Vatican City Ch. 01byRedDrake1983©
My fingers pulled the kerchief from my back pocket wiping sweat from my forehead, face, and throat. My hand touched the silver band at my throat. No one at the hospital could tell me where it came from. Though they said it was there when I came in from the accident. That is something I barely remember and was only told about what happened. The accident, on my wedding night, that took the lives of every person in my life.
It feels like it happened yesterday and not 10 months ago. I was the only one to survive with several scars upon my flesh. I had been thrown away from the wreck when the tanker and my limo with my Jonathan in it exploded. I had been impaled to a sign post on the side of the highway. That is one of the scars on my chest and back. The doctor's repaired most of the damage but my right arm still has limited function. The company whose driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel paid me for just about everything. Most of the money went to burying my family and the lawyers. I sold the houses and properties off and bought a ticket to leave the country. I flew to Europe. I could never go home. There wasn't anything left back in that country. I was alone in the world.
My left hand pulled my bag up my shoulder as my sneakers kicked up stones on this foreign road. My head turned slightly. He was still wondering behind me a ways. It seems that I wasn't the only one wondering this road. I had noticed him three cities back walking. He held a bag of brown leather on his shoulder and wondering through the countryside like I was. When I stop and rest on the side of the road he seems to stop and rest but keeps his distance away from me. When I get on the road again he gets on the road as well. It was a bit annoying for I just wish that he would pass me already and continue on instead of following me at most times. Even when I take myself off the road and into the woods and through to another part of the country when I think I am alone and come back out on a road I would find that he was there as well. Though when I was in the woods I made sure to stop more often and rest up before I hit another road and turn back some to find him there again. My eyes lifted to the sky. The sun was high and the heat of the summer was making me sweat something terrible. I stopped and pulled out my canteen and opened the lid. I tipped it up as the last of my water slipped into my mouth and down my throat. A groan came from my throat. I should have stocked up my canteen three miles back at the creek. I twisted the cap on and continued to walk.
My lips pressed some. They were a bit dry and I was thirsty. My eyes went behind me some. The guy was still walking up the road behind me. He was a bit closer than before as my thoughts went to how much water was he carrying. I stopped on the road as I saw him stop. I turned and looked to him straight forward now. His body stopped as he watched me a moment. He looked like he was debating on wither to walk on or wait till I continued to move. I began to walk back towards him. This seemed to confuse him for he stepped back once and then stopped watching me. I came to about 15 feet from him as my eyes stared at this gorgeous man that was before me. He had long white colored hair and the deepest blue eyes I had ever seen. His shirt was sweaty as his tan skin glistened with sweat.
"I have seen you following me three cities back. Since we seem to be going in the same direction would you mind me walking with you?" I asked as his lips pressed some before he smiled. My chest grew tight at the smile.
"I am just traveling around. I didn't mean to make you think I was following you. I'm headed towards the Vatican in Rome. Are you heading in that direction?" He asked as I smirked some.
"I don't really know which way Rome is. I am just traveling to travel." I said as he chuckled some.
"You are heading in the right direction. I don't mind walking with you." He said as I nodded. "My name is Gabe. It's short for Gabriel." He said holding out his large hand to me.
"Tee short for Tessa." I said shaking his hand. His hand went to bring my hand to his lips but I pulled my fingers from his grasp. His eyes came to mine. "Please don't do that." I said gently. His lips pressed some as he nodded. We began to walk as a bit of silence went between us. "Gabe, huh? I like Gabriel better." I said looking to him as he smiled and chuckled some.
"I like Tessa better." He said as I smirked some.
"Gabriel sounds like one of God's angels." I said as his eyes looked to me. "Are you one such angel?" I asked as his eyes went wide some. I laughed and shook my head. "I'm only playing. An angel wouldn't give a damn about me. They turned their backs on me a long time ago." I said softly looking to the road ahead.
"Why do you say that?" Gabriel asked as my eyes went to him.
"I don't want to talk about that." I said gently. "It's too painful." I said as he nodded. His lips pressed some. "Why are you going to the Vatican? Is the Pope supposed to be out in his little bubble car or something?" I asked.
"I'm going to talk with him. Ask him for some help to keep someone alive." He said as my eyes went to him.
"Someone you care for?" I asked as he slowly nodded. I looked away. "Sounds like a wishful thinking, Gabriel. We are all meant to die. When our time comes there will be no turning back and trying to stop it. When I die there will only be darkness." I said as he gasped softly. My eyes looked to his wide eyes.
"You don't believe you will go to heaven?" He asked.
"If they wanted me there I would already be there." I said as he stopped walking. I turned away and continued to walk. My lips pressed some. "I don't believe in any of them or any religion anymore. Things happened and knocked faith out of my heart. This isn't earth to me anymore. This is just plain hell." I said. I felt his hand wrap around my elbow stopping me as my head turned and my eyes went to him.
"I wish there was a way to help you and change your mind about those words you just said." He said as I stared at him.
"You are a believer. I am just someone lost." I said as his lips pressed some. He slowly released my elbow as I turned and continued to walk. He walked up beside me and was quiet. My stomach growled and my lips were dry. I stopped and stared up ahead a little ways since we were on a hill some. I could see a town off in the distance. He turned to me as his body stopped.
"Are you coming? We should make that town by nightfall." He said pointing out to it.
"I don't have any money to stay in a town. It's part of why I have been traveling through them and continuing out of them. I am hungry and will cook of what I have left. If you want to continue on that's up to you. But I'm setting up camp here for the night. If I play my cards right I will find a stream to fill up my water container." I said as his lips pressed hard as his head turned and looked at the town.
"I will stay with you. But I have money. I could get us a room for the night." He said as I shook my head.
"We know nothing about the other and I don't know if I should trust you just yet. You were after all following me for the past 4 days." I said as his fingers ran through his hair as he looked down to the dirt before looking back to me.
"I will not touch you. I will not hurt you. I am not that way towards any woman. I swear that I would never do something you don't want me to." He said as my eyes watched him. I moved off the road a ways as I saw him follow me. I pulled my pack off my right shoulder and set it down. I began to pull out my tent. I tried to use my right arm but the functions of it were limited. I turned to see him making a fire circle. His bag was leaning against a tree for we were sitting quite close to the woods. He walked into the woods as I saw him bend to pick up some fire wood. I turned back to my tent and managed to get it up and holding. I pulled out my very large and warm sleeping bag and unrolled it in my tent. I put my pillow at the head of the sleeping bag and pulled out a can of baked beans and both my bowls and spoons that were clean. I pulled out my small pot and set the baked beans in it. My head lifted to him coming out with both his arms full of wood. He set the wood down and began to build the fire. When the flames were glowing I put the baked beans in the pot and began to cook them. He sat down across from me poking at the wood with a stick. I stirred the baked beans as he pulled something from his bag. My eyes lifted to see that he had a loaf of bread and some jerky.
"You are sharing with me and I will share with you. If you want me to I can go fill up your water container. I found a creek not far from here." He said as I nodded and held out my container to him. He took it from my fingers and got up from the fire side. I watched him walk into the woods. My eyes went back to the beans. I stirred them and made sure they weren't sticking to the pot. I lifted the pot out of the fire. I yelped out in pain as my wrist was burned by the fire. I set the pot down and pulled away putting my free hand to my wrist as the pain stung through it.
"Son of a bitch." I hissed as the tears were there. It was the arm that wasn't that functional. I did not move quick enough. My lips pressed hard as I turned and went to my tent.
"What happened? Are you okay?" I heard Gabriel ask.
"I'll be fine." I said going into my tent. I sat down on the sleeping bag opening my bag. I cringed some as I pulled out a salve. I opened the lid and began applying the cooling cream. My head lifted to Gabriel coming into the tent. His lips press some as he was down on his hands and knees before me.
"You got burned." He breathed as he came before me and sat down next to me. His fingers gingerly took my wrist and brought it to him. He took the salve and slowly spread it across the burn. I looked away as he pulled out some bandages and began to wrap the burn. "There it should heal better." He said as my eyes looked to his. His head was so close and his lips were right there. He turned back to my burned wrist and kissed it gently. My chest grew tight. "Let me put the food in the bowls. We can eat and get some rest. The sun has sunk below the horizon now and sleep will be best." He said going out of my tent towards the fire. I watched his shadow. My left hand moved gently over the burn. My lips pressed some before I moved out of the tent. I sat down near the fire as he sat down near me and held out a bowl. Pieces of jerky and bread were with the bowl. He held out a cup of water to me as well. I took the water and sipped it as we ate in silence. When we were finished he took the bowls and spoons. He walked back into the woods as I sipped the water watching the flames. Moments later he came back and the dishes were clean. I took them and put them to the side. I watched him lean up against a tree and cross his arms. He lowered his head some.
"Don't you have a tent?" I asked as his head lifted and his eyes came to me.
"No. I didn't pack things like that. It is summer time here." He said as my lips pressed some.
"You can lie down in my tent if you want to." I said as he smiled some.
"Thank you, but I think I'm ok." He said as my lips pressed some. The wind kicked up some as the flames whirled up a bit. I shivered and shook my head.
"In the tent, Gabriel. It's going to be a windy night. You can sleep in my sleeping bag with me. It's big enough for two people." I said as I felt the burn of blush in my cheeks. I shivered again.
"You should get in the tent." He said as I got up from near the fire.
"You too. I'm not an animal. I don't want you to catch a cold." I said as he slowly got up. He put some water on the fire as the darkness surrounded us. I went into the tent crawling across my sleeping bag taking my shoes off and setting them to the side. I pulled open the sleeping bag and turned to see him coming in. He put his sneakers next to mine and crawled up the bag to the head of it. I slipped under as he slipped down behind me. He drew the sleeping bag around us as I laid my head on the pillow. I gasped out softly as his arm slipped around me.
"I won't touch. I just wish to hold you. We will stay warmer that way." He said gently in my ear. I felt his other arm slip under my neck as I adjusted to his moving. His chest was quite warm against my back as my head lifted some to his arm tightening a bit around me. My eyes closed as sleep slowly came to me.
(Their screams came as I tried to pull from the post in my chest. It was hard to breath and my right arm was useless. I reached out for them.
'Don't leave me!' I screamed. My body struggled as I watched the fires burn and the explosions take the lives of those that would have survived. I screamed out as the tears slipped down my cheeks. 'Don't leave me here alone!' I screamed. My hand reached out before unconsciousness took me.)
My body shifted hard as a cry of pain from my throat awoke me. My head turned coming to the eyes of Gabriel. His arms were tight around my flesh. I felt the tears slip as my body turned and huddled up against him. He was silent as I sobbed gently. I felt his fingers run up and down my back holding me against his flesh. I must have cried myself to sleep. When morning came my eyes opened to find myself lying against Gabriel's chest as he was lying on his back. I could hear him gently snoring. I drew the blanket up around us for the mornings did get a bit cold till the sun heated things up. I felt his fingers shift on my side as my hand grabbed his and moved it some. I laid my head on his chest and closed my eyes for a little while longer. I knew nothing of this man and he knew nothing of me. To have him this close to me and against my skin it felt strange. He was so warm to the touch. My mind thought back to my Jonathan. I frowned a bit and rolled away from him.
"Are you okay?" He asked gently as my eyes lifted to his looking to me.
"I will be fine." I whispered. I sat up and pushed my shirt down a bit for it had ridden up some. I pulled my bag to me and brushed out my hair. I slipped out from the sleeping bag and went out into the cool morning air. I shivered some pulling on my sneakers and going to the fire pit. I began the fire this time. I sat by the fire as the flames leapt high. I could hear him moving and getting up. He came out of the tent and sat down next to me.
"You had a nightmare last night. I held onto you." He said as I looked away towards the flames. "You screamed." He said as my lips pressed hard. I got up and picked up my bag. I walked into the woods to find this creek and wash up. I came to the creek side and set my bag down. I began to remove my clothes and wash up in the shallow end of the water. I kept my back towards the camp and incase he came through. I heard a gasp come from his throat as my hair hung down over my breasts and midsection as my head turned to see him turned away from the water and the creek side. "I'm sorry. I didn't know you were washing up." He said as I turned away and continued to clean up. "The scars, where did they come from?" He asked quietly.
"An accident." I said flatly. "Can you take down my tent? I will be moving on in a little bit. When I am finished and cleaned up." I said.
"Ok. I'm sorry." He said. I heard the crunch of his feet as he went back towards the camp. I finished up and dressed in a different pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I pulled on my socks and sneakers before heading back to camp. It was down and he was just rolling up my sleeping bag. I walked over and picked up my tent shoving it into my bag and pushed my pillow down with it. He held out my folded sleeping bag as I attached it to my bag. His hand took mine as my eyes went to his. "I didn't mean to see you like that. I was going to clean the cups." He said as my lips pressed some.
"I lost everything in this world that meant everything to me. I lost my husband and family in a matter of minutes after my wedding. I don't want anyone's pity or heart. I don't want anything anymore. When we make it to the Vatican we will go our separate ways, Gabriel. My faith is gone. I don't believe in god or his will. They tore the faith from my flesh when they took my Jonathan." I said as his eyes went wide. "I will wonder till I die. Though, even now, I feel dead inside." I whispered pulling away. I put the fire out and lifted my bag over my right shoulder and moved out towards the road once more. I soon found him with his bag walking next to me down the road.
"How long ago did it happen?" He asked as I sighed softly.
"Ten going on eleven months now." I said as I saw him look away some.
"How many people?" He asked.
"57 people I knew and there were also another 40 who I didn't know who died in the accident as well. A total of 97 people and yet I still lived. I was thrown away from the crash and impaled by a broken sign post on the side of the highway. I saw them all die. I heard their screams of help. My Jonathan had been pinned to the limo. He was reaching out to me. I was going to go for him till the explosion thrust me backwards into the sign and that was the explosion that killed him. We had only been married minutes before that. We were on the way to the reception. I will never wear a white gown again. There was so much blood. My right lung was punctured and this arm barely moves and can't hold any weight. I don't use it very much." I said as his eyes came to my right arm. My left hand was holding the bag up on my shoulder.
"Why don't you put the bag on the other shoulder?" He asked.
"I used to have it on that shoulder till the strap broke." I said looking to him. His lips pressed some. His eyes went back to the road as my eyes went ahead of us. "Who is it you are trying to save and ask the Pope to keep alive?" I asked as I saw his lips press to a line.
"She's someone special to me. Someone worth saving." He said as I nodded.
"Is she dying?" I asked gently.
"It's a little more complicated." He said as I nodded and asked no more. He was taken and I could never touch him even if I wanted to. I didn't want that though. I didn't want to be touched by anyone. We walked down through the valley into the small town as my eyes could see that it was market day. People were everywhere. There were vendors and people buying supplies and foods. I walked through the crowd as I noticed he was stopping by a table. I looked on and brushed some red hair from my eyes. A man in old style clothes held out a rug towards me and spoke out words that I didn't understand. I shook my head and continued to walk. A child was running through the market. He looked a fright. He came around my body and huddled against my back. My eyes went to him as he looked up to me.
"Please hide me." He begged softly. My head turned as three men came running up. They went to move me out of the way but my hand grabbed hold of one arm and twisted turning him head over heels and he landed on the ground. People gasped and moved back as I kicked the guy in the stomach as he rolled away and groaned getting to his feet as the other men growled and stood in front of me.
"Why do you want this boy?" I asked as the one I flipped got up next to his buddies.
"He's a thief. We don't handle thieves well in this town." The man in the center said as I looked to the boy. He had a loaf of bread in his hands.
"He took some food." I said looking to the three men. "You would steal food if you were his age and hungry. Let the boy keep the food. Don't be such assholes." I said as they frowned hard.
"Give us the bread back and we will leave him." The center guy hissed. My lips pressed hard. I felt Gabriel come up next to me. He held out a few coins and tossed it to the men.
"The boy keeps the bread. Get out of here." He said as the men took up the coins and grumbled walking away. The center one glared at me as I frowned and glared at him. Gabriel looked to me and then the boy. "You go home." Gabriel said as the boy nodded. The boy wrapped his arms around me and hugged me before taking off through the crowd as I watched him run away.