Hold Me Now – Chapter 21

Intro/Index
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Chapter 21

Did you have a nice holiday break?” Isaac asked as he sat across from Gail with a cup of tea in his hands. Gail snorted and shook her head slowly.

It was despicable and I’m glad it’s over. It just caused undue stress. But, anyway, uh…” She cleared her throat and lowered her voice a bit. “About those angels.”

Isaac raised an eyebrow at her. “Ah, yes. Did your guardian ever return?”

He did,” Gail said with a nod. “On Christmas day, actually, and he talked to his brother and everything is okay with them now, I guess.” She shrugged her shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t really understand what was going on and they didn’t feel the need to tell me it all. That’s fine, though, it’s not really any of my business.”

Mm, so long as it is not causing you any trouble.” He smiled a little. “May I ask you something, Gail?”

What?”

The first time you mentioned these angels, I was curious about your… beliefs.”

Gail chuckled a little. “Well, I don’t know what to tell you. I never really believed in stuff like that before, but after seeing it with my own eyes I can’t really say it’s not real, can I? But I mean, I haven’t given it much thought beyond that.”

Isaac smiled and nodded his head. “I understand. I’m not going to tell you to do anything, of course, as that should be a personal choice that you make on your own. I merely thought I would ask.”

Yeah, something to think about, I guess.” Gail sighed and leaned back against the sofa she was sitting in, gazing rather contemplatively at the ceiling. “I did come here for another reason, though. It’s kind of serious, actually.”

Oh, what would that be?”

I, uh, heard that counselors could like give people letters stating they need therapy pets. Is that true?”

Isaac leaned back in his chair and stared at her rather thoughtfully. “It is. Do you think you’re in need of one?”

I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.” Gail let out a heavy sigh. “Let me explain. A few months back my roommate brought home this little kitten because it had nowhere else to go and no one else would take it. We kind of fell in love with him, but we’re technically not allowed to have him.” She sighed again and turned her face down. “I don’t want to get rid of him, though. It’s been so nice having him around.”

Isaac sighed a little and nodded his head. “I understand wanting to keep a pet, but I I can’t give you such a letter unless I see that you truly are in need of one.”

Yeah, I was afraid you would say that. I don’t know what I’d need to actually convince you that having this cat is necessary, but… I thought it’d be worth asking at least.”

Isaac rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he studied her. “Does being with this cat help calm you and make you feel more at ease?”

Yeah,” Gail said. “He loves being with me and snuggling with me while I work. It’s helped me get through a lot of stressful nights, actually.”

I see.” Isaac stood and went over to his desk, shuffling through some papers. “I think I could work with that, actually. It sounds like you’re very close with this cat and to take it away would just make your life more stressful than before.” He smirked faintly.

Gail stared at him and smiled a little. “Thank you, thank you so much, that means a lot to me.”

Don’t mention it,” he said. “It’s my job, after all.”

Once she left his office, she sent a message to Haley saying everything was going to be alright with Cecil, so long as their landlord would be accepting of it. The fact they’d been hiding the cat all this time and only got the letter once he began to find out about it didn’t bode well in her mind.

It’ll be fine,” Haley told her. “You’ll see. I’ll be there to talk to him about it with you. Everything will work out in the end, I’m positive.”

I hope you’re right about that,” Gail said. “I don’t want to get kicked out or to kick Cecil out.”

It’ll be fine, trust me,” Haley said again, patting Gail on the back. “You’ll see.”

That evening Gail was curled up on her bed with the cat lying next to her as she worked on one of her projects. After awhile of working she closed her laptop and set it aside, sighing heavily.

May I join you?”

Gail glanced up to see Cecil standing in the corner of the room. She shifted on her bed and nodded. The angel crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing the cat’s ears.

You seem to have things under control,” he murmured as he gazed at the cat. “I would hate to see him go. After all, he is named after me.”

Gail snorted a little. “Haley named him and she has no idea you exist so it was just an incredible coincidence.”

Maybe,” Cecil said in a rather conspiratorial tone. “Still, I like cats and he seems to like me.”

Of course you like cats,” Gail said, rolling her eyes. “You actually were one that one time.”

Yes, well, sometimes we take different forms. A human form is the most convenient when coming to Earth to interact with humanity, of course. That cat form was good for… stress relief.”

If you say so,” she said with a bit of a smirk. She leaned back against her pillows and glanced at him. “I realize it’s only been a couple days but have you found that demon yet?”

Not a trace,” Cecil said with a shake of his head. “I’m a little relieved by that but we really do have to find it and take care of it once and for all. We can’t let it…” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “It needs to be destroyed.”

Don’t need to tell me twice to convince me of that,” Gail said with a slight huff. “After all, it did try to kill me.”

Cecil made a sound low in his throat and turned his face away from her, peering across the room at the guitar case leaning against the wall. “Do you… still hold onto the past?” he asked in a quiet voice.

Gail blinked and glanced toward the guitar. “There’s nothing wrong with keeping things to remember the past by, but that doesn’t mean you should stay frozen in that time, either. You have to learn to move on with your life at some point.”

I…” Cecil sighed heavily and stood up, turning his back to her. “What if you did something you can’t forgive yourself for? What if it’s haunting you the rest of your life for every step you take?”

Gail stared at him and raised an eyebrow. “Are we talking about me or you here?”

Cecil shook his head and scrubbed his face with the heels of his hands. “Nothing, forget I said it. It doesn’t matter.”

Gail frowned at sat up in her bed. “Don’t give me that. Tell me what you’re talking about.” She reached a hand out hesitantly, speaking a little softer. “Cecil, what happened?”

He tilted his head and glanced at her over his shoulder. “Something terrible.”

Gail opened her mouth to respond but her voice caught in her throat and a cold shiver went up her spine. She froze in her spot and her heart began to beat faster and fill with fear and panic. She swallowed hard and whispered, “Cecil…”

Cecil looked just as horrified at the sudden change in atmosphere. He stepped over to her and wrapped his arms around her, hissing in her ear, “The demon is back, I can feel it.”

Gail shuddered, her eyes growing wider. “Where’s Cynder?”

He’s coming,” Cecil said. “Don’t worry, we’ll keep you safe.”

A moment later they heard a scream from the other room. Gail jumped to her feet and ran to the door without a second’s hesitation. “Haley, what’s wrong?”

Gail, call the police, there’s a strange man here!”

Gail burst through her door and ran out into the living room, freezing when she saw the man Haley was screaming about. “What-”

Cynder glanced over his shoulder at them. “Cecil, we need to find that demon, now.”

Cecil nodded and went around Gail, disappearing to another part of the room. Haley had backed up into a corner and was staring at Cecil with a look of terror in her eyes. Gail stiffened when she realized Haley could see the angel standing before her. She rushed over to Cynder and grabbed him by the shoulder, hissing in his ear.

What are you doing?”

The demon is here, I can sense its presence. I’m here to destroy it.” He glared at her for a moment and murmured, “Do you have a problem with that?”

I was referring to something else actually,” Gail growled, gesturing to Haley who looked terrified and confused. Cynder looked at her and a moment later recognition crossed his face.

Ah. Right. We’ll explain ourselves later, but first let us take care of the demon.” He pulled out of Gail’s grip and went off to join Cecil. Gail let out a shaky sigh and pressed her hand over her face.

Gail!” Haley nearly shrieked. “What is going on here? Do you know those two? What was that guy doing in your room?”

Gail crossed the room to where Haley was and put her arms around her friend. “Okay, so this might be hard for you to believe, but please try to bear with me. Those two guys are… angels.”

Haley stared at her with wide eyes. “Angels… like really for real?”

Yes,” Gail said with a sigh. “I’m sure they’ll explain everything to you, but right now they’re looking for a demon. They said they could sense its presence and actually I could too a moment ago.” She frowned a little when she realized the feeling had gone away and she wasn’t sure if that meant the demon had gone.

You can’t,” Haley said, shaking her head slowly. “You cannot expect me to believe all that, Gail.”

Why would I make up something as ridiculous sounding as that?” Gail said with a huff. “Look, I can’t get you to believe me, but maybe they can. As soon as they come back…” She glanced over her shoulder and frowned, wondering where they had disappeared to.

A moment later both angels returned to the living room, looking rather graven faced. Cynder let out a heavy sigh and shook his head. “Demon got away. It’s running scared. I don’t think it wants to face us.”

Are you sure it’s that?” Gail asked with a raised eyebrow. Neither of them answered and Cynder just grunted. Gail shook her head and took a step away from Haley. “Alright, well you owe her an explanation since you were kind enough to let her see you.”

Ah.” Cynder turned his attention to Haley, who was pressing a little closer to Gail and still looking rather frightened. He bowed his head a little. “My apologies for scaring you but I had to come and destroy this demon as swiftly as possible.”

You could have done it without showing yourself,” Cecil muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. “This is just going to complicate things, you know.”

Will it? I think it could make them easier, if you ask me.” Cynder turned his attention back to Haley. “We are angels of the Lord, do not be afraid. We are here to protect you, not harm you.”

Haley ran a hand over her face and slowly shook her head. “No, no, that’s not possible…”

Cynder glanced over his shoulder at Cecil who merely sighed and shook his head. A moment later both of them had large wings stretching out from their back, Cynder’s pure white with a bit of a blue glow around them and Cecil’s an ashen gray with the slightest hint of purple underneath. Haley shuddered a little and gripped Gail’s arm tightly.

They’re actually angels,” she said in a shaky voice.

That’s what I tried to tell you,” Gail said.

Please just give us a chance to explain,” Cecil said kindly. “I know this is hard for you to take in, but it’s all true.”

Haley stared at him for a moment before slowly nodding her head. Gail helped her over to the couch and sat down with her and the two angels began explaining themselves, though Cecil did a fair deal of the talking while Cynder only occasionally cut in to add something. Haley had a look of disbelief on her face the entire time, though she seemed to be taking it fairly well otherwise.

You’re Gail’s guardian?” she said when Cecil had gotten to that part. He nodded his head and gave Gail a significant look.

I am. This demon showed up and my brother here came to help me destroy it. It’s being… slippery.”

Cynder snorted rather derisively. “I’m this close to calling someone else in to help. Raphael doesn’t want me to, though. I have no idea why.”

Well we can’t go against what he says, can we?” Cecil mumbled, wincing slightly. “Anyway, you’re both safe now and that’s what matters.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Uh, sorry for frightening you like that. We probably should’ve kept our identities from being revealed.”

On the contrary,” Cynder said, “I believe we have a better chance of luring the demon out if we stay in our physical forms like this.”

Cecil looked at him as if he were crazy. “It ran away because we were both here, you know.”

Is that truly the reason?” Cynder said with a raised eyebrow. The two of them stared at each other and seemed to be speaking without saying a word.

Gail sighed and rubbed her hand over her face. “Look, why don’t you two continue your conversation somewhere else? We’d like some peace and quiet if you don’t mind.”

Cynder jerked his head toward her and gave her a hard look, then nodded and clapped Cecil on the shoulder. Cecil sighed and the two of them disappeared. Haley stared at the spot they had just been in, unable to believe what she had just seen.

Gail,” she said quietly.

Hm?”

Your guardian angel has the same name as our cat.”

Gail snorted and nodded her head. “Yep, he does.”

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