"My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear; He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear: With boldness I draw nigh, With boldness I draw nigh, And 'Father, Abba, Father,' I cry..." ~Arise, My Soul, Arise, GladFaultline, Saturday Night
Angel smiled as the large man seemed to wolf down three plates of pasta. She hadn't been feeling herself--not since she received the news once her hell in the Dagger ended. Two months and it seemed as if it had just been yesterday. The man was talking to her, again. What was his name? Steve? Right. Steve. Good man. Good heart. Voracious appetite.
"If you're looking for a new place, I can recommend some apartments not far from here..." he was saying. Apartments? Oh, right... She'd mentioned wanting to move out of Talos. He'd suddenly stopped talking...was he talking about Traci again? Yes, that's what he'd said. Traci. Angel smiled to him and reached her hands towards his.
"It's okay, Steve. I appreciate it, thanks." He smiled to her and she returned the smile.
"Did...you actually eat anything, Angel?" Steve finally asked.
"Hmm?" She looked down at her plate, still full with pasta and scallions, "Oh, uh...I....I'm trying to lose weight." She offered a smile and handed him her plate.
"Why are you trying to lose weight? You look great to me."
Angelica smiled sadly, "Well, I don't feel
great.... I dunno, I've just been...." her voice trailed off.
Michael's voice wafted its way to Steve's ear. "You should spar with her. Please? She's depressing."
Steve's eyes unfocused for a moment as he wiped his mouth with the napkin. "Angel? You say you want to lose weight... I know of a good way to do that."
"Hmm? How's that?"
"Lemme take you to the arena. I saw you fighting with Michael...you just need a real opponent," Steve grinned. Michael issued a rage of protests only Steve could hear...which only served to make the man's smile grow wider.
Angelica quirked a brow, "Oh? Who'd you have in mind?"
"Paybacks!" Michael stated in victory.
Steve shook his head a little, chuckling. "Me. I can take a hit better than Michael can, that's for sure."
Angelica thought for a moment. "Alright, you're on. Lemme go pay for dinner and we can go." Before she had a chance to stand up, Steve was next to her helping her from the chair. Before she could reach for the door, he already had it opened for her. She smiled her thanks to him, blushing a bit awkwardly as she entered the restaurant. She approached the cashier and paid for the bill, leaving a generous tip. The waiter--a young, Hispanic man--looked at the tip, then up at Angel. She smiled to him and patted his cheek, then her lips parted slightly. "Oh, sweetheart....don't worry. She'll be just fine. Which hospital?"
The young man stared at her for a moment, flicked a glance to Steve (who was leaning against the door frame, simply observing), then back to Angel and began a rapid-fire dialogue in Spanish regarding a sick mother. Angelica listened, invoking some of her celestial abilities to understand the man. She nodded a few times and smiled to him as he passionately explained. When he finished, she smiled to him and patted his cheek. "Crowne Memorial Hospital. Room 224, you said? I will visit her today...and bring her some flowers."
The young man smiled to her and hugged her tightly, "Gracias, senorita...gracias..."
Angelica smiled to him again and turned toward Steve. He opened the door for her again and, once outside, he asked, "Sick mother?"
She nodded. "Yeah, the poor thing's been pulling double shifts for the last three weeks to cover the medical expenses, but she's still not getting better. Heart attack. I'm going to stop by and...help." She blushed slightly, gave a quirky smile, and tucked some hair behind her ear.
"Which was it?"
Steve hailed a taxi and directed the driver to take Angel to Crowne Memorial Hospital. "I'll meet you at the arena in Steel Canyon when you're done," he gave a wink and a warm smile and the taxi sped off toward King's Row.
Angelica handed the taxi driver some bills and instructed him to keep the change. He smiled to her and gave his thanks, offering her some advice regarding Steve. She gave a polite smile, "Good day, sir. Thank you." The taxi driver nodded and sped off. She turned and stared at the imposing building in front of her. One two three four five six seven....she was at the landing. She tugged open the doors and walked in. One two three four five six seven....she was in front of the elevator. She punched the button for the second floor--the ICU. Room 224.
One, two, three, four, five, six nurses working. One, two, three doctors on duty. One two three four five six seven....security cameras. Zero saw her enter.
She was not there for the nurses.
She was not there for the doctors.
She was not there for the security cameras.
She was there for Jessenia Blanco. As she turned the corner into Room 224, she heard the shhhh-tk of the respirators. She heard the beeping of the heart monitors. She could smell the sickness in the air. She walked over to Jessenia's bed and stood at the foot of it. Jessenia's eyes opened and her face relaxed into a peaceful smile.
"Angelita..." Jessenia whispered.
Angelica smiled. "Hola, Jessenia," Angelica spoke. "Your son, Romero, told me about you and what's been going on."
"You are here to take me?" Jessenia frowned.
"No, no, m'dear," Angelica began. "I am here to make you well."
The angel moved to the side of the bed and reached down to take one of Jessenia's hands in her own. The other hand rested over the woman's heart. The angel smiled to Jessenia, squeezing her hand, then turned her own face toward the heavens. "Jehovah-Rapha, hear me," her lips began to move as the chorus of four voices spoke in unison. "Your child is ill. Jehovah-Rohi, you have sworn to help those within your fold--to seek those lambs who are lost--to help those lambs which are sick. Jehovah-Rapha, grant your healing power and restore Jessenia Blanco to health. I pray to Thee, El-Elyon. I know Your ways are not the ways of men--or even of the Angels. Romero has done what he can; Jessenia has done what she can. Now, I will do all that I can. Jehovah-Shammah, the Ever-Present Lord, be present in me. Grant me Thy power, Jehovah-Rapha, to restore Jessenia to health. Amen."
Jessenia stared up at Suriel. The Seraph smiled down to her, light emanating from everywhere. The instruments for monitoring Ms. Blanco's health suddenly went haywire. There was a commotion in the hallway, but the door to the room slammed shut. Nurses and orderlies scurried about, readying crash carts and searching for the entry keys. For three minutes, chaos reigned in the hospital just outside of Room 224. Within, however, the presence of Jehovah-Shalom reigned supreme. Jessenia felt a white-hot flash through her chest, then nothing. She looked to her left where "Angelita" had been.
There was no one there.
The door to her room burst open and nurses and orderlies poured in. They all stopped suddenly. None of the machines were on, and yet, Jessenia was sitting on her bed, happy and healthy.
"What happened?!" one of the nurses ventured forth to ask.
Jessenia grinned, "I am better! See?" She indicated the fact she was sitting upright without assistance and breathing on her own.
The room seemed to brighten for a moment, then return to its normal level of illumination; the curtains wafted gently, and there was a sweet smell of honeysuckle in the air. Then nothing. Just a vase sitting on the night stand next to Jessenia's bed, filled with Plumeria.Several weeks later....
Romero sat on the patio at the Italian restaurant in Faultline. His head was in his hands and he was staring at something on the table. Steve and Angelica walked over to him and Angelica smiled, "Hey, Romero. I brought the vacuum cleaner by for dinner again. Would you mind serving us?"
Romero started and apologetically seated Angel. She smiled at him and casually pulled the medical bill off the table that Romero had been staring at. He quickly went into the restaurant to fix the feast that Steve said he regularly consumed. Angel waited til Romero was out of earshot. "Thank you for doing this for me, Steve. I wasn't sure how I was going to pull this off."
"Sure, glad to help," he said with a smile.
"Just eat like normal," she laughed.
"Aye-aye, Cap'n," Steve saluted to her. Angelica rolled her eyes and laughed. Romero quickly reappeared with the sparkling water, a cup of tea for Angelica, and some appetizers. He fidgeted a moment, then turned and went back inside. Angelica quickly looked at the medical bill.
"This is ridiculous..." she began, then reached for her checkbook. "Unfortunately, they won't take cash, so I'll have to write a check..."
"He's coming again..." Steve whispered. Angelica shoved everything onto her lap under the napkin and rested her chin on her hand.
Romero paused and looked at her, then looked to Steve. "Th-the lobster is not ...um... is not... in season?"
Steve frowned slightly, "Oh, that's okay. Don't need that today. Scallops would be delightful, though!" Romero nodded and turned to Angel.
"How's your mother?" she smiled, avoiding having to order anything.
Romero blinked, "...better than ever..." He couldn't help but grin. "Gracias, senorita..."
"Angel," she said. "My name's Angel. Or, as your mom calls me, Angelita." She chuckled. Steve quirked a brow. "I will take a garden salad, if you don't mind." Romero nodded and retreated to the kitchen.
The meal went by as the one previously--idle chatter, playful banter, discussions of family, lost loved ones, and the prospect of a rematch on the spar. As it always does, the sparring talk ended the meal and Angelica went in to pay the bill. Romero was at the register and he seemed deeply troubled. He rang up the order and Angelica handed him cash, with the generous tip, and an envelop. Romero looked down and then up at her, confused. "For the medical bills," Angel smiled.
"No, no, senorita," he began, shaking his head.
"Si, si, Senor..." she smiled. "Jevhovah-Jireh provides. Always." She grinned, patted his hand and turned toward Steve, who was leaning against the doorway, observing. She grinned as as she got closer, she heard Romero fall to the ground in surprise. "Now....about that spar.... I do believe I owe you a butt-kicking..."