(16) Broken Angel

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Angelo was gone the next day and I had that horrible feeling of normality. Like when you come back from the most amazing holiday of your life and you remember that you have responsibilities; bills to pay, work to do.

I started working harder than ever before, an invisible force urged me to work later hours in my shop and start drawing up plans for a design label for my clothes. I had a long queue now of dresses to make for people but I didn't feel stressed, I felt strangely happy about the workload. It took my mind off things.

I didn't call for Angelo for a while because I didn't want to seem desperate but he was constantly on my mind, driving me to success in my business. I saw my sisters a few times although they had been busy with end of term exams and I saw Hannah and Ryan quite a bit. Ryan came to the shop a lot to help me out. He was really good with the customers and worked while I made dresses. After a while, I thought it was best just to give him a job. Everything was running more smoothly with him there.

Then one day, it all changed.

It was a normal tuesday, a little quieter than previous weeks but nothing to worry about. I was carrying a load of fabrics from the store room to the main section of the shop and for some reason, they felt heavier than usual. The path from the store room to the shop is short but you have to go up a few stairs. I was always fine with the stairs, they were a little steep but nothing too bad. However, after the second step, I started to feel weak. The rolls of fabric were too heavy. I lifted my foot up the last step but fell. The rolls flew out of my hand and I knocked my head badly on the way down. My initial instinct was to call Angelo but I didn't want him to keep thinking I was weak and fragile, it was embarrassing. Grabbing my mobile phone out my back pocket, I dialled Ryan's number and after a few rings he picked up. I told him what happened then passed out.

***

I was woken by the feeling of someone lifting me up. He carried me as if I were as light as a feather and rested me on the counter of the shop. His arm propped up my head as he asked me to open my mouth and made me drink some water. My eyes fluttered open and stood above me was Angelo. My heart started to pound and I reached out for him. He held my hand.

"Hey, not so fast Gracie." He chuckled.

That was not Angelo's voice. My eyes focused and I realised it was Ryan. A blush crawled from my cheeks to my neck and I suddenly felt like I might well up and cry. My head was pounding and Ryan put a wet towel on it. It felt good. I closed my eyes again.

The next time I woke, it was dark. I was definitely in my bed and wearing some pyjamas. Ryan must have changed me. I wasn't sure if I found it weird or just really sweet.

I kept on getting hot and cold flushes and my stomach kept lurching. I laid a hand on it to rest it but it was persistent. In the end, I thought I should get up. This only made it worse and I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. The living room light switched on and Ryan came running through the door. He held my hair back for me whilst I threw up. 3 times in total.

The next few weeks were a blur. I couldn't work because I didn't want to be sick all over the fabric. I could barely leave my bed I was so shaky.

One day, Ryan came in and sat by my bed. He had my key now so he could let himself in.

"Look, I don't think it was any food that made you ill..." He trailed off then produced a few pregnancy tests from his pocket. My eyes widened and I cursed. Of course, how could I have been so stupid.

I tried all three tests and each came back with the same answer, 'positive'. What the hell was I going to do? I hadn't talked to Angelo in around a month or two. I couldn't help it. I cried.

"Hey, Gracie please don't cry." Ryan begged. "So what if you don't have contact with the father, it means you can bring up the child in your own way, with your own rules. And you have your sisters and Hannah and I will always stick around for you, always." He smiled a reassuring smile and I buried my head into his chest sobbing until I literally didn't think I could cry anymore. I had to think of what to do.

Ryan stayed with me for a while longer until I asked him to leave. He didn't want to, I think he thought I might try and do something to myself but that wasn't my style. Besides, this could be the best thing to happen, I just didn't know.

As soon as he was gone, I called Angelo.

***

Angelo.

As soon as Grace's voice interrupted everything; my thoughts, my actions, my breathing, I felt happy. Actually, overjoyed. My heart burned in my chest in a similar way to drinking a nice glass of whiskey, it was a nice feeling. I flew to her straight away but stopped dead in my tracks when I saw that she looked nervous, scared almost.

She let me into her room and immediately we embraced each other. Her heart was pounding in her chest, I felt it too. I folded my wings and shook so they disappeared and I smiled at her. She smiled back but it was an unsure smile. I could tell by her quick movements that she was really worried about something.

I sat on her bed and pulled her onto my lap. "What's the matter Grace?" I asked lightly.

She tried to speak but she ended up crying. I held her tight to me and rocked her in my arms, my Grace.

"I, I've not been feeling well." She started. No, I wouldn't allow her to die. She had too much going for her. I shook her a little.

"Tell me what's going on grace." I said a little more sternly. This seemed to scare her and she trembled as she spoke.

"I've been throwing up loads and I look like crap. I didn't notice I was fatter but now I look in the mirror, I can see my stomach sticking out half a mile. That's what's going on." She cried.

I was paralysed for a moment and then I softened. She was safe. But she was pregnant. Was I happy?

We talked about it and I convinced her to keep the child. I told her I had a lot on but as soon as that was done, I'd be by her as much as possible. She looked distressed and I felt that way. Was I doing the right thing? I wanted her to keep the child for sure, but could I really help? I wasn't so sure on that.

I stayed with her that night, cooking for her, bathing her and holding her as she slept. What could I do? What should I do? I just didn't know anymore. When she was fast asleep, I prayed. Arcanxo appeared in her room and I bowed to him.

"Arcanxo" I greeted.

He looked happy as ever but I could sense he was slightly tense. I told him what happened but he seemed unaffected.

"I knew it would happen one day." He said with a sad smile.

"I don't know what to do. She says she loves me but mortals do not understand love to the level us angels do. She couldn't love me if she tried." I said sadly.

Arcanxo closed his eyes and floated towards Grace. His fingers touched her forehead and suddenly she was lit up as bright as he was. Her dark brown curls cascaded into thin air as her body levitated from the bed. Then a sudden wind blew her. It was fierce and freezing cold but she was un moving. Her hair blew in the wind but that was the only part of her that was not completely still.

I watched with wide eyes. I didn't understand what was going on. Slowly, the wind died down and Grace came to lie back on her bed. She still didn't stir.

Arcanxo then came towards me and touched my forehead. "My child, you do not have enough faith in Grace. Her heart is pure and she loves you just like any other angel would."

I stood there, stunned.

Arcanxo left without another word and I laid down next to Grace. "Angelo." She whispered in her sleep, just like every night.

"Please forgive me." I whispered. 

Then I shed a tear. One single crystal droplet that represented so many emotions and I left.

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