The Angel By My Side

byDWSimon©

"You were thinking how closely I resemble a statue."

I felt my eyebrows arch. "Are you reading my mind?"

He chuckled and paced around the room, tactilely touching a few things. "If I could read your mind, I'd know why you were… touching yourself."

I felt the blush creep up my cheeks as I stared at his back. His shirt had two slits over his shoulders, probably for the wings. "You were going to explain why you're here."

He bowed his head as he looked at a picture on my dresser. "Yes. I was." He turned to face me and opened his mouth to speak then stopped. He tried it again, but failed. "I think I'd better explain."

I nodded, waiting for something, anything. "Good. I'd like to know why an angel named…?"

He leaned back against the wall and shrugged his shoulders. "I don't have a name."

"Come on, don't all angels have names? There's Michael and Gabriel, to name two."

He rolled his eyes and shook his head, a small smile played at his lips. "Those are two of millions. They are very special archangels. I'm in an entirely different class."

I sat there, staring, my mind reeling from all he was saying. "And your class is?"

He lifted one shoulder, as if he didn't quite know how to explain anything. "I'm an observer." He sat on a corner of the bed and smiled at me. "I'm also a messenger, from time to time."

I raised my eyebrows. Funny, I should have been freaked out at the mere thought that an angel was sitting on my bed, casually discussing the duties of his life, but frankly, I was too curious to be shaken. "An observer of what?"

His smile widened, bringing out his dimples again. "Everything; each word, each moment of life; each falling leaf, each trickle of water. Everything there is to witness on Earth."

I cocked my head to the side. "Like that Nicholas Cage movie?"

He smiled again. "Wings of Desire was better."

"Or course." I couldn't agree more. I love Nicholas Cage, but the original was so much darker, grittier, and touchingly poignant. "So you observe me?"

"I observe lots of people. And there are different kinds of observers."

Curiouser and curioser. "Like?"

He shrugged. "Some of us only observe people. Others watch the animals. There are dream watchers and nature watchers. Lots of us." He looked at me, directly in my eyes. "Sometimes, we are assigned a particular person or type of person."

I drew a deep breath. So now we were getting somewhere. "And who are you assigned to?" Then out of pure fiendish curiosity, I had to ask. "Anyone I might recognize?"

He shifted his seat and nodded his head. "Nathaniel Hale. Joan of Arc. Amongst others."

"Nathaniel Hale? As in 'I regret that I have but one life to give for my country'? That Nathaniel Hale?"

He nodded. Joan of Arc? A girl who died because they believed she was a witch and not working under the auspices of God. Nathaniel Hale, who died rather than betray his country, martyrs. I swallowed deeply as I stared at the angel before me. "You observe martyrs?"

"Yes."

He looked at me and I wanted to shy away from his penetrating gaze. What he suggested wasn't possible. "You're here to observe me because I'm…?"

He nodded once, just a dip of his chin. I felt goose bumps rise against my body, sending a deep shiver right through me. "When?"

"Soon."

I swallowed then began to tremble. "Why are you telling me this?"

He smiled again. "You're the only one who ever heard me."

I stood and paced around the room. He sat and watched as the minutes ticked by. My mind was a jumble of mixed thoughts and emotions, none of which coalesced into anything cohesive. "I'm going to die."

"Yes."

"I need a drink." I left the bedroom and walked downstairs. The angel followed me. I grabbed a glass from the cabinet and took the bottle of scotch from the cupboard. I filled the glass nearly full and raised it to my lips. My hands shook horribly. Just before I took a drink, I paused and stared at the angel. "Care for one?"

He smiled serenely and shook his head. "It would do nothing for me."

I snorted and threw the drink back, letting the slow, smooth liquid burn down my throat, giving me something else to focus on. I poured a second glass and walked into the living room. The angel sat opposite me and watched as I slowly sipped my drink. After a few disconcerting moments, I looked at him. "How long do I have?"

He stared back at me and tilted his head. "I'm not sure. A few weeks."

"Do you know what will happen?"

"No."

How one word could seem so ominous, I would never know. But somehow, the fact that this supernatural being didn't know the future was oddly comforting. I snorted and laughed, even though I felt tears sting my eyes. I blinked them back, furious that I was crying again. "There's so much that I wanted to do."

The angel stood and I followed. The warm, slumberous affects of the alcohol made me slightly dizzy. "You should go to sleep."

I nodded as if it were the sagest advice I'd ever heard. He put his hand against my arm and I immediately felt calm descend upon me. For a moment, I heard something in my mind. Something serene, like the grandest music. The moment he removed his hand, the fleeting hint of whatever I heard left me and I felt cut off, as if I'd glimpsed the rarest of treasures and had them removed from my sight. I headed towards my bedroom and turned back to see the angel standing at the foot of the stairs. "Will you be here when I wake up?"

"If you wish it, yes." I thought for a moment and decided I would rather he be around. I nodded once. He smiled at me and I found myself smiling back. "Then I shall be here."

I turned and took two more steps when I stopped. "Do you sleep?"

"No."

"What will you do?"

His chuckle filled my ears and sent a shiver up my spine. "Observe."

I turned around to face him. "You're going to watch me sleep?"

He laughed outright. "No. I'll walk around the house and touch the things I've always seen."

It wasn't my idea of a fun night, but then again, I didn't know what angels did for fun anyway. As I crawled naked into bed, I briefly considered starting up again where I'd been interrupted. But a deep lethargy swamped me and I couldn't keep my eyes open. My dreams were filled with swirling images and deep emotions. When I awoke in the morning, tears were streaming down my face, yet I felt perfectly calm. Peaceful. Accepting.

I got out of bed and headed downstairs. I needed coffee and lots of it. As I stumbled into the kitchen and started making coffee, the angel came into the room. "Good morning."

I jumped and looked down when I remembered I didn't have a stitch of clothing on. For a split second, I thought about grabbing the dishtowel and covering myself with it. But when an angel has watched you jerk off, any sense of modesty seems to fly right out of you. "Hi."

He smiled as he leaned against the counter. "How did you sleep?"

As I poured a cup of steaming heaven, I shrugged my shoulders. "Fine. I guess."

He walked closer to me and stared into my eyes as I sipped my coffee. "You seem more relaxed." He continued to watch me as I drank my coffee then smiled. "Rafael sent one of his minions to you."

I blinked a few times in confusion. "Who is Rafael?"

"The archangel of healing."

I stopped drinking mid-sip. "I needed healing?" He nodded. "Why?"

"You said there were many things you wanted to do." He shrugged. "I thought you wouldn't get to do any of them if you were worried about the future and still grieving for your parents." He looked at me sharply. "Did I do something wrong?"

I thought about it as I finished off my coffee. It was true. I still missed my parents, but I seemed to be okay about it. And I no longer trembled at the thought of my upcoming demise. I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't think so. Did you do this for any of the other people you observe?"

"No. They never knew I was there."

I set my coffee cup down and stared at the floor. I felt uncomfortable. "I'm going to go take a shower." I stood and looked over at the angel. I didn't know his name. I mentally slapped my forehead. He doesn't have a name. "We need to figure something to call you."

"I guess 'hey, you' isn't really appropriate."

I chuckled. "Are you sure you don't have a sense of humor?"

He smiled at me. "Perhaps just a little one."

"Well think of a name and I'll be back in a few minutes."

He stopped me by stepping forward. "You're going to take a shower?"

I caught a hint of wistfulness in his voice. I shrugged. "Never taken a shower before?" He shook his head. "Well, come on then; might as well try it out."

We climbed the stairs to the bathroom. I turned on the water and turned to the angel. "You need to take off your clothes." He reached to his chest and began unbuttoning his shirt; fumbling with the buttons. I cocked my head and grinned at him. "Never taken off the clothes before?"

"No. We just sort of think about it and they come off."

I paused from my unbuttoning of his shirt. "Why aren't you doing that now?"

"I can't. Not while on Earth."

I shrugged and continued to unbutton his shirt. When it was done, I pulled it off his shoulders and down his arms. The man had a perfect, flawless body. Smooth, pale skin covered tight muscles with bluish veins running under the surface. As the shirt hit the floor, I noticed two things. He had no nipples, and he didn't have a belly button. I looked down at my own nipples then stared at his chest. He chuckled.

"No, I don't have nipples, and since I wasn't born, no navel."

I reached for his trousers and paused. He started laughing. "Yes. I have a penis."

I started to laugh and then stopped when his pants opened and dropped to his feet. Again, he looked like a perfectly carved statue, muscular; trim, without fat, and the palest, purest, smoothest skin I'd ever seen. There was no body hair at all. Except for his eyebrows, eyelashes, and scalp, he was hairless. I stared from his feet to his waist then gulped. He was a lot bigger than Jim Shipman, perfectly formed and thick. I stared into his eyes and felt the blush cross my face. Then I looked down at my own equipment and compared. I shrugged as it stood at attention and realized it was nowhere close to the angel's league. Oh well. He was an angel. I grabbed his hand and crawled into the shower and tried to ignore the sudden attraction and arousal that coursed through me, speeding my pulse.

I positioned him under the spray, facing towards me. When the warm water hit his back, he started to laugh. "That tickles."

"Back up a bit." Once the water no longer hit his shoulders, he stopped laughing. "What do you think?"

"It's warm and wet."

I started to laugh. "That's why they call it a shower."

"Good point."

I grabbed the soap and started lathering it with my hands. The angel leaned forward and sniffed at my fingers. "That smells good."

I handed the soap to him. "Do the same." I watched as he lathered the soap in his hands. Then I took it from him and spread my hands wide and wiggled my fingers. He did the same. I started washing myself, under my arms, over my chest, my arms and belly. He followed me. I raised my leg and washed along its length then did the same to the other. The angel did it too, almost tipping over because he hadn't shifted his weight. I gave my crotch a quick once over then reached for my back. When I was done, I pushed the angel under the spray and waited for the soap to be rinsed away. "Trade places with me."

I stood under the spray and rinsed off. I shut the water off and opened the shower curtain and grabbed a couple of towels. I dried myself off and watched as he did the same. I wrapped the towel around myself and walked into my room. He followed. I took out a pair of briefs and stepped into them. I tossed him a pair. "These should fit you."

He pulled them on and winced as he got them up to his waist. I started to laugh as I shoved my hands into my underwear and adjusted everything. He did the same and smiled when everything was in a comfortable place. I went to the closet and grabbed two pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts.

Once we were both dressed, I went back downstairs into the living room. I sat on the couch and the angel sat by me. "Have you thought of any names?"

"I don't really want any of the names of the people I observed."

I laughed. "You don't look like a Joan."

He rolled his eyes and grinned. "No. I don't. Pick a name. It doesn't matter what you call me."

I shook my head. "Yes it does. Your name is part of you." I looked across the room to the framed picture of my parents. "Someone names you, putting all their hopes and dreams into that name."

He sat back and looked at me, a small smile played at his lips. "I didn't know why a name was so important. I thought it was just a form of recognition."

"It's that too. But… so much more. When someone who knows and loves you says your name, you feel… connected." I tried to form into words how it felt whenever my mother said my name. "My mother could cut me to shreds by saying my name disapprovingly. But she could make it all better whenever she'd tell me she loved me."

"I see." Yet I felt he really couldn't comprehend what I was saying. "I still think you should pick a name for me."

"Fine. I'll think about it." I stood and stretched. "I need to clean up the kitchen a bit." I walked across the living room and stopped. "Should I be prepared? Should I see about putting everything in order?"

He got a faraway look in his eyes and cocked his head. Then he shook his head and smiled at me. "No. If you have everything in order, someone might think you knew what was happening."

I nodded then headed back into the kitchen. The angel followed close on my heals and watched as I gathered dishes and canning jars, things I would never need and put them into boxes. Once I'd filled four boxes, I took a Sharpie pen and started marking the boxes. The angel followed what I did. I glanced up at him as he traced what I'd written on a previous box. "Something intriguing?"

He glanced up and dropped his hand as if he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't. "What does it say?"

I stood and glanced at him. "You observe human beings and don't understand the written word?"

He shook his head and smiled. "I can speak every known and long forgotten language, but we do not read the written word. It is forbidden."

"Why?"

"I do not know. It has always been so."

I shrugged my shoulders and pointed to the boxes. "That one is full of china and marked as such. This one I just finished is nothing but old canning jars, so I wrote Mason jars on it."

"Mason?"

"It's just a brand name. For canning and preserving food?"

He looked perplexed as he pulled one of the jars out of the box. "Why?"

"It preserves food and stores jam and jellies."

"Why?"

What was he, a three year old? "Fruits and vegetables were only available at certain times of the year. The jars kept them so they could be eaten year round."

He nodded his head and put the jar back. "I like it."

I blinked three times in confusion. "What?"

"The name."

Okay. "Jar?"

He laughed and turned to me, smiling. "No. Mason."

"Mason." It did roll off the tongue. It was nice actually. "I like it too."

"Good."

We just stood and stared at each other. When things became awkward, I cleared my throat. "I need to take a load of things to the Goodwill. Care to join me?"

"Sure."

I picked up a couple of boxes and headed towards the door. "Wait. Can other people see you?"

Mason laughed and nodded. "As long as I'm with you, anyone can see me."

We loaded boxes and bags into the truck before we crawled inside and I started down the road. Mason kept staring around him, watching the scenery pass by. "Why can people see you now and not before?"

He turned from the scenery and smiled at me. "I became visible because you asked me to. If I go too far away from you, I'll fade out again."

"So you need to stay close by?"

"Yes."

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. "How close?"

Mason started laughing. "You'll have privacy. You slept alone last night. I'd say as long as I'm in the same building, we'll be fine."

We dropped off seven boxes and nine bags of clothing at the Goodwill before we headed home. I made it about three miles when I turned to Mason. "I'm hungry. Do you mind if we stop?"

"Not at all."

"You don't eat?"

Mason looked around as we pulled in to the local McDonald's. "I don't have to. But I can if I want."

We stood and stared at the menu for several minutes. Thankfully, there were pictures to go along with the words. "Any ideas?"

He shook his head as he looked at the menu. "I haven't got a clue."

"Why don't I order a bit of a variety, and you can try it all?"

He looked at me and smiled. Something shifted inside my chest, making me feel flustered. "I think that is a good idea."

After I got our order, grabbed some ketchup, napkins, and straws, I sat down across from Mason and offered him a fry. "Try this."

He took the fry from me and stared at it as he rolled it in his fingers. He brought it to his mouth and licked against it before taking a tentative bite. He chewed on it for a moment as if he wasn't sure. Then he swallowed. He grinned at me and grabbed another. Then another. Then another.

Before I knew it, all the fries were gone. I unwrapped one of the cheeseburgers and handed it to him. "Try this."

Mason practically inhaled it. I took a straw and put it in one of the soft drinks. Mason took it and looked at the straw. I showed him how to use it with my own drink. "Like this."

As I watched him take a drink, moving his lips against the straw, my mind turned to rather filthy thoughts. I looked away before the blush became obvious. I needed to stop doing this. I shook my head and grabbed my own burger and bit into it. After I'd swallowed, I turned back to Mason who looked longingly at my burger. I'd lost my appetite. "Here. Have at it."

"Thanks."

I watched as he ate my hamburger, two apple pies, and drank all of his soda. When he was all done, he leaned back in his chair and smiled. "I take it you enjoyed that?"

"I did. I've never had food before."

I blinked and sat forward. "Never?"

"No." Then Mason sat forward and opened his mouth to say something. A belch, louder and longer than I'd ever heard before, left his lips. He sat back and looked around. "What was that?"

I started laughing. I couldn't stop until tears rolled down my face. I took a napkin and started wiping my face. "That was a belch."

"Belch?"

I wadded up the napkin and grinned. "You ate too fast and swallowed air with the food. That and the soda, well, your belly had to get rid of the gas."

He sat back and looked down at his stomach. He poked it with a finger then took a drink of soda. He looked at me and smiled, then belched again. "That's fun."

I glanced at a table near us and saw the disapproving look from the woman sitting there. "And rude. Let's go."

In the truck, Mason sat sideways so he could watch me. "Did I do something wrong?"

I glanced at him before turning back to traffic. "Not at all. Why?"

"You sounded upset when you told me I was being rude."

I pulled over to the side of the road and turned to Mason. "No. I wasn't upset. I thought it was funny. Until I saw the woman at the other table looking all peeved."

"Why would you care what someone else thinks?"

"I don't." Then I shook my head. "Not normally I don't. But it isn't polite to belch loudly in public."

Mason nodded then looked at me. "So, the children who were running around and screaming weren't rude?"

"They were, yes."

"Why didn't they get in trouble and have to leave?"

I sighed. "Some people don't care."

Mason put his hand on my arm. "And you do?"

I looked at him and smiled, though it was wobbly. "I care very much."

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