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Call Me, I'll Be Waiting



 
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Soleil Whitaker

Montana. Colorado. Arizona.

Somewhere landlocked.

Of course, no open bodies of water.

Rhiannon’s phobia is not often spoken of, but the younger Whitaker had been hyper-conscious in choosing their new destination.  Soleil had never ventured much further west than Pennsylvania, but dreamt of Los Angeles sun, Portland downpours, arid Arizonian air, the like. The angel had appeased Soleil by spending their honeymoon in Cancun – she spent the entire week a safe distance away from the ocean’s edge. It’s undeniable that she would’ve preferred Paris, or Milan. The two women had decided, in the last few weeks, that they were due for a couple's retreat. Just the two of them; not that they didn't adore their sons to pieces, but every mother needs a day of respite. As a lesbian couple, Soleil and Rhiannon feel justified in leaving the boys in the faithful, trustworthy, capable hands of Delaney - with, of course, visits from Uncle Callum and Aunt Margot.

After a few days of intermittent debate, the women agree upon a destination: Yellowstone National Park.

It’s the perfect getaway. Views that would take their breath away, fresh air to renew their fervor for life, a few moments of isolation and refuge they so often craved. In planning this vacation, the Whitaker women had wasted an embarrassing amount of time arguing over which gas stations would be acceptable pit-stops. Never known to be picky, Soleil all but pointed at a number of random possibilities along their designated route.

“I’m not stopping there,” the angel insisted.

“Rhiannon, there’s nothing else for another 100 miles.”

“I’ll hold it, then.”

“You’ll hold it, huh?”

Crossing her arms over her chest, Rhiannon had nodded once. Her wife, of course, could only respond with laughter. There was little she could do to dissuade Rhiannon; once the woman had made a decision, that was it. Case closed. Even once on the road, they would sail on past the given gas station, just so Rhiannon could prove a point.

Although Soleil would never openly admit it, just the thought of parting ways with her sons is difficult to process. Wilson inquires about their travels, and the younger Whitaker’s heart breaks when the toddler becomes visibly upset after being informed that he would not be accompanying his mothers on this journey. To appease him, Soleil promises to return with a moose. Or, at least, a statue of one. (But, he doesn’t need to know that).

It’s early morning when the couple finally set out for their 2,100 mile journey west, and much too chilly for the Mustang’s canvas top to be down. The hum of the engine almost drowns out the lyrics of LP’s “Death Valley.”

Dying’s so rock and roll.

Stretching out into forever.

I said, I don’t know,

Could anybody even survive it?

“Ready?”

“As long as you’re by my side, always.”

Soleil reaches over to take ahold of Rhiannon’s hand, their interlaced fingers coming to settle over the center console thereafter. One last glance up at the brownstone, a kiss pressed to the back of the angel’s hand, a hushed ‘goodbye’ to the sleepy toddlers inside. 

Oh, oh, oh.

She said we’re never gonna die.

Wait, wait, wait.

May 01, 2018 12:51 am

Soleil Whitaker

Don’t waste it,

It’s only here for today.

You don’t own it

So, you can’t just give it away.

Forever, forever is only half a moment away.

The sun is rising over the horizon. The air is clean – breathable, fresh, invigorating. With the Mustang’s canvas top finally pulled back, there’s an undeniable feeling of liberation. Soleil’s dark hair lashes around her face as she steals a glance of Rhiannon, who is as beautiful as she’s ever been. Sun-kissed skin and caramel colored eyes to match, she leaves the younger Whitaker absolutely breathless. Her voice carries for miles as she sings along to yet another LP song: ‘Wasted.’

It’s a wonder that the two women are not yet sick of the singer/songwriter’s distinctively piercing voice, and haunting melodies. But, there’s no doubt that LP would always hold a special place in their hearts. That first night together, tucked away in the very back corner of Nick’s, Soleil and Rhiannon had bared their souls to one another. There, they had spent hours listening to and discussing music, picking at a bowl of stale, bar popcorn. There, Rhiannon had pressed Soleil back against the brick façade, and kissed her without hesitation or inhibition. There, the two had inadvertently, yet irrevocably fallen in love.

Long after their first night together, the couple continues to share their love for music, despite their divergent tastes. A “musician” herself, Soleil scours the underground for emerging artists: Khalid (before his big break), Majid Jordan, the Aces, Tom Misch. Her wife always appreciates the suggestions, and, every so often, becomes reasonably attached to a particular song or two. But, she insists, vehemently, that no genre will ever parallel classic rock.

 

Cleveland, OH

“Do you think they’ll have anything on Fleetwood Mac?” Rhiannon asks, particularly curious because of her namesake.

“They were inducted in ’98, babe.”

“So…”

“I would be shocked if they aren’t featured in at least one exhibit.”

To that, Rhiannon nods, and attempts to suppress a wide grin. Pulling into what seems to be the very last parking spot in the lot of Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the angel’s excitement grows. She’d seen many of these bands in concert, so to bear witness to how they’d been immortalized is almost beyond her own comprehension. Walking through the glass doors sends chills down her spine, and after purchasing all-access admission tickets, she practically drags her wife into the first exhibit hall.

“I saw the Grateful Dead play at Woodstock.”

“CCR played right after, actually.”

“And when Jimi Hendrix concluded the festival, barely a fourth of the initial population were present.”

“I got high, and listened to ‘Money’ on repeat when it was first released. I was definitely in another dimension. That intro with the cash register, and the coins, and the….”

She continues on about Pink Floyd’s genius for a while.  Soleil had always been aware of her wife’s love for classic rock, but ‘Fan Girl Rhiannon’ is definitely a mode new to her. Amazed by all Rhiannon has experienced, Soleil can’t help but smile, nod, and live vicariously through the stories and anecdotes.

Oh, woah. The day has come, the day has come.

Oh, woah, We’re free to love, free to love.

And I’m ready to ride

With you. You make me alive.

 

Columbus, OH: The Columbus Zoo.

“He doesn’t need another stuffed animal, Soleil.”

“He doesn’t need 8 different juices on hand, at all times.”

“That’s not fair.”

Soleil squints at her wife, who, in response, sticks out her tongue. They banter about what to get their oldest son, having already picked out an elephant onesie (trunk and all) for Logan. When a scrawny teenager with greasy hair asks if they need assistance, both women politely decline and resume bickering. Finally, they settle for another elephant onesie because well, two is better than one.

Back on the road, Soleil reaches across the center console to tuck a strand of hair behind Rhiannon’s ear. “I love you, you know,” she says, earnestly.

“I do. And I love you. Always.”

They fall into a comfortable silence. Rhiannon’s hand rests on Soleil’s thigh as she drives because the two are rarely without physical contact.

We might pace and time chase, but there lies a place

Where all hopes and all saints collide face to face.

 

Denver, CO: The Botanic Gardens.

Rhiannon shrieks when an abnormally large butterfly lands on her shoulder. Her cheeks flush a deep, violent red when a little boy of Wilson’s age points and laughs. Quickly, Soleil grabs her wife’s hand as if to hold her back.

“That lady is scared of a butterfly!”

“Just a toddler, babe,” she whispers, guiding the already embarrassed angel away from the crowd. Rhiannon mutters, still perturbed by the size of the fluttering insect.

The York Street gardens are too beautiful for words: 24 acres of a wild diversity, a collection intended to celebrate a Western identity, and showcase the unique resilience of high altitude plants. The couple spends the afternoon strolling around lazily, getting lost in the many mazes of nature. And when their feet begin to ache from hours of being upright, Soleil sweeps Rhiannon into her arms, and carries her all the way back to the Mustang.

Rhiannon is too tired to protest about the motel’s oddly smelling pillows. But, always a gracious wife, Soleil bundles together a sweatshirt and her Patagonia jacket, and slips it carefully under the dozing angel’s head.

“Tomorrow, Yellowstone,” Rhiannon murmurs, eyes sliding shut for the final time of the night.

May 02, 2018 04:11 pm

Rhiannon Whitaker

West Yellowstone, Montana.

“Thank god, we’re finally here.” Soleil climbs out of the car, looking as if she might kiss the ground. Rhiannon had been driving for the last two hours, and it was two hours too many.

“My driving wasn’t that bad!” Rhiannon retorts irritably. So what if she drifts some, and occasionally speeds while distracted? No one has died. Yet.

The angel follows Soleil around to the back of the car, helping her gather the luggage from the trunk. For their true stay, she’d arranged a cabin through Wilderness Edge, which looked directly at Yellowstone National Park. The location was secluded enough for privacy, while still providing access to the small town, and to the park.

The drive didn’t feel as long as Rhiannon expected it to, and being able to rest at the cabin puts the angel completely at ease. After long hikes in the morning, the two are content to nap in their hammock.

At some point on their second day, Soleil insists on dragging Rhiannon into down.

No.” Rhiannon protests, all snuggled up in bed – having collapsed late in the morning post-hike. Soleil pulls on the blanket, but even with her strength, she can’t pry it out from under Rhiannon’s weight. “You go. Tell me all about it, baby. I’ll be right here when you get back.”

Rhiannon. No. We’re on vacation together. Get your ass up, and come with me.” Soleil huffs, tugging once more.

“Why don’t you just… c’mere, and I’ll show you why going to bed is better than going into town.” With a flash of a movement, Rhiannon grabs Soleil and pulls her down amongst a mass of blankets and sheets, the two quickly getting lost in them. “I’ll take you into town for dinner. How about that?”

“Fine…” Soleil grumbles, but she too, is already lulling off to sleep.

 

Yellowstone National Park

“Rhiannon! Stop going so close to the edge!” Soleil shouts, grabbing her curious wife by the waist and pulling her back. As enjoyable and scenic some of the routes are, their narrowness coupled with Rhiannon’s bold curiosity make Soleil panic every now and again.

“Would you relax? I’m not going to fall, Soleil Whitaker.” Rhiannon broods like a scolded toddler, trotting on in front of Soleil despite it. It’s nearly ten miles before they reach the best possible view of the canyon, and the couple settles down for a packed lunch along the vista.

“What do you think the boys are up to?” Soleil breaks the silence, plucking a grape into her mouth after.

“I don’t know. Eating, sleeping or pooping. The usual.” Rhiannon peers up at Soleil, her head situated in the younger woman’s lap as they sit back and relax amongst the vast expanse of preserved wilderness.

“Thrilling lives they lead, mm?” Soleil laughs, fingers now fishing idly through the angel’s thick brown locks. It’s late afternoon by the time they start packing up, the sun low and red on the horizon.

“Go into town for some drinks?” Rhiannon inquires once they reach their car, beginning to pack away the odds and ends of her gear and the remnants of their lunch.

“Absolutely. Any opportunity I can get to show you off.” She flashes a cheeky grin, hopping into the driver’s seat despite Rhiannon’s protests. “Love you.”

“Uh huh.” Rhiannon grumbles, arms folded indignantly in the passenger seat. The drive to town is quiet, uneventful. It’s dark, as the hike back had eaten up much of what was left of the sunlight. “Ooh! I love this song!” The radio plays the introduction to In the Air Tonight, by Phil Collins, garnering a groan from Soleil and Rhiannon’s never ending excitement.

“You and Phil Collins… Honestly.” The younger woman complains, nevertheless turning the dial for volume up higher. If nothing else, she loves her wife.

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord…

Soleil looks over at Rhiannon with a loving gaze, eyes momentarily off the road. “I love you, you know. Always.” She leans over, and the angel meets her halfway for an affectionate kiss.

And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord…

“Always.” Rhiannon agrees, beginning to draw back. Oncoming headlights catch her eyes, and she lets out a muted scream, reaching for the wheel just as Soleil comes to the same conclusion. But it’s too late. The much larger truck crashes into the Mustang at high speeds, forcing the classic car spiraling off of the road, crushed by the sheer magnitude of the perpetrator’s vehicle.

Still, the radio played in the aftermath of the crash.

Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord…

But Rhiannon’s no longer there to hear it.

May 28, 2018 02:58 pm

Soleil Whitaker

Headlights. 

The sound of glass shattering. 

The screech of metal scraping against metal. 

Rhiannon!”

A loud thud as Soleil’s head collides with the steering wheel.

And then –                                                                                                      Nothing.

~          ~          ~

There’s nothing but darkness when Soleil’s eyes flutter open. Her entire body aches, every muscle screaming. She can feel the gash in her forehead; it’s tender and sore, and still oozing warm, viscous blood. Soleil commands her body to shift, and slowly, she regains control over her senses. She can smell gasoline, acrid and… leaking.

“Baby?”

Only the hiss of the damaged engine responds. Soleil grows frantic; the probability of an explosion increases with each second. 

“Rhiannon. The car, it’s… we have to go.

Still, Soleil is met with silence from her wife. She cries out in attempting to turn her head, the muscles in her neck tight from whiplash. And it’s the first time she notices that Rhiannon is slumped over in the passenger seat.

“No, no,” she wails, “No, please. God, no.”

Not now. Not again. Soleil had finally built a life she’s proud of – a wife, a home, a family. And now, it feels like God Himself is tearing it right from her grasp. She’s pleading as she claws at her own seatbelt, desperate to get close to the woman who’d become her entire world. There’s a click as the belt releases, and she’s across the center console instantly.

“Baby, I’m here. C’mon, please. Just… talk to me.”

In this moment, Soleil doesn’t have the capacity to cry. She’s so focused on retrieving Rhiannon from the wreckage that her body rejects the tears altogether. Instead, she’s moving as swiftly and efficiently as she can – regenerative cells are already beginning to form sutures, hairline fractures in her bones mending themselves slowly but surely. Somehow, she’s jostled the passenger side door open, reaching inside thereafter.  

Rhiannon has no discernible heartbeat.

The younger woman begins to panic again.

“I can’t lose you, too.”

She’s counting the chest compressions between labored breaths, and forcing air into her wife’s lungs with every ounce of energy she can spare. Finally, Rhiannon coughs, eliciting a sigh of relief from the younger Whitaker. Exhausted, she collapses beside Rhiannon’s broken body. At least now, she can hear a heartbeat, however faint. In her last moments of consciousness, she fumbles for her phone, and despite the screen damages, somehow dials 911.

~          ~          ~

The thin mattress of a stretcher beneath her is an all-too familiar feeling. As is the momentary prick of an IV needle in her arm. There’s no question of where she is. Yet, she still calls out for her wife, in hopes of some kind of response.

"Rhiannon?”

Her voice doesn’t sound like her own, strangled and much too hoarse. She swallows hard just as a doctor comes into focus. 

“Mrs. Whitaker?”

She blinks, then nods. 

“I’m Doctor Brigham. Do you know where you are?”

“Where’s my wife?” she counters, lifting her head to search the room around her. It’s sparsely furnished, as usual – the walls are whitewashed, and most corners are occupied by hospital equipment. There’s an empty bed to her left.

Empty.

“Where’s my wife?” she repeats, shifting uncomfortably. There’s a sinking feeling in her chest as she comes to her own conclusion: Rhiannon must be dead. Soleil lifts a hand to cover her eyes as silent tears begin to tumble down her cheeks. 

“Mrs. Whitaker. Can you tell me where you are, first?”

The doctor’s inquiry fades into the back of Soleil’s mind as she begins to lose consciousness.

You're on my mind.

All you ever do is spin

She sinks slowly into the darkness -  

In circles around my head.

With no beginning and no ending.

And she's hoping, wishing, praying, begging that she'll never resurface.

May 28, 2018 11:29 pm

Callum McKay

Soleil?

The younger woman does not stir, prompting a frown to appear on Callum McKay’s lips.

She’s alive, right?

It’s an inquiry whispered to his blonde counterpart, who, in turn, rolls her eyes and gestures to the heart monitor. The incredulity is perhaps irreverent in this particular situation, but sometimes… oh, sometimes, Cal can be an idiot.

Soleil,” he repeats, reaching out to place a gentle hand on her forearm.

“Come on, Cal,” Margot says in a hushed tone, “Let her rest, we’ll come back in a bit.”

The pair retreat, slipping quietly out of the room before they can disturb the younger Whitaker. They visit with Rhiannon for a while, and when she wakes, she requests some time with Margot. Callum, of course, isn’t offended; on the contrary, he’s relieved to give the Faye sisters their space. After a brief walk and some fresh air, Callum takes the elevator up to Soleil’s floor – if she’s awake, maybe she’ll want a visitor.

“Callum? What the f*ck are you doing here?”

The sound of Soleil’s voice, although hoarse, is enough to catch the dark-haired man off guard.

You’re awake.

“No f*cking sh*t.”

In a strange way, Callum finds relief in knowing that Soleil hasn’t lost her attitude. “I…”

“What are you doing here?”

The doctor called. Said that you… you and Rhi were in an accident.”

Callum can tell by Soleil’s expression that she’s battling with a multitude of emotions: frustration, relief, sadness, anger. He can certainly sympathize. In this confusing and traumatic time, however, all he can offer is reassurance. When Margot had disappeared a few months ago, Soleil had swallowed her pride, and in her own way, offered words of support. This, Callum knows for a fact. And now, it’s his turn to reciprocate.

Look, Soleil,” he says softly, stepping further into the room, “I know I’m the last face you want to see in this moment. But, I really think…”

“She’s dead, isn’t she?”

Callum blinks, silent for a few moments.  Soleil looks up at him, eyes already brimming with tears. Finally, he shakes his head, which elicits a long sigh of relief from the younger woman. Callum clears his throat, taking a moment to collect himself before proceeding with the speech he’d prepared in his head while Soleil slept.

Rhi and I, we were incorrigible influences on one another,” he says, brow pulling together in deep concentration.

He can sense that Soleil is about to interrupt him again, so he holds up a hand. His feelings toward Soleil had never, in any way, mirrored her own. She’d been obvious in her distaste, and he hadn’t taken too much offense. What had transpired between he and his ex-wife – both before and after the coma – was a product of manipulation and abuse. True, Callum had primarily been on the receiving end. But, he loved Rhiannon, nonetheless.

When you spend that long in an unhappy relationship, a lot of things change. Rhi changed, she needed something… different. And I was – “

Callum squeezes his eyes shut. Even to this day, it’s difficult for him to speak of their demise as a couple. There’s no denying that he loves Rhiannon vehemently still, although in a different way than years prior.

I wasn’t enough to keep up. But, you? My God, I’ve never seen her face light up the way it does when she’s with you.

It’s a sad admission, and although his heart breaks a little in his chest, he continues.

You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to her, Soleil. She loves you with every single fiber of her being, there’s no denying that. I’m sorry if our past offends you, but I hope someday, you’ll understand that our time has come and gone. She’s yours, and you are hers.”

Impulsively, he reaches out, placing a large hand over Soleil’s. She yelps, and Callum instantly recoils, absolutely shocked by her sudden outburst. After a few frantic apologies, Soleil begins to laugh. Callum flushes deep red as the heat of embarrassment creeps up the back of his neck, and across his cheeks.

You’re insufferable.

“Thank you.”

That wasn’t a compliment, Soleil.

“I meant for the other thing, d*ckhead.”

Callum rolls his eyes just as a nurse strides in. She asks for privacy – it’s time to check Soleil’s vitals and such, and Callum quickly obliges.

I’ll be out in the hall if you need anything,” he says, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. Soleil nods once and gives a small wave before he disappears from view.

June 09, 2018 08:56 pm

Daniel Wieczerzak

This isn’t the first time the angel has awoken to a pounding headache. Bones aching, muscles afire. They’re all the same sensations the angel felt becoming one with Rhiannon’s vessel the first time. The angel is cognizant of an accident of some kind – the sound of Soleil’s screaming and pleading. Assuming all of the pain, logically, is a product of said accident, the angel remains unalarmed.

Lips parched, the angel moves for the bathroom, hands turning the faucet. And then – he sees his reflection in the mirror. Scruff, sunken features. Bloodshot eyes and blotchy skin, but not Rhiannon’s reflection. The angel can’t decide whether or not the wave of nausea overcoming this body is at the shock of this revelation, or if it was preexisting. Nevertheless, he is bending over the toilet to expel, disappointing, little more than stomach bile.

His body is shivering, yet hot to the touch. Stumbling back into the other room, the angel discovers the culprit. Discarded tourniquet, hypodermic needle, lighter and spoon. The home is somewhat upscale, natural light pouring into the bedroom.

Overcoming the initial shock, the angel sifts around until she can find a wallet and a phone. The wallet comes first.

State of New York.
Daniel Wieczerzak.
36 years of age.

It takes some time for all of the memories to come back, especially in the case of a traumatic death. The angel can only imagine what this body has endured, but echoed notes of pain and loss reverberate in his hollow chest. After turning over the bed set, he finds a cell phone. Passcode… Passcode…

9999.
Unlocked.

The angel knows Soleil’s number by heart – but stops. If Soleil is… No. Call Callum. With the same expediency his number is dialed, and ringing, and ringing…

“Hello?”

Callum?”

“Uh, yeah… Who is this?” Always awkward. Always well intentioned.

“This is… Daniel. I’m a friend of Rhiannon and Soleil. I heard about the accident.”

“Oh, Daniel, sure…” Pretending to recognize the name, Callum continues. “Soleil is recovering fine, not quite well enough to leave the hospital yet. Rhiannon, uhm…” His voice chokes up. “She’s fine, I mean… She hit her head pretty hard. There’s some amnesia, we’re not sure if it’s going to be permanent or not…”

Are they well enough to take visitors?”

“Out here in Seattle? Uh…”

“I’m in the area.”

“If that’s the case… I’m sure Soleil, at least, would be happy to see you. Thanks, Daniel.”

The line goes out, leaving Daniel to collect his thoughts. Nothing, at that moment, is more important than finding Soleil. And after a shower and a fresh set of clothes, it’s off to JFK Airport without a second thought.

The University of Washington Medical Center is vast. He can only imagine how severe their injuries must have been to be medevaced from Yellowstone to these facilities. His footsteps are a quiet shuffle on the immaculate walkway leading to the ER, where a placard on the wall tells the angel all he needs to know – Whitaker, S.

That same driver’s license would have told you Daniel had blue eyes, but Soleil will notice what most others might miss – caramel eyes, so loving, looking at the woman the angel would love in every lifetime.

“Hey, stranger.”

June 14, 2018 04:23 pm

Soleil Whitaker

Day in.

                             Day out.

Day in.

                                                                     Day out.

Day in.

Soleil quickly loses track of how long she’s been in the hospital. Recovery is quick, and had it not been for her doctor, she would’ve been out already.

“Can I see my wife?” she asks when Dr. Brigham appears in the doorway with a clipboard of charts, and numbers. Every day, without fail, she inquires about Rhiannon. Dr. Brigham, unfortunately, is excruciatingly tight-lipped, so the younger Whitaker uses Callum as her primary news source.

“She’s…”

“Callum, just f*cking tell me.”

The dark-haired man hesitates again, but the scowl on Soleil’s face prompts a response.

“The doctors say that the amnesia is severe, and they’re still trying to determine if it’s permanent. She remembers ‘Got. And me. But…”

Soleil watches as Callum’s brow knits together. He fidgets, and Soleil knows that something is wrong. She can hear how his heartbeat quickens – steadiness transforms into panic as he desperately searches for a way to break the news.

“Not me,” she whispers, eyes sliding shut.

“They don’t know if the amnesia is permanent, Soleil.”

The younger woman nods once, and thanks him for his attempted reassurance. The two had become… close-ish, for lack of a better word, in the last few days. Tirelessly, Callum had tried to keep Soleil’s spirits up, knowing that the sadness in her heart had a crippling effect. He’d once felt it, himself. And in her own reluctant way, Soleil had accepted his support. Afterall, company in the ER is highly coveted.

On her third day of recovery, however, Soleil becomes restless. And inconsolably agitated. Callum does his best to keep her occupied with terrible, cringe-worthy dad jokes, countless games of Checkers, and an insane number of hours watching infomercials.

“I don’t even know why I’m here!” she exclaims, angrily shutting off the TV, “I want my wife, and I want to go the f*ck home.”

“They’re keeping you under observation. Just to make sure.”

“Stop being so reasonable, Callum.”

Callum folds his hands into his lap, and sighs. It’s clear that he doesn’t understand why Soleil is still an in-patient, either. Soleil is showing all the signs of a speedy recovery, and yet, Dr. Brigham hasn't signed the release forms. She’s reached a level of frustration (and boredom) that she never thought possible, and so the only thing left to do is drift off to sleep.

When she wakes, Callum is gone. The room is quiet only for a moment.

“Hey, stranger.”

The voice itself isn’t familiar to Soleil. Not in the conventional way, at least. Soleil scrutinizes every detail of the man standing beside her hospital bed. He’s dressed in dark wash jeans, and a plain white t-shirt. And somehow, his presence isn’t jarring like one would think. Instead, Soleil feels at ease, soothed by his proximity, and the subtle affection expressed in his greeting. It takes her a moment to take notice, and to process.

But, then, she gasps audibly at the pair of caramel-colored eyes she would recognize in every lifetime.

“Baby? Is that you?”

There's not a hint of hesitation in her voice. As crazy as it seems, she's sure that the man in front of her is the angel. Her angel.

"What... what happened?"

June 14, 2018 11:37 pm

Daniel Wieczerzak

You look good.” Daniel smiles, stepping over to sit at her bedside. It’s second nature for the angel, as a hair reaches out to comb back the stray pieces of hair mucking up Soleil’s still gorgeous face. “How do you feel?” It’s a degree of absent-mindedness that keeps the angel from realizing Soleil may be uncomfortable with the contact. “I’m sorry it took so long for me to find my way back to you, baby.”

He sits there for some time, head bowed. Considering how to most gently and earnestly tell Soleil what has happened. “Rhiannon died. She’s alive, but died long enough in that crash that I was rocked out of her body. And I’m afraid… There’s no holy way of going back.” He clears his throat, looking up at Soleil now. “I’m sure you don’t want… This. And that’s fine. But I love you, no matter what. So I’ll do what you tell me to do.”

The turmoil of emotions swirling in his beleaguered looking body is clear to witness. “I mean… There are ways. But this body, and hers… They’re far too weak to endure it. And they’re risky.” The angel reaches out for her hand, taking ahold of it gently. “I’m just glad you’re alive. If anything had happened to you…”

He shakes his head. “I called Callum, because I was too afraid to dial your number and not have you answer it. I came from New York City. Convenient, I suppose. This guy overdosed on heroin.” As if to verify, he rolls back a sleeve to reveal the marks into the pit of his elbow. “You and me, we’ll be okay. We’ll sort this all out.”

There’s not a lot the angel can say to assure Soleil of what he knows in his heart. In any lifetime, in any body, the only thing that will endure is the love the angel feels for Soleil, more than God, more than anything else.

June 21, 2018 08:06 pm

Soleil Whitaker

“Easy healing,” she responds with half a smile, not flinching as Daniel tucks some hair behind her ear, “I feel okay, just want to get out of here.”

The scar on her forehead is still tender to touch; the gash itself had been so deep that the doctors warned Soleil about bad scarring. Of course, she’d known better, offering only a single nod and a long exhale in response to their concerns. Everything else – the bruised ribs, the minor lacerations – had healed, proving to be yet another miracle in the eyes of the hospital staff. Given Soleil’s history, a psychological evaluation had been administered, only to ensure that she wasn’t susceptible to another relapse. She had assured the team of medical professionals that she posed no threat to herself, or to others, for that matter.

This news, however, has Soleil spinning.  She knows that moving forward, nothing will be easy or simple. HumanRhiannon is not her wife; Soleil had married the woman she’d become after the angel had taken command of the vessel. So, technically, she’s married to Atarah. But, she knows in order to maintain appearances, she’ll continue to refer to Rhiannon, the physical body, as her wife. Because at the end of the day, no one is going to believe that this stranger, who’s name she doesn’t know yet, is actually her wife. The notion doesn’t sit too comfortably in her stomach, especially when considering how to explain it all to the toddlers back home.

F*ck the supernatural.

“Come here,” she says after Daniel has finished speaking. The man moves closer slowly, elbows and forearms coming to press into the thin mattress. He’s leaning in close enough for Soleil to reach up, and stroke his cheek. The stubble against her palm is a new sensation, but somehow, it feels like she’s done this for lifetimes before.  

“God, I missed you.”

The love and adoration expressed in his eyes is easily discernible, and Soleil hopes her gaze mirrors such tenderness.

“We’ll figure this out.”

*          *          *

The journey home is grueling. Soleil comes to find that the angel’s host goes by ‘Daniel,’ and it’s… well, quite an adjustment to what she’s used to. Time and time again, she finds herself saying, “Rhiannon this” and “Rhiannon that.” The younger Whitaker’s growing frustration is a source of minor amusement for the angel, but ever patient, Atarah offers a forehead kiss and a sympathetic smile as consolation. 

“What are we going to do about the boys?” Soleil asks, placing her bag on the rolling conveyor belt. It shifts forward automatically, making room for Daniel’s bin of personal items. His nervousness – rather, the angel’s airport anxiety – is palpable, so Soleil bounces onto her tiptoes to place a gentle, yet reassuring kiss to his cheek. There’s instant regret courtesy of the sandpaper stubble, but she doesn’t let that show. 

“What about them?” 

“How are we…”

“We’re not. I’m just a family friend, lending a hand while you two recover.”

The pair shuffle through the metal detectors, gathering their belongings thereafter. They travel in silence for a while, and sit at the gate, shoulder to shoulder. It’s not until the aircraft doors have been sealed that Soleil leans over to take ahold of Daniel’s arm. In response, he pulls her closer, cheek coming to rest against the top of her head.

“You and I,” the angel whispers.

“Always.”

And Soleil means it with every fiber of her being. 

June 26, 2018 02:26 pm
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Actives (11) Fresh Blood (3) View All The Fallen (1) Graveyard
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