2010-06-17: The Angel



Date: June 17, 2010


A man named for the leader of the heavenly hosts plays host to a lost soul in need.

"The Angel"

Montmartre - Paris

The clatter of a giant suitcase being dragged up the row of steps echoes into the night as a young blonde woman pulls it slowly from one step to another. She turns and looks up toward the top and lets of a long sigh. Almost to the end of her journey, almost. Unfortunately, the residents of Rue Chappe aren't given more than five minutes of peace before the noise begins again.

Click, thump

Click, thump

The repetitive noise isn't even in time to anything, just when her strength proves enough to pull the heavy thing a few more inches. Why the cab driver didn't drop her off at the top of the hill and let her travel down? Who knows. Why he didn't stay and help her lug the sixty five pound bag up? Her theory is that he's French. Her opinion of the people as a whole has been greatly reduced since her arrival.

As the giant suitcase click, thumps, click, thumps its way up the long staircase to the apartment building resting at the top, quite a few windows have their curtains pulled back so the occupants can see what all the commotion is about. The majority draw their curtains back into place without so much as a word— one person feels the need to yell at the woman to keep it down, but he ultimately pulls his curtain back as well.

Near the top of the building, however, one window remains open, the features of whoever is watching her blurred and shadowed from the light inside the apartment building. Whoever it is continues to watch the woman lugging her suitcase up the stairs. After a few moments, the figures' hands reach out and grasp the curtains before they're pulled shut, the figure no longer visible from below.

It happens. Much like things such as this happen in slapstick or tragedies. The handle of the suitcase breaks off and the suitcase goes tumbling end over end back down to the bottom of the long set of stairs. The tremendous clatter does illicit a few shouts from open windows before they are dramatically slammed shut.

"Son of a — " The blonde's voice is cut off by her own accord and she just sits down hard on the step she's on and buries her face in her hands. The trip has been anything but the adventure she's been wanting, far from it. "Jesus H. — Damnit… damnit.. damnit… damnit…" The muffled whimpers continue even through the caterwauling of her new neighbors. She looks down at the suitcase back at the bottom of the steps and then up to the pale yellow door at the top of the steps.

"Rough night?"

The voice rings out through the night, followed by an odd crunching noise. Upon further inspection, the crunching noise would be revealed to be an apple, which currently rests in the man's hand as he leans up against one of the trees lining the stairs.

Taking another bite, Gabriel swallows before he speaks again, gesturing with his hand. "Tiny little thing like yourself shouldn't have to carry that all the way up there," he says, jerking his thumb over his shoulder back towards the apartments, "want some help?"

The blonde head turns quickly, a little too quickly for her to mask her features. Gabriel is met with a gasp of surprise and the duck of her head. She pulls some hair to half cover her face and gives him a timid smile, sniffling once before she nods. "Th-that would be really nice, please. The cab driver, he just left me."

Her sunglasses are balanced on the top of her head like a headband and she lifts herself up to stand. He wasn't wrong, she is a tiny thing as she stands just a little over five feet and thin as a rail. The heavy suitcase wasn't the only thing she had though, a carry on bag almost as thick as she is swings into view. She catches it by the strap and starts down the stairs, "You don't sound like you're from Paris. Where are you from?"

Stepping down a few steps, Gabriel grips the handle of the suitcase in his hand, pulling it alongside him as he turns around to head in the direction of the apartments above. The click, thump of the luggage is still there, but it's not nearly as loud as before.

"America," Gabriel responds, taking another bite out of his apple during the casual conversation. "New York City, to be exact." He's just about finished with his apple, and after a final bite he tosses the core into a nearby trash can. "I can already tell you're not from here."

There's a faint breath of laughter when the blonde looks up at him and raises one eyebrow. "New York? Really?" She winds both of her hands around the strap of the large bag hanging off her shoulder and lowers her eyes to the ground. "I just left." She climbs the remaining steps up to the pale yellow door and she pauses. "Just left there, that is…"

The woman reaches forward and tests the door before pushing it open. "Except the cab drivers and people yelling, it's not so bad here." She says quietly, holding the door open for Gabriel before she even takes a step inside. "I mean, you'd never be able to find an apartment building with a front door that's unlocked in New York." Then her expression falters a little and her visible eye widens significantly. "Oh, I didn't even ask… I mean.. I can take it from here if you're busy."

"Small world," Gabriel responds, stepping through the door and into the apartment complex. Once he's inside, he turns slightly to hold the door open for the blonde as she makes her way inside. The suitcase is moved around slightly so he can get a better grip on it, opting to carry it instead of pull it by the wheels.

"That is true about New York. Things are more… laidback here," he says. "And I don't mind. I'm not busy." Another occupant of the apartments from upstairs come bustling down the stairs, and Gabriel gives them a nod as they move by the two of them. "Things get pretty quiet around here after nine."

"Completely small world," She says as she smiles up at him. In the light of the hallway it's a little easier to see the black eye she's sporting, even under the mess of hair she's trying to hide it behind. "You can call me Liz or Lizzie, by the way. Since you're the only American I know, I'm probably going to force you to talk to me all the time."

Reaching into her bag, she pulls out a set of keys and lets loose a very long sigh as she looks up to the top of the winding staircase. "I'm uhm… up on the top floor. I should have planned this better, really."

Eyes drift to the black bruise around her eye, but other than that, Gabriel doesn't say anything on the matter. Maybe it's the reason she's in Paris. Maybe she ran into a wall. Who knows. It's not his business, and he doesn't intend to pry. As long as she doesn't show up with new bruises all of the time…

Smirking slightly at her proclamation, Gabriel shrugs slightly. "Everybody needs somebody," he says. He moves over to the stairs, pausing at the bottom as she looks to the top. "I'm up there, too. It's not that long of a walk, really. Besides, you'll get some exercise."

"You are? Hey, that's great!" She's a little overexcited at the prospect of another American living in such proximity. Then she calms a little as she climbs up and up and up the winding stairs. "What's your name, by the way? I mean, I could make up a name for you… I'm good at that, you know."

When they finally reach the top step she looks from her set of keys and then to the doors, strafing down the hallway past each one until she reaches the one that might be hers. The wood looks like it needs a little paint, the locks look a little worn, but with a little jiggle and a click, the door opens to a dusty room filled with covered furniture.

"Oh geez…" she breathes softly, reaching to the light switch and flicking it on. The air is filled with almost as much dust as is on the white sheets that cover everything. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling and the floor is filmed with a thin layer of its own silt. "Looks like I have a bit of cleaning to do…"

"I am," Gabriel says, "almost wall the way to the end." Only when they reach the top of the stairs does Gabriel tell her his name, setting the suitcase back on the ground to pull it along behind him. "My name is… Gabriel."

The walk to the end of the hall doesn't take long at all, and when they finally arrive at the apartment and step inside, Gabriel waves his hand in front of his face, coughing from all of the dust. "Wow," he says, eyes scrunching up as well, letting out another cough, "they're usually better than this… must be because it hasn't been used for a while." Taking a look around, he shakes his head as he turns his eyes back on Lizzie. "You've got /quite/ a bit of cleaning to do."

"Gabriel, that's a good name.. Like the angel." Lizzie says with a small smile as she lets the carry on slip from her shoulder and land with a small plop on the floor. A small cloud of dust comes up but settles back down fairly quickly.

The tiny blonde waltzes into the apartment and twirls around with her arms out and then raises them up above her head in a victory gesture before blushing and letting them drop back down to her sides. "My own place, it feels pretty good. I don't care if it's dirty for now." The glasses are pulled from the top of her head and twirled between her fingers then set down on one of the sheet covered pieces of furniture. "So which apartment is yours? Beside me or across from me?"

There's a shrug in response to his name— he didn't choose it, and he's certainly no angel. Not exactly something you can say without weird looks, however, and it's best to keep that kind of thing to himself. He watches as the young woman twirls on the spot, another smirk crossing his features. Once she's settled down, he looks towards the hallway, and motions at the apartment next door. "Besides you."

Lizzie looks in the direction that Gabriel is pointing and she raises the eyebrow over her uninjured eye. "Beside me, that's … " She turns back to him with a large smile and nods, "That's pretty great." She moves over to the wall between the two apartments and slides her hand across the old Venetian plaster and stops when she hits the mantle over the fireplace. "If you hear me knocking in the middle of the night, it's because I'm either bored, lonely, or scared… so you'd better put some clothes on because I'll probably be at your door five or ten minutes later."

Returning the smile, Gabriel watches as Lizzie moves her hand over the wall, and makes note of the place she knocks at. "Of course," he says, nodding his head in her direction. "My door is open to whenever you need it. In fact…" He takes another look around the place, making note of all the dust, and gestures towards his apartment. "There's no way you can sleep in here," he says, indicating the general state of the place. "Not to be forward, but… I have a couch you could sleep on until you get it suitable in here."

There's a blink of surprise and Lizzie's smile falters for a moment before it widens even further, until her black eye squints. "Oh ow…" she gasps, placing a hand over her face. "I mean, oh wow?" Fantastic recovery, at least in her own mind. "That'd be great, I was just going to try to clean up a corner or something in the bedroom but a couch without cleaning sounds a lot better than that."

She steps up only a foot away from Gabriel and proceeds to open the suitcase, pulling out just a few essentials. "I hope you have blankets too, because it looks like I'm going to have to buy some tomorrow." Looking around the apartment she gives him another grin, this time a little sillier one and shrugs. "But at least I'm okay for sheets."

His eyebrows raising slightly at Hallis, Gabriel can only shake his head at her reaction. He waits while she gathers what few essentials she needs, and when she haves them in her hands he gestures towards his apartment. "I have blankets, pillows— everything you should need, really, I would think," Gabriel says, leading the way towards his apartment.

Lizzie's happy chatter follows the man out of the apartment, only pausing for a few seconds to lock her own door. "I'm going to owe you a ton for all of this. Carrying that monster of a suitcase, letting me stay with you." When they reach his door, she wrinkles her nose a little and grimaces up at him. "I'm really not a freeloader, I hope you don't get the wrong idea about me. I'll try to make you dinner or something tomorrow, okay?" Yes, she said try.

"You know, back home if someone would have offered to let me stay after knowing me for all of five minutes I'd have the heebie jeebies. But here.." she gestures around them to the empty hallway and shrugs. "Here it's just good to have a little bit of something familiar."

"No, no, it's fine," Gabriel says, opening the door to his apartment. It's simple and efficient, but it does have its own character. A large couch rests against the wall, set directly across from the TV. A coffee table is in front of the couch, a few watches strewn about it in various states of assembly, and the reclining chair next to the couch has boxes stacked on top of it, balanced precariously atop the seat.

"It's never bad to have something familiar," Gabriel says, allowing Lizzie entry into the apartment. He closes the door behind her, not bothering to lock it. "Make yourself at home."

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