steve’s parents went really quiet until they saw the ring. At the end though, everyone seemed happy, almost excited for the new baby. I figured they thought like me. Isabel is strong and leveled, so is Steve they were going to make it. I had been playing and replaying the images in my head all day, reliving the moment of silence, anger, and then pure love and support. It was all so…happy. I could just feel the love in the room, most of it surrounding Isabel. It was like an aura I could just see. And now it was surrounding me and Tyler. We sat talking at the Starbucks for what seemed hours. Laughing and telling jokes about all the people we knew walking by. Each time a teacher walked by, witch they did pretty often for a mall, Tyler would put on his cop hat and glasses and follow them until they ran. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. We were still laughing about our Vice Principle when we he all the sudden he said, “I really, really like you Anabel. I’ve liked you since kindergarten when you stopped that bully from beating me up. I understand if you don’t feel the same but…I had to tell you. I just had too.” I was caught off guard. I sat there looking at him for a minute trying to remember him in kindergarten. I was drawing a blank. “Um. Tyler are you sure it was me who saved you, I don’t remember-“
“It was you.” He stopped me. “It was the first time I ever saw an Angel too. I was being picked on by Kyle Hanks; he was just about to hand me on that little flag pull by my underwear when you showed up. You and your brother and Conrad. You were so angry your face was this bright red, but still, you looked so pretty. I remember how you yelled at Kyle and told him to leave me alone or you’d sick Dylan and Conrad on him. Kyle just laughed at first, but then Conrad walked up and nailed him. I was still laughing when you got me down. And that’s when I saw it. The Angel following you was the clearest. She was so bright and had this pinkish purple glow around her. In a way…she almost looked like you.” He looked up at me shyly. “She…was your Guardian Angel.” He watched my face for signs of disbelief, but I knew it was the truth now. That Angel was my, in a way, sister. And I…and Conrad…were Angels too. He must of seen something he liked since he let out a huge grin and said, “So you believe me?” I nodded. He grabbed me and gave me a huge hug. “But ah…about the whole liking thing,” he set me down. “Do you, you know…”
“Tyler, you’re a great friend, and yeah I like you. But I’m in love with someone else. So can we just be friends?” I searched his face for anger, but saw again that glow around him. “Of course. You’re a great friend Anabel. But any time you need me, or if things don’t work out with you and Conrad, I’ll be right here.” We both looked down. “Well maybe not HERE, but you get my meaning.” I laughed. “Wait, how’d you know about Conrad?” Tyler grinned and pointed behind me to the little wedding store. Right outside were Conrad and Dylan. Conrad was blushing like a little kid caught stealing cookies. “He’s been watching us for about ten minutes now. So I just kinda figured. Plus I always knew you liked him, ever since you were little. I was just hoping you know.” He said this so casual I almost forgot he wasn’t Conrad. Right then he sounded so much like him. Behind me I could still feel Conrad’s gaze. “Just tell me something Bells, dose he love you too?” I looked back at him. His blue eyes showed no sign of hatred, just curiosity. “Yes.” I finally said back. “He dose.” I was so happy to say those words again, knowing they were true. Conrad loved me. I got up and grabbed my purse, kissed Tyler’s check, and started over to meet the boy’s. “You guys following me?” I asked smiling sitting next to Conrad. He didn’t meet my eyes. Dylan though, he grabbed in his bag and pulled out a box. “I’m going to ask Tori to marry me tomorrow.” I jumped up to my feet and hugged him. “I knew it, I knew it. Oh she’s going to be so happy.” He stopped smiling and asked, “Wait, was she waiting for me to?” I looked at him like he was stupid. “Well duh Dill, you guys have only been dating for six years now. She’s been worrying about it non stop.” He stood up suddenly.
“Where you going?” Conrad called after him. “To get me a wife,” Dylan shot back. Me and Conrad looked at each other and shrugged. Better late than never. “So who was he?” he asked quietly. “My friend Tyler.” He took a minute to consider this. “It looked like you were on a date.”
“Nah, we just like having Starbucks.” Was he…jealous? Conrad was never jealous. “Oh. Do you like him?”
“No. At least not like that. Conrad…are you jealous?” he stood up. “What? No of course not. Why should I be?” This was shocking to hear, half the time Conrad was so immune to the outside world. He showed no emotions unless called upon. Why was it always me who brought them out in a bad way? Or was it in a good way? I chased after him; witch is funny since it’s usually the guy’s job to do the chasing. “Because I would hope that you know that I’m in love. I thought we had this clear a week ago.” He stopped and twirled around and kissed me. I caught my breath for a minute, my heart racing, pounding in my chest. For a minute the whole world seemed to stop and glow, like we were in a meadow just him and me. Kissing, spending all our days together in never ending happiness. Like it was paradise. Like it was heaven. He gasped and laid his forehead to mine. “You mean the world to me Bells. I hope you know that.” I nodded my head and we went back to kissing in the florescent glow.
“Conrad? Dylan?” I whispered into the shadows of our big old school. It was long time to go, and I still couldn’t find them. I even tried in the second grade area and not even teachers were there. I was trapped here in the school. The thought scared me so much I sat on the floor by the doors and cried. I cried and cried and cried. Like a big baby. It would be so embarrassing to have someone find me like this. Dylan would get mad and call me a baby again. Like last night when I scrapped my knee and cried. He had got mad then and yelled. So unlike Dylan, but I guess that’s the way big brothers are suppose to act. At least that’s what Gene tells me. She says her big brothers pick on her non stop and that one day mine will do the same. Dylan will stop sticking up for me, and yell at me and call me names. Just like last night. The horrible thought made me cry even harder. I loved my big brother; I didn’t want to lose him. Just then someone pocked their head through the big doors. They had brown hair and were big. “Anabel? Anabel don’t cry.” It was Dylan. He came and scooped me off the floor and held me, patting m back. “Shh, shh Anabel. Why are you crying? I’m here now.” He was acting like his old self again. Maybe he didn’t have to change. “Dylan am I a big baby? Do you still love me?” I sobbed into his shoulder. “What? Of course not Anabel. You were very brave staying here this long; you forgot to take the bus though. I had practice tonight remember? Me and Conrad. I got home and you weren’t there. What a brave girl Bells, your very brave. And I love you for it.” I had forgot. Mama told me not to forget but I had been so busy that day with all our painting I had forgot. And Dylan was here to rescue me. I held on tight as he walked out the bid old doors and into the light. Standing there pacing was Conrad. When he saw me he took me from Dylan and held me up. The boys were strong for their age. “Hia Bells? We’ve been looking every where for you? You must have faced that big dragon in there and all by yourself too. What a brave girl.” I giggled as he sat me down and played along. Conrad was my playmate. “Yes. Yes, he was this foot high,” I stood on my tip toes and held up my hand. “Oh my.” He said looking at Dylan. “Yes. His name was Peter. Peter the dragon. He tried to eat me, but I was too smart. I locked him in Mrs. Cranberries room. That way he has toys to play with.” As I told my story about the dragon, Dylan bought me ice cream and we began to walk home. Out by the court with the Flag poll was Kyle and Tyler. Both boy’s in my class. Kyle though, was a bully, and a mean one. He had Tyler hanging by the poll and crying. He looked like me when I was crying. I was so mad and filled with that bravery Dylan and Conrad said I had I walked right up and said, “Kyle you let him down now.” He looked at me then back at the boys. “Oh yeah? What are you going to do you big cry baby?” he had me there. “I’ll sick my boys on you, you dope.” He laughed and before I knew it there was Conrad and Kyle was running crying. Conrad grinned at me. “Never let a bully get to you Bells. Their just big baby’s themselves.” So we walked home with Tyler, who kept looking at me all weird, as if I had cooties or something. When we got to his house, Tyler kissed my hand and ran off, leaving me with cooties and Conrad and Dylan laughing.
I woke up with a start. So that’s what Tyler was talking about. He was in my kindergarten class. He had been there the day I got stuck in school. I looked over at Conrad who was asleep beside me. Cloths on and over the covers. We had been sleeping like this for a few days now. Dylan had to have known, but never said a thing. It wasn’t as if we were DOING anything. Anything other than kisses and heavy making out. But it was comfortable being next to him. It helped me sleep. I brushed a piece of hair from his eyes. His blond hair felt silky and smooth to the touch. Even sleeping made him handsome. I traced the outline of his jaw, and kissed his forehead. He had a glow about him. But unlike other glows, his was white. Tainted yellow white. And on the outside rims of the light it was red. Love red. I laid back down facing him and gently kissed his lips.
Things aren’t always easy.
It was the day he had to return to school. The day he had dreaded the most. All night he watched as Anabel tossed and turned and finally, just woke up. They stayed there in each others arm’s until dusk. Then he got up, got dressed and packed his bags. By late morning he and Dylan were ready to go. Tori was already waiting beside Dylan, they were whispering something that Conrad couldn’t understand, and quite frankly he didn’t really want to. “My boy’s, oh look,” Mrs. Cooper cried. She hated when they left, she always cried. But that was one thing Conrad didn’t mind. It made her seem even more like a mom to him, if his mom were here, she’d be crying too. He secretly wondered if that’s what made them such great friends, the whole crying, emotional thing. “Oh ma, cut it out, we’ll be coming back in the summer, I have a wedding you know.” Dylan winked. Tori smiled and Mrs. Cooper let out a big sigh. “Oh you two, we always joked you two would get married some day…I…I just didn’t know it’d be true. Oh I’m so happy Tori, come give ma a hug sugar.” Tori walked into her big outstretched arms. Now they were both crying. Conrad looked at Dylan, he rolled his eyes. “Hey, where’s Bells?” Conrad looked up at her window. It was closed. She said she’d be down here by now. Dylan must have seen the panic in his eyes since he went, “Oh you know how she is; she’s probably just fixing you something to eat before you go.” Conrad nodded. He didn’t believe it though. Anabel would have done that hours ago, but not ten minutes before they left. “I’m right here.” They all looked to see her and Isabel running out of the trees, the half of their jeans socked with the melting snow and mud. God, she still looked beautiful. Her hair was spread out behind her as she ran a deep golden brown now that it was winter, and her face as pale as the snow she ran through. Witch only made her green eyes pop out even more, and her checks go a deep pink. She ran right up to him and hugged him. “I’m sorry I’m late, but Isabel wanted to see you guys leave too. And well…she doesn’t drive now.”
“The seat belt can do damage to the baby’s growth.” Isabel shot back. He looked at Anabel wishing he could laugh, but one look at her told him to shut up. Obviously she was not too happy with her best friends OCD. He smoothed down her hair. “Awh Bells don’t be mad, she’s doing great.”
“She’s not even showing yet. And we almost missed you.” She looked away. She was mad. Madder than he’s seen in years. She didn’t yell, no she wasn’t like that, but the look she gave was enough to let anyone who knew her know she was ticked. It was nothing like her normal friendly aura. He kissed her lips and mumbled that she looked beautiful. This made her loosen up. “I’m sorry we almost missed you Conrad…I just want to be safe you know?” Isabel said looking genuinely upset. “Its okay Is, I got to see her and you so it’s all good.” Anabel sighed and looked at her best friend. Finally she smiled, showing she was sorry for being mad. That’s one thing he loved about her. Anabel for all she was worth could not stay mad. So unlike him. Witch reminded him. Conrad pulled out the little white box and handed it to her. It was from that little store she loved so much, with white and a red bow rapped around it. She did a double take. “Open it,” he said grinning. He knew she was going to love it. The minute he and Dylan had stepped into that store, it had caught his eye. Even Dylan had commented that it would be a good gift. As she slid off the red silk and peered into it, she gasped. Pulling out the little heart and wing necklace with a huge smile. “Conrad, you…it’s perfect!” he grinned as she hugged him tight. “Read the back,” he whispered. He played with her hair as she read the inscriptions on the back. Tia had put them on for him. Surprisingly, she was way different now. She wore no more black, was back into having a job, and was going to college. It was like all she needed was a wake up call, and he couldn’t help wonder if like him, it was a special person that had done it. Her eye’s swept over the words and back to him. “I love you,” she said. His heart speed up a little, but he tried not to let it show. He grabbed her waist and kissed the top of her forehead. “Leme see, leme see,” Isabel whined, “To Anabel, Bells, my heart would have never found wings without you. Together we soar with all the love and hope from God. Love your one and only Conrad.” She awwd and put it back around Bell’s neck. Dylan loaded up the back and said bye to his dad. Conrad sighed, knowing this part was always the hardest. Saying goodbye always sucked. Dylan came and hugged his sister and Isabel telling them both he loved them and got in the car. Conrad moved to hug his second parents and then Isabel. Before he knew it, only he, Dylan, and Anabel were by the car, the others had gone in to make lunch. He kissed her again and again, memorizing every detail of her. Her skin, her smell, the way she blushed when his hands traveled up and down her waist. Hopefully Dill wasn’t watching, he’d flip and Conrad wouldn’t here the end of it for the next three years. Dylan beeped the horn. Crap. Conrad tried to ease out of the kiss, but suddenly Anabel dragged him back. “Don’t go,” she whispered on his lips. Her breathing was a coming out in little gasps. Witch made it all that much harder for him to control himself. “I’ll be back. I promise. I’ll call you every day Bells. And I’m going to try and make it back for your graduation okay?” she stopped kissing him and looked up. “Really? You and Dill?”
“Yea, were going to have to work our butts off but we’re trying.” She smiled all big and bright and gave him one last kiss. “I love you,” Conrad whispered. “I love you too,” he squeezed her hand and kissed her one last time before he got into the car. As they drove away Conrad kept looking back in the mirror to see Anabel laughing and waving with Isabel right by her side.
“Dude, what’s with you,?” Conrad glanced up from unpacking his stuff and said, “Nothing, why?” Dexter, him and Dylan’s third dorm mate smoothed down his brown shaggy hair and looked at him annoyed. “You know what I mean; since you got back you haven’t been to one party, not one. I mean, I’m used to Dylan’s whole love fest thing with Tori, but not you man, your like, a dating legend. What’s going on?” Conrad sighed, how could he put this nicely? He liked Dexter and all, I mean you had to he was just one of those guy’s, but he just didn’t understand. Ever since his ex Kayla dumped him he’s been…well a player. A lot like the old him. “I’m seeing someone, so I just don’t want to party tonight that’s all, maybe next time, I still have to unpack.” Dexter sighed but decided to let it go. He picked up a sports illustrated and began reading it on his bed. “So what’s her name?” he asked flipping the pages. Conrad paced back and forth putting his stuff back where it belonged. “Anabel. You don’t know her.”
“What’s her last name?”
“Cooper.” He shot up off the bed. Conrad just ignored it though. “Wait, like, Dylan’s sister?” his eyes were practically jumping out of his head. “Yeah, why?”
“Oh I don’t know, he’s like your best friend dose he know?” he stopped pacing and sat on his bed turning on the Tv. “Yea he knows.” Dexter, glad by hearing their wasn’t going to be any fist fights with his friends, sat back down on his bed. “Is she hot?” Conrad turned and stared at him. He wasn’t about to have any of that, “Sorry dude, just wondering. Dylan’s pretty…well…”
“Let’s just say girls seem to like him, I was just wondering if his sister looked like him.” This had never accrued to Conrad. Dylan had darker hair like his dad, and blue eye’s, while Anabel was more like her mom with the light hair and green eye’s. “Only her nose,” he said honestly. Dexter looked at him for a moment and laughed. “What?” Conrad said now annoyed. “Nothing, it’s just your face, it was so…unlike you. I don’t know it made laugh.” Conrad sighed and went back to looking at the Tv. Nothing good was on…except Fox News. So they stayed like that, him reading his sports illustrated, Conrad watching politics when all the sudden around ten Dylan came bursting through the door. “I can’t believe this,” he yelled slumming onto his bed. Conrad and Dexter looked at each other and shrugged then looked away. Guy’s didn’t like talking about their feelings. They were more “closed” as Tori put it. That was probably what Dylan was mad about. Him and Tori were always arguing about something, it’s like they could never be really happy without one fight in the mix. They were prone to make up brake up’s. But somehow, through it all, they fell in love. And haven’t given it up in six long years. They were the perfect mach…that liked to argue. So Conrad turned up the volume and glued his eyes to the news when, “I can’t BELIEVE this!” Now this caught their attention. Dylan never yelled, at least not about Tori. “What is it dude?” Dexter asked. “This stupid beach party crap. It’s for sophomores and up and it’s in March,”
“Okay…?” Dylan jumped on his bed, slamming all their things to the ground. “Hey I just put those up,” Dylan gave him a death glare. Dexter shut up. This was where Conrad came in. “So?” he said. “So in March is when Tori’s flying out to Arizona to invite her grandparents and I’m suppose to go too.” He grabbed a pillow and put it over his head, as was his custom when he was mad. “Well the dance thing isn’t very fun anyways; I mean my sister said it was okay and all, but nothing worth going to.” Dexter chimed in. “But, I’m suppose to be in charge. My biology class is supposed to be in charge this year, and I’m the man that’s in charge!” he burst up. “Professor Marley is not going to be happy, what do I tell him?”
“Tell him the truth, you’re getting married and you don’t have the time. You already have plans.” He sighed and sat back down on his bed. “Yeah, I guess that’s all I can do. Dexter man, you need to get a girlfriend.” Conrad chuckled. “Whatever, unlike you two I can not get tied down. I’m way to smart for that.”
“You know who you remind me of?” Dylan said grinning. “Who?” He looked back at Conrad. “My best man, Conrad, back before Anabel I mean. He was such a player, always had a new girl every day. Witch is great and all, being free, but once it hits you, you’re going to be just like him. Loyal and a total sap, just wait.” Dexter looked at him horrified and Conrad and Dylan looked at each other with a knowing glance. It was nice remembering old times. But not as great as Anabel.
I have to write this time because I have an assignment were I can’t use any kind of phone or internet. It’s for culture exchange and Mr. Lang my professor is known for his odd teaching skills. Though I gotta say I admire him. Just not his teaching skills. Anyways, happy new years baby I’ve really missed you. Everything here seems so dull without you. But I have been studying more into teaching. Maybe even politics. I haven’t decided yet. Anabel have you ever felt like you just keep being lead in two different directions? Like one side of you wants one thing then the other wants another? I can’t shake the feeling. Anyways, tell me about the collage app’s. Have you found one you like yet?
I’m glad you like your gift. I love mine, it’s just what I need. Dylan say’s hey, and my other roommate Dexter says what up. Don’t ask, he’s a year younger than us but he’s a cool guy. He just needs to…find a hobby. And Marine Biology sounds good too. And the writing thing. Both of them are good choices. I know you can find the one you really love. Just listen to what God is telling you, that’s what you told me. And it works. He brought me to you.
Can’t wait to see you. I’ll be waiting by my dorm, number 210.
Conrad sat on the edge of his bed waiting for Anabel’s blond-brown head to poke through the door. He had been waiting for this for months now. Ever since he heard how she was coming here for Spring break. Her and Isabel decided to stay with them while they checked out the collage. Just in time for his dance. Dylan was gone, witch gave Isabel her own bed, and Dexter promised not to give them any trouble if they wanted him to leave. After all, he had brought in his fare share of girls. Conrad had already put up roses on his side of the room and cleaned every square inch of the bathroom. It was starting to smell a little too much. He had couldn’t remember a time he had been more exited. “Dude, calm down. She’s going to be here any minute. Jeez.” Dexter said walking in. He reeked of perfume and smoke. As he walked by Conrad saw faint little red spots covering his neck. At least he didn’t bring this one home. Then he’d have a hole other mess to clean up. A nock came on the door. He jumped up and ran to the door. The second he opened it his heart flu. Anabel’s hair was now clear down to her waist and was still that deep golden brown. She wore it straight but slightly curled at the bottom, and she seemed a little taller, slightly more shaped. Could it be she was still changing into a woman? Her chest had gotten bigger…”Hey,” he said hiding all emotion. He use to be so good at that. Anabel smiled up at him as if she knew what he was thinking, nothing got past her, she slid her arm through Isabel’s, who had started to show, and walked in. “Hi Conrad,” Isabel said putting down her stuff, Dexter, seeing a lady in distress, got off his butt and helped her carry it to Dylan’s bed. “Isabel Dexter, Dexter Isabel,” Conrad said sliding his arms around Anabel’s waist. Her hair smelled exactly the same. Green apples. “Please to meet you,” Dexter said taking her hand. See this is why he was so likeable, he was a real gentle men when he needed to be. He was just too polite. “Hi Dexter, nice name,” Isabel said smiling. And that was Isabel, she was very outspoken. Instead of getting mad, as he usually would, Dexter just laughed and grinned. “Isabel is pretty unique too, most times it’s Isabella, you special?”
“Heck yea I am. Went all the way back in time and told my mom to change my name. Said I wanted to be unique.” She plopped down on the bed. “Hey are those doughnuts?” Anabel looked at him grinning. She looked so beautiful, and it wasn’t hard to notice that she was barley wearing a thing. She had on short shorts, and a tank top that was covered with lace at the top, and was cut so low that you could see more skin than most guys would care to admit. But…she was with him at least. Then it hit. Was she really planning to walk around like that? Before he could say anything about it Dexter was already staring. It made him proud to show her off, but at the same time, made him want to pound his friends head in. “And this is Anabel. My girlfriend,” he made sure to take on the words, it worked, Dexter got the hint. “Hi Dexter,” She said politely. He took her bags and led her to the bed. They would be sharing a bed as long as it was okay with her. Witch he hoped it would be because that’s what they had done over break right? Share a bed. She looked up at him, and he could trace the question going around in her head. “We can share, if you want.” He said brushing the hair from her lips. “Yes.” She said a little too quickly, Isabel chuckled. “Way to be smooth Bells,” She ducked her head into his shoulder. “Whatever Is,” she mumbled trying to sound calm, but her voice broke at the very last second giving her away. She was nervous. So nervous she was shacking. “Baby?” she looked up at him, “I’m fine,” she lied. She wasn’t very good at lies, at least, not to him. “How bout I show you around, we even have a pool here,” she nodded and said, “Yeah that sounds good, just let me get dressed,” Isabel and him watched her walk into the bathroom with her stuff, when the door was closed Isabel sighed and said, “She’s missed you a lot, she’s just nervous because she was scared she’d come here and find you in bed with another woman or something,” so that’s why she was nervous, she was scared that he’d been unfaithful. In a way, Conrad was hurt by her, well, trust in him, but at the same time he did deserve it. With a past like his, it was hard TO trust him. “Okay, I’m ready,” she came out of the bathroom with a black cover over a white suit. Conrad led her out of the room and when he looked back he was pleased to see Dexter’s eye’s on the screen instead of on his girl.
Back when they were younger Anabel, Dylan, and him had played in the pound a little outside of the woods. Anabel use to act like she was a mermaid and him and Dylan would have to rescue her from the evil sea witch. It was their own secret little game, and somehow, Conrad was always the one saving her. Not Dylan, him. He sat there watching her as she glided past him in an even pace. Going lap, around lap in the pool. She always paused when she came to the little man made water fall the school put in, and giggled as she swam underneath it, it brought back so many memories. His mom use to love the water too. She was the very first person to find that little pound, she named it after them too, CAD Pound. He remembered the look on her face when she swam, the look of peaceful bliss spread across her beautiful face. The little blue lights dancing off her. Conrad’s mom was beautiful, unlike him she had long dark auburn hair, and such brown eye’s that she made Green look plain. He imagined that’s why his dad fell in love with her. She was special. She had something about her, like you were just drawn to her. When he was little her and Mrs. Cooper, a.k.a Ivy, would sit down by the pound watching them, and tell stories on how each of them would grow up. In his mom’s stories it was always Anabel that would steel his heart, always Anabel that he would love, always Anabel that he would marry. Anabel would sit up on her lap, as she told stories, and braid her long hair. “Dessa, will me and Conrad really grow old and fall in love? Because boy’s have cuties and I don’t really like cuties,” Anabel would blab, and Dessa would throw her head back and laugh saying that boy’s wouldn’t always have cuties, and yes, mothers instinct said they would. Who would have known that she’d be right? Sitting here watching Anabel, well it only made him love her more. “Conrad?” she was pulling at his swim trunks. “Do you remember when we were little and we’d play that mermaid game? The one ware you had to save me from the evil sea witch?” It always amazed him how she could read his mind like that, could she always do that?
“Yeah,” he said jumping down into the pool, careful not to splash her. “Well…thank you for always saving me.” He ducked down under the water and popped back up pulling her close. “You know, my mom was right,” she looked at him funny.
“You have stolen my heart, I love you so much Bells,” he felt her body pull a little closer to his under the water, she pulled him under the water fall. It was surprisingly loud. “This is pretty. I’ve always loved water falls.” She whispered into his ear. The light kept hitting her face, putting a luxurious glow to her. She looked like an Angel. His Angel. He kissed her softly on the lips, awakening a memory long forgotten.
“Adid?” Adid opened his eye’s, to one of the most gorgeous sight in all of heaven. “Azeal, what are you doing here so late?” he moved over so she could join him in the long lazy grass. Heaven was made up of all perfect things. It was like earth in a way, but whatever one wanted in heaven was up to them. Only God knew how it happened. But to the Angels heaven was always home. The soft hills, the perfect lakes, streets of gold. The whole package was theirs. And God made them happy; He loved all his creations, even the fallen. That’s why he was giving them all second chances, out of the pure love. “I wanted to talk to you, about the meeting we had earlier.” He looked over at her; her usual loving eye’s had turned grey. She was upset. “What about it love?” he asked anxiously. “Adid, I will stand by God no matter what. I could never leave his side, and I… I heard that some Angels tend to loose their way on earth…and never come home to God or their loved ones. I’m worried, what if something happens and one of us fall, what will happen then Adid?” No one could cry in heaven…it was too peaceful, but right then and there Adid felt her worry, her caution. He held her closer and closer until their body’s were pressed together again and again, he lead her down to the lake and they swam beneath the water fall. The fish tickled their toes and the moon herself lit up the sky just so they could see. They’d have to thank her for that. She touched his face looking up into his eye’s, only she and God and Jesus could see his real soul. Who he really was. “I love you Adid, promise me to return with me, promise me you wont loose your way,” he cradled her in his arms feeling a warmth of pleasure poor through him. He kissed her again, “I love God too much Azeal. I promise to return with you. Besides love, we’re soul mates, we’ll meet on earth.” She ran her fingers through his hair. Her hair was damp at the bottom, and almost black in the moon light. Her eyes were back to the solid green. “I know love, but it’s so sad. All those who are fallen, we have to help them all, show them Gods love. I’m scared I might loose them all.” So that was it too. “God is forever with us, this is our assignment and it is not a sad time love, they should rejoice, Christ is brining them home. We’ll just have to stay behind and help the lost or fallen, we’ll bring them home.” She looked at him one more second, letting him finally glimpse into her soul, and what he saw he loved, it was a bright white, so pure it could melt snow, and at the edge lilac. She was happy. She was in love. She was his Angel.
The Angel always comes from with in. God just sets us free.
The memory hit hard and fast, almost knocking me over. I looked up at Adid…no Conrad, it was Conrad in his human form, and knew he had seen and heard, and even felt it too. “Conrad…are we crazy?” he looked down at me and laughed, for a minute I swore I saw Adid, but then it was Conrad. “I don’t think so…it’s too real.”
“Conrad its coming, the second coming is almost here…” I gasped. “Their all going to die,” I thought of my mom, my dad, all my family and friends, all…gone. “No Anabel not gone. They’ll be in heaven were they belong.”
“You know it’s true, and you’ll see them again. But it’s our job to stay. It’s our job to fight Lucifer and save as many as possible. We must stay to help.” A shiver went down my spine; to say his real name was bad...no one liked to talk about the fall in heaven. All the lost souls, all the loved ones were fallen now. Their other half’s would never be the same. Love was never short in heaven it was true, but at that time…it was all tainted. No one wanted it to happen, no one wanted to cast down the others…but if they didn’t…who would have saved the Universe from them? They were evil now. Tainted. Black wings and all. Love was no longer in them. They had no right to be there. They were ruthless. Human kind stood no chance without help from above, God would make sure that they would help. He still loved them…enough to let his one and only son die on the cross for their sins, to send his Angels to the ones who did not believe and protect them. That was God’s love…and it filled them all. I had to stay. For God, for them, and to stop the others. Maybe we weren’t just supposed to save humanity, maybe we could save other fallen Angels as well. They would rise with the…I couldn’t even think the name. This was our chance to help. “Conrad…we know what to do…but is it possible to save the fallen too?” He studied my face for a moment. Sharing his thoughts as it flickered through the fall. His memories of fighting his own brother. They were not the same. All their wings a pure shade of black and they would fight no matter who against. They were dangerous. Back then I had stayed behind, I remember. The Angels like me didn’t fight much. It just wasn’t good for us. We did join at the end to help, but never, never in my time had I seen what Adid saw. He touched my check. “I can’t loose you Azeal, they will tell you everything, and anything, you most desire. They will lie till you beg them to take you with them. They will kill you in a moments notice.”
“But love, I am immortal just as you, even in this body I can’t die until God says to. And when I do I just go back to heaven.” I said smiling. But Adid just shock his head. “They have learned how to drag us down. They can see our spirits for our true selves, and as soon as we leave our body, until Michel comes we are rendered useless. They can take us. Fighting them like that would be more dangerous then you could possibly handle.” I stepped closer to him. “Adid, I can do it. God is by our side and he will help us. We also have our Guardians who will help whenever necessary. This is something we have to do; God NEEDS us to do it.” And it was true. God was willing me to do it; he wanted us to help the fallen. This was our main goal down here. Conrad must have felt it too because he sighed and looked behind me. “Okay Anabel. You win. We will help the fallen.”
Attacks were happening all over the Middle East. And America was at the verge of leaving Israel. It was almost time. Isabel and I were a month into college and she had already had her beautiful bouncy little girl. Her name was Mitch. She was another Angel. The moment I laid eyes on her I knew, her little dark curls and big sapphire eye’s told the whole story. I had known her as an Angel, and I would know her now. Conrad and I often talked to her in her sleep. When Is was gone I would watch her and she’d giggle as I jumped her up and down on my lap. It was clear then, as she touched my check, that when Jesus came, Isabel would go and it’d be my job to look after her. She had a greater purpose in this life, and God was hand delivering her to me. So Conrad and I of course, treated her as our own. We helped with the diapers, babysitting, and buying the cloths. I tried my hardest to stop by the day care at college and visit in between every class. And often she’d coo when she saw me and clap her little tan hands. She looked so much like her mom. Sometimes at night I would cry and hold her because when Isabel was gone…Mitch was the only thing I would have that reminded me of her. All the pictures would stay here, in this beautiful big state, as we set out to travel the world, helping whenever we could. Mitch was lucky in a way. She’d see the world growing up. It’d be her big playground. I would bring her back here one day…to see the ocean…to see the place were her mom grew up…and to help me remember. Remember my human life.
My second year was when it happened. The Second Coming. Everything had gotten bad lately. The you know who was taking control now of Eastern Europe and the whole world was in World War three. Everything was going down. Me, Isabel, Mitch, Conrad, and Steve all watched as Jesus appeared through the clouds with the trumpets blasting the most beautiful music I had ever heard. I knew the song as me and Conrad’s. The day we got married they had played the song, and now the played it for us again. Jesus looked no different from when I had last seen him. He was kind, and amazing, and of course, my lord and savior. He said some words and light filled the sky’s as heaven itself opened up to all the souls now descending into the clouds. I cried as I watched Isabel and Steve go. That morning I had called my parents and told them I loved them. Dylan was still here though. He was an Angel too. But he was with his soul mate Tori, who was one too, at the house. My big white house. Isabel hugged me as she followed closely behind Steve. Turning back once to kiss Mitch and say, “I love you all,” one last time. Then after the lights all dimmed back to the normal blue, the screaming broke loose.