I don't know where it's going yet--but I'll keep you posted.
And although it may be a long time before you see the rest, since I'm going to be finishing up tonight or tomorrow, I thought you may want to see a little of what's got me so invested.
Meet Tucker and Angel. Two guys who are about to break all the rules of heaven:
* * *
"But I don’t understand!” Angel complained as Tucker looked through the supplies and started pan-toasting bread for a roast beef sandwich. “You hated this place on sight—why would you want to fix it up?”
“I don’t understand!” Tucker whined. “You’re supposed to be helping me do shit here, and all you can do is complain that I’m doing it wrong. Jesus, I’ve been here less than eight hours. Give the rookie a chance.” With a practiced flip, he turned the bread and let it brown in the remaining butter.
“It’s just that we don’t know what will happen if you start replacing objects and taking down walls.” Angel wrung his hands—actually wrung his hands, like an aggrieved 50’s movie heroine.
“What will happen?” Tucker rolled his eyes. “What will happen is that I’ll be less inclined to hang myself in the ceiling fan and create a new cursed object!”
“You’d do that?” Angel asked and now that the echoes of their bickering died down, Tucker heard shock and concern.
He sighed and threw the roast beef on the bread, and then added the onions he’d browned earlier. Unbidden, he remembered those days after Damien… after the funeral. He’d crawled into bed for days, barely surfacing to go to the bathroom. The only thing that had pulled him out of bed had been the same thing that always pulled him—the painful punch to the gut that said it was time to go change somebody’s life. He’d managed a shower and clean clothes that had hung on him like rags, and he’d even made it intothe restaurant. He had no clear memory of the young man or the sex in a cheap hotel that had followed. What he did remember was the guy on the phone the next morning, whispering to his best friend, “Lor, you’ve got to come and get me. I think I slept with a homeless man last night. You’re right. I’ll go to rehab. This is it—I’ve totally hit rock bottom and I need to change my life.”
Tucker had feigned sleep and waited until the guy had left, and then he’d cried. He’d wept for hours, until the maid had needed to kick him out, and he’d dragged his sorry ass home.
He’d spent the rest of the day cleaning and vacuuming—and shaving—and when he’d gone to bed that night he’d made a resolution.
This was a calling. Like the priesthood, except sort of the opposite. He could either drink and mope his way through it, or he could enjoy the things he had.
“Once,” he said now, in response to Angel’s question. “Once, it was that bad. As to whether or not it gets that bad again, I’ll leave that to you to sort things out.”
Angel was quiet for a while, and Tucker sort of forgot he was there. He sat down with his sandwich and a glass of milk, grateful for the coolness of the milk and the way the grilled onions burst butter on his tongue. He was savoring another bite of sandwich when Angel spoke, startling him.
“Will you miss your home?”
“That depends,” Tucker said after he swallowed.
“If I’m allowed to make this freakshow into a new one.”
“Your aunt didn’t want anything changed,” Angel said humbly.
Tucker sighed. “She was probably like me,” he said after chewing for a moment.
“This thing you want me to do—it’s not easy. Or fun. In fact, it’s sort of ruined my life. So when I sit down to eat, I want my goddamned sandwich just the way I want it. Cause it’s the thing that gets me through the day.”
“She wanted the house the way she remembered, because it comforted her.”
“You want to change it, because you want something that’s yours.”
Angel gazed off past Tucker’s left ear, and for a moment, the shape of the person Tucker had seen all day faded a little, like a picture in the sun. It returned, and Angel’s hair was darker, his face a little longer. Not a dead ringer for Damien now, more like his older brother.
Tucker blinked at him and he blinked back, apparently not even registering that he’d changed.
“Who in the fuck are you?” Tucker asked, his voice surprisingly level.
“I’m Angel.” He offered a complacent smile and Tucker rolled his eyes.
And then finished his sandwich.