Chapter Two

When I opened my eyes I was still on the ground and my head was pounding. Putting my fingers gingerly to my skull I felt wetness and when I pulled them away I saw that they were stained with blood. My blood. I sat up on the street and when I realized that the area wasn't spinning and I didn't feel dizzy, I stood up and looked around for Anna. I was sure that she was completely horrified by what happened and I wanted her to know that I was okay, despite the blood. But when I looked back to where I had left Anna before I walked into the street, she wasn't there. No one was there. The more I looked around the more deserted I realized it was. There weren't even cars driving down the street which was strange especially for the time of day.

"You look kind of lost…do you need help?" I looked up and into the green eyes of a very tall, and very handsome guy. Just looking at the new guy in front of me almost made me forget all about Luke and everything that had to do with our relationship. I took a step back and studied him from under my lashes. He looked familiar and I felt myself oddly attracted to him. It wasn't a physical attraction but something else. It was like he and I had a past and I just couldn't remember what that past was. "You're Christina right? Christina Cambell?"

"Yeah…how did you know my name?" I asked and I cocked an eyebrow. "Do I know you from somewhere?" His head was completely shaved except for a stripe in the middle of it. The black hair that was there was sticking straight up and he looked like he was part porcupine. The Mohawk had to be at least eight inches high, if not longer. He was a skinny guy, way to skinny for the baggy jeans he was wearing. He had on a black t-shirt with red writing. From the looks of it, it was a band shirt but I never heard of the band. The guy was pale and there was an earring in his left ear and a little stubble on his chin. Well if he goes to Keller high, he definitely would hand out with the punk/goth group of our school. Maybe that's why he looks so familiar. I mean I never actually associated with any of them but I'm sure I've seen him around somewhere.

"You and I go way back together…I'm surprised really that you don't remember…I mean you're the one who thought me up." The comment made me stop in my tracks.

"Excuse me?" I said. "I thought you up? How is that even possible? You are human, I can't just think up a human. I think you've lost it." I told him.

"My name is Marcus." The guy said. The name clicked in a part of my mind. "And I'm no where close to being a human." I chucked and sat down on the grass in front of someone's house. My head stopped bleeding and my hair was a little crusty with blood. I seriously need a shower. "You can shower later, right now we need to talk."

"I didn't say that I needed to take a shower." I told him. "I didn't say anything actually. How did you know that I was thinking that?" Marcus smelled really good and I found myself inching closer to him. He ran his fingers over mine which were resting on the grass. Marcus tickled my palm before holding my hand entirely. I knew that it was wrong, that I shouldn't be letting this guy, this strange guy who claims he knows me and claims that he's not human, hold my hand but after the day I had I was letting anyone give me some comfort. His hand felt cool and my hand tingled within his. "So if you're not human then what are you?" I pulled my hand away and rubbed it to try to make the tingles go away.

"You won't believe me." Marcus told me.

"Try me." Marcus breathed deeply like he was going to go underwater at any second and then let the breath out. It came out in a cloud which was strange since it was eighty degrees out.

"Well…I'm your guardian angel. The one from your dreams." My guardian angel? Is this guy kidding himself? Though I knew that what he said sounded ridiculous and more likely then not that it wasn't true, something told me that I should believe him. There was something about him that drew me in and wanted me to the bad ass looking guy in front of me. But I was still skeptical and it showed in my facial features. He rolled his eyes as he looked at me and shook his head like he was disappointed in me. "Come on Christina, you can't really believe that I'm lying. Part of you really wants you to believe me and everything I say. I can see you fighting with yourself on it and I want you to embrace the part of you that is saying that all of this is really happening. I don't want you to think that this is all some kind of dream or fantasy because it's not. I want you to get back to that little girl who collected angel figurines. I want the girl who made up stories about me as she grew up and the girl who asked me to help her get Tommy Sinclair to kiss her at the sixth grade Valentines Day dance. I want you to be the same person who sculpted that sculpture of me to watch over you."

"You look nothing like the sculpture did." Marcus laughed and my heart dropped to my stomach.

"Well forgive me but things have changed over the fifteen years you've been alive." Marcus joked. "We got rid of the white robes and the wings coming out of our bodies. And I found my own look."

"You looked better years ago." I muttered, not really believing that I was actually talking to an angel of some sort. I still couldn't admit that this was happening. "So wait a minute…I never used to be able to talk to you like this…why am I allowed to now? Are you real now?" I touched him and my hand didn't go through him. His torso was pretty muscular and he definitely felt real.

"Not exactly." Marcus said and ran his hand over the shaven part of his head. "You're kind of dead…well not really but let's just say you're in that place that's in between life and death."

"Excuse me?" I said. "I'm what?"

"In between life and death."

"So get me the hell out of it and let me go back to my life!" I screamed, jumping up from my spot. "Get me out of here, I want to go back to Anna and my mom and my dad and my sisters. I don't want to be here, get me out of here." I was on the verge of having a full fledge panic attack. My heart was racing and I had to gasp to breathe. I clutched my shirt that was also stained with blood and took deep breathes hoping that I wouldn't black out. It was scary enough blacking out in the real world but in the no so real world, that was just outrageous. Finally my heart rate started to go back to normal, whatever that was in this world, and I started to breathe normally again.

"Are you okay?" Marcus asked, putting a hand on my shoulder. I felt the same tingles that I felt on my hand. "Do you need me to do something for you? Anything, I mean I am a guy and an angel so I'm capable to do just about everything." A wicked grin came across his face. "I could kiss you until you're nothing but liquid." I wanted to punch the smug little grin off of his face and then knee him in the groin.

"Ugh!" I cried. "Why is it that guys think that they can do whatever they want with whoever they want and it's okay? Did it ever occur to you that I may not want you to do that? Or maybe that I don't even like you? God I hate men! You know what, on second thought, I'm glad I'm in this not living but not dead place. I'm sick of all the drama in my life and I'm sick of men." I stomped my foot and growled. "Now I don't know what I have to do while I'm here but I sure as hell don't want you to tell me so why don't you get one of your girl angel friends to help me."

"No can do Christina." Marcus said. "You have no choice but to stay with me. I've been assigned to you since I became your guardian angel. I'm sorry but this is how it has to be."

"Of course it does!" I ran my hand through the pieces of hair that weren't matted onto my scalp. "How dare something actually go well in my life? If that happened the world might end." Becoming drained, I stopped yelling and turned to Marcus. "So now where do we go and what do we do? I want to get this done as soon as possible."

"Your wish is my command." Marcus held out his hand and I looked at it as if it was diseased. "You have to hold my hand to get back to my town in heaven."

"Figures that's what you have to do. It's such a guy thing to think I wouldn't be surprised if the head angel or whoever was a guy." None the less I took Marcus's hand and soon I felt like I was in a vortex or something, being sucked into oblivion. The scenery in front of me whizzed by in a blur and voices sounded muffled in my ears. My muscles ached from being clenched and I couldn't seem to take in enough air to satisfy me. My grip on Marcus's hand tightened the faster we went. "When is this thing going to stop?" I screamed, hoping that Marcus could hear me.

"Soon…we're almost there." I felt my clothes clinging to me and I was acutely aware of Marcus ogling my lace up shirt that was coming undone. Guys are such pigs whether they are humans or angels. I just can't deal with it anymore. Why can't I ever find a nice guy? Everyone I thought was nice turned out to be back stabbing and unfaithful. What did I do to deserve all of that? And now I have this stupid angel guide who things he's hot stuff just because of his ability to do practically anything. Suddenly the suction like feeling started to disappear and I found myself falling, and falling, and falling until I reached the ground. I winced, waiting for the hard earth hit me but when I fell I felt like I was falling onto a pillow. I looked down and under me was something big, puffy, and a little too white for my tastes. "It's a cloud." Marcus informed me before I could even ask. "And this, my dear Christina-" Marcus held out his hands "is heaven." I stood up and dusted cloud residue off of my clothes. Looking around I noticed that everything looked exactly like it did, well where I lived.

"This is heaven? This looks like my town, except the floor is a cloud. I thought heaven was more…well more heavenly like."

"I told you, we renovated." Marcus tried to take my hand but I pulled it away. I refused to sustain any physical contact with him unless it was completely and absolutely necessary. "Depending on the person that heaven is introduced to heaven changes to what they would want heaven to be."

"So I want my heaven to look like my neighborhood? But I don't like my neighborhood right now."

"Right now." Marcus repeated. "But you usually do and on some level you want your heaven to be somewhere where you're comfortable. And that's your neighborhood now. I don't blame you either. You grew up there, no wonder you're comfortable. Everything is familiar to you."

"Whatever, can we just get on with this please?" I said in a clipped tone. I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh that I knew Marcus heard. "I really don't want to be here longer than I have to." Marcus whipped around.

"And it won't go any faster if you keep acting like this. I need you to cooperate with me if we're going to get this done and get you to judgment time. The longer you work against me the longer it's going to take and the longer you'll be here. The longer you have to stay here the more likely it is that they will make you stay here, forever. Or better put it, they'll decide you're better off dead."

"Angels can do that?" I questioned as I followed Marcus.

"No but the big guy can." The big guy, or better known as God. Of course God is around, how could I think that he wasn't?

"Well I don't care…I don't want you as my guide. I want another guide."

"You can't get another guide." Marcus said. I crossed my arms and shrugged.

"Too bad because I want one." Marcus threw up his hands and I ducked as daggers flew at me. It gives a whole new meaning to 'if looks could kill'. Okay that's a little scary, I must say.

"You are impossible! Fine stay here, see if I care! I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. This is your death you're dealing with." And with that, Marcus stormed away, leaving me alone, confused, and completely pissed off. Kicking a piece of cloud, I sat down and pouted. My lip stuck out and my arms stayed across my chest. I had no idea where Marcus went and I didn't think I cared too much at the moment. He is the most insensitive jerk. But then again that shouldn't surprise me…he is a guy after all. All guys are shmucks. I stood up, wanting to find Marcus, if nothing else to yell at him, but I didn't move from my spot. Sure the scenery looked like my neighborhood but that didn't mean it was exactly like my neighborhood. I didn't know where Marcus hung out or what anything was called in my heaven neighborhood. I couldn't just go to the same places that I would have gone if I was in my real live neighborhood.

"You look almost as lost as I felt when I fist came here." I looked up and saw Anna, or at least a girl that looked like Anna. Her cocoa skin radiated against the sun and just like Anna, her curly hair bounced when she walked. Her eyes sparkled under the mascara she was wearing and her v-neck t-shirt hinted at a very endowed upper body. "Hi I'm Bella." She held out her hand and I shook it. "You're Christina right?"

"Yeah how did you know?" I questioned.

"I saw Marcus charging away and he was muttering something about Christina…I just had the feeling that you were her." I blushed, which I didn't know was possible in heaven, and dug my foot into the cloud.

"Yeah that would be me." I admitted. "Actually do you know where Marcus is? I really need to talk to him."

"He went to the Mystic Crystal." I furrowed my eyebrows and Bella laughed. "It's a coffee shop around here. If you just go up this street and make a left it will be on your right. You can't really miss it."

"Thank you." I said before heading off. Like Marcus told me before, the heaven neighborhood looked exactly like my neighborhood, down to the tee. All the stores were where they were in the real world and they looked exactly the same except for the names. There was graffiti on the telephone poles and the garbage was over flowing in the metal garbage cans. I found the Mystic Crystal easily enough and I pushed open the thick wooden door. The place smelled strongly of coffee and reminded me of my Starbucks days when I used to be a barista. Marcus was sitting on a couch in the corner of the cafe sipping on something out of a cup that steam was coming out of. I hesitated and then walked towards him. When Marcus saw me, I twitched and tensed, waiting for more things to be shot at me. When nothing happened, I walked closer to him and sat down across from him on the opposite couch. He didn't spare another glance my way as he continued to drink his drink and stared out the big plexi-glass window. He looked so vulnerable, so sad. All my anger that I had for him evaporated and was replaced by some kind of sadness.

"Hey." I said softly. "Um...listen I'm sorry about before. I shouldn't have freak out on you, you weren't being mean to me and I totally shouldn't have jumped down your throat. I'm just kind of angry at the whole male population at the moment and I took it out on you."

"Not all guys are like him you know." Marcus said to me. "Most guys don't cheat on you with your best friend and I definitely wouldn't do something like that. Luke is a bastard and isn't worth your time."

"Thanks." I said, touched at his sentimental attitude. "So um, can we talk about this judgment thing? I am sort of interested in this whole thing and I really want to get this over with to see my fate." Marcus drained his cup and then blew it away. I watched in amazement as the cup disintegrated into pink roses. Marcus handed them to me and winked. "Haha, very funny. These are pretty."

"I know." Marcus got up and walked away. I stumbled out of my seat and tried to follow as closely as I can. People waved to Marcus and me as we walked down the street. Well he was walking and I was kind of jogging next to him to try to keep up. "So lets see where do we start at with this. Well first of all, you are an Angel in Training and I am your guide. I was assigned to you since you were born and it is my job to help you complete your mission.

"My mission?" I asked. "What is a mission?"

"A mission is a quest that you have to go on. It's like a series of things you have to complete before you become an angel or go back to the living world. If you don't complete the quest your stuck here until you do."

"So what is my mission?" Marcus made a sharp left and we went into a house that looked very much like my own house. We went through the door and it was like I was back in my own house. The paint on the wall was the same color as my house and the furniture was identical to the ones I had in my house. "Do you know my house is exactly the same?"

"I did know that actually." Marcus told me. "I kind of planned it like that. I thought maybe it would make you feel a bit more comfortable while you're here."

"That's really nice." I told Marcus. "You're really sweet." We sat on the leather couches in the living room and I cuddled up with a pillow that was next to me. Marcus sat down next to me and pulled me close to him. I resisted at first and then let myself put my head on my shoulder. Although it was only hours ago that I was with Luke, it seemed like forever since I was cuddled with without the pretext to sex in the situation. It felt nice, a nice change of pace. "So tell me about this mission...what is mine exactly." Marcus snapped his fingers and a mug of hot chocolate and handed it to me. "That is so cool…if I become an angel; will I be able to so things like that?" Marcus laughed and with another snap of his fingers cookies appeared on a plate where the hot chocolate was.

"Well I've had years of practice, sixteen years to be exact."

"So anyway, back to my mission." I tried again. Marcus waved his hand around in the air.

"Let's not worry about that. The big guy doesn't expect anyone on the first day to talk about the mission that their trainee has to go on. The first day is an informal, get to know you kind of day."

"A get to know you day? I thought the angels already know about their trainees. I mean if they are paying attention to the trainee for their whole life, then they shouldn't have to get to know them, right?" I drank the cooled off hot chocolate and nibbled on a cookie. Is it my imagination or does everything just tastes a little bit better in heaven? Marcus's Mohawk was drooping slightly and flopped over to the side a little bit. It gave him a shark like look but suited him really well. I took this time to take a good look at Marcus, a better on than I had to begin with. He looked all tough and scary but I knew that underneath his touch exterior was really a sensitive guy who doesn't want anyone to get hurt.

"So tell me…are you still really hostile? Should I conjure up a shield or something so that I don't get hit by the viscous insults that are thrown my way?" Marcus joked but I knew he was half serious. I also knew that I was being unjustly unfair to him. It's not like all guys are like Luke…just ninety percent of them. The ten percent that aren't like him are really nice…it just sucks that I can never find that ten percent that's out there in the world. "I have no problem protecting myself from you. You're kind of scary."

"No I won't attack you, not yet at least. I guess I was still coming down from my revelation about my former best friend and former boyfriend."

"That must have sucked, to find out. I wish I could have done something to protect you from everything."

"You mean you can't?" I asked. "I mean you are an angel after all."

"I might be an angel but the thing is, is that angels can't prevent anything from happening. We can watch it happen and make sure that our charges aren't harmed in any way but we can't prevent the stuff from happening."

"If you can make sure that I wasn't harmed, then why the hell did you let me get hit by that car? Why didn't you get me to move out of the way?"

"That would go under the whole preventing thing. We can make sure our charges aren't harmed unless it's something that's supposed to happen, and then we have no choice to watch someone get hurt. It kind of really sucks and I wish the rules could change but it can't." Marcus played ran his hand over my head and the matted, bloody part that was there disappeared and my hair looked exactly like it did this morning when I left for school. Before I was with Luke, and before I found out what he did. "So why Luke? I mean why did you pick him for a boyfriend? It's not like you're ugly because you're far from it, and you can get any guy you wanted to, so why Luke?"

"Well he was hot, popular, and he was very…well, good at the things he did. Marcus blushed and I held back a laugh. "You mean you guys don't have sex up here?"

"We do." Marcus said slowly. "But it's a lot different than things in the living world. A lot of things are different in the living world."

"Oh." I bit my bottom lip and rubbed my eyes. Suddenly I was really tired and I didn't know why. Maybe it was traveling from one world to another that has gotten me so exhausted. Maybe it's being all angry at certain person that makes me tired. I don't know and I'm not sure I care all too much.

"So…do you like being an angel?"

"Sometimes…sometimes I curse it every day."

"And when do those sometimes happen?"

"Well mostly when I meet a pretty girl and I know that I have no chance with her if she doesn't come to heaven with me." Marcus gave me a smile that penetrated my soul and made butterflies appear in my stomach. Suddenly Luke seemed like a distant memory.