Chapter 8: Neil and the Angel who Lives in the Past
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The crowd was on my side, and I knew that for a fact. There were two reasons that I couldn't lose now.

1. Steven's father was just ousted as a child abuser

2. Steven's childlike innocence managed to capture the heart of the people

Emotions were humanities greatest setback, and yet in this situation, it managed to become the biggest trump I owned. The only thing that could go wrong was if an even wealthier person decided to throw his money around and change the populace opinion. Just thinking about that, makes my stomach churn.

Bree was part of the crowd watching with sparkles in her eyes. The was wind blowing back her blonde hair, and in that pure white dress, she was someone that was easily discernible from the rest. If it weren't for her odd personality, maybe it'd be nice play around with her for like a month or two. Even though it was nice to fantasize about imaginary scenarios, I had no time to entertain thoughts like that at the moment. After all, there was some business that had to be wrapped up.

"It's over... uh, what was your name again."

"You pompous brat, I'll beat my name into you."

Steven's father came charging at me, but this time I had the advantage. I wasn't going to be taken by surprise like the other time. I didn't need this stupid bracelet to bail me out again, because I'm better than that. He was in the second reach of me, which was perfect, that was all the time I needed to react. He came rushing towards me with a punch that was being pulled back, ready for release. How typical of a commoner, there was no refinement, no artistic structure in that fighting style. The moment his fist came flying at me, I ducked under it and gave him an uppercut punch. The impact stretched his neck and sent him flying upwards. His neck bones cracked, for what seemed like for the first time in a long time. It didn't sound pleasant, and in fact, it sounded quite painful.

Steven's father was on the floor again, writhing in pain and his eyes were half shut.

"If I were you, I'd stay down."

Apart from the jumbled life spans emitting from the crowd, their mouths were agape. Their eyes were unbelieving at what just happened. Steven then ran towards me, and hid behind my back, clutching onto the side of my shirt. I doubt Steven's father would even try to get up now, and it seemed that my punch left him in a daze and he was in the middle ground of being conscious and passing out.

I honestly didn't know what to do in this situation, because I had already beaten the living shit out of Steven's dad. How was I suppose to stop the lifespan from jumping now? I doubt reasoning with this man in his drunken state would be the best idea. If child abuse were the cause, isolating Steven from his father would be the right course of action.

I got a sense of accomplishment from helping this kid out. Seeing his inflated numbers shrinking, made me smile. Though it was faint, I could see the red in his numbers thinning out as well. Exhaling out a long breath, the heaviness of the situation left my chest.

It was then that I thought that I could finally get some peace and quiet; however, I was wrong, horribly wrong. My ears shot in pain from the high pitched scream of a certain annoying girl.

"Neil, you did it! WOOOOOOO!"

I wanted to yell at her being obnoxious in public, but before I had the chance even to say a word, I felt a soft cushion against my chest and her arms were wrapped around my back. The faint scent of the summer Camellia flowers whisked around my nose. It happened in the blink of an eye, but now here we were face to face. From this distance, the only thing I could have looked at were her eyes.

Were they always this red?, I wondered.

Perhaps it was because she took me by surprise, but I could feel myself heating up and my heart beating at 100 miles per hour. With the rate I was going at, I wonder if she could feel my heartbeat too? I hoped she didn't. It was embarrassing if this angel knew that she rattled me.

She smirked and said, "Neil, you're the hero, and you know what heroes get right?"

What was she going on about? How was I supposed to know what heroes got; after all, I never thought of myself as a hero. I thought of myself more of a realist. Practicality and pragmatism meant more to me than intangible concepts such as courage and bravery.

It was uncomfortable for the public to see me like this, but what it was absolutely unbearable and suffocating having her tight arms clinging to me. I could try to wriggle my way out, but I think she'd just tighten her grip even more. Though I was slowly losing my breath, I was still taken away by the crimson red eyes in front of me. The way they glistened in the setting sun, the way they shone when they looked at me, and the way they spelled innocence made me blush.

I thought it was my imagination at first, but Bree was now leaning and inching closer towards me. The seconds seemed to drag on, and my heart was now so overworked, that I felt I could collapse at any second.

Then it happened, she kissed me. I felt my lips slid across what seemed to have the delicateness and smooth texture of a marshmallow. My eyes were wide opened, and I felt a volt of electricity running throughout my body. The shock left me paralyzed and stopped the beating in my chest for a split second. My eyes were wide opened, and my mind was listless. I couldn't believe this was actually happening. What was this, a high school Rom-Com? When the shock came to pass, I pushed Bree away from me.

I don't think that I was the only one who was surprised. The rest of the townspeople were wooing and cheering from the sidelines. They were roaring with excitement at this act of public affection, so much so that they forget about Steven's father on the floor.



Steven stood there equally surprised as the rest of the crowd, but I could tell he wasn't expecting this either. He inched away from us foot by foot to blend in with the crowd. If this was his way of giving us some time alone, I wanted no part of it. In fact, I wanted him to come back this moment. This girl was crazy, and I needed an excuse to break away.

"Damn you Steven, and right after I saved you too," I muttered.

At this point, I didn't know what to feel anymore. Was I supposed to be angry? Was I supposed to be happy? The girl in front of me was beyond reason, beyond sane, she was an enigma. In the short time that we've known each other, she already managed to flip my life upside down. All I knew was I disliked her.

"I heard it was a custom on earth, to reward heroes with a kiss," she said.

"Where the hell did you hear that from?"

"I read it in the earth guide book before I descended down here."

The angel's guide book for earthlings must not have had a revision for some time, and I suspect that Bree's general knowledge about the modern earth must be minuscule or even non-existent. That's just great, this angel wasn't already bright, and now she's also clueless about this world. My luck must have been pretty terrible, for me to be stuck with an angel like her.

Aside from her, I had another issue to take care of first. I thought I had already accomplished my task, so why in the world was I still seeing these numbers on top of everyone's head. I thought my mission was complete, so it was only natural that these numbers disappeared. Seriously what the heck, I was supposed to be free. If I see these numbers, then that meant my life was still at stake. I looked at Bree and gulped as I said,

"Hey, how do I make these numbers go away."