Guardian Angel – A Group Story Written by the Lewiston Writers’ Group

Guardian Angel

In Loving Memory of Heidi Ann Walcutt

10/20/61 – 11/10/10

Chapter 1

By Heidi Walcutt

“Don’t tell me a guardian angel can’t have a nervous breakdown. I’m having one RIGHT NOW!”

Silence erupted in the office as heads turned to face the source of the disturbance.

Leaning back in his chair, the angel smoothed his robes and spoke again. “Seriously, I’m at the end of my proverbial rope. This kid is tap dancing on my last nerve!”

The angel behind the desk nervously shuffled through the large stack of papers in the thick folder. “I can see where you’ve been busier than normal,” he said quietly. “There’s not much I can do at the moment, however.”

“Can’t you reassign me? Get someone else to take over this case?” he asked, leaning forward.  “What about some time off for good behavior?”

“I’m rather busy myself,” the angel behind the desk said pointing to a large stack of files that threatened to topple to the floor. “I’ll get to it in the next few days. You can handle a few more days can’t you?”

“I suppose, but I’m telling you I can’t take much more of this.”

“I’ll probably have to bump this up to one of the managers; I don’t have much leeway in what I can do. You should hear something within a couple of weeks.”

“I really appreciate this,” the first angel said, standing.

Once outside, the warm gentle breeze tussled his hair, carrying the rich scent of lilac and lavender. The warm glow of the golden streets brought a sense of solace to his spirit.  He knew that he had a few hours left before his charge woke up so he went up the street to one of the many bistros and ordered a sandwich and an ice-cold brew.

As he ate, he nodded to his friends and coworkers as they passed by.  One actually slid into the empty seat across the table from him.

“Hey Harold,” he said smiling. “How’s it going with old George there?”

“I’m about to let him fall the next time he tries this ‘extreme rock climbing’ thing,” he said around a mouth full.

“That rough eh?”

“John, I don’t know of anyone that is having this much trouble with their cases.  It’s almost as if George has a death wish or something.”

“What all has he done again?”

“The short list includes extreme rock climbing, base jumping with and without a wing suit, bungee jumping, and street luge racing.”

John whistled sharply.

Looking at his watch, Harold noted the time. “Look I’ve gotta run, I have a few errands to run before I’m back on duty. Good to see you again John, maybe we can get together for a bar-b-que this weekend?”

“I’ll be there,” John replied.

Chapter 2

By John Bis

Harold hurried down the avenue toward the dry cleaner’s shop.  This chasing after young George was getting to be a burden on his outfits as well as his sanity. Over and over he kept thinking, hang on for another week. Maybe then I’ll be reassigned. Yea, right. In spite of what his supervisor said, he probably won’t make any moves toward reassigning him. It wouldn’t look good for his initial assignment and training procedures. Oh, what to do? Harold was beginning to regret his promotion to GA-2. Now, looking back, he wondered why he was dissatisfied with staying a Guardian Angel Private, a GA-1? The routine was a bit boring but look at me now, winging from fire to firestorm.

His thoughts were so intense he didn’t realize he had walked right past the cleaners. A half block later he looked around and noticed his error. He stopped abruptly and turned around.

“Oops! Hey, watch where you are going.”

As Harold had stopped and turned, he was run into by another angel moving rapidly behind him. As their gossamer bodies briefly collided and then recoiled, he said, “Oh, beg your pardon. I’m sorry. I had to turn back. I missed the shop where I was going.”

The other angel, rapidly moving on, smiled a wave, “No harm done, I was probably going too fast. Take care.”

Harold just stood there. The gentle impact left him with a fleeting thought. He tried to retrieve it. At the moment of collision, Harold had the sensation of warmth and realized the angel was wearing a very delicate scent, and she had a very pretty face. He laughed to himself, yea, you might say ‘angelic’. But the fleeting idea was there, if only he could . . . got it!  A woman. If I can’t control George, I know who can. A woman. All I have to do is engineer some sort of meeting between George and an attractive woman. Someone who will put the kibosh on his wild, adventurous ways.

Later that morning, George was heading toward the Harley-Davidson Dealer’s place. He had parked down the street and was walking rapidly, eyes focused on a gleaming bike parked out front. As always, he was unaware that his guardian angel, Harold, was monitoring his every move. Ah, oh, thought Harold, not a motorcycle. For sure he’ll kill himself on one of those. I’ve really got to find a way to stop this latest venture.

As he fretted from his cloud-like perch, he saw her. She was coming out of the flower shop just this side of the dealer’s. With all his might, Harold filled his mind with a thought, The flowers are lovely, hold them up and look at them. And, to his relief, she did, just as she walked out of the doorway. George, with his eyes on the Harley at the curb, walked right into her.

“Oh, sorry,” he said.

She had to pull the flowers down from her face. She had a very surprised look. “My fault. For some reason I had this stupid urge to smell the flowers just as I walked out.”

George looked at her and thought, wow, she is a looker. They both stood there for a moment. Then, as she started to walk away, he said, “wait,” and he reached up and pulled two pink rose petals from her forehead.

Harold, in his heavenly perch, was ecstatic, with a big grin on his face. Oh, boy, this may work out, he thought.

“I guess no one can accuse me of not smelling the roses.” She said this with a broad smile.

“Yes, and very pretty too. You and the flowers.”

The girl looked at George, and even though she thought him a bit brash, she felt herself blushing. Trying to look a bit more formal, she said, “Well, thank you. I’d better be on my way.”

“My name is George Hardy. I hope the flowers weren’t crushed.”

“No, they look OK,” she said, then reluctantly added, “I’m Alice, Alice Rivlin. These are for my mom, she’s had a mild stroke.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that. I hope she’ll make a full recovery.”

“Thank you. I’ve got to run.” She turned and walked off. George completely forgot about the Harley-Davidson sitting only 20 feet away as he watched her walk away.

“Gotcha,” this from Harold sitting there watching the two of them. OK, he thought, what next. How do I get George to follow-up?

Meanwhile, George had turned away from the Harley and watched Alice disappear as she turned the corner. He slowly walked back to his car. “Alice,” he said aloud. He was thinking that was a nice name. “Alice Rivlin.” I should call her and ask if she wants to go skydiving with me this weekend. Man, he thought, that would be a real blast.

Anyone nearby at this point would have heard Harold exclaim, “Oh, no, not skydiving!”

Chapter 3

By Maria Zawistowski

Harold was positive that a nice young woman like Alice would never agree to go skydiving.  He was certain she would convince George to go to dinner and a movie on Saturday instead.  Probably one of those tearjerker chick flicks.  Nothing too risky about that, chuckled Harold.

George didn’t have a very good track record of following through on projects, goals, or really anything that required any level of commitment and effort.  Dropping out of college mid-semester, going from one job to another, leaving every project he started only half done – that was typically George.

So Harold immediately began strategizing the Divine intervention that would bring George and Alice together.  But surprisingly, George was strategizing too.

George sat mesmerized in his car parked across from the flower shop.  He couldn’t stop thinking about Alice Rivlin.  Those silly pink flower petals stuck to her forehead.  The amazing smile that lit up her beautiful face.  Her sweet voice and gentle laugh.  The slight bounce in her step as she walked.

I have to find her, he thought.  True to his impulsive nature, George ruled out giving her a call when he got home and decided that stalking was the most effective strategy at the moment.  The clues started coming together in his mind.  The flower shop.  Flowers for her mother.  A stroke.  The hospital.  Alice turning the corner.

“That’s it!” George thought.  “St. Luke’s Presbyterian Hospital is just around the corner!  I bet I could find Alice there.”  He sped off down the street, turned the corner, and went into the hospital parking lot.

Entering the lobby, the gray haired volunteer sitting at the reception desk greeted George with “Good afternoon.  Can I help you?”

“Er…yeah.” George stammered, realizing how little he’d thought this through.  “I’m looking for…Rivlin.  Rivlin’s the last name.  She’s had a stroke.”

“Ah, yes.  Jean Rivlin. Room 704B.  Here’s your visitor’s pass.  The elevator is right down this hall next to the cafeteria.  Have a nice day.”

George couldn’t believe it.  He’d noticed the absence of a wedding ring when Alice had lifted the bouquet of flowers to her face.  And now this confirmed what he’d been hoping.  Alice didn’t have a married name.  Things were definitely looking up.

George made his way to the elevator and Harold sprang into action.  As Alice sat in her mother’s hospital room, her mind suddenly filled with an irrepressible desire for a cup of coffee.  “I’ll be right back, Mom” Alice whispered as her mother slept.  The elevator doors opened at the lobby and George and Alice came face to face once again.

“Alice!” George said with surprise.  Alice startled.  “The flower shop…I remember you.  You’re George, right?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”  George couldn’t be more pleased that she remembered his name.

“Are you visiting someone?” Alice asked.

“No.  Well, yes.  YOU.”  George blurted out.

Alice found George’s bold and direct manner alarming, disarming, and charming all at the same time.

“Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” George asked, motioning toward the cafeteria.

“Well…sure.  Okay.  I was just coming down for one anyway.” Alice replied.

As Alice and George spent the next hour getting to know each other over a cup of coffee, Harold observed from afar, beaming with pride over his matchmaking skills.  It seemed to be love at first sight for George and Alice.  Harold’s plan was going to work.  With Alice’s influence, George would give up his dangerous ways.  No more chasing after George as he drives 30 miles over the speed limit.  No more keeping him from drowning in a whitewater rafting accident.  No more protecting him from breaking his neck rappelling down a steep cliff.  I wonder if I’ll get a promotion, a pay raise or some kind of guardian angel award for this, pondered Harold.  His attention immediately shifted back to George and Alice when he heard the words “skydiving on Saturday.”

“Are you kidding?!  Skydiving?  I’ve never done anything like that.  I’d be afraid.  That’s dangerous!  You’ve actually done this before?”  Alice obviously had her doubts about the sanity of anyone who would jump out of an airplane at 12,000 feet.

“Yeah.  Twenty –seven times and each time was awesome!  Freefalling at 120 mph is incredible!  I can’t even begin to describe it!  And once the parachute is open, it’s like floating in air.  You’ll love the view!”

Harold began to worry that Alice would be so appalled by George’s enthusiasm for danger that this relationship would end as quickly as it began.  But Harold nearly fell off his perch when Alice suddenly said, “Sure!  I’ll try it.”

“You will?  Really?”  Even George was surprised.

“All my life I’ve been afraid of taking chances, of change, of relationships.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my mother’s illness it’s that life is too short to be afraid.  So, yes, I’ll go skydiving with you on Saturday.  Where can I meet you?”  Alice asked with determination in her voice.

“Horizon Skydivers.  I’ll write the directions,” George said enthusiastically.

“Thanks.  I have to get back to my mom now.  This day certainly turned out different than I expected.”

“Different…good?” George asked.

“Better than good.”

With that, Alice’s smile was forever imprinted in George’s heart.

Harold was horrified at what he was hearing.  “I have to stop this!  This can’t be happening!  My plan is completely backfiring!  I wish I could stop it but I can’t.  I really have to talk to the Boss someday about this “free will” nonsense!  Doesn’t he realize how much easier our jobs would be if we just stopped letting people run their own lives?”

While Harold dreaded Saturday’s coming, George and Alice couldn’t wait to see each other again.  They met at Horizon Skydivers just as they’d planned.  The day was picture perfect with bright blue skies and just a few puffy white clouds.  It was a little windy but George didn’t think that would be a problem.

Alice was calmer than she ever imagined she would be.  Her mother was still in the hospital.  She had met this terrific guy.  And now she was going to jump out of an airplane.  How her life had changed in one week’s time.

George introduced her to some of his friends, including the instructor who Alice would be harnessed to for her tandem dive.  George was experienced already and would be diving alone.  Alice read the poster on the wall of the sign-in area:  Remember when sex was safe and skydiving was dangerous?  George loved the sound of Alice’s laughter.

They signed all the necessary paperwork that exonerated Horizon Skydivers of liability in the event of anything from immediate death to a broken fingernail.  Alice listened attentively as the instructor explained proper position during freefall and what to expect throughout the dive.  All that remained was to get suited up and board the plane, the plane that looked no larger than Alice’s living room couch.

The ascent to 12,000 feet seemed to take forever.  Finally, the moment came.  George reached for Alice’s hand and kissed her lovely lips before jumping excitedly from the plane.  Alice, attached to her instructor, tumbled out right after.  She knew that her heart pounding in her chest had more to do with that amazing kiss than with the sky dive.

After several minutes of freefall, George and Alice deployed their parachutes. Alice caught sight of George waving wildly to her.  George was thrilled when Alice started waving back with a huge grin on her face.  Harold, meanwhile, wasn’t thrilled.  Not thrilled at all.

Just trying to keep up with George at this speed was tough.  Harold zoomed as fast as his guardian angel wings would take him.  His eyes scanned the air for potential dangers.  “Uh-oh.  A bird flying a little too close,” thought Harold.  So he steered the bird away.  “Uh-oh.  Winds kicking up.  George is headed straight for Lake Ontario.”  Harold blew as hard as he could in the opposite direction to keep George on course.

“Just a few more minutes and this will all be over,” Harold thought with relief.  He took a deep breath to get ready for landing.  But what was that very delicate scent in the air?  He recognized that scent from the day by the flower shop.  Then he saw her.  The angel with the pretty face.  Harold had run into her that day as he was hurrying after George.  Now it made sense.  That must be Alice’s guardian angel.  “Wow!  She’s pretty,” he thought.

Harold was so distracted by the angel that he lost sight of George.  By the time Harold realized, George was landing headfirst straight into a tree!  There was nothing Harold could do to protect him at that moment.  Soon there were paramedics crowded around George while Alice looked on in horror.

As they loaded George into the ambulance Harold cried, “How could I be so irresponsible?  How could I let this happen?  What kind of a guardian angel am I?  It’s all my fault!”  Harold looked on from Heaven sobbing so loudly and lost in his own thoughts that he didn’t hear the sound of footsteps approaching him.

“Hello, Harold.”

Chapter 4

By Wayne Hilton

It was Harold’s boss.  Harold collapsed his head against the back of his seat, unbuckled, and exited the Angelic Training Simulator.  Fiona, Alice Rivlin’s very appealing, sweet-scented angel, glided past him and winked with a smile.  She shook her head in amusement as she continued on.

“Harold, snap out of it!”  His boss floated beside him, his wings folded crossly.  “It’s a good thing we had angels on the ground to intervene.  You could have thrown the whole cosmos into chaos.  By chance it was only a minor injury.  No fatalities.”

Harold hung his head.  “Sorry boss.  I got… distracted.”

“Of course you did.  But we talked about that.  These human feelings you’re experiencing aren’t real.  Pride, vanity, and avarice, attraction for another angel, are all remnants of old human memories.  It’s like losing a limb and trying to scratch an itch that’s not really there?”

“I know, I know.”  Harold balled up his fists at his side.  “I really fell into that one, didn’t I?”

“Well don’t beat yourself up over it.  Just try a little harder next time.  And stay focused!  You’re new at this, Harold, and bound to make mistakes.  That’s why we don’t let angels solo until they’re equipped for it.”  Harold’s boss clapped him on the wings.  “Besides, Fiona is cute and does smell nice.  Now get back in there and give it another try.”

They carried George’s stretcher across a cow pasture, and lifted him with care over two wire fences, reaching the airport road where the ambulance was waiting.  Alice walked alongside holding George’s hand, a pleasant distraction from the dull ache growing in his left leg.  He knew he’d broken something, and was aware that his endorphins had kicked in to mask the pain. George didn’t care at the moment, Alice was holding his hand.  As they loaded George into the ambulance she leaned in close and whispered.

“I’m going to run and get my car.  I’m so sorry this happened, George.  I’ll be right behind you.”

She had slipped out of her harness and jump suit at the landing site and hastily thanked her tandem instructor before hurrying to George’s side.  Now, keys in hand, she bolted for her blue convertible in the parking lot.  A minute later Alice pulled up behind the waiting ambulance.

What was I thinking?  Why can’t I meet a nice levelheaded, intelligent guy who isn’t on a collision course with the grim reaper?  George is an all-right guy, I guess.  Kinda’ cute, charming, a little bold.  I mean he followed me to a hospital just to ask me for a date!

“He stalked me to an ICU unit and talked me into jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.”  Alice smiled.  “Oh God, now I’m talking to myself!”

Inside the ambulance the paramedic noted George’s blood pressure on his clipboard with his left hand and felt for his pulse with his right.  “How are you feeling, Mr. Hardy?”  George was oblivious.

Alice was wearing jeans and white sneakers.  A delicate silver chain and locket hung from her neck in the vee of an aqua-colored tee-shirt.  And George was fixed on the image of soft rose petals clinging to her face on the day they met.

I can’t believe I made such a rookie mistake.  I only glanced up for a second or two.  At least it seemed like only a few seconds.  I should have been more focused on landing and less worried about waving to Alice.

“Next thing I knew I saw the tree line and it was too late to turn into the wind.”

“Did you say something, Mr. Hardy?”  The paramedic rapped on the open door to the cab of the ambulance, signaling the driver to roll out.  “Relax, Mr. Hardy.  We’ll get you to the hospital in a flash.”  The paramedics’ radio crackled to their dispatcher.

“Tri-county 4–2”

“Go ahead, 4–2”

“En route to County General.  ETA twelve minutes.”

George, peacefully enraptured by the calming blue light above his stretcher, bolted upright instigating a wave of pain down his left leg.  He winced as one of the paramedics tried to settle him down.

“St. Luke’s.  I’ve got to go to St. Luke’s!”

“Sir, County General is closest and we need to get that leg treated as soon as possible.”

“Please, I’ll do anything.  I’ll pay you.  Just take me to St. Luke’s instead.”  George leaned back and closed his eyes in frustration.

Lord I know we don’t talk much, and I certainly don’t deserve it, but please, get me to St. Luke’s.  I’ll do anything you want.  I’ll change my ways.  I swear to… you.

Harold sat cross-legged atop the ambulance as it sped along the asphalt road.  With great amusement he smiled as wide as any angel could.

Gotcha’.

Chapter 5

By Paul Dominick

Harold enjoyed his ride atop the ambulance.  The sky had cleared and the on shore breeze he had orchestrated felt cool on his cheeks.  He loved these sensuous reminders of the blessings of being human.  He had never been to Saint Luke’s Presbyterian Hospital.  There were several excellent area hospitals he had never visited.  George insisted on this hospital and Harold saw no reason to interfere.  Saint Luke’s had a wonderful reputation as a head trauma center and it was, after all, George’s head that located the tree.

Harold’s mind began to wander as he absorbed the sites rushing by at ambulance speed.  He surveyed the city in his head and began to count its hospitals.  “There’s the Jewish hospital”, he thought, “with its world class cardiac and burn units; two Catholic hospitals but one of them is a de facto nursing home for aging nuns.  Then there’s the county hospital that struggles to survive awash in the accountants as administrators crowd.  I guess all my ambulance rides have been to Saint Francis of Assisi hospital.”  He remembered his training seminars and the history he had never acquired while alive.  Saint Francis was the gentle holy man who returned the humility and charity of Jesus to Catholicism and who tried to save Christianity from itself.  “I took it for granted”, he thought, “that I’d be watching over Catholics and, therefore, going to their hospitals, weddings, funerals and cemeteries.  If it weren’t for George, I’d never leave the zip code.  I’ll have to thank him.”

Since Harold was a G.A.-2, he was unaware of the managerial perspective granted all G.A.-8s and above.  Officer angels and, of course, the Boss were aware by training and by oath that guardian angel assignments should, whenever possible, be faith specific.  Much of the drama on earth centered on a recurring issue:  guardian angels who embraced a particular faith when human sometimes failed to perceive the severity of a problem faced by their charges when the ones to be guarded were of a different faith.  Faith was a universal among the celestial spheres.  Angels were only assigned to those faiths with a belief in angels.  Interference came in other forms as well.  The mission statement was that any assistance rendered should restore faith rather than cause conflict.

Millennia of experience had pointed out the necessity of compatibility of perspectives between the guardian and the guarded.  Problems inevitably percolated when Evangelical Baptists tended progressive Presbyterians.  The crusades began as a misunderstanding when a Christian warrior angel from Michael’s battalion was sent to console the Caliph of Constantinople.  Innovations have occurred as well.  The legendary Arthur had an Islamic angel whose mathematical genius inspired the round table to eliminate the competition among the knights to sit at the head of the table.  The wise ones had learned that inter faith matchups often inhibited the very empathy necessary to be an effective guardian.

The pulsing  intensity of the siren increased and Harold realigned himself to being on the roof of the speeding ambulance.  The emergency room entrance was only yards away.  The driver and the E.M.T. moved George into the emergency Room with the choreographed precision of a well trained team.  George’s relocation occurred in one fluid and confident motion.

Harold stood at George’s side as George’s leg and head were examined.  The patient slowly began to stir and to breathe normally.  George closed his eyelids tightly then reopened them with equal vigor.  The room came into focus and George sensed that, once again, his luck had prevailed.  X-rays were ordered and they revealed that his left leg has sustained a slight fracture of the femur.  George’s injury was routinely seen in teenagers on summer vacation.  His leg was thoroughly cleaned, brusquely shaved from ankle to thigh and incased in plaster.  The cast would be removed in six to eight weeks.  George was to be kept overnight.  A neurologist was called in to consult but the emergency room doctor was only following standard protocol.  Dr. Snell explained that, “like hockey players without traction on ice, a parachutist lacks grip while suspended in air.  And, like a hockey fight, the damage is usually minimal.”

George managed to talk himself into a sitting position.  He began to realize that he felt somehow reborn and reinvigorated.  He felt tingly and charged and so alive.  As George sat up he smiled and gave a “thumbs up” to Alice who was peering through the windows on the emergency room doors.  She was allowed in for a brief visit.  She could see him again later when he was assigned to a room.  Alice rushed in and gave George a long and intense kiss directly on his lips.  She desperately wanted to transfer all that she had into him.  She realized that her search for a “safe” man was really a fear of commitment.  Whether the fear was of being loved or of giving love was no longer relevant.  Alice stepped back to take him all in with her eyes.  A smile began to form that seemed to grow beyond its normal boundaries.  She, too, could sense its newness.  She was smiling a smile she had never smiled before.  Alice felt the muscles in her lips and on her face begin to relax and to stretch and to continue to expand.  She was afraid to turn and look into the mirror.  Alice was sure she’d see Jack Nickleson’s  “Joker” smiling back at her.  She was wrong.  Her smile was beautiful and bigger than it had ever been.  Even her teeth were smiling.  Her soul had, somehow, migrated onto her face.  She could not contain her glee.  Alice had never felt so energized or so overwhelmed.  Her smile was contagious and it infected the entire room.

George saw the smile and its exuberance, spontaneity and uncensored conviction.  He saw love.  Alice watched as George began to understand what his eyes saw and his heart felt.  They had fallen in love.  They had taken the greatest leap of faith and they had fallen and survived.  The nurses, technicians, orderly, the doctor with the hockey analogy and Alice, as well, began to recognize and then to applaud the courage which is love and is faith and is acceptance and is so human.  To consciously love an other requires the courage to risk trust and her companion, hurt.  George and Alice recognized that courage in each other and they were, at last, ready to jump tandem again and again.

Suddenly, loudly and coldly the intercom interrupted with, “Doctor Scarlet, seventh floor, ‘B’ wing, please.”

Chapter 6

By Debra Sherman

George remembered that Alice’s mother was on the seventh floor, but couldn’t remember if it was the B wing.  As soon as he looked at Alice’s face, though, he knew that it was.  Alice’s bright smile had suddenly disappeared, and the color drained from her face.

“Are you ok, Alice?” George said, as he tried to reach for her, but couldn’t manage the awkward cast on his leg.

“That’s Mom,” Alice said, as she squeezed George’s hand tightly, then rushed out of the room.

“Help!” George screamed, as he realized he’d need help if he was going to get out of bed to go after Alice.  A nurse came into the room, and George pleaded with her, “Get me some crutches!  Please!”  George was shocked when the nurse quickly pulled a folded wheelchair from the closet, then opened and prepared it for an occupant instantaneously.

“Thanks…” George said, with confused amazement, as he struggled to move from the bed to the wheelchair.

“Here, let me help you,” the nurse said, and within seconds George was safely transferred to the chair, foot rest up with his stick-like plaster covered leg sticking straight out.

“Now don’t hit anything,” the nurse said, as she gave him a push to start him on his way.

George wheeled himself as quickly as he could down the corridor and basked in relief and pride once he actually managed to get himself inside the elevator.  He pushed “7” and threw the wheelchair in reverse just in time to prevent the elevator doors from closing on his stiffened leg.  “Boy, this is gonna take some getting used to,” he said.

Harold was already waiting on the seventh floor.

“Hello again.”  Suddenly surrounded by the sweet smell of flowers, Harold already knew who it was before he turned around to look.

“Hello Fiona,” he said, realizing his knees felt a little wobbly just looking at her beautiful face.

“Guess we both heard the intercom, huh?” Fiona asked.

“Yes,” Harold replied.  “Is Alice’s mom ok?”

Just then the elevator doors opened, and George came bursting out, crashing into both sides of the door’s opening as he exited the elevator.

“It’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t kill himself in that thing,” Harold said to Fiona.

“He’ll do alright,” Fiona said quickly, before she floated gracefully away, arriving at Alice’s side at the nurse’s station.

“It’s ok to come in,” Dr. Scarlet said to Alice as he put an arm around her shoulder.  “We had a close call, but your mom’s ok.”

Everyone had gathered in Mrs. Rivlin’s room: Alice, George, Harold and Fiona.  Mrs. Rivlin was resting comfortably.  “Who’s this?” she asked Alice.

“Mom, this is George,” Alice said, and George reached out to shake Mrs. Rivlin’s hand.

“Nice to meet you, maam,” he nervously stuttered.

Harold and Fiona were making introductions as well, as they realized Delores, Mrs. Rivlin’s guardian angel, had joined the group.

“’Heard you had a close call,” Harold said to Delores.

“She was ready to jump ship and head back Home,” Delores replied.  “But before she walked into the light I managed to convince her to stay a while longer.”

Harold looked at Delores, confused.  “Why would you want to prevent her from crossing over?  Don’t you want to be free of your guardian angel duties?”

“Yes, but I can’t let her leave while something so important is in the works,” Delores said, a perplexed look on her face as if she were surprised she needed to explain this to Harold.

“What’s in the works?” Harold asked.

Delores rolled her eyes.  “Well, her daughter’s getting married, silly.”

Harold and Fiona looked at each other.  Harold was thrilled that Delores saw a wedding in the future.  Getting married and settling down would certainly end George’s reckless ways.  But Fiona felt quite differently, and panicked as she realized this ‘dating the dangerous guy’ wasn’t just a phase Alice was going through.

The next evening, George was discharged from the hospital, and Mrs. Rivlin was well on her way to recovery.  Instead of driving George home as promised, Alice asked as they left the front lobby,  “Do you want to come back to my place?” and George happily agreed. When they arrived at Alice’s home, George was immediately aware of the difference between her home and his.  Alice’s apartment was spotless, nicely decorated and tidy, with everything in its place.  George’s apartment, on the other hand, always looked like a tornado had just come through.

Both still shaken by the events of the last two days – the close call George had while skydiving, followed by the scare Alice experienced when she thought her mother was in danger – along with George’s deep, heartfelt concern for her in those moments, prompted the two to become overwhelmed with emotion.  They made love well into the night, and in the morning, Alice awoke to realize George had been starting at her, studying her, while she slept.

“Good morning,” she said, and George embraced her.  Alice realized that this night with George was the most exciting of her life.  She’d never felt such intense adoration as George had been exhibiting since the moment they first met, and she realized, that even though they’d only known each other for a short time, that she loved George intensely.

“I think we should get married,” George blurted out.  And before considering whether accepting was the smart thing to do, and without her usual weighing the pros and cons and spending days, weeks or months toiling over such a big decision, Alice said simply, “Yes, George; I think we should,” and she kissed him.

Meanwhile, Harold was sitting on the rooftop, relieved that he’d finally found a solution.  George will calm down now…he’ll be responsible and stay out of trouble.  He’s in love with Alice and won’t take such dangerous risks anymore.  Just as he let out a relieved sigh, his boss’s voice interrupted. “Don’t consider yourself off the hook just yet.”

“What do you mean?” Harold asked.

“Your duties will intensify in a few months,” his boss replied. “But don’t worry, Harold, we’re already making arrangements for a seasoned guardian angel to help you.”

Harold was confused.  “You mean George isn’t going to settle down now that he’ll have a wife?”

“Oh yes,” replied the boss.  “His Evil Knievel days are over with.  But George Jr., well…that’s another story.”

THE END

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