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Voices From The Heart [ - ]
by OakHillsDrive, BigWTBFan
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Story Notes:

The main characters and their history until STV3 all belong to people we've never met who graciously have not sued us yet for borrowing their work, but everything else came from us.

Author's Notes:

 

 

 

 

 

A tear fell onto the glossy hardwood floor as Angela leaned down to pick up her suitcase.  She turned her head and quickly wiped her cheek to remove any evidence of her cowardice.  The pain in her chest was making it hard to breathe and she knew that if she didn't put on a brave face now, she couldn't live with the thought of seeing him cry too.  After all this time, when she cried, he cried.  And the idea of seeing tears in his eyes was more than she could bare. 

 Taking the handles of two of her suitcases in hand, she stood and walked to the stairwell.    Each step down them was agony.  She knew he was a few strides behind her, but even now their steps were in unison.  It sounded as if only one person was heading down the stairs.  If it wasn't for the screaming of her heart, she would have found joy in the comparison, but now the echo of single foot steps only reminded her of the sound she'd be hearing for the rest of her life.  The single sound of hers.  

You're doing this to yourself, her heart continued to yell.  It's not too late! You can still stay! You're not in the taxi yet! Don't be an idiot!

But the screaming of her heart was also mingled with the loneliness in her head.

Iowa's not your home, it's Tony's now. Let him go. Let him be happy. Don't let him see you cry.

As they exited the building, the taxi cab pulled up. The driver got out of the car and started to put her luggage in the trunk, leaving Tony and Angela with nothing to do but stare at the concrete beneath them.  It took every ounce of strength she had not to face him. In her heart, she wanted to memorize the moment. The hue of his face, the charcoal brown of his eyes. The crows feet and laugh lines etched through years of happy moments. But the face she knew was staring at the floor with her, was not a face that would comfort her. She knew it would be the face that would engrave its way into her every waking moment to remind her every second of the biggest mistake she had ever made in her life. She knew if she looked at him now, the face would replay in her mind on those lonely nights she knew lie ahead.  

"Ya ready to go, ma'am?"   

Hearing a voice different than their own snapped them each of them back into the stark reality of the moment.  

Finally finding the courage to look up at her, he said, "Angela, I lo. . ."  

"Don't say it Tony."  She said cutting him off, still staring at the ground.  "Please don't make this. . ."  

Before she could finish her thought, he desperately pulled her to him.  Wanting to hold on to her for dear life, he lifted her head and tearfully pressed his lips to her own.  Without realizing the future pain of the moment, she allowed herself to melt in his arms and give in to her moment of weakness.  The familiar, safe comfort she felt in his arms was there as it had been all those times before.  For a moment, the meeting of their souls seemed to block out all the noise and worry and stupid ness of the world.  But as the need for oxygen pulled them apart, the small millimeter space between their lips instantly felt like a Grand Canyon rift.  Before she could look into his eyes again, she turned and ran to the cab, jumping inside.  

“What am I doing?”  She said as she watched Tony’s image get smaller and smaller as the taxi drove away.  “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this!  Turn the car around!  I have to get out!”  But it seemed the more she yelled, the faster the car began to move.  “Stop the car!  Stop the car!”  She said pounding on the window.  “Stop the car!  Stop the car!”

 

 

“Angela. . .Angela.”  Kneeling down next to her,  he grabbed onto her still dreaming frame and spoke softly  “Wake up, Sweet Angela.”

 

As he pulled her into a hug, she finally awakened from her nightmare and stared into his tender hazel eyes.

 

“It’s alright, Angela.  You’re here.  You're safe."  As she stopped shaking, he released her from their embrace and leaned on the edge of her sofa lounger for support, as he tried to get back to his feet.

 

“Oh my gosh.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to wake you.”  With the rush of adrenaline still evident in her breathing, she wiped her eyes as the dream started to fade into the darkness of the room.  “I’m so sorry.  I don’t know what came over me,” she lied, afraid he’d ask what the dream had been about.

 

It was the email.  A reminder of the past.  A ghost of guilt long buried and memories repressed.  Of all things. . .  After all this time.  Why had he sent it?  Did Sam give him my address?  What was he thinking?  She thought to herself.

 

He turned weakly as several deep coughs exploded from his chest and she quickly came back to reality.  Reaching down, she lifted the pail that sat on the floor next to the lounger and rushed to him.

 

"Not this time,"  he said waving her off.  "I think its over."  He said in the dim light, trying to reassure her that the nausea had past.

 

"Are you sure?"  She said helping him over to the rented hospital bed that sat near the window.  With great effort, she helped him back into bed and took the hand towel from off the nightstand and wiped his brow.  "Peter. You're dripping wet.  We've got to change you out of these pajamas.  Let me get Hanna."

 

"No really, Angela.  Don't wake her.  I'm fine."  He coughed a little more into the back of his hand.  "I guess rescuing you was a little harder than expected,”  he said with a weak grin.  “Sounds like real life, doesn't it?”

 

In an attempt to change the subject, she walked over to the dresser drawers and pulled out a new pajama top.  "You know you need to keep up your strength, you silly man.  Let me at least help you into a new top.”

 

 As she finished dressing the frail man in a fresh shirt, she patted his cheek and helped him lie down once again.  Taking him in, she thought about how different he looked from that first evening all those years ago, when he had taken her out for a few glasses of milk, some sugar cookies and a shoulder to cry on.  That night he had reminded her that it was okay to laugh.  And here he was trying still to put a smile on her face, when he was obviously the one in need of rescuing.

 

“Sweet Angela, you need to get some sleep.”

 

“I know.”  She dabbed his forehead one more time and leaned down and kissed it.  “So do you, Partner.” 

 

As she turned to lay down on the lounger again, he reached up and grabbed her fingers as they glided along the hospital bed’s railing. 

 

“Was it Iowa again?”