Guardian Angel Ch. 01byAurora Black©
This was my first "real" attempt at writing a romantic caper story with a sexy leading man and plucky heroine. I was 20 at the time.
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For Sabrina Thomas, the day started out like any other. She awoke to the sound of music that came from the alarm clock on her nightstand. She opened her eyes and watched as the sunlight filtered through the blinds and bathed her whole apartment in a warm glow. Sabrina sat up in bed, stretched out her arms, and glanced at her alarm clock. It was 7:30 a.m.
"Another uneventful day in the life of Sabrina Thomas."
Sabrina smiled to herself and shook her head. She got out of bed and leisurely walked to the bathroom, leaving the music on. She showered and dressed, and went through the routine that she had put herself through for what seemed like ages.
Like Sabrina did every morning, she reflected on her life and the complete and utter boredom that was taking place in it. She always drove the same route to the museum where she worked, talked to the same people, and she always returned home at the end of the day to start the cycle again the next morning.
Sabrina secretly longed for something to happen in her life to bring a certain spark to it, to make it more exciting. She was both restless and clueless about her situation. She felt trapped and she desperately wanted to break free, but she had no idea how to do it.
The steady beeping of her watch shook Sabrina out of her reverie. She looked at her watch and was startled at the digital numbers that read that it was 8:15 a.m.
"Oh, my goodness. I don't have time to think about anything heavy. I've got to go to work."
She hurried out of her apartment, managed to survive the brutal morning traffic, and she arrived at the Museum of the Renaissance at 8:45. She strode into her office and was greeted by Linda, her secretary.
Sabrina smiled at the elderly woman. "Hello, Linda. Are there any messages for me this morning?"
Linda grinned back and replied, "No, but you have an appointment this morning with a..." She paused to flip casually through the appointment book on her desk.
"Ah! The name is R. Cabrezi. The meeting is set for 11:00."
Sabrina frowned, not recognizing the name. "And what does this R. Cabrezi want to discuss with me, exactly?"
Linda checked the book again before answering, "He wants to discuss the museum's recent shipment of the Angel collection, Ms. Thomas."
Sabrina's mind was going a mile a minute; she was puzzled by hearing of this stranger and his interest in the new art pieces that were acquired by the museum from Italy.
For years, rumors circulated throughout the art world that hinted at the discovery of four lost sculptures by the famed Renaissance master, Michelangelo. Many art dealers and museum experts from around the world went to Florence to find and bring the forgotten gems back to their own galleries, but all of them were unsuccessful.
Luckily, Sabrina was able to send someone from the Renaissance Museum, and that person achieved where others had failed; the lost Angel sculptures were found.
Sabrina came back to the present. She noticed that Linda was still expecting a response from her. She thanked Linda and then left the office. She walked around the museum that she had grown to love, and she kept thinking about the name of the man she was to meet with later that day. R. Cabrezi.
She had never heard of the man before. That fact was curiously unsettling for her because she thought that she knew every art person in the area. She thought about her reaction to hearing Cabrezi's reason for making the appointment. At the thought of someone asking about the sculptures, Sabrina had felt a strange tingly feeling in her stomach that she took as a sign of nervousness.
Why should I be nervous, Sabrina thought. Everyone under the sun knows about the sculptures now, and they know who has them. There shouldn't be any problems concerning the Angel collection. Unless...
She sighed and continued to walk down a long hallway towards the room where the Angel sculptures were kept.
She knew full well what the "unless" problems were. She was warned of these issues many times once it was confirmed that the sculptures were being sent to the museum. The three deadly possibilities that strike fear into the heart of any museum curator; Thievery, possible Cultural/International problems, and Forgery.
With any piece of art, there is always the risk of having someone attempt to steal it. As for the cultural/international concerns, she had heard that many people were enraged when they learned that the sculptures were going to be taken away and shipped to America.
Sabrina remembered what Frank, her colleague and one of her closest friends, told her when he returned from Italy. He spoke of protests in the streets outside of his hotel, being spat upon by dozens of people, and other instances of unmasked hostility. Since the Angels arrived, the museum was also plagued by abrasive phone calls from those who opposed the decision.
Sabrina shuddered at the memory of that time, and forced herself to move on to the next concern.
The chance of forgery. An average person might think that the issue of forgery may be the less serious of the three, but Sabrina knew that it was perhaps the most important.
She entered the room where the Angel sculptures were displayed, and she saw that they were safe in their protective glass cases. She sat down on a bench near the door and gazed at the Angels. She felt the welling of tears in her eyes as she thought about how very unfortunate it would be if the sculptures turned out to be false.
Sabrina loved art; she lived and breathed it. Art was all that she had. It was her love of art that made her choose her profession, a field of work that was mostly dominated by men. She made it through many obstacles that were placed before her by biased professors and jealous co-workers, but there were several times when she wanted to give up. The only thing that kept her from throwing in the towel was her love of art and her desire to make something of herself in that world.
When she first heard of the Angels, Sabrina experienced a feeling that she couldn't ignore. It was hope; hope that through finding the lost art, she could also find happiness. She was driven to find them; not only to make a name for herself, but to bring something as spectacular as the Angels to the attention of the world.
If they were proven to be false, Sabrina thought as she felt the tears escaping to spill onto her cheeks, then I won't be able to believe in anything ever again.
She covered her face with her hands and she started to cry. In her grief, she didn't know that she was no longer alone in the room.
When she was done crying, she removed her hands from her face but her eyes remained closed. She took deep breaths and tried to calm down. Slowly but surely, Sabrina felt that she was okay enough to open her eyes and then return to her office.
She opened her eyes to see a white handkerchief suspended in front of her face. She was startled by someone coming so close to her without her knowledge, and by the fact that the person may have witnessed her crying.
Sabrina had always been careful to mask her emotions, having learned the hard way that moments of weakness cause others to take advantage. She swallowed hard and slowly looked up to discover the identity of the intruder.
Sabrina saw a large hand. It looked strong, yet delicate. She continued on to view a well-muscled arm that was lightly sprinkled with black hair. Her gaze lifted up further to see some more black hair touching a pair of very broad shoulders. It looked as soft as silk.
At his neck, Sabrina braced herself and tried to figure out what she was going to say to get out of the situation as soon as possible. All of Sabrina's thoughts fled when she finally reached his face.
He was absolutely beautiful.
Sabrina couldn't speak; her eyes were riveted on the stranger. He looked as if he had walked out of a classic painting. His cheeks, his nose, his lips...were perfect. His eyes seemed to hold Sabrina under a spell. They were the color of warm honey, and they held a note of concern for her as he waited for her to take his handkerchief.
Weakly, she raised her hand and took it from him. She dabbed at the remaining tears with it and glanced at it before she handed it back to him. It was a very nice handkerchief, and its only decoration was the fine stitching of the letter "R" on it. Sabrina was finally able to find her tongue and thank him.
The stranger continued to watch her with concern. "Are you all right?"
His voice sounded like music, deep and rich. I wonder what his laugh sounds like, Sabrina thought before she caught herself.
Sabrina cleared her throat and said, "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you."
The stranger's face lost its worried look and his sudden smile outshone the sun. "It was my pleasure."
Sabrina began to rise from the bench, and the stranger backed away so she could move freely. She was able to see the rest of him as she got up. He had to have been six feet and four inches, at least. He was wearing a blue button-down shirt with a white t-shirt underneath, and blue jeans. He was also wearing sneakers.
That explains why he was able to come so close without making noise, Sabrina thought.
She didn't know what else to say, so she excused herself and left the room, leaving the stranger behind. He continued to watch her walk away, a small smile playing on his beautiful lips.
Her face was aflame; she had never felt so tongue-tied in all her life. She shuddered to think of what the stranger must have been thinking while she drooled over him like she did. She felt so weak; first the Angel business, now being caught crying and ogling a strange man. What could possibly happen next?
Sabrina spent the remaining time until 11:00 pouring over paperwork, determined to put the earlier situation, and the stranger, out of her mind. She managed to succeed a little bit, and the buzzing of the intercom on her desk startled her out of some serious work. She pressed the button on the intercom.
"Your 11:00 is here to see you, Ms. Thomas."
"Okay, Linda. Please show him in."
Sabrina stood up from her chair and started towards the door to finally meet the mysterious R. Cabrezi. The door opened as she was making her way around her desk, and Sabrina stopped in her tracks.
The man that Linda showed into her office was none other than the stranger! He was no longer wearing the shirt and blue jeans, instead choosing a three-piece suit for the late morning meeting. His long hair was pulled back into a queue, and his eyes danced with mischief.
Linda said, "Ms. Thomas, this is Mr. Cabrezi."
Sabrina looked first at Linda, and then at Cabrezi. He began to smile.