Wings of Fortune - Part 5
Sam pondered his interaction with Candace, mulling the whole thing over in his mind time and time again as he drove. She seemed far more forward than she had ever been. But she also seemed embarrassed by that. Her behavior had seemed to pendulum from shy to flirtatious. He remembered the doctor saying something about her hormone levels at the hospital. Maybe that had something to do with it?
She must just be having a strange reaction to nearly dying. That had to be pretty crazy, right? Sam could only imagine the impact that might have on him. But the strength thing was a little weird. Maybe leftover adrenaline from the events of the other day? He’d heard of some pretty incredible feats of strength by people in life and death situations.
As he pulled into the parking area by the pond, he was distracted from his thoughts by a man in black standing outside the police tape. There didn’t seem to be any police here. Just him.
Sam got out of the car, and the man turned toward him. When he did, Sam noticed the white trapezoid along his collar. This man was a priest!
“Good evening!” he told Sam, extending a hand. Sam shook it.
“Same to you,” said Sam. He searched for something to say but couldn’t think of anything. He hadn’t been expecting to run into a priest here.
“It’s too bad they closed off the pond, isn’t it?” said the priest, thankfully.
“Yeah. I was hoping to find out whether the police found the bodies
“Oh they won’t—didn’t—find anything.”
“Are you sure? I was there. I saw them fall in. They have to be in there somewhere.” Sam thought back to when they had just seemed to disappear from Matt’s grip. He had assumed that it was because of the haziness of the water. But maybe…
“I’m sure.” The man smiled cryptically. The corners of his eyes didn’t crinkle. “I must be going, but it was nice to meet you…”
“I’m Father Ryan. It’s very nice to meet you, Sam. Good evening.”
Sam watched him go. What was that all about? He wondered if Father Ryan was right about the police not finding the bodies.
Shaking his head, Sam got back in the car. This whole thing was becoming stranger by the hour.
Reading through his college orientation materials, Sam glanced at his phone for the 57th time in the last, well, 57 minutes. Candace had said she would call him, right? He debated whether to call her. It was almost 9:00 PM. No. She had clearly said she would call him. He just needed to be patient.
She would call.
But what if she didn’t?
Sam put his hands on his head and leaned back in his chair. This was useless! He had read the same page of his orientation packet a dozen times and still had no comprehension of what it said. His mind was clearly elsewhere…
His phone rang.
He fumbled for it instantly, knocking it to the ground. It rang again.
Damn it! he thought.
It rang a third time as he got out of his chair and ducked under his desk, fishing around with his hand.
As it rang a fourth time, his hand brushed against it. He pulled it out. It was about to go to voicemail! He hit the green button just in time.
“Hello?” he said, breathless from his brief struggle with the phone—and the excitement of finally receiving the call he’d been waiting for all evening.
“Hi! Catching you at a bad time?” asked Candace, probably picking up on his huffing and puffing.
“Not at all!” he said, a little too eagerly. He mentally kicked himself. Calm down, you idiot!
“Sorry to call so late, I just got some news from the doctor, and my parents and I weren’t exactly sure what to make of it. They’re pretty worried, and I’m a little freaked out too.”
“Why? What happened?” Sam’s heart lurched at the possibility that there might be something wrong with Candace.
“Nothing, really. They just said they found something unusual with my blood. They want me to do a bunch more tests. They said that it wasn’t like I had a disease or anything. They apparently aren’t really sure what’s going on with me. I feel great, though!”
“So your parents are worried?”
“Yeah, they’re like freaking out, even though I keep telling them I feel totally fine.”
“Did you tell them what you told me? About how you’re feeling and stuff?”
“Are you kidding? Of course not. They’re already in overprotective mode. If I tell them about anything strange, they’ll assume that it’s a sign of my imminent death or something. They’ll probably never let me leave the house again!”
“Yeah. If I were them, I’d probably do the same thing.” Sam cursed himself mentally. That was a stupid thing to say.
“Yeah, ‘cause you’re my guardian angel,” Candace said, her voice taking a husky, velvet tone that sent shivers all the way to Sam’s fingertips. Okay, so maybe that hadn’t been such a bad thing to say.
There was a long pause as Sam tried to think of what to say next. The change in Candace’s voice had made him think of a lot of different things. Words weren’t among them.
“This is the part where you ask me out,” said Candace, her voice now turning more playful.
Ask. Out? Was this for real? Three days ago, if this phone conversation had happened, Sam would have believed he were being pranked by a radio station. Okay, so he still half expected a “just kidding” coming in the near future. But that was a risk completely worth taking for the mere possibility of a date with Candace!
“So what did you have in mind?” Sam said. He didn’t want to suggest something she didn’t want to do…
“Dinner maybe? Tomorrow night?”
“Yeah! Absolutely! How about 7:00?”
“Sounds great! See you then. I promise I’ll wear something nice…” she said, her voice taking on that same sexy purr for the last part. He could practically hear her wink.
Sam was sweating as he hung up the phone. This was beyond his wildest imagination. The girl he’d had a crush on for the last four years was practically asking him out.
He flopped on his bed, butterflies not only fluttering but having a full-on flapping contest in his stomach.
His heart was filled with that best kind of dread imaginable.
The next morning, as he was getting dressed after his morning shower, Sam heard a text ding on his phone. As he checked, he saw that it was from Mara.
Before he could respond, he heard the doorbell ring. Shit! That must be Mara!
He finished putting on his pants and ran out of his room to answer the door. As he was pulling the handle, he realized he’d forgotten to put on his shirt. Oh well.
Mara’s mouth opened to say something, but as her eyes dropped to his bare chest and abs, it snapped shut again without a word. After a short moment, her eyes returned to Sam’s.
“So when did you get to be Mr. Nummipants?”
“What?” asked Sam.
“You have pecs and abs, buddy! And they’re pretty nice!” said Mara. “Your arms could use some work, though. Kinda skinny…” She wrinkled her nose, nudging him with her shoulder as she came in.
Sam felt a blush rising. Freaking Mara!
“So what’s the sitch?”
“With Candace, dumbass!” she said with an evil grin. “You tap that yet?”
Sam’s blush deepened. His face had to be crimson by now.
“We’re going on a date tonight.”
“Seriously?” Mara looked as if she were waiting for a punchline.
“OMFG! You’re serious, aren’t you!!!” Mara’s eyes were wider than he’d ever seen them before.
“Yeah,” Sam said, grinning, desperately hoping his blush would fade.
“Check your bad self out, lover boy!” she said with a wide grin. “I get the assist, though.”
“Oh my God, yes! Thank you so much, Mara! You are the greatest friend in the world!”
Mara’s grin widened.
“Love is in the air, I guess… I have my own date tonight…” she said, eyes alight with obvious happiness.
“Congrats! Who’s the lucky guy?”
“Matt,” she said coyly.
“Check your bad self out, lover girl!” Sam said, echoing her words from a moment earlier.
It was Mara’s turn to blush— a rare and wonderful thing.
“Blushing? Wow! You must really like him!” Sam teased.
Mara smacked him.
When they arrived at Sam’s room, Mara plopped on his bed, bouncing on the bedsprings. Sam put on his shirt.
“So I need your advice. Dress or casual?”
“Why are you asking me? I’m a guy!”
“No! Really? Who knew?”
Sam picked his damp towel off the dresser and threw it at her. She caught it and flung it back at him.
“Seriously, though. I’m asking you because you’re a guy.”
“Well, you looked pretty good in that bikini the other day…” said Sam with a straight face.
“You!” she said, then growled in mock-exasperation. “Did you not hear the word serious in my statement?”
“Dude! I don’t know! Guys like boobs and butts and legs and pretty much anything you want to give us a view of!”
“So you’re saying I should dress like a slut, then…” she said, a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
“Of course. Don’t you always?” Sam said, unable to contain his laughter.
Mara grabbed his pillow and flung it at him.
“Fucker! That’s it. I’m leaving. Some help you were!”
She smacked him on her way out.
“Text me later. Let me know how it goes.”
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But on a more serious side:
” “Yeah. If I were them, I’d probably do the same thing.” Sam cursed himself mentally. That was a stupid thing to say.
“Yeah, ‘cause you’re my guardian angel,” Candace said, her voice taking a husky, velvet tone that sent shivers all the way to Sam’s fingertips”
I’m curious about why specifically ‘Guardian Angel’.... Nah, probably nothing 😉😁