There was a brief millisecond in between his eyes opening and the look of shocked recognition crossing his features in which Meryl could have sworn time stopped completely.
She saw his light irises in the dark room and her first response was utter disbelief.
No. No, there was no way in hell he could have seen her. His eyes opened quickly, sure, but she was a celestial being for God’s sake! She definitely disappeared faster than he could have seen her.
A breath of relief escaped Meryl’s lungs.
She was an angel; a human like him couldn’t possibly have seen her. She was okay.
The surge of confidence allowed her to turn back towards her Assignment.
She immediately wished she hadn’t.
The very second she saw his face, her confidence was knocked right out of her and beaten down to a bloody pulp.
There Maksim was, bolting up from the dark-colored sheets, eyes frantically scanning the room.
His face had never been so pale in all the time she’d been Guarding him.
“Don’t see me,” she whispered, using every ounce of power she had to influence him.
“H-hello,” he called out into the seemingly-empty room.
“I don’t see you anymore—but I did. I know I saw you.” He continued, his voice still shaky.
“I saw you,” he repeated again, seemingly disconcerted at the lack of reply.
“Reiliel,” Meryl whispered, and at once she felt the elder angel’s presence enter the room.
“Reiliel, help. What do I do?”
Reiliel looked at her, shaking his head.
“Oi bolape a el acocasahe ol barinu vorns beheld caresa a dobitza,” he replied carefully.
Enochian—the language of the angels.
Of course, being a celestial being herself, Meryl understood exactly what he had said:
This is the first time I have ever seen such an event take place.
“No, no, that doesn’t help the situation at all. Reiliel, what do I do?”
An idea came to her quickly.
“I have an idea, but I must appear to him,” she warned.
Reileil’s response was spoken in english.
“Maksim Chmerkovskiy has already seen you. You may appear if you wish, but please be prepared for the aftermath. There will be a meeting of all Guardians once this little scene has ended.”
Meryl nodded quickly. She could accept that.
She took a deep breath.
“Turn and see me,” she finally whispered.
Immediately, Maksim obliged.
Spinning around, the human let out a gasp at the vision before him.
He clambered out of bed and to the far side of the room.
“Be not afraid,” she spoke unsteadily.
Wow, the clichés never end, Meryl. Nice one.
“Oh, I’m not afraid—I’m terrified. God, I’m terrified,” he replied, his voice close to a whisper.
“Maksim Chmerkovskiy,” she spoke, then, internally scolding herself for sounding so unsteady, added force behind her words.
“Be not afraid. I am not here to cause you harm. In fact, I’m here for the exact opposite. I’m watching over you, Maksim. I have been watching over you for the past three months. I am your Guardian.”
The man before her did not utter a word in response. His jaw hung open and his eyes were wide with surprise.
“You’re my what?” He finally got out, daring to glance at her face.
It was at that moment Meryl had thanked her lucky stars that she had chosen a semblance her corporeal form as her visage. If she had chosen to go with the traditional angel form, she would have had 4 to 6 pairs of wings with eyes all over them. The traditional angel form was not cute and fluffy, contrary to popular belief. It was monster-esque. Meryl was sure it would do Maksim no favors to see Reiliel, for example, standing there in his true form.
“I am your Guardian, and I am here to protect you, Maksim.”
She softly took a step forward, and he, probably realizing that he looked like a frightened child, slowly slid up the wall he was huddled against.
“Oh,” he breathed.
A moment of silence.
“I get it,” a look of peace passed over his features, which concerned Meryl greatly given the situation, “you’re my guardian angel, right? And you’re appearing and speaking to me.” He laughed at the end of his statement.
“There’s a place for people like me—There’s help for people like me. I’ll contact my doctor in the morning, tell him I’m having hallucinations. I’ll probably go on medication, but hey, you win some, you lose some.”
Meryl shook her head.
“Maksim,” she repeated, trying to remain patient, “I am as real as you are.”
Still seeing the doubt in his eyes, she reached to her right and swiped a picture frame off his nightstand.
It fell to the floor and shattered to pieces.
“Hey,” the man interjected, but Meryl cut him off.
“If I weren’t real, could I do that?”
He blinked. Any possible reasoning failed him.
“Do you believe now, Maksim Chmerkovskiy? I know you are a very stubborn man, but please try to understand that I am only here to make your quality of life better.”
He slowly nodded his head.
“Okay… Okay. I believe you. Can I just take a minute? I—I need to process this.”
“Take all the time you need,” she smiled understandingly.
She glanced over at Reiliel, who gave her a grimace behind the set of wings covering his face.
“So… You’re my guardian angel?” He spoke again after hours had gone by.
Reiliel had long since left, deciding to go inform the other Guardians what had happened.
Meryl reappeared at the foot of Maksim’s bed, nodding. “I am.”
He seemed to accept the answer. “So,” he spoke curiously, “have you always been an angel? Or were you human once, too? Or, wait, I’m sorry if that’s overstepping your boundaries or something,” he added.
She met her Assignment’s eyes and gave him a reassuring smile. He didn’t ‘overstep.’
“I was once a human, like yourself. My name was Meryl. Meryl Davis,” she felt her grin instinctively grow wider at the sudden recollections from her life on earth.
“I won the Olympics for ice dancing towards the end of my life. Gosh, those moments on the podium were some of the greatest I’ve ever had. A few months later, I ended up passing away in an unexpected plane crash—or rather I didn’t pass away in the accident; I was rescued by choppers and brought to the nearest hospital from the crash site. I was rushed in by a team of doctors and nurses in baby-blue scrubs and I was placed on life support. I was kept in the hospital for ages. Some days were better than others. Some were far worse. On my good days, I was a semi-functional human being. I could eat soft foods and drink water. I could hold basic conversation with my family, recognize who they were. On the bad days, I slept. I was given sustenance through tubes that were woven in and out of my stomach. Eventually, over a span of months and months, the bad days outnumbered the good. My parents kept on trying, kept fighting, but I was out for days at a time. It was when I had a ‘bad month’ that my doctor had announced I was really brain dead. My parents and my brother broke down sobbing when they’d heard the news. They were absolutely devastated.”
She felt her eyes grow misty at the memory.
“My spirit was already on its way to becoming who I am now… But I could still see them from where I was and I decided to watch over them for a long time. I stayed with them as they grieved, as they cried. I stayed with them when they pulled the plug on the life support machine. I stayed with them through my wake and through my funeral. I tried to give them a sense of peace about it all, though I never quite could. The time came for me to move on from this earth. Soon after, I chose to become a Guardian.” She informed.
She had ended up telling the human quite a bit more than she’d originally intended for him to know. She supposed she just felt good knowing someone else knew her story.
“I’m so sorry about everything you and your family have been through,” his tone was that of pure heartbreak, and his expression told the same story.
“Thank you, Maksim. Yes, I would like to visit my parents and brother someday,” she spoke softly, glancing down.
“So then go and visit. I can manage ob my own for one day,” he supplied, trying to help.
“No, Maksim, I cannot. I must watch over you. It is in my code. Whatever you do, I guide you. Wherever you go, I go,” she insisted.
“Well, then…” He paused, waiting to ensure he had her attention. She lifted her eyes up to meet his.
“Guardian Meryl Davis, I’m going to go meet your family.”