In Part 1, Abigail Emsley has been living a shattered life and not questioning why. When her powerful uncle sends over a holographic "guardian angel" to "fix" her, her mother reacts mysteriously to the particular Angel chosen ...
Angel: Part 2
Abigail's first "session" with her Angel, Chad.
I watch them stare at each other—Mother questioning and the Angel looking displeased.
“Maybe facing it will help … Mrs. Emsley.”
I clear my throat. I’d gotten used to people talking as if I wasn’t there the past months, but something about having an Angel forced on me makes me resent their conversation.
“I’m the patient. Not Mother.”
The Angel steps forward, coming to face me. He scrutinizes my face and I hold his gaze. He seems to wait for something. I glance at Mother. She watches, her brows pinched together.
“Hello, Abbey,” he says, finally greeting me.
“I’m Chad. I’m your Guardian Psychiatric Analyst.” He extends his hand, perhaps out of habit, but I don’t reach for it. Maybe my action is rude, but he can’t shake it anyway.
He drops his hand, looking disappointed. More disappointed than he should be about a simple refusal to pretend he’s real. Well, he’s real in a sense. His body exists somewhere, probably in a coma. Guardian doesn’t let minds go to waste, and fortunately for Uncle Edgar, the government agrees. I suppose people teetering on the precipice of life and death prove very compassionate. I wonder what makes this Angel so special. Why did Uncle Edgar request him for me? Chad had probably owned a successful psychiatry practice in his former life.
The Angel turns back to Mother. “I’d like to speak to Abbey.”
Mother doesn’t move to the door, which the Angel seems to expect. “I think I’d better stay. Just … just in case.”
He nods. “If you think it’s best.”
Mother hesitates, her uncertain gaze flickering between the Angel and me. She changes her mind. “Well, perhaps I’ll wait outside.”
The Angel—Chad—nods again. He steps across the room and sits on the couch. Holding his hand out, he gestures to the chair opposite him. “Will you come sit down, Abbey?”
I watch Mother slip out the door and then take a deep breath before following his instructions. Perhaps if I appear to acquiesce to whatever he asks it will get rid of him sooner. I sit on the edge of the chair, staring at him and waiting.
He folds his arms across his chest and studies me before starting with the obvious line of questioning. “Tell me about your father’s death.”
I feel my throat constrict, but I manage to speak. I ignore the collapsing feeling of my chest. “His plane crashed.” I close my eyes and think about seeing it on the news. React to it calmly, I instruct myself. I open my eyes again. Chad leans forward, watching my response with intense interest.
“An engine malfunction.” I don’t want to picture the image of his plane on fire so I push it away. Easier to keep control if I don’t delve too deep into the grisly details.
“How did you cope with your grief?”
I laugh shortly. “By getting sick. Encephalitis.”
My bold, sarcastic answer seems to bother him. He sits back again. “Please tell me everything you remember about your father’s death.”
I stiffen. Remembering might cause another … episode. That won’t convince the Angel to leave anytime soon. “How will that help?”
“I think you’re still fragile because you’re repressing those difficult days. Your doctor and your mother agree that those traumatic events worsened your illness and perhaps keep you from regaining your health.” He folds his arms across his chest again and waits for me.
“Where do you want me to start?”
“Start with when you got up that morning.” He leans back into the couch, relaxing his posture, but he still seems anxious to me.
Just think, Abbey, if you get through this without breaking down, he’ll have to report you're fine to your uncle. A couple good appearances in public and you can go back to crying yourself to sleep every night.
I rest both my arms on the sides of my chair, looking as comfortable as I can. Make it look like I can deal with this easily. I pretend to tell the story like it happened to someone else, not to me.