Choices, Part 26

“Em, would you go talk to Michael? He’s sulking.” I asked as she finished singing.

“Why is he sulking? What did you do?” She asked. She looked so cute when she crossed her arms like that and glared at me. It was less cute when I realized that Eve and Myra were doing it, too. Cain, for his part, was sitting on the base of the statue picking out the opening notes to an Avett Brothers tune called Murder in the City. The song is written from one brother to another telling him not to take vengeance if he gets killed. Kid definitely had the ironic thing down cold.

“I might have given him the impression that the youth, and probably most of humanity in general, was indifferent to religion.” I went for a sheepish grin at the end, but probably only looked queasy. She sighed the sigh of the long-suffering woman, which oddly enough has been quickly mastered by every female I’ve ever spent more than a couple of days with, and went over to talk with Michael. She sat on the bench next to him as Myra came up to stand next to me.

“I knew you wouldn’t be able to fix your mess, and I knew you’d come to Em for help. Everybody does eventually.” She said, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“Then why didn’t you just send her over to talk to him in the first place? Hell, Myra, I don’t even like the guy. Remember, I’m the one who decked him!”

“Yeah, but you needed a little reminder that your words carry weight. Even with angels, Adam. Everybody pays more attention to what you say than you think. And probably more than we should. But we do it anyway.”

“And why is that?”

“Call it respect for our elders if you like.”

“Ouch.”

“I’m kidding. But face it, you’re the Adam. You’ve been around forever, and even though Michael has been an angel a lot longer than you’re been human, he’s only been on earth a few days. You’ve been on earth longer than anyone. So when you talk about human nature, he’s gonna believe you. And if you drop a bombshell, somebody’s gonna have to pick up the pieces. Lucky for you, she’s good at picking up the pieces.” There was something in her eyes when she said that, a little glimmer that she blinked away almost before I could notice it, but I filed it away under the “things I want to ask about when we’re alone rather than in a park with out whole posse and a passel of unwashed kids wearing hemp pants” category.

Emily sat with Michael for a minute or two before he sat up and looked at her. Then they sat there for a few more minutes before he straightened and began to assume a little of the officious shithead posture that we were looking for. Then Emily waved me over to them, and after a few seconds of the confused chest-pointing thing I realized she really did want me over there, so I went. I walked up, a little nervously, to where my daughter and the Sword of Heaven sat on a park bench, her arm around his shoulders and him blotting his eyes with a blue silk hanky that I swear he didn’t have when I was sitting there.

“Dad, I think you owe Michael an apology.” Emily said as I walked up. Crap. They weren’t going to make this easy on me. I looked back at Eve and Myra, who made a “go on” gesture with their hands. Cain just shrugged and smirked a little at me as if to say “I’m not the one who made the angel cry, dad. I just invented murder.”

“Michael…I don’t really know what to say, but I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intimate that people today didn’t believe in The Father anymore, and I didn’t mean to upset you. So, um, sorry.” God I hoped that was all he needed to get going. It had gone from muggy to chilly as the night went on, and if we stuck around this park any longer I was gonna need to pee before we hit the highway. That, and I couldn’t really think of anything else to say.

“What about my face?” Michael asked, his expression a perfect mask.

“Your, uh, face?” I was honestly confused here.

“Yes. My face. You hit me, Adam. That just isn’t done. If I deserve an apology for anything, it’s for you putting your hands on one of the Host.”

“You have got to be kidding me. You deserved every single punch you’ve taken since I saw you, and probably more besides. If you think I’m going to apologize for punching you in the face, then you can take your flaming sword and” Michael was up off the bench with his arms around me before I could tell him exactly where I thought his sword would fit nicely.

“Oh, you do like me! Emily was right, you put on this gruff exterior to hide your true feelings, and the nastier you are to people the more you care about them! I knew there was no way you truly despised me, after all I am an Archangel, the most Heavenly of the Heavenly Host. Oh, Adam, it is so good to know how you truly feel.” I glared over the angel’s shoulder at Emily, who mouthed at me “just go with it” in exaggerated expressions. I took the high road and gently disentangled myself from Michael before he started to sport a chubby. The last thing I needed was an immaculately dressed angel feeling me up in a New Orleans public park in the middle of the night. I’d already been to the precinct house once today, and that was quite enough, thanks.

“Well, now that we’ve got all that sorted out, can we go?” I asked Michael as the rest of our troupe gathered ‘round.

“Of course. We must away at once to find the one who must make the Choice.” Replied the angel.

“So, where are we going? And I’m not leaving my truck. Period.” Eve has always had such a way of making her opinions known. Usually by stating them loudly and often.

“Nashville. We’ll find the young man in Nashville, Tennessee.” Nashville. Ok, I guess we were going country.

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