Read When Angels Cry Online

Authors: Maria Rachel Hooley

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

When Angels Cry

BOOK: When Angels Cry
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When Angels

Cry

by

Maria Rachel Hooley

 

 

 

When Angels Cry

Copyright ©20
1
0

Maria Rachel Hooley

 

 

 

All
rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

 

Dedication

 

This one is for Laura Moyers, the best friend I could ask for who really wanted this one “To be it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

The loaded .38 weighed cold and heavy in Bastian’s grip as he sat in
the
t
ruck. Outside, beyond windows glaz
ed
with ice, traffic tooled by. He watched the cars drift past, dimly aware the people in them
were
probably headed home to someone. 
Along one side of
the street
stood
a row of dimly lit shops
a few feet
back
from the curb, their dirty windows reflecting
the
lamps o
f
the bridge
near
where he parked
.

Bastian
looked at the gun
.
T
he frame glinted dully in the failing light, the sleek barrel seeming to
burn
of its own fire, but it was a fire without heat.  The day he’d taken the pistol from his father’s desk drawer, almost fifteen years ago, had been the same day he’d left.  Many times, like today, he’d lifted the barrel to his temple, rammed it in his mouth, shoved it under his chin, and tried every other position he could think of to blow
his brains
out.  Still, he
’d
never cared for the smell of gun oil or the feel of
the
cold
metal
on
his
skin
.  Disgusted, Bastian laid the gun on the passenger seat
,
twisted open the bottle of
Wild Turkey
at his side
,
and drew a long swallow.

Bastian
recapped the bottle and
wiped his chin on his sleeve
.  The snow fell
faster now.  Any kind of warmth was a long way from Chicago in November, yet he w
ouldn't
wait until spring
to take
the
revolver and–-

BAM.

Bastian
glared at
the
woman stumbling past, her steps shaky and uneven.  Beneath her long leather coat, she wore a
black,
ankle-length skirt and pumps.  The wind picked up, tousling her shoulder-length brown hair,
whipping it up
over her shoulder
into her face.  Bastian
buried the
gun under
the
seat.

He
rolled down the window, intending to tell her to watch where
the hell
she was going
, but when
she
banged into
the next car,
slumped with
knees threatening to buckle, and wavered
there
, trying to regain her balance, he held his tongue. 
She
was either drunk or clumsy
--m
aybe both.

She brought a trembling hand to her face and walk
ed
without looking into the street, stepping
away from
the curb into oncoming traffic.  Horns blared
, but a
pparently she heard none of it.

“Get out of the street
,
” a driver shouted, leaning out his window as he jammed a meaty fist against his horn, waiting.  When she didn’t
move
, he jerked the wheel to one side, shot into the adjoining lane, and sped past.

The snow thickened, falling faster.  Bastian bolted from
the truck
and
trudged after her,
each step
sending up a
s
pray of
new
drift.  Weaving deftly through the traffic, he followed as she left the road and started across the bridge.

“Hey,
l
ady
,
” Bastian yelled
.

Y
ou all right?”

The woman stopped and touched her forehead. 
One more shaky
step,
and
her knees finally buckled, throwing her against the rail. 
With
a sickening splinter of old wood,
it
gave
, and s
he plunged headlong into 
icy
water.

Bastian sprinted to the edge
.
T
he dark water had swallowed her quickly. “Sweet Jesus,” he whispered.

She’ll surface
,
he
thought.

Stillness.

He could walk away
;
 
s
he wasn’t his problem. 
Still, h
e gripped the rail and stared.  What if she had kids?  What if she drowned and they were left wondering
whether
she had loved them
?  He
had wondered
that
when his
own
mother had died
.
  What if they turned out to be just as fucked
-
up as
he was
?  God help them
.  
Besides,
he thought
,
it doesn’t  matter if I don’t come out
again
.

“What happened?”  A woman appeared beside him,
staring

Bastian stripped off his coat.
  “Call 911.”

As the woman thumbed buttons on the phone, Bastian
dove
. Cold air rushed past, and, when he hit, the iciness stole his breath and seized his chest. 
W
ater surged up his nose, and he taste
d
dirt
.
  He forced himself to move, trying to ignore the pain
,
and seconds later, the growing numbness as he fumbled in the dark, searching, clawing through water, groping blindly.

Bastian’s chest burned
.  H
e needed to breathe.  His fingers cramped and wanted to splay apart, but he forced them together and clutched at the water.  The numbness spread, st
ealing
over him, threatening to still his joints.  Air bubbles rose in furious spurts.   One last sweep, and–wait
.  There
she was, brushing past, motionless on the way to the bottom.
 
He grabbed her arm and pulled her to him.  With one last burst of strength, he thrust toward the surface.  Finally, their heads safely above water, Bastian turned the woman over and held her against his chest.

“You picked one helluva night to go for a swim, lady
.

His arms and legs felt distant,
detached
—nerveless
.  All but spent, he swam toward the edge until he could feel the bottom
and
stumbled up the bank.  A few
more
steps more and he fell to his knees
,
leaning
over her.  His cheek hovered over her nose, waiting for the stir of breath.

Bastian tilted her head upright and ran his fingers down the center of her chest,
feeling for
the line of her ribs
,
an
d
set the palm of his hand in place.  He began chest compressions, counting loudly
.  Then he
covered her mouth with his
, filling her
with his breath
.  H
er chest rose
and
fell
.  Stillness
.  Her face was waxy and pallid in the glow of the street lamps
;
b
eads of water shimmered on her face
.  S
he had to be freezing.

“Come on, lady
.
”  Bastian repeated the compressions.  “Don’t do this to me.”  After the fifth, he breathed for her again
and again
.  He searched for the warmth of her breath.  In the distance, the
sirens
screamed toward them.

He pressed his palms into place, preparing for another set, when
her body jerked
.  Relieved, Bastian
rolled
her to one side.  Her long hair
lay
splayed over his arm and she clutched at him, coughing
violent
ly
, but at once,
her strength faltered
,
and she crumpled into Bastian’s arms.  He gingerly laid her down.

“Geez, lady.  You scared the hell out of me.”

Shaking, she half
-
opened her eyes
.
“It’sss freezzing.”

“I know
.

Bastian dr
e
w closer, trying to warm her.  The whirling lights of the ambulance appeared at the corner and a moment later
hal
t
ed
behind Bastian’s truck.  The lights bathed the park
in
a harsh red and blue glow.  Bastian heard the doors open
, and h
e knew the EMTs would take over
soon, but
he couldn’t stop looking into the woman’s blue eyes.  “It’s going to be all right now,” he whispered, squeezing her hand reassuringly.  Droplets of water spilled down his face like tears
, and h
e shivered uncontrollably.

She stared at hi
m
.
  “Are you an angel?”

Bastian snorted.
 
“Lady, God would know better than to make an angel out of me
.

 

“I should–

 
Kaylee brushed her hand across her face and
tried
to sit up. 


Lie down
.
” Bastian ordered, tightening his grip on her.  From the bridge above came a tumult of voices.  A small crowd had gathered
while in the water below, a wing of
ducks darted placidly to and fro, oblivious. 
Lucky
ducks
, Bastian thought.

A male EMT hustled to Bastian’s side.  “Is she breathing?”

Bastian nodded. 
“I pulled her out and gave her CPR. She’s cold.” 

             
The EMT turned to his partn
er, “Hey, Jessie, bring a heated
blanket.”  He
eyed
Bastian
evenly.
“Better make it two.”
  The EMT turned to Kaylee.  His name tag read “Steve.” 
“What’s your name, Miss?” 
Steve bent over the woman and checked her vitals. 

She blinked
“Kaylee.  Kaylee Renard.”
 

“Anything broken that you know of?” 
Jessie
returned
with one
open
blanket and another draped over her shoulder.  She peered at Bastian.

 
Bastian shook his head and pointed to the railing. 
“No.  That’s where she fell from.” 
 

“Okay, you mind helping lift her so I can get this blanket
the rest of the way
around her?”
 

“Ready when you are.”

“Okay, Kaylee.  We’re going to lift you,” Jessie said.

Bastian lifted Kaylee’s torso so he could slide one arm around her waist.  The EMT lifted her knees, and Bastian slipped his other arm beneath them, dr
a
w
ing
her body to his and lift
ing
so the EMTs could place the blanket beneath. As he held her, she stared at him with a
n
otherworldly gaze.  Her head wobbled against his chest.  Even soaking wet
,
she seemed unbelievably light.  She tucked her head beneath his chin, and as her body shuddered with the cold, he held her even more tightly.

“Sir?”

“Yeah?” 
Bastian opened his eyes and found both EMTs frowning.  

Jessie pointed at Kaylee. 
“You can put her down now.” 
 

“Oh.”  Bastian hurriedly laid her down and backed away as Steve bundled her in the blanket.


Here

You’re as wet as she is.” 
Jessie held out
the other blanket
to Bastian. 

BOOK: When Angels Cry
12.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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