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Angel On High
By Jane Doe
I started a new case with a yawn, just the way I'd started countless others. Little did I know what this ho-hum assignment would lead to.
Our client told us about a man named Bill who he suspected was his long-lost son. If it were true, this young man would be entitled to quite a large inheritance, so it was our job to find him. We'd tracked down long-lost relatives before; it was nothing special. I zoned out more than once during our meeting with the client, thinking about my favorite subject as usual.
When we learned that one of us had to split off from the other two, I immediately volunteered Sabrina. She preferred to give the orders, but with a trip to New York dangled in front of her, she didn't argue. Kris seemed to share my insincere moony look.
That left she and I and Bosley, and the client, but most importantly she and I to carry out the rest of the case. We learned that Bill was flying in the Reno Air Show, and off we went.
I saw Bill in the air, and he really was very good. Then he came down, and he was even better. This was by far the best looking guy my job had brought me in quite a while, and I made up my mind then and there to fall in love with him.
Of course, you can't really do that. But I was so tired of being confused about my own feelings that I decided to put Kris out of my mind and have a good old fashioned fling. It wouldn't be too hard; Bill was young, handsome, exciting. I threw myself into it. It must have been the adrenaline rush from the airplane ride that fooled me into thinking I was really falling for him.
I let myself gush about him to the point where even Kris and Sabrina were rolling their eyes. Part of me hated to distance myself from Kris. But another part of me was so glad to be excited over someone else a man that I wanted to rub it in her face. I invited her to have breakfast with us and see for herself.
Of course, that was the day she had to wear a bikini like I'd never seen in my life. I knew Bill liked me, and he kept leading the conversation toward me, but he couldn't stop himself from staring at her. Normally I would have been jealous, but I couldn't stop staring myself. I worried that Kris would get uncomfortable, then reasoned that if she didn't want to be stared at, she wouldn't have bought a bikini so ridiculously small.
Later on, she let us all know that she had a heavy date of her own. Even though I had Bill, I felt a little bit bothered. Things were a little quieter between us after that, and I watched her skip off to her little date.
Angels tend to have horrible luck when it comes to men, and this case was exhibit A. Hers was a criminal, and mine took off.
We said our goodbyes and I watched his plane shrink in the sky. I was sad to see him go, but mostly because it put me back at square one. I might have fooled the others, but I hadn't fooled myself. I was still in love with Kris. That was the worst possible moment for her to warm up to me and put her arm around my shoulder.
I didn't know where the others were headed, but I went back to the hotel with a bottle of wine that Bill had given me. I was out of ideas, and it was time to get drunk.
I wasn't that upset about him. Deep down, I had known all along that our relationship wouldn't go anywhere serious. The whole ordeal just made me so much more confused about Kris. To my dismay, I heard her come in before I'd finished a single glass. Then and only then did I really feel like crying.
"Hey Kel. How are you doing?" she asked gently.
"Wonderful." I replied, staring at the carpet.
"I'm so sorry about Bill."
Like a good friend, she picked up another glass and joined me. At the pace we set, it wasn't long before we'd finished the bottle.
"I should have known it wasn't going to work. It never does. I just can't seem to get close to any guy," I sighed, wiping my eyes.
"Well, it's their loss. One day you'll find one who's not too dumb to see how great you are."
"The problem is me," I shook my head, allowing myself to be a little cryptic.
"No, the problem is they never treat you right. I don't know why. Cause if they saw you like I do, they'd love you."
She was trying to be supportive but inadvertently made my tears start flowing. She pulled me close and hugged me. It killed me to feel her right there in my arms, but to know I didn't really have her.
"You deserve somebody great," she said. "Somebody who treats you really nice. I hate seeing you get hurt like this, I wish there was something I could do."
"There is," I wanted to say. Instead I just cried harder.
"It's okay," she soothed, holding me again. "I'm here, honey. It's okay." Her words had exactly the opposite of her intended effect.
She brushed the tears from my cheek. "I'm here."
The next thing I knew, her lips were pressed softly against mine. It took a second for me to accept that it was really happening. My eyes opened so wide I thought they might fall out. I was so shocked, I didn't even kiss back.
She stopped abruptly after my reaction and looked mortified. We struggled to find the right thing to say, but both lost that race as a key slid in the lock.
"Whoa, looks like I missed the party," Sabrina said, closing the door and seeing our empty bottle and glasses. As Jill used to say, her timing never was too hot.
"Cmon, you both should be in bed by now. Our flight's at seven, and you're going to have a hell of a time as it is. Go on," she shooed Kris. Then she grabbed me by my sleeve and tugged me into my bedroom.
"Hey, uh sorry about Bill," she told me, patting my shoulder.
"Yeah," I said absently, still wondering what the hell had just happened. I knew Sabrina thought I was upset about Bill and didn't want to talk, and I let her think it.
"Well. G'night," she said, leaving me alone.
I put my pajamas on, got into bed, and debated for hours whether to go back out and talk to Kris. She might be asleep by now. Then again, I was wide awake, why wouldn't she be? Maybe she was going to come in and talk to me. Or maybe she wouldn't want to talk to me at all. I ended up not doing anything, and thanks to the wine, I eventually fell asleep.
I waited a while, making sure that Sabrina had gone to bed. Quietly I snuck out of my room and around the corner. For quite some time I stared at Kris's door, deciding whether I should really knock. It opened before I did anything, and each of us was startled to see the other.
"I was just coming to see you," she said after a moment.
"Well, we come in here." She opened her door wider, inviting me in, then shut it behind me. We sat at the foot of her bed.
"Look, um." She offered. We knew what had to be discussed, but not how to begin. There were a few moments of silence. "I'm sorry about..."
More silence. That hadn't been all.
"Was it just the wine?" I made myself ask.
She let out a chuckle, but I swore it was one that I'd heard her use in other awkward situations - designed to be interpretable as either yes or no. It puzzled me.
"Kris, I have to know. Please."
I was sure she'd say yes, but there was a very long pause before she began to answer, and I grew hopeful.
"Whatever the answer is, it's ok," I said gently, hoping her hesitation meant yes.
She looked down, avoiding my eyes, and after another long pause, shook her head no.
"I never meant for you to know," she blurted, clearly upset. "I didn't want to make things weird. It just happened before I could think "
"Shh. It's ok." I scooted closer and pulled her into a hug. "I'm glad it did, because I feel the same way."
"I- what?" She looked at me with a mixture of hope and fear. "Are you kidding?"
"I wouldn't kid you about this. I'm sorry I gave you the wrong idea. I was just so surprised. It should have been so nice and I messed it up," I apologized. "Can we do it over?"
She was still busy trying to get her mind around it, so I kissed her. Her lips were so soft.
The next day one of my theories turned out to be correct. On the way to the airport Kris hardly said a word to me, and didn't look me in the eye once. I was dying to talk to her, but with Sabrina and Bosley around, this just wasn't the time. I was actually relieved that our plane tickets had me seated away from Kris, otherwise the flight could have been very awkward. Sabrina and Bosley made little effort at conversation, assuming my mood was still somber. The whole trip ended up very quiet. Back at LAX we said our good-byes and took taxis home.
"Hiya Albert," I opened my front door and greeted my poodle. It was nice to have somebody welcome me home. "Did Mrs. Green take good care of you?" My neighbor had several dogs of her own and didn't mind looking after mine when business took me out of town. Albert was always a good boy, but I still did a quick check around the house for his handiwork. You never know.
Several minutes later, the doorbell rang and I was surprised to find Kris on my doorstep with her suitcase. A yellow cab idled in my driveway. She looked upset.
"Hi," I said, trying to sound friendly instead of confused.
"Hi. Um, can I talk to you a minute?"
"Sure," I said, opening the door wider so she could bring her suitcase in. She set it down a short distance inside and planted herself behind it. I knew this was going to be either really good or really bad.
"Look, I want to apologize," she said, avoiding my eyes. "It'll be a lot worse if we just pretend it didn't happen. I had a lot to drink and I didn't I can't keep lying to you, Kelly, or to myself. It's only fair that you know the truth. Which is, I um I'm in love with you."
I was dumbstruck. My mouth opened, knowing it was my turn to say something, but there was a traffic jam in my brain. I had so many things to say, so many questions, that nothing came out.
"You don't have to say anything," she continued, her face turning red. "I just wanted to tell you I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to happen, it just did." She stared at her feet. "I hope we can still be friends." She bent to pick up her suitcase again.
"Wait, don't go," I stopped her. "You mean you really have feelings for me?" I wanted to make sure before I did anything I couldn't take back.
She nodded sheepishly, still not looking at me. Albert stepped over to her, and she scratched his ear as a distraction. Much as she was trying to hide it, I could see her start to cry. It took that much to jar me into action.
"Kris, don't cry," I stepped forward and wiped away the tear on her cheek. "You-"
"I should go," she turned away from me.
"Wait! Don't you want to hear my answer?"
"Do I?" she asked miserably.
"Yes. Kris, I never knew how to tell you I've wanted you for so long. I can't believe you feel the same way."
She seemed to consider this for a second before turning around. For the first time that day, her eyes looked right into mine.
"What? Are you kidding?"
"I wouldn't kid you about this."
She stared at me for a few moments, looking so scared and hopeful that I could tell I really held her heart in my hands. Then, as if coming to her senses, she rushed to me, and I enveloped her securely in my arms.
"I can't believe it," she exclaimed, pulling back to look at me. "You love me? You really love me?"
"I'm so in love with you, it hurts," I confessed.
"Oh Kelly," she sighed, squeezing me tight. It felt so good to hold her.
"There's a million things can you stay?"
"That would be a good," she nodded, glancing out the window. "Especially since my taxi's gone."
"But first, there's something I've been dying to do."
I cupped her face in my hands, tilting her head up. We kissed softly and sweetly- one long, spectacular kiss that made my head swim. It felt like the end of a fairy tale. But I knew our fairy tale was just beginning.
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