As the early morning light washed over in bed, I felt very happy. The feeling was something which I couldn’t describe. I felt like giggling and running down the beach barefoot, shout at the top of lungs and announce to the world “I am in love”.
This thought suddenly brought me out of slumber and sat straight up. Not knowing how to face Ralf, I got dressed, wrote a note for Ralf and sneaked out of his house before he woke up.
All night I could only think of Angel, sleeping upstairs in my bedroom, on my bed. I longed to walk up and tell her how I feel, but decided it was not right time yet. My actions might scare her, so convinced myself to talk to her in the morning.
I and Angel were walking along the beach hand in hand and suddenly she let go of my hand and started running away from me, as I was chasing her, I heard the big rumble and my dream was lost. My hazy mind recognized the sound to be the starting of an engine. Thinking who would be visiting me so early I looked out the window to see, Angel driving away from the house at breakneck speed. I ran out, but something stopped me in my tracks telling me, she needed her space. Needed time to come to terms with ever inner battle she was facing. Deciding to give her time, I walked up to my room for shower,
On the bedside table I saw note in my name, written very elegantly. I opened the note:
Thank you so much for saving my life. You wouldn’t believe how much gratitude I feel for you not because of what you did, but making me feel happy again and being my friend. The feelings which I feel are very confusing. I have never felt it this way about anybody and to do so within few days is very confounding.
Please forgive me for leaving the way I am doing.
Reading her note, I was unsure how to go further. How I should tell her the truth about me. Once I truth is revealed will she accept me for what I am or will be like one of lone wanderers who just live to fight for the chosen one. But first of all I wanted to make sure she had reached safely, so I called Gretchen.
“Good morning Ralf, is everything all right with Angel. Do you need me to come by?
“She just left my place.”
“You let her go alone.” I could hear the anger in Gretchen’s voice.
“No no, she sneaked out on me. I didn’t wish chase behind her and scare her. I called to check if she has reached safely?”
“Angel sneaked out. She hasn’t come back yet, but you do realize what this means right?”
“Yes, that she doesn’t like me and I don’t know how to make her.” I said dejectedly.
“Oh boy, men are really stupid; you will never understand a woman. She didn’t run away because she didn’t like, but because she has just found out she is in love with you and is confused about her feelings.” She said expatriated
“She ran away, because she likes me?” I was very confused, but my heart leaping and doing somersaults.
“Yes Ralf, one word of caution, she has been brought up like any other human.” Gretchen said telling me to be cautious.
“So, how should I go further”?
“Woe her, let her know how much you love her and how she completes you.”
“I don’t know how to woe?”
“Don’t know? You better figure out soon out how to woe a girl” saying Gretchen hung up.
Now there were two things to figure out as soon as possible. First find a way to let my feelings know to Angel and second one has been a major concern since yesterday afternoon. Angel didn’t have reason to take her life unless she was under compulsion. I had felt the presence of energy near the woods along the cliff. If someone is trying to kill my Angel then I needed find who it was immediately and this made me realize I needed to protect her all time. I decided to discuss my doubts with Gretchen and Gabriel.
Getting ready within a matter of few minutes, I started driving to Gretchen’s place to make sure Angel is alright. On the way I called Gabriel. Gabriel and I being brothers had deep connection and this allowed us to contact each other telepathically.
“Gabriel, my brother I am in need of your help.”
“Brother Raphael, what is the matter, you sound distressed?”
“I am Gab, Shelter Cove was supposed to be free of any black-ones’ presence, but yesterday I felt energy very close to my place. Worst part of it was, my soul mate Solange was compelled to jump off the cliff.”
“Black-ones’ had gone into hiding after the big war; nobody had felt their presence till now. I have recently received reports from Asia of the same and have few brothers on the way to check the situation.”
“Please keep me updated and call me if I am required in field.”
“Don’t worry; we can handle the situation in Asia. Congratulations on finding your soul mate.”
“Thanks Gab, I knew I could count on you.”
Cutting of the communication, I drove straight to Gretchen’s house.
Getting off my car, I ran straight into my aunt standing on the front porch. I was not in mood to talk, needed to get into shower immediately else I would blow up because of heat generating out my body.
“Angel, are you alright dear. I thought you would still be at Ralf’s house” she asked looking worried.
“I am alright aunt, just shaken up from all the incidents that happened yesterday. Once I hit showers I will be fine.”
“You know dear, you shouldn’t have run off from the boy. Poor thing has been worried sick”
I mumbled to myself “if he was so concerned, then why not stop me once he saw me leave”.
“What are you mumbling Angel?” she said smiling at me.
“Nothing aunt, please tell Mr. Duncan not to worry. I appreciate his help.”
“So are we back to Mr. Duncan business again?” I heard him say from behind me.
“It’s not like that, well, you see…” I was lost for words and couldn’t stop staring at him standing next to his hummer in checked blue shirt and dark denim jeans to match with it, his arms crossed across his broad chest.
Getting my bearings right I said “Thank you for yesterday and as I said to before, you are stranger to me and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.”
“You are always welcome at my house Solange.”
“Thank you Mr.Dun..” he interrupted me and said “Ahh..now what did we decide before..”
“Thank you Ralf.”
“Kids both of you join me in kitchen. Breakfast is almost ready.” Aunt Gretchen said from her place on porch.
“Oh, Thank you Gretchen, I love the food cooked by you. I could just stay here forever tasting all the dishes.”
I could do nothing but stare at their backs as both of them totally ignored me and walked inside. Simply picking up my bag I walked into the house and up to my room to freshen up. I prepared a bath and got into tub to relax the stiffness in my shoulders and try to focus my thoughts.
After 20 minutes, I heard aunt call me. Not wanting to go down and face Ralf I decided to ignore and kept silent. Within few seconds I heard knock on my door,
“Aunt I will be down in 15 minutes.”
“Your breakfast will get cold Angel, come down soon. It’s not polite to keep your guest waiting.”
Walking out the bathroom wrapped in my bathrobe I said “He is not my guest. You invited him in.”
“Angel, what happened dear? You never acted like this before.”
“I don’t know. Alright I will be down but don’t ask me talk to him.”
Aunt Gretchen kept silent not saying anything, just looking at me go further why I was saying what I was saying. Knowing she won’t give up “Aunt Gretchen, I like him. I think”
“Oh that’s wonderful news. Why are you so upset?”
“It all seems too fast, I mean I hardly know him. He came to town three days ago; I spoke to first time yesterday evening. How can I feel this? It just feels ridiculous.”
Holding my hands, aunt Gretchen smiled at me said “No one can control what you are feeling, not even you. Love happens and you just know it. People look for love all through their lives and never find it. You should be happy for yourself.”
“Aunt, I didn’t say I love him, I like him. There is a difference.”
“Deny as much as you want. You love him and I know he would make a good husband.”
My aunt, give her a grain of sand and she will build a dune out of it, “Please don’t go into match making mode in front of him. I am not sure how to go and tell him my feelings.”
“You don’t have to tell him, he knows it” she said walking out the room expecting me to follow her.
Immediately changing into my black jeans and a blue sequin top, dabbed some lip gloss and went to the kitchen. All my life, I never cared for what I wore, but today I chose the top specifically as it accentuated my Indian looks.
Climbing down the stairs, I could hear both of them laughing, aunt’s shy laugh and his loud baritone voice booming across the kitchen. His voice gave me goose bumps, in a good way. I walked into the kitchen and sat at my place on the dining table. I served some pancakes and a glass of orange juice for myself. Fearing I would not be able to talk with all the chocked up emotions, I just started eating breakfast. As soon as Aunt turned towards the stove, Ralf kicked my leg and said “Why did you run away?”
I was stunned at his behavior and looked at him surprised. He was smiling and but I could also see sadness in his eyes. It confused me and before I could answer aunt returned to table and sat down with us.
After breakfast, I removed all dishes from table with Ralf’s help which he insisted. Throughout the entire process I kept quiet and so did Ralf, but I could his agitation growing with every passing second. I knew I needed to explain my sneaking away in morning, but I couldn’t tell him all without talking about my feelings and that was scaring the hell out of me. Finishing the dishes I walked out the kitchen onto porch and sat on the swing. Ralf came behind me and stood in the doorway, with one ankle crossing the other and folding his arms expecting me to explain myself.
“Ralf, I am sorry for running away in the morning they way I did. I know you wish to know the reason, but please understand I can’t explain my actions to myself, so it’s hard to explain to you. At this point all I can say is thank you for all your help yesterday and for the walk on the beach. It was the best evening I had in a long time.”
I looked up to him, after few seconds when he didn’t reply. He was looking at me and then said “I too enjoyed the evening very much Solange and I want us to try to know each other and look forward to more such wonderful evenings together.”
Not knowing what to say to that, I kept quiet.
“Solange, will you at least think about going out with me, giving me or giving us a chance?”
“I have lot of things on my mind; my research is not going anywhere. With all of this I don’t have time for a relationship.”
“Please think about it again.” Saying, Ralf walked out towards the garden where Aunt Gretchen was working.
He took the box of seedlings from aunt’s hand and helped her to carry it towards shed all the while talking to her and making her smile. I had seen aunt always sad when she thought I was not looking, but Ralf’s presence today made her smile more often and the sorrow in her eyes was almost invisible. I sat on the swing I know not for how long and then my phone started ringing.
“Hey Angel, how are you? Your aunt told me you were in an accident.”
“Hi Lolo, I am ok now. Don’t worry it was nothing. I actually don’t remember much of what happened. But everything is fine now.”
“You better take care; don’t scare me like this again. You better stay alive until you finish your duty as my maid of honor. ” Lolo said giggling.
“Wait a minute, Jack asked you?” I asked enthusiastically.
“Yes, he did, yesterday night.”
“I am so happy for you. You better tell all the details on this weekend.”
“I will. Got to go. You take care now. Ok”
“Ok. Bye Bye”.
After hanging up the phone, I decided to finish my work and walked into the house towards my room. On the way up, I could hear Aunt and Ralf walking into the kitchen talking about something called black-ones’. Aunt sounded worried. Deciding I need to call this Mr. Duncan about my project, I fished in my purse for the slip of paper given by Father John, all the while thinking how ironic, I have one Mr. Duncan in my kitchen and I will be calling another one now. Finally finding the paper, I called the number and after few seconds I heard it ringing, it was ringing in my kitchen. I climbed down to check and see Ralf answer his phone and hear his voice in my ear phone. Immediately ending the call I thought “Don’t tell me of all the Duncans’ in the world, one who is supposed to be anchor for my thesis, is the “Mr. Ralf Duncan.”